Visualizations in R and their discussion
Two days ago I was thinking of starting a new meetup group in Bangalore but in the process I asked a few questions. I wonder how many meetup groups are there in Bangalore? I wonder many of these are really active? Which are the big ones? How many members are there in total? To answer these questions and satisfy my curiosity, I downloaded some data from Meetup.com and analyzed the same.
In fact, Meetup offers an API to make this process easier but the API has its limitations. You can only look at the details of a group after you have joined it. So I adopted a manual approach since I was interested in only high-level metrics. I copied some overview data manually from the web browser. Subsequently, individual group information was obtained by web scraping. The language of choice for this and subsequent visualization was R. So, here are the findings.
A survey of websites about sensors
Whenever we conduct hands-on workshops on IoT at IEDF, one question comes up often: Is there a place to know what sensors are available? The fact that so many people have asked the same question suggests that this is a problem worth solving. The world of sensors is vast and varied. There are many manufacturers selling different types of sensors. Sometimes two sensors may measure the same physical quantity but their operating principles are quite different. Sensor characteristics play an important role in selection and these characteristics must match the requirements of an application.
The first thing to do then is to find out what portals are already out there that provide this service. A quick search online showed that there are in fact a handful of websites that do this but none of them were in a form that was user friendly. Sometimes relevant technical information was incomplete or missing. Links from portals to manufacturer websites were broken. There was no way to compare two sensors, the way we are used to comparing two consumer electronics (laptops, smartphones) feature by feature.
Programming Languages for Kids
Let's not dismiss the usefulness of games. Games are usually not designed to teach anything. They are simply meant to hook kids into using them and hopefully entice them into in-app purchases. Despite this, kids learn anyway. They learn motor skills. They learn the physical limitations of jumping across a broken bridge or how fast they can safely turn a corner. They learn numbers and how the points add up.
Deciding on the best framework for your website
The beginning of the year is the best time to think about your next web project. The first thought that strikes us when we embark upon a web portal development project is which framework to use. Should we use Drupal or WordPress or Joomla! or any of the rest? I have worn those shoes a multitude of times. Today while my company has an arsenal of more than ten high-traffic web portals, I ponder as to what drove me to endorse Joomla! as our principal architect.
In the not so distant past in 2008, Drupal was the buzzword. It had a lot of opportunities for developers to build tools around it. Being an engineer and having worked under some of the best technical brains, I was naturally inclined to choose such a challenging framework. But such advantages come at a cost -- a steep learning curve! And furthermore, if you are a start-up, it means training your ever-changing team members (attrition), which is time consuming and costly.
Some things we have done and are proud of
Quite often I come across a start-up's website that starts by saying that "they are here to change the world." No doubt it is good and admirable to set high goals for oneself but at IEDF we have a different approach. We believe that the world can take care of itself once its shafts, gears and pulleys are sorted out.
IEDF exists to help engineers on an individual basis. Engineers can then go out there and change the world. We act as facilitators, enablers and connectors. It is really not about how many members we have on our website or how many followers on social channels. It is about making a positive difference to the career growth and aspirations of our member engineers, one engineer at a time. This is needed today more than ever. There is a great demand for talented engineers but engineering has always been an unglamorous career option for many.
From coffee makers to dishwashers, from budget to luxury items
Reputed website CNET.com has been reviewing home appliances for a while. As I was browsing their website today, I discovered that the earliest review of this nature was posted 49 weeks ago. In total, the website today contains 126 reviews in all on home appliances. But lately, within the last week, there has been about 68 posts. Clearly, there is a lot happening in this space, lots of innovations and lots of new products coming out into the market.