Birth of a new business.

Very preliminary, but we’re announcing Treadco – bespoke machine learning and datamining for the discriminating user.

The name and form might change, but we specialize in highly efficient and highly accurate machine learning and data analysis.

  • Generative models such at the Restricted Boltzmann Machine. Our algorithm is 14 or more times faster than the standard approach. This makes it fast enough to implement in javascript or other interpreted languages and still get results in near real time. Web-based data analysis anyone?
  • Fuzzy and probabilistic/possibilistic modeling. Correct handling of uncertainty in both the independent and dependent data improves the robustness of the models.
  • Big supervised or unsupervised data problems.
  • Model development. Not sure what’s best? Ask us.
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Dunster Loop #Exmoor #UKwalks

I’ve been queuing up a series of walks – mostly about 10 km (6 miles for us colonials), and this is the second.

This started out as a “pub walk” from the house we hired in Wootton Courtenay – and we did get to one, about seven miles in. After several missed turns and places where the map … deviated from the trails on the ground.

This shows our GPS trace overlaid on the most current Ordinance Survey map. These differences made it a bit interesting.

I covered the first part of the hike on an earlier post where we hunted a local pub. So you can read that post for details. We take this walk up at the village of Timberscombe.

Saint Petrock’s church in Timberscombe

We headed uphill on the wrong road, but eventually found our way to where we could see Dunster in the distance.

Dunster’s there, somewhere.

If you get to this carved bird (the buzzard), you’ve gone too far.

Some of the local landmarks have a decidedly sci-fi name. Is Gallox bridge in Gallifrey?

Gallox Bridge
Inside the Stag.

We stopped in the Stag – which is an excellent pub – and let two sweaty, dirty, and tired hikers enjoy their pints inside. It had a guitar in the corner so if you were a better player than I am, you could entertain the crowds (or if you were a better runner you might escape the disapprobriation.)

 

 

The path heads uphill, of course, from the town. It winds its way past St. Leonard’s well (Shades of Blackadder) along a ridge.

St Leonard’s well. Locked, but making the footpath mucky for the last thousand years.

There is an excellent set of views of Minehead from the exposed ridge. The sun is shining on Butlin’s holiday camp.

Minehead.
Minehead in the distance

We also wanted to look for this weird feature – seen on google maps.

Unfortunately, it’s nothing special.

Sunday Snippet, A Familiar Face

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

The story starts with Rachel, Lady Hayforth, throwing the dice in a desperate try at the marriage mart and coming up short when her carriage breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After a complicated string of happenings, she ends up engaged to Rupert, Lord Hartshorne, an aspiring chemist who did mysterious things for the war office in the recent past. His notebooks have gone missing, and a mysterious Mr Oliver is involved. Last week Rachel and her friends went to look at the stars after an eventful afternoon.  George has left for the village. One might think that Rachel’s life would get simpler without this distraction, but that would be no fun.

Rupert showed he has something that connects his shoulders to his hips. Last week, the start of a new chapter shows that another of his talents is important.  We discovered why it was so important that Rupert come with Sir Roger recently. Rachel awoke below decks in a ship (a channel barge). Despite the sterling reputation of the English as cooks, the crew ask Rachel to cook for them. Her choice of seasonings has their desired effect. The morning after she gave thanks for her deliverance she writes to let her friends know where she is. Things, however, are afoot and the game is on.

When you’ve finished with this tripe, take a look at the better authors in Snippet Sunday.


Rachel finished her letter the next morning. She folded the letter in thirds and thirds again; then looked up from her desk. “Oh, Elizabeth, I didn’t see you. Is there a wafer?”

Elizabeth rather shyly indicated where the coloured wafers were. “What is his favourite colour?”

“I don’t know … but this will do.” She chose a pale red one and sealed the letter with it. While she addressed the other side, she asked, “Will a servant take these to the post?”

“I thought … if you might … well, maybe we could walk together.” When Rachel studied her face, Elizabeth quickly, all too quickly, added, “I’d like to show you Hook.”

I’d wager a monkey to a farthing you have another reason. “Sure, it would be my pleasure, but I will need to borrow a bonnet.”

