Category: Computer Programming
We've done some renovations to our kitchen. They were long-needed since the kitchen cabinets came with the house when we purchased it ten years ago, and they weren't all that terrific even back then. Among the great new additions is a stove top exhaust which really does a great job of pulling the smoke out of the kitchen. Unfortunately, because of its height and location, it also does a great job of pulling large amounts of flesh off the top of my head, since with my height, virtually every attempt to reach towards the back burners to wipe up results in an automated appearance at Little Big Horn.
Why do the make these things so deadly? I mean these corners are SHARP. And yet the manufacturers seem to make absolutely no effort to round them off or otherwise de-claw the darn thing. I've taken to wearing a baseball hat around this menace and it got me right through the hat!
2.While we are on the subject of things to villify, I've also decided that I hate Microsoft Excel. Considered to be the de facto champ of spreadsheet world, this bloated piece of junk makes even the simplest things inordinately difficult. I suppose that if you were just using it for monetary things like balancing your checkbook it could suffice, but even that seems so painful, with its arcane rules and tiny window to enter data.
Trying to do any sort of reasonable data analysis, such as one does with statistical work, is an exercise in futility. It finally got to the point that I just gave up and wrote a bunk of single purpose handler programs in Perl, R and Java.On the other hand, some of the packaged statistical programs are ludicrously expensive. I've been doing a lot of statistical work involving multivariate analysis, in particular one method called principle component analysis (PCA).
I found a rather nice shareware program on the internet which allowed an evaluation download, and really liked its simplicity and user interface. Perhaps I should have been tipped off by the fact that no matter how hard I scanned the site, I could not find a purchase price. Rather I was instructed to contact a sales representative â€˜to discuss pricing' (always a bad sign). After sending this gentleman a furtive email, as promised, I was rewarded with a response within 24 hours.His software program cost $4,250.00.At that point I almost felt like going into the kitchen and banging my head into the exhaust canopy.
Later found a much less snazzy program that runs in Excel (!) for $75.00.
My lectures to the Ontario Naturopathic Doctors 2007 Conference went rather well. I built them out of the lectures that I gave at IfHI 2007 and the Grand Rounds Presentation at the UB Naturopathic School. Both the main plenary session and my breakout were very well attended and received. Unfortunately we had no time whatsoever to visit our old haunts in Toronto, although we did manage to get in a visit to a â€˜Roots' outlet. The kids love the sweats and I am quite fond of their wool socks.
Toronto during the winter can have the most amazing gray skies. Due to the lake effect it doesn't get the kind of snow fall that other side of Lake Ontario receives (Rochester, NY for example, has snowfalls of legendary proportions). However, Toronto's nemesis are never ending days and weeks of gray winter skies, which many people consider dreary but I just love. In fact when I lived in Phoenix, AZ I would pine for a cloudy day which are few and far between out there. I once read that the composer Erik Satie never went out in nice weather, but as soon as it would rain, out he went.
I can identify with that.
Me and You Tube music: Asmus Tietchens 'Hydrophonie 12'
In addition to working on the new BTD recipe database (thanks to Don, Drea, Rodney, Lola and all the other elves who have so generously donated their time to revised and edit the 700+ recipes).
Back in the video business, making some educational films for The GenoType Diet. A lot has happened to computer video since I made those five film shorts years ago. I've also been cleaning up some of the movies that I made to accompany on my author tour for Live Right For Your Type and getting them up on YouTube. Much better quality than the older versions that I added to dadamo.com several years ago.
Some of the moderators on the bulletin boards noticed that the recipe database had been 'hacked' by internet bots intent on leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of entries offering everything from mail-order brides to the possibilities of enlarging virtually any part of your body. Part of the problem was that anyone could enter a recipe in the database, and once these roving ambassadors of malfeasance find an open site they just bombard it relentlessly.
The beat way to deal with these types of attacks is to institute some sort of challenge response test which is usually in the form of some sort of visual recognition scheme. These are usually called "Reverse Turing Tests" after the brilliant, if tortured English math genius Alan Turing and they are now part of the internet landscape:
The basic idea is to prove that you are human, which may be easier for some than others.
Although I have a million other things to do, I suppose my type A mindset kept thinking of new enhancements to the recipe database, one of the more neglected step-children of this website. So why not take a tour of the new and improved recipe area?
This is the basic entry portal. From here you can list, search and display recipes. I'm working on a printer friendly version as well.
Saddened to hear of the passing away of the great Richard Rorty from pancreatic cancer. His book "Contingency Irony and Solidarity" was a big influence on me, giving me a sort of 'permission' to live with my thoughts and ideas without the burden of always having to analyze them to death. Certainly, Rorty's work in this area stemmed from John Dewey, but I alway thought that Rorty said it better, at least to me. In either case, if you think today's 24 hour "news" is actually "News" you may want to read these guys.
"One of the functions of art is to offer a more desirable reality; a model as it were, of another style of existence with its own pace and its own cultural reference."
I've made a note to feature or otherwise mention parts of the website which are obscure or difficult to access but have incredible value. Today's feature is the now-inactive blog of Pumpkin King Jim Garland. Jim is a very bright guy with a lot on his mind. You'll find some cool stuff over there.
Have been playing around with fractals. Although arithmetic, they yield surprisingly organic results. Here are a few images that I developed using a variety of fractal algorithms:
I've been working pretty much non-stop on the SWAMI GenoType software, mostly the truly nefarious â€˜human interface' and â€˜file input-outputâ€? parts of the program. Although crucial to any software, these are usually the most difficult parts of any software package, since you have to anticipate the myriad ways that any user could possible wind up doing the wrong types of things in the wrong places. Also, many interfaces are very unfriendly, without help screens and all the bells and whistles that are great to include but do eat up time and neurons.
Unlike the super-forgiving human interface stuff, file input-output, on the other hand, is the most unforgiving of things. It mostly has to do with conceptualizing the future structure of your data, often at the same time you are trying to ask yourself what types of information the program you are in the midst of writing will need. A reasonable metaphor might be an architect who has to start drawing his plans when the work crew is already at the construction site. Also, because you are writing to files on a server's hard drive, it is often difficult to detect errors ('bugs') in your program since you can easily write incorrect things 'successfully' to files on a hard drive.
Yesterday was my first day back in the clinic (other than a few sporadic appearances during July and August). Dr. Natalie Colicci, our new staff physician, has done a great job holding down the fort in my absence and yesterday's reentry couldn't have been easier.
Been reading a bit about the Warburg Effect, the notion that cancer cells respire differently that normal cells. Increased aerobic glycolysis in cancer has been tossed around for decades in alternative medicine circles (and vilified for just as long by ignorant quackbuster types) but is increasing being looked at by research oncologists as a major avenue of approach to the treatment of cancer. No doubt we will hear much more about this approach in months to come.
Apparently cancer does have a sweet tooth after all..
The GenoType Diet is now in copy editing, which is one of the last places you can perform any sort of corrections on the text. I've seen some preliminary galleys of the book and was very happy with the layout. Very clean, much like Eat Right For Your Type.
Other GenoType Diet news: I've signed on with Waterfront Media (WFM), a company that provides website content for a variety of health authors. WFM really does a nice job of things, such as producing phenomenal meal planning and recipe software. I think they will do a great job of things, especially since it is getting more and more difficult for me to put the kind of time into administering a busy website.
The sails on Long Island Sound have been phenomenal these last few weeks, with lots of consistent winds, especially from those wonderful directions which allow you to both sail out and back close-hauled.