Statistiker i folkets tjeneste

Nogle gange giver begrebet surfing ekstra mening. Jeg har været i gang med at se mig omkring på Coursera – nok mere om den på et senere tidspunkt – men for nu tilstrækkeligt at sige, at denne meget omfattende side med en rigdom af online-kurser sammen med Open2Study har en magnetisk effekt på mig. Også selv om der er tradition for, at jeg tilmelder mig og ikke når at lave alle opgaver, hvorefter jeg ikke når at fuldføre kurserne. Ikke desto mindre beriger de mig, og jeg sætter pris på at kunne tage dem. Jeg har aldrig været god til fjernstudie, og selvstudie kan være svært – disse kortere forlæsninger med tilhørende materiale er brugbare for mig.

For tiden arbejder jeg en del i statistik. Jeg har sidst i 90’erne haft det som fag på Cand.Negot.-studiet, hvor det var mere end en anelse abstrakt; men nu, hvor jeg har et arbejde og ser på de mange data omkring os, og der bliver draget en masse konklusioner, som jeg ikke er enig i – så vil jeg gerne styrke redskaberne.
Mit forhold til data betyder i øvrigt også, at jeg skal være en anelse tilbageholdende med at æde alt, hvad der kommer i Danmarks Statistiks Publikationsnyhedsbrev, for så er de sidste rester af min tid fordampet. Tag nu lige Innovation og Forskning 2013, IT-anvendelse i befolkningen og i virksomheder 2013 eller Offentlig Produktion og Produktivitet 2005-2012. Se? Så har man lidt at muntre sig med til jul og nytår.

Så på tallerkenen i 2014 er i første omgang Social and Economic Networks: Models and Analysis fra Stanford, som måske og måske ikke er relevant for min interesse, men derudover også Data Analysis and Statistical Inference fra Duke, som lader til at være meget værktøjsnært med det stærke open source-værktøj R, som ligger tilgængelig på enhver Linuxvariant såvel som de andre store platforme.
Jeg kan også anbefale Statistics: Making Sense of Data fra University of Toronto som introduktion til R.

I anledningen af kurset fra Duke kiggede jeg lidt på underviseren Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, og det viser sig, at hun er med til at drive den ret interessante weblog om praktisk behandling af offentlige data Citizen-Statistician. Det er sådan nogle ting, jeg kunne være interesseret i at arbejde nærmere med, og særligt for mit egen område, beskæftigelsesområdet. Hun har desuden været med til at lave lærebogen OpenIntro Statistics, som er udgivet under Creative Commons og som bruges som lærebog til kurset. Det ser jeg frem til.

Jeg kan konstatere, at der er en CopenhagenR – useR Group på Meetup, som jeg har tilmeldt mig.
Som altid falder jeg lidt mellem forskellige roller her – jeg er jo ikke programmør og bliver det ikke, men kender nogle gode redskaber her og der. Så må vi håbe, at det også kan være interessant for en softwarebibliotekar som mig…

Projekter fra #HACK4DK 2013

HACK4DK er en årlig event, hvor udviklere tager offentligt tilgængelige data af kulturhistorisk karakter og prøver at gøre noget interessant med dem.

Sidste års vinder var smartphone-app’en Kulturarv, som ved hjælp af GPS eller visualisering fortæller dig om de kulturhistorisk bemærkelsesværdige bygninger, du er i nærheden af. De geografiske oplysninger hentes via Kulturstyrelsen, hvorefter app’en henter linkede data fra Instagram, Twitter, Flickr og Wikipedia.

Nu er HACK4DK 2013 netop afholdt, og igen kom der nogle interessante bud på mulighederne for at fuionere de åbne data.
Blandt 2013-projekterne finder man en visualisering af flyttemønstre i København i slutningen af 1800- og starten af 1900-tallet, en meget æstetisk tiltalende billedmosaik med materialer fra Nationalmuseet, en lidt vild animeret link-visualisering fra Wikipedia, en quiz med billeder fra museets store samling af reklamer, som kobles med tidssdata til at lave en dateringsquiz, samt nogle søgeværktøjer til kunst i Danmark og personer i dansk film ved hjælp af DFIs data.

Se projekterne fra HACK4DK 2013.

 

Gratis kursus i datajournalistik

Hollandske European Journalism Centre har annonceret, at de i foråret afholder et gratis online-kursus i datajournalistik foråret 2014:

Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools.
A free online data journalism course with 5 leading experts

Kurset er opdelt i 5 moduler, der beskrives således:

  1. Data journalism in the newsroom
    This module is an introduction to data journalism. It shows what data journalism is, how it works on a busy news desk and what skills you need to know to practise it.
  2. Finding data to support stories
    This module deals with the range of skills that journalists use to obtain data. This includes setting up alerts to regular sources of information, simple search engine techniques that can save hours of time and using laws in your own and other countries.
  3. Understanding your data I: Finding story ideas with data analysis
    This module focuses on using spreadsheets and basic statistics to find patterns in data that will reveal story ideas and add evidence to the resulting stories.
  4. Understanding your data II: Dealing with messy data
    This module addresses messy data – data that needs to be organised before it can be used. It covers the so-called ‘cleaning’ process, at the end of which the dataset can be analysed using techniques from Module 3.
  5. Telling stories with visualisation
    This module deals with how to transform data into stories, infographics and interactive visualizations: the best practices and the principles of graphic design that a journalist needs to know.

