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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Monday, January 31, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy VS Encyclopedia Galactica , local version.

From The Hitchhiker's Guide Project:

The Encyclopedia Galactica used to be the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom in the universe. That is, until the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came along. The Guide scores higher that the Encyclopedia in two respects. First, the Guide is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words “Don'’t Panic” inscribed in large, friendly letters on the cover.

Here's what the Encyclopedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colorless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based life forms.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. It says that the effect of drinking a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.
Keep this quote in mind that next time the Wikipedia vs. Encyclopedia Britannica Smackdown erupts.

Update March 8:AKMA might have got here second, but it's an honor to have my analogue seconded, especially by the MAN who introduced Joey (aka Accordion Guy) to Wendy (aka "The Redhead Wore Crimson"). How many pages of Google spew did you have to go thur? Ack!

Sunday, January 30, 2005 tag stemmer

Written by Matt Biddulph tag stemmer, uses Porter stemming to show where you've made different tags with the same English word stem. You can use it to help clean up your personal fauxonomy.

The Porter stemming algorithm (or ‘Porter stemmer’) is a process for removing the commoner morphological and inflexional endings from words in English. Its main use is as part of a term normalisation process that is usually done when setting up Information Retrieval systems.

(via Joi ito's bookmarks.) Category : folksonomies

Update: Matt now has a intro page to the Tag Stemmer up : Stemming tags, and one website to the tune of another, with a notes & Links to demo expriement: " seamlessly embedded in the BBC Radio 3 website". A kind of "Tag Explorer" : this page has been tagged with X & Y, see other pages you have tagged with X, see pages other have tagged with X.

Battle of the Teen Beat Idols

Miguel de Icaza (of Ximian GNOME fame) attempts to "re-balance the force" after AccordionGuy Sexy Beast remix causes cosmic meltdown.

Category:; (Via Ted Leung)

Update : Joey noticed and added his own chessy tasteful captions.

EFF's HDTV-PVR Cookbook

Cooking with EFF: KnoppMyth r5a5 and pcHDTV for DTV Liberation because they want to Kill P2P to Save TV.

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a cookbook to guide you in assembling your own personal video recorder (PVR) with KnoppMyth r5a5 and pcHDTV.

Why? Because the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) requires all future digital television (DTV) tuners to include "content protection" (aka DRM or "Digital_rights_management") technologies. Starting July 1, 2005, all makers of HDTV receivers must build their devices to watch for a broadcast "flag" embedded in programs by copyright holders.

However, despite the manufacturing ban, existing equipment will continue to work (and to be lawful to possess and operate); it will be immune from the restrictions imposed on future equipment. That means that the equipment you can buy today is more functional and more useful than what you may be able to buy after July 1, 2005. Start Cooking!

and the New York Times looks at the simmilar issue with : Steal This Show

Category /DRM

Friday, January 28, 2005

Mac Mimi : Razor or Blade, and the Exploding TV.

Robert X. Cringely on "Dethroning King Gillette" asks the question "Is iPod the Razor or the Blade?? He looks at the margins on the iPod and songs sold at ITunes and concludes that Apple is still in the hardware business, for now, but is doing what King Gillette could never dream to -- making money on all parts of the deal.

He also examines the Mac Mini ,again, and sees lots of potential for dominating the micro-server space, plus redefining the Internet video business. Good bye Netflix & BlockBuster.

In his earlier examination of the Mac Mini he concludes that the Mac Mini is a fixed component in a system that will extend iTunes to selling and distributing movies. But this will not have until H.264 (a high compression digital video codec) is support in OS X, which is not due till 10.4 (code-named Tiger) is available, promised for the second quarter of this year.

He also notes strange goings on at iFlicks and iFlix.

All of this also relates to the Exploding TV Meme and the begining of distributed (p2p) mass niche (the long tail) rich content (Digital audio and/or video).

