The quick green forsterite jumped over the lazy dolomite

The best-known pangram — a sentence containing every letter of the alphabet —  is probably  “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” There are lots of others of course. If you write like James Joyce, there are probably an infinite number of others. The point is to be short, and one of the shortest, with only 29 letters (!), even has a geological flavour:  “Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.” I know what you're…

Continue reading


Two new short courses in Calgary

We're running two one-day courses in Calgary for the CSPG Spring Education Week. One of them is a bit... weird, so I thought I'd try to explain what we're up to.Both classes run from 8:30 till 4:00, and both of them cost just CAD 425 for CSPG members. Get introduced to PythonThe first course is Practical programming for geoscientists. Essentially a short version of our 2 to 3 day Creative geocomputing course, we'll take a whirlwind…

Continue reading


Unearthing gold in Toronto

I just got home from Toronto, the mining capital of the world, after an awesome weekend hacking with Diego Castañeda, a recent PhD grad in astrophysics that is working with us) and Anneya Golob (another astrophysicist and Diego's partner). Given how much I bang on about hackathons, it might surprise you to know that this was the first hackathon I have properly participated in, without having to order tacos or run out for more beer every…

Continue reading


Beyond pricing: the fine print

Earlier this week, I wrote about pricing professional services. A slippery topic, full of ifs and buts (just like geoscience!). And it was only half the story, because before commencing on a piece of work, you and your client have to agree on a lot of things besides price. To avoid confusion later, it's worth getting those things straight before you start.Here are most of the things we try to cover in every agreement:Don't include…

Continue reading


Pricing professional services, again

I have written about this before, but in my other life as an owner of a coworking space. It's come up in Software Underground a couple of times recently, so I thought it might be time to revisit the crucial question for anyone offering services: what do I charge?Unfortunately, it's not a simple answer. And before you read any further, you also need to understand that I am no business mastermind. So you should probably…

Continue reading


Strategies for a revolution

This must be a record. It has taken me several months to get around to recording the talk I gave last year at EAGE in Vienna — Strategies for a revolution. Rather a gradiose title, sorry about that, especially over-the-top given that I was preaching to the converted: the workshop on open source. I did, at least, blog aobut the goings on in the workshop itself at the time. I even followed it up with…

Continue reading


No secret codes: announcing the winners

The SEG / Agile / Enthought Machine Learning Contest ended on Tuesday at midnight UTC. We set readers of The Leading Edge the challenge of beating the lithology prediction in October's tutorial by Brendon Hall. Forty teams, mostly of 1 or 2 people, entered the contest, submitting several hundred entries between them. Deadlines are so interesting: it took a month to get the first entry, and I received 4 in the second month. Then I…

Continue reading


Hard things that look easy

After working on a few data science (aka data analytics aka machine learning) problems with geoscientific data, I think we've figured out the 10-step workflow. I'm happy to share it with you now:Look at all these cool problems, machine learning can solve all of these! I just need to figure out which model to use, parameterize it, and IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME, WE'LL BE RICH. Let's just have a quick look at the data...Oh, there's no…

Continue reading


News and updates and a sandwich

Plans for the hackathon in Paris in June are well underway. We now have two major sponsors: Dell EMC and now Total E&P too will be supporting the event with generous funding. Bolstered by this, I've set a goal of getting 50 participants in the event. Imagine that!If you would like to help us reach this goal, please consider printing out some of these posters (right) and putting them up in your place of work…

Continue reading


Silos are a feature, not a bug

“If you’ve had the same problem for a long time, maybe it’s not a problem. Maybe it’s a fact.” — Yitzhak Rabin "Break down the silos" is such a hackneyed phrase that it's probably not even useful any more. But I still hear it all the time — especially in our work in governments and large enterprises. It's the wrong idea — silos are awesome.The thing is: people like silos. That's why they are there.…

Continue reading