Something New Every Day

A record of doing a new thing every day in 2011

Machine Learning at Stanford (226/365) Sunday August 14, 2011

This month’s Wired magazine (US edition obviously) contained an interesting article on how education is being transformed by online learning videos. It also contained a sidebar of interesting learning sites, so I thought I’d check some out.

What I found was a set of videos from a Machine Learning lecture course at Stanford University on YouTube Edu. I’ve been reading around the subject for a while, but watching a lecture on video was new - and it was interesting how technology in the lecture hall has changed - never had PowerPoint and videos in my day lol.

Fat Loss Spreadsheet (225/365) Saturday August 13, 2011

I’ve been reading the brilliant (and slightly mad) book 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. The main thread throughout the book is that public data tracking is the most important part of any personal experimentation, whatever diet you use to try to lose weight.

Anyway, I’ve decided to try to do 2 things:

  • Lose 1 stone (14lbs) of body fat in 14 weeks
  • Raise my body water content to 60% over that period

Not going to be easy, but to help track this - and more importantly make this a public challenge - I’ve made a new spreadsheet which will track my progress.

You can see the initial data in a Google Docs spreadsheet I’ve setup online.

I’m not sure how many of the slightly strange tactics suggested in the book to help me achieve my goals, but I’m assuming I’ll be blogging about them along the way.

Mustard on Baked Potato (224/365) Friday August 12, 2011

I’d been indoors working at home all day, and still hadn’t done sonething new. It was almost time to break out the emergency “stupid but novel” list, but then as I was getting ready to eat me tea, I thought I’d try something new and have some mustard on my baked potato.

Now I love mustard, and am having it increasing often in almost every meal, but I’d never made the obvious connection to put it on my baked potato before. Almost the perfect combination, and will do it all the time now!

Train Loyalty Points (223/365) Thursday August 11, 2011

I’ve more or less completely switched over to getting the train up and down to London every week, so I was very pleased when I had the chance to join my first ever train loyalty points program from East Coast Rail.

It’s surprisingly generous, in that if you spend £500 you get a free first class return. Now for me that’s basically one free return for every 4 trips, which will be great - especially because you get free breakfast in first class. Hurrah!

Iron Duke (222/365) Wednesday August 10, 2011

Despite saying I was going to take a break from the pub for a while, I got tempted out after work for one (had to show some hospitality to Polish colleagues is my excuse).

We ended up in the Iron Duke, a pub on the “Kent” side of Victoria station. I’d never been there before as I’d always tended to go to the “Sussex”” side when heading back to Brighton, and frankly because it looks like a bit of a shithole from the outside entrance.

It was actually not that bad inside, although it was very busy as expected with too many rude business-types pushing their way through as though they’d already got on the train.

At least London felt safe enough to go out again though after the ridiculous disturbances of the last few days.

Fixed bug using App Hub stack traces (221/365) Tuesday August 9, 2011

Technical post: I wanted to check how my Bedside Clock app downloads were doing (tailing off but up to 4,700+), but found out that the App Hub website has been updated to show stack traces of crashes users have the phone have experienced.

This is a great feature, and I easily fixed the code up to handle more gracefully if some malformed XML is returned from a web service I’m calling. New version out as soon as I can release my newly Mangofied app.

Cuban Chocolate (220/365) Monday August 8, 2011

Thanks to my work colleague Christian, who’d just been to Cuba on what sounds like a very interesting holiday, I had my first ever taste of Cuban chocolate.

It was very nice, but to be honest no different to other “non-English” chocolate I’ve had before. Not sure what I expected though!

Made Toad in the Hole (219/365) Sunday August 7, 2011

Haven’t done an experimental cooking for a while, so after having a delicious Toad in the Hole in Edinburgh a few days back, I decided to have a go at doing my own.

I found a nice recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website (obviously using veggie sausages), and despite never having made Yorkshire Pudding before it actually turned out well as you can see from the picture.

With the torrential rain outside all weekend, it was nice to have a hearty winter meal :-)

Toad In The Hole

Installed SkyGo client (218/365) Saturday August 6, 2011

Sky have recently rebranded their online TV service to SkyGo, and have released a new desktop client for watching movies offline, so I decided to give it a go.

I’ve been using their live streaming service quite a lot recently, as it’s perfect for watching Sky Sports when I’m down in the flat in London. It’s always been pretty reliable, but I’ve never considered using it for anything else.

However when I looked at the list of films available for download, it seemed a good thing to try on my usual 4 hour train journey home on a Thursday. This may count as something new then if I’m desparate (we will see!)

Applied for Wimbledon tickets (217/365) Friday August 5, 2011

After the disappointment of the Olympic ballot - where we didn’t get any tennis tickets - we thought we’d have a go at entering the ballot for tickets for Wimbledon proper next year.

It’s a fairly convoluted process, but stage one is now completed so we’ll see what happens. No idea what the odds of getting something are, but surely better than the Olympics???