Elizabeth gushed her agreement and pranced upstairs to retrieve a spare bonnet and pelisse from her closet.

“Are you ready?”

“I’ve just finished the address.”

“Then what are you waiting for? Let’s go.”

Rachel followed Elizabeth out of the house as she raced off. It’s only a letter, what could be so important?

“Elizabeth, please slow down. I haven’t even had time to adjust this pelisse or properly tie my bonnet.”

“Yes, yes, it’s just.”

“Let me guess, a letter from an admirer, one that Dr Fowler does not approve?”

Elizabeth slowly nodded, “You won’t tell him?”

A clandestine communication, how improper … I sound just like an aunt. “No, but please remember your decorum. If anyone saw you racing off like this, they’d know what you were about.”

“Oh, I hadn’t thought that.”

It seems to me you hadn’t thought much at all. “Tell me about him, while we walk to the posting inn.”

“He’s tall, handsome.”

Aren’t they all?

“And he’s working as a spy. To uncover those awful rebels and machine breakers.”

What? Rachel interrupted her, “His name wouldn’t be William Oliver?”

“William’s his first name, William Richards. William J Richards, my sweet William.”

Stunned, Rachel stopped where she stood. I know that name, Richards, that was the other alias.

Elizabeth asked, “What’s wrong, do you know him?”

“Maybe. Is he an older man, about 35?”

“Why yes, I’m so proud to have conquered such an accomplished man. It was when we, my mother and I, visited Leeds last month. To shop and dance at the assembly. He visited two weeks ago.”

“Does your mother approve of him?”

“It’s my father who objects. He’s just being stubborn. That’s what fathers are for, isn’t it?”

I’d say wise, a good judge of character. “I’m sure he only wants the best for you.” Damn, now I am going to have to tell your parents.

“I know what I want. My darling William.”

When they arrived at the inn, just off High Street in the centre of the village, Elizabeth found a letter waiting for her. She gladly paid her shilling, quickly gave it a kiss and went off to read it, alone.

Rachel asked, “Is there a pen I can use? I need to add a line to my letter.”

“Might have one.” The innkeeper replied, “Don’t know that it’s a good one.”

“I just need to add a small note to the back of the letter. Only a sentence.”

He led her to the back of the inn and showed her a desk. “You can try.” He was right, the pen had a poorly sharpened point and the ink had dried bits floating in it. Still Rachel managed to scratch out, “Come at once, Mr O. is here.”

Finished with the letter, Rachel stopped on her way back to the front when she heard a voice, the last one she wanted to hear, right this instant or for that matter, ever again. “Is Miss Fowler here?”

It was Mr Oliver, or Harding or Richards.

“I’ll see sir.” Rachel heard the innkeeper say. “She picked up a letter this morning. Should be in the garden.”

“Excellent.” The man said, “I’ll find my own way.”

Rachel did her best to step back into the shadows, to blend into the wall. After the man passed by, Rachel brought her letter to the innkeeper. “This is for the next post, to Leeds.”

“Ah, Wakefield,” the man said, “On the way. Be there tomorrow.”

I hope that’s in time.

“Would you tell my friend, Miss Fowler, that I’ve returned to the vicarage?”

“Of course, Miss. Anything else?”

“That man who was just here, did he give you a name?”

“A Mr Harding, he said.”

Rachel nodded, “It would be just as well, if you didn’t mention my name to him.”

The innkeeper nodded, “Good thing I don’t know it. Avoiding an old acquaintance?”

“You might say that. He’s not the most honourable of men. Do you have a maid who can chaperone Miss Fowler?”

“Ah, I see. Seemed dashed odd when she picked up that letter of hers. I’ll have my Elaine watch them. Can’t have the Vicar’s daughter get in trouble, now can we.”

“Thank you.” Now to warn Dr Fowler.

Rachel’s resolve to warn her host grew as she walked back to the vicarage. When she opened the door, the sound of two familiar voices greeted her. Dr Fowler and

“George! You’re here.”


