Which projector fits in my flat?

My home cinema setup

I love home cinema and the idea of a projector is one of those things I always wanted but couldn’t afford. A while ago I (well my friends wife did and I helped) put up a white Tupplur blind from IKEA. Then I bought a really cheap XGA projector.

It kind of works but I have to put the projector on the coffee table and quite high. As its XGA (1024×768) and not even WXGA (1280×768), the picture is cut off when playing a film and of course its analog inputs only which is a real pain. So finally its time to get a new projector.

This should be easy but I realise I might be asking for the impossible?

  • Full HD 1080p projector
  • HDMI inputs
  • Less than £500
  • The ability to beam 4 meters and fill but not over shoot a screen of about 2.55m diagonal (2.1m width x 1.45m height)

The last part is the biggest issue, the current projector over shoots the screen massively and the only way I can make it fit is with a telephoto lens I bought recently.

The macrolen attached to my old projector
Telephoto lens attached to my current projector

So I’ve been looking up throw distances, and it seems to be roughly the meters I want the projector away (4 meters) divided by the second number in the projectors ratio (usually something like 1:62). The number resulting is the width of the image.
For example the perfect number is 4 meters divided by a nice projector throw ratio like 1:1.9 gets you 2.1 meters at 4 meters distance.

Theres lots of projector calculators online, I’ve been using this one. They are great but when looking up projector prices in the UK, its always difficult to get the throw ratio. This is important because even if projector central can filter by throw and other things, the prices are all over the place.

The telephoto lens in effect

After much looking, comparing and searching (I’m surprised theres no way to compare this type of data easily actually, the best site I found for this is Projector Central which allows you to search based on key features). I decided to order the Optoma HD143X HDMI 3000.  I’ve decided to give it a try and be prepared to use a telephoto lens again to get the picture down to a reasonable throw size. Searching and comparing was eating up my time, when I should have been doing other things. So I’m glad that all done now and just happened to nab one as the price went up again. One of the online retailers had not changed their price quick enough, luckily for me.

Worst comes to worst, I could always get a bigger blind, setup a white sheet or just send it back and go looking again.

Fingers crossed it will fit perfectly, otherwise another trip to IKEA is on the cards.

Horizon takes on the science of online dating?

Its happening againI swear everybody has caught on to the fact dating has changed and are studying it from a data point of view.

This time its Horizon who are sniffing around doing some dating research, and they actually have someone who really knows there stuff involved. Hannah Fry… yes the same woman who did the Tedtalk about the popularity in online dating. Ironically the most scientific dating experience was using her work around popularity at Manchester’s MOSI.

But even with Hannah Fry involved  I’m nervous because of 2 experiences.

  1. The year of making love – I mean I couldn’t believe it was actually the BBC behind this smoking cluster of a show. I should have known with it being aired on BBC Three.
  2. How to have more sex – Ok it was ITV and I guess it was the first time I had speed dating but seriously, when the guy tapped me on the shoulder in Brighton during the d.construct after party I was so shocked.

Saying all that, am I going to sign up?

Yes I did… I really hope its not a mistake I will regret! Now time for 150 questions, in the style/vein of OkCupid. I have a feeling I could be in for something interesting…

horizon goes okcupid on us

The science of popularity in dating

I recently watched Hannah Fry: The mathematics of love and I thought it was fascinating, especially the part about beauty, which is taken almost directly from OKCupid’s mathematics of beauty.

It was only a few weeks before I ended up  at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, on their evening sexology event. They had a number of free talks about sex related topics but they also had speed dating.

It’s speed dating, but not as you know it. Although we can’t reveal the exact details of this experiment, you can combine romance with research in this one-of-a-kind speed dating night. It’s fast, fun and you might just find love…

Let's Talk About Sex

The speed dating was like the many times I have been before but this time, there was a number of small differences and a big twist which reminded me of the mathematics of love/beauty.

