Blockchains Explained

I found a really neat demonstration of how blockchain works. The video, created by Anders Brownworth, is on YouTube: It provides a walkthrough that takes us from cryptographic hashing, to blocks, to blockchains, to distributed blockchains, to distributed ledgers. It’s the clearest discussion of blockchain’s I’ve ever seen. Even better, the entire system can be played with on Brownworth’s website and the source code is available via GitHub.

Advice for Deploying Agile Analytics

Lisa Morgan at InformationWeek writes about agile analytics: Organizations have potential access to more data today than they’ve ever had before, but they’re not always aware of what they have inside their own companies, let alone what’s available from third-party sources. Read more about what I and other industry leaders say about organizational approaches to analytics: Agile Analytics: 11 Ways To Get There – InformationWeek The accelerating pace of global business means that enterprises need more agile data-related systems and practices. Becoming more agile — and succeeding at it — isn’t always easy given existing technology investments, constant technological evolution,

Notes on the Variscite DART-MX6 GPIO Interface

Because of reasons, I have a Variscite VAR-DTK-MX6 evaluation kit for the DART-MX6 system on module (SOM) sitting on my desk at home. It’s a neat little board. The DART-MX6 is small, measuring 20mm by 50mm and runs a dual-core ARM Cortex-9 processor. This makes it a bit more powerful than, for instance, a Raspberry Pi, but it is only $27. The SOM is meant to be used as a component in an embedded application when some device or another that needs a 32-bit microprocessor. The evaluation kit is about the size of two Raspberry Pi boards and mounts the

A Love Note to Kermit

Occasionally, I post some pictures and notes on hardware projects we have going on in the Cybernetics Laboratory, which is to say, my desk. One thing that always comes up a program called Kermit, originally built by Columbia University, now maintained by the Kermit Project. Kermit has been around since the early 1980s, but I learned of it in the early 1990s from BBSes. I would download stuff using XMODEM, but some BBS systems would offer Kermit as a file transfer protocol. I would learn a lot more about Kermit in the mid 1990s. My mother started a postgraduate program

Code Coverage Counterexamples

Code coverage is not what it’s cracked up to be. As an experiment, I started using Coveralls on two of my R projects, cmna and phonics. Both projects had unit testing with testthat included, both use Travis for continuous integration, and Coveralls supports R. So this seemed like a logical experiment, and the results tell us something about code coverage. First, cmna has miserable code coverage. As of this writing, code coverage is only about 8 percent and I am surprised it is that high. I basically gave up on writing unit tests while developing the package and the book