Stats and stuff, two years on

I meant to post this long before now but other stuff and general procrastination got in the way.

So last year it seemed like a good idea to take some kind of look at the year that had just gone, through the lens of the stats I gather on Daytum. This is the same again for the year that’s about to end.
I suppose these are like a much duller version of Nicholas Felton’s annual reports. Getting to the point, a comparison between this year and last:

dyerware.com


So the tl;dr version: twice as much tea (six cups a day!?) and water, lots less orange juice.

The other stuff I mentioned last year:

  • 442 car journeys (about twice every 2 days)
  • 132 shaves (about twice every 5 days)
  • 250 bus journeys (i.e. 2 every 3 days)

Last time I said I’d like an S60-native interface; since then I’ve done away with my Nokia N96 for an HTC Desire (running Android). An iPhone app recently entered some sort of beta and apparently the API is “built out enough for the iphone app” that they could give access to it but there’s no sign of that so far.

I also said I’d struggle to justify the price of a “pro” account – eventually I wanted more “displays” (views into the data to which some criteria can be applied, e.g. a pie chart of drinks in the last year) so I upgraded.
The privacy options were a nice addition but I’m not sure that privacy is something you should have to pay for.

It feels as if progress on the whole site has slowed to a crawl — I’m not sure whether the issue is time, finance or something completely different.

Weather, part 3

In part two I said I hadn’t done humidity yet. Now I have – it was fairly easy to do and I was short of something better to do in the wee hours of the morning.

Twelve hours:

One day:

I was asked in #bitfolk whether the station did anything other than temperature and I remembered that WSDL gave the dew point so thought I might as well add that too.

The maths required to calculate dew point and the background information is given in the Wikipedia article but for want of an excuse to use the LaTeX plugin for WordPress, the dew point [math]T_d[/math] is given by:

[math]
T_d = frac {a times gamma(T, RH)}{b-gamma(T, RH)}
[/math]

Where [math]gamma(T,RH)[/math] is given by

[math]
gamma(T,RH) = frac {a T} {b+T} + ln (frac{RH}{100})
[/math]

The bottom pair of lines in the temperature graphs in the last post show the dew point.

Weather, Part Deux

So nearly a week ago I got a weather station. Since then, I’ve hacked up some Python to deal with the temperature data and spew it into graphs. I haven’t got to doing the same with the humidity data, that can be Part Trois…

Anyway, graphs (update every 15 minutes). The last 24 hours:

The last week:

If anyone’s particularly interested I could post the Python that does this. It’s not the most exciting (or, I don’t doubt, the most well-written) code in the entire world but there’s probably someone weird enough to want to see how dire a job I can do of chopping a string up.
I added some optimisation to only parse lines which haven’t been seen before using a temp file so after the initial run the longest part is now uploading the images.

Apparently weather stations are a “conversation killer, if there ever was one!!!”. Who would have thought it?

Weather Nerdery

I’ve wanted to set up/build a weather station for a while; lazyness and apathy were mostly what stopped me. Last week, I bit the bullet and bought an Oregon Scientific RMS300 (change from 35 quid from OS themselves).
It comes in two parts: a base station with a screen and built in temperature/humidity sensor and an included wireless sensor (by default labelled “outside” as a serving suggestion).

The supplied (via download) software, “OS Weather”, is…pretty shit. It doesn’t work on Windows 7 (“trial version” available “end of June”, apparently) and I couldn’t be bothered setting up a virtual machine to screw about with it.

Next up was Weather Station Data Logger. It’s good, but I have more than enough machines running 24/7 without adding a Windows one (and again don’t particularly want a Windows VM). I have machines which do run near-enough-24/7 but run Debian GNU/Linux so the ideal solution would run under that and ideally headless.

Enter the WMR100 module which will do all the work of getting the data out of the base station and its wireless sensors and present them in a fairly easy to manipulate format:

DATA[20100622001211]:type=TEMP,sensor=0,smile=0,trend=,temp=24.7,humidity=42,
dewpoint=0.0

Next magic trick will be to get the data I collected with WSDL and the data that’s being collected with WMR100, stick it all together in some way, and start getting it into graphs of some description. rrdtool‘s the obvious candidate.

Daytum, some interesting statistics

Almost a year ago, I signed up for daytum.com.

The premise of the site derives from Nicholas Felton‘s “annual reports” (linked in the previous post) – keep track of something you do (trips to the gym, drinks, distance walked, whatever; at one point I noticed someone was tracking their trips to the toilet and what they did while they were there…) and the site presents it with some pretty graphs in the same sort of visual style as he uses and also with some basic analysis (time since the last entry etc.). To be honest, I didn’t expect to keep it up (fnar) for anywhere near a year, but for some reason I’ve found it strangely compelling.

To the numbers…

After a year, I suppose now is as good a time as any to have a look at some of the numbers. From New Year’s Day 2009 to midnight on the 28th December, I’ve had:

  1. 958 cups of tea
  2. 719 glasses of water (with or without diluting juice)
  3. 620 glasses of orange juice
  4. 474 glasses of Irn Bru

after that, the quantities get a lot smaller (best of the rest: 192 cups of coffee; keeping up the rear: 4 bottles of M&S Christmas Orange/Grape/Cranberry stuff).

That still means, though, that in an average day I get through about 3 cups of tea, 2 glasses of water, 2 glasses of orange juice and a glass of Irn Bru (amongst other things).

