Josef “Jeff” Sipek

Change Ringing - The Changes

We have seen what a bell tower set up for change ringing looks like; we have looked at the mechanics of ringing a single bell and what it sounds like if you ring the bells in what is called rounds (all bells ring one after each other in order of pitch, starting with the treble and ending with the tenor).

Ringing rounds is good practice, but ringing would be really boring if that was all there was. Someone at some point decided that it’d be fun for one of the ringers to be a conductor, and direct the other ringers to do the most obvious thing — swap around. So, for example, suppose we have 6 bells, the treble is the first, and the tenor is the last. First, we get rounds by ringing all of them in numerical order:


Then, the conductor makes a call telling two bells to change around. For example, say that the conductor says: 5 to 3. This tells the person ringing bell number 5 that the next hand stroke (I completely skipped over this part in the previous post, but bell strikes come in pairs: hand stroke, and back stroke) he should follow the bell number 3. In other words, the new order will be:


You can see that in addition to the 5 changing place, the 4 had to move too! Now, it is following the 5.

Until the next call, the bells go in this order. Then the conductor may say something like: 3 to 1, or 3 to treble. Just as before, 2 bells move. This time, it is the 2 and the 3, yielding:


Let’s have another call…5 to 3. Now, we have:


This pattern (all odd bells in increasing order, followed by all even bells in increasing order) is called Queens. There are many such patterns.

Ringing traditionally starts in rounds, and ends in rounds. So, let’s have a few calls and return the bells to rounds.

3 to the lead (this means that 3 will be the first bell) 315246
4 to 5 315426
4 to the treble 314526
2 to 4 314256
treble lead 134256
2 to 3 132456
rounds next 123456

There we have it. We’re back in rounds. There was nothing special about the order of these changes. Well, there is one rule: the bells that are changing places must be adjacent. So, for example, if we start in rounds, we can’t do 4 to the treble. Why is that? These bells are heavy, and especially the heavier ones (>10 Wikipedia article: cwt) will not move that far easily. Remember, this is bell ringing, not wrestling.

Plotting with ggmap

Recently, I came across ggmap package for R. It supposedly makes for some very easy plotting on top of Google Maps or OpenStreetMap. I grabbed a GPS recording I had laying around, and gave it a try.

You may recall my previous attempts at plotting GPS data. This time, the data file I was using was recorded with a USB GPS dongle. The data is much nicer than what a cheap smartphone GPS could produce.

> head(pts)
        time   ept      lat       lon   alt   epx    epy mode
1 1357826674 0.005 42.22712 -83.75227 297.7 9.436 12.755    3
2 1357826675 0.005 42.22712 -83.75227 297.9 9.436 12.755    3
3 1357826676 0.005 42.22712 -83.75227 298.1 9.436 12.755    3
4 1357826677 0.005 42.22712 -83.75227 298.4 9.436 12.755    3
5 1357826678 0.005 42.22712 -83.75227 298.6 9.436 12.755    3
6 1357826679 0.005 42.22712 -83.75227 298.8 9.436 12.755    3

For this test, I used only the latitude, longitude, and altitude columns. Since the altitude is in meters, I multiplied it by 3.2 to get a rough altitude in feet. Since the data file is long and goes all over, I truncated it to only the last 33 minutes.

The magical function is the get_map function. You feed it a location, a zoom level, and the type of map and it returns the image. Once you have the map data, you can use it with the ggmap function to make a plot. ggmap behaves a lot like ggplot2’s ggplot function and so I felt right at home.

Since the data I am trying to plot is a sequence of latitude and longitude observations, I’m going to use the geom_path function to plot them. Using geom_line would not produce a path since it reorders the data points. Second, I’m plotting the altitude as the color.

Here are the resulting images:

If you are wondering why the line doesn’t follow any roads… Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. (Hint: flying)

Here’s the entire script to get the plots:

#!/usr/bin/env Rscript


pts <- read.csv("gps.csv")

/* get the bounding box... left, bottom, right, top */
loc <- c(min(pts$lon), min(pts$lat), max(pts$lon), max(pts$lat))

for (type in c("roadmap","hybrid","terrain")) {
	map <- get_map(location=loc, zoom=13, maptype=type)
	p <- ggmap(map) + geom_path(aes(x=lon, y=lat, color=alt*3.2), data=pts)

	jpeg(paste(type, "-preview.jpg", sep=""), width=600, height=600)

	jpeg(paste(type, ".jpg", sep=""), width=1024, height=1024)

P.S. If you are going to use any of the maps for anything, you better read the terms of service.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Back in early February, Holly and I went to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. I took my camera with me. After over two months of doing nothing with the photos, I finally managed to post-process some of them. I have no idea what the various plants are called — I probably should have made note of the signs next to each plant. (photo gallery)

This one didn’t turn out as nicely as I hoped. Specifically, it is a little blurry. Maybe I’ll go back at some point to retake the photo.

