About Me

I’m Jesse Lawson, a PhD student and professional systems architect working in higher education. I consult with leaders in institutional effectiveness to strategize innovation at the management and administrative level. Take a look at some of my work or contact me if you’re interested in working together.

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A (Re)Introduction to the Least Squares Method

Today we’re going to talk about a Linear Regression method called “Least Squares” and go over model-fitting. Often when working in predictive analytics you’ll come across the phrase “fitting the model.” When we talk about a model, we mean to say an algorithm that can be deployed against a dataset. Fitting that model simply means finding the values of whatever variables are on the right side of the function.

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What is a Data Scientist in Higher Education?

One of my goals with my dissertation is to clearly articulate what it is that data scientist does in higher education. Since there are so many definitions of what data science, analytics, intelligence, forecasting, prediction, et al. really are, I’m consolidating my experience with needs assessments from a variety of institutional profiles and creating one end-all-be-all definition of a data scientist in higher education.

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Posted in Rant, Research & Effectiveness | Leave a comment

Why Pointers Still Matter (for Huge Variables)

Pointers were originally meant to make more efficient the programs that were being written way back when 128kb were all the memory you got on your hard drive. These days we get so caught up in higher-level languages that we often take for granted the things that we had to worry about back when we were compiling C code on our Borland C 5.0 compilers (nostalgia, anyone?)

The modern programmer rarely worries about pointers if they’re working on any modern machine framework, and if they do, it’s usually as a way to make programs hyper efficient. Fortunately for the same of instruction, I can think of another reason to keep pointers in your back pocket, and that is in the case of huge variables.

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Posted in C/C++ | Leave a comment

Can’t Upload Images in WordPress (Solved!)

A few clients were experiencing problems in the media uploader on their sites. When trying to upload something in the Media Uploader, they were getting errors like:

Unable to create directory

and

Unable to upload image. Is the directory writeable?

It would seem that everything points to a permissions problem, but in fact, it’s an error in the database table.

Specifically, take a look at the wp_options table, and look for upload_path. Notice anything? the option_value is blank!

To fix this error, all you have to do is run the following SQL command on your database:

UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = "wp-content/uploads" WHERE option_name = "upload_path"

That’s it!

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JQuery scrollTop not working with Zurb Foundation

Recently I discovered something about the way Foundation calls JQuery. I was trying to get a function to reveal a div on window scroll and discovered that you only have to change the syntax for the function call to get it to work.

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On WordPress as an AngularJS Backend

WordPress provides a web interface for manipulating a MySQL database, but the static nature of WP’s php files disables its ability to serve itself as a Single Page Application (SPA). To capitalize on modern web technologies, AngularJS could be employed as a front-end system that draws from a MySQL backend that is modified by WordPress.

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Posted in AngularJS, Ideas & Theories, WordPress | Leave a comment

See How Google Sees Your SPA

Google now offers a “Fetch as Google” feature, where you can see exactly how their crawlers will see your SPA.

Give it a go here.

You’ll have to have webmaster tools enabled for your site.

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Quick ‘save’ command for command-line writers

Here’s a fun trick for those of us command-line writers who still exist: create a private BitBucket and then post commits each time you are about to walk away from your writing. Oh, and run the code in this article.

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Foundation will Integrate AngularJS

ZURB recently put out a new post indicating that they’re integrating their next release of Foundation with AngularJS:

We’re beginning to build out Foundation for Apps using Angular.js, a rapidly growing JS library that will allow us to not only better abstract the code but also allow for easy prototyping to apps that really do change and adjust based on their use, all with no back-end component required.

If your stack isn’t Angular don’t worry — we won’t be making any decisions or assumptions about your model or your controller, and we expect the directives and affordances we build into Foundation for Apps will port nicely to other technology like Ember or Polymer.

This is great news for those of us who have been jumping out of the Bootstrap pool for something fresh and new.

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