March on Campus

This image is 78.33 Mega Pixels in size, all I can say is, try zooming in. The photo is taken using fifteen exposures on a Canon 550D.

Can you see?

Where’s Wally?
Some took use of the University’s Wifi? Can you see this laptop?
Legs Galore!
The Premiere Shop is making a killing this week but can you spot this six pack?
Have you ever actually seen anyone on this bridge before?
Can you see the second perspective of this photo?
The DJ was out to entertain us.
And let’s not forget the barbecue if any of us got peckish.

What else can you spot?

UPDATE – 25th July 2012 – USE OF THIS PHOTO

Various people within the University of Dundee have contacted me enquiring about use of this photograph.  I’ve had at least three people contact now so I thought I’d make things clear here.  I’m more than happy for this photo to be used within all publications that support the University of Dundee, whether this be publications for possible applicants, as a picture in the Magdalen magazine, in research publications, any thing at all.  I’m more than happy for it to be used by all and anyone at the University.  I’d appreciate a credit, something along the lines of “Photo by former student Andy Barratt” however I recognise that design style may be hindered and so if no credit is given, I don’t mind.  I have a career because of Dundee Uni and this is such a tiny thing in return :)

SEO – Changing How Bands Pick Their Names

One of my favourite bands is chamber music trio featuring a Cello, a Double Bass and a Beat Boxer on Flute.  I first discovered the band when I watched a video on YouTube that had gone viral of the flutist from this band playing the theme from the popular computer game Super Mario Brothers whilst simultaneously beat boxing.  After looking further, I discovered his band which was named Project.  Having watched a few modern takes on some classical pieces I was hooked and immediately downloaded their album entitled Brooklyn.

The video currently sits with a view count of over 22 million.

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to take a look for other albums by Project and after purchasing the only other full album I could find, iTunes gave me a suggestion that I buy a third by a band called “Project Trio.”  I was a little confused as it appeared that this was the same band with a new name.

I performed a quick search on Google for “Project Trio” the top result was for their website which confirmed to me that this was indeed the same band, complete with a listing for the Brooklyn album only now stating that it was by Project Trio.

Project Trio gave a link to their Twitter profile that I could follow and after doing so, I decided to write a quick tweet asking them about the name change.

@thePROJECTTrio When did you guys change your name? Trying to decide if I should change your name from Project to Project Trio in iTunes.

The original Brooklyn Album still shows the original band name on its cover.

After downloading their albums I was wondering if I should simply change the name of all three albums’ artists in my iTunes library to read “Project Trio” as I often enjoy listening to an entire artist’s discography in order of album release.

When I woke up this morning, Project Trio had replied to my tweet explaining that the name change actually came from something that as a computer scientist, I was already very familiar with.

@wormholer693 We are officially PROJECT Trio. Changed it about a year and a half ago. PT is way more google searchable!

I had been pondering whether the band had had a reshuffle or perhaps felt their name wasn’t descriptive enough, it had crossed my mind that the name Project had clashed with somebody’s copyright but the entire thing came down to SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.

Search Engine Optimisation is the act of refactoring code and page content on a website so that it can be found easily in web searches.  Often I have found myself investigating what would be the best name for a web project so as to make sure that it could be found easily online.  How many other things could you be meaning if you do a web search for the word twitter?  If you think of a nice catchy name that you know will bring your project out on top on Google, you have a better chance of getting your brand out there.

I had not actually considered how this might affect projects that are not necessarily web based.  Bands have, in the past, not had to think of how well their band’s name could be searched because the World Wide Web didn’t influence our lives so much.  This meant that we would get some really strange names popping up for bands that would be a nightmare to search for.

I find it really interesting to see how people are now thinking of SEO when not even working on a web project anymore.  It’s interesting to see that Project Trio felt they required a name change to work in our new web based world.

Indeed, a search for “Project” on Google places the band on the second page of listings compared to “Project Trio” which returns the band as the top result.

I wonder how many more non-web-based ventures out there have picked their names based entirely on how well a search for them would appear online.

You can find out more about Project Trio by clicking here.

American Billion vs British Billion

I read an article on Gizmodo today in which Jesus Diaz quoted the cash balance of Apple as being $100,000 million. After this came a large torrent of arguments complaining about why he didn’t just say $100 billion! Meanwhile some people complained that in their country this figure would not be correct as in most countries, a billion is a significantly larger number than in America.

Jesus Diaz eventually replied to the comments clarifying that he had in fact chosen to say $100,000 million for exactly this reason, so that people would know the exact figure he was stating regardless of where they had had their education or what their scientific knowledge was.

How is a British Billion actually different?

The truth is, there is no difference, there was but there is not anymore.

In Britain a billion was accepted to be a million million and a trillion was accepted to be a million million million.  This definition spread across most of the world because, to be blunt, Britain owned most of the world.

However, in American a billion was accepted to be a thousand million and a trillion, to be a million million!  Oh dear, now things are really confusing, that meant that when ever an American said one trillion, to us in the UK, they should have said a billion!

To avoid disambiguation in the scientific community, many scientists avoided using the terms billion and trillion altogether, just like Jesus Diaz attempted to do in his article and as the Americans grew in power, it was eventually accepted that the American billion and trillion be adopted internationally in the scientific community, though as with any language, its common meaning will not change until everyone accepts it as meaning one thing which appears to be a long way off.

It is worth noting that the financial industry has also chosen to work with the American billion as noted by Denis Healey in 1975 when he announced that the treasury was officially switching to using the American billion.

Did the American billion have a name in Britain?

