Using Data Science to Choose Categories

I am writing a journal entry per my recent blog post where I enjoined my readers to keep a personal journal. Doing so helps one to slow down and reflect upon what is happening around oneself. Also it is a great way of providing you with a record of what happened during a particular time. Journal, Diary or Notebook; it is all the same to me!

I credit Mr. Griffee at Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ for starting me out with a journal or notebook in 8th grade. I remember being upset about having to turn the journal in for a non-graded evaluation. Well I have a lot of comments about my reaction which I will spare you at this time.

A good rule of thumb for things like bookmarks or file folders is that there are not more than six or seven different sections. It’s a lot easier to keep track that way. Sometimes we really are only capable ourselves of counting by our fingers! I have heard it said that birds can only count up to four or five.

However we we have so many different topics to keep track of these days! Not to mention passwords or files on the file system. Sounds like a Data Science challenge in the making.

Backup and Recovery and Failure

“There is not a question of if a hard drive will fail. The question is ‘When?'” — Philadelphia Area Computer Society (PACS)

I was doing really well with my projects on an Ubuntu 18.04 desktop until the system crashed. I think that my version of Ubuntu had some problems with memory management. Of course, any time one open 20 browser tabs, one is going to run out of memory! Power user? or slob? A friend of mine had a similar problem with audio buffer overruns on Ubuntu .

I think that some other operating systems might fail a little more gracefully. At any rate, any time one forcibly shuts down a running computer system there is a possibility of data corruption. We have to be ready for that contingency and ready to restore the hardware and operating system and files of the computer to the state they were in within a reasonable amount of time. That is the Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective.

I had everything working on this system! And it was my fun task to continue to configure the computer. Now I am starting over again. This is not easy without a “roadmap” of steps to take to recover and build a computer system. That is why I am writing this blog post.

The computer had Samba and GTK+ the graphics toolkit and Wireshark all running and configured. Also the ‘alsa’ sound system was working great! There were however no personal files of any importance to restore. Change “Backup and Recovery” to just “Recovery” please!

A Simple Call to Action

One cannot fail to be alarmed by current events. While we are all hoping that the Covid-19 pandemic does not turn into a new era (another 100 years of solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez) and we are adjusting to the new requirements of social distancing and wearing a mask, we are appalled by recent recurring racist attacks on African-American peoples solely for the color of their skin. But what can we do?

We live in an Immediate Age. People don’t easily greet one another in their neighborhoods in the morning much any more. Instead “walk on by” might be considered to be the norm. So when we read an essay like this on Facebook or in some other social channel, even the newspaper, it is temping to click “Wow”or “Care” (but please not “Hate!”) and move on. For there is little more that any of us, given our present situation can do. And I am no different.

My word for today is “share the love” or at least “share the road.” At least tell someone that you care. My second response to our current Litany of Days is to stop and listen to the present moment. What do I mean by that?? Though we may no longer be a friendly or affectionate people, we are so caught up with the latest “click” that we start to worry about our Mental Health when there is “no activity.” And maybe that is the reason! When people use the expressions “Show me the love,” or “It’s all about the love,” they really mean that they want to feel comfortable in their community. For whether we borrow a dime or a “cup of sugar [and I want you to be clear about that],” we only get through life as a community.

So I would eschew the marches on the Statehouse and would try to click on “Love” as much as possible today. Here are five things I am going to try to do today to help our community to heal:

  1. Stop and Listen. What do you hear? If there is no activity, is there a bird chirping? Did the air conditioner or fan go on? – The computer is making a noise. The soup smells good.
  2. Write a journal entry – I guess today a blog post will count.
  3. Thinking about reaching out to and participating in “the community.” Here is where I think we are stuck. What is the community? As used above it is our streets, our City, our homes and our essential businesses. But how can we participate in that? But just find an activity, be it watercolor painting or needle point or computer coding or guitar or bicycling and guess what? Today there are lots of online forums. I would find forums to participate in. Not necessarily the weird world of the Internet, but apps and websites and discussions where people with your interests can be found. Does it really matter if someone is not just like you ( in so many ways) if they share your interests and can help you with a problem. – I need to think about this one as well.
  4. Maybe it is time for a new Million Man March – Can I be a part of it?
  5. You don’t have to agree with someone to avoid conflict. – Have a nice day! We are all trying to move forward!