Category:Exploding TV

Sherry Carroll, Don Valley East Toronto Councillor & Blogger

Alerted by a small piece from the "Inside City Hall" column of the Globe & Mail (unavailable online and unattributed) I've discovered that Sherry Carroll, Don Valley East Toronto Councillor (Ward 33), is a blogger (started December 1 2004 with regular postings).

Websites are not uncommon for Toronto Councillors, especially when election times comes around, but tend to become rather forgotten save for few Media PR pieces and community meetings. Councillor Carroll is the first Toronto Councillors, that I'm aware of, to attempt this style of communication. Although not my City Councillor, the insight to the activities of one of our Councillor's should prove enlightening, if not entertaining. Welcome! (Any other Toronto/Ontario/Canada politicians blogging? Let me know.)


Thursday, January 27, 2005

You Might Be A High-Tech Redneck...


  • You post squirrel recipes on a website.
  • You've ever bought beer online.
  • You write to Hewlett-Packard to sponsor a NASCAR team.
  • You've modeled your new 'Daisy Dukes' for a webcam.
  • You have a celphone headset for your fishing boat.
  • Your robot dog is named 'Bubba'.
  • You paid more for your computer than you did for your house.
  • You subscribe to the chewing tobacco newsgroup.
  • Your windows wallpaper is the confederate flag.
  • You make John Wayne MP3s.
  • Your IM lists are 'Hunting buddies' and 'Mama'n them'.
  • Your ringtone is a Hank Williams song.
  • You changed beauty shops because they didn't offer websurfing under the hair driers.
  • You modified your gunrack to hold a rifle AND your laptop.
  • You help install a wireless hotspot zone in your favorite Honky Tonk.
  • You've ever called Graceland to tell them their webcam was down.
  • You have your monster truck magazine collection on CD-ROM.
  • You've ever been to a computer show wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt.
  • You've used your shoe's spike heel to pry out a DVD that was stuck in the player.
  • Your ISP's office is on a gravel road.
  • You sent your husband an Ecard of Dolly Parton on the first day of deer season.
  • You have Harley Davidson stickers on your mouse.
  • Your Windows sound files are all steel guitar.
  • You wrote a really cool flash animation that involves Jack Daniels.
  • You've ever emailed a digital photo of your new tattoo.
  • You know the GPS coordinates of your deer stand and duck blind.
  • You've used a photo editor to see what you'd look like in Tammy Faye makeup.
  • You've used a locking CD case to close a bag of salsa chips.
  • You've ever gotten Kripsy Kreme icing INSIDE your PDA.
  • You've ever spilled moonshine on your Blackberry.
  • You wired your grandma's outhouse with broadband just for giggles.
  • You have a satellite photo of the Dallas Cowboys' Cheerleaders on your wall.
  • You've ever painted a URL on an overpass.

category: Humour

Found Words: Apophenia

apophenia: the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. The term was coined by K. Conrad in 1958 (Brugger). Or to take the subtitle of this blog "making connections where none previously existed". Spotted in The Intimate Planet


Winterlicious 2005, Toronto

Toronto's annual WinterCity Festival is a 14-day city-wide celebration of our city's culture, creativity, and cuisine, to encourage residents and visitors to get out and experience Toronto's restaurants and attractions during the traditionally quiet winter season.

The festival's culinary element is Winterlicious , which this year is between January 28 - February 10. WinterCity also includes free entertainment and the Arts

For more upcoming events, checkout Toronto's You Belong Here website and it's excellent Events and Attractions quick links. (They allow for subscribing to a "Toronto You Belong Here" email, but maybe they need a RSS feed?)


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Flickr coincidence & The Intimate Planet


"A guy from Scotland goes 5490 miles to Tokyo and takes a picture of a girl taking a picture. She turns out to be from England, 413 miles away from him" and then "he posts the picture he took on a Website (in Canada, irrelevantly) and within 6 weeks the girl in the photo finds it". Small world...(via

And then there was John Perry Barlow's "Intimate Planet" experience. I feel as if the Global Village became real to me that night, and, indeed, it has become the Global Dinner Party. All at once. The small world has become the intimate world.. again Small world... (via Boing Boing)

Welcome to the "Global Dinner Party"

Monday, January 24, 2005

Endangered Gizmos List

EFF has created the Endangered Gizmos!.

