For the week of 2010-05-30 in Tweets

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How Any Enginerd Can Date a Beautiful Woman

Ignite Seattle 10 is coming up just around the corner on June 14th, so mark your calendars. They had a call for submissions and I thought, “What the heck. But what to present on? It needs to be funny, but also relevant. And not a shill for some product.”

As it turned out, I had already asked this question from the last time I wanted to present at Ignite Boulder. I flipped through the comments and decided that Jeff’s suggestion on How Any Man Can Pick Up Beautiful Women would be good starting point.

I submitted my topic suggestion with the following description:

I am a nerd, and I am an engineer.

How do I know this? Because I was drawing schematics of Star Trek related devices when I was in 5th grade, I ran my own web server from my home when I was in 9th grade, and, most importantly, I just (well, a year ago) graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a BS in Engineering, Specialty in Electrical Systems, Area of Special Interest in Mechanical Systems.

Now, I work for an aerodefensespace1 corporation, as an engineer.

And I’m dating a beautiful woman; actually, that’s not quite true.

But I have learned a lot about being an enginerd and being able to talk to women. And have them talk to me.

So, just because I haven’t found the “love of my life,” the Deanna Troi to my Will Riker, doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from what I’ve learned.

It’s a shoe-in to win, right? Not quite. Unfortunately, I was not selected for the round of Ignite talks (they had a record number of entries). So you’ll have to wait for now.2


  1. I thought about shortening this to “aerodeface” 

  2. Story of my life…. 

A New Project

I signed up for a new project at work. It’s a part time position that also requires some volunteer hours, but I think that it will be an excellent experience. It’s part of an engineering career development program that allows engineers to gain experience by working on projects outside of their assigned program. I’ll be working as a test engineer on a project to develop and execute a R/C aircraft flight test program.

We haven’t started yet, but I’m already looking forward to it!

U2 360° North American Tour Postponed

Normally, I wouldn’t make note of U2, or any other band, postponing a tour. But, there are special circumstances….I have tickets to this tour!

From www.forbes.com:

(LOS ANGELES, CA) May 25, 2010 – As announced earlier today, Live Nation has confirmed that the U2 360° North American Tour will be postponed until 2011.

U2’s Bono has now been discharged from Ludwig Maximilians-University (LMU) Hospital in Munich where he underwent emergency surgery on Friday, following a back injury. In order to fully recover, he is under doctor’s orders to start a rehabilitation program and to recuperate for at least eight weeks.

This will necessitate the postponement of 16 shows on the U2 360° Tour from Salt Lake City on June 3rd, through to New Jersey’s Meadowlands Stadium on July 19th.

U2 was scheduled to perform in Seattle on June 20th. I cleared my schedule and bought tickets and was getting pumped to go, seeing as it was less than a month away. And now I have to wait until 2011?? What if I’m no longer in Seattle in 20111? Ugh.


  1. I’m not saying that I’m moving, but you never know 

For the week of 2010-05-23 in Tweets

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For the week of 2010-05-16 in Tweets

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12 Months, 12 Books

I have a new goal for this calendar year: Read 12 books in 12 months!

I’m already off to a great start. I finally finished “Mere Christianity1 in January when I was in Haiti (although that doesn’t count because I started it in 2009.

When I was in Haiti, I also read:

In the last month, I also finished reading:

And now I’m in the middle of:

As long as I can finish by the end of the month, I’ll be on track. Here’s what I think is up next (in no particular order):

That still leaves me one book short of the twelve I want to read, which is not for lack of having a list. I want to keep at least one spot deliberately open so I can choose something excellent as I discover new books.

The types of books I’ve listed above are the types of book I generally like to read. Based on that, what books would you recommend I look into?

In the meantime, I’m going to leave you with this excellent bit from Hustling God2 that I’ve been reflecting on lately:

When I wake up in the morning, I can jump in the shower, grab a cup of coffee, and rush off to work to be productive. Inevitably that will destine me to a day of running. Like Jacob, I will either be running to make something happen, or running away because it didn’t happen as it was supposed to. But if sometime in the morning I become still with prayer and the words of God, then it will occur to me that all of the important things have already been accomplished today. The sun came up and the earth stayed on its axis without any help from me. The Psalms remind me of that. I have awakened to a world I did not create to receive a salvation I did not earn. The Gospels make that clear every time I read them. And I need that reminder, because there are so many temptations in the course of the day to be my own savior, which is always, always, a temptation to hurry in the wrong direction.


  1. An excellent, although somewhat dense, book. I recommend reading it, although take your time; it took me the better part of 6 months. 

  2. Page 64 

Calculating Downloads

I recently hit 70,000 downloads on Countdown Plugin, a small plugin I wrote for WordPress about five years ago. Actually, the timer is older than that. I’ve only been using WordPress since my freshman year of college (spring semester circa 2005), before that I had this crazy home brew content management system. Part of that system included the original source of Countdown Timer. When I made the move to WordPress, I forked the code and made it into a WordPress plugin. The basic and display of the timer has remained relatively similar, although the code has pretty much been rewritten.

Download stats with 10- and 40-day moving averages

I digress. Having 70,000 is a great accomplishment. However, it’s not a very telling metric. What I really want to know is how many people are using the plugin currently?

In order to get an idea of how many active users there are, I looked at two pieces of data:

  • Temporal downloads prior to my last release
  • Temporal downloads subsequent to my last release

The theory is that when a new update is released, an upgrade notice goes out to all users of the plugin. This is the cause of the massive spike in downloads. By eliminating the background noise downloads (i.e. people just trying it out), I can calculate the area under the curve and get a rough estimate of the number of users.

I fit a power regression line to the subsequent downloads with an R2 value of 0.83, which is a little lower than I would have liked, but still usable, described by the equation:615.16x^{-0.481}

The average downloads for the 24 days prior to the release were 81.375 downloads/day. Using WolframAlpha, I solved for the intersection of the two lines:
x = \frac{308915776 \cdot 26^{114/481}}{5405625 \cdot 5^{76/481} \cdot 93^{38/481}}\approx 67.0498

The bounds of my function are now 0 (the day that the plugin was released) and 67 (the day the plugin will again be at ~81 downloads). It’s just a mater of integrating the function and subtracting out the base downloads:

\left (\int_{0}^{67}615.16x^{-0.481}  \right ) - \left (81.375\cdot67  \right ) = 5056.675

5,000 seems to be about the base number of users at this point. It will be interesting to see how this number changes over time. Especially since I have the historical data and could analyze how long it takes downloads to return to normal.

5/11/2010: Here’s the data I used: downloads.csv