Compare tennis players across eras

November 28th, 2013

It’s always been difficult to compare tennis players from different generations – not any more!

Now you can compare tennis players by looking at how many grand slam titles they have won over their careers.

How does Pete Sampras compare to Rafael Nadal? Can Novak Djokovic match Roger Federer’s career? Who’s better, Steffi Graf or Serena Williams?

A few interesting match-ups:

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal

Federer vs Nadal for grand slams

Many people consider Federer to be the best male tennis player of all time. However, before Nadal’s injury problems, Rafa was generally doing better than Roger was at the same age.

Nadal started winning titles much earlier than Roger did and this gives Nadal an opportunity to match Roger.

If Nadal remains injury free, it will be interesting to see where he finishes relative to Federer’s stellar career.

Ivan Lendl vs Andy Murray

Murray vs Lendl for grand slams

Ivan Lendl won his first grand slam title at the relatively old age of 24 having previously been runner-up on 3 separate occasions. Similarly, Andy Murray won his first title at the practically ancient age of 25 (see John McEnroe below).

It seems unlikely that Murray can match the efforts of his coach, talented though he may be.

Serena Williams vs Monica Seles

Serena vs Seles for grand slams

Monica Seles had an explosive start to her career, winning an amazing 8 grand spam titles by the age of 19. And this at the time when Steffi Graf – one of women’s greatest players – was active.

Her spectacular start put her way ahead of Serena Williams at a similar age, highlighting how events transpired to end the career of a potentially great female player.

In contrast, Serena has demonstrated great longevity, continuing to win grand slam titles well into her thirties. Very few women have won a grand slam title over the age of 30 and this reflects Serena’s talent and dedication to the sport of tennis.

Andre Agassi vs John McEnroe

Agassi vs McEnroe for grand slams
Two incredibly talented American players of contrasting styles – their pattern of grand slam titles are also very different.

John McEnroe’s tennis ability shone early and brightly. Incredibly, he won his last grand slam title at the age of 25 – the same age that Andy Murray won his first title!

Agassi on the other hand had a late bloom starting at age 29. He put on another 5 grand slam titles to bring his final haul to 8 – one more than John McEnroe.

Try it yourself!

We hope you’ve found these comparisons across the eras of tennis interesting.

Why not try it for yourself? Compare your own favourite tennis players.

If you discover an interesting head to head, feel free to pass it on or if you have thoughts or suggestions, let us know!

Online Regular Expression Tester

November 22nd, 2013

Supernifty has made available an online regular expression tester.

Of course, there are already numerous online regex testers available but in our defence, this one is fast, free, simple and easy to use.

Also, regular expressions are seriously cool; if you don’t already know them, you really should.

We have plans for more regular expression shenanigans; watch this space.

If you do try Supernifty’s Regex Tester and have feedback, thoughts or comments, get in touch!

Book Review – Confessions of a Public Speaker

October 20th, 2013


Confessions of a Public Speaker provides a glimpse into the world of public speaker Scott Berkun.

This relatively short book consists of a series of amusing public speaking related anecdotes – typically some unpleasant event personally experienced by Scott – followed by some advice on how to prevent said unpleasant experience from happening to you.

The book was interesting and a little addictive – I always wanted to turn the page to see what sticky situation Scott would be in next. The book also contained a range of practical public speaking tips.

I particularly enjoyed the final chapter – a compilation of public speaking stories sent in by other speakers – some of the stories were seriously hilarious.

Even if you’re not a professional public speaker, it still makes for a quick, light-hearted read. Everyone has to speak publicly occasionally and this book contains plenty of useful advice.

Note: This book was provided by O’Reilly Media as part of their blogger review program.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

MemShot is moving to MemShotApp.com

September 4th, 2013

MemShot
MemShot has a new home.

We have spun out MemShot to its own website: http://www.memshotapp.com/.

All learning sets remain unchanged and in general, everything will work exactly as before.

