One of my major faults is my inability to finish off ideas, they usually get as far as spending the money to get them going, and then I just leave the kit lying around gathering dust and making my bank account empty. I’ve been reading a bit about doing things in a lean way and it seems to be rubbing off on me.
One of my recent ideas is that there must be a quantifiable way of recording how my Olympic lifting is progressing other than just the amount of weight I’m able to move. Often my lifts are pretty messy and it’d be good to try and break it down in a way that I can tell how I’m doing it.
As usual I’d solved the problem and patted myself on the back for being a genius, a paragon of originality, but of course someone had already solved the problem years ago (pdf).
I’d had a little look around at various accelerometers but I didn’t really know what I was doing there (being a bit of a hardware-phobic). Then I remembered that I could do it all with my phone!
Over at broken airplane Phil Wagner has an app called Physics Gizmo that. amongst other things, has a really nice accelerometer recorder.
So, in the spirit of leanness and learning fast, I turned it on, wrapped my phone in a towel and taped it to a bar!
The raw results at the top, there is a bit more analysis below.
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One of the reasons that I’ve been so remiss with posting recently (as in for the last 2 years) is that my old server had got so old that it wouldn’t let me. I’ve scrapped the surpass server, and I’ve got a shiny Linode box in Tokyo that lets me do all kinds of Ubuntu magic.
It is very cool being able to SSH in from my phone and download stuff – I’m sure I’ll get bored of that kind of thing sooner or later, but at the moment it’s fun. One of the key things that I have on there now is IPython notebook and RStudio server, which means that I can do useful stuff from anywhere I can get to a modern browser.
I’ve also switched the address for this blog from notionparallax.co.uk/blog to just notionparallax.co.uk
Phew, this is a boring post !
I’ve been pretty interested in what you can do with maps recently. There are loads of really nice map tools coming out for Open Street Maps (leaflet, mapbox, tilemill, and more), and there will probably be a load more for Google maps since their announcements at IO.
As a start at trying to work out the level of amenity for a given spot, I thought I’d take a crack at recreating the work that John Snow, did on the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak. (Sort of.)
It’s a bit more of my adventures in web development – so it’s an adaptation of Calvin Metcalf‘s psychic-octo-nemesis template. It uses D3 to do the Voronoi and Leaflet to display the map. It gets its data from Open street maps’ Overpass system.
There are lots of problems to take into account when thinking about this as a measure of amenity, not least that we don’t travel like birds, but need to use paths and roads, so the cells aren’t especially realistic. However, I like to think about models as a tool to help understanding – if the model disagrees with your internal model then one of you needs to adjust.
I had a look at the stats for what people look at on this site. I was amazed at the drop off rate from the popular ones to posts that have only ever had one view (probably me checking that it posted properly!).
After the front page and the tutorials, centroid of points on the surface of a sphere got the most hits by a long way, and it also has the most comments. I’m in the process of writing a summary of the comments and some example code to show the results, but in the mean time, here’s the graph.
If you zoom in on the elbow of that (cropping off home and tutorials at the top and anything below 100 views at the bottom) you get this.
I have now experienced it and no matter how great it is at your gym, unless they let you work out in your underpants, you are missing out! The garage now has:
- 6m2 of foam mats, with another 3 up the walls
- A tyre to hit with a sledgehammer
- A tyre to drag for sprints
- An ab roller
- A set of rock rings
- My ice axes
- A Swiss ball
- A 3kg soft ball
- A belly pad, thai pads and focus mitts
- Some straps for pikey TRX
- Some elastic bands for resistance
- A kettle bell
- and the tiniest dumbbells in the world
Now I just need some motivation and imagination! Read more »
Back when I was doing my MS I posted a list of what I was planning to read(+). I actually read about half of them, and oddly none of the ones I didn’t’ read have showed up on the list this time around.
The live list is here
if you are interested in progress.
that I’ll finish this list in under a year with 50% confidence.
I wrote on Monday about what it’d be like to have a web api into a supermarket’s online shopping system. I’ve been tanking about a non-shopping app that would be able to use that.
One of the biggest pains about trying to accurately track your dietary intake is searching through the database on whatever service you’re using, discovering that they don’t have your brand of frozen peas, hoping that the generic one is OK and using that even though you count in grams and they count in cups or ‘portions’ (whatever that means!).
