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    Archived pages: 579 . Archive date: 2014-06.

  • Title: Entrepreneurial Geekiness | Artificial Intelligence, high-tech entrepreneurship, coffee, London
    Descriptive info: .. Entrepreneurial Geekiness.. Artificial Intelligence, high-tech entrepreneurship, coffee, London.. Home.. About Me.. £5 App meetups.. About.. This is Ian Ozsvald's blog, I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a.. Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant.. , founder of the.. Annotate.. io.. social media mining API, author of O'Reilly's.. High Performance Python.. book, co-organiser of.. PyDataLondon.. , co-founder of the.. SocialTies App.. , author of the.. A.. I.. Cookbook.. , author of.. The Screencasting Handbook.. , a.. Pythonista.. , co-founder of.. ShowMeDo.. and.. FivePoundApps.. and also a Londoner.. Here's a little more.. about me.. Blogroll.. Cookbook Blog.. Artificial Intelligence Cookbook.. Bubble Generation.. Daily Python.. Duncan Jauncey.. Emily Toop.. John Montgomery.. Matt Sarjent.. Mor Consulting Ltd.. Open Rights Group (UK s EFF ).. ShowMeDo Blog.. Social Ties.. The Screencast Handbook.. Tags.. Academic Stuff.. ArtificialIntelligence.. BNM.. BookAnExpert.. Books.. BuildBrighton.. Business Idea.. Data science.. Entrepreneur.. Films.. High Performance Python Book.. Life.. OnlinePrivacy.. ProCasts.. Programming.. projectbrightonblogs.. pydata.. Python.. Screencasting.. SocialMediaBrandDisambiguator.. StartupChile.. StrongSteam.. sussexdigital.. SussexUniversity.. Travel.. Ubuntu.. Uncategorized.. £5 App Meet.. Archive.. June 2014.. April 2014.. March 2014.. February 2014.. January 2014.. December 2013.. November 2013.. October 2013.. September 2013.. August 2013.. July 2013.. June 2013.. May 2013.. April 2013.. March 2013.. February 2013.. January 2013.. December 2012.. November 2012.. September 2012.. August 2012.. July 2012.. June 2012.. May 2012.. March 2012.. February 2012.. January 2012.. November 2011.. October 2011.. August 2011.. July 2011.. June 2011.. May 2011.. March 2011.. January 2011.. November 2010.. October 2010.. September 2010.. August 2010.. July 2010.. June 2010.. May 2010.. April 2010.. March 2010.. February 2010.. 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Understanding Performance Python.. Profiling to find bottlenecks (%timeit, cProfile, line_profiler, memory_profiler, heapy).. Lists and Tuples.. Dictionaries and Sets.. Iterators and Generators.. Matrix and Vector Computation (numpy and scipy).. Compiling to C (Cython, Shed Skin, Pythran, Numba, PyPy).. We re in the final edit cycle, we have a lot of edits to commit to the main chapters over the next week for the next Early Release.. All going well the book will be published in August.. Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in.. ModelInsight.. Mor Consulting.. , founded the image and text annotation API.. , co-authored.. SocialTies.. , programs Python, authored.. , lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.. No Comments.. |.. Tags:.. ,.. 4 June 2014 - 22:30.. First PyDataLondon meetup done, preparing the second.. Last night we ran our first.. PyDataLondon meetup.. (.. @PyDataLondon.. ).. We had.. 80 data-focused Pythonistas.. in the room, co-organiser Emlyn lead the talks followed by a great set of Lightning Talks.. Pivotal.. provided a cool venue (thanks Ian Huston!) with lovely pizza and beer in central Shoreditch we re much obliged to you.. This was a grand first event and we look forward to running the next set this summer.. Our.. got to sponsor the beers for everyone after, it was lovely to see everyone in the pub helping to bind our young community is one of our goals for this summer.. Emlyn.. opened with a discussion on MATLAB and Python for Life Sciences covering syntax similarities, ways to.. port MATLAB libraries to Python.. and hardware interfacing:.. After the break we had a wide range of lightning talks:.. Jacqui Taylor.. on Data Journalism and Visualisation for Journalists.. Chipp Jansen (.. pic.. ) on using.. Kinect through Python.. for stone carving (we want a live demo in a few months please!).. Ben.. ) on NLP and ML on Beer Reviews.. Giles.. ) on Monte Carlo based clustering to beat Gephi s clustering tools.. Ian Huston.. ) introduced Pivotal s open source stack including Redis (I didn t know before that Redis was supported here!) and did a.. 10-book giveaway.. Pete Inglesby.. ) reminding everyone to attend.. PyConUK.. and to announce an.. OpenCorporates.. update.. Kim Nilsson.. on her.. Science to DataScience.. summer school (opening this summer for PhDs in London).. The.. PyLadiesLondon.. Justine, Linda and Nicola.. introduced their group to encourage attendance.. [.. Chipp.. please send me your twitter account!].. Here s Jacqui talking on Viz using Python and D3 and introducing her part in the new.. Data Journalism.. book:.. During the night I asked some questions of the audience.. We had a room of mostly active Python users (mainly beginner or intermediate), the majority worked with data science on a weekly basis, almost all using Python 2 (not 3).. 6 used R, 2 used MATLAB and 1 used Julia (and I m still hoping to learn about Julia).. A part of the reason for the question is that I m interested in learning who needs what in our new community, I m planning on re-running my.. 2 day High Performance Python.. tutorial in London in a couple of months and we aim to run an introduction to data science using Python too (mail me if you want to know more).. We re looking for talk proposals for next month and the month after along with lightning talk proposals either mail me or post via the meetup group (but do it quick).. I totally failed to remind everyone about the upcoming.. PyDataBerlin.. conference in Berlin in July, it runs inside.. EuroPython.. at the same venue (so come and stay all week, a bunch of us are!).. I also forgot to announce.. EuroSciPy.. which runs here in Cambridge in August, you should definitely come to that too, I believe I m teaching more High Performance Python.. The next event will be held on July 1st at the same location, keep an eye on the meetup group for details.. I m hoping next time to maybe put forward a Lightning Talk around my.. book as hopefully it ll be mostly finished by then.. Thanks to my co-organisers.. Cecilia.. (and Florian get well soon)!.. 2 June 2014 - 20:02.. New High Performance Python chapters online teaching a 2 day course on HPC.. The last month has been crazy busy, not least because I got to run my first High Performance Python 2 day tutorial at a university.. I was out in Aalborg University teaching a PhD group, we covered four blocks:.. Profiling (CPU and RAM).. Compilers and JITs.. Multi-core and distributed.. Using less RAM, storage systems and lessons.. Here s a picture of my class, it all went rather swimmingly.. I plan to run the same class in London in the coming months (details to follow):.. On the same note we pushed some more chapters for our.. book on to O Reilly s build system a week back, we now have:.. Introduction.. Performant Python.. Tuples and Dictionaries.. Profiling.. Matrices with numpy.. Compiling and JITs.. More chapters will go live in a couple of weeks, we re in the final editing phase now.. Don t forget that.. is coming up in a couple of months, it runs during EuroPython.. If you re out  ...   of this!).. Great lightning talks including live.. rocket-science-in-the-Notebook.. to close the weekend.. Speakers from both industry (including BAE, the Met Office and Hedge Funds through to fresh startups) and academia stretching through Europe.. One outcome from Gael s keynote was the importance of citing the open source projects that get used to help highlight their need for funding and resources:.. next time you write an article that uses scikit-learn and friends, cite the software you use, that will help authors, eg get funding #pydata.. @dimazest.. I ran a panel asking Shouldn t more companies be using data science? the deliberately loaded question was addressed by a a range of industrial representatives including.. James.. from New York,.. Jonathan.. Johnny.. Dirk.. Ian.. Philip.. The short answer seemed to be that more companies were taking risks (and winning the rewards) of analysing their data and that some more training (both for scientists and for managers) could help things along.. #PyData panel first question: have you done anything data analysis related within the last six month? (half the room raises hands).. James Powell.. Through my.. I talked on.. The Landscape of High Performance Python.. by taking a look at profiling techniques and compiler options for single-machine multi-core speed-ups, obviously this is somewhat connected to the.. book I m working on (hopefully an early release of the first chapters will be out shortly).. Like @ianozsvald s team velocity to describe how clean slow code can be better than complex fast code in terms of team development.. Mark Basham.. of Diamond Synchrotron.. Renowned Brightonian artist.. Eric Drass.. spoke on the.. confluence.. of art, mass data, surveillance, the redaction of political positions (and how nothing is ever really removed from the internet.. AlgoCameron.. ) and Hugh Hefner:.. Martin Goodson.. s.. Most Winning A/B Test Results are Illusory.. talk has.. hit HackerNews.. with good discussion via his.. published paper.. (reformed string-theorist).. Linda.. spoke.. on trying #sklearn as an avid R user for music recommendation, highlighting some of the highs and lows of both toolsets (and noting the sillyness of the language wars ):.. My.. colleague.. Bart Baddeley.. discussed problems and solutions in clustering approaches,.. IPython Notebook.. with all examples available online:.. Similarity matrices are a neat way of eye-balling whether you ve chosen the right number of clusters #pydata.. Hugo Carr.. Kyran Dale.. (my co-founder from.. ).. on powering javascript from live Python servers using techniques such as web sockets to visualise robot brain controllers and UK weather patterns:.. Neri covered NLP and ML using NLTK and scikitlearn for real-time customer support at.. Conversocial.. (a successful London customer support startup):.. Philippe Bracke.. spoke on house price rents and yields, modelled during his PhD:.. Interesting conclusion from @PhilippeBracke #pydata you earn less money from renting more expensive properties.. Ian Taylor.. SkimLinks.. sponsored a fun Saturday party (they re.. hiring.. !).. The conference series is generously sponsored by.. (it all started in the USA hello Bryan!) and supported through the non-profit.. organisation (and Leah does a rather ace job of pulling all the loose strands into a cohesive whole!).. Level39.. in Canary Wharf provided the venue.. Additional sponsors include.. Lyst.. who are.. (hi Seb!),.. Python Academy.. (hello Mike!),.. Python Software Foundation.. Knowsis.. DataRobot.. (hello Jeremy and Peter!),.. Python Weekly.. O Reilly.. The view from Level39 was rather nice (their space is ace visit it if you get a chance.. thanking.. Jacqui.. for the photo):.. Clearly we have a strong base here to build from for future conferences.. 2014 (Cambridge, August) was discussed and PyDataBerlin was announced, it ll happen in conjunction with.. (July, Berlin).. I ll be at all three.. More write-ups are available:.. Continuum.. s by Francesc (one of our speakers).. Ian s.. tweet collection.. (with many images).. Florian Rathberger.. SandTable.. (London based consultancy).. For future events we ll have to work on female attendance (I counted 10% this surely can be improved), we also want more interdisciplinary talks (we had some R and Matlab we need more languages and other approaches).. Overall I m super happy with the outcome, we organised this in under two months, we got a fab turn-out and a stellar set of speakers (from nearby, throughout Europe and out to the USA).. The next event can only be stronger still.. We collected slides and everything was recorded, videos will.. hopefully.. be up in a week.. I thank the organising team Leah (NumFocus) kept us all on track, Emlyn, Cecilia, Florian, Yves and James here and our past-PyData American supporters all kept things moving in what appeared to be a rather effortless way.. It wouldn t have worked without everyone s support including all the custodians of local usergroups who kindly spread the word many thanks to you all.. 33 Comments.. 23 February 2014 - 11:53.. High Performance Python at PyDataLondon 2014.. Yesterday I spoke on.. The High Performance Python Landscape.. at.. (our first PyData outside of the USA.. see my write-up.. I was blessed with a full room and interesting questions.. With Micha I m authoring a.. book with O Reilly (.. email list.. for early access) and I took the topics from a few of our chapters.. @ianozsvald providing eye-opening discussion of tools for high-performance #Python: #Cython, #ShedSkin, #Pythran, #PyPy, #numba #pydata.. Overall I covered:.. line_profiler.. for CPU profiling in a function.. memory_profiler.. for RAM profiling in a function.. memory_profiler s %memit.. memory_profiler s mprof to graph memory use during program s runtime.. thoughts on adding network and disk I/O tracking to mprof.. Cython.. on lists.. Cython on numpy by dereferencing elements (which would.. normally.. be horribly inefficient) plus OpenMP.. ShedSkin.. s annotated output and thoughts on using this as an input to Cython.. PyPy.. and numpy in PyPy.. Pythran.. with numpy and OpenMP support (you should check this out).. Numba.. Concluding thoughts on why you should.. probably.. use JITs over Cython.. Here s my room full of happy Pythonistas.. Really useful and practical performance tips from @ianozsvald @pydata #pydata speeding up #Python code.. @iantaylorfb.. Slides from the talk:.. UPDATE.. Armin and Maciej came back today with some extra answers about the PyPy-numpy performance (.. here.. and.. ), the bottom line is that they.. plan to fix it.. (Maciej says it is now fixed quick service!).. Maciej also.. notes.. improvements planned using e.. g.. vectorisation in numpy.. VIDEO TO FOLLOW.. 9 Comments.. 4 February 2014 - 10:28.. PyData London Abstracts Announced.. I m very pleased to say that the talks and tutorials are public now, listed on the.. Abstracts.. page, this is the first draft of the acceptances so maybe there will be some changes but we re treating it as mostly done.. The schedule will follow later (the conference is backed by a non-profit and the organisation is all volunteer based).. Early bird tickets.. run for 1 week from this announce, grab em quick.. We ll cover lots of Python, some R and Matlab, lots of data analysis, visualisation and machine learning, also some economics and art.. We re aiming to bring a wide range of people together to help build the local data analysis community, the goal is to start lots of conversations and to encourage collaborations.. We plan to have a panel, lightning talks and there will be lots of evening beer to drink.. Some of our speakers are coming in from both the USA and further into Europe, they have links to the older PyData and.. SciPy.. conferences along with.. You ll recognise core contributors for numpy, scipy, scikit-learn and the like at the conference.. Next Page.. Top ^.. WP.. Feed.. CC License.. Blue-Pix.. Them.. e.. Page Load Time: 0.. 657 s.. SQL Queries: 67..