What you need to do

If you normally sign in to Supernifty with your email and password, you don’t need to do anything. Head over to MemShot and sign in as usual. Nothing has changed.

If you sign in to MemShot using OpenID – i.e. Google, Yahoo or other external provider – you need to link your Supernifty account with your MemShot account. Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to http://www.supernifty.org/updateuser.php and sign in as usual;
  2. Set an email address and password;
  3. Go to http://www.memshotapp.com/ and sign in with your OpenID account;
  4. You will be given the option of linking to an existing account: enter your Supernifty email and password;
  5. Your accounts are now linked and you can access your existing MemShot sets.

If you have any problems or questions regarding this process, please contact us.

What’s MemShot?

It’s a Spaced Repetition system built on flashcards.

Spaced Repetition is a memory system developed to help memorize things as efficiently as possible.

It’s a fine alternative to rote learning that can save you a great deal of time.

Book Review – Graph Databases

August 26th, 2013


Graph Databases provides a concise introduction to this particular alternative to the relational database.

Having lots of experience with relational databases and very little experience with graph databases, I found this book to be an interesting read. The book effectively describes the weaknesses of relational databases and explains how graph databases address these weaknesses.

After introducing the idea of a graph database, the book proceeds to demonstrate domains that graph databases are suited to. This corresponds to domains where a network is a natural representation of the data, although the authors tend to suggest that graph databases are almost always more suitable than a relational database!

Next up is the demonstration of a specific implementation: Neo4J and Cypher. Examples of how to create a Neo4J database and query with Cypher follow. Explanations are a little terse, but the interested student can easily investigate further.

Finally, the book includes an interesting comparison of Graph Databases with some of the other NoSQL options available.

My only reservation is that the book felt a little unbalanced in its unwavering promotion of graph databases and the limited discussion of alternatives to Neo4J/Cypher. Overall though, this book provided a good overview of this technology and opened my eyes to the possibilities of Graph Databases.

Note: This book was provided by O’Reilly Media as part of their blogger review program.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

New MemShot features – email reminders, progress reports, timed challenges and more

June 2nd, 2013

MemShot
Some handy new features have been added to MemShot.

What’s MemShot?

It’s a Spaced Repetition system built on flashcards.

Spaced Repetition is a memory system developed to help memorize things as efficiently as possible.

There are a number of flashcard systems out there, but here are a few features of MemShot that most of the others don’t have:

Email Reminders

We all need a little help with the motivation sometimes, but it only takes a few minutes each day to keep your memory sharp.

MemShot can remind you to practice daily and let you know what needs work.

MemShot practice reminder

Weekly Progress

Each week, MemShot sends you a progress report so you can bask in the glory of your path to mastery.

MemShot progress report

Daily Tracking

MemShot is now integrated with Supernifty’s goal tracker.

This tool helps you track what you are doing every day and form new habits. Learn more about goal tracker.

Timed Challenges

Having as long as you like to answer a question is not the same as the pressure of a real life situation of needing to be able to recall something immediately. For example, when you are speaking a foreign language, the other person is unlikely to have infinite patience.

Enter timed challenges.

MemShot timed challenges

Once a certain level of proficiency is reached, time limits are introduced.

MemShot timed challenge

Many people find the pressure of a time limit confronting – great practice for real life situations which typically include pressure to perform.

Shared Sets with Updates

Share your set by clicking the pencil next to “Private”.

Find public sets by clicking more learning sets.

MemShot now supports notifications – if an imported set has new items added to it you’ll get an icon next to that set to import the updates.

Want to learn more?

Import your Anki decks into MemShot

April 25th, 2013

Excellent news!

If you have existing decks in Anki and would like to try them in MemShot, you can now import your Anki decks into MemShot.

Import Anki decks into MemShot

What’s MemShot?

A free web-based learning system built on Flashcards and Spaced Repetition to make learning things like a new language fun and efficient. More about MemShot.

