Welcome to The Parser, NOI's new Tech Blog

Posted on Wed, Jan 16, 2013

Tags: tech blog

Welcome to the first edition of The Parser, the brand new NOI Tech Blog, where Nat Gaertner and I will attempt to impart knowledge we’ve learned over the past few years working with election data, open source software, and large data sets so that you hopefully won’t make the same mistakes we did (while many of these problems will described in a political data context, the use of these solutions go way beyond that). Or at least, when you do, you’ll know that even geniuses like us erred in the same fashion and you’ll have a quick solution right at your fingertips.

In reality, we know that the issues we’ll be talking about here come up frequently when dealing with political data. When we confronted these issues, we worked through many different solutions and came up with our own optimal solution. Are there better solutions? Possibly, probably, almost definitely. We are huge fans of engaging in conversations on dealing with data and hopefully if you have a better solution, you’ll be willing to share (because sharing is caring). Also, if you are headed down the same path and would like some support or questions answered, please give us a ring (or email).

A tech blog sounds pretty vague and it’s time for some specifics as to what we will be talking about. Unfortunately, the truth is that we don’t know yet. Yes, we have two months worth of engrossing content planned so far, but we are always looking for suggestions. Our general plan is to start writing about problems we’ve faced and the way we went about solving them, dispersing pearls of programming wisdom along the way.

But what’s coming in the next two months?
To start with, blog posts on: resolving the epic problems of addressing parsing, database partitioning for performance, machine learning, best practices when processing voterfile data, precinct name and code matching across different datasets, automating certain tasks, and much more. Undoubtedly lots of fun stories from 2012 election work will be included. We also want to encourage questions and lots of them, which will be answered in follow-up posts.

If you think all that sounds great and either have some suggestions for topics or would like to write a post of your own, just send us an email at [email protected]

Also, if you want us to help by taking a look at some of your data or work to resolve some technical issues, we are here to help. Yes, we will ask for some dollars, but on the whole our rates are pretty low.

For updates as they become available, you can sign up for the tech blog mailing list here (you know you want to)

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