View the petrified remains of the Extinct Napster 1.0 (Genus: Filesharing software with central directory) and imagine what could have been; see the cute, but Endangered, HD 3000 (Genus:HDTV Tuner card) play; watch the Saved and playfull Sony Betamax (Genus: VCR) surrounded by it many descendants.

Only you can stop Gizmo Extinction!!

Monetizing Your Interests

Monetizing Your Interests. Love what you Do, Do what you Love for the 21 1/3 Century set.

Brad Left Jen for Me

Get your Tee-shirt now, Like Gabe said

More Alastair Reynolds : Beyond the Aquila Rift

Being a big Fan of Alastair Reynolds and his universe of 'Revelation Space', 'Chasm City', 'Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days', 'Redemption Ark', and 'Absolution Gap', I happy to report a few new things:

His new standalone novel 'Century Rain' is out in Fine bookstores, and Amazon USA.

He also has a new story, 'Beyond the Aquila Rift', in Constellations , edited by Peter Crowther, an anthology of 15 original short stories by British Authors (Eric Brown, Paul McAuley, Brian Aldiss..) now available in Northern America (and in paperback!)

He is giving the "Hal Clement Memorial Science Speaker" at Boskone 42 (February 18-20, 2005).

You could allways check out his WebSite, while waiting for this yet unpublished novel 'Chasing Janus' (expected it to be re-named) in, maybe, Oct 2005, or read on-line reprints of several stories : 'A Spy in Europa'; 'Spirey and the Queen'; or 'Fresco'.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Melting Metails In a Domestic Microwave

Via Boing Boing we have the Microwave melting of metals, which reminded me of Microwave tunnels?. Excuse me while I refine some silver....

Squashed Philosophers- Condensed Plato Aristotle Augustine Descartes Hume Marx Freud Copernicus Hobbes Sartre Ayer Sade Wittgenstein Einstein

Squashed Philosophers Condensed and canned, (via Joho the Blog) , for the philosophical ADD. Actually not a bad starting place.

or, for more details, there is Early Modern Texts, currently with : Berkeley, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Leibniz, Locke, Malebranche, Reid, Spinoza

A motor for our kayak: Aggregated Trust Networks

The ebiquity blog at UMBC wonders if it possible to get A motor for our kayak, based on the metaphor that Clay Shirky raised, ( and further elaborated on by Cory : Net is a kayak, driven by its environment .)

Given that an increasing population of url's and users at (to take one example), it usefulness as a discovery engine might/will decline (lower quality material, more tag spam), how to counter that trend? One (obvious?) way is to use a "trust network": people whom opinions we trust, like friends and families, but also people whom we have discovered as having judgment (or taste) we agree with. Of course this would lead to a emergence of the Power Law in blogs, links and Tags, as feared by some.

The ebiquity blog suggests using "RDF information on our social network (FOAF, (Friend Of A Friend))", but also cautions: "Personalized and topic-based ranking offers many challenges" and suggests a another resource: An Analytical Comparison of Approaches to Personalizing PageRank (PDF).

A fancy automated system for the (here come the buzz words) Aggregated Tags of my Trust Network, with weighing, is many days off. (Or a least a couple, given the speed of innovation on the net these days). However even a simple form of Trusted Tag discovery is possible given that allow of RSS feeds of another users bookmarks. So for now, I have in my aggregator the feeds for Jon Udell, Jeffrey Veen and others (plus my own: FalsePositives). (the Feed url is at the bottom of each page).

Might it soon be possible to Aggregate my Blogroll (via a linked OPML file, which is a sort of FOAF) and aggregate their Blogroll's, Links and entries. You would what to set a limit on how deep to go (given the Six Degrees of Connection phenomena). It would nice to use duplications to add weight as well as the Vote="+" attribute and the new rel="NoFollow" attribute. Altogether maybe we go all the way and use whuffie="10" attribute, as I found suggested on Jo Ito's Blog :adding more information to links. (I was going there away, implicitly) Finally, We could use the rel="tag" attribute to discover how a link or blog entry has been Tagged and Classified, but not in a manner explicitly linked to technorati.

