Book Review: Numbersense: How to Use Big Data to Your Advantage

Numbersense: How to Use Big Data to Your AdvantageNumbersense: How to Use Big Data to Your Advantage by Kaiser Fung

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are so many ways the numbers may be skewed. With the right data transformation, exclusions or imputations, the numbers can be manipulated to tell the story the researcher wants the data to tell. Always check raw data, the assumptions and methods used to transform or normalize the data and the statistical techniques selected to analyze the data.

The book gives many examples of data manipulated for some advantage, law school deans fudge the numbers to get higher law school rankings. Groupon shows the benefit of advertising with them, but Groupon looks at the number as a whole and does not break out current customers that take advantage of the discount from those that are net new customers.

The epilogue shows two data challenges I am very familiar with. To bad he does not have any quick fix for these: How do you get one system to accept the dates from another system as a date variable, not text or numeric? How do we categorize thousands of keywords into useful groups in a reasonable amount of time, especially considering these are always changing?

Fung reminds us that big data has nothing to say about causation, many things are correlated without one causing the other. He also demonstrates how statistical significance does not prove the results are important, tiny numbers with little real impact can be statistical significant.

Overall, I think the book was a good read. It had great examples for social data, marketing data, economics data and fantasy football.

View all my reviews

Book Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy AnswersThe Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book had great insights for people around start-up or tech companies.

He also talked about, as a tech company, how hard it is to stay ahead of the competition. He emphasized that a tech company should strive to have a product that is at least 10 times better than your best competitor and he gave a wonderful example of how he saved his company through discovering and delivering what the top client would like from the product.

There were some interesting thoughts on when and why to sell you company -if you are number one and the market is growing, you should not sell at any price, think Google.

The book talks about how companies should take care of its people, products and profits in that order. First and foremost a company should be a good place to work to recruit and keep the top talent.

The book was mostly aimed at CEOs…such as how to find, hire, assimilate and fire executives. But he also discussed the importance of building an overall good corporate culture, the importance of communication and regular one on one meetings.

It was a good read for anyone working in a company that is going through a large amount of change.

View all my reviews

Book Reivew – This will make you smarter

This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your ThinkingThis Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really felt this book needed an editor. It was made up of lots of short essays, some good, some really bad. Even if there had been some rating on each essay so you can skip some of the poorly written ones would have made this book better. I did learn some new words, like kakaonomics…but overall this book is not worth the read.

View all my reviews

Book Review – Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore MarketingWaiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing by Bryan Eisenberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has been on my To Read list for a long time. There were a lot of good points in this book. I like the three questions to always keep in mind: Who are you trying to persuade? What action do you want them to take? What do they need for them to feel comfortable taking that action? I also like the phases of the process they describe: Uncovery (which is supposed to mean that you understand you business, the selling & buying process and create personas for your customers), wireframe, storyboard, prototype, develop and optimize.

But a lot of let downs as well. This book has way a lot of made up terms like uncovery. Most of what is covered in this book just barely touches on the subject and then points out how great they are at it. It felt like on big advertisement to hire them. Also the book really only covers the first phases of the process they describe. The other 5 phases only get the last 20 or so pages in the book are and only briefly mentioned.

It is worth a read, but I felt the authors should have gone into more depth on subjects and covered the other phases. Clever title that did not quite deliver.

View all my reviews

Book Review – One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One Hundred Years of Solitude follows one very strange family. I thought it had some characters were great. The beginning of the book had beautiful language and was the best part. But the more you read, the more you have to keep flipping to the family tree to figure out who they are talking about, because the there are so many characters with the same or very similar names! Even though it was a bit difficult to read, this is one of those books that is definitely is worth reading once.

View all my reviews

A One Star Book

As Meat Loves Salt As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I am so glad to be finished with this book. I don’t remember how the book got into my house, but I saw all the praise for it on the back and that it had won ECONOMIST Best Book of the Year, so I decided to read it. I was very surprised to find this book was very boring. It was really hard to force myself to finish this book. I did not enjoy the any of the characters, especially the main character, who is a very violent, jealous, dislikable man. The plot was not believable or even enjoyable. What a disappointment.

View all my reviews

An Long Pause & Another island….

I know it has been a VERY long time since my last post….back in October I started interviewing for (and got) a new position at work, and I have just felt so busy since then!!!!

I’m try to get back on track…so here’s some updates.

The island:  I am disappointed that we did not get the pulling up the dock in at the end of the season….it got cold so fast. We were heading out one weekend in November to find the river had large ice chucks, so we did not risk taking the boat out….so I guess this means we will probably be building a new dock in the spring :(

But here are some pics from October/November (so, no posts then!)  It was amazing to see we still have some flowers/mushrooms/fall leaves & even a caterpillar & a heron this late before the freeze!

Knitting:  I just got so frustrated with the project I was working on that I stopped knitting all together.  I have restarted this stupid scarf so many times!!! But it just keeps CURLING !!!!


