Monthly Archives: July 2008

PolyMon system monitoring software

I just heard about PolyMon this evening. It’s an open source system monitoring project. It can monitor servers, system logs, etc. Users can create custom monitors via PowerShell scripts. Sounds like its worth further investigation.

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Posted in PowerShell

Normal approximation errors for binomial and Poisson distributions

Textbooks say the normal approximation to the binomial distribution is good when “n is large.” How large is large enough? Some books say n ≥ 10. How good is it in that case? Hmm, it doesn’t say. The same holds

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Posted in Math

Connecting probability and number theory

E. Kowalski has a post this morning called Finding life beyond the Central Limit Theorem. The post mentions a theorem I’ve never heard of that connects basic concepts in probability and number theory. Surely the Central Limit Theorem and the

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Posted in Math, Statistics

Try the simplest thing that could possibly work

Classroom exercises always have nice, tidy solutions. So students implicitly assume that all problems have nice, tidy solutions. If the solution isn’t working out simply, you must have made a mistake. Outside the classroom, applications seldom have simple solutions. So

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Posted in Math, Software development

Hard to spend money

Jeff Atwood’s latest post asks whether money useless to open source projects. Four months after his donation of $5,000 to the ScrewTurn Wiki project, they haven’t cashed his check because they haven’t thought of a way to use the money even

Posted in Business, Software development

Seven things that kill brain cells

My previous post listed seven things that cause new brain cells to grow, taken from a talk by Dean Ornish. Here’s the corresponding list from the same talk of things that decrease brain cells. Saturated fat Sugar Nicotine Opiates Cocaine

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Seven things that cause new brain cells

Dr. Dean Ornish gave an inspiring three-minute talk at TED entitled Your genes are not your fate. As part of his talk he lists six things that cause new brain cells to grow: Exercise Chocolate Tea Blueberries Alcohol in moderation Stress

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Random inequalities III: numerical results

The first post in this series introduced random inequalities. The second post discussed random inequalities can could be computed in closed form. This post considers random inequalities that must be evaluated numerically. The simplest and most obvious approach to computing

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Posted in Math

Random inequalities II: analytical results

My previous post introduced random inequalities and their application to Bayesian clinical trials. This post will discuss how to evaluate random inequalities analytically. The next post in the series will discuss numerical evaluation when analytical evaluation is not possible. For

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Posted in Math, Statistics

Random inequalities I: introduction

Many Bayesian clinical trial methods have at their core a random inequality. Some examples from M. D. Anderson: adaptive randomization, binary safety monitoring, time-to-event safety monitoring. These method depends critically on evaluating P(X > Y) where X and Y are

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Posted in Clinical trials, Math, Statistics

Multiple string types: BSTR, wchar_t, etc.

This morning I listened to a podcast interview with Kate Gregory. She used some terms I hadn’t heard in years: BSTR, OLE strings, etc. Around a decade ago I was working with COM in C++ and had to deal with

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Posted in Software development

Including images in LaTeX files

Here are the rules for including images in LaTeX files as far as I can tell. Near the top of your document, use \usepackage{graphicx} to load the graphicx package. Then at the point where you want to include your image,

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Posted in Graphics

LaTeX and PowerPoint presentations

I use LaTeX for math documents and PowerPoint for presentations. When I need to make a math presentation, I can’t have everything I want in one environment. I usually go with PowerPoint. Yesterday I tried the LaTeX Beamer package based

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Posted in Typography

New blog on reproducible research

Yesterday I added a blog to the ReproducibleResearch.org web site. You can visit the site here or subscribe via RSS. I’d like a couple people to join me in writing this blog, and I would greatly appreciate suggestions, guest posts, etc.

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Visualizing software development effort

Thomas Guest posted a great article today called Distorted Software that, among other things, points out the problem with software diagrams with big boxes and little arrows: Most of the work will go into making the connections work.  In other words, the bulk

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Posted in Software development