Unlike other speed dating events, we only got to meet/date 8 women in total. Everybody also moved around each time. I thought I spotted the twist by the women I met (most were from the University of Manchester or MOSI staff), I was expecting something along the lines of my experience first time I ever went speed dating in London.

Let's Talk About Sex

But … I was pleasantly surprised when after filling in my matches form. I was treated to a form with the popularity of the 8 women I had seen. To make this clear, out of the 8 women I had seen, there was a number of ticks next to them, so you could see how popular they were.

The hypotheses I guess being, would you change your votes if you knew the person you picking is very popular. Or even the opposite way around? This got me thinking, would I change my picks? I generally decide on women based on, would  I want to spend some more time with them beyond the 3mins we had?

I decided recognising what Hannah Fry and OKCupid served up, I’m going to play along and only go with the matches who really excited me in the 3mins. Looking at the tickets, there was a mix of unpopular and very popular, not much in the middle.

Right now we (Chris also took part in the exact same thing) don’t know how the matches work out, but I’m expecting the results in the next few days. Lets hope it worked out after filling out a 130+ questionnaire in the name of science, during the process.

Afterwards there was just enough time to catch the last talk which was about pole dancing. I do wish I could have gone to the other talks but they all ran parallel to the speed dating.

Let's Talk About Sex

Generally the whole event was great, but I got the feeling although the speed dating was well thought-out. There was a problem with getting people to commit to the speed dating, but regardless it worked out nicely. As I said before it was the most scientific dating thing I have ever been to, and I have been to quite a few in the past.

Well done to MOSI and I look forward to the next one! Great work… When is the next one?

Dawn’s guide to the odds of online dating

Well you can’t knock Channel4 for their number crunching, Matt Parker (stand up maths guy) sits with Dawn O’Porter and explains the odds of a decent match to Dawn. Something the Year of Making Love never really explored and got slated for by myself and others.

I’ve been thinking if online dating may be passing its prime as it passes into the mainstream myself. But its hard to get a grip due the lack of data out there. Dawn’s 1000 isn’t bad but you really need a much bigger sample than 1000 to really get a sense of whats happening out there.

Anyway in a previous episode Dawn had a list of do’s and don’t for online dating… I think most of them are similar or taken from Susan Quilliam (relationship psychologist) tips… Here’s the points

1. Be ready to date. If you’re not over a previous relationship or anxious and demotivated about going online, you’ll self-sabotage. Wait until you’re emotionally available, confident in yourself, ready to put in time and energy.

Absolutely… When I first got divorced I thought I was ready to push myself out there but in actual fact I was too early. Luckily the woman I met were nice enough to point this out to me.

2. Decide what you want first. The site you use, your profile and photo all need to be chosen to suit the partner and partnership you’re looking for. So before you ever go online, think carefully through your wants, needs, deal breakers.

Yes not all sites are the same, some are known for certain types of people and so you need to think long and hard or at least try a few before going forward. Its no good trying match.com and saying well it doesn’t bloody work. I would also add don’t be put off by free online dating. In actual fact I would swear by it for many reasons including that fear to do everything in one month before the credit runs out .

3. Ignore the numbers. No site – however huge their database – will bring you results if the site users aren’t your kind of people. Plus, the ones with big memberships can overwhelm you with numbers. Instead, trawl sites to find one you personally identify with.

Indeed, Match and e-harmony are well known and over subscribed with the kind of people who (I’m assume if your reading this blog) you don’t really want to date too often. Niche dating sites like Guardian Soulmates can be pointless because everyone signs up anyway. Think uniform dating advert.

4. Don’t sell – invite. Writing your profile shouldn’t be a marketing exercise. In fact, research suggests the more you major on “I”, the more you’ll actively put people off. Instead, welcome in prospective partners by writing warmly about the relationship you’d love to have with them.

Although this might be true, I would fight back with to sell is human. You can tell a lot by what someone wants and what they are selling about themselves. Inviting is good but sometimes you need to stand out from the crowd.

