Through Python and Excel, We Get Real With The Data

For most people, photography starts with a JPG, a computer file of compressed pixel data, or, for video, an MP4 file.

The Internet is awash with experts who explain how to make cinema-quality movies from cameras or phones purchased at BestBuy. They don’t explain that these image files are simplifications, degraded versions, of what the camera saw. Many of them imply that one can get the same results from these compressed files that one could get from the original sensor data, which is called RAW. In some cases, this is true. In others, false.

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When it comes to video, our computers remain woefully weak

In this story, I hope to give you the tools to understand RAW sensor data first-hand. Then you can put those claims into perspective. …

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I’ve done videos with 20K+ views, but those the exception, this the rule.

If “How To With John Wilson” Can’t Solve The Limitations of Personal Documentaries, How Can I?

A good friend, cheering on my YouTube endeavors, told me to watch How To With John Wilson on HBO.

I’m trying to get this YouTube thing out of my system. I wouldn’t bother reading this unless you, too, are similarly afflicted.

In his third episode, How to Improve Your Memory, he begins to interview a winner of memory contests. She mentions the memory palace technique. I would have let the camera roll for 10 hours; it’s a deep subject. Instead, he moves onto a small group of oddballs focused on mistaken memories.

Problem #1: The deeper into my subject I go, the smaller my audience becomes.

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Or we can save somewhere else, come back later, and buy it in foreclosure!

California, New York and Massachusetts should take nothing for granted.

There are many reasons why people are moving out of California, New York and Massachusetts. Putting aside the increasing levels of the homeless and Covid-19, some people will move to low-tax states in the coming years to avoid paying off debt their states accumulated to pay unemployment benefits they didn’t save for.

Do you have some complex charts and slides you, or your client, want posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, FB or almost any web page?

Here’s output from this project. Tracking Covid and Temperature in Massachusetts.

Is one chart not enough to tell your story? Are you limited by what you can post on Twitter, say? (where you can’t use Javascript libraries).

I want a one-stop solution for robust internet API calls, data extraction, transformations, charting, SFTP uploads, etc. So I used Excel VBA and command-line apps to create animated GIFs. The following is a template that can be quickly modified to create chart PNGs, JPGS, or animated GIFs. …

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Unemployment Benefits Are Running Out

The carnage begins now, in September. Each week, from here out, tens of thousands of Massachusetts unemployed will lose their UI benefits. The bulge of people who lost their jobs in late March, 2020 are about to exhaust their benefits. (I focus on Massachusetts numbers). For this analysis I’m excluding the 13-weeks Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension because it is unknown how many will be automatically enrolled.

Whenever benefits end, why is everyone so certain the Federal government can, or will, save them? …

Doesn’t the pandemic make you think of all that’s gone wrong? I was thinking about skyscraper residential buildings. Do people really want to live in a sterile white room, high above a city, with an elevator the only means of escape? How won’t they end up dilapidated and bankrupt? Oops, I’m drifting into stuff I’m usually wrong about…

Then my thoughts drifted to cruise ships. I’ve never seen their attraction either. I wouldn’t have predicted they’d end up a multi-billion dollar industry.

Maybe someone can make a board game out of this. What is society’s 7 deadly sins to you?


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At 59, my pathetic guess at what young people lust for. My lust is gone.


I’m never as funny as I think I am. …

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The wealthy of New England won’t take pay cuts, or ask for additional taxes to help the poorer neighborhoods. That may be a long-term tragic mistake.

When I suggest to anyone in Cambridge that home prices may not, in the future, double every five years they say the same thing, “As long as Harvard is in Cambridge we’ll be okay.” That’s a very short memory. Most of Cambridge was in the dumps 20 years ago and racial tensions were high. What about the 364 years between 1636 to 2000?

The Boston area hasn’t become desirable because of Harvard alone. Just as important is MIT, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, the Fenway schools, Brandeis, Tufts. All these schools have benefitted from the network effect and safe streets. …

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Into the darkness we go

The other shoe has not dropped. There will be no recovery…

Until rental evictions are lifted we won’t know how many people will be living on the street — then the economy won’t grow until they’re settled.

Until consumer credit loosens there will be no consumer-led economic growth.

Until mortgage forbearance is removed we won’t know how much residential or commercial property debt will survive — then the economy won’t grow until the borrowers complete their bankruptcies and real estate re-prices.

Until the Fed stops micro-managing market liquidity, the invisible hand of capitalism will remain shackled to political favoritism and short-term thinking. …

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Just having some fun! I’m not against Governor Baker! He’s just the face of Mass gov.

Boston is the birthplace of American fiduciary trust and mutual funds. A case can be made that Silicon Valley, Intel, Apple, Microsoft, etc, wouldn’t have been possible without the small investor capital that flooded into Fidelity’s tech heavy mutual funds in the 1980s and 90s.

Back in the 1920s, the common man didn’t trust banks or financial securities. New England was an exception. Fidelity, Putnam, MFS, Vanguard (Wellington), John Hancock, and many more, built upon New England’s reputation for fiduciary discipline.

Charles Ponzi reminded Bostonians, and the rest of us, about what happens when you let your guard down.

Back to the present. By law, Massachusetts must operate with a balanced budget. Currently, it is not. Unbalanced budgets are feared because they lead to desperate measures in the future. Ugly though it may be, Mass needs a balanced budget today, more than ever. …

The $3.4 billion rainy day fund won’t last the summer*.

How badly and quickly has Covid-19 crippled Massachusetts’s economy? As of mid-June, 2020, the State has collected $2.3 billion less in tax revenues than the same time last year, a -8.2% drop. Why haven’t you read about it? Because everyone is allowed to defer paying their taxes until mid-July. Theoretically, Mass may collect as much money as 2019. Therefore, the State Government feels it imprudent to speculate on the effects of the pandemic on future tax collection.

The most they will say is

…the Secretary and Committee chairs agreed that $25.621 …


Max Rottersman

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