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  • Title: About Me | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: My name is Ian Ozsvald.. I m an Entrepreneurial Geek, 30-late-ish, living in London (after 10 years in Brighton and a year in Latin America).. I take on work in my.. Artificial Intelligence consultancy (Mor Consulting Ltd.. ).. and I also author.. The Artificial Intelligence Cookbook.. learn how to add clever algorithms to your software to make it smarter! One of my mobile products is.. (built with.. RadicalRobot.. I co-founded.. com.. in 2005, it is all about tutorial screencasts that teach you programming, see.. About ShowMeDo.. for more info.. This was my second company and I m  ...   100,000 users and 1TB of data served per month say that we built some very useful indeed.. In 5 years ShowMeDo has educated over 3 million people about open source tools.. I m also co-founder of the.. £5 Apps Meetup.. OpenCoffee Sussex.. and the.. BrightonDigital mail list.. (RIP).. Previously I ve worked as Senior Programmer at.. Algorithmix.. (now.. Corpora.. ) and the.. MASA Group.. , and these jobs came via my.. MSc.. in Artificial Intelligence at Sussex University.. See my.. LinkedIn profile.. Future project.. annotate.. Ex project.. Contact.. ian AT ianozsvald DOT com.. 897 s.. SQL Queries: 70..

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  • Title: £5 App meetups | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: John.. and I run the monthly.. £5 App events.. (see photos) in Brighton to encourage people to tell stories of their self-built successes, see my posts under the.. £5 App tag.. We let people talk about the websites and programs they ve built, tech businesses they ve started and ideas they re working on.. Audiences are typically 20-30 people, I supply beer and John brings cake.. first meeting.. was held at the end of April 2007 and I was very proud to find our event being described as.. Rock and Roll.. by an expat.. 633 s.. SQL Queries: 65..

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  • Title: Academic Stuff | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 14 April 2009 - 23:56.. Informatics Update: Graham McAllister and Video-game Usability (Invited post).. As a part of my.. efforts.. with.. Andy Philippedes.. at Sussex Uni to get information flowing between the Computer Science dept.. and companies in town, Andy has asked Graham McAllister to introduce himself and his work (and new company) in usability design and research for video games.. Over to Graham.. I m.. Graham McAllister.. , a Senior Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction and a member of the.. Human-Centred Computing Technology.. (HCT) research group in the.. Informatics.. department at the.. University of Sussex.. My research is in the area of video games, in particular trying to ensure that they can be understood and played just as the designers intended.. So if you have ever played a game only to find it frustrating, annoying or even plain boring, my research tries to ensure that this does not happen.. As the UK video game industry grows, and games become more expensive to design and develop, it is becoming even more important to attain the highest quality possible.. To help ensure that UK games studios remain among the best in the world, we have started a spin-out company which focusses on analyzing games from the viewpoint of the player, i.. e.. can they understand the game, are the goals clear, do they enjoy it?.. We’re almost ready to launch Vertical Slice, the UK’s first company to focus entirely on the area of video games usability and user experience.. Our studios are based at the.. Sussex Innovation Centre.. on Sussex University Campus, and feature facilities in which the interaction between players and video games can be observed, captured and analyzed.. For further details, please contact me at g.. mcallister@sussex.. ac.. uk.. 23 February 2009 - 19:23.. Informatics Update (invited post from Sussex University s Computer Science dept.. I asked Andy Philippides of Sussex University (Research Fellow and liaison for MSc projects) to start feeding me some news from the Informatics dept.. after my.. presentation.. there before Christmas.. Here s his first post they re especially interested in chatting to anyone who has an MSc or undergrad project to submit.. They ll be along at the WiredSussex Jobs Fair on Thursday if you want to chat in person.. Over to Andy.. I’m.. Andy Philippides.. , a lecturer at Sussex Uni where I study.. insect navigation.. Ian asked me to write a few lines from time to time about goings-on in.. that might be of interest to the wider technological world, to let you know a bit more of what we’re getting up to in our ivory towers.. One of the main happenings for me this month is to begin organising.. dissertation projects.. for the Master’s students.. These are 4 month research-based projects which run over Summer and are the major piece of work for the students.. The topics vary widely – as wide as the.. range of MSc.. courses on offer – from robotics, E-commerce, databases to data mining, not to mention web-design and virtual environments.. Topics are proposed by both faculty and students and the topic agreed between the student and their selected supervisor.. In the past, we have also had projects suggested by – and run in collaboration with – industrial partners.. The level of industry engagement can vary from simply suggesting an interesting project area to having the student work on-site, and there’s often some level of financial incentive (which unsurprisingly helps to attract students).. The arrangement has been beneficial to both parties on a number of levels, resulting in job offers and even a highly successful spin-out (.. NaturalMotion.. As the MSc project organiser, I’m therefore keen to foster any links I can, so if anyone is interested in offering a project – with any level of input – please get in touch.. Email me (andrewop AT sussex.. uk) or stop by for a chat at WiredSussex s.. Job Fair.. on Thursday where I’ll be manning the Sussex stall from 4-6pm (look out for the robots).. 17 December 2008 - 23:50.. Presenting at Sussex Uni Research Day.. Last week I was kindly invited to speak at a Research Day for the.. Infomatics.. dept at Sussex Uni.. by.. Inman Harvey.. Anil Seth.. The plan was to talk about life after my MSc [10 years back] and to figure out if and how we could get more students involved with tech companies  ...   at Google).. Up until.. acquired.. Algorithmix I worked on cutting-edge approaches to.. sentiment analysis.. and for.. new-news burst reporting.. During that time I also did my own work looking at the use of Bayesian Algorithms (which were becoming rather hot for personal spam filtering) for network-based spam filtering.. I worked on the assumption that ISPs saw lots of the same spam so training a filter would be much more efficient at the ISP than on the end-user s machine.. Algorithmix was spun out of the French.. where I was Senior Programmer for 5 years.. I worked on the logistics optimisation side of the business (competing with.. iLog.. ) into what is now the.. Blue Kaizen.. division.. The general work was to use evolutionary search algorithms on heavily-constrained logistics problems to e.. Route postmen efficiently in vans to collect mail.. Route petrol tankers to deliver fuel to many cities on complex road networks with varying traffic levels.. Route waste-collection trucks which handle different types of waste to the appropriate management facility whilst respecting French hours-worked rules and road systems.. These problems were reasonably representative of the hardest logistics problems that high-end desktop computers could solve at the time, given the constraints of the problems.. I ve always had an interest in electronic circuit design and in my early days at MASA I did some of my own research into.. floor planning.. routing.. device placement.. Each of these are hard problems which will only get harder as e.. our CPUs become more complex.. Another area of research at MASA was in the world of financial trading.. I was involved in a long project on straight-forward.. stock market prediction.. (and no, it wasn t successful and don t get me started).. Later, separate from MASA, I was involved in a short piece of work looking at baskets of tradable financial instruments for.. statistical arbitrage.. which was fun.. Is AI alive and well? Yes, of course it is.. It isn t necessarily.. GOFAI.. and robots don t clean our houses but there s a heck of a lot that AI offers us.. One of the big reasons that I like AI is that it can be used to relieve humans of a lot of the tedium of analysing large amounts of data:.. Spam classifiers will have to get more-AI-ish to deal with the.. visual and language elements.. that spammers keep bringing to the party.. Logistics optimisation will get more complex as we have more constraints, more things to do and less time for planning.. Circuit designs continue to follow.. Moore s law.. and get more complex at a frightening rate.. As physics analysis machines become more complex the wealth of data becomes un-navigable unless you have the appropriate analysis tools.. What to get involved? If you don t have a background in the area then find a subject that interests you, do some reading and choose a flexible dynamic language so that you can iterate quickly (I favour.. for all my AI work with number crunching in C++).. [I shall quickly plug our ShowMeDo's.. Python tutorial videos.. , there is nothing directly for A.. in the list but there are videos for programming, physics, graphics and useful utilities that are associated with the domain.. ].. Search Amazon for terms like artificial intelligence , evolutionary algorithms and natural language processing.. I like.. New ideas in Optimisation.. by Corne, Dorigo and Glover (click the link and click the author s names to see the AI books they published themselves).. You ll find plenty of resources on the web and feel free to leave a comment if you d like a bit of guidance on how to get started.. 18 May 2005 - 19:30.. Selling Time to Spammers.. I like it cost.. spammers some money.. if you don t like what they re selling.. The model is nice, can be applied to any sort of contact you attach a bounty to your mail, and if the recipient feels you re wasting their time then they can claim the bounty, else they leave it.. If you don t trust your audience, you d give a small bounty if they might claim it, but then as a recipient I see that you think I might take your bounty so I might choose to ignore your mail.. You d have to get it right to make money spam squashed.. 654 s..

