Jeremy Olliver

Growing. Living. Learning.

Keeping It Fresh

It’s always a good idea to keep a good balance in your life, which for me usually means, remembering to take a break from work and relax. Lately to do this I’ve been taking the chance to exercise a bit of creativity and have been playing with some mates in an informal band, firstly on guitar, and at the moment on bass. We’ve been practicing a few covers with varying levels of success, but like to warm up with a bit of improv. Here’s some recordings I took at our practice a few weeks ago, which ended up being entirely improvisational. It’s recorded using iPhone, so isn’t amazing quality. Each track starts out a bit rough, but gets better as we sync up and work out what the others are playing.

Improv Session

  • Guitar – Stephen Morgan
  • Bass – Jeremy Olliver (me)
  • Drums – Daniel Morgan

Using Prism to Access Multiple Gmail Accounts

Most of you are probably pretty familiar with the awesome productivity boost that comes from Gmail’s threaded conversations, you can archive a conversation to keep it out of mind when waiting for a reply, then when you get one, the entire conversation thread pops back to the top of your inbox. I’m not sure how I ever used to survive without this, it’s why I use Gmail for all my email accounts. However, having multiple gmail accounts can have a downside, that is having to logout to switch between them.

Mozilla Prism

Today, Jordan Carter and I came across a good solution for this: Prism. Now Prism isn’t new, in fact it was released a while ago now, though I never really tried it out until now. Prism basically is a way to launch a set web page in a sand-boxed self contained web browser. This is usually used for web based applications because it gives the application it’s own icon, and lets it launch separately in the system, making it seem more like a native system application. The other advantage for it is that all your session and cookies (log on information)  are completely separate from your main web browser. This makes it ideal for being able to be logged in to multiple Gmail accounts at the same time, simply add each account to Prism, and they can be run alongside each other saving the hassle of having to log out and back in to switch between them.

Open Data - Insight Through Analysis

We’ve been living in the information age for a while now, it’s no secret that today there’s a huge abundance of information available, more now than ever before. However with so much information available, how do we find meaning and relevance without getting lost in the sea of data? Google predicted recently in the New York Times that being a Statistician will be the sexy job over the next 10 years. I’m sure most people recall any academic encounters with the world of statistics without much enthusiasm, probably due to a focus on data mining, and impersonal numbers without much focus on the amazing insight that can come from this process. Hans Rosling, in a recent talk on TED makes us re-think our perceptions of how we perceive global demographics, by comparing some measures of health care, and income on a global scale. This is a great example of how applying some analytical thought to freely available data really can produce new insight.

The Open Data movement is something that has kicked off lately, and is all about pushing for the data collected by the government to become freely available. This sounds like a great idea to me, with all that public data, we should all be coming up with such innovative new ideas. But where to get this data? For those of you in New Zealand, you should check out the Open Data Catalogue, which lists a large number of data sources from various government and other official organisations. I’d recommend anyone looking to come up with the next useful mashup to take a look at the datasets there, and if any inspiration is needed, to checkout Stamen who have heaps of great ideas.