All this aggregated, page ranked, and Tag mapped, as part of my own personalized Google Desktop, or FireFox extentsion? All the pieces are there, if not widely implemented. I shall leave the actual construct, which is merely a matter of programming, as a exercise to the reader ;).

categories:folksonomies / / Semantic Web / Firefox / Google

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bunny suicides!

Via monkey methods we have Bunny suicides!


What You'll Wish You'd Known

Paul Graham does it again in "What You'll Wish You'd Known", which - although addressed at those in High School - has some good reminders for those of us with (or without) a "day job"

don't give up. stay upwind. be Curious. Look for smart people (but not fakers).

Hackers and Painters is going on the Wish List.

Friday, January 21, 2005

MultiCore: Cell Architecture Explained

Via Slashdot and OS News, we have Nicholas Blachford's Cell Architecture Explained.

Based on new information gleaned from the 2005 Oct Patent No. 6,809,734 submited by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM, and a older patent in 2001.

Nicholas has done a deep think on the Cell, the sort of problems/applications will the Cell be good for (I didn't know that OS X is arealdy using the GPUs (Graphics Processor Units) in core proceessing, and why Cell may topple the PC (and is this why Transmeta is thinking of getting out of chip manufacturing?).

His (summarized) Conclusions:

The first Cell based desktop computer will be the fastest desktop computer in the industry by a very large margin. Even high end multi-core x86s will not get close. Companies who produce microprocessors or DSPs are going to have a very hard time fighting the power a Cell will deliver. ...

The sheer power and low cost of the Cell means it will present a challenge to the venerable PC. ...

Cell is going to turn the industry upside down, nobody has ever produced such a leap in performance in one go and certainly not at a low price. The CPU producers will be forced to fight back and irrespective of how well the Cell actually does in the market you can be sure that in a few short years all CPUs will be providing vastly more processing resources than they do today...

Not all companies will react correctly or in time, this will provide opportunities for newer, smaller and smarter companies. Big changes are coming, they may take years but the Cell means a decade from now the technology world is going to look very different.

Other referances are :PlayStation 3 chip goes easy on developers, IBM discloses details of chip,
Sony, IBM, and Toshiba reveal more plans for Cell chip, and New Patent Reveals Cell Secrets

More details of the Cell will be presented at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco in February (6th to 10th).

For More background see : Virtual Machine enabled large-scale parallelism, TANSTAAFL : The Concurrency Revolution and other info on MultiCore

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What this? A Brain Sucker from Space. What's it Doing? Starving.

Via Gizmodo we have the Thanko Head Massager.
(images) :

No Thanko! Category:

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Tags on Metafilte

Jumping on the delicious and flickr bandwagon,

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Fake Volkswagen Polo commercial

In very bad taste...VW Polo (QuickTime ~2.6 Mb)...
See more using Cateory : Humour

Monday, January 17, 2005

Synthetic Trackback for Blogger blogs

squarks has done the work to add the code in order to creating a synthetic trackback using Technorati to your Blogger weblog template, similar to what Boing Boing is doing.

Now on FalsePositives, it's better than nothing! For an example of this is action go to my Folksonomies on Slashdot: revised, restated and summarized entry and click on the "Technorati" link at the bottom.

Jeremy Zawodny recently talked about a similar topic, although more from a who than a how or what angle.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Animated Life, Hayao Miyazaki (Howl's Moving Castle' & Spirited Away ) in The New Yorker

In The New Yorker: Online Only (Januaray 2005). is an interview with the writer (Margaret Talbot) of The New Yorker's article "The Auteur of Anime" (not avaialbe on-line, buy your copy now or go to your freindly neighor library).

I've mentioned Howl's Moving Castle before

The North American release date maybe June 2005 (very unconfirmed).

