TechZing 53 – The Unreasonable Man Theory

Justin and Jason discuss the show’s new schedule, the Teddy principle, using setTimeout as a way to circumvent the long running script warning, Jason’s Javascript machine learning library, the use of AI in medical diagnostics, Jason’s idea for a web-based business intelligence platform, how Appcelerator compiles Javascript to Objective-C, the relative speeds of the various Javascript engines, Swarm’s sales statistics, the importance of targeting your niche, Justin’s strange question of the week and Jason’s quote of the week, Guyon’s suggestions for Swarm, the iPhone 4 controversy, the dramatic fall in IPOs, the benefits of a lifestyle business and the the importance of the existence proof.

25 Comments
  1. Justin says:

    Link to the Danby Portable AC Discussed In The Show – http://bit.ly/dqJr90

  2. Robin says:

    Another interesting show.
    I must say I am glad that you will be pushing two podcasts per week, I really enjoy both the informal chats and the interviews, last weeks interview with Chris McCann was very good.

    I don’t know if you already know but your podcast got a mention on the phpclasses podcast, it is a pretty painful podcast to listen to http://bit.ly/bc6NcI
    but your mention is near the beginning so you wouldn’t have to endure to long if you wanted to listen.

    Keep up the great work, out of all the podcasts I listen too yours is the one I navigate to first on my mp3 player.

  3. soitgoes says:

    Great to hear you’re doing two shows a week. Fully agree with Jason on having no time for whingers. When I do contract work for large UK companies, I invariably find staff droning on about what a terrible place this is to work; and what’s really depressing is some of them have been there 20+ years! Does complaining about complainers make me a complainer too – guess it does ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    STARTUPS AND ALIENS!!!!

  5. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    DUDE I HAD THE EXACT SAME DREAM ABOUT ALIENS! WTF!

  6. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    PS: the next day they came back and killed everyone.

  7. Jason says:

    @Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh I think Startups and Aliens is very funny, unique and very brandable, so I like the name for those reasons. However, I’m concerned that when inviting people to be guests on the show, a name like Startups and Aliens might cause them not to take us seriously.

    You’re just kidding about having that same dream, right? That would be very strange. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Bopinder Abu Morpalinder Singh says:

    Well I didn’t ask about them being carbon based but yeah, I had a civilized discussion with aliens in my dream ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for Startups and Aliens.. ๐Ÿ˜›

  9. Neville says:

    I like the โ€œQuote of the weekโ€ segment, about progress being the result of natural disharmony and โ€œcreation for creations sakeโ€

    Hereโ€™s my two cents: Everybody has an alternate view of how the world should be, and we have the unique capability of expressing that alternative view by rearranging the raw materials of nature. Here are some examples ;
    – Rearranging the natural processes of vegetation in order to produce an alternative abundance of fruits, vegetables, flowers etc. = Farming/Gardening
    – Transforming the earthโ€™s raw materials in new and different ways that are more useful, or interesting, or valuable = Manufacturing
    – Taking the human experience and rearranging it so that it creates an alternative human narrative = Literature/Film
    – Rearranging the execution of bits to create alternative binary outputs = Software Development

  10. william says:

    Hello again. I was interested in the discussion of the javascript machine learning library. Is it ready for release? We are playing with the idea of a web based fitting routine. For sanity at the moment, we have been doing our calculations on the server, but I wonder–given the optimizations that Google and Apple are engaged in, perhaps we can do fitting in the browser, which would help us get around some of the security issues that we’ll have to face if we want to allow users to define their own fitting functions….

  11. Jason says:

    @william I don’t have any benchmarks for you, but from what I hear Javascript (running on Chrome and Safari anyway) is significantly faster than Python. Since Python is often used for quantitative analysis, that’s probably a decent indication that Javascript is up to the job. You might want to try converting some simple curve fitting code into Javascript just to see how it does on the various browsers. I’m sure it would be easy to find some open source Java, C# or Python code that would be easy to convert.

    Anyway, let us know how it goes and please post in the comments anything interesting you discover on this topic.

    By the way, what algorithm are you wanting to use for the curve fitting?

  12. william says:

    Hi jason,

    For python (for most science code), we usually “cheat” by binding to code that is written either in c or fortran for the heavy lifting (for example, numpy, or scipy).

    For a very simple curve fitter, I was thinking of Marquardt-Levenberg. I have code (with a clean license) and it might be worthwhile to put together a little package just for fun to see how much is possible in the browser.

  13. Jason says:

    @william I can’t remember if the Marquardt-Levenberg algorithm uses matrix inversion or not (I’d have to open up my copy of Numerical Recipes in C), but if it does you can use Sylvester, which is an open source, Javascript, matrix library: http://sylvester.jcoglan.com.

