Taste of R: An Introduction

Introduction R is a statistical programming language and environment, it is open source and available on most platforms. R is not a replacement of Java, C, Perl, Python or other common language; R is a specific tool for data calculations, manipulations and graphing. If you have a programming background, R can be a great replacement […]

World Revolutions data visualization

The recent events in Tunisia and Egypt got me thinking about revolutions across history. They tend to cluster together both in geography and time. So being on the current data visualization kick I’m on, it sounded like a fun little project. The following is a world map highlighting revolutions going forward in time. The data […]

Strata Data Conference Recap

This last week I attended the inaugural Strata Conference, a conference titled “making data work”. It broke into a few different tracks, (1) handling big data, scaling infrastructure, for example hadoop and cassandra systems, (2) data visualizations, how to present data, graphics and tons of examples and (3) data sets and cool shit you can […]

How does Apple do it?

I often hear people ask, how does Apple do it? How are they able to release amazing products time and time again, products that redefine markets, products that are beautifully designed? The answer seems very clear to me, focus. Apple has a single minded focus and commitment to producing great products. This is not just […]

Why Microsoft OneNote kicks so much note taking ass!

I recently tried out Microsoft OneNote, I’ve heard great things about the tool previously but being a Mac user for so long I didn’t have the opportunity to use it. Lately, I’ve been using VMware Workstation on my Mac so I can run Outlook and properly schedule a meeting. The latest Office update I got […]

Strange red light from my MacBook Pro

A very strange thing just occurred with my MacBook Pro. The audio output stopped completely, it was working earlier today. I tried to change the volume, and it showed as muted but with full volume, a bit weird. Plus it started emitting a strange red light out of the headphone jack. A little searching and […]

Goodbye XML, Hello JSON

About four years ago I wrote an article on the limitations of XML, I’m here to back that up with some numbers. All of the same issues apply to XML today as they did then. It is still a bloated format, still requires external libraries and still takes plenty of code to parse. Our search […]

Distributed Social Networks

As the NY Times article todayshows, social networks are sprouting up everywhere. Small niche sites such as the Portland Trailblazers, BarackObama, Nike, and now Ning’s wicked service which allows anyone to build their own in just a few minutes. But how many of these disparate sites will someone want to join? Does some one need […]

Cicero’s Rules for Good Conversation

In a futile attempt to catch up on my ever growing pile of magazines, I came across a good article in the Economist about the art of conversation. Cicero wrote in 44 BC the following rules, which all could still apply today, even to the latest form of blogging “conversations”: Cicero’s Rules for Good Conversation […]

MySpace architecture and scalability

Baseline magazine has a good article on Inside MySpace. The article discusses the technical issues MySpace has had to deal with growing to 140 million users. If you are interested in technology, scalability and large site architecture, definitely check it out. It is interesting to read about all of the account milestones they reached and […]

Computers, we have a long way to go

After trying to remember the HTML character code for the fancy quote mark for the 1,00th time, I realized we have a long way to go with interactions with computers. I’m not talking just pretty GUI’s and simple keyboard and mouse interfaces but the whole HCI gambit; computers are supposed to be smart and make […]

One Gigabyte

Here’s an interesting observation from my father: About 1972 or so, I worked for a company called ISS, which built disc drives. One of the products was called a 7330, (a copy of the IBM 3330), a roughly washing machine size device that stored 30 MB and cost about $50,000. To store 1 GB of […]

Are you an artist?

I was reading Orbiting the Giant Hairball today by Gordon MacKenzie, a Creative Director at Hallmark. In it he relays the following story. After going around to elementary schools and talking with students about his art he would ask the students about all the beautiful pictures hanging around the school. He would ask them to […]

Prime Factors

In number theory, the prime factors of a positive integer are the prime numbers that divide into that integer exactly, without leaving a remainder. A few examples make it clear: The prime factors of 6 are (2, 3); since 2 x 3 = 6 The prime factors of 12 are (2, 2, 3); since 2 […]

Brain Teaser – Billiard Balls

Suppose you had eight apparently identical billiard balls, but one of the eight is slightly heavier than the others. The only tool you have to measure is a balance scale. What’s the fewest number of times you’d have to use the scale to find the heavier ball?             scroll for […]

What should I do with my life?

What should I do with my life, an article by Po Bronson discussing his last book on the topic of life’s meaning. I found the book very interesting and inspiring in many ways, maybe because I’m still struggling with the problem myself. Read the article, you might find it stimulating, here’s a few snippets from […]

Bad Attitude or Civic Duty

Paul Graham has a fairly interesting article about the rebellious attitude of hackers, nerds and other intellectuals. He compares it to the same rebel nature of the country’s founding fathers like Jefferson, who he quotes: The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept […]

Google Billboard Problems

A mysterious billboard appeared on 101-southbound which I passed each day to work. The billboard said: { the first 10-digit prime in consecutive digits of e }.com I passed by the billboard numerous times before I realized it wasn’t an advertisement for a company, it wasn’t touting some servers new ability, it was actually a […]

Firefox and Safari Compared

There are a few compelling reasons I want to use Safari as my primary browser. These include: a faster native browser, iSyncing bookmarks, smaller footprint^1^ and nicer OS X fit. Each time the latest Safari comes out I try it out hoping I can stick with it. However, I always end up going back to […]

Dead Man Walking: Sun Microsystems?

Sun is in big trouble. They have their head in the sand, or possibly some where else, and unless they pull it out quickly they are nothing but a Dead Man Walking. Sun is losing business to Linux Pixar switches from Sun to Linux, Dell switches from Sun to Linux, E-TRADE, Amazon.com and numerous others […]