Weekly Recap: Interesting Articles 7/24-7/31 2016

Some of the interesting things I saw and read this week

Went on vacation or fell asleep at the internet wheel this week? Here’s some of the interesting stuff you missed.

Science & Math

Publishing

Indieweb, Internet, Identity, Blogging, Social Media

General

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Peter Webb’s A Course in Finite Group Representation Theory

A Course in Finite Group Representation Theory by Peter WebbPeter Webb (math.umn.edu)
Download a pre-publication version of the book which will be published by Cambridge University Press. The book arises from notes of courses taught at the second year graduate level at the University of Minnesota and is suitable to accompany study at that level.

“Why should we want to know about representations over rings that are not fields of characteristic zero? It is because they arise in many parts of mathematics. Group representations appear any time we have a group of symmetries where there is some linear structure present, over some commutative ring. That ring need not be a field of characteristic zero.

Here are some examples.

  • […]
  • In the theory of error-correcting codes many important codes have a non-trivial symmetry group and are vector spaces over a finite field, thereby providing a representation of the group over that field.”
Peter Webb, February 23, 2016, Professor of Mathematics, University of Minnesota
in A Course in Finite Group Representation Theory to be published soon by Cambridge University Press

 

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How publications are committing harakari! 

How publications are committing harakari!  by Om MalikOm Malik (Om Malik)
I have become increasingly frustrated by the fact that many of the publications I used to like are turning into churnicle factories, creating platforms for anybody and everybody to post whatever dr…
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Web-based Push Notifications with Pushpad

Push Notifications

A push notification (AKA client notification) is a notification that shows up on one or more of your client devices without you having to explicitly request it — it’s “pushed” to you, instead of you having to poll for it. –Source: IndieWeb.org

Pushpad

Today I came across a beta web service called Pushpad that provides easy-to-install push notifications. As a result, for people who spend a lot of time in front of their screens, they can now subscribe to updates on the site here via web browser push notifications. Subscribers will get a small toaster-like pop up notification in real time on their screen to indicate that new content was published.

My first push notification
My first push notification

 

Set up

The service was quick and simple to set up with lots of documentation. While geared at large corporations looking for a simple turnkey implementation for push notifications on most major web browsers, it’s also easily usable by smaller sites. Even better it’s free for providing less than 10,000 notifications a month, which covers most small sites.

They provide an “Express” version that requires no serious technical skills and sets up in just a few minutes and a separate “Pro” version which provides a lot of additional customization (including a white labeled version) for those with the development skills to implement it.

For those on WordPress, they also have an easy to use plugin.

Pushpad supports the Push API for Chrome and Firefox and APNs for Safari.

Automation

Pushpad also supports integration with Zapier (currently in beta), which means that any of the hundreds of applications that are integrated with Zapier can be used to create push notifications on the desktop. Hopefully they include IFTTT.com soon too. I’m already using Pushbullet with IFTTT for integration between my Android phone and my desktop, but additional integrations for personalized notifications could be cool.

Roll Your Own

But maybe you’re hard core? If you prefer not relying on outside services, you can always build your own push notifications! In particular, IndieWeb.org provides some thoughts and tips about how to implement these for yourself based on open web standards.

Push Notifications for BoffoSocko.com

Now that we’ve been talking about them, would you like to try receiving them in the future?  You can subscribe to push notifications for my blog by simply clicking on the icon below and then authenticating your subscription:

Not into push notifications? Maybe this isn’t your favorite way to find out about my content? If not, I offer a number of other ways to subscribe and consume my content.

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Reply to John Scalzi on “How Blogs Work Today”

How Blogs Work Today – Whatever by John ScalziJohn Scalzi (whatever.scalzi.com)
I think the role of the blog is different than it was even just a couple of years ago. It’s not the sole outpost of an online life, although it can be an anchor, holding it in place.

Does blogging need to be different than it was?

I

agree with John that blogs seemingly occupy a different space in online life today than they did a decade ago, but I won’t concede that, for me at least, most of it has moved to the social media silos.

