Hi, I'm Marcus.

I'm a technologist and write about various topics here. I work at Hatch in California, previously Automattic & WordPress.

Strata Data Conference Recap 2012

This article is a recap of the Strata 2012 data conference I went to. I did some previous analysis on the attendee directory, so I am also including the results of the connectedness change before and after the conference. Update on Twitter Attendee Analysis From the list of twitter attendees generated before the conference, I […]

Strata 2012 Attendee Analysis

The Strata Conference is next week, so I was browsing the attendee directory curious to see who I know is going or looking for interesting companies to meet with. This got me thinking about the overall connectedness of the attendee list. So… A few scripts later and a bit of analysis I produced the following […]

Running Stats 2011

Being the data minded guy that I am, here are stats and numbers around my running in 2011. This year I ran my first marathon as well as a couple of other races. Summary Total Miles: 532.2 miles Total Time: 80 hrs 10min 58 secs Avg Pace: 9:02/mi Total Days Run: 87 days Races Date […]

Infographic design, give tables a chance

There has been a recent backlash against infographics lately, justified as this graphic illustrates. Infographics have lost their way, their main purpose should be to make data easier to read by adding a visual perspective to the information shown. For example, using visuals can show the difference in sizes or distance better than abstract numbers. […]

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 […]