  14. Sweet, two shows a week!

    @justin I’m getting a bear! Found “Tell it to the bear” insightful.

  15. Spencer says:

    Oxygen and food are not two different sources of energy. Oxygen is part of the chemical reaction where glucose from food is turned into ATP. ATP is pretty much like the body’s currency in terms of energy. I Just got done taking biochem last semester. Great show, I learn a lot here.

  16. Emrah says:

    Two shows a week sounds great so long as the quality doesn’t go down.. ๐Ÿ˜›

    There are indeed anaerobic organisms which generate their energy without using any oxygen, but they get much less energy that way.

    I have another show segment suggestion for you: “questions from the listeners aka the mailbag”.

    HackerRadio sounds a bit old-fashioned and PG-fanboy-ish, but if it works for you two, I’ll go there to get my shows. The name doesn’t matter much.

    On the iphone antenna issue, I’m with Justin simply because Apple is supposed to stand for awesome design. If you go to McDonalds and whine about the quality of the burgers or stay at Holiday Inn and want 5-star service, then sure, you need your head checked, but expecting more from Apple, even when everyone else has similar issues, is not asking too much. What got Apple to where they are today is all the stuff they get right that others can’t/won’t. I doubt they wanna go back to the “oh well, that’s just how it is people, suck it up” land.

    OTOH, I agree with Jason too in the sense that some people complain for the sake of complaining. There are too many drama queens out there who don’t seem to have anything better to do with their time.

  17. Another great show – love the new format idea. Haven’t listened to the next one even though it’s out now so I can’t wait to hear your interview with UFO historian, Richard Dolan!

    The Teddy Bear principle is definitely an old idea ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to work with a guy who had a plastic penguin on his computer which he would explain technical problems to! From then on whenever we needed someone to bounce problems off we would ask if they would be a “plastic penguin”!

    Interestingly I think the Teddy Bear principle has a lot in common with Test Driven Development. I TDD you have to define your boundaries and in doing so can produce a good solution. By explaining your problems you are setting the issues in stone (as it were) and making them visible. A path through the problem is therefore much easier to see.

    BTW I’m evangelizing Techzing on my twitter account! I hope I can funnel some extra listeners your way. You can follow me at @alexgemmell ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. @Jason Listening to u discuss JavaScript timing out in a browser after 15 seconds (or whatever it is). I’m pulling my hair out wanting to answer u! What about using the new HTML5 Web Workers? That would save u!

  19. HackerRadio sounds like a cool name. Congrats for stepping up to two shows a week – this is a ton of work for sure. I like the idea of having one show focused on an interview and one on the weekly news chat.

  20. Jason says:

    @Alex Gemmell Yeah, that’s a very good point, although I’m not sure Justin and I are allowed to implement technologies until we’ve invited an expert onto the show to discuss them in depth, … so until we get an HTML5 guy on the show I’m afraid Web Workers are off limits. ๐Ÿ˜‰ All kidding aside, that’s a very good point and I can’t believe I didn’t think of using them. The one issue is you still have the problem that HTML5 is not yet supported across all the major browsers (or at least that’s my impression). Hey, where the hell is that HTML5 expert anyway! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, I’ll try to remember to bring up your point during this weekend’s discussion show.

    Also, thanks so much for helping to spread the word on TechZing!

  21. Jason says:

    @Philippe Monnet Yeah, this name thing has been driving me crazy since we started doing the podcast. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with this issue, but I am! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The problem with Hacker Radio, even though I think the name is perfect, is that there already is at least one in existence and I think there may be several. I kind of think that’s a problem, but I’d be very interested to hear what you and our other core listener’s think on the subject.

  22. Jason says:

    @Emrah That’s a good idea for a show segment, so maybe that’s what it should be instead of “Justin’s Strange Question of the Week”.

    I promise that we’ll do our best not to let the quality of the show drop. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think that if we’re efficient then we can do two shows per week and still do a good job. I think we’re going to follow this format for the length of the summer and then reevaluate. If it helps to accelerates our growth (which is the plan) and people think we’re doing a good job, then we’ll probably stick with it.

  23. Jason says:

    @Spencer That was kind of what I was trying to explain, but I’ve forgotten so much of my biology that I ended up just sounding like an idiot, which was probably Justin’s plan all along. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Emrah says:

    Philippe Monnet :
    I like the idea of having one show focused on an interview and one on the weekly news chat.

    thumbs up

  25. Oscar says:

    Simple names with “hack” that came to my mind:
    -Hacker chat (.net and .org domains are still free)
    -Hackast/Hackcast
    -Hackzing (Just kidding…)