 I think the role of the blog is different than it was even just a couple of years ago. It’s not the sole outpost of an online life, although it can be an anchor, holding it in place. — John Scalzi

Why? About two years ago I began delving into the evolving movement known as IndieWeb, which has re-empowered me to take back my web presence and use my own blog/website as my primary online hub and identity. The tools I’ve found there allow me to not only post everything to my own site first and then syndicate it out to the social circles and sites I feel it might resonate with, but best of all, the majority of the activity (comments, likes, shares, etc.) on those sites boomerangs back to the comments on my own site! This gives me a better grasp on where others are interacting with my content, and I can interact along with them on the platforms that they choose to use.

Some of the benefit is certainly a data ownership question — for who is left holding the bag if a major site like Twitter or Facebook is bought out or shut down? This has happened to me in dozens of cases over the past decade where I’ve put lots of content and thought into a site only to see it shuttered and have all of my data and community disappear with it.

Other benefits include: cutting down on notification clutter, more enriching interactions, and less time wasted scrolling through social sites.

Reply from my own site

Now I’m able to use my own site to write a comment on John’s post (where the comments are currently technically closed), and keep it for myself, even if his blog should go down one day. I can alternately ping his presence on other social media (say, by means of Twitter) so he’ll be aware of the continued conversational ripples he’s caused.

Social media has become ubiquitous in large part because those corporate sites are dead simple for Harry and Mary Beercan to use. Even my own mother’s primary online presence begins with http://facebook.com/. But not so for me. I’ve taken the reigns of my online life back.

My Own Hub

My blog remains my primary online hub, and some very simple IndieWeb tools enable it by bringing all the conversation back to me. I joined Facebook over a decade ago, and you’ll notice by the date on the photo that it didn’t take me long to complain about the growing and overwhelming social media problem I had.

I’m glad I can finally be at the center of my own social graph, and it was everything I thought it could be.

 

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Ten Simple Rules for Taking Advantage of Git and GitHub

Ten Simple Rules for Taking Advantage of Git and GitHub by Yasset Perez-Riverol , Laurent Gatto, Rui Wang, Timo Sachsenberg, Julian Uszkoreit, Felipe da Veiga Leprevost, Christian Fufezan, Tobias Ternent, Stephen J. Eglen, Daniel S. Katz, Tom J. Pollard, Alexander Konovalov, Robert M. Flight, Kai Blin, Juan Antonio Vizcaíno (journals.plos.org)
Bioinformatics is a broad discipline in which one common denominator is the need to produce and/or use software that can be applied to biological data in different contexts. To enable and ensure the replicability and traceability of scientific claims, it is essential that the scientific publication, the corresponding datasets, and the data analysis are made publicly available [1,2]. All software used for the analysis should be either carefully documented (e.g., for commercial software) or, better yet, openly shared and directly accessible to others [3,4]. The rise of openly available software and source code alongside concomitant collaborative development is facilitated by the existence of several code repository services such as SourceForge, Bitbucket, GitLab, and GitHub, among others. These resources are also essential for collaborative software projects because they enable the organization and sharing of programming tasks between different remote contributors. Here, we introduce the main features of GitHub, a popular web-based platform that offers a free and integrated environment for hosting the source code, documentation, and project-related web content for open-source projects. GitHub also offers paid plans for private repositories (see Box 1) for individuals and businesses as well as free plans including private repositories for research and educational use.
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Homebrew Website Club Meetup Pasadena/Los Angeles 7/27/16

A hearty band of six gathered to work on their own websites

Tonight was the beginning of a new group of indiewebbers meeting up on the East side of the Los Angeles Area, in what we hope to be an ongoing in-person effort, particularly as we get nearer to IndieWeb Camp Los Angeles in November.

We met at Starbucks, 575 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA.

Quiet Writing Hour

The quiet writing hour started off pretty well with three people which quickly grew to 6 at the official start of the meeting including what may be the youngest participants ever (at 6months and 5 1/2 years old).

