ADSept14

Posted by & filed under Album Digest.

Album Digest September 2014 contains four amazing albums, including the long-awaited return from the Aphex Twin, and an album from Cymbals Eat Guitars released about a week after I wondered what had happened to them. Spooky. Rounding out the selection this month are a cool punky-disco album by The Juan Maclean and a truly remarkable offering by Vessel.

  1. Aphex Twin SYRO
  2. Cymbals Eat Guitars Lose
  3. The Juan Maclean In A Dream
  4. Vessel Punish, Honey

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Hero image for post about how to generate random numbers in R

Posted by & filed under Mathematics, Programming.

This post deals with how to generate random numbers in R. It is good to know how to generate random numbers with a particular language or software package for at least one of the following three reasons:

  1. You want to test something that depends on a particular distribution.
  2. You’re running a stochastic process of some kind (Branching process, random walk etc) and you need random numbers for deciding whether an event occurs.
  3. You forgot to pick your lottery numbers this week.

Let’s step through doing each of these with R. Over time I will write this post out again for C++, Java, Python, and Ruby. This post is just a memory aid that I can use later on and is not meant as anything more rigorous than that. As such it is a living document, I will mutate this post in place as and when I need to. Memory aids are useful for when you haven’t used a particular programming language or software package for a while. Who knows, it might save me a couple of searches with DuckDuckGo.

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Posted by & filed under Quotes.

You will not fail if you stay the course and hold true. Don’t cede your values for temporary comfort or notional control. Don’t panic. Eventually great books are written, great cities are built, and difficult times are overcome.

History is filled with examples of people who pushed the order button too soon… but few instances where people stuck with their principles for too long.

Seth Godin

Read this quote in its original context: Seth’s Blog: Law and Order.

Posted by & filed under Website.

This site now uses the excellent WP-Bootstrap theme. The theme delivers the Bootstrap look via the Bones theme/framework. It’s responsive and scales well from mobile to desktop. This means that the site has a consistent and unfussy look no matter what device you’re using. It’s meant to be modified with child themes but I like the default look. I decided to change two things: the way the featured image of each post is cropped to 780 by 300, and the way that a custom gallery shortcode breaks the tiled galleries you get from JetPack.

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Hero image for review of All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

Posted by & filed under Books.

Cover of All The Birds, Singing by Evie WyldI recently finished reading All The Birds, Singing, the second novel by Evie Wyld. It’s about a woman called Jake who lives alone on a farm with a dog called Dog on an island somewhere off the coast of Britain. She has sheep to look after but something keeps coming in the middle of the night to kill them.

Meanwhile, as the narrative on the island moves forward in the present, a second narrative peels off backwards to explain her past. This takes place in Australia. Jake is still working with sheep but there is a confrontation with a fellow farmhand who threatens to expose a secret from her past. As this second strand unfurls, we begin to see why Jake is jumpy and convinced that the deaths of her sheep represent ill-portent. However, because this second story rolls backwards in jumps, we have to wait until the end for the terrible events that set her on this path.

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Picture of commuters at Shinjuku station used as a hero image in review of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami

Posted by & filed under Books.

Cover of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki MurakamiColorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage is the latest novel by Haruki Murakami. It comes with free stickers. Perhaps that tells you everything you need to know about this book, which is slimmer than Murakami’s recent efforts. The plot begins with an intriguing premise. Tsukuru is part of a group of close friends and is one day expelled from the group for no reason. Unfortunately, the development of the plot is uncontrolled and by the end of novel too many holes have developed for it all to hold together.

It is a pleasant read but a familiar one. You can play Murakami bingo with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. Will there be Jazz or classical music? (Or, potential spoiler, both?) Will the character at the centre of the action make pasta? Or drink Cutty Sark whisky? Will they have an infatuation from childhood that will haunt their adult life? Will a strange dream-like world enter into our reality at some point? Will the books that Murakami’s been reading all-too-obviously force their way in to the narrative at some point? Will there be an endearing cat simile?

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Hero image for useful ulysses post

Posted by & filed under Software, Writing.

What it is

Ulysses III is a markdown editor for the Mac. It has a simple drafting model that makes it easy to organise ideas and move between them. Pieces of writing are represented as sheets that can be tagged and grouped together – the grouping can be made manually or using filters. There are no files, the sheets are entries in a single database that is synced with iCloud. Because everything is plain text it won’t eat up your storage space. Individual sheets can be archived for use with Mac OS X’s versions feature.

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