Adam Katz Musings

Letter frequencies in English

General, tech, quickie, stats, stats — Posted by khopesh @ Thu Sep 15 2011 9:00 pm

Scrabble and other word games presumably have a lot of statistical research invested into their game balance. It may be because I'm an avid word-game player as well as a spam filter expert, but I see lots of connections between these. I often write regular expressions designed to avoid hitting words; in order to do this, I need to know a lot about words. Happily, word games and etymology are hobbies of mine.  (More)

Baseball Stats adjusted for team vs team: OBP

General, baseball, stats — Posted by khopesh @ Mon Aug 01 2011 10:03 pm

Here's a pretty graphic for you: a team-by-team comparison of batting as adjusted to the opponent's pitching, updated just after the trade deadline passed yesterday. Unlike individual batter-v-pitcher numbers, these metrics are statistically significant. While this isn't completely unheard of (Marco Scutaro was listed last night as having something along the lines of a .345 career batting average against the White Sox), it is rare. I chose On-Base Percentage (OBP) as the stat to compare. Read on for my heat-based chart comparing each team's average OBP to each other team's pitching staff's opposing On-Base Percentage (oOBP). It clearly shows just how dominant the Red Sox are in batting (red row), while the Phillies' dominance comes from their pitching (blue column). (More)

The new media paradigm

General, tech — Posted by khopesh @ Thu Mar 17 2011 11:52 pm

I have seen the future and I like it. Big-box record and video stores are things of the past. The wireless cloud is the future. Most content (music, movies, games) will come from hobbyists operating on shoestring budgets but will be impeccably organized and easily searched, though we'll be primarily guided by friends' referrals. Oddly enough, it was "stealing" that got us here and it is "stealing" that will drive us to the finish line. Put more eloquently, it's the ability to collaborate and share without limits which pushes technology in both development and use, for both creating and experiencing all of this content.  (More)

What Network Closet?

General, tech, networking — Posted by khopesh @ Tue Jun 01 2010 7:19 pm

It all started a few months ago. Our building decided to put a restaurant in downstairs. From my conversations with the head chef (who doubles as the building super), it's going to be a nice restaurant with some fantastic lunch options and a full bar. The problem is that it's being constructed on quite the budget, which means little is done outside of the work day. My office is directly above the construction. Over the last few months, I've had to deal with dying equipment, racket and vibrations at my feet, the moving of my doorway, and oh, the network closet... (More)

ProfileSpy is a scam

General, privacy, web, code — Posted by khopesh @ Sat May 22 2010 4:49 pm

An open letter to Facebook and Blogspot:

I am writing about a Facebook page (app?) called "See WhoHas Viewed You" which brands itself as ProfileSpy ("see who views your facebook profile").  The page begins by requesting users click "Like" on the page, after which further instructions follow.  The javascript code offered for the service is incredibly obfuscated (I break it down below).  Assuming you install it anyway, all visitors to your Facebook profile will automatically do (with no knowledge or consent) all of these items: Suggest the ProfileSpy page, invite all(?) of their friends to use it, and then load the http://profilespy.blogspot.com website in a frame.  This site (purposefully not linked here!) includes all of the user-tracking code.  It appears to also visit some other pages and submit forms on them so as to be more profitable and potentially collect more of your information. Updated 2010-05-31(More)

Chinese Forgeries are on the rise

General — Posted by khopesh @ Fri Apr 30 2010 7:14 pm

Two weeks ago, I jumped on eBay to get a microSD card for my phone.  I found a ridiculously cheap brand-name 16GB card … from China … and decided to risk the purchase (final price: $17.66, free shipping).  It arrived today.  The box it came in was made of a flimsy cardboard not much stronger than paper and included a piece of flimsy plastic shell around the card and its SD adapter. After some quick jumping around Google Images (including searches limited to .tw, .hk, and, of course, .cn sites), I concluded that it didn't look like the legitimate product.  If it didn't look or feel like the real thing, it was time to ask a professional. (More)

Permanent Daylight Saving Time for New England

General — Posted by khopesh @ Fri Mar 12 2010 8:26 pm

It's annoying living on the Eastern edge of the US Eastern time zone. During the winter, the sun sets before 5:00pm. It's also annoying —and dangerous— to endure the phase-shift of Daylight Saving Time (DST). Here's a simple proposal, with economic, safety, political, and practical reasons behind it: Move New England to permanent Daylight Saving Time (UTC -0400, the Atlantic time zone). (More)

Hash tables in bash

General, linux, tech, code — Posted by khopesh @ Wed Mar 03 2010 12:25 am

This might be confusing because I just wrote an article on using the MD5 hash summary algorithm in JavaScript, but I'd like to address another use of the word hash (sorry, you can't smoke this one either), relating to lookup tables that can make code significantly easier to develop. Bash (a shell scripting language I try to stay away from in favor of more conservative POSIX shell code) is really good with arrays, but a loop is still needed in most cases while a dynamic lookup table based on keys (like the hash type in perl) would alleviate that need. It occurred to me not too long ago that facilitating this in Bash wasn't actually that hard.  (More)

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