Introductions and Quick Demonstrations

Participants included:

Following introductions, I did a quick demo of the simple workflow I’ve been slowly perfecting for liking/retweeting posts from Twitter via mobile so that they post on my own site while simultaneously POSSEing to Twitter. Angelo showed a bit of his code and set-up for his custom-built site based on a Python framework and inspired by Aaron Schwartz’s early efforts. (He also has an interesting script for scraping other’s sites searching for microformats data with a mf2 parser that I’d personally like to see more of and hope he’ll open source it. It found a few issues with some redundant/malformed rel=”me” links in the header of my own site that I’ll need to sort out shortly).

Bryan showed some recent work he’s done on his photography blog, which he’s slowly but surely been managing to cobble together from a self-hosted version of WordPress with help from friends and the local WordPress Meetup. (Big kudos to him for his sheer tenacity in building his site up!) Jervey described some of what he’d like to build as it relates to a WordPress based site he’s putting together for a literary journal, while his daughter slept peacefully until someone mentioned a silo named Facebook. 5 year old Evie showed off some coding work she’d done during the quiet writing hour on the Scratch Platform on iOS that she hopes to post to her own blog shortly, so she can share with her grandparents.

At the break, we managed to squeeze everyone in for a group selfie.

Peer-to-Peer Building and Help

Since many in the group were building with WordPress, we did a demo build on Evie’s (private) site by installing the IndieWeb Plugin and activating and configuring a few of the basic sub-plugins. We then built a small social links menu to demonstrate the ease of adding rel-me to an Instagram link as an example. We also showed a quick example of IndieAuth, followed by a quick build for doing PESOS from Instagram with proper microformats2 markup. Bryan had a few questions about his site from the first half of the meeting, so we wrapped up by working our way through a portion of those so he can proceed with some additional work before our next meeting.

Summary & Next Meeting

In all, not a bad showing for what I expected to be a group of 5 less people than what we ultimately got! I can’t wait until the next meetup on either 8/10 or 8/24 (at the very worst) pending some scheduling. I hope to do every two weeks, but we’ll definitely commit to do at least once a month going forward.

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Introduction to Complex Analysis | UCLA Extension

Looking for some serious entertainment on Tuesday nights this fall? Professor Mike Miller has got you covered!

Dr. Michael Miller has announced his Autumn mathematics course, and it is…

Introduction to Complex Analysis

Course Description

Complex analysis is one of the most beautiful and useful disciplines of mathematics, with applications in engineering, physics, and astronomy, as well as other branches of mathematics. This introductory course reviews the basic algebra and geometry of complex numbers; develops the theory of complex differential and integral calculus; and concludes by discussing a number of elegant theorems, including many–the fundamental theorem of algebra is one example–that are consequences of Cauchy’s integral formula. Other topics include De Moivre’s theorem, Euler’s formula, Riemann surfaces, Cauchy-Riemann equations, harmonic functions, residues, and meromorphic functions. The course should appeal to those whose work involves the application of mathematics to engineering problems as well as individuals who are interested in how complex analysis helps explain the structure and behavior of the more familiar real number system and real-variable calculus.

Prerequisites

Basic calculus or familiarity with differentiation and integration of real-valued functions.

Details

MATH X 451.37 – 268651  Introduction to Complex Analysis
Fall 2016
Time 7:00PM to 10:00PM
Dates Tuesdays, Sep 20, 2016 to Dec 06, 2016
Contact Hours 33.00
Location: UCLA, Math Sciences Building
Standard credit (3.9 units) $453.00
Instructor: Michael Miller
Register Now at UCLA

For many who will register, this certainly won’t be their first course with Dr. Miller — yes, he’s that good! But for the newcomers, I’ve written some thoughts and tips to help them more easily and quickly settle in and adjust:
Dr. Michael Miller Math Class Hints and Tips | UCLA Extension

I often recommend people to join in Mike’s classes and more often hear the refrain: “I’ve been away from math too long”, or “I don’t have the prerequisites to even begin to think about taking that course.” For people in those categories, you’re in luck! If you’ve even had a soupcon of calculus, you’ll be able to keep up here. In fact, it was a similar class exactly a decade ago by Mike Miller that got me back into mathematics. (Happy 10th math anniversary to me!)