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  • Title: ArtificialIntelligence | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 8 October 2013 - 10:23.. What confusion leads from self driving vehicles and their talking to each other?.. This is a light follow-up from my.. Do self driving cars make the courier redundant?.. post from January.. I m wondering which first- and second-order effects occur from self-driving cars talking to each other.. Let s assume they can self-drive and self-park and that they have some ability to communicate with each other.. Noting their speed and intent should help self-driving cars make better utilisation of the road (they could drive closer together), they could quickly signal if they have a failure (e.. My brake readings have just become odd everyone pull back! I m slowing using the secondary brake system ), they can signal that e.. they intend to reverse park and that other cars should slow further back along the road to avoid having to halt.. It is hard to see how a sensibly designed system of self-driving cars could be.. worse.. than a similar sized pack of normal humans (who might be tired, overconfident, in a rush etc) behind the wheel.. Would cars deliberately lie? There are many running jokes about drivers (often elsewhere in the world) where some may signal one way and then exploit nearby gaps regardless of their signalled intention.. Might cars do the same? By design or by poor coding? I d guess people might mod their driving computer to help them get somewhere faster maybe they d ask it to be less cautious in its manoeuvres (taking turns quicker, giving less distance between other vehicles) or.. hypermile.. more closely than a human would.. Manufacturers would fight back as these sorts of modifications would increase their liabilities and accidents would damage their brand.. What about poorly implemented protocols? On the Internet with TCP/IP we suffer from.. bufferbloat.. many intermediate devices between packet destinations have varying sized buffers, they all try to cache to manage traffic but we end up with lower throughput and odd jams that are rather unpredictable and contrary to the design goal.. Cars could have poor implementations of communication protocols (just as some smartphones and laptop brands have trouble with certain WiFi routers), so they d fail to talk or maybe talk with errors.. Maybe cars would not communicate directly but would implement some.. boids.. -like behaviours based on local sensing (probably more robust but also less efficient due to no longer-range negotiation).. Even so local odd behaviours might emerge two cars backing off from each other, then accelerating to close the gap, then repeating maybe a group of cars get into an unstable dance whilst driving down the motorway.. This might only be visible from the air and would look rather inhuman.. Presumably self-driving cars would have to avoid hitting humans at all costs.. This might make humans less observant as they cross the road why look if you know that a car is always anticipating (and avoiding) your arrival into the road? This presumably leaves self-driving cars at the mercy of mischievous humans leaving out human-like dolls in the road that cause slow-and-avoid behaviours, just for kicks.. Governments are likely to introduce some kind of control overrides into the cars in the name of safety and national security (NSA/GCHQ looking at you).. This is likely to be as secure as the.. unbreakable.. DVD encryption, since any encryption system released into the wild is subject to various attacks.. Having people steal cars or subvert their behaviours once the backdoors and overrides are noticed seems inevitable.. I wonder what sort of second order effects we d see? I suspect that self-driving delivery vehicles would shift to more night work (when the roads are less congested and possibly petrol is dynamically priced to be cheaper), so roads could be less congested by day (and so could be filled by.. more.. humans as they commute longer distances to work?).. Maybe people en-mass forget how to drive? More people will never have to drive a car, so we d need fewer driving instructors.. Maybe we d need fewer parking spaces as cars could self-park elsewhere and return when summoned maybe the addition of intelligence helps us.. use parking resources more efficiently.. ?.. If we have self-driving trucks then maybe the cost of removals and deliveries drop.. No longer would I need to hire a large truck with a driver, instead the truck would drive itself (it d still need loading/unloading of course).. This would mean fewer people taking the larger-vehicle licensing exams, so fewer test centres (just as for driving schools) would be needed.. An obvious addition if cars can self-drive then repair centres don t need to be small and local.. Whither the local street of car mechanics (inevitably of varying quality and, sadly, honesty)? I d guess larger, out of town centralised garages more closely monitored by the manufacturers will surface (along with a fleet of pick-up trucks for broken-down vehicles).. What happens to the local street of car mechanic shops? More hackspaces and assembly shops? Conversion to housing seems more likely.. If we need less parking spaces (e.. in Hove [.. 1927 photo!.. ] there are huge boulevards see.. Grand Avenue lanes here.. ) then maybe we get more cycle lanes and maybe we can repurpose some of the road space for other usages communal green patches (for kids and/or for growing stuff?).. NYTimes has a good article.. on how driverles cars could reshape cities.. Charles Stross has a nice thread on geo-political consequences of self-driving cars.. One.. comment.. alludes to improved social lives if we can get to and from a party/restaurant/pub/nice social scene very easily (without e.. hoping for the last Tube train home in London or a less pleasant bus journey), maybe our social dimension increases? The.. on flying vs driving is interesting you d probably drive further rather than fly if you could sleep for much of the journey, so that hurts flight companies and increases the burden on road maintenance (but maybe preserves motorway service stations that might otherwise get less business since you d be less in need of a break if you re not concentrating on driving all the time!).. Hmmm drone networks look like they might do interesting things for delivery to non-road locations, but drones have a limited range.. What about coupling an HGV mother truck with a drone fleet for the distribution of goods to remote locations, with the mother truck containing a generator and a large storage unit of stuff-to-distribute.. I m thinking about feeding animals in winter that are stuck in fields, reaching hurricane survivors, more extreme running races (and hopefully.. helping to avoid deaths.. ) or even supplying people living out of cities and in remote areas (maybe Amazon-by-drone deliveries whilst living up a mountain become feasible?).. 22 September 2013 - 12:13.. PyConUK 2013.. I m just finishing with.. , it has been a fun 3 days (and the sprints carry on tomorrow).. Yesterday I presented a lightly tweaked version of my Brand Disambiguation with scikit-learn talk on natural language processing for social media processing.. I had 65 people in the room (cripes!), 2/3 had used ML or NLP for their own projects though only a handful of the participants had used either in anger for commercial work.. The slides below are slightly updated from my DataScienceLondon talk earlier in the year, there s more on this blog.. over the last 2 months.. that I hadn t integrated into the talk.. The project is.. in github.. if you re interested, I m looking for new collaborators and I can share the dataset of hand-tagged tweets.. I d like to see more scientific talks at PyConUK, a lightning talk for later today will introduce.. EuroSciPy 2014.. which will take place in Cambridge.. I d love to see more Pythonistas talking about scientific work, numerical computing and parallel computing (rather than quite so much web and db development).. I also met.. David Miller.. who spoke on censorship (giving a call-out to the.. OpenRightsGroup.. you too should pay them a tenner a month to support digital freedoms in the UK), but looked over a long period of censorship in the UK and the English language.. As ever, there were a ton of interesting folk to meet.. David mentioned the.. Andrews and Arnold.. ISP who pledge.. not to censor their broadband.. , apparently the only ISP in the UK to put up a strong pledge.. This is interesting.. Shortly in London I ll organise (or co-opt) some sort of Natural Language Processing meetup, I m keen to meet others (Pythonistas, R, Matlab, whoever) who are involved in the field.. I ll announce it here when I ve figured something out.. 3 Comments.. 7 July 2013 - 17:52.. Overfitting with a Decision Tree.. Below is a plot of Training versus Testing errors using a Precision metric (actually 1.. 0-precision, so lower is better) that shows how easy it is to over-fit a decision tree to the detriment of generalisation.. It is important to check that a classifier isn t overfitting to the training data such that it is just learning the training set, rather than generalising to the true patterns that make up the entire dataset.. It will only be a good a good predictor on unseen data if it has generalised to the true patterns.. Looking at the first column (depth 1 decision tree) the training error (red) is around 0.. 29 (so the Precision is around 71%).. If we look at the.. exported.. depth 1 decision tree (.. 1 page pdf.. ) we see that it picks out 1 feature ( http ) as the most informative feature to split the dataset (ignore the threshold, that s held at a constant 0.. 5 as we only have 0 or 1 values in our training matrix).. It has 935 samples in the dataset with 465 in class 0 (not-a-brand) and 470 in class 1 (is-the-brand).. The right sub-tree is chosen if the term http is seen in the tweet.. In that case the the training set is left with 331 samples of which 95 are class 0 and 236 are class 1.. 1.. 0/331*236 == 71%.. If http isn t seen then the left branch is taken where 234 class 1 samples are given a false negative labelling.. As we allow greater depth in the decision tree we see both the training and the testing error improves.. By around depth 35 we have a very low training error and (roughly) the optimum testing error.. By allowing the decision tree to add new branches it overfits, becoming a great predictor for the training set (the error goes to 0) but with worsening testing errors (the thin green line is the average it increases past a depth of 35 layers).. Decision trees tend to overfit due to their greedy nature.. I ve added an example of a.. depth 50.. (1 page pdf) decision tree if you re curious.. social media disambiguator.. project has example code (.. learn1_biasvar.. py.. ) to generate this plot.. 4 Comments.. 17 June 2013 - 20:13.. Demonstrating the first Brand Disambiguator (a hacky, crappy classifier that does something useful).. Last week I had the pleasure of talking at both.. BrightonPython.. DataScienceLondon.. to about 150 people in total (Robin East.. wrote-up.. the DataScience night).. updated code.. is in github.. The goal is to disambiguate the.. word-sense.. of a token (e.. Apple ) in a tweet as being either the-brand-I-care-about (in this case Apple Inc.. ) or anything-else (e.. apple sauce, Shabby Apple clothing, apple juice etc).. This is related to named entity recognition, I m exploring simple techniques for disambiguation.. In both talks people asked if this could classify an arbitrary tweet as being about Apple Inc or not and whilst this is possible, for this project I m restricting myself to the (achievable, I think) goal of robust disambiguation within the 1 month timeline I ve set myself.. Below are the.. slides.. from the longer of the two talks at BrightonPython:.. As noted in the slides for week 1 of the project I built a trivial.. LogisticRegression..  ...   map would be great).. As such I m not sure what s being discussed, probably a bunch of the banal along with chitchat between people ( I m on my way ).. Hopefully some of it discusses the nearby environment.. I m using.. Seth s Python heatmap.. (inspired by his lovely visuals).. In addition I m using.. Stamen.. map tiles (via OpenStreetMap).. I m using curl to consume the Twitter firehose via a geo-defined area for London, saving the results to a JSON file which I consume later (shout if you d like the code and I ll put it in github) here s a.. tutorial.. During London Fashion Week I grabbed the tagged tweets (for #lfw and those mentioning london fashion week in the London area), if you zoom on the.. official event map.. you ll see that the primary Tweet locations correspond to the official venue sites.. What about.. Brighton.. ? Down on the south coast (about 1 hour on the train south of London), it is where I ve spent the last 10 years (before my.. recent move.. to London).. You can see the coastline, also Sussex University s campus (north east corner).. Western Road (the thick line running west a little way back from the sea) is the main shopping street with plenty of bars.. It ll make more sense with the Stamen tiles, Brighton Marina (south east corner) is clear along with the small streets in the centre of Brighton:.. Zooming to the centre is very nice, the.. North Laines.. are obvious (to the north) and the pedestriansed area below (the south laines ) is clear too.. Further south we see the.. Brighton Pier.. reaching into the sea.. To the north west on the edge of the map is another cluster inside.. Brighton Station.. Finally what about all the geo-tagged Tweets for the UK (annoyingly I didn t go far enough west to get Ireland)? I m pleased to see that the entirety of the mainland is well defined, I m guessing many of the tweets around the coastline are more from pretty visiting points.. How might this compare with a satellite photograph of the UK at night? Population centres are clearly visible but tourist spots are far less visible, the edge of the country is much less defined (via.. dailymail.. ):.. I m guessing we can use these Tweets for:.. Understanding what people talk about in certain areas (e.. Oxford Street at rush-hour?).. Learning why foursquare checkings (below) aren t in the same place as tweet locations (can we filter locations away by using foursquare data?).. Seeing how people discuss the weather is it correlated with local weather reports?.. Learning if people talk about their environment (e.. too many cars, poor London tube climate control, bad air, too noisy, shops and signs, events).. Seeing how shops, gigs and events are discussed could we recommend places and events in real time based on their discussion?.. Figuring out how people discuss landmarks and tourist spots maybe this helps with recommending good spots to visit?.. Looking at the trail people leave as they Tweet over time can we figure out their commute and what they talk about before and after? Maybe this is a sort of survey process that happens using public data?.. Here are some other geo-based visualisations I ve recently seen:.. Nice video of Oyster London Underground checkins from 2012 (.. write-up.. FourSquare s 500,000.. check-in visualisation.. Jan blog post.. ) for the world, zoom on London to see how the map is.. different.. to the tweet data I have above.. Another FourSquare.. just for London filtered by location-type.. Language-tagged.. geo-tweets for New York.. geo-tweets for London.. geo-tweets for Europe.. (uses the Chromium.. compact language detector.. If you want help with this sort of work then note that I run my own.. AI consultancy.. , analysing and visualising social media like Twitter is an active topic for me at present (and will be more so via my planned API at.. 13 Comments.. 2 April 2013 - 8:32.. Applied Parallel Computing (PyCon 2013 Tutorial) slides and code.. Minesh B.. Amin (.. MBASciences.. ) and I (.. Ltd) taught.. Applied Parallel Computing.. over 3 hours at PyCon 2013.. PyCon this year was a heck of a lot of fun, I did the fun run (mentioned below), received one of the free 2500 RaspberryPis that were given away, met an awful lot of interesting people and ran two birds-of-a-feather sessions (parallel computing for our tutorial, another on natural language processing).. I held posting this entry until the video was ready (it came out yesterday).. All the code and slides are in the.. Currently (but not indefinitely) there s a VirtualBox image.. with everything.. (Redis, Disco etc) pre-installed.. After the conference, partly as a result of the BoF NLP session I created a Twitter graph.. Concept Map based on #pycon tweets.. , then.. another for #pydata.. They neatly summarise many of the topics of conversation.. Here s our room of 60+ students, slides and video are below:.. The video runs for 2 hours 40:.. Here s a list of our slides:.. Intro to Parallelism.. (Minesh).. Lessons Learned.. (Ian).. List of Tasks with Mandelbrot set.. Map/Reduce with Disco.. Hyperparameter optimisation with grid and random search.. These are each of the slide decks:.. I also had fun in the 5k fun run (coming around 77th of 150 runners), we raised $7k or so for cancer research and the.. John Hunter Memorial Fund.. 5 Comments.. 22 March 2013 - 1:16.. Analysing #pydata, London and Brighton tweets for concept mapping.. Below I ve visualised tweets for #PyData conference and the cities of London and Brighton this builds on my.. concept cloud.. from a few days ago at the #PyCon conference.. Props to Maksim for his.. Social Media Analysis.. tutorial for inspiration.. Update.. Maksim s.. Analying Social Networks.. tutorial video is online.. For the earlier.. #PyCon 2013.. analysis I visualised #hashtags and @usernames from #pycon tagged tweets during the conference.. I ve built upon this to add some natural language processing for noun phrase extraction which I detail below this helps me to pull out phrases that are descriptive but haven t been tagged.. It also helps us to see which people are connected with which subjects.. For the PyCon analysis I collected 22k tweets, after removing retweets I was left with 7,853 for analysis.. #PyData (PyData Santa Clara 2013).. PyData 2013.. is a much smaller conference than PyCon (PyCon had 2,500 people and 20% female attendance, PyData had around 400 with 10% female attendance).. Being smaller it had far fewer tweets after removing retweets I had just 225 tweets to analyse.. Cripes! This is clearly.. not big data.. The other problem was that people weren t using many #hashtags, they were referring to topics using natural language.. For example:.. Peter Norvig was giving a talk at PyData in Santa Clara, CA on the topic of innovation in education.. source.. Clearly some natural language processing was required.. I took two approaches:.. Extract capitalised sub-phrases (e.. Peter Norvig , Santa Clara ) of one or more words.. Use NLTK s.. bigram.. collocation.. analyser (to find lowercased phrases such as ipython notebook , machine learning ).. Starting at the bottom of the plot we see three types of colour:.. white is for #hashtags.. light blue is for @usernames.. dark green is for phrases (extracted using natural language processing).. We see a cluster of references around.. @fperez_org.. (Fernando Perez of IPython), one cluster is around.. @swcarpentry.. (the scientist-friendly software carpentry movement), the other is around IPython and the IPython Notebook (.. @minrk.. of IPython/parallel is linked too).. I like the connection to Julia Fernando discussed during his keynote that Julia now interoperates with Python.. The day before we had.. Peter Norvig.. (Director of research at Google) giving a keynote on the use of Python in education at Udacity including a discussion of how machine learning could be used to identify the mistakes that new coders make so we could make friendlier error messages to help students correct their code.. See the clustering around this at the top of the graph.. Later the same day Henrik (.. @brinkar.. ) spoke on.. Wise.. s Random Forest classifier.. Their approach was efficient enough to demo live on a RaspberryPi.. The connection from Peter to Henrik goes via #venturebeat who.. covered.. wise.. io s new software release during the conference.. Connecting IPython and Wise.. io is.. @ogrisel.. (Olivier Grisel) of scikit-learn.. He gave an impressive (and given the variability of conference wifi slightly ballsy) live demo of scaling a machine learning system via IPython Parallel on EC2.. In the middle we see.. @teoliphant.. (Travis Oliphant) joined to Continuum (his company).. Off to the right I get to blow my own trumpet the phrases awesome python and network analysis connect to russel brand which is how one wag described my lightning talk.. I got a chance to demo the earlier version of this at the end of.. @katychuang.. s talk on networkx.. London (geo-tagged tweets).. For the last month I ve been grabbing tweets in the London geo area for another project.. I had to raise my filtering levels to bring the network down to a sane (and easily visualised) number of nodes.. After removing ReTweets I have 497,771 tweets from just a subset of my data.. Some obvious clusters can be seen:.. #weather and #rain and (presumably a rather wet) St Albans (a very British discussion).. The O2 Arena near the centre with Justin Beiber and #believetour, linked with #amazing, #excited, #nowplaying.. @onedirection.. must have been playing (connected with band members.. @louis_tomlinson.. @real_liam_payne.. amongst others).. To the top-right we have a football cluster with Manchester United , Champions League , #cpfc, #realmadrid and Old Trafford.. The usual tourist spots like Tower Bridge , Covent Garden , Hyde Park , Big Ben , Trafalgar Square are discussed with #happy #sun #loveit, linked just off of here is London Heathrow Airport and New York.. Brighton (geo-tagged tweets).. This is my favourite, analysed using 40,379 tweets after removing ReTweets.. The nature of the two cities (Brighton is 50 miles south of London on the coast, it is a university town with a young party-friendly population) is quite apparent:.. Top left there is discussion around One Direction , #justinbeiber and #seo (a particular Brighton tech.. thing.. Just south of.. @justinbieber.. is a single chain of not-safe-for-work ranting (another particular Brighton.. If you jump to the bottom right you ll see #underwear, #lingerie, #teenagers not as dodgy as you might expect, Sweetling were doing a.. social media.. bra.. campaign.. #hove is joined with #sunny #morning and nearby places #lewes #shoreham.. #brightonbeach and Brighton Pier connect with #birds (Seagulls a bane!) and #sun.. #friends, #memories#, #happy, #goodtimes, #marina, #fun, #girls cluster around the centre (Brighton does like a party).. Off down to the bottom left is a some sort of political discussion (what were they doing in Brighton?).. Reproducing this.. All the code is in github at.. twitter_networkx_concept_map.. including the one line cURL command to capture the data.. An example.. gephi file is included for visualisation in.. Gephi.. The built-in.. networkx.. viewer (optionally using.. GraphViz.. ) works reasonably well but isn t interactive.. Maksim s tutorial and utils class were jolly useful (utils is in my repo), I m also using.. twitter-text-python.. for parsing @usernames, #hashtags and URLs from the tweets.. If you want some custom work around this, give me a shout via.. 19 Comments.. 7 March 2013 - 17:10.. PowerPoint: Brief Introduction to NLProc.. for Social Media.. For my client (.. AdaptiveLab.. ) I recently gave an internal talk on the state of the art of Natural Language Processing around Social Media (specifically Twitter and Facebook), having spent a few days digesting recent research papers.. The area is fascinating (I want to do some work here via my.. ) as the text is so much dirtier than in long form entries such as we might find with Reuters and BBC News.. The Powerpoint below is just the outline, I also gave some brief demos using NLTK (great Python NLP library).. 682 s..

