June 30, 2009

How do programmers feel about their software?

Writing about web page http://www.natpryce.com/articles/000748.html

Nat Pryce posted an article entitled "What do Programmers Feel About Their Software?", which provided a program to try and visualise what the comments in code indicate about programmers' emotions. The program basically analyses all of the comments in the program (which are usually only seen by other programmers working on the same software) and uses Synesketch to display a visual representation of emotion.

So, naturally, I plugged in some of our own software, and the results were quite surprising... There are some demos on the Synesketch website which show some examples of what the images mean.



Surprisingly, there is a lot of happiness here (signified by circles in bright colours).



Again, strong happiness for our file-sharing application.

Our (unreleased and unnamed) portal project

Portal Project

Even stronger happiness here, which is to be expected more since it's a relatively new project and I'm the only one who's worked on it...



In sharp (and dire) contrast, comments in our CMS show severe sadness. There are probably a few reasons for this... use of Swing WebFlow is probably up there as one of the top reasons. There's also a LOT more code (and more programmers) than in any of the other projects, and we're a lot more likely to look at each others' code and go "wrong!"

June 08, 2009

The BNP are elected, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves

Writing about web page http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/notinmyname

There were a lot of people talking on Thursday about going out to vote to make sure the BNP “doesn’t get in”, but it looks like that’s failed since the BNP got their first ever country councillors and have had two people elected to be MEPs.

Since I’ve spent the majority of my adult life living a couple of miles away from Coalville, having a BNP Country Councillor getting the most votes there is particularly poignant to me. I may be being naïve but I simply cannot fathom how anyone in the streets can agree with BNP policies.

Indeed, there has been some suggestion that a lot of people who vote for the BNP do so without understanding their policies. So, the BNP in a nutshell:

  • Do not allow anyone to join who isn’t “indigenous Caucasian”, even if they have been born/brought up in the UK
  • Non-”indigenous Caucasian” peoples will be allowed to stay in the UK, but only as “guests”
  • No mixed-race relationships. The BNP “do not [...] accept miscegenation as moral or normal.”
  • Belief that homosexuality is “unnatural” – opposition to civil partnerships
  • Repatriation of non-Caucasians.
  • Reintroduce capital punishment for convicted terrorists, paedophiles, murderers
  • Holocaust denial (by Nick Griffin, at least – the party has removed most anti-semitic policies). This seems mostly due to a wish to remain anti-Islamic, which has led the party to come out in support of Israel.
  • Introduce a Muslim no-fly policy to stop Muslims flying in and out of the UK
  • Ban Halal/Kosher slaughter of animals
  • Propose that “citizens” should keep a rifle and ammunition in their home

I wonder how many of those hundreds of thousands of people who voted BNP did so because they were in agreement with these policies. Having spent a lot of time in Coalville I can understand that some people definitely agree with these policies, sadly (in my view).

Some have suggested that Labour are to blame for the BNP getting in. This, frankly, is ridiculous – the media are fully prepared to jump on the anti-Labour bandwagon at the moment because the momentum is there and that’s the general public “opinion” at the moment. The fact of the matter is that fewer people voted BNP this time than in 2004 – the problem was that there was:

  • A (relatively) small swing from Labour to Tory, UKIP, Green
  • Lots of people who traditionally would vote Labour decided not to vote at all

So who’s fault is it that the BNP got in? Ours. By not voting, or not explaining to those people willing to vote BNP and didn’t fully understand their policies, we’ve allowed a fascist party a soapbox to preach their messages of hate. Brilliant. I can’t think of a time I’ve felt more depressed about people in this country.

There is a petition, Nick Griffin: Not In My Name which may be a good place to express at least some of the outrage.

April 04, 2009

Tonight, I went for a run for the first time in 16 years

The “done” thing whenever you do exercise and have a blog seems to be to use some kind of new-agey tech tool to tell everyone about it. That’ll learn you for reading my blog!

In other news, I’ve now lost nearly 4st. I’d lost over 4st a while ago but I then kind of fell off the wagon… time to get back on that horse.

February 23, 2009

Spotify: University of Warwick Playlist

Writing about web page http://open.spotify.com/user/mathewjm/playlist/2l7tQUrlTmhoSBiWqjWp7K

For those that aren't aware, Spotify is probably the hottest thing in music right now. Provided you are at your computer, you can listen to vast swathes of music legally and for free.

