Neal's Last Words
by Byron "Neal" Massey
This week I decided to take a closer look at the Zamboni vs. Bartmoss/Joan
battle. I already listed the commonly enountered Sentries in my
"Big Morphing Boon" article. I decided to do the same
thing for Walls and Code Gates, so I would have a definite set of
ICE to use when comparing different icebreaking setups.
I took the list of Code Gates and weeded out those I seldom see:
Sphinx 2006 Tumblers
Then I identified those I ocasionally encounter, group A:
Ball and Chain
Misleading Access Menus Nerve Labyrinth
That left the most commonly enountered Code Gates, group B:
Haunting Inquisition Keeper
I did the same thing for Walls, discarding the unpopular:
Iceberg Mobile Barricade
Toughoniu m(TM) Wall
Then I listed the Walls that are sometimes encountered, group A:
Razor Wire Shotgun Wire
Snowbank Wall of Ice
That left the most popular Walls, group B:
Data Wall Data Wall 2.0
Fire Wall Rock is Strong
Wall of Static
Now I could use the wieghted average cost for each type of ice
to determine exactly where Bartmoss/Joan and Zamboni stood.
The weighted average is computed by
* Finding the average cost of a particular suite to break all
the ICE in group A.
* Finding the average cost of a particular suite to break all the
ICE in group B.
* Adding the two together.
* Adding in the cost of group B again.
* Dividing the total by 3.
All this does is make the group B ICE count for twice as much as
the group A ICE. Of course, this cost doesn't even consider the
ICE that was weeded out. If your Cyphermaster meets my Gatekeeper
with 7 subroutines, you're in trouble, regardless of the weighted
average. It just gives you an overall estimate.
Averaging all the different types of ICE together shows that Bartmoss/Joan
costs an average of 4.7 bits per ICE, and Zamboni costs an average
of 1,8 bits per ICE. That makes Zamboni (very approximately) 2.6
times better than Bartmoss, once both are installed.
Bartmoss takes only 5 bits to install, while Zamboni takes 21.
Getting the extra two cards to set up Zamboni is probably going
to cost another 5 bits or so, raising the cost to 26 bits. Adding
the startup cost and the cost per ICE reveals that, as I guessed
last week, you start saving money when you break your eighth peice
of ICE with Zamboni.
Here's the challenge to any Runners who might be reading this:
Find a suite of ICE breakers, using 4 MU, that can outperform Bartmoss/Joan
faster than Zamboni. You have to add 2.5 bits to your startup cost
if you use 3 cards, and 5 bits if you use 4 cards.
I'll send an autographed Full Body Conversion to the first person
who can solve this difficult puzzle.
Until then, I'm going back to work, where my boss has asked me
to find a way, no matter how obscure, to make our Corporate backlog
of Galatea ICE useful.