Monthly Archives: June 2008

Software in Space

The latest episode of Software Engineering Radio has an interview with Hans-Joachim Popp of the German aerospace company DLR. A bug in the software embedded in a space probe could cost years of lost time and billions of dollars. These folks

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Posted in Software development

Small effective sample size does not mean uninformative

Today I talked to a doctor about the design of a randomized clinical trial that would use a Bayesian monitoring rule. The probability of response on each arm would be modeled as a binomial with a beta prior. Simple conjugate

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Posted in Clinical trials

Managing passwords II

PasswordMaker is a clever solution to the problem of managing passwords. Instead of storing passwords for each web site, you use their software to generate a unique password for each site. The idea is quite simple: use a master password

Posted in Computing

C++ templates may reduce memory footprint

One of the complaints about C++ templates is that they can cause code bloat. But Scott Meyers pointed out in an interview that some people are using templates in embedded systems applications because templates result in smaller code. C++ compilers

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Posted in Software development

Greek letters and math symbols in (X)HTML

It’s not hard to use Greek letters and math symbols in (X)HTML, but apparently it’s not common knowledge either. Many pages insert little image files every time they need a special character. Such web pages look a little like ransom

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Posted in Uncategorized

Solving the problem with Visual Source Safe and time zones

If you use Microsoft Visual SourceSafe (VSS) with developers in more than one time zone, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. VSS uses the local time on each developer’s box as the time of a check in/out. If

Posted in Software development

Identical twins are not genetically identical

Researchers recently discovered that identical twins are not genetically identical after all. They differ in the copy numbers of their genes. They have the same genes, but each may have different numbers of copies of certain genes. Source: “Copy That” by

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Posted in Science

You have a web site?

I was talking to my wife about my web site last night. One my daughters interrupted with “You have a web site?!” Then one of her sisters put things in perspective. “Yeah, but it doesn’t have any games.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Programming language subsets

I just found out that Douglas Crockford has written a book JavaScript: The Good Parts. I haven’t read the book, but I imagine it’s quite good based on having seen the author’s JavaScript videos. Crockford says JavaScript is an elegant and

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Posted in Software development

Spam false positives

The amount of spam I receive on this blog has increased greatly and so I’ve gotten more aggressive about spam filtering. If you post a comment and it never appears, please send me a note at my last name at my

Posted in Uncategorized

Revenue per megabyte

Here are some numbers on the revenue data carriers make per megabyte for various kinds of data. Backbone Internet = $.0001 / MB Residential Internet = $.01 / MB Wireline voice calls = $.10 / MB Cell voice calls =

Posted in Business

Robust priors

Yesterday I posted a working paper version of an article I’ve been working on with Jairo Fúquene and Luis Pericchi: A Case for Robust Bayesian priors with Applications to Binary Clinical Trials. Bayesian analysis begins with a prior distribution, a function summarizing

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Posted in Statistics

Using Photoshop on experimental results

Greg Wilson pointed out an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about scientists using Photoshop to manipulate the graphs of their results. The article has this to say about The Journal of Cell Biology. So far the journal’s editors have

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Posted in Science

Specialization is for insects

From Robert A. Heinlein: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying,

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Posted in Creativity

What's most important in a basic stat class?

I’m teaching part of a basic medical statistics class this summer. It’s been about a decade since I’ve taught basic probability and statistics and I now have different ideas about what is important. For example, I now think it’s more important that

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Posted in Statistics