Monday, December 31, 2012


Am I the only one that has trouble with YouTube?

I have a decent FIOS connection. I get 2.5MB/s download speeds from And I have trouble watching videos sometimes in 360p. In Chrome. On my quad-core desktop with 8G of memory.

What. The. Hell.

I don't watch videos online because YouTube sucks so bad. Funny cat videos, programming discussions, none of it I watch.

And WHY doesn't it download an entire video? I get to watch things in HD in about twenty second chunks because that's all that YouTube will download. It takes me fifteen minutes to watch a three minute video. And that's if I stop and start it manually. If I don't do that I'll get a one-second chunk of video about every three seconds.

In 2001 I could pause a download and wait for it to queue enough to play through to the end. It makes me angry that we have apparently lost this technology.

YouTube, I hate thee.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kaggle FTW

After over a month of playing with random forests, I ditched them and built a decision tree for the titanic problem. My first attempt scored higher than the tutorial score, which was my initial goal for my exploration into data science. It wasn't much higher, but it was a few more correct results, and I'm calling that a win.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ruby Kaggle

I promised I'd put up my ruby code from the kaggle tutorial, and then I never did. Bad me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Things I have learned today

I started today trying to get tab completion working in jruby / irb / windows 7. That happens to be one of the things that I did not learn today. If you figure it out or know how feel free to respond on SO: - I'm really starting to think that it's a jRuby 1.7 problem. Maybe sometime I'll have the opportunity to install 1.6.8 and see if it works there.

Anyway, today has been spent trying to make IRB more usable. I've used IRB for little code tests here and there, but I think that it's a great tool for the toolbox, and I'd really like to get more use out of it. So I tried to make it fit my development style better, and thus the tab completion. (I've found the IRB tab completion VERY handy when you don't have docs around; i.e. when I'm offline)

In trying to fix the tab completion I've installed a whole host of things to make stuff better.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kaggle Titanic Tutorial

I've been playing with the Kaggle Titanic tutorial for the last couple of days, and while I'm having fun with it, I was a little put off. The tutorial has a walkthrough of how to do analysis with python, and I was having trouble working with the examples they were doing. At first I thought it was just the python language, but I eventually came to realize something else.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


When I went through college in the 90s, they made me change to putting two spaces after a period.

Now I'm told that the convention has changed and there should only be one space after a period.


Fact: it's hard to change a habit after almost twenty years. PLEASE STOP CHANGING THE CONVENTION.

Data Science

Data science just sounds really corny as a name - maybe it's just that "science" is overused as a term these days. As much as I like Mythbusters, I cringe every time they claim they're doing "science". They have a really cool program, and it's neat to see things in slow motion (like a rocket-propelled car) but Mythbusters has only a passing relationship with the scientific method. I also cringe when they have a sample size of two. TWO IS NOT A SAMPLE.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ruby Interfaces


I've been using jRuby for these past three months, and I like it. It's concise, readable, structured well, and Rails is awesome. There's a few things that I keep beating my head against, like what they named the functional collection methods (zip?  really?), but overall I think it's a really neat way to write code.

The one thing that really annoys me is the lack of interfaces though. I've looked all over the net, and although there are a few ruby gems that provide interfaces, they're not commonly used and most people complain that they're not needed. Which from a certain perspective is true.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I've noticed that many programmers seem to be overly annoyed by airport security. I've seen airport security complaints all across the net, but especially by the people I follow on twitter (techies mostly) and tech sites like The Register, where they refer to it as security theatre. (british spelling, innit) And of course my own feelings on the subject, which follow pretty closely the security theatre line.

I wasn't sure exactly why I felt that way, but as I was stuck in the scanner line today, I had quite a bit of time to think about it. I think as programmers we draw natural analogies between computer systems and well, every other type of system. Airports being such a system, and therefore TSA being the security of the system.

Ineffective security being one of those things that programmers hate most, it seems natural that we'd be annoyed as we examine the obvious flaws in the TSA systems. I won't go into those flaws right now, as I would like to get on the plane and not be arrested, but it does seem to me that the TSA could use some improvements.

It's difficult to examine such a large and complex system for flaws, but I think a similar analysis could be done with airport security that is done with computer security - break it down to the basic components and examine each of those individually. For example, authentication seems to be something that is done fairly well, considering the large attack surface that the airport naturally has.

Not that I think that the US government would ever be able to competently perform such an analysis.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I could get used to this blogger thingy.  In 20 minutes I have my blog set up with a pretty layout and everything. Somewhat easier than the two weeks it took me to write my own blogging software, if not quite as educational.  I probably would have just kept my old blog, but I can't find the source code for it, and GAE's complaining about the data store I'm using being deprecated. It seems likely that I accidentally destroyed my svn repo - bummer.

I'd have wanted to rewrite it in RoR anyway, and I really don't have the time right now. Better to not reinvent the wheel when google provides me with a perfectly good solution.

Google - enabling laziness since 1998.

First post

That joke is about a dozen years stale.

This is my blog.  I am using it to replace my custom blog on GAE, which I'm tired of maintaining.