What can Software Teams Learn From Aviation?

This pycon talk combines my two passions, aviation and software development. Grab a cold coffee and watch this very interesting talk. Just a little over half an hour, if you have any interest in any of this two stream, you will like the talk.

What can Python-based software teams learn from aviation? Why should software always fail hard? What’s wrong with too many error logs? And why are ops people already like pilots? Learn all this, and about planes, too.

If in hurry, you can download the PDF of the presentation.

Investing is easier than you think, but ….

Warren Buffett said, “Investing is easier than you think, but harder than it looks.”

Here’s a graph of my investing activity from 2011.

The orange represents sale of stocks and green represents buying activity.

Reveals a pattern. Moving towards being a gardner.

Exploring Matplotlib Styles

Last week got some free time. Used it to upgrade my python installation on Mac, a long awaited task.

Looking at the upgrade log, was most excited to finally see the new version of matplotlib.

So launched it and went straight to the new style package.

Matplotlib is great at graphs but the default style before 1.4.3 left many things wanting.

The style package adds support for easy-to-switch plotting “styles” with the same parameters as a matplotlibrc file.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

What are different styles available in matplotlib?


[u'dark_background', u'bmh', u'grayscale', u'ggplot', u'fivethirtyeight']

Here’s how to use this.

But first let’s generate some data

import numpy as np
data = np.sin(np.linspace(0, 2*np.pi))

The default plot

plt.plot(data, 'r-o')


Let’s use ggplot

plt.plot(data, 'r-o')


Dark Background like excel 2007

plt.plot(data, 'r-o')


BMH style

plt.plot(data, 'r-o')



plt.plot(data, 'r-o')


fivethirtyeight Style

plt.plot(data, 'r-o')


We can even add our own custom .mplstyle files to ~/.matplotlib/stylelib or call use with a URL pointing to a file with matplotlibrc settings. Follow the following link to define your own style.

Readings List 2015

Last year took on many projects and that took the toll on reading , so this year the plan was to reduce the number of personal projects and start reading again. 

In this regard, January was a good month. February was ok, March a complete disaster but picked up well in April. 

Here’s the list of books that had kept me company in the last four months. 

  • The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar
  • Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroy
  • The little book of Hedge Funds by Anthony
  • Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus by David Quammen
  • The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
  • The Little Book of Economics by Ip, G.
  • Hooked by Nir Eyal
  • The Little Book of Big Profits from Small Stocks by Hilary Kramer
  • The Little Book of Valuation: How to Value a Company by Damodaran, Aswath
  • In Defense of Food by Pollan, Michael
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman, Daniel
  • The Element by Ken Robinson
  • The Armchair Economist -Economics & Everyday Life by Landsburg, Steven El
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You     By Newport, Cal

Word to PDF

word to pdf
A week ago had a personal task to convert 40 or so word documents to pdf in standard and minimum size. Doing them by one at a time was felt such a waste, so recorded and edited a vba macro to do the same task in a jiffy.

Here’s the simple vba subroutine to do the conversion.

Continue reading

A Gentle Introduction to the Finite Element Method

FEM Introduction numerical

Almost every engineer today have some knowledge of theoretical and practical aspects of FEM. And many have played with various software packages at some point of time.

Well that is enough if you just want to perform analysis but if you want to truly understand the mathematical aspects of FEM and want to get a feel of the numerical methods under the hood of FEM then this short lecture is for you.

Here’s the introduction, plucked straight from the course. IF you like it, you will enjoy the lecture.

The course is divided into five lessons and all this in 100 pages. Happy Learning!!

If you haven’t been hiding under a stone during your studies of engineering, mathematics or physics, it is very likely that you have already heard about the Finite Element Method. Maybe you even know some theoretical and practical aspects and have played a bit with some FEM software package. What you are going to find here is a detailed and mathematically biased introduction to several aspects of the Finite Element Method.

This is not however a course on the Analysis of the method. It is just a demonstration of how it works, written as applied mathematicians usually write it. There is going to be mathematics involved, but not lists of theorems and proofs. We are also going from the most particular cases towards useful generalizations, from example to theory.

It is going to be one hundred pages with many figures and many ideas repeated over and over, so that you can read it with ease. These notes have evolved during the decade I have been teaching finite elements to mixed audiences of mathematicians, physicists and engineers. The tone is definitely colloquial. I could just claim that these are my classnotes and that’s what I’m like.

There’s much more than that. First, I believe in doing your best at being entertaining when teaching. At least that’s what I try. Behind that there is
a deeper philosophical point: take your work (and your life) seriously but, please, don’t take yourself too seriously.

I also believe that people should be duly introduced when they meet. All this naming
old time mathematicians and scientists only by their last names looks to me too much
like the Army. Or worse, high school!

I think you have already been properly introduced to the great Leonhard Euler, David Hilbert, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Pierre Simon Laplace and George Green. If you haven’t so far, consider it done here. This is not about history.

It’s just good manners. Do you see what I mean by being colloquial?

Anyway, this is not about having fun, but since we are at it, let us try to have a good time while learning. If you take your time to read these notes with care and try the exercises at the end of each lesson, I can assure that you will have made a significant step in your scientific persona. Enjoy!

Click the below link to access the excellent PDF. Don’t forget to thanks to Francisco Jaview Sayas !

A gentle introduction to the Finite Element Method by Francisco–Javier Sayas

Recipes tell you nothing. Learning technique is the key!


Recipes tell you nothing. Learning techniques is the key – Chef Tim Colicchio

A wonderful quote that I came across and it’s so true for anyone learning FEM, NX, python, c++, ansys or any skill.

Tutorials tell you nothing, learning the technique is the real deal. No matter how many tutorials you do for NX, if you don’t practice the techniques outlined in the tutorial, you will never learn anything solid. The mastery doesn’t come from the tutorial but from the practice of the techniques outlined. Tutorial is just the torch showing the way, real learning happens when you explore the path that it showed.

So if you are hunting for the next nxopen tutorial or video tutorial of ansys, ask yourself have you travelled all the paths unearthed by the previous tutorials? If the answer is yes then get some new ones otherwise get back to the old and learn!!


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