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  • Title: BNM | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 5 October 2010 - 12:55.. Visualising Lanyrd s social connectivity graph.. Over the weekend at.. BarCampBrighton5.. I demonstrated a quick visualisation that.. Kyran.. and I built over breakfast in Berlin last Friday.. It looks like:.. To see it yourself open.. Bar Camp Brighton 5 Visualisation.. using Chrome or WebKit (it ll work in Firefox but might be rather slow).. It is interactive so it is worth opening, about 60 people are shown here.. If you reload the page you ll see the force directed graph bouncing around as it settles into a low energy configuration.. The nodes are people attending the event, edges are friend links to other people at the event.. The image sizes for the nodes reflect the number of links a person has at that event.. As you can see above.. Jot.. (the main host and co-organiser) is most connected at the event.. Two people aren t following anyone at the event, they ve been pushed to the bottom left of the window.. You can drag nodes using the grab-handles (blue circles) or move the entire graph by dragging the image.. For a larger example (80 people) see the.. Flash on the Beach 2010 Visualisation.. Here you can see that.. seb_ly.. is the most connected, closely followed by.. niqui.. bitchwhocodes.. At the bottom left is a sub graph of two nodes these two people follow each other but don t follow anyone in the main graph.. In both cases the data is extracted from the relevant Lanyrd pages (.. BCB5.. FOTB.. ), friends for each attendee are read from Twitter and then a graph is built as a JSON dictionary which links nodes (screen_names) to friends (lists of screen_names).. Ready to run Python source code is at github:.. LanyrdViewerUsingProtoVis.. Both of these links.. should.. work on a mobile device but they ll be awfully slow (they re useless on my iPhone 3G!).. Kyran used.. ProtoVis.. to build the force directed graph, it includes a bit of a hack to make images work on the nodes.. If you re interested in seeing more of this stuff then Kyran will have more to demo at our upcoming.. £5 App show and tell.. 7 September 2009 - 11:31.. BarCamp and Screencasting in 7 Minutes with Jing workshop.. Jay.. Jon.. and co.. ran another excellent.. BarCamp Brighton.. this weekend which followed.. dConstruct09.. There s a long, good.. write-up here.. I m not entirely sure of the right tag for flickr it seems that bcb4 (which I d thought was official) conflicts with BarCamp Bangalore and BarCamp Boston ho hum.. Anyhow, here s one of mine:.. My session was a 30 minute workshop on.. Screencasting in 7 minutes with Jing.. picked up.. by  ...   excitement?) with some details about his latest project.. Amongst other things he s the creator of the rather cool voice-controlled Daleks:.. Whilst the night will be videod and uploaded, some parts will be edited out due to commercial sensitivity so to get the full story you ll have to attend in person.. Here s the blurb:.. Tony Ellis (Toymaker) is a maker of Toys and founder of Conceptioneering.. As well as being behind some of most popular toys on the market today including Cube World, Tony has been a roboticist for many, many years.. On 25th June he will be coming along to talk about some of the robots that he has built and about AIMEC:3, his current robot that many of you may have seen photos of posted on the website.. Tony will talk about some of the features that the robot possesses and about some of the things he has learned in his many years of robotics.. Tony is completely self taught and has spent his life inventing cool toys like Cube World and building robots, including AIMEC:3 a humanoid robot and voice activated Daleks.. His latest venture is a commercial robotics company building low cost, highly intelligent, accessible robotics.. He is a fascinating guy and really worth coming to listen to.. I highly recommend coming along to hear him talk and he may even let us play with a robot or two!.. 12 June 2009 - 21:44.. £5 App Darren Fell, Andy Gill, Richard Dallaway, Ben Sauer.. We had a fab.. £5 App last night.. sorry to those who tuned in looking for the live broadcast.. We had some itty-bitty bandwidth issues and uStream wouldn t play ball so I had to record off-line.. Vimeo serves the videos just fine now.. Thanks to Jon and.. The Skiff.. for hosting us.. See.. photos.. We had:.. Darren Fell telling the story of.. Pure360.. s birth and sale followed by his second start-up.. Crunch.. co.. Andy Gill on the launch of.. ChatBadge.. see.. Andy s write-up.. Richard Dallaway.. on the launch of.. Taykt.. Ben Sauer.. on the super-memory techniques used in.. Anki.. Five Pound App #17 Darren Fell on Crunch.. from.. IanProCastsCoUk.. on.. Vimeo.. Five Pound App #17 Andy Gill on ChatBadge.. Five Pound App #17 Richard Dallaway (taykt.. com) and Ben Sauer (Anki).. Ian Ozsvald.. 11 June 2009 - 13:00.. £5 App tonight live video stream from 8pm.. All going well we ll be broadcasting tonight s.. £5 App event.. via this.. uStream page.. Any last minute changes will be posted here.. I gave.. details.. last week for the 3 speakers (possibly 4 now with Ben), we re starting from 8pm @ The Skiff in the North Laines.. 642 s..

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  • Title: BookAnExpert | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 20 June 2005 - 20:56.. Stealth Start-Ups Suck.. The CEO of.. bloglines.. asserts that.. He goes on to state that a start-up shouldn t be stealth for longer than 3 month before going public and gathering feedback.. Is it a coincidence that.. gained proper commitment from Kyran and myself back in April,  ...   t go searching for the website there s nothing there yet, but soon I promise.. He also makes the point.. The sooner you get something out there, the sooner you ll start getting feedback from users.. I hope you re listening, I m depending on your views.. Original link via.. Slashdot.. 619 s..

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  • Title: Books | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 9 November 2005 - 15:48.. Review: Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional.. I highly recommend.. Beginning Python: From Novice to Professional.. to anyone looking to learn or improve their.. programming ability.. I recommended this to a colleague who had a lot of programming knowledge (in old.. Microsoft QuickBasic.. , would you believe) but no experience of Java, C++, Python.. Within a few days he was comfortably doing difficult math calculations (he s a physics researcher), plotting data, using all the intrinsic functions and editing using IDEs (so, my evangelical mission of conversion was accomplished).. This book is only a few months old and is written for the latest major Python version 2.. 4.. A few days later I noticed an odd thing I found myself using the same book for reference.. I ve been using Python for 3 years, I m a very strong programmer in various modern languages and I use.. Python in a Nutshell.. (aimed at Python 2.. 2) and the Cookbook (I think Python 2.. 2 as well, though there s a.. 2005 edition now.. ), and here I am using a beginners manual.. And there s the crunch this is a powerful book it addresses all the basic needs and then runs on through to complicated problems with worked examples, from web scraping, drawing, games, databases and more.. In short, this book is brilliant and I probably ought to buy myself a copy.. If you want to code in Python then I strongly recommend that you get this book.. 17 August 2005 - 23:33.. Review: Hackers and Painters (Paul Graham).. Paul Graham has been writing online since before 2000, today he has.. 45 articles published for free online.. New articles now make.. s frontpage, quite a big event in geek circles.. He published.. this book last year.. and it contains 15 chapters, 10 of which are online and 5 of which are new (and probably won t go online I guess).. The 5 new chapters are:.. Good Bad Attitude.. How to Make Wealth.. Mind the Gap.. Programming Languages Explained.. The Dream Language.. Update Jan 2005:.. is now online.. Good Bad Attitudes.. discusses the nerds instinct to step outside of the rules.. Hurrah for us thinking outside of the box.. explains that start-ups are a great way to make new wealth, and as a part of that start-up you can share in that wealth (so get on with it!).. discusses unequal income distributions, Graham think it is less of a problem than is popularly perceived and I tend to agree with his arguments.. The last two new essays discuss aspects of programming language design.. Having read all of the online essays over the years, it felt sensible just to buy this book and give Graham a little cash back.. I d definitely rate this book to new readers who are interested in what makes a geek a geek and the world of high-tech entrepreneurship.. If you ve read the online essays, you ll still get 5 new chapters  ...   literature.. He also talks about the strength of weak ties (p.. 54), something that has become increasingly important to me over the last 18 months as I have developed.. The results are a little old (a 1974 study titled Getting a Job ) but nonetheless relevant: 56% of people interviewed found their jobs through a personal connection, with another 18.. 8% using formal means and the remainder applying directly.. Of those that used a personal connection, 16.. 7% saw that contact often , the remainder saw the contact occasionally or rarely.. Most of these people.. found their jobs through friends-of-friends or casual acquaintances.. It s all about the networking.. The book is an easy read, certainly suitable for the commute and packed with interesting stories and studies.. A definite Thumbs Up.. 14 June 2005 - 21:13.. Review KNOCK KNOCK.. Seth Godin.. recently released a new eBook (pdf),.. KNOCK KNOCK, Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site That Works.. The book costs $9 and can be bought via PayPal.. I m glad that the pdf didn t have any silly Digital Rights Management foolishness, unlike some eBooks that Amazon sell.. The process was painless, the 42 pages were designed more like a presentation (few words, plenty of space) and were easily printed.. Thankfully,.. unlike.. most presentations the content was very well thought-out and packed a lot of punch I read it over a slow breakfast on Sunday morning and picked up a number of ideas.. If you re looking for ways to improve your site s marketing, take a look.. If you wait until September then Seth will be releasing it for free on his blog under a.. Creative Commons.. license, but £5 or so really isn t much and the text is definitely worthwhile.. Thumbs up.. 14 June 2005 - 19:20.. Review Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea.. I feel a little guilty here, hence this plug.. I read most of this book over coffee in Borders and didn t think I d need to read it again so I didn t buy it.. Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea.. is a good book, it just wasn t aimed at me.. maintains his high quality writing if you re interested in how to introduce innovative ideas at work but you re not sure what constitutes a good idea or how you d champion and market it then this book is for you.. The book is an easy read, the text is easy going and there are plenty of diagrams to back-up the points.. 1 June 2005 - 22:56.. How To Have A Number One The Easy Way: The Manual.. Written by the KLF, subtitled.. THE JUSTIFIED ANCIENTS OF MU MU REVEAL THEIR ZENARCHISTIC METHOD USED IN MAKING THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPEN.. which details the KLF s no-nonsense mechanistic guide to making a number one hit single (involves almost no money, just follow.. The Rules.. Bit of an.. odd document.. , well worth a read.. 659 s..

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  • Title: BuildBrighton | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 15 March 2011 - 20:51.. MakerFaire 2011.. This weekend Emily and I visited.. MakerFaire UK.. 2011 in Newcastle.. What fun! You need a MakerFaire to see such a wide (and crazy) collection of electronic and mechanical hackery along with soldering tables that anyone (kids too) can interact with.. We went up representing.. (our local Hacker Space) and to do some research for the upcoming Brighton MakerFaires.. We took up our.. Social Microprinter.. to print #mfuk tweets along with the face-tracking.. Headroid.. and a bunch of Emily s past robots.. Sadly Headroid blew a servo (cunningly worked around with some StarBucks cardboard and a 9v battery) but soldiered on with the remaining servo.. Here s MakerFaire in 30 seconds:.. There were several Tesla Coils playing music, later they were hacked by the London Hackerspace with a Kinect so kids could do Evil Genius poses with lightning coming up behind them (thanks Russ for the photo):.. Here s the London Hackerspace crew s Evil Genius Simulator video:.. It was interesting to see so many 3D printers I counted 4 designs over 7 tables (the repeated ones being RepRaps and MakerBots).. Overall the quality of the printed results wasn t brilliant but it begins to look interesting.. I had an interesting chat with Jean Marc of.. eMakerShop.. about his previewed printer, it seems that tolerances and the analogue nature of extruded plastic will pose interesting quality challenges in the coming years.. Jean Marc believes that basic printers could be assembled for just a few hundred  ...   of the top and begin their descent again:.. Nick Sayers of Brighton was there with his.. estate agent sign art.. , inside the igloo was rather warm but everyone seemed to enjoy clambering around it.. I loved the 3D lunar lander simulator (see it in the MakerFaire in 30 seconds video above) it is a full sized cabinet with a lunar lander on strings, you control its descent and motion and have to try to land it softly.. The queue was so huge I didn t get to try it!.. Lots of other HackerSpaces from the UK were present and I got to (finally) meet Jonty, Russ and others of the London Hackerspace (hi guys!).. They led the evening drinking expeditions with involved far to much of the local brew.. Andrew Sleigh.. has a longer write-up with lots of links if you want another view on the event.. If you need them there are lots.. I definitely recommend the event traveling up from London by plane and getting a last minute hotel cost under £300 (a bit pricey we ll book in advance next time) and the experience and beery networking was great.. Down here in Brighton we re hoping to run a small MakerFaire later this year and a larger one is planned for next year.. There s no central point of contact yet but I d suggest keeping an eye on the.. BuildBrighton blog.. for future details.. I posted.. thoughts on the event.. into BuildBrighton s mailing list.. 631 s..