It’s been more than 200 years since Waterloo and people tend to forget just how wrenching the Napoleonic wars were. It truly was a world war with the same dislocations and disruptions that occurred in the 20th century. To support this effort the British government re-organized in ways that would have been unbelievable in the 18th century. Clerks had to pass civil service exams – no longer could you be appointed based on who you (or your father or uncle) knew. You actually had to be literate. Supporting a world war required minimizing (although not eliminating) a great deal of graft and jobbery. Reforming “purchase” would take another 60 years or so, but the reforms made the British soldiers and sailors the best fed and supported fighting men that the world had seen. It showed when the tide turned against that dastardly Corsican.

This Gilray cartoon shows the political storm – figuratively bees fighting wasps (and other creatures) to preserve good governance.


Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page.  The first book in our series, The Art of Deception is now available for sale with an extract on instafreebie as a teaser.

Sunday Snippet, Psalm 23

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

The story starts with Rachel, Lady Hayforth, throwing the dice in a desperate try at the marriage mart and coming up short when her carriage breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After a complicated string of happenings, she ends up engaged to Rupert, Lord Hartshorne, an aspiring chemist who did mysterious things for the war office in the recent past. His notebooks have gone missing, and a mysterious Mr Oliver is involved. Last week Rachel and her friends went to look at the stars after an eventful afternoon.  George has left for the village. One might think that Rachel’s life would get simpler without this distraction, but that would be no fun.

Rupert showed he has something that connects his shoulders to his hips. Last week, the start of a new chapter shows that another of his talents is important.  We discovered why it was so important that Rupert come with Sir Roger recently. Rachel awoke below decks in a ship (a channel barge). Despite the sterling reputation of the English as cooks, the crew ask Rachel to cook for them. Her choice of seasonings has their desired effect. This week she gives thanks for her deliverance.

When you’ve finished with this tripe, take a look at the better authors in Snippet Sunday.


The ceremony proceeded, and when it came time to read a verse or psalm, Dr Fowler cleared his voice; then said, “In light of our visitor’s harrowing experience, I thought a different psalm might be appropriate. Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me.”

Now everyone really did turn and look at her. The shuffling noise drowned Dr Fowler’s voice. Rachel smiled back, weakly.

“Yeah though I walk the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for” for I’m the toughest woman in that valley.  “Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” Could have used that staff or that rod. Would have been very handy.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:” Like I did, Thank you Lord for the Calomel. “thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” Rachel smiled, Their bowels certainly did.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

I was lucky. May not be next time.

“Amen.”

The service over, Dr Fowler waited at the church door, and after talking with all the other parishioners caught Rachel. “I am glad to see you’ve recovered Miss.”

“Mostly.”

“That preventive said you were a heroine, but he didn’t know your name.”

“I’m sorry. Rachel, Lady Hayforth. My fiancé is Lord Hartshorne from Oulten Hall, near Wakefield.”

Dr Fowler bowed, “I’m honoured to have you share my humble vicarage.”

“No, I’m honoured that you found a room and a dress for me. Can we send a letter to my fiancé? He’ll be worried.” I hope so. Charity won’t.

“Yes, but I should tell you that the preventive officer caught the post to Selby. There’s a good chance Lord Hartshorne already knows. The officer said they were tearing up the town to find some gentlewoman.”

“Even better, still I should write.”

“Certainly. We should dine first.” Dr Fowler turned and introduced another young woman to her. “This is my daughter Elizabeth. One brother is at Cambridge and the other.” He paused; then glanced at the churchyard. A sad expression flickered across his face.

“I’m sorry.”

“Yes. The ways of the Lord are mysterious. It’s kept me from seeking preferment, but then I like Hook.” He continued to gaze across the graves.

“Father,” Elizabeth said, “I’m sure Lady Hayforth is famished, and I, for one, would like to hear her story.”

“Oh. Yes, of course.”


There is an echo of more recent experience in Rachel’s interpretation of the 23rd psalm. (not mine I must add, being to young for the pleasure.)

Speaking of sheep and shepherds.
One of the joys of walking in the English countryside is the presence of livestock. Sheep, here ewes and their nearly grown lambs, contribute their own … distinctive ambience to the experience.

