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Monthly Archives: August 2009

A Million Little Files

My office desktop’s Windows partition fills up on a weekly basis (I usually notice first when CNN news videos start to quit unexpectedly), so I’m always looking for some way to search for and destroy large files or folders on Windows XP and free up disk space. Usually this involves clever guesses and manual breadth-first searches on my computer.

Enter WinDirStat. This program combs the hard drive for you and helps get detailed information about where larger files are hiding. This is not a review of the program, nor it is an endorsement, but I’m a fan of pretty pictures, so when I saw this I couldn’t help but say something.

WinDirStat output

The graphical output at the bottom visualizes all the files on your drive, as well as their relative size. With a few clicks, I cleared ~3 GB of space.  The main culprits were the “sharing folders” in MSN Messenger (a program I no longer use) and various cached installer files.

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Posted by on August 24, 2009 in Alchemy

 

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Newton Fractal Visualization with Python

I felt like trying something new, so I wrote a Python script to plot Newton’s fractal.

Newton's Fractal (30 iterations, 1500 x 1500 resolution, 1e-6 convergence)

This graphic shows the time to convergence for solving z^4+1 = 0 using Newton’s Method.  The solution to this equation is one of four possibilities, which are represented using the colors red, blue, green, and yellow.  The solution that Newton’s Method returns depends on the initial guess.  I plotted the final solution for initial guesses in the range 0-1 (real, horizontal axis) and 0j-0j (imaginary, vertical axis).  Color depth represents faster convergence to a particular soltion (i.e., brighter pixels represent initial guesses that converge to a solution faster).

The script is based heavily on Listing 7-1 from “Beginning Python Visualization” by Shai Vaingast. It’s a good book with other fun examples, but my code for this problem is here.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2009 in Alchemy

 

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