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  • Title: Business Idea | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 25 November 2012 - 19:50.. StartupChile (Round 2.. 1) all finished, thoughts.. The odd thing is that I ve been trying to write this post for 3 months.. Having started and stopped several times (including during the flight back from Chile on Oct 15th) I figure I ought to put something out.. The journey was, it turns out, somewhat of a roller-coaster ride.. Early in January Kyran Dale and I flew to Santiago for Round 2.. 1 of.. to build.. , a cloud-based computer vision API.. Emily.. (my fiancée) also won funding and came out to build.. TinyEars.. Sadly StrongSteam didn t make it (my co-founder and I went in different directions, it was easier to end the project).. The goal of the StartupChile project is to bring working entrepreneurs in from around the world to teach Chileans how to build start-ups.. Teaching includes running events, building partnerships, explaining lessons-learnt in prior experiences and explaining that failure/experimentation is a part of the process.. In return we stay for 6 months, get a $40k reimbursement package (90% of our expenses up to $40k USD are reimbursed via a slightly torturous bureaucratic process) and are free to leave at the end.. We never have to register our business our there, give up shares or pay tax on foreign earnings.. During the last 8 months I:.. ran a pair of.. Python programming courses.. (material open-sourced).. started private.. self-mentorship groups.. (now an official part of the StartupChile programme).. built a novel.. AI backend.. with Kyran for using Optical Character Recognition to replace the need for QR codes (which is now.. OpenPlants.. won.. best choice for investment.. on the Jason Calacanis show This Week in Startups (ha!).. played with Kinects and Python for.. rock-sizing.. with computer vision for the Chilean mining industry.. organised some.. data.. meetups.. spoke on.. agile lessons-learnt.. presented to VCs and Angel groups (and got offered $500k investment lumps in both San Francisco and Chile).. received acquisition offers from companies in San Francisco and Chile.. presented at conferences like.. and got mentions in places like the.. BBC.. wrote up.. demo day meets.. finished the programme by moving with Emily to San Francisco for 2 months to continue our networking.. The main upsides of the programme are:.. time to build your idea without the need to work/consult to pay the bills (your living expenses are covered).. lovely group of proactive people to meet from both around the world and locally.. supportive (if overworked) staff members who do their best to help.. lovely people in Chile in general (warm, friendly, interested, those building companies are particularly open and friendly).. increasing recognition in the investment/startup community which opens doors (e.. The Economist.. and others covered it recently) a few months ago StartupChile held its first Demo Day in San Francisco to ease fund-raising.. easy access to North America if you re coming in from outside the US (I used it as a springboard in our final two months to head to San Francisco to continue the networking).. you re encouraged to travel within Chile to teach other groups, you also have easy access to places like Argentina and Uruguay if you fancy traveling (we certainly did) and can justify it as work-related.. other related spaces like the.. Santiago Hackerspace.. and new co-work venues are popping up.. The main goal of the programme definitely seems to be working for the Chileans.. In our time in Chile we saw many Chileans step forwards with either young working companies or ideas (some high-tech, many not), who then got on with building, partnering and growing their businesses.. The company registration process is being massively simplified, failure is becoming more acceptable (generally it is.. not.. socially acceptable to fail much the case in the UK only 20 years ago and thankfully that attitude is changing in Chile).. More Chileans are traveling around the world, more doors are being opened in cities like San Francisco and more money, connections and opportunities are flowing back into Chile.. Being part of a government s experiment to change their citizens attitude to risk (and seeing it work) has been a very rewarding experience.. On a personal level I ve also made some lovely contacts people I d work with who I consider friends who I d never have met otherwise.. I suspect that the StartupChile Mafia (ex-StartupChile folk) will open doors for all of us in the programme in the future too.. I ve met a few ex-StartupChile folk here in London (one by accident in the pub last week hi.. Michael.. !) and I m wondering if we can run a Mafia meetup before Christmas.. There are several downsides to Chile which should be considered by future applicants:.. there s a reason we re.. paid.. to be entrepreneurs in Chile the ecosystem is lacking certain things and maybe you d not setup shop there otherwise.. Make sure your eyes are open to the very young/conservative investment scene, the small tech community and the conservative nature of businesses (bureaucracy and caution- long time to get things done).. things that worked elsewhere in the world a few years ago will probably be successful now in Chile (e.. people building online food services and education sites were doing well, persons trying to offer novel AI/data applications and things requiring iPads had a, well, harder time of it) so don t assume your cutting edge idea from California will move quickly in Chile.. the air in winter is.. polluted and horrid.. (bad news if e.. you have asthma) but lovely in summer.. the programme s goals are focused on making Chile successful (and not you, per se, but that s a nice side-effect for StartupChile if it occurs).. most people only speak the Chilean-variant of Spanish called.. Chileno.. (StartupChile participants and staff all speak some level of English) this can make buying things in the street a bit of a challenge try to learn some Spanish before you come.. there was little explanation about the interests needs of companies within Chile for example it took me months to learn just how large and hungry the mining industry is for innovative solutions (and it is a rich industry).. I spoke with.. Mitch Altman.. (a founder of the San Franciscan hackerspace Noisebridge) recently and, paraphrased, he pointed out that in most places in the world (he travels a lot to promote hackerspaces) if you open the door to encourage experiments, accept failure and encourage small business and knowledge sharing then It Just Tends To Happen.. I suspect that this model can be applied around the world, without big Government funding, and I expect to see many more countries try this bottom-up approach of bringing entrepreneurs in (rather than building expensive innovation clusters that rarely seem to perform).. There are other positive and negative write-ups about the programme including.. s,.. Liis Peetermanns.. another.. Nathan Lustig.. Maptia.. (lovely British team!).. My posts here are under the.. startup-chile tag.. If you re interested in building your business in South America then this is the go-to programme.. If you need 6 months time in an interesting country with an increasing investor scene, this is not a bad choice.. If you want mentorship and hands-on help or you want to deal with the large corporates that you might find in London, New York or Frankfurt then Chile hasn t proven itself here yet (though it may, given time).. What s impressed me most about the programme is the way it keeps on improving keep an eye on it, definitely consider it! Seek a wide set of opinions if you want to apply, lots of people experience the programme differently.. Emily and I have discussed what we d like to see in future StartupChile-like programmes (I suspect we ll see more, with further innovation, as Governments wake up to the positive change that can occur):.. invite academics and industrialists to a country to work on a specific problem for a fixed time period without heavy-handed IP controls but funded like StartupChile this could be a wonderful way to foster innovation and collaboration and to build new IP that could be exploited (perhaps with a share in the IP being owned by all in these projects).. setup targets for sector improvement in a country e.. in Chile perhaps choose to make mining more energy efficient then invite companies to come with industrial doors opened and primed for collaboration (so many StartupChile companies could have formed local partnerships if only doors had been opened so the incumbents knew we were coming!).. list the problems that entrepreneurs could solve and make it public actively seek entrepreneurs to visit to try to fix things (e.. in Chile the winter pollution must be fixable, education is super-expensive [which led to.. student protests.. ] and surely can be improved, the mining industry suffers from growing energy and mine-discovery costs).. encourage an alumni group so past members can easily help future members (something that s been long discussed in StartupChile but seems to be low on the agenda).. work harder to jump language cultural barriers in Chile we were told everyone on the programme would speak English but the locals notably didn t so the very people we were trying to help were hard to communicate with add language cultural lessons to a programme to ease the transition for both sides.. As of now I m back to my.. AI consulting.. for natural language processing (working with the lovely team at.. in Shoreditch), tinkering on the side with industrial needs learned via StrongSteam in.. If you re ex-StartupChile and you d be interested in meeting in London, drop me a line.. 22 November 2009 - 13:30.. How I m writing The Screencasting Handbook.. Many people have asked why I m writing a book without a publisher.. The story has interested a bunch of people so I ll outline the basics here.. : there s a.. related article.. by Marc-André Cournoyer covering how he wrote his.. Create your own programming language.. eBook.. I started writing.. in the middle of this year (about 5 months back).. My primary motivation was to write a useful Handbook that teaches my 4 years of skills to new screencasters.. My main goals were to:.. Release early, release often.. so I can iterate based on the needs of my readers rather than the needs I d guess that they have (based on some support at the.. Business of Software forum.. Get the written parts out as soon as possible I didn t want drafts kicking around for a year before a publisher released them to the readers, I wanted the chapters out in the hands of readers as soon as possible.. Build a community (.. Google Group.. ) around the.. Handbook.. so my readers can ask and answer questions without me acting as a bottleneck.. To achieve this I needed to create a site and determine if there was demand for the topic.. I had a WordPress theme created which signs potential readers up to an.. AWeber.. mailing list (costing $20USD/month) and I setup a.. I then put the word out to screencasters, mostly through.. and by writing some useful blog posts that were picked up by screencasting companies.. At the same time I.. wrote a proposed.. Table of Contents (August) and.. released a survey.. via SurveyMonkey (free account).. I released this into the Google Group and asked for feedback.. I.. iterated.. a few.. times.. (September) based on feedback until everyone figured that I would cover the most beneficial topics.. At this point I added the Table of Contents as a PDF to the Handbook s homepage.. By now I had 50 or so people signed up to the list between the silent sign-ups and the active users in the Google Group I knew that the book would be in demand.. The survey detailed all the areas that caused problems for screencasters so I could be sure that by answering those questions, others would want the Handbook.. Pricing and releasing.. At this point I cracked on with writing the Handbook.. I quickly went from 1,000 words to 10,300 and in October I announced that a.. new release.. was being prepared for sale.. I announced that the target price of the finished book would be $39USD and that early-bird purchasers could get it for $26USD (a 1/3 discount).. I also offer an unconditional refund at any time.. The payment gateway is PayPal and the front-end is.. e-junkie.. , they take payment and offer downloads for just $5/month.. Integrating the e-junkie basket into WordPress involves copying over a few lines of javascript, it is all very simple.. At the start of November I.. released version 4.. into the Google Group and announced it on the mailing list, this was quickly followed by a.. 5th release.. which added a new chapter.. I m also about to decrease the discount by $1 taking the price up to $27USD.. After purchase everyone gets invited onto a second emailing list for Handbook Updates (and they re removed from the first mailing list).. The second list is used to mail out links to updated versions of the PDF.. I also mail out a second survey about a week after purchase to ask the reader if they found the book useful and to ask what else I need to cover soon.. The feedback from the surveys and the Google Group is invaluable.. Figures so far in several months with only a little effort at publicity I signed up over 200 users to the mailing list.. Just over 10% of those became buyers in the first week of releasing version 4 (given that the book is only about 1/6th written I m pretty happy with this).. Next week I ll be writing a couple of extra chapters and then I ll be increasing my publicity.. I m releasing my beginner screencasts on the.. Handbook s blog.. for free, this will help prove the quality of the Handbook and it will bring in more visitors.. Print on demand?.. Once I reach edition 1 I imagine I ll release a print-on-demand version via.. lulu.. Several readers have already asked for a printed copy rather than a PDF.. edition 1 is a way off yet probably early next year some time.. Tools.. I m writing the Handbook with Google Docs, I can edit it from home or whilst sitting in.. Cafe Delice.. To publish a new version I download a PDF.. use Apple s Preview.. to open the PDF and then print to PDF a shorter version  ...   