5. Choose a welcoming photo not a mug shot. Get a friend or a professional photographer to take hundreds of photos of you smiling and laughing. Then choose the ones where you look the most relaxed and approachable.

Absolutely… I’ve already talked to death about pictures never to use… It still shocks me the kind of thing people put in there dating pictures… For example I was scrolling through my ok cupid locals and was blown away by a woman putting/swallowing a beer bottle. Ok its unique but boy oh boy why oh why would you ever think it was the kind of thing you should use for your dating picture? And don’t get me started on white chicks and gang signs.

6. Don’t go shopping. Studies suggest that, when faced with too much choice in partners, we make decisions on irrelevant criteria, such as whether someone wears glasses. Instead, decide who to approach based on whether their profile lets you imagine having a good relationship with them.

This is something me and imran are interested in… The digitalisation of dating/mating and whats it doing to our brains our habits and the way we see each other. I really need to sit down and read dating in the age of algorithms. I’m sure Sherry Turkle author of alone together and Barry Schwartz author of the paradox of choice would have plenty to say about this whole thing too.

7. Get real – and get real early. Don’t fall for the spell of email and text – feeling close online says nothing about whether you’re compatible in real life. So talk on the phone and meet up as soon as you possibly can.

Ah yes the whole thing about certain people are far too comfortable with chatting from a far. Sites such as Howaboutwe.com are fighting back trying to urge members outside to meet each other but generally if your person you’ve been chatting to for a long (2 months) while refuses to meetup. Think Catfish?

8. Tell the truth. Most folk on dating sites are genuinely looking for love – if they’re not, they go to ‘hook-up’ or ‘married’ sites. But many people are also insecure, so tweak age, height or weight to make a good impression. It works best to be truthful – anything else creates a false start to love.

Yes the truth is the best place to work from. Yes I know lots people lie about there height, weight, job, etc but if you have that much of a problem about it. Just don’t put it down.

9. Don’t expect instant success. In everyday life you may meet hundreds of people at work, socially or by chance before you find someone to date. The same’s true online – it can take months of regular searching before you find a match.

Yes chill out, as I said to Northern Lass 32 from the Guardian

Chill and take your time, stop rushing and just let things wash over you as interesting experiences

It takes time and you should enjoy the time you have while single.

10. Ignore bad behaviour. Because online dating’s so new, we haven’t worked out the courtesies: for example, many people don’t respond to approaches made to them. So if you get snubbed, rejected or dumped, ignore it; not your fault.

I agree, move on. The rules are not set and even if they are for a small community. There is floods of newbies coming into the online dating industry. Some of them don’t understand how the internet works, some don’t understand socially what works. Just brush it off and move on…

11. Get support. Find a dating buddy, someone to help you through the tricky stages, support you through disappointment, celebrate your success.

A dating buddy? Hummmm not so sure about this one. Me personally think talk about your experiences with friends and family. Yes they will laugh at first but after a while they will become supportive in some way. Also think this isn’t a zero sum game. If you make a great new friend, you win. If you meet someone you never want to see again, well you kinda of win again. Just look at it all as experiences

As usual I found a myself with a request for my video via youtube’s system, should have used the same technique as I used on this video

Dear Mr Forrester,

Your video “dating data based on 1000 people“, may have content that is owned or licensed by Channel 4, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, it may be blocked, or ads may appear next to it.

This claim is not penalizing your account status. Visit your Copyright Notice page for more details on the policy applied to your video.

Sincerely,
– The YouTube Team

Hopefully the advertising will be enough…

The Year after we were meant to be making love

Psychologists Emma and Tomas talk about how science is important when it comes to matchmaking and we see how the couples were matched for the Year of Making Love.

Right its over… 6 episodes of BBC Three TV episodes. It couldn’t have gone so well because on the 4th episode, it got shifted around in the schedule and in the end I had to find it on iPlayer to finish off the series.

