'm in dire need of a haircut, and I believe I'm starting to grow sideburns. Indeed, this is a move towards a fashion I am not prepared for.
Last night, Sally called me "fatty." Sigh. I guess she doesn't realize how words can hurt, even when said in jest. It's different than when I threaten to take the fork (which I'm eating Pizza Rolls with) and plunge it into her temple. That's all good fun, but this fatty thing... I showed her how little power she had over me by downing the rest of her Gummi Bears and belching twice over dinner. We're married, I can totally let myself go now.
Speaking of being married, today marks the two month point for this grand experiment. A lot has happened in those 60 days, and I've accrued a good bit of wisdom that I'd like to pass on. Here's a sample nugget:
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That's should tide you over for a while.
How to be a Nerd: part VII:
I don't think my readership (two parakeets and a collectible Beanie Baby named "Roger") is terribly interested in what I do for mental exercise and/or work, but sometimes my geeky pursuits provide some satisfaction and the compulsion to share. So here are some nerdy-tidbits, and you can just ignore it if you like.
I've been writing in this language for about a year now, and am usually trying to justify its use for just about everything. It's a scripting language, which means you can edit the source code with a text editor, and it's available on many major and minor platforms - so most of your scripts are portable between Macs, PC's,Linux/BSD boxes and the like. What makes it great is the huge amount of libraries and very readable code. It has some very powerful tools built into the core language, with a pretty easy path to add on new stuff. I use it currently in my image processing tool for the eyepulp site as well as several maintenance scripts on our client databases and web sites. Check out more at python.org
Named after Reverend Thomas Bayes
(1702-1761) as a mathematical way of taking something unknown and guessing something about it based on previous examples of similar unknown items that have already been identified. Using past knowledge to make a future guess - also known as forward probability. This type of math has become extremely popular recently for use in combating spam in your e-mail as proposed in an essay
by Paul Graham. Essentially you train your filter by feeding it a bunch of known spam, and then a bunch of known "ham" (apparently the cute name for good mail), and after this the filter starts making guesses on all your incoming mail. Each new piece acts as more training, and if it screws a guess up, you can click a button to fix it. After some training, people are getting very high accuracy rates for guesses. Recently, I found a Python-based chunk of code called Reverend
which is a generic implementation of a Bayesian Classifier. You train it with some text, and tell it what category, or "bucket" that text belongs to, and then give it a chunk of text to guess. It will give you back a guess along with how confident (probability) it is in that guess. It's REALLY COOL. I may start to categorize eyepulp posts in the future, and just let this system figure out categories for me based on what I wrote. Won't I be suprised when 2 out of 3 are marked "steaming poop-heap." Anyhow, stuff like this gets me really excited. Sad, I know - pray for Sally.
Tivo on the Cheap:
I built a small computer upstairs to handle a bunch of duties, but mainly Music, Movies, Games, TV, and Phone. It's far from perfect (Sally is ready to throw it out the window every few days) but it actually does all of that stuff. I feed the DirecTV signal into it, and it can change the channel, and it knows the upcoming schedule for shows, and will go record all of that stuff throughout the day & night. When I'm ready to watch the stuff in the evenings, I just press play. I can also watch and pause the normal television signal. This is pretty much what TIvo does, but without the monthly charge and with the ability to do what I want with the recorded stuff. All of this runs via a remote control, which also handles volume and controlling the TV to turn it all on and off. It's not really an appliance yet, like a plain old TV, and has a lot of little bugs to work out, but it's nifty being able to integrate all that stuff through one interface and remote. I use a software called Sage TV
to handle most of the recording and TV stuff.
Phone home for less
On the phone side, I signed up with Skype
, an instant messenger/internet-phone company. How does it work? Pretty well. I like the idea of dropping the phone company from my monthly bills. By using a piece of hardware
and Skype, I can use any regular phone and have people call me from either the normal phone system or via the internet and my phone rings - without having an account with Ma Bell. I pay Skype for a phone number, around $4 a month, and it runs around $0.023 cents a minute for actual phone-calls. I bought $12.00 worth of time, which is something like 520 minutes. Of course, if you get your friends using Skype, then the phone side of the equation is moot, and it's all totally free. It only costs money when you need to call people through the standard phone system. We can talk to the guy I stayed with in Somalia for free, pretty much instantly, and it's darn impressive. Also, if you sign up for a phone number they throw in free voicemail. W00t.
That is all. You may remove your anti-geek-rhetoric Bayesian Filter and return to reading less nap-inducing things.