Howl's Moving Castle has already done huge box office, having already passed the US$100,000,000 in international box office in 2004, and it has only been released in Asia!!

Categories : Movies/Asian

Also SteamBoy is coming out in Northern American in March with a dubed version using the voices of Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina and Patrick Stewart.

A retro science-fiction epic, Directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, set in Victorian England, "Steamboy" features an inventor prodigy named Ra Stim who receives a mysterious metal ball containing a new form of energy capable of powering an entire nation. This young boy must use it to fight evil, redeem his family, and save London from destruction.

Saturday, January 15, 2005 tags, sized by popularity shows a alphabetic list of tags , sized by popularity (like the layout ).

and does a similar thing for your tags (or my tags)and uses green for related tags (plus red for tag intersection). Very slick Joshua.

see also: Jeffery Veen >Size Matters: Rendering a Folksonomy

Tagging Home Photo's

Olivier Travers blog entry: How to Share a Taxonomy with Other Photoshop Album Users? tackles a slightly different problem: tagging your local photo's, and has tapped into the broader discusion about tag and folksonomies (inculding my contributions).

This reminded me of the Wired 12.10 (October 2004) story " Point. Shoot. Kiss It Good-Bye." (Your hard drive is overflowing with gazillions of digital pics. DSC00234.jpg might as well be labeled DON'T_KNOW_DON'T_CARE.jpg. ) and "6 ways to get the picture (Manual tagging; On-location tagging; Data mining; Scene recognition; Facial recognition; Social networking).

Slicing and Dicing Home Digtial images is going to be a big Bussiness, althought one with a low ($10) price point. (and backing up that content is another one.) (see Google Space)

Found Words : Systempunkt

Systempunkt: evolved from the german "schwerpunkt", "Systempunk" is the point in a system (infrastructure or market) where a swarm of small insults will cause a cascade of collapse (phsyical or psychology) in system. One of those asymmetrical warfare things I hope never comes common(er). Via : Global Guerrillas


Imagery Toronto

Via Brett Lamb's Blamblog, we have Sam Javanrouh's [daily dose of imagery] a Photoblog of striking beauty, with images (frequently) from around Toronto. (and added to my list of Toronto feeds.)

here's a (reduced) sample image.
Categories: Toronto/photography;
T Tags:,

Friday, January 14, 2005

On Finding Semantic Web Documents

Via Slashdot

"A research group at University of Maryland has published a blog describing the latest approach for finding and indexing Semantic Web Documents. They have published it in reaction to Peter Norvig's (director of search quality at Google) view on the Semantic Web (Semantic Web Ontologies: What Works and What Doesn't)

Category:SemanticWeb; TT Tag:

Technorati Does Tags

Via Boing Boing, Technorati (a search engine of Blogs) has a new "tag" service. (Shades of Taggle?)

If your Blog tool of choice uses Categories, has a RSS/Atom feed, and pings technorati, then your done. If not, you can add tags via a new tag markup :
<a href="" rel="tagname">tagname</a> where "tagname" is your tag.

The twist is that Technorati is working with (a social/sharing bookmark manager website) and Flickr (a social/sharing photo web site) to read their tagged content! So, Flickr pictures, bookmarks, and Blog Posts all on one page!

Here's an example result for the tag Toronto, or to go to the "general" tags page:, which seems to be using the size of the (55,266) tags to indicate "how full of goodies it is". Here are the doc's on Tags.

One current limitation is that there is no way to do tag intersection as with (i.e. ) like

Update: It should be noted that Oddiophile has done a taggregator that does the same for Del.icio and Flickr only, but does show "related tags" and (NOW) has a Technorati Tags bookmarklet that generates the Technorati Tag code for cut and paste. (via Boing Boing

for example: ,

David Weinberger comments on The tagging revolution continues..., as does Many-2-Many: Technorati Takes Tags Global, and David Sifry(CEO of Technorati).

and you can search Technorati Tags with a bookmarklet.

Now on and Metafilter!