Back to the Server Pharm!

Hey! You know you’re getting somewhere when your searches on the web on SAMBA on a Saturday night (SAMBA.org – Opening Windows to a Wider World) lead to pages of Microsoft Documentation. 

When your FB friends are so bored with you that you have started reading your emails. 

When you open Microsoft OneNote on Firefox on Ubuntu LInux (18.04.1) because that custom webapp that was supposed to do everything just isn’t finished yet 

When you realize that you can’t start another project (monitoring home packets using scapy and Python Data Science tools https://medium.com/hackervalleystudio/learning-packet-analysis-with-data-science-5356a3340d4e) without thinking  about what you hope to achieve by doing this?!  Afterall, there are no rogue packets here anymore! 

And When you even consider paying a fee to a content channel (what is CDN)? 

You are retrieving the Service Locator!

I used to like coding websites using Zend Framework in PHP. Of course, that is from the good old days of L.A.M.P. (Linux Apache MySql PHP) and before the world got so M.E.A.N (Mongo Ember Angular Node.js). Did I get that right?

Now I have a pesky error in Zend Framework 2 that I can’t seem to get rid of: “You are retrieving the Service Locator from within the Class.” I feel like the computer is speaking about something else but I have no idea what! But whoever came up with the idea of phrasing an error in this way must have been up to something. Blame the new emphasis on Service Oriented Architecture (S.O.A.) I guess.

Here is a very helpful link on Stack Overflow that explains what to do about this problem: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/35933113/php-deprecated-you-are-retrieving-the-service-locator-from-within-the-class-zft

Using Eclipse for the Atmel 328P chipset?

There is a version of the Eclipse IDE out there at https://eclipse.baeyens.it/ that is all ready for the Atmel 328P chipset. It’s name is Sloeber. I am touting its praises even though I am still getting adjusted to using it. Installation was not difficult even though I had to adjust my file paths. The biggest difficulty was telling it not to be too smart. I also didn’t succeed in getting avrdude to work yet. But it handles multiple C++ files just like any Eclipse project and beautifully!

On Reading Technology

Today (Sunday) I am reading a computer book that is on the bookshelf here at home entitled GNU/Linux Application Programming by M. Tim Jones. It is a good-looking imprint by Charles River Media. It’s best for me to stay on-topic with my reading, that is, on Computer Science right now, even if I am just reading for relaxation.

I decided to write about the topic of my technology reading because I finally and literally “picked up” the guide to the ARM Microprocessor (I will provide the reference) that I had purchased special-order and found it to be excellently written. I thought, wow, maybe I could try some other reading that was slightly more complicated or on a different topic within my field. It’s one thing for the reading to be easy, and quite another to use the one’s new book learning in-the-field; although I have found that the easier the reading the better I learn the new material.

Some of these technically-focused books read just like storybooks; others are not possible to read easily. Of course, one usually only reads a book of this sort at all if one has something they need to accomplish. If one is reading about a certain technology and the book is well-written, it’s just like reading mystery or science fiction or some other genre – that is to say, it’s fun!

If one is reading such a book, it’s really helpful to try out the examples, that is, to learn by doing. In my case, I have a lot of ideas for GNU (GNU is Not Unix) applications that I would like to start. I would like to have more helpful desktop applications available to me, once more, on my Linux machine and perhaps my Windows desktop too!

Certainly it is a lot of fun to master the latest technology of the Internet but looking at some of the reasons for using a computer in the first place, one might conclude that an application, Windows or otherwise, the so-called “fat client”, might be preferable.

Back to Websites!

I like working on websites!  I like making the simplest change and seeing that it works.  Then I like to tell everyone I know all about it.  I like to write about technical developments I and others have made, even if they don’t seem so important at all.  I guess that is why I have a blog.   But does anyone actually want to hear it?

Don’t tell my clients, but sometimes it takes me forever to make the simplest change.  For instance, right now I am trying to add responsive design to this WordPress theme.  Changing a design after it is in place is like using a shoe horn to make a larger shoe size.  It can’t be done! Maybe I am finally realizing this.

Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) continues to be the best strategy for things like this.  I promise that I will go shopping for a new theme rather than try to do things the hard way again!