A vegetarian with data beef

I run marathons, I work full time as a data engineer, and I also study computer-science and statistics at Open University. I lift, I game, I read, I sashay.
British but not; Canadian as well.

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Eurovision 2019 Song Tracker

Every year I attempt to create the authoritative Apple Music playlist for Eurovision. This year, I’m pushing this information to my blog as well. May generate https://songwhip.com links when it fills up a bit more.

So far my favourite is Zero Gravity by Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke, with Storm by Victor Crone for Estonia is a bop. I’m also hoping that Norway’s Keiino gets through their selection process to give us Spirit in the Sky.

Country Artist Song Link
Albania Jonida Maliqi Ktheju tokës
Armenia Srbuk
Australia Kate Miller-Heidke Zero Gravity https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/zero-gravity/1449808134?i=1449808135
Austria PAENDA Limits
Belgium Eliot Wake Up https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wake-up/1453849758?i=1453849759
Croatia Roko The Dream https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-dream/1453290399?i=1453290412
Cyprus Tamta Replay

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My commute should be PAYG

The UK has a ticketing problem: there are numerous types and often users pay for tickets they need or don’t realise they should use (or the worst: try to use but can’t) until it’s too late. Nowhere is more evident that the system is broken than a commute by train.

My daily commute is a train journey from Sheffield to Manchester. Ticketing options the journey are an On-Peak Day Return, an On-Peak Any Day Return, an Off-Peak Day Return, an Off-Peak Any Day Return, a Super Off-Peak Return, a Super Off-Peak Single, an On-Peak Single, an Off-Peak Single, an Advance Single, a Week Season ticket, a Month Season ticket, and a Month Season ticket plus a day up to an Annual Season ticket. I have many options - each with different restrictions and prices.

I’m the kind of geek which likes working out unit prices in my head (or multiple unit prices via a spreadsheet). Knowing the terms and...

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Cousera kick in the teeth

I was taking the Data Science specialisation from Cousera. I started in December. When I started the price was £19+£30*9, either pay in bits with only one re-sit, or all in advance for two years of all you can stomach access to the entire course library.

Now it’s £19+£62*9. £577!

Cousera and/or John Hopkins have doubled the price of their most popular verified specialisation. With no notice. No communication. Not even an FYI to current students already started their specialisation that the price was going to increase.

I didn’t pay in advance because the way the payment page was written. It extolled the benefits of paying in advance (2 years worth of access) but also told students you can switch from PAYG to pay in advance with a reduced fee (the lump sum less what you already paid). I was confident the price would remain the same for those who have started.

It obviously didn’t.


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DRIP, we meet again. [Letter to my MP]

Hello again Paul,

Thanks for your measured response to my concern regarding DRIP earlier this year. Though I believe we didn’t see eye to eye on the matter with respects to DRIP, I’m writing to you again about the expanding surveillance culture in the UK. In your email you sent to me you characterised the Government’s rush-through of DRIP to be ‘an affront to parliamentary democracy’, that the government ‘should have come forward with proposals much sooner…’ the UK is now faced with yet another surveillance expanding rush job and I am calling on you to not vote unlike the last time.

This is a poorly considered bill which makes the unwieldy large, invasive security state larger still.

The bill expands the scope of DRIP, forcing telecoms companies to retain more information than previously required by RIPA and DRIP. This amounts to a further expansion of indiscriminate spying of all...

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