Recent blog entries for hands

AllTrials campaign

Ben Goldacre (Bad Science), is running a campaign for all medical trials to be published.

It seems that best current evidence indicates that about half of the trials for treatments currently in use remain unpublished.

That's pretty astounding when you think about it. Given that many of the trials that are published only compare new treatments against placebo, rather than against the best available existing treatment, and often barely show them as being more effective than homeopathy^Wsugar, one has to wonder how dire were the results that are not being published.

If you prefer to have science done in the open, then I'd encourage you to visit www.alltrials.net and sign the petition and/or give them a donation.

The fix is pretty straight-forward: Simply insist that clinical trials have to register before they start in order to be considered valid, and that all registered trials have to report their results. It need not be expensive to do -- a git repo. shared across the industry, containing a file for each trial in a standard format would do the trick probably. I imagine they'll come up with a more expensive solution, but in comparison to the cost of running a decent sized trial, it'll still be pocket change.

(A note from the campaign, sent to existing petition signatories, is what prompted this blog post -- please read it and be inspired to help)

Syndicated 2013-04-05 20:14:14 from chezfil

The future arrived

... a week ago, in the shape of Alexandra Daphne Scholz, my enchanting daughter.

A proud father shows the world his adorable 6 day old daughter

She seems to have inherited my hairstyle.

Gundemarie Scholz (my wife) and she are both doing remarkably well, to the extent that they both keep surprising medical staff with their rapid progress.

For those of you that care about such things: She was 2.9Kg (6lb 6oz) at birth, and 49cm (1'7") tall ... or should that be "long", given that she's not doing so much standing up as yet? What she is doing is sleeping, breast feeding, and excreting ... rather a lot.

Between times, it's mostly gurgling cheerfully, looking around at the world, and attempting to study her own hands -- I find her completely fascinating.

That being the case, don't expect anything very sensible out of me for the foreseeable future (so no change there, eh? ;-) )

and because I cannot resist the urge, here are a few more snaps of her:

Alexandra in the Neonatal unit, having a well earned nap when a day old Alexandra in the Neonatal unit, looking around at the world Alexandra snuggled up in bed this morning

As you can see, at only one day old, it seems that she'd already managed to get hold of the Amulet of Yendor, and was having a well earned nap ;-)

Syndicated 2012-01-25 23:26:58 from chezfil

Listening to the future

Having designed the 3D model for a Pinard Horn (Foetoscope) last night, I printed it out and went to bed.

Old wooden and Newly printed foetoscopes, on a Prusa Mendel 3D printer

This morning I applied it to Gunde's bump, and listened to my unborn daughter's heartbeat. I'm almost jealous of her for the exciting times she's being born into. :-)

Syndicated 2012-01-07 21:53:39 from chezfil

One Month

... since we got married -- a great month :-)

wedding photo

and one month until Gunde's expected to give birth to our first daughter.

So exciting times ahead.

Syndicated 2011-12-11 22:55:43 from chezfil

Cloud Expo Europe

Debian will be exhibiting at next month's Cloud Expo Europe on the 2nd & 3rd of Feb.
(well I will be — if you fancy keeping me company please add yourself to this page)

If you fancy visiting the show, you can register for free before midnight on the 1st of February (after that it costs £15.00 GBP)

oh, and later the same week,

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

Syndicated 2011-01-17 19:02:05 from chezfil

Talking to my MP about the Digital Economy Act

I had a constructive meeting with my Member of Parliament yesterday, in which he agreed to push this critique of the Digital Economy Act (the dire nonsense that Lord Mandelson forced through in the dying seconds of the previous UK parliamentary session, apparently at the behest of the copyright exploitation industry, who will presumably now owe him a few lucrative consultancies)

If you're wanting to do something similar, feel free to use the content, or use it for inspiration, or just use the one-page PDF version if that's helpful to you in explaining the worthlessness of this law.

Note, I know there are many other points that could be made, but I was restricting myself to one side of A4 (just) -- MPs cannot be expected to read more it seems.

Syndicated 2010-07-09 13:37:00 from chezfil

Debian Tartan: Batch 2 ready for cutting

The cloth is woven, so the tailors are busy collecting measurements. If you've ordered a kilt or whatever, and have not yet sent in your dimensions & money you need to do that within about 24 hours if you're hoping to get something in time for DebConf.

We seem to have got about 20 yards more than we ordered (weaving's more of an art than a science) so if you've only just realised that you want a kilt, skirt, whatever, in glorious Debian Tartan, I suggest you get in touch promptly, as even if you don't want it in time for DebConf, I imagine the rest will get snapped up as soon as people see what they've been missing in New York.

I'm getting some Ties made -- they'll cost about £25.00 GBP each. If you fancy one, tell me, and add yourself to this table on the wiki. There's more background on that page.

Syndicated 2010-07-08 22:46:19 from chezfil

The rise of the Clan MacDebian

I've asked the weavers to start doing their job today, so with luck the tailors will still have time to make kilts ready to wear for DebConf10.

If you've been wondering if you'd like some Debian Tartan, now's your chance. We've ordered a little over 20 yards more than we need, which will be enough to make about 3 extra kilts and a few ties (depending on exact details), so order early to avoid disappointment.

Of course, kilts are not the only thing one can make out of tartan. The tailors make other things, but there's nothing stopping you from buying some cloth by the yard and being inventive (it costs about £25.00 GBP per yard). We'll also be making ties, so if you're interested in one of those, please add yourself to the relevant table on the wiki, and I'll get in touch with prices etc.

Full details of this silliness are available on the wiki page -- send any questions to phil at hands dot com

Syndicated 2010-04-27 10:33:03 from chezfil

Debian Tartan, in time for DebConf10

It looks like we have just enough interest for a second run of Debian Tartan. If we get it ordered in the next couple of weeks there will be time for kilts to be made in time be worn at DebConf10.

The only issue at present is that it would be rather cheaper if more people were involved. For short runs the cloth costs £ 26.00 GBP per yard, and one also needs to find £ 400.00 GBP for the loom setup. Once you get to an order of 80 yards, the weavers will swallow the setup cost, and only charge £ 24.00 GBP per yard.

In other words, if we're making only 46 yards (which seems like the current level) it's going to cost £ 10 GBP extra per yard, which is frustrating, as that then means that buying the remaining 36 yards to make it up to 80 yards will only cost another £ 365.00 GBP or a tenner a yard.

If I wanted to make a profit out of this, I suppose I could speculate on the spare cloth, and then knock it out for 150% profit, but I have no desire to make money from my fellow developers, so while I'm chivying, and talking to the weavers, I'm not going to be underwriting the order like I did last time.

So if you're even slightly tempted to join this cheerful clan then mail me now! Every extra kilt, skirt, tie, or other item ordered not only results in you owning a beautifully crafted item, but it also does your fellows good by making their orders cheaper too.

At an order of 60 yards, the prices cross over, at which point there is no point in not making the full 80 yards, which can then be sold to late-comers to recoup costs for the early-birds.

Go on -- you know you want one.

Update: not sure what happened to the spam unfriendly mail link - use this: phil at hands dot com

Syndicated 2010-04-09 16:49:39 from chezfil

arduino for the java challenged

Having excitedly bought an Arduino from the nice folks at tuxbrain.com while they were at DebConf9, I was then a little deflated to discover (while attending the UKUUG's Arduino Workshop in August), that the IDE is written in Java. While I can see that the authors might perceive this as the easiest way to provide cross-platform pointy-clicky-ness, JREs have a half-life of about an hour on my systems.

Anyway, I fought with Java to show willing, until I'd determined that the IDE didn't seem to be happy running under xmonad (rendering menus so that they were unclickable) and gave up -- spending the rest of the tutorial proving to myself that I could compile and upload C code for the little beastie, but failing to compile Arduino sketches on the command line.

Ever since, I've been meaning to work out the required CLI incantations, and finally made time over the weekend. The incantations turn out to be rather simple, if not very obvious, so I thought the world could benefit from a package that encapsulates the required knowledge.

I've pared the source tree down to the c++ code and some examples and tweaked the Makefile so that it'll do it's work out of tree, referring to the files that the package installs for you, which allows you to apt-get install aurduino-core and then cut&paste a few lines from the contained README.Debian in order to get an LED blinking for the first time.

The resulting git repo is now on Alioth. The binary-indep package it produces I've called arduino-core -- hopefully I've left enough room for any fan of the Java IDE to shove that back into the upstream branch and add packages for the full IDE, and maybe throwing in another package for the GTK IDE that's out there.

I'm very mildly concerned by the fact that Arduino is a trademark of the Arduino Team, but that trademark is for the circuits, not the software, so this is probably irrelevant. If you think I should care enough to rename the package to freeduino, say, please get in touch.

Anyway, if you have an Arduino (or similar) please grab a copy and test it.

Syndicated 2009-12-14 10:58:57 from chezfil

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