 

Digital Hoarding

I sometimes feel that I have the online equivalent of people who just shop to have stuff. I have an archive of articles I need to read – print to PDF just to be sure – if I had not deleted hundreds of hours, I would have podcasts to fill this year and the next.

I download Linux ISOs and feel I should keep them because someone may drop by who would need the latest Opensuse, Fedora, Slackware, Arch, Frugalware et cetera.

I find Youtube videos – documentaries, shows and movies I want to watch. I download them just to be sure.

If I focused entirely on all the stuff I have pulled down and have stored, I would be occupied for a month.

I was considering getting a new hard drive – my latest Thinkpad came with the 60 gig drive that was the default when it was new. It may just be a good idea that I do not.

Først bragt på mit tidligere domæne writtenandread.net.

My name is my name!

So as of recently, my name is my name.
That would be fairly straighforward for everyone else, but no such simple things in my household.

I married my Transsylvanian Hungarian wife, now Juliánna Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér, in September of 2007. We merged our names, and my Juhl-Johansen and her Zölde-Fejér came together as something which was ours entirely – and, of course, as some have pointed out, would be a challenge to pronounce correctly in its entirety anywhere. Be that as it may, it is ours, and it is not likely to be lost in a crowd.

However: A while after we were married, she had to get a new passport. And so, she ran into some difficulties. As it turns out, the Danish naming conventions – which had obviously been used, because the state church is actually the name registrar in Denmark – offered some challenges. Thing is: In Danish, you have a first name and a last name. Anything else is your middle name. Not so in Romania – Transsylvania, which was a part of Hungary, is now part of Romania, and no, it is unlikely you can come up with a Dracula joke we have not heard – They have first names and last names. So her Danish name document was rejected. After a bit going back and forth with various authorities on this, we simply pulled out my old last name, and after that was done, I was registered in the public registry as Morten Zölde-Fejer. They had also pulled the last accent.

After our return to Europe after living in the States in 2010, we started the process with my wife applying for a Danish citizenship. Since she was from a Hungarian family, she was not particularly connected to her Romanian citizenship; she had also never been part of the country of Hungary, so being a part of this country seemed equally irrelevant. We had come back to Denmark and decided to stay here, at least until the children are older.

And so, she became a Danish citizen recently, after a longer process. And at last we could actually go through the process of syncing up our names! So the name you see at the top, here – it is actually my name now. Again. Still. At last.

Først bragt på mit tidligere domæne writtenandread.net.

Newsbeuter – RSS reader with good podcast features

I have recently become aware of an RSS reader called Newsbeuter. It is quite different from the tools I usually use for the task, so some observations are in order.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication – is a way of getting updates about a site or service. I use RSS feeds for two distinctly different things.
First, I use the feeds for site updates, which I do for two reasons. One is for friends and people I know and respect who update their weblogs and the like, or magazines. It is good to be on top of things. The other side of that is that I receive updates to software I use, applications like Uget, for instance, which I package for Slackware.
The second major thing is podcasts & podiobooks. Ever since we got a dog and I had to walk endless miles with him – and later on with our son – I have been listening to a lot of podcasts and podiobooks. The latter is an audiobook released as a podcast – as in chapters released one by one.

Now, there is a truckload of RSS readers. The principles are simple – an RSS file is basically an XML file. But the application is done differently. For my particular purposes, most programs for the task have been a frustrating acquaintance. Until recently I was using the plugin Newsfox with Firefox, but I have discovered an even better tool: Newsbeuter.

newsbeuter01

Newsbeuter video
Newsbeuter video


As you see, there are two sides to using Newsbeuter as a podcatcher – there is the main Newsbeuter interface, and if you are going to download files from it, you enqueue them for download and access the Podbeuter application (which is packed with Newsbeuter). Podbeuter will work as a download manager.
To be honest, Podbeuter is really very good – as a download manager. Frankly, if I could find a way to push download links to Podbeuter, I would use it as my main download manager for all other kinds of files, too! In the background, it uses Curl for the download.
Newsbeuter is quite well-documented at the website documentation section, but primarily you will need the files config and urls, which I put in ~/.newsbeuter:

Config – here is my config file:

# Newsbeuter config file.
# To be placed in ~/.newsbeuter or ~/.config/newsbeuter
always-display-description	true
auto-reload			yes
browser				firefox
cleanup-on-quit			yes
download-retries		10
download-timeout		20
refresh-on-startup		yes
reload-time			10
download-path			~/Downloads
max-downloads			2

Is is probably fairly self-explanatory, but I go into the reasons for the setup in the video.

– and of course the urls file. You can probably guess what it contains. Here is my urls file – basically just a link list.

Først udgivet på mit tidligere domæne writtenandread.net.