Weekly Head Voices #100: Happy 2016!

Cape Town photographed from the top of Table Mountain. Click for high-res. I wish you a truly happy 2016, filled with learning and helping other people! Neil deGrasse Tyson, exemplary human, said it best: For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.

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When we can, let’s use Signal instead of WhatsApp.

(Post updated on August 25, 2016. See section at the end.)Signal, the open source messaging and voice calling app that does end-to-end encryption. The whole world is using WhatsApp to message each other. I often do too, because I want to inter-operate with the rest of the world. However, WhatsApp belongs to Facebook. Although Facebook has promised otherwise, the temptation to link all of your WhatsApp messages with Facebook logins (a straight-forward process, as they have the mobile phone numbers of a great number of their users) must be quite tempting to the people at Facebook.

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Weekly Head Voices #99: No-lands.

This is without a doubt my favourite animated GIF of all time (go ahead, click on the play button!): I am eternally grateful to Twitter user @ftrain for granting us this gift. In the process, I also learnt that: Twitter automatically transcodes animated GIFs to MP4s to save bandwidth, and for other reasons. I’m in two minds about this, because these are good reasons, but GIFs are really handy to be able to paste into HipChat and Slack and everywhere else.

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Weekly Head Voices #98: Lemons.

This, the ninety eighth edition of the WHV, looks back at the week of Monday August 10 to Sunday August 16, 2015. Today we took a brief walk up into the mountain, as one does around these parts. This is what False Bay looks like from the Helderberg Nature Reserve: When life hands you lemons, build a battery Genetic Offspring Unit (GOU) #1 had to do a show and tell at school, so I helped her to construct a battery from 4 lemons.

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Weekly Head Voices #97: Beerbow.

This, the ninety seventh edition of the WHV, looks back at the week of Monday August 3 to Sunday August 9, 2015. John Scalzi (famous and successful SciFi author) describes how he works in this post on lifehacker. What I found really interesting was that when he’s working on a book or other project, he switches off the internet between 8 and noon. I just discovered that Four Tet’s mom is South African-born.

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Weekly Head Voices #96: Never gonna give you up.

The week has resulted in a terribly nerdy list of bullets. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! (there’s a beer recommendation or three at the end to compensate) It turns out that the terrible Samsung trim bug which would eat all of your data, as discovered by Algolia, was a Linux kernel bug after all (now patched by Samsung) and that it would only affect RAID setups. Let’s hope there are no surprising new turning outs.

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Weekly Head Voices #95: A wheel of good fortune.

![waterfront_wheel.jpg][1]The Cape Wheel with Table Mountain in the background. NERD-ALERT: There are a whole bunch of awesome SciPy 2015 presentations online! I really liked these so far (due to good work and good presentation): A Better Default Colormap for Matplotlib by Nathaniel Smith and Stéfan van der Walt – Besides the fact that Stéfan is a friend AND SOMETIMES EVEN READS THIS BLOG (!!!1!), this work is a super useful contribution not just to matplotlib, but to general awareness and practical application of sensible quantitative colour maps!

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Weekly Head Voices #94: Into the wild.

This WHV deals with the weeks from Monday June 29 to Sunday July 19. I skipped an edition or two whilst away on vacation, as I was quite busy with, you know, being on vacation. So, about that vacation: Last year I explained about the Kruger National Park, or KNP. Well, we went again this year, and again it was lovely. It helps that in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, “winter” at this time of year seems to mean “lovely balmy days with temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius”.

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Weekly Head Voices #93: A thank you note.

The week of Monday June 21 to Sunday June 28 as seen through bullets: On Monday I received a super sweet email from an ex-student of one of my DataVis courses at the TU Delft. My course got a “one of the best” rating, but more importantly, the gentleman in question explained that it had inspired him to make a career in DataVis (and judging by his work record up to now, he’s doing a really good job of it!

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Weekly Head Voices #92: The cake is a lie.

A random winter’s day view from Del Vera, where father’s day was celebrated. The week of Monday June 15 to Sunday June 21 in bullets: Ran around organizing all kinds of things for the new house. The various institutions have been cooperating very nicely. Spent days trying first to fix an implementation of a GPU algorithm to simulate car paint, and then to implement an alternative algorithm by the clever boys and girls at NVIDIA.

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