About

Ian Ozsvald picture

This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, founder of the Annotate.io social media mining API, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, co-founder of the SocialTies App, author of the A.I.Cookbook, author of The Screencasting Handbook, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and FivePoundApps and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

High Performance Python book with O'Reilly View Ian Ozsvald's profile on LinkedIn Visit Ian Ozsvald's data science consulting business Protecting your bits. Open Rights Group

31 March 2009 - 12:46Adding PIL (Python Imaging Library) to Mac OS X

I continue my newbie MacBook exploits, currently I’m enjoying the fragmented installation process on a Mac…why is it harder to get stuff installed than on both Ubuntu (lovely apt-get!) and Windows?

Installing the Python Imaging Library takes a couple of steps.  There is a 3rd party installer but it assumes you’ve installed their base Python2.5 install…but Py2.5 comes pre-installed on Macs now anyway.

Thankfully there are instructions here for adding a soft-link that lets the installer find the existing Python 2.5.  Next, get the PIL diskimage (via Python Mac) and this time it’ll install happily.

Next I created ~/.bash_profile (not .bash_rc as suggested in the article – it didn’t get picked up) and added the required:

export PYTHONPATH=/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/lib/python2.5/site-packages/

and then I started Python, did ‘from PIL import Image’ and all was well.  Woot-te-toot, now on with coding another ShowMeDo Club series (on File I/O for Python Beginners).


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

1 Comment | Tags: Python

29 March 2009 - 20:34Undimming a monitor using libGaze?

I’m sitting here using my MacBook and the screen dims after a minute or so.  I look back down from the movie I’m watching (Mutant Chronicles – dodgy sci-fi!) and the MacBook’s screen stays dim.  With so much CPU power available, why can’t the screen auto-un-dim when I look at it?

The camera is looking at me…couldn’t it tell that my gaze is back on the Mac’s screen?  The very recent libGaze by Sebastian Herholz seems like it ought to do the trick.  It is open-source, released this year (2009) and runs on Linux and WinXP so it probably ought to run on a Mac just fine.  For bonus points it has a Python interface.

The documentation is pretty solid (25 pages) and installation looks easy enough.

Anyone fancy some UI fame by writing a neato tool that dims the monitor when you’re not looking and brightens it when your attention is back on the screen?


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life

29 March 2009 - 17:29BrightonJobDoom – 5k App Entry

My twitter robot (@BrightonJobDoom) has been in development for a month, now it tracks 5 job sites as it tracks Brighton’s descent into tribalism as we run out of local jobs.

Initially I was tracking just the Wired Sussex and TechCrunch sites, now I’ve added Chinwag, EscapeHatch and The Argus (within 10 miles, last week only, all jobs) newspaper.  The first four are tech-focused, The Argus lists all the jobs in the main local paper.

Contrast the numbers shown on the feed (37, 0, 2, 12, 147) with my blog entry from Oct 07 on posting a tech job ad in Brighton.  At that time Wired Sussex had 97 jobs (currently: 37), Sussex Digital’s job board has closed and The Argus was known to have pages of jobs, now just 147.  The situation is definitely negative compared to two years ago, but hopefully it is on the mend (look at the history of the doom-feed).

This twitter-bot was written as an entry for the 5k competition on April 20th at our £5 App nights.  Hopefully I’ll get time to cut the byte count down to get it under the 5120 byte limit in time for the competition!


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, projectbrightonblogs, sussexdigital, £5 App Meet

27 March 2009 - 16:40Screencasting tutorials

Over on the ProCasts blog we’re building up a screencast tutorial series, planned to be 9 episodes long, that will teach anyone how to make a beautiful screencast that helps them explain their product to their new users.

By explaining your product you’re more likely to convince first-timer visitors to stick around and try out your tool.

