Weekly Head Voices #127: Readers are leaders.

Betty’s Bay Beach impression by Genetic Offspring Unit #1, age 11.

  • This week I worked on automated email analysis and storage for side-project #38465 (more on this in future editions) and on bits of UI for a wxPython desktop app (yes desktop app! some of us fortunately still get to make them!) for my current main work project.
  • Had to make screencast to demonstrate milestone deliverable of above-mentioned main project. Making screencasts is an obscure but longstanding hobby of mine, but I needed to level up slightly, so the business bought me ScreenFlow 7.2. For the first time ever, I recorded the screencast in multiple segments and did the voice-over later. Soon these new skillz will trickle down to my publically available screencasts.
  • On that topic, having a good microphone is crucial, not only for screen recordings but also for video meetings. I recently acquired the Samson Go Mic to complement my larger Samson C01U. The Go is brilliant: Recorded voice quality comes close to the C01U in spite of the Go’s compact form factor, and it has a hardware switch to select either of the the built-in omni-directional, for meetings, or cardioid, for more dedicated voice recording, microphone elements.
  • Ironically, an ex-colleague posted “How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us” on Facebook, a long and worthwhile read on how FB is used to spread fake news that effectively manipulates public opinion, and what should be done to remedy this. Here is a choice quote to get you started:

We still don’t know the exact degree of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. But the debate over collusion, while important, risks missing what should be an obvious point: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other platforms were manipulated by the Russians to shift outcomes in Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, and unless major changes are made, they will be manipulated again. Next time, there is no telling who the manipulators will be.

  • In the same vein, I continuously try to spend as few as possible minutes on YouTube, but the one thing I will definitely continue watching is Károly Zsolnai-Fehér’s brilliant Two Minute Papers channel! Most recently, his treatment of Distilling a Neural Network Into a Soft Decision Tree, a paper by Nicholas Frost and Geoffrey Hinton, caught my interest. In this, they address the problem of neural network explicability (it’s hard saying at a higher level why a neural network makes a particular decision) by deriving a soft decision tree from that trained neural network. The tree is not as accurate as the network, but is able to give plausible explanations for the network’s decisions. See the 4 minute long two minute paper video (hehe) here:

  • I came across the following on reddit, again quite ironically, and I have since taken to saying it to my genetic offspring units (GOUs) at every possible opportunity:

Readers are leaders!

Have a great week readers, I hope to see you again really soon!

6 thoughts on “Weekly Head Voices #127: Readers are leaders.”

  1. When checking the Samson go mic:

    “WARNING: This product contains DEHP, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm.”

    Medical advice, do not use like this guy:


    1. It looks like that warning is California being slightly over-cautious. See https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1301401 and https://www.reddit.com/r/chemistry/comments/3ntq5f/bought_a_microphone_with_dehp_in_it_am_i_in_danger/cvrbfz8/

      Ideal distance for voice-overing with these mics seems to be about 15cm. Even more ideal is doing the recording with a duvet draped over you, the mic and the laptop, but this is not always practical. :)

      “I’m sorry I can’t come to your party, I have to work in my home studio tonight.”

  2. Hey Charl – great to hear you had the opportunity for some wxPython again. I’m currently also at the point again to put a wx-UI together. Unsure to this point if I just go the fast-but-non-reusable track and put the UI in wx C++ together, or if I just spent the 14 hours extra to put the backend code in SWIG and use wxPython again. The latter seems aluring – then the whole UI-process is costing less pain and grey haires, and I have the whole backend already in python for further use …

    PS: Hope it really looks as in the picture where you are at the moment! After getting my first frostbeard this year on my way home, I can tell: “Winter is coming [to Europe]”.

    Best Greetings – and happy new year!


    1. You know what my humble advice would be wrapping vs non-wrapping the backend. ;)

      Yes, that photo was taken on the Sunday that this post was published. We have a serious water shortage over here, but at least we can enjoy the summer!

      1. Good advice – I’m also continuing down that trail. Thanks sensei!

        I just read the newest edition of the blog – the water shortage sounds really grim. If I could, I’d gladly share some scandinavia rain shower with y’all in south africa :-( Still, always good to see the up-shot: great summer weather. Then I hope you can enjoy the sun some few more weeks and then I hope somebody has a good rain-dance on the hips to make it splash from sky.

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