Trechorati is now (as of Jan 18, 2005) inculding Links and Tags from Furl, another web-based bookmark managers like

More: Categories:folksonomies and Tagged :

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Virtual Machine enabled large-scale parallelism

VM-enabled polycore computing and Lifting the lid on IBM's Cell chip highlight the coming would of Multi-core systems, the how and the why of The Concurrency Revolution.

Beyond MultiCore: So what do you you call it when you are planning CPUs by the thousands (As in "2.5 kilo CPUs")? The Register suggests : polycore computing.

Update: Jan 17 2005, Roland Piquepaille comments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

New posting interface to ; painlessly reusing your tags

This is not currently documented, but as a reward to loyal readers (all 3 of you), it is now possible to easily reuse existing tags by using a syntax of "[your user name]". It's the "/new/" part that is "new".

so if you used the popup marklet it would now look like: ...(seems to only be working for the full page bookmark right now, this is what they call beta testing.).

Forget about the popup bookmark for now. Joshua has provided the Bookmarklets for the experimental post to (use this to create a bookmark. works in internet explorer, mozilla, and safari)in the offical about doc's.

What's new is that (currently) 3 sets of tags show up: recommended tags; your tags; popular tags, and that the tags in those lists can be clicked to be added to your new bookmark.

Nicely done Joshua.

You can also use "[your user name]/" to find if a url has been bookmarked and using what set of tags. More Meta info!! an interesting way to search and the net.

and, of course, use can get a RSS feed of a users Feed list (like mine) using

Monday, January 10, 2005

beancounter parodies: ClerkClerk

ClerkClerk answers the question : What if the screenplay of "Clerks" had been written by the editors of the e-zine BoingBoing? (via Boing Boing) I feel inspired to re-write FalsePositives as if I was a /. Overdosed, ADD's readalcoholic, info-junky. But would anyone notice the difference? (which is really 2 questions.)


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Asia Blog Awards 2004 Archives

Simon World :: Asia Blog Awards 2004 Archives

Pro metadata will lose to folksonomy

Via Boing Boing, Clay Shirky comments with a comparison of the advantages of folksonomies vs. "controlled vocabularies". Key points I take from him:

  • Controlled vocabularies are not extensible to the majority of cases where tagging is needed. folksonomies are better than nothing.
  • users pollute controlled vocabularies, by misapplying the words, or stretching them to uses never imagined, or sticking eveything in other.
  • Building, maintaining, and enforcing a controlled vocabulary is, relative to folksonomies, enormously expensive.
Richard Cyganiak thinks its the Semantic Web or Folksonomy : "A bunch of sloppily assigned tags will not be useful for inferencing", but I wonder (hope?) if folksonomies might allow for the emergence of a Semantic Web light, as per August 2009: How Google beat Amazon and Ebay to the Semantic Web. Pity that disallows Google with a strict robots.txt policy.

Read trackback’s, comments and Use Technorati (an indexing site of blogs) against the Boing Boing and Clay Shirky links to expose more commentary on the blogosphere.

Update: the cross post of this on delicious-discuss List has generated someback: the no robots.txt is in place to avoid page rank spamming and save sever load; Joshua Schachter and Clay Shirky are debaiting "what is the semantic web". 4 rounds no knockouts yet.


Thursday, January 06, 2005 : XMLHttpRequest Switzerland

Map.Search.Ch via Simon Willison's Weblog uses XMLHttpRequest and a bunch of other tricks to let you smoothly pan and zoom over an enormous and detailed map of Switzerland, based on satelite photos.

Zoom, drag, play...Wow, right up there with Magical Maps

Update: Dave Shea aka mezzoblue also comments in DHTML '05

2005 mapping of my

Via Blackbeltjones, my Brain visualized :

What does yours look like? Go to extispicious, type in your username, then post it to the extispicious group on Flickr

What's a RSS News Aggregator?

RDF Site Summary (RSS) files, based on XML, provide an open method of syndicating and aggregating Web content.