I look forward to seeing everyone in the Fall!

Update 9/1/16

Textbook

Dr. Miller is back from summer vacation and emailed me this morning to say that he’s chosen the textbook for the class. We’ll be using Complex Analysis with Applications by Richard A. Silverman [1]

Complex Analysis with Applications by Richard A. Silverman

(Note that there’s another introductory complex analysis textbook from Silverman that’s offered through Dover, so be sure to choose the correct one.)

As always in Dr. Miller’s classes, the text is just recommended (read: not required) and in-class notes are more than adequate. To quote him directly, “We will be using as a basic guide, but, as always, supplemented by additional material and alternate ways of looking at things.”

The bonus surprise of his email: He’s doing two quarters of Complex Analysis! So we’ll be doing both the Fall and Winter Quarters to really get some depth in the subject!

Alternate textbooks

If you’re like me, you’ll probably take a look at some of the other common (and some more advanced) textbooks in the area. Since I’ve already compiled a list, I’ll share it:

Undergraduate

More advanced

References

[1]
R. A. Silverman, Complex Analysis with Applications, 1st ed. Dover Publications, Inc., 2010, pp. 304–304 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2c7KaQy
[2]
J. Bak and D. J. Newman, Complex Analysis, 3rd ed. Springer, 2010, pp. 328–328 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2bLPW89
[3]
T. Gamelin, Complex Analysis. Springer, 2003, pp. 478–478 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2bGNQct
[4]
J. Brown and R. V. Churchill, Complex Variables and Applications, 8th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2008, pp. 468–468 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2bLQWcu
[5]
E. B. Saff and A. D. Snider, Fundamentals of Complex Analysis with Applications to Engineering, Science, and Mathematics, 3rd ed. Pearson, 2003, pp. 563–563 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2f3Nyj6
[6]
L. V. Ahlfors, Complex Analysis, 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill, 1979, pp. 336–336 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2bMXrxm
[7]
S. Lang, Complex Analysis, 4th ed. Springer, 2003, pp. 489–489 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2c7OaR0
[8]
J. B. Conway, Functions of One Complex Variable, 2nd ed. Springer, 1978, pp. 330–330 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2cggbF1
[9]
El. M. Stein and R. Shakarchi, Complex Analysis. Princeton University Press, 2003, pp. 400–400 [Online]. Available: http://amzn.to/2bGOG9c
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Lessons Learned from IndiewebCamp and WordCamp – David Shanske

Lessons Learned from IndiewebCamp and WordCamp by David ShanskeDavid Shanske (David Shanske)
For a little over two years, I have been involved in Indiewebcamp. This past weekend, for the first time in five years, I was able to attend WordCamp. WordCamp NYC was a massive undertaking, to which I must give credit to the organizers. WordCamp was moved to coincide with OpenCamps week at the United Nations, …
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Santa Clarita brush fire is going to make a yellow sunset tonight

Santa Clarita brush fire is going to make a yellow sunset tonight

Santa Clarita brush fire is going to make a yellow sunset tonight

Instagram filter used: Normal

Photo taken at: Glendale, California of the Sand Fire in Santa Clarita

Santa Clarita Brush Fire Explodes to 1,500 Acres via NBC

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The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci by Jonathan D. SpenceJonathan D. Spence (amazon.com)
In 1577, the Jesuit Priest Matteo Ricci set out from Italy to bring Christian faith and Western thought to Ming dynasty China. To capture the complex emotional and religious drama of Ricci's extraordinary life, Jonathan Spence relates his subject's experiences with several images that Ricci himself created—four images derived from the events in the Bible and others from a book on the art of memory that Ricci wrote in Chinese and circulated among members of the Ming dynasty elite. A rich and compelling narrative about a fascinating life, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci is also a significant work of global history, juxtaposing the world of Counter-Reformation Europe with that of Ming China.

