I’m Wendy Liu, and I’m currently the CTO of Macromeasures, a data science startup that I co-founded after graduating from McGill University in 2014. In September 2017, I’ll be starting a one-year masters program on inequality at the London School of Economics and Political Science. It may seem like a strange about-turn, and in some ways it is, but in other ways it feels like the most rational and thoughtful decision I’ve made in a long time.

In case you’re wondering about the username: I have no affiliation with Dell Inc; “dellsystem” is an unfortunate consequence of a decision I made when I was 12, when I signed up for an account on phpbb.com so I could get support for my phpBB installation. Since I was using a Dell computer at the time, “dellsystem” seemed like a reasonable choice for what I thought would be a throwaway account. I was wrong about the throwaway part, as the phpBB community turned out to be a gateway drug for open source software and programming in general. I have since come to terms with the username “dellsystem” and will even answer to “dell”.

Below, you’ll find excepts of my most recent blog posts (you can view them all on the words page). If you want to get in touch, find me on Twitter @dellsystem, or check out my about page for other contact options.

What I wish I had known

June 29, 2017 :: Categories: ,

This post is a very personal one, and a long one at that. It’s been in the making for a while, but I’ve been putting off actually finishing and publishing it, partly because it’s painful to write this stuff out and partly because I’m afraid of alienating people who might not like what I have to say. But dealing with pain and facing your fears–isn’t that part of growing up? Part of what it mean... Read more »

A personal statement

June 2, 2017 :: Categories: ,

Presented without comment other than to say that yes, I am a little bit embarrassed by how melodramatic and facile it is, but I got in, so whatever. Hopefully this will help someone in the process of writing their own personal statement, or maybe even nudge someone into making the same sort of choice that I made. One of the most striking illustrations of inequality today is found in Silicon ... Read more »

A change of pace

February 3, 2017 :: Categories:

When I first created this blog – almost six years ago, somehow – I planned to fill it with technical posts about projects I was working on and tips I’d discovered. It only recently occurred to me that I, despite being a programmer by occupation, could use my blog to write about things other than programming. Which is silly, because it’s not as if I had been born with a fully-formed .vimrc file ... Read more »

Predicting the U.S. election without polls

November 18, 2016 :: Categories:

A few days after the United States presidential election, Data Driven Journalism featured a great piece about the pitfalls of relying on opinion polls to predict elections: “Will data driven election reporting ever be the same?” I myself had fallen into the trap of trusting the polls that predicted a landslide Clinton win, so in the aftermath of the unexpected election results, I started thinki... Read more »

Time-slicing photos with Python and ImageMagick

May 15, 2016 :: Categories: ,

I recently came across a neat example of time-slice photography, which featured the Manhattan skyline over a period of 30 minutes around dusk. It’s a really cool technique that I’ve always wanted to try reproducing through paint, since the nature of the medium means you could make the slices blend together more seamlessly than would be possible in a photograph. So that became my next art proje... Read more »

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