A RSS Aggregator or News Reader enables you to quickly read and gather information from hundreds of web sites - without having to visit them. Don't waste any more time checking your favorite web sites for updates.

RSS Feeds are frequently marked with badges like this or just links marked "rss", "atom" or "syndicate".

Most major news organizations have then (like CBC, Yahoo! News, CNN or Washington Post) as well as many Blogs and other (even Retail) sites to make it easier to find when something is new.


TANSTAAFL : The Concurrency Revolution

"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." R. A. Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Herb Sutter has posted :The Free Lunch Is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software which will appear in Dr. Dobb's in March 2005 and in a briefer version in C/C++ Users for February 2005.). This is the sort of things I've covered under MultiCore

He covers several points: the last 30 years of improved processor performance were via clock speed, execution optimization, and cache. Sequentially written code was able to take advantage of these without change. This was the free lunch. Performance gains in the foreseeable future will be driven by hyperthreading, multicore and cache. Hyperthreading multicore will have nearly no impact on sequentially written code. Code will have to be re-written for Concurrency: parallel, multi-threaded, multi-process. This is really hard and not all problems are inherently parallelizable. The free lunch is gone.

Tim Bray concurrently covered this in Software in the TLP Era and offers some strategies.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Urban Magic and Accelerando

Via Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow's newest novel ('Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town', May 1 2005) and next work ("Themepunks") is hinted at in News from The Agony Column, Whuffie gets mentioned in Utne Mag : The Karma Economy, plus Charles Stross shows us the book cover of 'Accelerando' (July 2005) and they both show up on the cover of Locus.

Update Jan 27: Via Boing Boing, the inaugural issue of Backwards City Review includes an excerpt from Cory's "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town".


Folksonomies on Slashdot: revised, restated and summarized

Hopeless optimist that I am, here's a revision of my original post ( much improved?) and a summary of the (on topic) discussion.

Lots of discussion going on about 'folksonomies' - bottom-up taxonomies that people create on their own - as used in (recent web sites) (, a shared bookmarking web site referred to as “Delicious”, and Flickr (, a photo sharing web site.

Folksonomies (the first meme of 2005?) is attributed by Wikipedia  to Thomas Vander Wa.

Adam Mathes has a thesis on Folksonomies which examines user-generated metadata as implemented and applied in two web services - and Flickr - designed to share and organize digital media to better understand grassroots classification.

IFTF's Future Now makes a point about problems with folksonomies: no synonym control ( "mac" and "macintosh" on; no hierarchy and content types; and only simple one-word tags.

Are these features or bugs? Consensuss says 'feature'. Andrew Ducker has a suggestion for synonyms and a modest proposal to make things even better.

Joho the Blog notices a discussion about what to call it in href="">Mob indexing? Folk categorization? Social tagging?

John Battelle links into Taggle and "federated tagging".

I wonder if a Google Suggest like system might reduce 'lazy tagging' ,and maybe synonym control when the federation appears.

New: In Beyond Laser Tag and Telephone Tag, JC Francois wonders if "2005 will be the year of tagging".

Will Folksonomies lead to the nirvana of the Semantic Web, or at least Semantic web light? (see : August 2009: How Google beat Amazon and Ebay to the Semantic Web)

It might be worth revisting Cory Doctorow's Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia from 2001. Does Folksonomies make Metadata less crappy? (see Distributed classification through self-interest or Rationalise My Tags)

Update: back in October I noted Towards tag-based bookmark management in web browsers?. and more to chew on TopicMaps and Tagalicious

Tag, you're still it!"


as seen on HotLinks (Thanks Jeff!)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Folksonomies In and Flickr on Slashdot

Welcome Slashdoters! To those complaining about the grammar and such:

  • Please read it slowly..
  • Yes, I should have broken up that big compound sentence (It would never have never gotten past my yak comber). In my defense see use of semi comas, but I likely got it wrong.
  • I'm sorry I used too many unfamiliar and big words, I was trying to be compact. I did define Folksonomies in the submission.
  • And you should have seen the initial 5 versions! (I am editing "this" several times even after I hit the "publish" button)
  • joebetoblame figured out What is and Flickr

more : Wikipedia attributes "Folksonomy" to Thomas Vander Wa,
Beyond Laser Tag and Telephone Tag: "The Year of Tagging" and Keith Devens hints at something to come.