Something I’ve been meaning to buy and read for a while.

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Chili prep for dinner tonight

Chili prep for dinner tonight

Instagram filter used: Juno


Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A modifiable crock pot chili recipe

I always prefer a chili recipe with a higher proportion of meat, so this recipe goes much heaver in that department than most. Naturally, high quality ground beef can be substituted for the somewhat healthier turkey if preferred. The beans can be cooked in with the chili simultaneously, but I typically prefer to cook them separately for better doneness and quality as well as well as closer control of the overall soupiness of the chili.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 – 1.5 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on one’s tolerance for heat)
  • 3 pounds ground turkey (preferably dark meat), (could substitute ground beef)
  • 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • ground pepper
  • Two 28-ounce cans of (fire-roasted) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 medium to large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 2 cups crushed corn tortilla chips
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 4 carrots, finely diced

Ingredients for pinto beans

  • 3.5 cups of pinto beans
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1.5 teaspoon of bouillon (or 3 cups of chicken broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Optional ingredients for toppings and serving

  • sliced scallions or 1/2 raw onion chopped
  • shredded/grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • chopped (pickled) jalapeno
  • corn tortilla chips (or cornbread or white rice)

Directions

  • Bring the pinto beans, onion, garlic, and bouillon in a large pot with an equal amount of salted water to a low boil. Then reduce the heat and cook on low for 3-4 hours until done. Add additional water if necessary during coooking, but don’t allow the beans to become too soupy. Stir regularly to prevent burning to the bottom of the pan.
  • Put the tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, peppers, cocoa powder, vinegar, oregano, garlic, crushed tortilla chips, and a teaspoon salt into a covered 6+ quart slow cooker over low heat for 6 hours.
  • While the above are beginning to cook, heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat with the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture is dark red and dry in texture. Add the ground turkey, previously seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt, and cook while stirring and breaking up into smaller pieces, until mixture is thoroughly combined. (The turkey doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through but should ideally be browned for better maillard reaction and subsequent flavor).
  • When the oil, paste, and turkey mixture is done, mix it in with the tomatoes, celery, carrots, et al, and finish cooking. Stir occasionally.
  • As the turkey/vegetable portion and the beans are done, mix them together in equal measure, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with scallions, cheddar, sour cream, and pickled jalapeno over tortilla chips. (One could also substitute cornbread or even rice for the tortilla chips for alternate variations.)


Optional cocoa powder may seem a bit out of place in most chilies, but it can serve two functions here: it adds some depth of flavor (without being chocolaty as one may expect) while simultaneously thickening the sauce in the chili.

The celery, carrots, onions, and peppers are all also optional: they can be used to enhance/modify taste, but also add to not only the overall heartiness, but make the dish more veggie friendly for children without detriment to flavor or presentation.

I suggest serving the chili on a bed of tortilla chips (which can also function as a makeshift spoon or eating implement), but it can also be great with cornbread or even served over rice as additional options.

Leftovers can be refrigerated or even frozen (for several weeks) if necessary.


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The IndieWeb-ified Library

Hey, you got IndieWeb in my Library... What happens when hobbies collide.

I know that there are lots of personal IndieWeb sites around, and even an indieweb site for a cat, so why couldn’t a library join the IndieWeb?

IndieWeb Core Principles and Libraries

Indeed, libraries are meant to store, protect, and help disseminate information. These functions alone should make them ground zero for the philosophies of owning your own data and making one more connected to their community which underpin the IndieWeb. Shouldn’t they? It almost makes me suspicious that all libraries aren’t part of the IndieWeb movement.

Little Free Library #8424

Now sadly, this particular library is ridiculously small, but that doesn’t make it any less important or special. If anything, it’s even more special now because Little Free Library #8424 (Adams Hill) is a proud member of the IndieWeb.

(And yes, for those interested, the library definitely also accepts Indie Book donations!)

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