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User Journal

Journal Journal: Taking Bill Gates' shilling

I suspected this all along. I've been doing data analysis of tropical disease data for quite some time - meningitis in Africa, loaloa in Cameroon, and most recently lymphatic filariasis in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo and Benin.

And then last week I discover where the money comes from. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They pay the tropical medicine researchers, and the tropical medicine researchers pay me to do the statistics.

But the joke is on Bill, because I only use Free Software - R running under Linux. Reports are written in LaTeX.

Of course this doesn't go down well with my anarchist-inclined friends. Especially when I told one of them that I had a meeting with the tropical medicine people and some guys from the World Bank next week...

Next entry in a years time, no doubt.

User Journal

Journal Journal: world movie premiere

so today is the day of my sea otter movie
  premiere. i'm up until 1.30am writing the
  voice-over script. get up at 7.30am and sort out
  the microphone. Record the parts to my Akai
  digital recorder, and then have to muck with the
  soundcard drivers to get the digital input
  working. I was expecting this sort of trouble,
  and it didn't take long to sort it out. Chopped
  up all the audio and put it in its proper place
  on the Premiere timeline. Grrreat. Adjust a few
  levels here and there and its ready to mix down
  onto my camera.

Once its on the DV tape in the camera, its over
to the TV and the VCR to make a VHS copy. Hello,
that doesn't sound right. There's something wrong
with the audio at the start of the film. Rats. I
check the Premiere project and there's a section
of wav file out of place. Delete. Fixed. Sorted.
I mix down to the camera again.

Then its over to the TV. its 12:30, the transfer
to VHS takes 30 minutes, I'll be out of the house
and on my way to the 3pm showing no problem. I
switch the camera on. Low Battery. I plug the
mains in. Low battery. I try my monster great
fully charged 10 hour battery. Low battery. I
take the batteries out, wander round the house
for a minute, try again. Low battery. The camera
will do nothing except display Low Battery.

This is the final process in getting the finished
film ready. And I'm stuck, totally. Despair hits.
Obscenities fly at nobody in particular. Then I
have an idea. I pack the camera and the tapes into
my bag and run into town to the camera shop where
I bought the camera. I tell them my story. The
man tries my camera with a fresh battery and
it says 'Low Battery'. He takes it for repair,
and offers to make a VHS copy from my DV tape. I
have to come back in an hour.

  Its funny having an hour in which you're in a
tense deadline situation but there's nothing you
can do. I walk back home and try to relax on the
couch. I also search for the receipt for the
camera, and find it in my desk draw.

  After an hour, I pack everything I need onto my
bike and speed back to the camera shop. The film
is being transferred on a machine in full view in
the shop, and some customers are watching! I
wander into town and sit by the fountain for ten
minutes, relaxing again. Nothing I can do.

  Back to the shop, and pick up the tape. Its now
2.25. I speed onto campus and arrive at 2:45, just
in time. At 3pm there's a few Biology students and
some friends in the room to watch the film. They
all seem to like it, and four of us go and have
a coffee in the coffee bar afterwards. I think
they liked it. They certainly liked the otters.


User Journal

Journal Journal: What a weekend...

So at least on Saturday I got a fair bit of editing done on my sea otter film - even did a cheesy animated line-over-map thing showing the float plane going from Cordova to the camp, with a silhoutte float plane over the top. Niiiice.

Then saturday night to the pub. The Bobbin was chocka-full of goths.

Then on sunday decide to install my new hard drives. Nightmare. Windows decided that my paging file wasnt big enough. Or wasnt there. But logged me straight out without giving me a chance to fix it. Aargh. Two reinstalls later I got a semblance of a working system back and then had to fix all the device drivers. I've not checked that my soundcards are working yet, I'm just grateful to have video back.

And a power failure on Saturday means lots of machines here at work are screaming. Aaaaaargh....

I dont like Mondays, tell me why, I dont like Mondays...

User Journal

Journal Journal: that friday feeling

Friday. Working at 8.40, and about to leave. At least
today I'll get home before 11. Working hard for a
deadline next week to get some web-based reporting
of food poisoning cases done. I've found a great
web-based free GIS 'mapserver' (google for it) and
thats saved a lot of work and made it all possible.
Now I just have to get the data into it.

Every day we are sent updated data by email which gets
filtered by procmail, gunzipped, un-pgped, and stuffed
into a Postgres database table. Then the idea is that
every midnight or so a job gets the data out of the
table, matches up the postcodes (like zip-codes) with
the small area-based units we use (census tracts of a
sort) and computes incidences over space and time.
Then all this data has to go into a Dbase .dbf file
cos thats what the GIS uses.

So not only am I building a GIS, doing stats analyses
with R (, I'm also writing code for
R to write out dbf files. Hence the late nights.

And I'm making a documentary about sea otters that has
to be done in a couple of weeks. Aaaaah.

So its Friday, but I dont think I'm going to have a
restful weekend somehow.

  Happiness to all of you.


User Journal

Journal Journal: Oh great moderator access again

Ah, I've got moderator points again. Now I have to pay for all those great comments I write on slashdot. Dang.

So, I'm going to whore myself. If you've got comments you want modded up, send $1 to me and I'll use all my moderator points on you whenever I get mod access.

Nothing much else happening today....

User Journal

Journal Journal: When did slashdot journals start?

Well well well. Here I am, reading stuff on slashdot when I see someone has a journal entry. When did slashdot become 'blogs for nerds'?

  today I have mostly been thinking about playing football.

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My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.