The last episode does have a look back and goes considers the science a little more but frankly lets talk maths (bear in mind I never studied it beyond GCSEs)…

Originally it was meant to be 1000 single people matched to 500 couples. That didn’t happen so it was roughly 300 couples matched on the big day and then who knows how many couples were matched afterwards to make up the original 500 couples. However! we don’t know that for sure because there’s never been any data released about it. So lets say 500 couples matched over a few months…

Out of the 500 couples which were matched, about 20+ of them made it to the screen. Most ended after the first date or soon after. Only 3 made it through a year  and are still together now? Funny enough out of the 3 which did make it. 2 of them are from the later matches not the original match day. Tweak to the algorithm?

So frankly 500 to 3 is a terrible result! I mean would you sign up to a dating site where 166 people need to get in touch before you find one worth following (would you?). 1/166.666 is pretty bad odds! And we don’t know if they changed the questionnaire or changed the formula half way through? I certainly didn’t fill in 100’s of questions. You can’t claim scientific if its certainly not…

I’m sure (heard) there are others who are still together but we never saw them. It could be because they weren’t attractive enough to be on TV? or maybe there were no one else? Another question for the programme commissioners.

To be frank, the odds are maybe better if you go down your local deansgates lock, big market, etc and try pulling people. Heck a lot less people would be hurt or have there hopes raised

I’ve dated a lot but I guarantee you if I was to date 166 people on OKCupid I would be in a serious relationship now. I do understand what Emma and Tomas are saying about the one but unforgivably the programme didn’t back up there thoughts. Even Emma shouts at one point, how people are too busy considering the looks not the person. The thing they hadn’t considered or calculated in to the theory was Chemistry. Chemistry is important… and no ones quite got that part figured out, no matter what anyone says

Someone should really do a proper scientific trial… and give up some data about how it went. Maybe I’ll ask around to see if there’s any anonymous data we can get from the year of making love?

Continue reading “The Year after we were meant to be making love”

Is it possible to match people with science?

This has got to be one the eternal questions? Maths or science has solved so many of our questions but can it be used for working out compatibility of humans?

That was one of the things which really intrigued me about a year of making love. I assume you’ve seen how it turned in on its self since the production team totally screwed up the process and kept us all in the dark about it. And if you want further evidence do check out the tweets for #yearofmakinglove and #yoml

However because of the total screwup most people are saying its a total failure (maybe very true) but also science or rather maths was never going to work… I can’t disagree specially after the experience we all had yesterday. However basing any judgments off the back of yesterdays experience would be a mistake.

So do I personally think maths/science can match humans? Maybe… (yes what a cope out) but to be honest no one knows for sure. And thats the point of the experiment.

At the very start of the day (ordeal) we were introduced to the professor who devised the test/questions and the matching algorithm. I remember tweeting this

As Michael replied a far…

And he’s right…

In my own experience to date, the matching algorithm over at OkCupid.com has been pretty darn good (not perfect!) (OKCupid’s OK Trends are legendary – check out the biggest lies people tell each other on dating sites and How race effects the messages you get). But I had to train it to be good. I’ve to date answered about 700+ questions and there not just questions. There detailed, so you have to answer it, then specify how important this is to you and what answer your ideal match would pick. This makes for much more dimensions in the answer criteria and ultimately the algorithm. Aka the algorithm is only as good as the dataset its working on.

You got to put in the data/time, if you want it to be good… Otherwise your going to get crappy results.

This makes the 50 questions answered for the year of making love look like a pop quiz (hotshot), to be honest.

So back to the original question slightly modified, can a algorithm match people in the interest of love? I think so to a certain extent. But its not the complete picture. Chemistry is a big deal which is very difficult to understand. Its not found by answering questions but watching the interaction between people. Its a different type of algorithm… Situation can cause chemistry, aka the reason why everyone came together on the coaches home (or to the wrong city as some of them seemed to do) is because there was a social situation which we could all share/talk about. (cue talk about social objects/places) Chemistry was in full effect?

I hope people don’t give up on science as a way to find their ideal partner just because of the terrible experience they had at The year of making love… is I guess what I’m saying…