Jane s site includes a page describing her approach and it contains.. statistics.. on the prices currently being paid by purchasers.. This comment.. on the RadioHead thread at Slashdot covers several related examples of set-your-own-price music sales.. Matt Weston sent me a pointer to Jason Kottke s.. kottke.. org.. during 2005 he ran a.. fund drive.. asking his readers (as micropatrons ) to support his salary so he could work on the blog full-time.. As far as I m concerned his blog is a digital good for the sakes of this entry.. He reports on.. day 2.. and got some media.. coverage.. and raised just enough money to pay 1/2 his normal salary for a year.. After 2 months he gave an.. informative report.. on the results of the funding drive:.. And finally, the answer to the $64,000 question: is this a sustainable business model for independent media on the Web? The short answer is probably no, with a few caveats.. Along with a.. concluding report.. after a year:.. [2] Since everyone and their uncle has been asking, about 1450 micropatrons contributed $39,900 over the past year 99.. 9% of that coming during the 3 week fund drive.. Jason s case is the only micropatron experiment that I know of (thanks for the reminder Matt) anyone know of others?.. A feedback mechanism is important, in ShowMeDo we could easily show what a user paid (and donated) and a user s profile would presumably state if they were a penniless student or the MD of a tech company.. Giving people a chance to be honest, pay what they want, and be a responsible member of a community feels like a very sensible thing to consider.. Are there more examples of setting your own price for a digital good that I ve not covered here?.. 29 September 2007 - 12:21.. Becoming a Freelance Programmer (Part 3).. Most people are helpful and supportive of freelancers.. They know that freelancers survive by being good, trustworthy and helpful and so they try to help.. Do remember to tell people that you are freelancing, what you do and what you re looking for.. Don t bore them, just let them know what you need and they re bound to bear you in mind when they meet other people.. Always let people know if you re about to be available, you don t want unplanned downtime.. Articles:.. Successful Freelancing.. , Talking to People, Making a Sales Call, Books and Resources.. Meeting People at Events.. There are plenty of events you can go to as a freelancer to meet potential clients and freelancers.. Here in Brighton we have a great set of.. local geek events.. [Sussex Digital - thanks Dave Josh!].. OpenCoffees.. are a great and relaxed way to meet local small companies (I m co-founder of.. Look out for Geek Dinners and Girl Geek Dinners (boys need a girl to invite them).. Here we have the.. Sussex Geek Dinners.. Brighton Girl Geek Dinners.. Each are free to attend and great places to network.. We also have.. Vine Brighton.. , your area is bound to have similar events.. Brighton hosts the.. £5 Apps.. meet (I m a co-founder) a meetup for those that are interested in start-ups and can-do techy types.. Someone presents and idea or company they founded, everyone asks questions, beer is consumed, people network.. See past.. write-ups.. of our last six £5 Apps meetings.. Make Yourself Known by Organising Events.. A great way to get known in a local scene is to organise events.. You can offer to help run existing events but if there s something missing and you want to see it happen organise it!.. I wanted a venue to discuss entrepreneurship, my friend.. wanted a geek event to discuss projects, we created the.. as a result.. After 6 months we now have a successful event, beer is funded by local companies and we have 20-30 attendees every month.. We d love to hear about other £5 App events elsewhere in the country drop us a line if you want to run one!.. Similarly, with another Jon (.. ) we wanted a relaxed coffee morning for local tech companies so we organised.. at the.. We ve had 7 great meetings now, bi-weekly, they re also now funded allowing free coffee, each is attended by 12-20 local companies.. Organising events takes a few hours a month and is a great way to get yourself known.. In part I wanted the £5 Apps as I m a bit overwhelmed by public speaking running an event is a good way to get essential practice at speaking in public.. I also felt that Brighton lacked a mailing list for tech companies to talk business.. Along with.. Ivan Pope.. we organised the.. Brighton Digital.. mail-list.. The list is small and building a list always takes time, it grows every week and over time it will become a useful local resource.. We ve already had some conversations between local companies discussing local resources and swapping ideas.. What s the value of these events?.. As ever you have to offer value to other people when you organise things.. Your own events and mail-lists aren t a mouthpiece for shouting about your own company, they re just a useful way of establishing your credibility whilst providing a useful feature to others.. Figure out what is missing in your local scene and build an event around that.. Find a partner who wants to share the workload, make sure there is interest and then just do it.. It ll take a few events to gather steam, don t be put off most people will only pay attention when something is more established.. If you re building a new geek event then feel very welcome to post a comment here.. We d especially like to see the £5 Apps syndicated elsewhere.. 27 September 2007 - 11:26.. Becoming a Freelance Programmer (Part 2).. Turning yourself into a freelancer is easy you probably want a Ltd.. company (see.. Part 1.. ) and you need to know what you are offering, where you are offering it (probably local places that you can travel to) and who you are offering it to.. , Successful Freelancing,.. Talking to People.. , Making a Sales Call, Books and Resources.. Becoming a.. successful.. freelance programmer is harder you need a constant supply of interesting work which pays well.. You also want clients who will recommend you to others as this simplifies the job of finding new work.. You need interesting work else you will get bored.. You need well-paying work as you have to cover yourself for holidays, sickness, down-time when you search for new work, accountancy fees and tax.. A simple rule of thumb is that you ll pay 1/3 of your overall salary to income tax, corporation tax and National Insurance.. Finding new Work.. You ll spend a lot of time finding new work.. Sometimes you can start straight away, sometimes you have to arrange a start date up to a month in advance.. You don t want to be free-wheeling without work so you re probably going to be working for 1 client and searching for new work at the same time.. Searching for new work normally means sending emails, knocking on nearby doors (ideally in places like an.. Innovation Centre.. with lots of close and related companies) and talking to friends in the industry.. Remember if you run out of work then you have to work hard, without getting paid, to find new work.. This is an easy way to run out of your savings and get in a panic.. This is not nice, it will happen to you, you will work darn hard at solving the problem and you ll get out of the mess and learn from it (I did, several times).. Try to avoid it though, it really saps your energy and makes life crappy for a while.. Being a good freelancer.. I m going to assume that you re an honest and reliable person.. Your friends can recommend you in a heart-beat, you can honestly say what you are good (and bad) at and you can advise a potential client if you can help them or not.. Be honest and helpful, always recommend other people who might be useful.. Help the potential client to understand what needs solving (often they need an outsider to help clarify things), offer to do some free work with them for an hour or two to help get to the root of any problems.. Give them confidence that they can trust you to solve their problem.. Don t be an idiot, never avoid communication, make everything clear (including costs and hours that you ll work) and clarify what needs delivering and required timescales in writing (e.. an email or printed document).. Life is easier if both parties agree on what need s doing, why it needs doing and how long it should take and cost.. Showing up.. Woody Allen (probably).. said.. Eighty percent of success is showing up.. It surprises me how many people avoid contacting a possible client due to their own fears they literally talk themselves out of a possible contract.. Remember that if you have skills and you potential client might need those skills, they need to get those skills from somewhere! Don t ignore that client, instead go talk to them.. Analyse their problem, you can always advise them that the problem is outside of your skill set (bonus points if you can point them at a more skilled associate).. I ve found a lot of consulting work comes because I:.. Talk to someone briefly about what they re doing.. Talk some more, helping them understand the problems they ve expressed and if/how you could help.. Offer.. to solve their problem.. Lesson.. talk to many people frequently, ask them what problems they have, try to help solve the problems.. If you know people you can recommend then spread the love and help your associates what goes around does tend to come around in your favour.. Here s another article on.. successful consulting.. 26 September 2007 - 13:04.. Becoming a Freelance Programmer (Part 1).. Three years ago I dropped out of being a paid-employee and switched to being a consultant.. I ve had a number of people ask about my experiences as they re interested in following a similar route.. I m going to write a short set of posts on the subject and I welcome questions.. Articles: Introduction,.. First I should set the scene.. Why did I quit my job?.. For five years I worked at the.. developing.. software.. for big industry.. Our company sat outside of the dot-com boom and bust, none of our products were associated with the web.. I was well-placed in the UK office as Senior Programmer and I ran projects between the UK and French offices, met clients and planned the technical future of our operations.. Life was fun.. I had however always wanted to be my own boss.. During the last year of my employment the company changed direction and the UK office was bought-out by my direct boss the new focus wasn t so much fun for me.. The company had a tricky time figuring out who it serviced and what it offered and after a year I chose to resign and start my own consultancy.. The move was somewhat risky as I had no prior experience at being a contractor, no track record for agencies and no private client list for consulting work.. I took out a £7,000 loan enough to cover several months worth of mortgage payments, and resigned.. I had no savings as I d just bought my first property.. you need several months worth of living expenses if you re going to switch to selling your skills.. You either want money put aside or a loan which you ll need to repay.. I opted for a 7 year repayment term to give myself plenty of room (I repaid the loan inside of 2 years).. Freelancing as a Consultant A.. Researcher.. I founded.. in 2004 as a 1-man company.. I needed a.. limited company.. as some of my consultancy clients would only want to bill to a Ltd.. company rather than a sole-tradership.. Founding the company cost £250 via an accountant, for note my yearly accountancy fees are roughly £500 (paid after year-end accounts are completed).. My accountant (.. Bristow Still.. ) made the process super-simple, I had no prior experience in founding a company yet the process was painless and completed in a few weeks with just a few things to sign.. Having an account in the same town as you is convenient visiting them to ask questions and sign forms makes life easy.. Spreading your Name (Marketing!).. The hardest things I found were the fact that nobody knew that I was:.. Available.. Skilled in certain niches (programming, artificial intelligence, leadership).. The solution was to talk to all of my friends and past associates and let them know about my change in status, my new availability and what I d be interested in doing.. Each email was hand-crafted, targeted towards their business (for past associates) and personal.. Never spam your friends.. The response was very helpful and quickly I was offered various pieces of generic contract programming work, often for short term jobs (1-2 months each), all local to Brighton.. is a great example of a useful hub 70 tech companies, all small, most hungry for extra resources.. You can visit lots of related companies and obtain friendly referrals with a minimum of effort maximising your ability to search for new work.. Spreading your name and skills around is.. likely to be the most important thing that you do.. whilst you get established (which could take a year).. It is also the most time-costly I spent 2 months spreading word around before interesting A.. -related things came my way.. At first I had to be liberal in what I accepted anything coding related that paid the bills was useful.. Quickly I worked to accept only A.. -related work as that would help to build my reputation, from there I never looked back.. Right now I m going through a similar exercise with my second start-up and our new.. professional screencasting arm.. , a new part of business inside.. What do you want to know?.. If you ve read this far then you probably have specific questions in mind.. Do leave me a comment, I m interested in answering questions.. 698 s..

