Monthly Archives: February 2010

Using py2exe with SciPy

py2exe is a program that takes Python code and produces a Windows executable that can run on computers that do not have Python installed. My focus here is in using py2exe on Python code that depends on SciPy.

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Posted in Python

A little optimization and a challenge

Waldir Pimenta asked me whether it is possible to test the condition max(a,b) / min(a,b)  < r without computing max(a, b) or min(a, b). Here a> 0, b> 0, and r > 1. (If r ≤ 1, the condition is

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Amateur software

I’m growing increasingly frustrated with amateur software. Before I explain why, let me first be clear on what I do not mean by amateur. Amateur does not mean low quality. Some amateur software is outstanding, and some professional software is

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Posted in Software development

Malaria on the prairie

My family loves the Little House on the Prairie books. We read them aloud to our three oldest children and we’re in the process of reading them with our fourth child. We just read the chapter describing when the entire

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Posted in Clinical trials, Science

Apple are evil?

Mike Croucher wrote a post the other day explaining why he’s going to buy an iPad. He said that one of the objections to the iPad he’d heard was Apple are evil because they take away control of how we

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Twitter daily tip news

I have five Twitter accounts that send out one tip per day, including a new one I just added last week. Regular expressions @RegexTip started over today. It’s a cycle of tips for learning regular expressions. It sticks to the

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Posted in Python

You can’t force people to provide metadata

I ran across a long rant from Steve Yegge this evening about junior programmers. In a nutshell, Yegge says they like to play around with metadata rather than getting real work done. Here’s an insightful observation Yegge makes along the

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Posted in Software development

Weekend miscellany

Computing Online diff tool HTTP flowchart Astroinformatics Python propaganda How to safely store a password Google Docs dropping IE6 support Why it’s hard to move Facebook off PHP Keyboard shortcuts for Windows, Mac, and Linux Math Fundamental examples in math

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Carnival of Mathematics #62

What is the Carnival of Mathematics? Math bloggers submit articles they have written recently and each month a host writes a post linking to the submitted posts. The sister carnival, Math Teachers at Play, focuses on math education and on

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Python code for computing distribution parameters from percentiles

A few days ago I wrote a post on finding parameters so that a probability distribution satisfies two percentile conditions. Since then I’ve written Python code to carry out the calculations described in that article and the accompanying technical report.

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Posted in Math, Python

Probability distribution parameterizations in SciPy

Parameterizations are the bane of statistical software. One of the most common errors is to assume that one software package uses the same parameterization as another package. For example, some packages specify the exponential distribution in terms of the mean

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Posted in Python, Software development, Statistics

Little programs versus big programs

From You Are Not a Gadget: Little programs are delightful to write in isolation, but the process of maintaining large-scale software is always miserable. … Technologists wish every program behaved like a brand-new, playful little program, and will use any

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Posted in Software development

Sleep debt and industrial accidents

From The Power of Full Engagement: … every one of the great industrial disasters of the past twenty years — Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez, Bhopal, Three Mile Island — occurred in the middle of the night. For the most part,

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New Python podcast: A little bit of Python

There’s a new Python podcast: A little bit of Python with Michael Foord, Brett Cannon, Jesse Noller, Steve Holden, and Andrew Kuchling. So far I’ve found the first episode most interesting. It discusses the “moratorium”, the plan to give Python

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Updating “PowerShell Day 1″ for PowerShell version 2.0

Last year I wrote a little 10-page booklet called PowerShell Day 1. It covers many of the things I wish I had known when I started using PowerShell. How do I configure PowerShell? How do I make PowerShell launch faster?

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Posted in PowerShell