How to import your Anki decks into MemShot:

  1. Start up Anki. You need to be using at least version 2 of Anki;
  2. Choose File->Export. You can either export all decks or choose a specific one. Note that when you import into MemShot it will be imported as a single learning set;
  3. Visit MemShot Importer and login if required;
  4. Choose a set name for the imported deck along with any other required options;
  5. Next to the Import from Anki option, select your exported Anki file. This file should have the .apkg extension;
  6. Click Add Items; and
  7. You’re done! Start learning with MemShot!

Public Anki decks

Anki has many publicly available learning sets that can now easily be imported and used in MemShot.

Why MemShot?

There are a number of Spaced Repetition Flashcard based learning systems available.

MemShot is free, fun and easy to use. It is actively being developed with new features regularly added. In fact, if you’d like to see a feature, suggest it!

Limitations

The Anki import feature currently has some limitations:

  • Images and sounds are currently not imported. Support for media files is in progress.
  • Special formatting of text e.g. colours, fonts is currently not supported.

We hope you try out your Anki decks with MemShot. If you do, let us know how it goes!

Playalong for iPad is here!

March 17th, 2013

Supernifty is pleased to announce that Playalong for iPad is now available on the app store!

Here’s a screenshot:
Playalong iPad screenshot

Playalong helps you learn new songs on your guitar, ukulele or banjo with chords, lyrics, a beat and strumming sounds. Each song’s timing matches that of the original song.

It’s the easiest way to learn a new song, or play along to an old favourite.

There’s over 50 songs to choose from, with new songs regularly being added.

More cool features:

  • Easily transpose the song into any key
  • Speed up or slow down the song to suit
  • Easy to use chord finder for guitar, ukulele and banjo

Wanna learn more? Check it out on the app store.

Playalong on the app store

Don’t have an iPad or iPhone? Have a look at Playalong Online. It’s pretty fun, too.

Introducing MemShot – a Flashcard Spaced Repetition memorization system

March 9th, 2013

Supernifty is pleased to announce MemShot, a free, simple, web-based memorization system based on spaced repetition.

Memory masters like Dominic O’Brien use spaced repetition to memorize incredible amounts of information efficiently – now you can too.

Create your own set of flashcards, then MemShot tracks your progress and ensures that you work only on items that most need practice – much more efficient than traditional learning systems.

To get started, go to MemShot and start adding facts. Then click “Practice” to start learning.

Memory practice

The software includes many features to help you on your path to mastery; for instance:

Progress Reports! MemShot keeps track of your progress so you can see how well you are learning – are you progressing well or do you need to up the ante?

Memorization progress

Trouble Spots! MemShot keeps detailed records of your progress on every fact and you can easily see which items are causing you the most trouble.

Individual item status

Reminders! MemShot can keep your motivation ticking over by reminding you when it is time to practice.

Sharing! Although experts suggest that creating your own sets helps with the learning process, you can also share learning sets. If you create a set that may interest others, click the “share” button.

With just a few minutes each day with MemShot, you can look forward to memorizing an impressive amount of information.

Did you know – Jeopardy winner Roger Craig used Spaced Repetition as part of his training?

Feedback is welcome. We have many ideas for improving MemShot. If you have one, let us know.

What now?

Book Review – Python for Data Analysis

January 20th, 2013


Python for Data Analysis is primarily a reference for Pandas. Pandas is a Data Analysis library for Python.

Also covered in less depth are some other components in Python’s data analysis ecosystem. There are chapters on iPython and NumPy. A chapter on plotting and visualization provides a great rundown of matplotlib, along with mention of alternatives like chaco and mayavi.

Pandas is then presented in significant depth, with sections on data storage, data transformation, data aggregation and time series analysis. This forms the bulk of the book.

This is a well-written book that provides a good summary of Python’s data analysis capabilities, however, it will not teach you how to do data analysis. This book will show you how to use the Pandas library.

Note: This book was provided by O’Reilly Media as part of their blogger review program.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program