Matters of Note

Work has been both challenging and exhausting these past few weeks, as I learn new tricks and we prepare for Codebits.

As always, there’s a fair bit to keep mum about, but there are broad strokes of public stuff that I can dwell upon, and that are worth noting here for future reference.

On the Big Data front, and lacking the will and opportunity to mess about with Hadoop directly for the moment, I put R aside for a bit and dived into D3, which is a wonderfully flexible (and perhaps too powerful) way to deal with visualization – and given that we need to make some of our data visible, I decided to take some time to investigate creative ways to do so.

There are a few ways to go about this (this booklet springs to mind, even though it’s a tad simplistic if you’ve dealt with Protovis before), but tackling on two or three wildly differing visualizations seems to be the best – my current rate is one out of three working within half an hour or so (back-end web service included), but then again I’m sticking to fairly conventional stuff (and am still stuck on a particularly challenging geographical visualization I’m attempting to concoct).

But it’s come in handy already – I’ve been working on a digital signage system for Codebits as a kind of pet project (it’s going to be one of my contributions to the organization this year), and whipping up quick CPU core temperature and process RAM usage charts for the Raspberry Pis we’re using for that was essential to tracking down some stability issues1.

As to hobbies, my little Android build machine is nearly full to the brim with device trees for a few more gadgets I’m tinkering with, and I’m getting fairly better at it – if not by submitting patches, at least by testing and tweaking other people’s. I don’t expect to become an expert anytime soon, but at least I can find and fix stuff with relative ease – unless, of course, it’s a user experience thing.

After all, I’m still drafting these posts on my iPad, and even though I now carry a 7” Android tablet to and from the office practically every day, it’s going to be a while yet until they’re evenly matched – if ever.

  1. I’ll be penning a longish blog post on the Codebits site itself once everything’s done, but basically I’m still stuck with X. I’ve been exchanging notes with a few folk regarding Qt and even got a working GPU-enabled browser, but everything’s still a bit too unstable on that front. ↩︎