07 Nov 2020

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Cloud Cipher Capabilities

… or, the lack of it. A recent discussion at a customer made me having a closer look around support for encryption in the context of XaaS cloud service offerings as well as concerning Hadoop. In general, this can be broken down into over-the-wire (cf. SSL/ TLS ) and back-end encryption. While the former is widely used, the latter is rather seldom to find. Different reasons might exits why one wants to encrypt her data, ranging from preserving a competitive advantage to end-user privacy issues. No matter why someone wants to encrypt the data, the question is do systems support ...

07 Nov 2020 1:22am GMT

31 Oct 2020

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SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, and Open Science

WP4846 that I started on March 16. It will see a massive overhaul in the next weeks. Voices are getting stronger over how important Open Science is . Insiders have known the advantages for decades. We also know the issues in the transition, but the transition has been steady. Contributing to Open ...

31 Oct 2020 10:40am GMT

30 Oct 2020

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Brief review of revisions and corrections policies for official statistics

In my earlier post on the importance of tracking updates to datasets I noted that the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice includes a requirement that publishers of official statistics must publish a policy that describes their approach to revisions and corrections. See 3.9 in T3: Orderly Release , which states: " Scheduled revisions or unscheduled corrections to the statistics and data should be released as soon as practicable. The changes should be handled transparently in line with a published policy." The Code of Practice includes definitions of both Scheduled Revisions and Unscheduled Corrections. Scheduled Revisions are defined as: " ...

30 Oct 2020 4:05pm GMT

The importance of tracking dataset retractions and updates

There are lots of recent examples of researchers collecting and releasing datasets which end up raising serious ethical and legal concerns. The IBM facial recognition dataset being just one example that springs to mind. I read an interesting post exploring how facial recognition datasets are being widely used despite being taken down due to ethical concerns . The post highlights how these datasets, despite being retracted, are still being widely used in research. This is in part because the original datasets are still circulating via mirrors of the original files. But also because they have been incorporated into derived datasets ...

30 Oct 2020 10:05am GMT

27 Oct 2020

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MyNatureWatch with a High Quality Raspberry Pi camera

I've been using MyNatureWatch setup on my bird table for ages now, and I really love it ( you should try it ). The standard setup is with a pi zero (though it works fine with other versions of the Pi too). I've used the recommended, very cheap, pi zero camera with it, and also the usual pi camera (you can fit it to a zero using a special cable ). I got myself one of the newish high quality Pi cameras (you need a lens too, I got this one ) to see if I could get some better ...

27 Oct 2020 12:05pm GMT

24 Oct 2020

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Libbybot – a posable remote presence bot made from a Raspberry Pi 3 – updates

A couple of people have asked me about my presence-robot-in-a-lamp, libbybot - unsurprising at the moment maybe - so I've updated the code in github to use the most recent RTCMultiConnection (webRTC) library and done a general tidy up. I gave a presentation at EMFCamp about it a couple of years ago - here are the slides: libbybot - EMF 2018 talk Download Libbybot

24 Oct 2020 4:05pm GMT

22 Oct 2020

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Consulting Spreadsheet Detective, Season 1

I was very pleased to announce my new TV series today, loosely based on real events . More details here in the official press release. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Coming to all major streaming services in 2021 will be the exciting new series: " Turning the Tables ". Exploring the murky corporate world of poorly formatted spreadsheets and nefarious macros each episode of this new series will explore another unique mystery. When the cells lie empty, who can help the CSV:PI team pivot their investigation? When things don't add up, who can you turn to but an experienced solver? Who else ...

22 Oct 2020 7:05pm GMT

14 Oct 2020

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Turning tabular data into entities

Two widely used data formats on the Web are CSV and JSON. In order to enable fine-grained access in an hypermedia-oriented fashion I've started to work on Tride , a mapping language that takes one or more CSV files as inputs and produces a set of (connected) JSON documents. In the 2 min demo video I use two CSV files ( people.csv and group.csv ) as well as a mapping file ( group-map.json ) to produce a set of interconnected JSON documents. So, the following mapping file: { "input" : [ { "name" : "people", "src" : "people.csv" }, { ...

