Monthly Archives: August 2008

Entering Unicode characters in Linux

I ran across this post from Aaron Toponce explaining how to enter Unicode characters in Linux applications. Hold down the shift and control keys while typing “u” and the hex values of the Unicode character you wish to enter. I tried

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Posted in Computing

Three ways to enter Unicode characters in Windows

Here are three approaches to entering Unicode characters in Windows. See the next post for entering Unicode characters in Linux. (1) In Microsoft Word you can insert Unicode characters by typing the hex value of the character then typing Alt-x. You

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Posted in Computing

Improved PowerShell prompt

A while back I wrote a post on how to customize your PowerShell prompt. Last week Tomas Restrepo posted an article on a PowerShell prompt that adds color and shortens the path in a more subtle way. I haven’t tried

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Posted in PowerShell

Applying PageRank algorithm to biology

Scientific American’s 60 Second Science has a podcast Google-style rankings for ecosystems reporting on a presentation by Stefano Allesino suggesting applying a Google-like algorithm to determine conservation priorities. Just as web pages rank higher when many other pages link to

Posted in Science

The Holy Grail of CSS

Basic tasks are simple in CSS, but even slightly harder tasks can be incredibly difficult. Controlling fonts, margins, and so forth is a piece of cake. But controlling page layout is another matter. In his book Refactoring HTML, Elliotte Rusty

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Posted in Typography

Pitfalls in random number generation

I published an article on CodeProject this week about some of the traps you can fall into when using random number generators. Pitfalls in Random Number Generation

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Posted in Math, Software development

Variation in male and female Olympic performance II

In my previous post, I looked at what would happen if men and women had the same average athletic ability but men were more variable. I also looked at what would happen if men and women were equally variable but

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Posted in Statistics

Variation in male and female Olympic performance

Isabel Lugo posted an interesting article today called Variance in Olympic events in which she speculates about the variance in male versus female athletic performance. … it may be the case that the difference between the very best men and

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Posted in Statistics

Works in the field, not in the lab

I read recently that the first military radar systems worked better in the field than in the lab. Apparently the electronics needed jiggling now and then and so did better in actual use than in the protected environment of the

Posted in Uncategorized

Conflicting ideas of simplicity

Sometimes it’s simpler to compute things exactly than to use an approximation. When you work on problems that cannot be computed exactly long enough, you start to assume everything falls in that category. I posted a tech report a few

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Posted in Clinical trials

Pepsi Challenge for Windows Vista

Microsoft did an experiment similar to the Pepsi Challenge from years ago. Microsoft asked people their opinions of Windows Vista then asked them to take a look at Mojave, a supposedly new version of Windows. See The Mojave Experiment. Not

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Posted in Computing

Random inequalities IV: Cauchy distributions

Two weeks ago I wrote a series of posts on random inequalities: part I, part II, part III. In the process of writing these, I found an error in a tech report I wrote five years ago. I’ve posted a

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Posted in Math, Statistics

Good user interface design: EpiPen

To balance my previous post about a bad user interface design, here’s an example of a good user interface design from Tom Peters. TP gushes over the design of his EpiPen, a device that lets users self-administer Epinephrine to prevent anaphylactic

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Posted in Uncategorized

Black swan talk

Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan, was part of a panel discussion at a statistical conference in Denver yesterday. His book contains some provocative criticisms of statisticians, so I was eager to see what the discussion might be like. His rhetoric

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Posted in Business, Statistics

Bad user interface design: hotel showers

Every time I get into a hotel shower I think “Oh great. How does this one work?” No two are the same, and yet I’ve never seen a shower that had the simplicity and convenience of the typical residential shower

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Posted in Uncategorized