Skip to main content


Annoying Error in Cassandra Quickstart using Docker for Windows

I needed to setup a quick Cassandra environment in Windows today, but I ran into a problem when executing the quick start guide from Cassandra's (excellent) website . The quick start assumes a working Docker environment. Because this is in Windows, WSL 2 has been configured, and the Docker for Windows binary has been properly installed: docker pull cassandra:latest  docker network create cassandra docker run --rm -d --name cassandra --hostname cassandra --network cassandra cassandra From here you can either load data into Cassandra from a file or start a prompt. A prompt is supposed to be opened like this per the documentation: docker run --rm -it --network cassandra nuvo/docker-cqlsh cqlsh cassandra 9042 --cqlversion='3.4.4' This produces an error:   Error messages like this can be a little intimidating. There's a hint, though, in the last line. ValueError and 'invalid literal for int()

Accounting for bias when analyzing public data

We tend to overestimate the reliability of authority figures, and this impacts how we should analyze data for public policy. Public data is an intrinsic appeal to authority The CDC's WONDER database keeps track of causes of death within the United States . When a death certificate is created for a person in the United States, the certificate includes a special code indicating the cause of death. Through a lengthy process, that information makes its way from the funeral home or hospital to a state registry to the National Vital Statistics System and finally to the CDC. CDC tracks that information in WONDER, which can be partially queried by the public. WONDER is used by scientists, researchers and journalists for all sorts of reasons. It was data from WONDER that largely provided the justification for the claim the the United States has been undergoing an epidemic of heroin addiction. And by any measure, the US has a serious problem with heroin and abuse of other opiate drugs. But W

I've got my eye on you, Windows S-Mode

Over the last month or so I've noticed that all of the ads and retail descriptions of low-end PCs I have been seeing have updated their description of the included version of Windows. Instead of promising that purchasing a new PC includes "Windows 10", "Windows 10 Home" or "Windows 10 Pro", the operating system was listed as "Windows 10 S", as shown in the screenshot below: Windows 10 "S-Mode" isn't new: it was released as part of the Windows update released in April 2018. But using the term in a sales context - promising new PCs will include Windows S-Mode, while not clarifying what actual version of Windows will be included, is very new and suggests there is a tectonic shift in thinking about the Windows operating system and its relationship to consumers. What is "S-Mode"? According to Microsoft's FAQ, S-Mode is not a version or edition of the Windows 10 license, in the way that Home or Pro edition is. Instead, S

An Anatidae Odyssey

During the pandemic I've been spending my time in a somewhat rural area. There's a lake. There's bugs.  There's lots of flora and fauna of all shapes and sizes. Every once in a while I spot something incredible. About a year ago I was enjoying my morning coffee when I happened upon this in my backyard: Just FYI - I'm not using some giant telephoto lens  and zooming in from a mile away in those photos . This gator was very close to my house and very comfortable there. Clearly, he lacks respect for private property. I'm pretty confident that despite an APB from Fish & Wildlife, this gator is still at large. So when a poor duck hobbled into my backyard with a horrific mangled leg last week, the gator was my main suspect. The injury was shocking to look at & made it very difficult for the duck to move around. Making matters even worse for my feathered friend, the injured duck is considered invasive to my area. The excellent staff at the wildlife rescue opera

Winning web design, from Amazon

 Oooo boy, I can't wait to browse discounted "Dog Supplies" on Amazon. Wait. What?

Microsoft EOL'd Windows 7 during a pandemic & its hurting medical practices

Microsoft fully ended support for their Windows 7 product in January of last year. The change is primarily administrative: Microsoft will no longer distribute security patches for free with Window 7 or guarantee its functionality. It is not a sudden move by Microsoft: the company has a well-documented support cycle for all versions of Windows, and Windows 7 customers were given plenty of notification, including from pop-ups from within Windows that users have to minimize to continue using the computers. This post is not meant to imply that Microsoft did not make a good faith effort to notify their users.   Also: Windows 7 is not a good product at this point. Windows 7 is fundamentally insecure and unstable with modern applications (and has been for years), regardless of what support cycle it is in. That said, there are many unique situations for which running an out-of-date version of Windows is the only practical option. I've found this to be particularly true in the med

EU says Pee-Yoo to transatlantic data sharing

Over in Europe, Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon has just succeeded in her push to prevent Facebook from transferring data on European users back to the United States . At issue is a series of data transfer agreements between the EU and the US; it is the (reasonable) contention of Commissioner Dixon that the United State's regime of warrantless spying makes Facebook unable to comply with the data sharing arrangement required by the EU. Ireland may not seem like a major global hub for Big Data and telecom firms, but it very much is. The Emerald Isle's famous "Celtic Tiger" economic push successfully attracted some of the largest technology firms in the world with low taxes and easy regulations. But the times, they are a-changin'. This is the latest wrinkle in an ongoing battle over privacy regulations responsible for protecting European user data that traverses the Atlantic, but not the first. In September of last year, Commissioner Dixon had released