UK users can sign up for Spotify for free

Here's a video on how it works.

As an experiment, I've created a University of Warwick playlist that anyone can add music to. Go!

February 21, 2009

25 things about me that you don't care about

Writing about web page http://ellielovell.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/25-things-you-didnt-need-to-know-about-me/

Ok, so here's a daft meme that got passed on to me by Ellie (and about 20 other people on Facebook).

1. I am currently trying to buy a house. I've not actually got very far with the whole process, but at least I've made up my mind that I actually do want to buy one.

2. I'm extremely loyal to anything I'm a part of, to the point where sometimes I am blindly loyal to things that might not deserve it.

3. I try to see the best in everyone and a lot of people have called me naïve. In a lot of ways, I guess I am!

4. I was raised as a Catholic and I go to church occasionally when I'm back home with my family. When it comes to my own beliefs, over the past year I've moved more towards an agnostic view.

5. When I was at University I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

6. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. When I told a therapist I was a first child, she called me "Mummy and Daddy's little experiment". Nice.

7. I am a complete nerd and I love creating things. I used to make small text adventures (in QBasic) on my computer when I was only 7 or 8 years old. When I was at University, I set up my own company to program websites for people, and I helped set up (and became president of) the Video Game Design Society. When I graduated I went to work for the University to develop their blogging software (that'd be this) and work on a content management system. I see myself as a very creative person, and by writing software I see myself as expressing that.

8. I like to organise and be in control of things. I ran to be Head Boy when I was in school (though my teachers convinced me to drop out and concentrate on my A-Levels); I've run 3 or 4 web gaming communities with over 100 people in them; I became president of the Video Game Design Society. One day, I see myself in a management role.

9. Despite being mocked for liking large swathes of pop music, I used to sing and play keyboard, and I have qualifications in music theory.

10. I am a massive fan of Oasis, but my music taste seems to spread every year. I'll enjoy pretty much anything I can sing along to, but I'll also enjoy classical and electronic music that I can't!

11. I am a fanatical Formula 1 fan. I have in the past sold programmes at the gate at the British Grand Prix in order to be able to be there, and ended up bribing two stewards in order to get into the VIP viewing areas just before the race.

12. I love football but don't particularly follow one club. I generally support Manchester United as I went to see 6 or 7 of their games when I was growing up, but I also look out for Mansfield (my home town, so to speak) and Ebbsfleet, as I am a member of MyFootballClub and as such own a stake them.

13. I consider myself to be an utterly lazy individual - it's hard to stop being lazy when you're too lazy to stop yourself...

14. I always thought that I was extremely clever in school - I got the best GCSE results of any boy in our school out of 500 people. When I got to Warwick, I realised that compared to my friends and the people in my year, I was very, very average.

15. If I could change one thing at the University, I would merge the online communications team with the web development team, since it seems strange to have the people who work on the University web site separate to the people developing it.

16. I worked for 6 weeks in China helping to write memorandums of understanding (a formal "gentleman's agreement") between Chinese suppliers and a large multi-national. I travelled around large parts of China and loved the culture there (and a food!)

17. I once wrote a novella about a young pixie named Sera. It was terrible.

18. I am constantly frustrated by poor speaking skills where I mumble or slur my words. Unintentional, sorry!

19. I used to play cricket (medium pace right arm bowler, genuine number 11 batsman) and rugby (tighthead prop) for my school. I once dropped a very simple catch on the boundary that would have won my form the competition in an inter-form competition, and was promptly beat on for it.

20. I get very angry when I don't think other people are pulling their weight or are being knowingly ignorant.

21. My name is Mathew, with one 't'. It's something interesting and different about me, and it's why I don't like it when people call me 'Matt' instead of 'Mat'. My sister is called Kendal, so obviously my parents had some hang-up on weird names.

22. I am extremely close to my immediate family.

23. The fact that my mum's on Facebook creeps me out. Not in a bad way, but it's just odd.

24. I didn't get in to rock music until I heard Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' in around 2000. Before then I'd never paid much attention to music other than pop music on the radio or stuff that I'd been bought on CD (other than Oasis)

25. I liked (Professional) Wrestling for a lot longer than I'm proud of.

Apparantly I have to pass this on to 25 people. If you're reading this entry, then one of those people is YOU.

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I’m a Web Developer in e-lab, part of IT Services at the University of Warwick.

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