14 Oct 2020 6:05pm GMT

Elevator Pitch for the Semantic Web

SemanticWeb.com invited people to make video elevator pitches for the Semantic Web, focused on the question "What is the Semantic Web?". I decided to give it a go. I'd love to hear comments from folks who share my motivation, trying to solve this 'every app is a walled garden' problem. In case you're curious, here's the script I'd written down, which turned out to be wayyyy to long for the elevators in my building, and also too long for me to remember. Eric Franzon of SemanticWeb.Com invited people to send in an elevator pitch for the Semantic Web. Here's mine, ...

14 Oct 2020 6:05pm GMT

Using Machine Learning to write the Queen’s Christmas Message

In their excellent book "The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus" Hannah Fry (aka @ FryRsquared ) and Thomas Oléron Evans (aka @ Mathistopheles ) talked about using Markov Chains to generate the Queen's Christmas message . You can read a bit about that here . After reading that chapter I asked Hannah and Thomas if they had considered repeating this using recurrant neural networks . A couple of years ago Andrej Karpathy wrote a blog that he summarised as follows: We'll train RNNs to generate text character by character and ponder the question "how is that even possible?" In his ...

14 Oct 2020 6:05pm GMT

Tip for improving standards documentation

I love a good standard. I've written about them a lot here. As its #WorldStandardsDay I thought I'd write a quick post to share something that I've learned from leading and supporting some standards work. I've already shared this with a number of people who have asked for advice on standards work, and in some recent user research interviews I've participated in. So it makes sense to write it down. In the ODIHQ standards guide, we explained that at the end of your initial activity to develop a standard , you should plan to produce a range of outputs . ...

14 Oct 2020 11:05am GMT

10 Oct 2020

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Zoom on a Pi 4 (4GB)

It works using chromium not the Zoom app (which only runs on x86, not ARM ). I tested it with a two-person, two-video stream call. You need a screen (I happened to have a spare 7″ touchscreen). You also need a keyboard for the initial setup, and a mouse if you don't have a touchscreen. The really nice thing is that Video4Linux (bcm2835-v4l2) support has improved so it works with both v1 and v2 raspi cameras, and no need for options bcm2835-v4l2 gst_v4l2src_is_broken=1 So: Install Raspian Buster Connect the screen keyboard, mouse, camera and speaker/mic. I used a Sennheiser usb speaker ...

10 Oct 2020 1:05pm GMT

Removing rivets

I wanted to stay away from the computer during a week off work so I had a plan to fix up some garden chairs whose wooden slats had gone rotten: Looking more closely I realised the slats were riveted on. How do you get rivets off? I asked my hackspace buddies and Barney suggested drilling them out. They have an indentation in the back and you don't have to drill very far to get them out. The first chair took me two hours to drill out 15 rivets, and was a frustrating and sweaty experience. I checked YouTube to make ...

10 Oct 2020 1:05pm GMT

Real_libby – a GPT-2 based slackbot

In the latest of my continuing attempts to automate myself , I retrained a GPT-2 model with my iMessages, and made a slackbot so people could talk to it. Since Barney (an expert on these matters) felt it was unethical that it vanished whenever I shut my laptop, it's now living happily(?) if a little more slowly in a Raspberry Pi 4. It was surprisingly easy to do, with a few hints from Barney. I've sketched out what I did below. If you make one, remember that it can leak out private information - names in particular - and can ...

10 Oct 2020 1:05pm GMT

An i2c heat sensor with a Raspberry Pi camera

I had a bit of a struggle with this so thought it was worth documenting. The problem is this - the i2c bus on the Raspberry Pi is used by the official camera to initialise it. So if you want to use an i2c device at the same time as the camera, the device will stop working after a few minutes. Here's more on this problem . I really wanted to use this heatsensor with mynaturewatch to see if we could exclude some of the problem with false positives (trees waving in the breeze and similar). I've not got it ...

10 Oct 2020 1:05pm GMT

29 Sep 2020

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A letter from the future about numbers

It's an odd now looking at early 21st century content in the Internet Archive. So little nuance. It feels a little like watching those old black and white movies. All that colour which was just right there . But now lost. Easy to imagine that life was just monochrome. Harder to imagine the richer colours. Or at least hard for me. There are AIs that will imagine it all for you now, of course. There have been for a while. They'll repaint the pictures using data they've gleaned from elsewhere. But it's not the film that is difficult to look ...

29 Sep 2020 9:05pm GMT