Mapping Trackball Buttons

For years, I’ve used a Logitech M570 wireless trackball with my Linux Mint PC. I generally prefer trackballs to mice — no need to lift and reposition after a bunch of movement — and I find that using my thumb, rather than my index finger (or, if I’m in a bad mood, my middle finger) …

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Mint Upgrade Problem Solved

I decided to upgrade first my laptop (the canary in the mine shaft), then my desktop (assuming the canary lived), from Linux Mint 17.3 (“Rebecca”) to 18.0 (“Sarah”). The “old school” approach would be to download the distribution to a CD/DVD, or create a bootable version on a USB stick, test it and then install …

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Some R Resources

(Should I have spelled the last word in the title “ResouRces” or “resouRces”? The R community has a bit of a fascination about capitalizing the letter “r” as often as possible.) Anyway, getting down to business, I thought I’d post links to a few resources related to the R statistical language/system/ecology that I think may …

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Using CLP with Java

The COIN-OR project provides a home to a number of open source software projects useful in operations research, primarily optimization programs and libraries. Possibly the most “senior” of these projects is CLP, a single-threaded linear program solver. Quoting the project description: CLP is a high quality open-source LP solver. Its main strengths are its Dual …

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Java “Deep Learning” Library

If you are a Java (or Scala) (or maybe Clojure?) programmer interested in analytics, and in particular machine learning, you should take a look at Deeplearning4j (DL4J). Quoting their web site: Deeplearning4j is the first commercial-grade, open-source, distributed deep-learning library written for Java and Scala. Integrated with Hadoop and Spark, DL4J is designed to be …

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Bot Angels in the Food World

There’s something serious to be said about robots and their persistent intrusion into the food world. But saying it requires a bit of set up, so don’t expect anything too serious in this week’s blog. We got off on robots years ago when any blogger was going to be beset by dozens of computer programs—bots, …

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SOLVED: Problem with Impressive

I’ve written before (here and here) about using the open-source Impressive program to display PDF presentations. It’s been quite a while since I used it, or any other presentation software for that matter — retired geezers don’t do a lot of presenting — but I’ll be helping the INFORMS Student Chapter at the University of …

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The rJava Nightmare

I like R. I like Java. I hate the rJava package, or more precisely I hate installing or updating it. Something (often multiple somethings) always goes wrong. I forget that for some reason I need to invoke root privileges when installing it. It needs a C++ library that I could swear I have, except I …

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The Reciprocal Normal Distribution

A recent question on OR-Exchange dealt with the reciprocal normal distribution. Specifically, if k is a constant and X is a Gaussian random variable, the distribution of Y=k/X is reciprocal normal. The poster had questions about approximating the distribution of Y with a Gaussian (normal) distribution. This gave me a reason (excuse?) to tackle something …

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Scheduling Instability

Fellow OR blogger Laura McLay recently wrote a post “in defense of model simplicity“, which is definitely worth the read. It contains a slew of links to related material. As I read it, though, my contrarian nature had me thinking “yes … as long as the model is not too simple”. A recent piece in …

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Mythbuntu: The Upgrade from Hell

I foolishly let Mythbuntu update to version 14.04 overnight a few days ago. The installer ran into problems (which I could not decipher) regarding updating the MythTV database. I let it upload two separate bug reports and did my best to soldier on. When the installation was finally over, the back end would not load, …

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Being a release manager for khmer

We just released khmer v1.1, a minor version update from khmer v1.0.1 (minor version update:220 commits, 370 files changed. Cancel that — _I_ just released khmer, because I’m the release manager for v1.1! As part of an effort to find holes in our documentation, “surface” any problematic assumptions we’re making, and generally increase the bus factor of the khmer project, …

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Storify: Simplified

Storify is a social media platform with the goal of telling stories or narratives through other social media posts. With a layout that’s a hybrid of Facebook and Pinterest, this platform is quickly gaining an audience with social media “storytellers”. Storify is probably most commonly used in articles to report on events that are heavily …

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Behance: A Creative Portfolio Site

“Take creative control,” says the About page on Behance.net. There is a disconnect between creative individuals and the employers that seek their talent. Part of the Adobe family, Behance is an innovative site utilized by creative professionals that aims to not only help construct their portfolios, but also to showcase their work for employers. When …

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10 Free Infographic Tools

Sometimes, it just isn’t feasible to create a graphic from scratch on Photoshop or InDesign. We simply don’t have enough hours in the day. That’s where easy-to-use infographic websites, such as Creative Bloq’s Ten Free Tools for Creating Infographics come in handy to speed up the process. For the simplest, easy-to-use option, Easel.ly or Venngage …

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Software Carpentry trains the trainers

tl;dr? The Software Carpentry train-the-trainers workshop in Toronto this past M-W was just fantastic. I can’t recommend it enough. A bit of background: Software Carpentry is a project to teach scientists to use computing more effectively. Started by Greg Wilson about 16 years ago, the project has progressed through many different moults, including attempts to …

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Imagine…

Links, software, thoughts — all solicited! Send ’em to me, t@idyll.org. — Imagine… a rolling 48 hour hackathon, internationally teleconferenced, on reproducing analyses in preprints and papers. Each room of contributors could hack on things collaboratively while awake, then pass it on to others in overlapping timezones and go to sleep. The next day, they …

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Announcing khmer 1.0

The khmer team is pleased to announce the release of khmer version 1.0. khmer is our software for working efficiently with fixed length DNA words, or k-mers, for research and work in computational biology. Links: khmer documentation PyPI link Announcement ChangeLog Citation handle khmer v1.0 is the culmination of about 9 months of development work …

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