This pretty much ignores the way that we choose food in real life. I go to the cupboard where my food is and pick something from what I’ve got. Then I deplete my stock of that stuff by eating it.
I know that the supermarket knows what I have and that they know the nutritional information for each of those items too. They just don’t make that information available to me in any sort of useful way. I’m not suggesting that this needs some kind of NFC enabled smart fridge, just that the food tracking database knows what you have, and makes it easy for you to pick from your existing store of food, as well as picking from the wider database.
If you wanted you could wire this into a pantry app that could tell you what you have, when it’s going to go bad, when you are likely to run out based on average consumption and develop shopping lists. That could go very well for any particular super market who invented it as it would drive loyalty through making it easier to live within their particular ecosystem.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about super markets. As I cruise up and down the aisles, indulging in one of my favourite pastimes of telling the tsunami of information flow over me without any pressure to take it in. It’s almost as if it is scouring the accumulated excess information of the week off me.
I’ve been thinking mainly about the services that super markets could provide over and above selling food.
There are lots of examples of them taking big initiatives, the first that comes to mind is Tesco’s foray into banking, insurance, clothes etc. The thing that most interest me is their access to information. They’ve been onto this for a really long time, US supermarket Dollar General makes a big chunk of its money from selling big information about consumers, but the interesting, and currently unexploited end of the market is small information.
This really hit home while listening to an old in our time about ageing. Old people are the perfect audience for online grocery shopping, but the websites that supermarkets put together themselves don’t seem to be designed with the older population in mind (I’m not totally convinced that they’re designed with any users in mind!). It seems pretty reasonable not to make your website oldie friendly, they are small proportion of the population, they are perceived to be technophobic, and they operate with a different stock of metaphors to young people who have grown up around scrolling and web forms.
Making a few different websites for different users seems like too much work, after all they are super markets, not web people, so here’s my idea. Why not stick to their core business, selling groceries and big data, and let the web people develop user interfaces to their api for different demographics?
That way the super markets can sell more (they could even insist on the third party interfaces using their proprietary customer identification systems to keep the flow of demographic data tidy), the developers could take a cut of their sales, and more areas of society could gain access to the wonders of online shopping. It would push innovation in shop front design, in design for different types of users, and would also make it possible to develop apps that have nothing to do with shopping as a process of buying things, but could be more about knowing about your shopping (pantry apps, nutrition apps etc.).
Ocado is doing something similar in the UK, but they have a monopoly position on the Waitrose database and they do their own delivery service.
Having an amazing supermarket api would be a big deal, I wonder who’s going to try it first?
I’m subscribed to quite a lot of blogs. It struck me the other day that ones that I’m most attached to have very little to do with my field. Actually, they are specifically aimed at other fields. My top three of these are below, but if you have any suggestions then I’d love to hear them.
James Hoffman’s blog is primarily about coffee, but it is about the whole experience of coffee, not just making it, or drinking it, but how to make a business of it, the science of brewing and roasting. It’s interesting, because he is able to get his point across clearly and simply, but most of all it is interesting because it is relevant. He is talking about how to think about your relationship with your customers, how to do business when your product differentiates itself on quality and experience, lots of things that are not particularly specific to coffee at all!
This one is kind of related I suppose, but the really interesting posts are about how to deal with people, not about coding specifically. Programmers are just people working on projects, but they have a tendency to process optimise, so that leads to some interesting ideas.
Ostensibly about creating the web. This is more like a magazine than a blog; it is lots of long(ish) form articles, with illustrations. There is a lot of stuff about how to think about designing a site (but you can substitute anything in there if you don’t make sites, you could swap site for building or car just as easily) and plenty of discussion of how users should be considered.
I’m doing a bit of data exploration for work based on our people. I don’t know any statistical software (or really any stats!), so rather than learning R or SPSS I thought I’d have a go at doing it in Google docs. I will probably need a stats library once we get into trying to find unexpected numbers, but for simple queries it does just fine. This stage is just about making some interesting graphs to give people an idea of what they can do with the data they have at their disposal.
var maleGlassesWearers = [p for each (p in people) if ((p.gender == 'm') && (p.glassesInRealLife == 'y'))];
They aren’t the prettiest of statements, but they get the job done in very little code.
Dan’s been on at me to get my head around more functional language concepts, so this is probably a good place to start.
The spreadsheet is confidential, but there is noting special about the code, so it’s included here. I’ve done the filters using a for loop and using a comprehension so that you can see the difference.
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