Data Science

Mean Time Between Loss of Sleep

“MTBLS”: I first encountered this phrase on a New Relic blog. It's a half-joking reference to a concept used by reliability engineers, Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). I was intrigued though, and thought it would be an interesting metric to track.

We have high-resolution data about our machines' health – down to the smallest minutia – but precious little about the health of our people.

Spatial analysis with PostgreSQL and OpenStreetMap

I've always been a map geek, dating back to the 1980s when I would take a road atlas and some tracing paper and draw in my own road network. And one of my favorite games is to take an old map or globe and try to determine when it was made based on the names and shapes of countries. In the age of online mapping software, big data, and data science, it gets even more interesting. Now I can download the whole data set for the map and write programs against it!

Speed Kills: How Much does a Slow Web Site Cost?

In my last post, I wrote about the cost of tech debt, using a case study of skyrocketing hardware costs. Here's another, subtler effect of poor performance: impatient customers don't stick around when they experience slowdowns. However, choosing to prioritize speed can be hard to justify when the cost isn't quantified.

Sum Algebraic Data Types in Haskell and Swift

"Grove Park Traincare Depot and sidings" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by train_photos

Engineers at Metal Toad participate in a variety of continuing education such as the Hackathon, dedicated time for professional development, and various interest groups for a variety of topics like machine learning and iOS/Android development.


I recently joined the interest group on functional programming in Haskell. We start with an introduction to Algebraic Data Types.

Q4 Hackathon Theme: Machine Learning & Data Science

I was dusting off my copy of Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines today, and found a fascinating chart (adapted below). The book was written in 1998; it's interesting to reflect nearly 20 years later we're more or less on schedule. $1000 will buy you an electronic brain with a "thinking" capacity somewhere between a mouse and human.

Writing a haiku-detecting bot for Slack

At Metal Toad, we have several bots integrated into Slack. Some are more useful (TicketBot, which detects mentions of JIRA tickets and provides links) and some are more whimsical (plusplus, which lets everyone give their coworkers points for whatever reason). I wanted to get in on this, so I decided to add to the latter category and write a bot that would detect when someone inadvertently wrote a haiku. Here's how I did it; maybe it will inspire you to write something too.

Ready for transformation?