Yes, 1000 million in Britain was called a milliard, though this term was never widely used.

But doesn’t a million million just make sense?

You may be thinking, BI means two, so million million makes sense and TRI means three so million million million also makes sense?  Well yes but then, under the exact same reasoning, the American system also makes sense, allow me to demonstrate.

A million is a thousand multiplied by a thousand once.  While BI means two which means that a billion is a thousand multiplied by a thousand twice.  TRI means three so a trillion is a thousand multiplied by a thousand thrice.

So which one should I use?

The truth is, if you’re outside of America, you can pick and choose which billion and trillion you use, however, if you are using it in a scientific or financial capacity or in any forum with an international viewership, you should avoid using the old British system as it can lead to confusion, it will even lead to confusion in your own country as many have switched to the American system.

Or, you can simply do what many scientists and of course the aforementioned Jesus Diaz has done and just avoid the words all together.  If I say 1 million million and one person reads it as a trillion while someone else reads it as billion, there is no harm done because I know that in their heads, they both understand the number I am trying to convey.  I would rather have it that way than have myself say trillion and have people understand it as to entirely different numbers.

The New iPad does have a name… iPad!

A few minutes ago, Apple finished their presentation of the latest in the iPad range.  It’s got loads of improvements including 4G internet (note, we do not have 4G in the United Kingdom so this fails to thrill us), Retina display that is so HD that it has a million more pixels than your massive 1080p TV (note: 1080p really is just a 2 megapixel image so don’t get too upset, still it makes the new iPad higher definition than most print media), 5MP camera that can record 1080p video, a quad core processor to compliment the graphics processing that it’ll require and a bunch of new apps including iPhoto.  It also doesn’t have a new name.

People have been arguing for a while now on whether this new iPad will be the iPad 3, the iPad HD or something else, now people are confused that Apple hasn’t named it, we just know it as “The New iPad.”  You know what, why can’t it just be called iPad?

People aren’t going to get confused because you know what?  They didn’t get confused about it before!  What do I mean, let’s put it this way.

Apple produced 5 iPods that were just called "iPod". I think we'll do just fine.


CORRECTED – That is one ugly computer – but it’s only $35

This article was take from Australia’s and written by Claire Connelly, supposedly their technology reporter.  I have take the liberty of making a couple of corrections.

That is one ugly computer – but it’s only $35

by Claire Connelly, Technology Reporter

CORRECTION: Claire Connelly is as much a technology reporter as Jen from British TV show “The IT Crowd” is a technology specialist.

WELL that is one ugly computer – but it’s $35 and the size of a credit card so what are you complaining about?

US technology company Raspberry Pi’s CORRECTION: Raspberry Pi is really quite British. creation lets users program their own computer by giving them all the parts they need – including a wireless mouse, keyboard and an SD card reader CORRECTION: One of the most elementary parts of Raspberry Pi is that you get the “ugly” board from the picture and that’s it. No wireless mouse, no keyboard, you have to get that yourself, it does have the SD card reader onboard though..

It contains a Linux processor CORRECTION: There is no such thing as a linux processor. It contains an ARM processor which is capable of running a linux operating system, or what ever operating system someone might come up for it. Much like my MacBook contains an Intel processor which can run Windows, Mac, Linux and many others., memory chips and ports for almost every plug in device you could ever need including USB, HDMI and Ethernet cables CORRECTION: I would certainly not describe this as “almost every plug in device you could ever need,” granted the USB does make a difference..

As for a screen and software – that’s left up to users.

The tiny computers were initially developed to encourage children to get excited about computer programming and other technology – but the device has gotten the tech world in a frenzy.

The Raspberry Pi website crashed under the weight of all the web traffic after the device was made available for sale CORRECTION: To my knowledge, the Raspberry Pi website coped just fine, it was the supplier’s websites that went down. – even after the company limited sales to one $35 computer per customer.

Raspberry Pi has also released a no-frills $25 version that comes with without a case, keyboard or monitor CORRECTION: As discussed earlier, neither device comes with a keyboard or monitor, in fact, you even said yourself that it didn’t come with a monitor! Neither version comes with a case either. Where exactly are you getting your information from? You can’t just make guesses as to what the cheaper version might entail. FYI, the cheaper version has only one USB port, rather than two; it has no onboard networking (so no ethernet port) and its power rating is less..

Both computers contain a 700Mhz Linux processor CORRECTION: ARM Processor, see above., 256 MB of RAM, USB, HDMI, SD, RCA video and 3.5 mm audio ports.

FINAL CORRECTION: It is worth noting that $35 is in US dollars, not Australian Dollars which this article’s target audience are more likely to be spending in. That said, I do not know what the Australian pricing plan is.

End of Quoted Article

I’ve often dreamt about being a technology correspondant, now I think I may be a little over qualified.

The original article can be found here.

And the new meme that was developed within hours of publication featuring Claire Connelly’s face can be found here.

UPDATE – 4th March 2012 23:40GMT:
The Raspberry Pi website did indeed go down for a short period due to high load and so Claire Connelly was indeed correct on that matter.  Also, the meme linked to has been around for a while before this particular article as Connelly chose to write an article on internet trolling.  Thanks to comments for updating me :]

UPDATE – 5th March 2012 00:24GMT:
Claire Connelly has now posted an update to her article correcting her mistakes and sent a message to myself on Twitter:

 Hi Andy. Thanks for taking the time to sub-edit my story. I really appreciate your feedback. It must have taken you a while.  Have you ever thought about becoming a sub-editor? Please accept my apologies for the flaws in that story.  Please see the corrections posted this morning. Cheers