I shouldn’t complain, however, as cattle contribute a similar ambience too. At least the sheep won’t chase you. One actually has to be careful around cattle. If they’re not used to human contact they can be surprisingly dangerous. They’ve been known to trample incautious walkers. Still, if you didn’t have farmers, you wouldn’t have footpaths – so it’s a worthwhile bargain. Just be careful around the stock.


Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page.  The first book in our series, The Art of Deception is now available for sale with an extract on instafreebie as a teaser.

Dunkery Beacon #UKwalks

I’ve been queuing up a series of walks – mostly about 10 km (6 miles for us colonials), and this is the first.

Dunkery Beacon is the tallest peak in Exmoor. We’d hired a house in Wootton Courtenay which is at the base of the peak, but if you’re driving there are other places to start from.  I would probably park at Webber’s post where there is a large parking lot, but no post.

We managed to arrive just after a heat wave; 32-35 is no fun without aircon. It was typical English summer weather; i.e.raining and cold.

The trail proper starts in a lovely grove of trees and then ascends a moderate slope.

Of course we started in the sun, but that was not to last.

Wootton Courtenay is there, somewhere beneath the clouds

We passed the ponies several times – this shot being on the way up.


These preferred Bracken to handouts, which was a relief.

The top is marked by a cairn. We used it to shelter from the wind while eating lunch.

This shows the path up the hill.

We followed a steep descent part way down the hill and made our way through delightfully pretty woods (Rowan and Holly so we were doubly safe from the foul spirits of the undead) to Webber’s post, and back to our house. If I started from Webber’s post I’d go across the hill and up the way we did rather than the other way around.

Of course, then the weather cleared.

The view from the Timberscoombe trail.

Sunday Snippet, Let us give thanks.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

The story starts with Rachel, Lady Hayforth, throwing the dice in a desperate try at the marriage mart and coming up short when her carriage breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After a complicated string of happenings, she ends up engaged to Rupert, Lord Hartshorne, an aspiring chemist who did mysterious things for the war office in the recent past. His notebooks have gone missing, and a mysterious Mr Oliver is involved. Last week Rachel and her friends went to look at the stars after an eventful afternoon.  George has left for the village. One might think that Rachel’s life would get simpler without this distraction, but that would be no fun.

Rupert showed he has something that connects his shoulders to his hips. Last week, the start of a new chapter shows that another of his talents is important.  We discovered why it was so important that Rupert come with Sir Roger recently. Rachel awoke below decks in a ship (a channel barge). Despite the sterling reputation of the English as cooks, the crew ask Rachel to cook for them. Her choice of seasonings has their desired effect. This week she gives thanks for her deliverance.

When you’ve finished with this tripe, take a look at the better authors in Snippet Sunday.


 

Rachel stirred in bed, woken by the ringing of the none too distant church bells. She sat up, blinked, and fought back the panicked feeling that she was in a strange room. The late afternoon sun flooded in and filled the room with an amber light. She wasn’t in that boat, this was a room. Not her room, but a nice one nonetheless.

A maid, one she didn’t recognize, asked her, “Ma’am, it’s compline. If you hurry, you could still make the prayers.”

Prayers?”

Dr Fowler would appreciate it, and Ma’am.”

Yes?”

You’ve a fair bit to be thankful for, don’t you Ma’am?”

Yes, I do. I’m alive. “Dr Fowler’s the vicar?”

Yes Ma’am. Miss Fowler left a dress for you. Your old one being torn and muddy.”

Then I’d best hurry.”

The bell had finished tolling and the congregation was halfway through the first hymn when Rachel tried to slip unnoticed into the back of St. Mary’s. Even though the singing continued, it felt to her as if everyone in the room turned to stare. I can’t run. Rachel curtsied, and then found a seat in a pew in the back.

The vicar, who Rachel could almost recognize from the night before, addressed the congregation, “Let us confess our sins to God.”

As everyone started to recite, “Almighty God, our heavenly Father.” Rachel thought, I must have been exhausted to sleep this late.

