June 7, 2014

For many reasons I have become engaged in “reproducibility”, the corner stone of science.  My original interest was on the computational side, but I’ve learned about many new and effective practices on the observational side as well.  Many, many technical and cultural issues for the STEM community.

I should document my most recent encounter with reproducibility.  I received an inquiry from a librarian at an industrial consortium seeking a gray literature, technical report, documenting a box of FORTRAN I shepherded when I was an undergraduate.   With the underlying database, I constantly carried two boxes of cards at all times.

Why anybody would want a technical description of code that is 41 years old  seems mystical, yet I did have this on my shelf, now scanned and delivered.

I wish I had so much more recent work as well documented.

Computing Update V

June 7, 2014

We were in Atlanta visiting my in-laws a couple of weeks ago and one of my tasks was to deal with a major intrusion onto my mother-in-law’s Windows computer.  She certainly had no need for pop-up windows offering her soft porn.

I tried to engage my geek son Mark in discussing this issue but he wouldn’t engage…was boring to his sweetheart Chris…and he told me to blog it.  Here we go.

My technical skills under Windows are dated.  So I struggled through, back and forth between Control Panel (which seems to become worse and worse to navigate) and searches on Google and Bing.  (If Bing is to succeed it should be the dominant search engine for Windows, but not yet true.)

The problem I surmise was my mother-in-law downloaded a Firefox distribution not directly from Mozilla.   On April 30.  And tried to recover from that disaster on May 16 further piling on.  It took roughly six hours but I was able to eradicate all the evil that had set in.

All of this reminds me why Windows is simply unacceptable.  Why have an operating system where programs are installed with their own uninstaller, that the distributor writes and makes uninstalling impossible.  Contrast OS X, drag the application to the trash and empty the trash.  That Internet Explorer allows add-ins where the distributor can prevent removal/disablement.  That major anti-spam/virus/malware engines allow anything that is putatively useful (ad-ware as a specific example).  And did I mention fake McAfee anti-virus as part of this mess.  That the registry even exists prevents simple technical solutions and make Windows particularly non-consumer friendly.





Triple Crown

June 7, 2014

My primary interest in horse racing is the Kentucky Derby only because it also marks “Opening Day” in Seattle (CFR 33.100.1304) and in the McDuff family the opening of “Mint Julep Season” (and I must admit we use Tennessee Sour Mash instead of Kentucky Bourbon).

Each year I place three WPS bets for the Kentucky Derby.  I know nothing about horse racing, so I go by the names.  The horse “I’ll Have Another” has put me so far net ahead that I can likely never spend another penny to remain profitable.

Today was the first time I’ve ever watched the Belmont Stakes.  A horse named “California Chrome” just isn’t a name that will attract my bets.   (But just completed an incredible redistribution of wealth.)    But it was of interest for I do like the side story of hard scrabble owners, old trainer, old jockey.

What was amazing to me was the NBC coverage.  Frank Sinatra Jr. singing New York, New York.  Incredible graphics about how much longer the Belmont track is.  Not only California Chrome wearing a nasal strip, but also the jockey.  And the post race analysis that the Triple Crown is not fair to the horses.

Thankfully it is now “Hockey Night in Canada”, except it is New York v. Los Angeles.  (And one final mystery, why is the WordPress spell checker objecting to my spelling of Los Angeles?)