Happy talk detector

Over the last couple of months, I have been pushing a lot of content on my company website (Lokad.com), and proofreading a lot of texts produced by colleagues too. The more I write, the more I realize that fighting our innate instinct to produce happy talk is a tough battle. Recently, I came up with a simple rule to detect most happy talk content: When by replacing a sentence by its negation, the resulting message seems totally out of place, then, odds are that the sentence was not carrying much of a message in the first place.

Bizarre pricing, does it matter? (B2B)

My company has just released quantile forecasts upgrade. It’s no less than a small revolution for us, however, unless you’ve got some inventory to manage, it’s probably not too relevant to your business. Another salient aspect is our new pricing for quantiles (the old pricing for classic forecasts remains untouched). Lokad is selling a monthly subscription, and if qiqiqi represents one of the actual quantile values retrieved by the client during the month, then the monthly cost CCC is given by:

Cloud questions from Syracuse University, NY

A few days ago, I received a couple of questions from a student of Syracuse University, NY who is writing a paper about cloud computing and virtualization. Questions are relatively broad, so I am taking the opportunity to directly post here the answers. What was the actual technical and business impact of adopting cloud technology?. The technical impact was a complete rewrite of our codebase. It has been the large upgrade ever undertaken by Lokad, and it did span over 18 months, more or less mobilizing the entire dev workforce during the transition.

Goodbye Subversion, you served me well

I had been a long time Subversion user even before I started my company. Since 2006, the data analytics core of Lokad had been managed over SVN which proved to be a very robust piece of software (combined with TortoiseSVN). We had a few hiccups where the easiest way forward was to delete the local version and check-out again, but otherwise, our SVN hoster has been operating flawlessly over 5 years, which is a long time as far software technology goes.

MathJax, at last a decent way to post maths on the web

For a long time, posting something as simple as a square root on the web has been a major pain. Despite MathML having been around for years, Firefox is still the only browser (that I know of) to render MathML correctly. p=Φ(2ln(12π−−√MH)−−−−−−−−−−−−√)p=Φ(2ln⁡(12πMH)) p=\Phi\left(\sqrt{2\ln\left(\frac{1}{\sqrt{2\pi}}\frac{M}{H}\right)}\right) Recently, I did stumble upon MathJax, an outstanding JavaScript rendering engine for mathematics that works for all major recent browsers. The syntax is derived from the one of LaTeX, and the output is either MathML (if you have Firefox) or plain HTML/CSS otherwise.

Instant transfer with Bitcoin but without 3rd parties

Update 2012-05-17: Double spending can be made extremely difficult through quasi-instant double spending attempt detection. See TransactionRadar.com as an illustration. I now believe that the ideas posted below are moot, because early double spending detection is just the way to go. Bitcoin is a crypto-currency (check out my previous post for some more introductory thoughts) that provides many desirable properties such as decentralization, very low transaction fee, digital-native, … However enabling instant payment has not been a forte of Bitcoin so far.

Lokad.Cloud vs Lokad.CQRS, tiny insights about the future

Among the (small) community interested by the software practices of Lokad to develop entreprise software over Windows Azure, Lokad.Cloud vs Lokad.CQRS comes as a recurring question. It’s a good question, and to be entirely honest, the case is not 100% solved even at Lokad. One of the core difficulty to address this question is that Lokad.Cloud and Lokad.CQRS come: from different backgrounds: Lokad.Cloud orginates from the hard-core data analytics back-end.

Oddities of machine learning software code

Developping machine learning software is special. I did already describe a bit how it feels to be in a machine learning company, but let’s be a bit more specific concerning the code itself. One of most shocking aspect of machine learning code is that it tends to be full of super-short cryptic 1-letter or 2-letter variable names. This goes completely against the general naming conventions which emphasis readability over brievity. Yet, over the years, I have found that those compact names where best for mathematical / statistical / numerical algorithms.

Bitcoin, thoughts on a nascent currency system

Bitcoin is a fascinating concept, in short, it’s a crypto-currency backed by nothing other than raw processing power and geeky enthusiasm. For those who’ve never heard of it, you can have a look at the introduction provided by the Bitcoin community itself or by The Economist. This currency seems to trigger a much positive reactions than skeptical ones. My personal stance is very inclined in favor of Bitcoin, and I have invested a conservative amount of Euros in exchange of Bitcoins.

Why your company should have a single email address (guest post)

My second (ever) guest post has been published today by Jason Cohen, founder at WP Engine: Why your company should have a single email address. This discussion is mostly based on our experience at Lokad, I will address of concerns expressed in both the comments on the original post and on the Hacker News discussion. This is not an email problem, but a CRM problem. Very true. The secret ingredient to make single email work is, I believe, a CRM such as Relenta (or their next best alternative).