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Matthew Hall
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Matthew Hall

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The iMac with 5k Retina Display Giveaway - Explore Your Digital World in Unparalleled Clarity with this 27" Retina iMac
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Matthew Hall

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The Pick Your Own Apple Toy Giveaway - One Lucky Winner Will Choose Any Apple Product They Want....Up to $700!
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Matthew Hall

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So, for your viewing pleasure, my brain. It printed a little rough, and too big for a keychain, but remarkably well for my first stab at 3D extrusion printing.
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Challenge for next semester:

For teaching the "Dealing with Data" course, all Powerpoint slides must consist solely of images from xkcd, SMBC, and LOLcats.
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WAT
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OK my geek friends; a challenge. I have been assigned to teach a course next semester, entitled "Dealing with Data". It is a required course for the (new) information science and arts school, it has never been taught before, and basically I was told "Here is the course title. It should cover technical, legal, and ethical aspects of data. Design it.".

I could use a little help; details follow;

Oh yes, and the prerequisites are basic algebra.

So. I'm on the lookout for topics, interesting datasets, and analysis tools suitable for the uninitiated. Any articles or books or readings of any kind would be __GREATLY__ appreciated.

Topics: A mixture of ethical/legal (examples: HIPPA, "climategate", Facebook, Netflix) and technical (kinds of data, kinds of data storage, data cleaning and mining, search and retrieval)

Datasets: Everything from unstructured text to social network data to MRI (such as my brain, which I will probably distribute). Controversial datasets would be great, but they might be hard to analyze (Enron corpus; "Climategate" emails and/or datasets)

Analysis: Primarily visual, given the prereqs. Examples: Gapminder, Tableau public, Excel (unfortunately ubiquitous), targeted VTK/Python scripts.

Any other suggestions?

(PS - I did have a bit more guidance than the title; SISTA's director and Assoc. Director and I met several times. My intro paragraph was purely for dramatic effect)
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Yes, I was planning to use some VAST challenge data, though designing a lab for undergrads will require significant preprocessing, I think.

And yes, this is the survey course from hell. Basically, my message is going to be that for any particular problem, you need to get your hands dirty and just immerse yourself in the data. Build up a suite of tools, tricks, and techniques. Talk to the people that gathered the data and those who will use it (if they are separate groups). Present your results in an unbiased way as best you can. Etc., etc.
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Matthew Hall

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OK - new take on the bike tracking system. I am ordering a wifi system that's ultra low power (i.e. batteries last for multi-years), can send an identifying UDP packet at preset intervals to the nearest open wi-fi network. It's small enough to be hidden somewhat easily, but we'll see if that works.

But that costs +$30. I realized that you can get a prepaid cellphone for $10 ($20 with a camera). It really seems like one should be able to hack such a thing to send the ID of the nearest cell tower (or ideally, the IDs and RSSIs of a few nearby towers) in response to an SMS. Very few resources on how to hack said phones, though. Any leads?
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Wish I had something substantive to add, but your google-fu's as good as mine. Do they still call it rooting or unlocking or pwning, or has a more fashionable verb displaced these?
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So the bikes just got stolen from our backyard (our commuting bikes, not my road bike, at least). Dammit.

Got me thinking about a lo-jack system for bikes. Lojack is expensive (and big), and other similar systems also have a high monthly fee (since they use a cell network), and are battery-intensive. I was thinking about a GPS attached to a wifi system that maybe only records locations occasionally (on movement?) and transmits to open wifi networks when available. Possibly wouldn't even need the GPS if we knew the wi-fi network. It wouldn't find the bike immediately, but eventually, and probably within a few days. Also, could integrate with the lighting system or a hub generator pretty easily.

Looks like the major parts are <$125 on sparkfun (much less for WiFi only). Now if only I knew some engineering types who could help design this thing...
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well, google bicycle lojack found many discussions. lojack's own corporate offering is tamper-resistant labels, a purely passive approach (easier for them to make a buck on that than on what we're talking about).
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Matthew Hall

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A directory of wonderful things: boingboing.net
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By the way, this is the $15 "drill press" I was talking about. 
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Awesome!  As elegant as a proof of the Pythagorean theorem.
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I just realized "umbrella" means "little shadow"! That is all.
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I like the Spanish version: paraguas. Means "for waters".
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WANT.
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Matt's post is awesome, but Camille's reply frickin' seals it.
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El Replacement Commuter bike #2. Matt's choice; a zippy little modern road bike with a carbon fork and decent components. I tried a few single speeds; I even tried a fixie with no handbrake, but my 39 year old knees rebelled and demanded gears. It's aluminum, so it's a bit stiff, and at 54cm, it's a bit small for me. Er... wait a sec.
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