Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Python 3 Code on GitHub

The code for the book Make Your Own Mandelbrot is now on github:

And whilst I was doing this, I updated the code to Python 3.

This required only minor changes: the xrange() becomes the simpler range() function.

(sadly the 3d code requires the mayavi libraries which are not yet ported to Python 3)

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Republished for Better Formatting

I've republished the kindle and print book.

The main reason is that a few people with older kindle devices didn't have great experiences with the formatting. For some images didn't show properly, for others, the margins were wonky, etc

This is sad because it shouldn't be that hard to get right in 2016. The core problem is that ebook file formats are not open, stable and implemented in an interoperable way. It's like the web 20 years ago - with big companies not implementing web standards properly, and deliberately trying to pervert them to their own ends. Thankfully after 20 years - that's all settled down and usable.

I took the decision to publish the ebooks using Amazon's new Kindle Textbook format. That promises to have much greater certainty over layout, even for complex content, ... like a PDF. This will be great for people who want to see a page more or less as it was intended., and certainly not mashed up.

The following are screenshots from my Android phone's Kindle app - and it looks fantastic!

There is a down side - those with older Kindles that can't support this new Textbook format, won't be able to buy the book. So happier readers, but fewer of them. I didn't take that decision lightly but not having unhappy readers was a priority for me.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

London Python Group

I was lucky enough to present a flash talk on Make Your Own Mandelbrot at the London Python Group.

One of the great things about such grassroots groups is the openness, honestly and generousness - unlike corporate events. I picked up some pointers on things I didn't know:

  • The IPython Cookbook has some content on interactive UI elements (widgets) for IPython Notebooks. Something I always wanted to know how to do.
  • An example of GPU accelerated computation in IPython notebooks for generating Mandelbrot fractals. 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Make Your Own Neural Network

I'm now focussing on my next ebook Make Your Own Neural Network.

The central idea is the same, to make sure that anyone with interest and nothing more than school-level maths can understand how neural networks work, and appreciate the pretty cool concepts on the way! Again we'll use Python and assume no previous knowledge of programming.By the end of the guide, you'll have built a simple neural network that recognises human handritten numbers.

You can follow progress and discussions at: http://makeyourownneuralnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/ and @myoneuralnet

Friday, 24 October 2014

LinuxVoice Magazine

I'm really pleased that LinuxVoice Magazine has published the first of my 2-part series on Python and the Mandelbrot fractals.

I hope the series will inspire those completely new to programming to try it - the tutorials require no previous experience at all.

And I also hope the mathematics - which is no more difficult than school maths - will inspire young and old by showing that it can be surprising, exciting and beautiful!

I'd like to thank Graham, the editor of LinuxVoice, for being so accommodating, helpful and patient with me.

By the way, I've been reading computer magazines for over 20 years and LinuxVoice has refreshed enthusiasm, community spirit, and quality content - best wishes for its future!

Grab a copy of issues 009 and 0010 - out now and next month!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Oil Painting Fractals

I was exploring artistic filters in image editing software - you know the kind that make an image look like it was really sketched with an ink pen or painted in watercolours.

The usual software wasn't doing it for me because the effects looked very fake, so I explored further and found the free FotoSketcher. Its focus is purely on such effects - and it's brilliant. I particularly like the Painitng 5 (watercolour) and Painting 6  (oil) effects - they are very realistic.

Then it struck me - what if I applied these filters to fractal images? The results, in my opinion, are fantastic! Enjoy .... and do try it yourself!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pure Web Mandelbrot Explorers

I love tools that are purely web based.

The benefits are huge - you don't need to install any software, the software is automatically updated by the supplier, it works across any operating system or device or brand as long as it supports modern open web standards. You can carry on working between devices, from different location, and you don't lose your work if your local device breaks.

You can do quite a lot with pure web technologies - Google's office productivity suite is a great example, so is wakari.io's IPython in the cloud.

You can explore the Mandelbrot fractals purely with a web browser too.

I love the following tools I discovered recently: