Hello Buck – I’d like to work at Microsoft

About once a week or so, after teaching a Data Science class or at an event, I’ll get asked “Hey – I’ve got a lot of experience and training in technology X – and I’d like to work at Microsoft. What do I do?” I was Germany the week I wrote this – teaching, and…

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Don’t learn to be a Data Scientist

It’s my custom to learn continuously – I keep a technical book, course, or class going at all times, and the latest I completed was a course called “Learning How to Learn” on Coursera. (highly recommended, by the way). The instructors covered an interesting topic in that course – that you should not focus on the result of…


Is the Microsoft R Client a…client?

Microsoft has recently been on a tear introducing R into, well, everything. And now there are several R offerings – from Microsoft R Server and Microsoft R Open to R Services in SQL Server (2016) and now the Microsoft R Client. But is the Microsoft R Client a client? So it’s a command-line, or a GUI of some sort? No. I…


The Five Minute* Guide to Machine Learning

 Plot twist: It’s Mr. Math under that Mask, Scooby Doo! OK, you really can’t learn all about Machine Learning in five minutes. Or five days. Or five weeks. It takes longer than that, but what I can show you in five minutes is what Machine Learning is about, a couple of important terms to understand, and what you can…


Can Data Science Cure Creeping Determinism?

Hindsight, it is said, has 20/20 vision. We seem to be able to predict the past flawlessly – or can we? The answer is surprisingly “no”. “Creeping Determinism” is phrase from 1970’s psychology. It’s the effect of thinking that something was predictable, but only after it happens. We look back and say – “Ah –…


The Taste of Banzo’s Data

A man went to a data master and said, “If I work very hard, how soon can I master Data Science?” The data master looked him up and down and said, “Five years, studying math and computing.” The man said, “No, listen, I mean if I really work at it, how long—” The data master…


But *Why* Do You Trust Your Data?

At the beginning of every data project is the data. While we spend a great deal of time figuring out how to move it, store it, compute it and evaluate it, the most important step is often given short shrift – sourcing the data properly. And that involves two things: Finding authoritative data and knowing…


Data Science and the Lytro Camera

Since the first practical camera was invented in the 1800’s, it’s been used as a scientific tool. In essence, it’s a database – albeit one that stores shades of light rather than 0’s and 1’s, and didn’t use a hard drive (at least at first). In 2012, a new type of camera was introduced, the Lytro….


Data Visualization Basics for Data Scientists

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, the old saying goes, and in some cases a picture is worth even more than that. The human eye is composed of some 30 or more discrete components, and along with the optical nerves and the brain functions that process sight, can take in a contrast ratio of…


Databas(ics)

The beginnings of data science is data. Data are things that you know about, well, other things, so it makes sense to ensure you have a firm grasp on handling that data. Note: I know this seems really is basic, but stick with me – it gets deep quick, and it’s essential to understand this…