Rice University logo
Top blue bar image
Computer Scientist at the Department of BioSciences, Rice University

Archive for August, 2012

Upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS

August 31st, 2012 by Boanerges Aleman-Meza

I upgraded my linux box to Ubuntu 12.04. The upgrade went smoothly, except for a few screens such as the following:

The new version looks great, very nice design, except that the launch-bar is too colorful. Nice work Ubutu !

Data Analysis with Open Source Tools (Book Review)

August 13th, 2012 by Boanerges Aleman-Meza

Summary: Data Analysis with Open Source Tools is a reference book that explains in detail the many ways to make sense of data. You will find ways to interpret data using statistics, plots, and mathematics. It also covers traditional data mining (simulation, clustering) and fun topics on modeling for making estimates.

You should get this book if your education was below average in statistics and math, or if it was average and you forgot about it already. It is quite good to refresh your memory and to learn interesting stuff that is good to know in case you need it. For example, the time value of money is clearly explained. The author goes in length to warn you of common mistakes in processing data. Every graduate student in a science major should know about the topics covered in this book. That is, read about it once, you will know what it is when someone mentions it (such as k-means), and if needed, go back again to the book for details or pointers for further information.

Once you reach 80% of the book, there are two big appendixes left: one is a refresher on math, the other on additional details on working on data. Throughout, the book has workshops/exercises, but unless you are familiar with Phyton, you might as well skip them (not too big of a loss).

Disclaimer: I was provided a electronic-copy of the book from O’Reilly for review.

Web Browser evaluation

August 9th, 2012 by Boanerges Aleman-Meza

I tested several browsers for a period of two months. At the office in my Windows XP desktop, I would use a different browser every day. Details:

  • Internet Explorer 8: dislike that Ctrl+L does not take me to the address bar. Slow when opening tabs. The yellow bar warning about running add-ons such as Adobe-Flash is annoying. I gave up on this browser after the second week.
  • Google Chrome v21: like the option of saving to PDF. It does not move to other tabs with Ctrl+PageUp/PageDown when inside editor window of WordPress.
  • Mozilla Firefox v14: gives the impression that it wants to update quite frequently. It is great to copy text such as clicking on a word and then using shift+arrow to select adjacent text. Moving to other tabs with Ctrl+PageUp/PageDown always works.
  • Safari v5: zooming in google maps causes screen mess (as if the video card had failed only in this application). It is somewhat slow in the start but I do not see this in my mac. It is great to copy text such as clicking on a word and then using shift+arrow to select adjacent text. It needs an easy way to move to other tabs using keyboard shortcuts.

My preference: Mozilla Firefox.

Ideal browser: Mozilla Firefox with the “print-to-PDF” option.