We’re publishing a new episode every few days, the planned episodes are:

  1. Why do you need to screencast?
  2. Choosing your screencast software
  3. Editing your screencast
  4. Why adding music makes your screencast more professional
  5. How and why export screencasts to .flv, .mp4, .wmv, .avi and .swf formats
  6. Embedding screencasts in your site
  7. Getting your screencast seen by more people using sites like YouTube and Vimeo
  8. Pro tip – how to make your audio sound like it was recorded by a professional
  9. Pro tip – using an introductory animation and PowerPoint slides

We’re writing this series over the next few weeks to help encourage others to try screencasting.  Once completed it’ll be converted into a free eBook entitled ProCasts’ Little Book of Screencasting, if you’d like your copy then email ebook_notify@procasts.co.uk

In part this series will be discussed in a podcast interview being recorded tonight for the Start-up Success series, we’re discussing the topics for the interview in Joel’s Business of Software forum.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

1 Comment | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

21 March 2009 - 14:05Big pile of technic Lego for sale

Linc Smith of Sussex Uni departs our shores in a week to return to Canada.  He has pictures of the very big pile of technic lego to sell, contact him if you’re interested. Linc is a keen robot builder, helps at the Robot Brighton nights and has been a presenter and helper at our £5 App nights.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life

21 March 2009 - 13:58Hand-carved spinning tops

At likemind on Friday I met a Thomas Forsyth, a recent graduate from Brighton Uni’s design dept. who hand-carves wooden spinning tops.  You push a pencil through the rubber grommet and spin it in your hands, it wanders over a sheet of paper making lovely pictures:

His business cards are lovely – they’re cut from a large piece of card where he’s run the spinning top (using pencil) many times so they’re scrawled with spirograph-like lines on nice textured card…all very tactile and real.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life

21 March 2009 - 13:53Does a PhotoBin exist? (a PasteBin for photos)

From the ‘I want something like this…’ dept:  Whilst working in my log-book for my long-running science/physic client I sketched a ‘Win32 Console App -> DLL/COM interface -> Matlab -> (wicked pointer casts) DLL/COM interface -> fn in Console app’ diagram.

You don’t need to know what the above does, just imagine three big boxes and six arrows.

Having implemented the process (and discovering that it doesn’t work for various interesting reasons) I wrote up the process in MS Word to generate a short report.  Rather than try to re-implement the diagram I just wanted to photograph it (with my iPhone), upload it ‘somewhere’, then take the resulting jpg and embed it in the Word doc.

It occurs to me that this is a photo-equivalent of a programming PasteBin (wikip), but I don’t know of any such facility.  I could use Flickr but that feels permanent (and public), I just want a throwaway URL with no association to myself that dies a bit later when I’m done with it.

Does such a service exist?


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

6 Comments | Tags: Life

13 March 2009 - 14:05ProCasts’ third open-src advocacy video – AdBlockPlus

I’m rather chuffed to say that Wladimir Palant, the chap behind the excellent AdBlockPlus.org ad-filter for Firefox, has added our advocacy video to his frontpage – it shows you in just over a minute how and why to install AdBlockPlus.  As Wladimir says:

Ian and Richard [...] offered me to create a screencast for Adblock Plus. They then went on analyzing what potential users need to know and the result is quite remarkable

We created the video to show how Richard and I can work together inside ProCasts combining animation and screencasting techniques, backed by music and scripting, to teach new users exactly why they will want to use this new tool and how they should get started.

We went through the full process of:

  1. understanding who the users are
  2. learning what they need
  3. asking about what confuses them
  4. figuring out how to tell the story
  5. screencasting prototypes
  6. wrapping everything in animated segments

I plan to blog at ProCasts about all the steps including showing some of the draft videos, this should give others some ideas for how to iterate on larger  screencasting projects.

The previous advocacy videos have been Django (Python web-framework) in Under a Minute and Internet Explorer 8 vs Firefox 3.

Richard has blogged an AdBlockPlus entry too.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: ProCasts, Screencasting

13 March 2009 - 13:48ShowMeDo server move + Python 3 videos

We’ve spent the last few weeks migrating ShowMeDo to its own server after 3 years operating out of a shared box.  Moving the site was a pain as I’m not a low-level Apache hacker but all in everything seems fine now and we have extra capacity to grow.

Kyran has skinned the blog so it fits with the overall theme.  The new Learning Paths feature is close to being released, this’ll really tie together all the learning resources in the site so visitors can get a threaded path through all the videos.

Kyran has explained some of the move and has configured ShowMeDo’s frontpage to show some of the posts, this is a really nice way to integrate the blog into the main site.  We also have a Hall of Fame now where all authors are ranked by a number of measures.

Two authors have added Python 3 videos, Gasto summarises some of the changes in 3.0 and chyld shows 3.0 in action in 2 videos on lists and del.icio.us.  These and all the other Python videos are here.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life, Python, ShowMeDo