Some other stuff I tracked:

  1. circa. 485 car journeys (1.34 a day)
  2. 230 bus journeys (almost twice every 3 days)
  3. 141 shaves (i.e. twice in five days, or once every 2 weekdays if you assume every time was on one)

New things I’d like to see

On the last part, one feature that I think might be useful, analytically, would be separating weekends and weekdays or perhaps taking account of the academic year (i.e. separate terms or term-time and otherwise) Daytum do let you download the data in CSV format, so it’s possible to deal with those issues; I just can’t really be bothered doing it myself.
One other feature I’d use would be a more native interface for my current mobile OS, Symbian S60. Not having to use the phone’s web browser and the iPhone interface (which works relatively well, in fairness) would be nice. Daytum are apparently working on an API though, so it should be possible to build some sort of application to do it.

The last thing is the future – what Cool New Thing™ should I start tracking this year?
I think I’d be interested in the total distance I travel, or better still a breakdown of time and/or distance in a car/on a train/walking. I’ve toyed with using Nokia Sports Tracker on my phone (Nokia N96 all-black) but it flattens the battery in no time at all because it insists on using the phone’s GPS and data connection – a whole day would take a miniature fusion reactor to keep it going. Which kinda sucks.

Something I think Daytum could do better at is showcasing the novel things people use the service for.
There’s a premium version, which gets you more features (separate your stuff into pages, some privacy settings) as well as more categories and items to store data with. I use the free version, mostly because I’d struggle to justify the cost (four US Dollars per month). If I bumped against some of the limits of the free account (here’s the opportunity to promote novel, or otherwise, uses and make some money out of it), I’d consider upgrading.

One month later…

I did mention there’d be computer assemblage porn in my last post but in the end that didn’t happen. I guess at some point I’ll need to have the side off to connect some of the extra ports that were included though so there is some potential for computer pr0n yet.

I did, however perform some comparison with the i7 CPU in that machine doing some useful real world task: compiling Firefox (from mozilla-central) and Thunderbird (from comm-central) on Linux.
VMWare Workstation only allows the assignment of a maximum of two processors to a VM, but it still manages to do the job ~25% faster than my laptop (Dell Latitude D820, T7200, 2GB RAM running Ubuntu), churning out a completed build of either from scratch in about twenty minutes.

Running Debian in a virtual machine was always going to be a requirement (it’s useful for a lot of things, including some far too risky to attempt on the live machines; it’s something I also do on the X2 3800+ and something the i7’s extra 6 “processors” come in handy for).

The machine was running the Windows 7 Release Candidate, but using either VMWare or VirtualBox on there is just one big clusterfsck. The Debian installer locks solid at some point along the way in both, and using NAT in VMWare is also busted.
Fortunately I’ve got spare Vista licenses up the wazoo, so it wasn’t hard to step back to Vista Ultimate while waiting for a fixed VMWare and the release of Windows 7.

New Anubis

My just-over-three year old desktop machine was due a replacement.

    type     |                       name
-------------+---------------------------------------------------
 Motherboard | Asus P6T Deluxe
 CPU         | Intel i7 920 D0 Stepping Retail
 RAM         | OCZ 6GB PC3-12800C8 DDR3 (3x2GB) (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
 Case        | Lian-Li PC-A71B
 Graphics    | XFX Radeon HD 4890 1GB
 HDD         | Western Digital Caviar Black WD640AALS
 PSU         | Antec TruePower New 650W
 DVD-RW      | LG GH22NS40
 Backup HDD  | Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS
 CPU Cooler  | Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme
 Fan         | Noctua NF-P12 120mm
(11 rows)

Initially, it’ll be running some version of Windows 7 (though I also have a spare Vista license) but given it’s not released there’s no point considering how much that’ll cost for now.

The plan is to put the two WD6401AALSs in a RAID array then backup in some manner to the WD10EADS. Given the price of RAM (£70.99 for 3x2GB), I’m half-tempted to go nuts and have 12GB of RAM.

Some sort of computer-assemblage pr0n to follow – the motherboard and CPU cooler should be with me tomorrow…

SunSpider etc.

A while ago, in response to someone commenting about Opera being faster than Firefox I posted this, among others, based on my own testing:

(Results are from the Sunspider JS benchmark. Opera 9.60, Chrome 0.2.149.30, Firefox nightly is from the 17th October 2008)

Before anyone points it out, I get that there are issues comparing an Fx3.1-ish nightly with a release version of Opera but

  1. There was no “nightly”/pre-release version of Opera that I could find, at the time
  2. Even if you compare to Fx 3.0.3, Opera 9.60 takes~1.33 times longer to finish the test

Anyhoo, out of interest I reran the tests adding Firefox 3.0.6 and the latest Firefox trunk nightly, Chrome 2.0.160.0 and Webkit’s 40471 nightly.

I can’t be bothered testing IE because a) it would take too long and b) I wouldn’t get comparable numbers, because the machine I ran all of these on only has IE6 and it’s too much hassle upgrading and downgrading and sidegrading. The general trend (from messing about with it on Windows 7 and Vista on other machines) I’ve observed is that each new version is faster than its predecessor and IE8 more so than IE7.

SunSpider

TM = TraceMonkey, the new bit to Firefox 3.1’s JS engine. For the purposes of this, I set javascript.options.jit.content = true for TM, and false otherwise. True is now the default.

Obviously Sunspider isn’t representative of, well, anything (Dromaeo tests DOM manipulation too, and there are loads of benchmarks around, some more useful than others) but it’s interesting to see (I guess) that the general trend is for things to get faster…