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  • Title: Data science | Entrepreneurial Geekiness
    Descriptive info: 1 November 2013 - 12:10.. Introducing Python for Data Science talk at SkillsMatter.. On Wednesday Bart and I spoke at SkillsMatter to 75 Pythonistas with an.. Introduction to Data Science using Python.. A video of the 4 talks is.. now online.. We covered:.. (profiling, line_profiler, memory_profiler, Cython, Numba).. Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning (scikit-learn for brand detection) based on my.. longer talk at PyConUK.. a couple of months back.. Solving the Titanic Kaggle competition using an IPython Notebook (with scikit-learn and Pandas) [IPython notebook to follow] use this.. github project.. to get started.. Solving the Future Cities Parking Data Hackathon (Bart Baddeley).. nbviewer for the Notebook and Pandas.. (based off our.. earlier write-up.. Since the group is more of a general programming community we wanted to talk at a high level on the various ways that Python can be used for data science, it was lovely to have such a large turn-out and the following pub conversation was much fun.. 16 Comments.. 7 October 2013 - 17:10.. Future Cities Hackathon (@ds_ldn) Oct 2013 on Parking Usage Inefficiencies.. On Saturday six of us attended the.. Future Cities Hackathon.. organised by Carlos and DataScienceLondon (.. @ds_ldn.. I counted about 100 people in the audience (see.. lots of photos.. , original.. meetup thread.. ), from asking around there seemed to be a very diverse skill set (Python and R as expected, lots of Java/C, Excel and other tools).. There were several newly-released data sets to choose from.. We spoke with Len Anderson of.. SocITM.. who works with Local Government, he suggested that the parking datasets for Westminster Ward might be interesting as results with an economic outcome might actually do something useful for Government Policy.. This seemed like a sensible reason to tackle the data.. Other data sets included flow-of-people and ASBO/dog-mess/graffiti recordings.. Overall we won honourable mention for proposing the idea that the data supported a method of changing parking behaviour.. whilst.. introducing the idea of a dynamic pricing model so that parking spaces might be better utilised and used to generate increased revenue for the council.. I suspect that there are more opportunities for improving the efficiency of static systems as the government opens more data here in the UK.. Sidenote previously I ve thought about the replacement of.. delivery drivers with self-driving cars.. other outcomes of self-driving vehicles.. , the efficiencies discussed here connect with those ideas.. With the parking datasets we have over 4 million lines of cashless parking-meter payments for 2012-13 in.. Westminster.. to analyse, tagged with duration (you buy a ticket at a certain time for fixed periods of time like 30 minutes, 2 hours etc) and a latitude/longitude for location.. We also had a smaller dataset with parking offence tickets (with date/time and location but only street name, not latitude/longitude) and a third set with readings from the small number of.. parking sensors.. in Westminster.. Ultimately we produced a geographic plot of over 1000 parking bays, coloured by average percentage occupancy in Westminster.. The motivation was to show that some bays are well used (i.. often have a car parked in them) whilst other areas are under-utilised and could take a higher load (darker means.. better utilised.. At first we thought we d identified a striking result.. After a few more minutes hacking (around 9.. 30pm on the Saturday) we pulled out the variance in pricing per bay and noted that this was actually quite varied and confusing, so a visitor to the area would have a hard time figuring out which bays were likely to be both under-utilised.. cheap (darker means.. more expensive.. If we d have had more time we d have checked to see which bays were likely to be under-utilised and cheap and ranked the best bays in various areas.. One can imagine turning this into a smartphone app to help visitors and locals find available parking.. The video below shows the cost and availability of parking over the course of the day.. Opacity (how see-through it is) represents the expense darker means more expensive (so you want to find very-see-through areas).. Size represents the number of free spaces, bigger means more free space, smaller (i.. during the working day) shows that there are few free spaces:.. Behind this model we captured the minute-by-minute stream of ticket purchases by lat/lng to model the occupancy of bays, the data also records the number of bays that can be maximally used (but the payment machines don t know.. how many.. are in use we had to model this).. Using Pandas we modelled usage over time (+1 for each ticket purchase and -1 for each expiry), the red line shows the maximum number of bays that are available, the sections over the line suggest that people aren t parking for their full allocation (e.. you might buy an hour s ticket but only stay for 20 minutes, then someone else buys a ticket and uses the same bay):.. We extended the above model for one Tuesday over all the 1000+ plus parking bays in Westminster.. Additionally this analysis by shows the times and days when parking tickets are most likely to be issued.. The 1am and 3am results were odd, Sunday (day 6) is clearly the quietest, weekdays at 9am are obviously the worst:.. Conclusion:.. We believe that the carrot and stick approach to parking management (showing where to park and noting that you ll likely get fined if you don t do it properly) should increase the correct utilisation of parking bays in Westminster which would help to reduce congestion and decrease driver-frustration, whilst increasing income for the local council.. at least one parking area in New Zealand are experimenting with.. truly dynamic demand-based pricing.. We also believe the data could be used by Traffic Wardens to better patrol the high-risk areas to deter poor parking (e.. double-parking) which can be a traffic hazard (e.. by obstructing a road for larger vehicles like Fire Engines).. The static dataset we used could certainly be processed for use in a smartphone app for easy use, and updated as new data sets are released.. Our code is available in this github repo:.. ParkingWestminster.. Here s our presentation:.. Team:.. Amit Nandi.. Dominic Steinitz.. Dominic s write-up.. Jackie Steinitz.. (me!).. Mateusz Łapsa-Malawski.. Tools used:.. IPython.. Pandas.. QGIS.. (visualisation of.. shapefiles.. backed by.. OpenLayers.. maps from Google and OSM).. pyshp.. to handle shapefiles.. Excel (quick analysis of dates and times, quick visualisation of lat/lng co-ords).. HackPad.. (useful for lightweight note/URL sharing and code snippet collaboration).. Some reflections for future hackathons:.. Pre-cleaning of data would speed team productivity (we all hacked various approaches to fixing the odd Date and separate Time fields in the CSV data and I suspect many in the room all solved this same problem over the first hour or two we should have flagged this issue early on and a couple of us solved it and written out a new 1.. 4GB fixed CSV file for all to share).. Decide early on on a goal for us it was work to show that a dynamic pricing model is feasible that lets you frame and answer early questions (quite possibly an hour in we d have discovered that the data didn t support our hypothesis thankfully it did!).. Always visualise quickly whilst I wrote a new shapefile to represent the lat/lng data Bart just loaded it into Excel and did a scatter plot super quick and easy (and shortly after I added the Map layer via QGIS so we could line up street names and validate we had sane data).. Check for outliers and odd data we discovered lots of NaN lines (easily caught and either deleted or  ...   food-identifier classifier for photos that actually works?).. We rarely see any augmentations for video.. For audio we have song identification and speech recognition, I don t recall coming across dog-bark/aeroplane/giggling classifiers (which you might find in YouTube videos).. Graph network analysis tools are at an interesting stage, we re only just.. witnessing.. them scale to large data amounts of data on commodity PCs and tieing this data to social networks or geographic networks still feels like the domain of commercial tools.. Understanding the trends and communicating them combining different views on the data to understand what s really occurring is hard, it still seems to involve a fair bit of art and experience.. Visualisations seems to take us a long way to intuitively understanding what s happening.. I ve started to play with a few for.. tweets.. social graphs.. and email (unpublished as yet).. Visualising many dimensions in 2 or 3D plots is rather tricky, doubly so when your data set contains millions of points.. Predicting the future in ecommerce this would be the pinacle understanding the underlying trends well enough to be able to predict future outcomes from hypothesised actions.. Here we need mathematical models that are strong enough to stand up to some rigorous testing (financial prediction is obviously an example, another would be inventory planning).. This requires serious model building and thought and is solidly the realm of the statistician.. Currently we just talk about data science and often we should be specifying more clearing which sub-domain we re involved with.. Personally I sit.. somewhere.. in the middle of this stack, with a goal to move towards the statistical end.. I m not sure one how to define the names for these layers, I d welcome insight.. This is probably too simple a way of thinking about the field if you have thoughts I d be most happy to receive them.. 13 January 2013 - 20:10.. Map/Reduce (Disco) on millions of tweets.. Whilst working on.. data sciencey.. problems for.. I m becoming more involved in simple visualisations for proof-of-concepts for clients.. This ties in nicely with my PyCon.. Parallel Computing.. tutorial with Minesh.. I ve been prototyping a Disco map/reduce tutorial (part 2 for PyCon) using tweets collected during the life of.. during 2011-2012.. Using 11,645,331 tweets on 1 machine running through.. Disco.. with a modified word_count example it is easy to filter to keep tweets with a certain word ( loving in this case) and to plot a.. word cloud.. (thanks Andreas!) of the remaining tweets:.. Words in loving tweets.. Tweet analysis often shows a self-referential nature here we see i m as one of the most popular words.. It is nice to see :) making an appearance.. Brands mentioned include Google , iPhone , iPad.. We also see thanks , love , nice and watching along with London and music.. Annoyingly I m not cleaning the words so we see it! , it.. , (via (with erroneous brackets) and the like which clutter the results a bit.. Next I ve applied hating as the filter to the same set:.. Words in hating tweets.. One of the most mentioned words is people which is a bit of a shame, along with i m.. Thankfully we see some love and loving there.. apple appears more frequently than twitter or google.. Lots of related negative words also appear e.. stupid , hate , shit , fuck , bitch.. Interestingly few of the terms shown include Twitter users or hashtags.. Finally I tried the same using apple on an earlier smaller set (859,157 tweets):.. Words in apple tweets.. Unsurprisingly we see store , iphone , ipad steve.. Hashtags include #wwdc , #apple and #ipad.. The Twitter accounts shown are errors due to string-matching on apple except for.. @techcrunch.. I find it interesting to see competitor brands being mentioned in the same tweets (e.. google , microsoft , android , samsung , amazon , nokia ), although the firms are obviously related to apple.. An improvement would be to remove words from the chart that match the original pattern (hence removing words like apple and #apple but keeping everything else).. Removing near-duplicate terms (e.. apple , apples , apple ) and performing common string clean-ups (removing punctuation) which also help.. It would also be good to change the colour channels perhaps using red for commonly-negative words and green for commonly-positive words, with the rest in a neutral colour.. Maybe we could also colour the neutral words differently if they re commonly associated with the key word (e.. brands of the key word).. Getting started with Disco was easy enough.. The installation takes a few hours (the Disco project instructions assume a certain familiarity with networked systems), after that editing the examples is straightforward.. Visualising using Andreas code was very straight-forward.. The source will be posted around the time of my PyCon tutorial in March.. 13 December 2012 - 0:23.. Office social graph connectivity using NetworkX.. I wanted an excuse to play with the Python.. NetworkX.. graph visualisation library and recently I joined.. to consult on some data science visualisation problems.. Thus formed the question how were we all connected together? I figured that looking at who follows us all will yield a little insight into the people we have in common.. I m particularly interested in this question seeing as I was living in Brighton, then.. lived in Chile.. for most of the year and have only recently moved to London my social graph is likely to be disjointed to the graph of the existing London-based team.. Below I show the follower graph with my new colleagues at the top (.. Kat.. Mark.. , Steve),.. myself.. in the middle and my collaborator.. Balthazar.. at the bottom:.. I chose to visualise followers rather than who-we-follow as I cared about the graph of who-pays-(some)-attention-to-us.. I figure this is a good surrogate for people who might actually know us, suggesting a good chance that we have friends and colleagues in common.. Balthazar worked in France with me in StrongSteam (whilst I was in Chile), he s followed by almost nobody from my usual network.. and I are a couple, we re followed by a lot of the same people.. Our friend Jon lives in Brighton and runs the central.. co-working environment.. (where we were for 10 years), he is followed by many of the people who follow us.. The top of the graph shows that my colleagues are followed by only a few people who follow others in the company (so we all have different social networks), with the exception of boss-James who shares a set of followers with my Jon and myself (I guess because we re all outspoken in the UK tech scene).. In the above graph I deliberately reduced the number of nodes drawn if they were only connected to one person in the network.. Seeing as a few of us have over a thousand followers the graph got too busy too quickly.. Below is a subsampled version of the early network with no limit on the number of one-edge-only nodes:.. The subsampled network looks nicely organic, like living cells.. The code is on github as.. twitter-social-graph-networkx.. , it includes some patches that have just been added back to the.. python-twitter.. module to enable whole-graph downloading.. You can use this code to download the follower graph for your own network, then plot it using NetworkX (it is configured to use GraphViz as the plots are faster, you can use pure NetworkX if you don t have GraphViz).. The git project has pickles of my social network so if you satisfy the dependencies, you should be good to plot straight away.. 683 s..

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