Big seeds and viral marketing

Having a product or campaign go viral is no small feat. As someone who has made a number of software tools that no one else on Earth has used (whether I've published the code to the world or not!), I can promise you that non-virality is a common state for a product to be in.

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Batch Convert Keynote to PDF

So I use Macs (you probably noticed, right? It has unix but it can still connect to any random projector and still work so it's a winner in academia) and that leads me to using some nonstandard software every now and then that's OS X only. Keynote is one of those programs. Powerpoint drives me crazy, so I've been driven into its user-friendly, unshareable arms.

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Follow me on the Reading Rainbow

Over the summer I've been able to successfully chisel away at my goal of reading 20 books by 16 different authors in 2015, with my two weeks of travel to and around Spain providing me ample time to dive into my iPad and digest. For this tour, I went back in time and read Nicholas Christakis' Connected, which actually provided me with some insight on researchers and topics that I thought I already knew pretty well. In terms of an overview of how networks affect social phenomena, I would highly recommend it. I also plowed through Nate Silver's The Signal and The Noise, because I'm convinced that being acquainted with Nate Silver's work is the litmus test in the public for understanding data science. It was pretty good, although some of his metaphors were clunky and only really stuck with me because of reading fivethirtyeight (his own data science news blog) since its inception.

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I made a Wordpress site on Heroku!

Well, not for me of course. After a solid week of my girlfriend helping me to use Illustrator it was time to pay her back and help her get a website up and running. I went over the options that I knew (Nikola, Django, Node.js, Ruby on Rails) and it became quickly apparent that none of those were options that she liked. Instead she wanted to take a wordpress site that she made in a class and add some more to it/fix it up. The only logistical issue is that it's hard to find a wordpress host for free that allows you to use a custom domain (she's about to graduate from school so it's important that she have a real website name). For that privilege wordpress.org charges you $8/mon, which, while I may know nothing about Wordpress, I find to be crazy.

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Things keep a-changing

I guess my post on Django and MongoDB in 2015 was prophetic, because I just changed my website over last week. It seemed that everytime I wanted to post a blog it was from an IPython notebook, which either meant reconfiguring the site to display IPython notebooks and get the css right or keep on with the semi-arduous process of converting the notebook to html (writing out `pre` blocks and all that). At this point it made me feel like that barrier was keeping me from blogging. Since producing at least a blog per month is on my New Year's resolutions list I decided to change up the site to hopefully make it more conducive to me blogging.

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Computational research, no longer a red-headed stepchild!

Research Day as a chairperson and poster judge.I typically cringe at the thought of attending conferences and symposia, since I am mainly a homebody (I love my desk, computer, research, and daily schedule), but at the symposium on Tuesday I felt constantly excited and engaged. The variety and quality of research presented was excellent and the diverse topics covered kept the gears turning in my head.

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MongoDB is for researchers

Over the past three years I’ve been something of an evangelist for using MongoDB. This stance has drawn derision from some outside the lab, which frequently forces me to clarify in what circumstances I think MongoDB (or NoSQL in general) is so great. Unfortunately, I’ve been too lazy to put those thoughts into writing, so this is my long overdue explanation and the first in a series of posts describing how I use MongoDB daily.

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How does cooperation evolve?

I just finished reading Axelrod's The Complexity of Cooperation and I have to say, it's one of the better scientific books that I can remember reading (period). This is surprising (for me), since it's really just a collection of seven of his published papers along with some commentary. However, his papers are so well written and the commentary is brilliant, especially for someone pursuing research as a career, since it not only provides insight into the genesis of the work but also how it was regarded by journals.

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Do yourself a favor...

and listen to this wonderful collaboration. It's a new album coming out in February between Ghostface Killah (shame on you if you don't know) and BadBadNotGood (a jazz trio from Toronto). The beats and backing music on these tracks are just nothing but...sublime.