Forgive us our sins,” the prayer continued, “In what I have done,” What I had to do, “and what I failed to do.” They may have survived. Hope not.

Forgive us, O Lord.” Should I ask forgiveness for hoping they didn’t?

The ceremony proceeded, and when it came time to read a verse or psalm, Dr Fowler cleared his voice; then said, “In light of our visitor’s harrowing experience, I thought a different psalm might be appropriate. Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me.”

Now everyone really did turn and look at her. The shuffling noise drowned Dr Fowler’s voice. Rachel smiled back, weakly.


I’m walking.  As my ankle recovers I’m discovering the muscles that haven’t been used as much in the last few months. I’d been warned about back pain and did a fair number of leg lifts. That worked, but the long muscles that connect the thigh to the big toe are letting me know they don’t like the situation. Fortunately stretching makes a big difference. I moved from my Philmont boots to a pair of trail runners, the same type as I used in Wales last summer.  It hasn’t stopped me from field research this summer.

Bits of folk religion show up in the oddest places.  This little statue, at the Devil’s pulpit above Tintern Abbey on Offa’s dyke, seems to represent some forest spirit or old goddess. There’s a large pile of offerings on the stump beside her.


Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page.  The first book in our series, The Art of Deception is now available for sale with an extract on instafreebie as a teaser.

Sunday Snippet, Going for a Swim.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

The story starts with Rachel, Lady Hayforth, throwing the dice in a desperate try at the marriage mart and coming up short when her carriage breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After a complicated string of happenings, she ends up engaged to Rupert, Lord Hartshorne, an aspiring chemist who did mysterious things for the war office in the recent past. His notebooks have gone missing, and a mysterious Mr Oliver is involved. Last week Rachel and her friends went to look at the stars after an eventful afternoon.  George has left for the village. One might think that Rachel’s life would get simpler without this distraction, but that would be no fun.

Rupert showed he has something that connects his shoulders to his hips. Last week, the start of a new chapter shows that another of his talents is important.  We discovered why it was so important that Rupert come with Sir Roger recently. Rachel awoke below decks in a ship (a channel barge). Despite the sterling reputation of the English as cooks, the crew ask Rachel to cook for them. Her choice of seasonings has their desired effect this week.

When you’ve finished with this tripe, take a look at the better authors in Snippet Sunday.


The preventive officer lay there, staring at her. She put her hand to her lips, signalling silence, and then cut his bonds. “Quiet.”

What about the crew?”

Sick.” She smiled, “They didn’t like my cooking. Can you move?”

The man rubbed his hands and stretched his legs, “I think so.”

Good, we have to get off of this boat.”

Ship.” The officer paused for a moment, “Where are the crew?”

Hanging over the side of the boat. I laced their dinner with calomel, the wine with tartar emetic.”

Good lass.” The officer stifled a laugh.

****

Henri heard something behind him and looked up from the dark black water below. The water that carried what was left of his dinner downstream. The moonlight, while bright enough to tow the ship, didn’t give enough light to see the brown colour and floating debris that he knew was there. “What did you put in that food, Woman?”

Moments later, he joined the debris in the river, followed shortly by his compatriots. The boy, who led this stage of horses, didn’t bother to look back at the splashing. He’d been warned and well paid to ignore anything the ship dropped over the side. Besides, ships always dumped their slops overboard. It wasn’t until he reached Hook and stopped to change teams that he noticed anything amiss.

Where’s that Frenchie?”

The preventive officer shouted back, “Gone bathing, for his health. We’ll tie up here.” Then he turned to Rachel, “Ma’am, I think it best we find the local militia.”


I’m walking. Not without pain, and not without a little bit of a limp, but I’m walking. It turns out, if you’re ever in this situation, that it’s important to restore flexibility.  You can walk through the pain. I moved from my Philmont boots to a pair of trail runners, the same type as I used in Wales last summer.  It hasn’t stopped me from field research this summer.


A sunken path in Exmoor. I expect Exmoor will feature in one or the other of our next works.


Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page.  The first book in our series, The Art of Deception is now available for sale with an extract on instafreebie as a teaser.