Joey Hess: started termcasting

February 4, 2010

Seen on Planet Debian: Apparently there’s a thing called termcasting, and some people are doing it.

I’ve hooked one of my laptop’s terminals up to the net, so anyone with IPv6 can telnet in and see it.

I’ve long wanted to be able to broadcast my terminal sessions on occasions when it makes sense. Like when I’m fixing someone’s bug, or closely collaborating with someone distant.

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Hottest Heads of State

January 22, 2010

Thanks Mike for bringing this to my attention: Hottest Heads of State list. Top of the list?

Yulia Tymoshenko Prime Minister of Ukraine

Obama is #15. Putin in a wifebeater is #24. There are 217 heads of state listed.

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Misa Digital Guitar makes your Rock Band Peripherals feel inadequate

January 22, 2010

Seen on LWN: a look at a Linux-based guitar.

OK, so not only am I suffering from a terrible case of gadget lust, but I find fascinating some of the comments like this one:

actually all it does is make it easier for talentless people to claim how good they are at playing guitar, when they aren’t playing at all. get a real guitar if you’re serious or go back to the guitar hero b/s.

I think it’s an interesting idea that because an instrument isn’t "real" guitar, then it doesn’t count. Clearly a game like Guitar Hero is different from a real guitar — the Rock Band instruments are all simplified versions of the real thing. But the idea that you don’t have any skill as a musician because your instrument is in a nontraditional form seems a little untenable..

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Biologists are Crazy

January 18, 2010

Please be advised: there is a protein called sonic hedgehog. There is also a retinal protein known as Pikachurin, named after Pikachu.

The name of this "nimble" protein was inspired due to Pikachu’s "lightning-fast moves and shocking electric effects".

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Polynomial Regression in R

January 16, 2010

If you find yourself trying to do a polynomial regression in R, you may find Polynomial Regression in R by Bret Larget extremely helpful. I always have a hard time remembering the I(x^2) syntax. The explanations of the underlying statistics are also useful if you already know a little bit of what’s going on.

While r2 has this nice interpretation, its major deficiency is that it will always increase as you add additional variables — the residual sum of squares from a small model must be at least as large as that from a larger model of which it is a special case. So, looking at r2 is not a good strategy for picking out a good model, because you can get increasingly better r2 values by addiing spurious variables. One attempt to correct for this is to compute the adjusted r2 statistic.

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The lesson from two lemonade stands

January 14, 2010

Via Suzanne: the lesson from two lemonade stands.

The other stand is different. The lemonade is free, but there’s a big tip jar. When you pull up, the owner of the stand beams as only a proud eleven year old girl can beam. She takes her time and reaches into a pail filled with ice and lemons. She pulls out a lemon. Slices it. Then she squeezes it with a clever little hand juicer.

Part of the ongoing memeplex of how to make money on the Internet..

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Learning is Childsplay

January 3, 2010

Seen on LWN, a review of Childsplay.

After I finished my recent articles on Teaching with Tux and Learning with Gcompris, I received a couple of suggestions from readers that I take a look at Childsplay. I spent some time looking at Childsplay and if you have small children, I think you should too. As soon as I started the program, it started to play it’s theme song and my 18 month old son came running, and he still comes running every time he hears that music. For most parents and educators, my review of this program could end right here, but I suspect that I should probably write a bit more.

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Problems expand to fill available space

December 30, 2009

Seen on Planet Debian: an article for those of us who are always working on something.

At times like this (if I’m aware and realize that it’s happening), these are some of the things that help me recenter myself:

  • Devote some attention to reviewing what I’ve accomplished recently, to remind myself of progress
  • Ask myself if my #1 problem is actually urgent, or if I’m just on a roll. If it’s not urgent, consider taking a break from problem-solving and work on something else important for a while
  • Give away some problems that I’m holding onto but don’t need to own
  • Remind myself that this feeling as a side effect of where I focus my attention, and I can therefore influence it
  • Laugh
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Readline tab completion using Django models

December 28, 2009

Seen on Planet Debian, a totally sweet hack involving using readline-style tab completion based on some random crap you have in your Django database.

import readline

from mymodels import MyModel

completer = QuerySetCompleter(MyModel.objects.all(), 'name')

readline.parse_and_bind("tab: complete")

while 1:
    print repr(raw_input(">>> "))
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Dive Into Python 3 available

November 24, 2009

Yes, yes, a bit late. But: Mark Pilgrim’s excellent Dive Into Python has been adapted to Python 3, and is now available under CC-A-SA license (seen on LWN).

Case Study: Porting chardet to Python 3 documents my (ultimately successful) effort to port a non-trivial library from Python 2 to Python 3. It may help you; it may not. There’s a fairly steep learning curve, since you need to kind of understand the library first, so you can understand why it broke and how I fixed it. A lot of the breakage centers around strings.

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