Category Archives: Programming

Approaching physical user experience as a total novice

As part of a project that I am involved with, I am currently trying to design some hardware. It is mainly casing around the components but it is completely new experience for me. I have never tried building anything for a person with visual impairments before, let alone a user experience. It is certainly a […]

Sometimes the project is for turning

In a speech to the Conservative Party in 1980, Margaret Thatcher said that the “lady’s not for turning”. Projects are not always like this. Recently a decision was made to change direction completely. A project meeting was held and a demonstration of some technology shown that followed the agreed project path. In the following conversation, […]

Continuing on the path to better reproducible work

Last year I had the pleasure of helping Julia Stewart Lowndes at a Software Carpentry style workshop in Oxford. I got notice of her paper, Our path to better science in less time using open data science tools, [1] via various means and made time to read the other day. It describes the path taken […]

Looking into profiling Python

Periodically I get back to profiling code, or at least some of it. Profiling is an tricky art: I do not claim expertise but it is something that I come back to every so often. In a previous project I used strace to follow the ins and outs of a very long running process (about […]

Week Notes 31 March

Having managed to damage myself at the end of last week, I forgot to write a week notes. We have made progress on the Museum’s project in a slightly surprising way but more on that in due course. Talks have been written for submission. The work itself has helped the main project and I really […]

Software Carpentry and Reproducible Research at Oxford

Last month I instructed at a Software Carpentry workshop with the Reproducible Research Oxford group as Phil Fowler, my co-instructor, a has recently blogged about. He mentions Software Carpentry’s mission about reaching science students and comments: I think researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences have just as much, if not more, to gain from […]

Reactions to Mark Zuckerberg’s letter

Mark Zuckerberg published a somewhat rambling letter / essay on Facebook, Building Global Community. In itself, it comes across as rambling, trying not to really engage at a deeper level. Surprising for me, Techcrunch called it out in Taylor Hatmaker’s piece, “What Zuck’s letter didn’t say“, pointing out the rhetoric and the reality of Facebook […]

Smoke testing Dockerfiles and their images

As a result of the work on building Dockerfiles to build Docker images that can then be run with the same build, I considered testing the files as it as being developed. This provides confidence that the file and Docker are installing the desired packages and that these packages can be run. One of the […]

Soft skills in developing Research Software Engineers?

I was at the Research Software Engineers’ conference recently and in the group discussing training. One of the themes that I advocated is training in soft skills such as communication. In part I meant this as the bridge between the developer(s) and business but on reflection, perhaps I mean something deeper as well. A while […]

New beginnings, new stories and finding ways of communicating

I am starting a new project with the Oxford University Museums to work on making art more accessible. My role is a technical one but I love visiting the museums concerned and it feeds out of an interest in audio and sound. One of the challenges at the moment is to create user stories for […]