Dr. Volkan Tunalı's Personal Blog

Computer, Technology, Science, Art

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Quote of the Day from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Saint ExuperyHere comes the quote of the day from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince):

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I like this saying because it emphasizes that simple and effective approaches should be sought to design and build anything (eg. software producsts in my profession) elegant.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

September 17th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

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Why I Like Twitter

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twitterWhen everybody around started to use and talk about twitter, I preferred to stay away for a while in order to get the idea why so many people became twitter user and what I could make use of twitter. However, best way to learn about something is to get involved and explore, so eventually I’ve become a twitterer.

Before twitter, the best way for me to follow some person or news source was to use RSS feeds provided by the blog of that person or the web site of the news source. Today, I still effectively use RSS feeds for the same reason (mostly to read daily news). However, people usually have many more things to say but not to prefer to type into their blogs as posts. For example, I find a very good article about data mining, I want to share it to my followers, but it may not be feasable to write about that article in my blog. I don’t like to put a single-sentence blog post that only gives a link to the article. Then, twitter is very handy in such situations. I follow some important Computer Science researchers, and they usually give very useful links in their tweets besides links to their own new blog posts. I understand why use of tools like twitter and FriendFeed is called micro-blogging.

This basic usage style is more than enough for me to stay informed about people I follow. I have not got into deeper features of twitter like trending topics, lists, etc.

As long as used wisely, twitter is a simple, useful, and effective tool for information flow among people. I like it, I use it. You can follow me via @vtunali.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

August 13th, 2010 at 2:58 am

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Blekko – A Brand New Search Engine

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blekkoI guess it is very likely that you use Google everytime you need to search for something, and sometimes the others like Yahoo, Bing, etc. This is what I do. Google has been my very first choice for a long time. I very very rarely use Yahoo or Bing. Now, there is a newcomer to the field: blekko.

Blekko is in a private beta stage and it is not open to everyone’s use. You need to get a join link from blekko through twitter or facebook.

I’ve just joined to blekko and actually have not tried it thoroughly. The most distinct property of blekko is the search using slashtags. Slashtags are the keywords that appear after a slash, which makes the search results narrow down according to the tag. Slasthtags are defined by blekko as:

Slashtag search lets users slash in what they want and slash out what they don’t. Knock out the spam sites and search only the sites you want to search.

Use of slashtags are very similar to the command line parameters passed to the programs in DOS.

I think I need more time and more trials to get the idea. Who knows, blekko might become my first choice search engine soon.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

August 9th, 2010 at 10:08 am

Numerator-only Data

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100m Sprint World RecordsIn a blog post, Daniel Lemire complains that in research papers, people express a measure or a gain in absolute value, and then go to a conclusion about optimality due to the numbers obtained. Lemire calls this fallacy of absolute numbers. With a comment to this post, John Cook gives the correct term coined for this situation: numerator-only data. I’ve ever heard that phrase for the first time. I’ve found it interesting, and wanted to share it with a blog post.

So, what exactly is numerator-only data? Cook explains the term in a blog post as data without anything to compare it to, no denominator. It is the data that leaves us asking “compared to what?”.

For example, if one tells that an athlete runs 100 m sprint in 9.75 seconds, we need to ask “is it good or bad”. The number itself does not give enough information, it is nothing more than a data value. If he tells that the world record is 9.58 seconds, then we have a denominator to compare it to; that is, 9.75 seconds is now meaningful. Of course, we may already have the knowledge of the “denominator”, but this may not always be the case, and as Lemire points out that numerator-only data becomes a problem in research papers, for instance.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

July 21st, 2010 at 8:58 pm

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Hello world!

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This is my new personal blog. I’ll continue writing my posts in English language here. My previous blog which is in Turkish language is also active at www.volkantunali.com.

I’ll post content essentially in three topics:

  1. Software Development, which is my job as a Computer Engineer
  2. Data Mining, which is my active research area for my PhD thesis
  3. Flute and Classical Music, which are my hobbies, actually more then hobby.

Enjoy!

Written by Volkan TUNALI

June 22nd, 2010 at 10:35 pm

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