Air Pods

I finally took the plunge and bought a pair of Air Pods. So far I quite like them (although it’s only been a few hours). I quite like the way that you can pause the track you are listening to simply by taking one headphone out of your ear. Playback resumes when you put it back in your ear. They are quite expensive though, and I’m fairly sure that I will lose them unless I develop a routine way of storing them.

Big Iron

Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I used to argue that programmers should do their coding on an 8086 machine, an IBM XT for example, rather than something more powerful like a 286. My argument was that by using a slow machine, you had the same user experience as your average user, and you could optimize the program appropriately.

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Starting Deep Learning Course

I met up with some of my old team from BNP Paribas last week. I found it striking that everyone who was there is now working directly with Machine Learning. It was quite inspiring!

For the last few years I’ve been building Trading Execution Algorithms for Westpac. Time to do something different!

I decided to enroll in Coursera’s Deep Learning Specialization. I’ve just finished the first week, and I am really enjoying it. Andrew Ng is a fantastic teacher. I did his previous course on Machine Learning and loved it.

iPad Pro versus MS Surface Usability

I have both an iPad Pro and a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet running Linux. Depending on what I am planning on doing on a day-to-day basis affects which device I carry around. Mostly I carry my Surface, as I have Linux installed, and it allows me to easily do development, remotely administer machines, or do general computing tasks. The keyboard on it isn’t great however – it’s kind of flimsy and doesn’t work well if it’s not on a firm surface. I can’t easily use it on a train for example. It was perfect when we were in Australia for a month, and allowed me to both work and do University assignments. I can use it as a tablet for reading, but it isn’t great for that.

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Linux on Surface Pro 3

I just bought myself a second-hand Surface Pro 3 and installed Linux on it. It runs Ubuntu extremely well, with almost everything working out of the box. It’s lovely having an light-weight machine that I can use as a tablet, but also do development on.

Installing PostgreSQL from source on my Mac

In order to build PostgreSQL from source on my MacBook Pro running El Capitan, I first downloaded the git repo:

git clone git://

I then built it:

cd postgresql
sudo make install

This will install the binaries to the default location of “/usr/local/pgsql”.

I already had a user called “_postgres” in my /etc/passwd file, so I configured to run PostgreSQL as this user:
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Da Vinci 3D Printer Arrives

Yesterday my XYZ Da Vinci 3D Printer arrived. I had a really fun day setting it up and doing some test prints. The first print I made was the “key chain” print that is on the firmware. This created a rather lame “XYZ” logo that I assume you can attach to your keyring.

IMG_0099.JPGThe CD that came with the printer only has Windows versions of the XYZ Printer software, despite proclaiming Mac versions as well. Fortunately, the software is downloadable from their website.

Next, Helen created a model in XSI of an egg cup that looks like a bird’s nest. She exported it to Blender and then we created an STL file which we then imported into the XYZ Printer software. The print for this took about 3 hours, and the results were less than perfect. The egg cup still looks pretty cool though.


This morning I printed a 3D printed shell and ordered an Arduino so I could reset my filament cartridge as described here.


So far I’m pretty happy with the printer. It was pretty cheap at £500, and I’ve really enjoyed playing around with it. I’m keen learn a lot more about 3D printing, and I think that this printer is a great one to start with.

Configuring a Jaalee iBeacon Transmitter

I received 5 iBeacon transmitter units from today. They arrived unassembled, so I put them together and configured their local names with my iPhone.

The first hurdle I found in setting them up was getting the battery in the right way around. Each unit comes with a watch battery, and you need to have the side with the plus sign facing away from the circuitry.

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