This one is just cool.

I think this is some kind of Aloe.

IPS: The Manifest

In the past, I have mentioned that IPS is great. I think it is about time I gave you more information about it. This time, I’ll talk about the manifest and some core IPS ideals.

IPS, Image Packaging System, has some really neat ideas. Each package contains a manifest. The manifest is a file which list actions. Some very common actions are “install a file at path X,” “create a symlink from X to Y,” as well as “create user account X.” The great thing about this, is that the manifest completely describes what needs to be done to the system to install a package. Uninstalling a package simply undoes the actions — delete files, symlinks, users. (This is where the “image” in IPS comes from — you can assemble the system image from the manifests.)

For example, here is the (slightly hand edited) manifest for OpenIndiana’s rsync package:

set name=pkg.fmri value=pkg://,5.11-
set name=org.opensolaris.consolidation value=sfw
set value=global value=nonglobal
set name=description value="rsync - faster, flexible replacement for rcp"
set name=variant.arch value=i386
set name=pkg.summary value="rsync - faster, flexible replacement for rcp"
set name=pkg.description value="rsync - A utility that provides fast incremental file transfer and copy."
set name=info.classification value="org.opensolaris.category.2008:Applications/System Utilities"
dir group=sys mode=0755 owner=root path=usr
dir group=bin mode=0755 owner=root path=usr/bin
dir group=sys mode=0755 owner=root path=usr/share
dir group=bin mode=0755 owner=root path=usr/share/man
dir group=bin mode=0755 owner=root path=usr/share/man/man1
dir group=bin mode=0755 owner=root path=usr/share/man/man5
license 88142ae0b65e59112954efdf152bb2342e43f5e7
	license=SUNWrsync.copyright pkg.csize=12402 pkg.size=35791
file 02f1be6412dd2c47776a62f6e765ad04d4eb328c
	elfarch=i386 elfbits=32
	group=bin mode=0555 owner=root path=usr/bin/rsync
	pkg.csize=191690 pkg.size=395556
file 7bc01c64331c5937d2d552fd93268580d5dd7c66
	group=bin mode=0444 owner=root
	path=usr/share/man/man1/rsync.1 pkg.csize=50628
file 006fa773e1be3fecf7bbfb6c708ba25ddcb0005e
	group=bin mode=0444 owner=root
	pkg.csize=12610 pkg.size=37410
depend fmri=consolidation/sfw/sfw-incorporation type=require
depend fmri=system/library@0.5.11- type=require

The manifest is very easily readable. It is obvious that there are several sets of actions:

specifies the FMRI, description, and architecture among others
lists all the directories that need to be created/deleted during installation/removal
specifies the file with the text of the license for the package
in general, most actions are file actions — each installs a file
lastly, rsync depends on system/library and sfw-incorporation

The above example is missing symlinks, hardlinks, user accounts, services, and device driver related actions.

Many package management systems have the ability to execute arbitrary scripts after installation or prior to removal. IPS does not allow this since it would violate the idea that the manifest completely describes the package. This means (in theory), that one can tell IPS to install the base packages into a directory somewhere, and at the end one has a working system.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it? As always, the devil is in the details.

First of all, sometimes there’s just no clean way to perform all package setup at install time. One just needs a script to run to take care of the post-install configuration. Since IPS doesn’t support this, package developers often create a transient Wikipedia article: SMF manifest and let SMF run the script after the installation completes. This is just ugly, but not the end of the world.


I’m going to try something new. Instead of posting a random thought every so often, I’m going to take requests. What do you want me to talk about next?

Math test

I decided to finally implement some math support. Here’s a test post.

$a^n + b^n = c^n$

$v(t) = \frac{at}{\sqrt{1 + (\frac{at}{c})^2}}$

I hope equation support will come in handy.

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