I tried that pattern as it was and edging would flip over onto the front of the scarf :(.  SO frogged a lot of work and tried again, adding a slip stitch before the edging…..same problem :(.  At this point I think I am going to ditch the scarf and make a cowl or an infinity scarf instead (no curling there right :) ).

And the hat….I followed the pattern and had some STRANGE results… the hat looks more like a beanie than a beret. The brim is loose and the hat is not….what kind of beret is that…..I don’t know if I am just not getting along with this yarn, or if I am knitting to tight/loose, need to change needles or what!   But I may just keep the hat, because I already did all the finishing and I DON’T want to frog that.


Family Time:  I also got to take off a few days early this month and head off to Utah to see my sisters, nephew & niece.  That was a lot of fun, we did some tubing, did way too much karaoke and went to see Toad the Wet Sprocket.   We stayed up late every night watching scary movies with my nephew or playing cards.  It was a blast!

And now for another island; My husband’s friend got married.  Congrats Dr. D!!!!  The wedding was as out in the Caymans.  I have to say, it was such a great excuse to take a nice vacation.  The wedding was on Grand Cayman and it was one of the best parties ever.  We had so much fun!!!!

Then we went off to Cayman Brac, which was AWESOME.  It was such a quiet place and had great snorkeling….

cave exploring…

and I even got to win at darts…


The critters, flowers and agave were so cute :)

and the beaches….ah!

We even chartered a boat to go fishing….it would have been a ton of fun… we got a 30 lb. Wahoo in the first 20 minutes!  But then the wind and the waves pickedup and it became a very scary boat ride.

I am going to try to get back into my knitting, I really do enjoy it, I just have to make time.  And I will try to be better and posting regularly!  I am going to start with redesigning that scarf, so I will post when I have an update.

One Lovely Blog Award

It was a very long week with no posting and was pleasantly surprised to find that my blog was nominated for the One Lovey Blog award!  Thank you Cinn!!!!

Award Rules:

1.  Thank the person(s) who nominated you.

2.  Post the award graphic.

3.  List seven random facts about yourself.

4.  Nominate seven other blogs & let them know that they have been nominated.


Seven Random Facts About Me:

  1. I own an island (on the rock river with no power or running water).
  2. I am a total dork….proof: MS in statistics and I design star trek beer cozies.
  3. I have a great dog (who is also very photogenic).
  4. I am married to a great guy that puts up with all of the following of my obsessions:
  5. Knitting- there is yarn everywhere :)
  6. Shoes: I love how a great pair of heels can make you feel ready to conquer.
  7. I LOVE books….mostly fiction, but I do read a little of everything

Here are the seven blogs I nominate for the One Lovely Blog Award (in no particular order):

  1. Makewise Designs
  2. Babywren
  3. Slipped Stitches
  4. Milk-Shed
  5. Let’s Face the Music
  6. Yarnings
  7. House.Food.Baby.

Thanks again Cinn!!

To Frog or Not to Frog…that is the question

IMG_20130627_183323_899I’ve been working on the Kitchen Sink Bag for a week now, and am a little disappointed in the results.

Two big problems.  First, the basketweave does NOT look the same in when knit in the round as it does when knit flat.  Not to mention it was REALLY hard to keep track of odd and even rows when knitting in the round, so I kept making mistakes, which makes it look even worse!  See the difference (1) knit flat vs. (2) knit in the round.



Second, I came to the finally row of repeating mesh pattern and should begin ending the bad and creating the handle.  It is SO short and squat!  Since the mesh pattern is so stretchy, seems silly to have such a wide bag of it.

So, after a week of effort, and an almost finished bag, do I frog the project and start over, removing the basketweave and making the pattern less wide and more high?  Or maybe I should just finish it up, make this my boat tote bag (towels, sunscreen and a book should fit) and use the cream yarn I still have to make another they way I want it.  Thoughts?

Burnin’ Though the Stash and Banning the Bamboo



We recently purchased all new furniture for our office, which of course forces us to clean out and reorganize the office.  One thing it made me realize is just how big my stash is and how many started and unfinished projects were hidden in the closet.  So I am determined to use or get rid of the stash and only purchase yarn for a specific project and only when I am actually working on it!!!!!


So, project one…I found some great cotton yarn and have started on a project, a bag Itsybitsy and Kitchen Sink Bags



I used to a have similar bag (and I LOVED it) that I had purchased at Whole Foods, but it was much think yarn and eventually, it fell apart.


Got started last night with the project and found the basket weave stitch to be SO DIFFICULT!!!  Then tonight, some luck struck….my needles broke!!!  And I can say how glad I am they did.  I was using some cheap bamboo needles that had been purchased on ebay and when I switched to a pair of Boyes metal needles that was a HUGE difference.  Basket weave stitch is not as difficult because the yarn can move some much easier with the new needles.


I hope this means with the office clean up and the new project that t I can get rid of all my crappy bamboo needles and eventually replace them all with all!!!!!!!

« Older entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers