Alex C. Viana's blog

  1. That Time I Made a Metaclass

    Wed 04 December 2013

    "If you don't know what a metaclass is you don't need to use one."
    - David Beazley

    I was shooting some messages back and forth this morning with some current and former coworkers on Twitter on the topic of Python Metaclasses. One coworker said metaclasses was something he'd ...

  2. The Joy of "Screen"

    Sun 24 November 2013

    Because I frequently work remotely as well as run long processes I recently gave up my desktop system at work in exchange for a laptop and a couple of virtual machines. I use the laptop for day-to-day work but offload longer computations or automated processes to my VMs. But before ...

  3. A Basic Automation Setup for Astronomy: Part 1

    Sat 23 November 2013

    For one of my projects at work I engineered an automation platform for one of our instrument teams. This platform allows us to automatically execute 20+ daily scripts, written in a variety of programming languages, as data is coming down from the telescope. All the scripts for our team, from ...

  4. The Data are Inconclusive

    Thu 21 November 2013

    "Give me a point and I can draw a line. Give me two points and I can draw a curve. That's astronomy." - Anonymous Professor.

    Ran the full pipeline the PSF data for the first time. The data are inconclusive.

    Oops, something broke.

    Haha, oh error bars. Who hasn't made a plot ...

  5. The First Thousand PSFs

    Wed 20 November 2013

    In my last post on my PSF Project I characterized the PSF shape by fitting a 1-D Gaussian to the a row and column slice through the central pixel. In this post I start to think about how to characterize entire images with thousands of stars.

    Adding Some Zeros

    Many ...

  6. Counting to 10 Million Stars

    Mon 18 November 2013

    I've started a new project working with 10 million stellar PSFs. In my first few steps in the project I performed some model fitting and made a pretty visualization of the individual data points.

    My New (Little) Big Data Project

    I am starting a new project that I'm ...

  7. The Moving Target Pipeline

    Mon 18 November 2013

    A few weeks ago I was awarded an research grant to continue working on a prototype software pipeline for HST moving target (solar system) observations. The grant came from an internal source called the Director's Discretionary Research Fund (DDRF). My project, called the Moving Target Pipeline, was fully funded ...

  8. The Trouble with Tech Blogs

    Sun 17 November 2013

    the trouble with poetry is
    that it encourages the writing of more poetry
    - Billy Collins, The Trouble with Poetry

    To paraphrase one of my favorite poets, the trouble with tech blogs is that they encourage the writing of more tech blogs. The Internet probably doesn't need another tech blog ...

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