Monday, January 03, 2005

More on Folksonomies link to Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata which examines user-generated metadata as implemented and applied in two web services - and Flickr - designed to share and organize digital media to better understand grassroots classification.

and then there's Taxonomy, folksonomy, tagsonomy from Joho the Blog, and Mob indexing? Folk categorization? Social tagging? from Peter Merholz.

ok, this is looking like the first meme of the year: via John Battelle we get Taggle and "federated tagging". and in the mean time there's Metadata for the Masses.

Tag, your it!

Following up on Tag's, folksonomies, and Google Suggest

Podcasting as an educational tool and The Napsterization of education

J.D. Lasica in New Media Musings: Podcasting as an educational tool notices a small paragraphs shout out by Thomas Hawk:

If every college lecture in the world were opened up for podcasting imagine the wealth of information at our fingertips. Further if through speech recognition software, or even simple meta tags if we are not there yet, having the capability to catalog and make available university lectures would be amazing.

And a links to Steve Sloan's

It's a very interesting idea. It’s easy to get off the ground too with a nice value add. Very low bandwidth and wide availability of mp3 players makes it easy to distribute. Audio recording it well understood easy to do ad easy to edit, if necessary. Meta tagging with-in the audio files is well understood (say via ID3 format), with basic cataloging course catalog information as was as URI/URL for more information is well developed.

Being audio rather than video has a big few plus: it's less intrusive and people will worry less about how they look. Think about radio vs. television and the pretty boy news anchor head pheromone. Or 70’s rock stars vs. 80’s music video stars.

One limitation I would note is the habit of speaker’s referring to things the listener cannot see or visualize. So I would think at least a list of external materials referred to would need to be added for the diligent and curious to track down. This could be put with-in the file or on the URI/URL location.

Or you could go as far a MIT's OpenCourseWare, but I think something like this serves as a excellent starting point for colleges and universities to engage the process.

Even better: because it's less intrusive, what's to stop students from recording lectures right now and distributing them on P2P networks, rather than wait for the top down approach? The Napsterization of education!! Deliciously subversive.

I have a record function on my IRiver...maybe I should make a quite Podcast of my next meeting? For our internet, of course...

Sunday, January 02, 2005

100 things we didn't know this time last year

Via BBC here's a choice few:

  • Brussels sprouts have three times as much vitamin C as oranges.
  • The word "electricity" was first used in English in about 1600 by Elizabeth I's physician.
  • The full names of Scooby Doo's Mystery Inc members are: Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Scooby "Scoobert" Doo. Shaggy is actually Norville Rogers.
  • Herrings break wind to communicate and keep the school together.
  • A "jiffy" is 10 milliseconds in computer science terms.
  • Reports of UFOs have dwindled since the late 1990s. In the UK, sightings have gone from about 30 a week to almost zero; it's a trend echoed in the US and Norway.
  • Ducks have regional accents. London ducks shout out a rough quack to be heard above the urban din; those in the West Country make a quieter, softer sound.
  • Freak conditions above Everest can cause the sky to "fall in". An analysis of weather patterns in May 1996, by University of Toronto researchers, said eight people died when the stratosphere sank to the level of the summit.
  • More than 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide each year. The first was Bridget Driscoll, knocked down by a car travelling at 12mph in London on 17 August 1896. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, and warned: "This must never happen again."
  • Dom Perignon, the Benedictine monk, was originally employed by his abbey to get the bubbles out of the champagne, according to Gerard Liger-Belair's new book, Uncorked: the Science of Champagne.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Trends for 2005

OK, I think I botched my first attempt. Pithy, I'm not.

Competion for the last mile

Shot Term: Cable companies will rollout VoIP big time in the year next, but Local Telephone Companies will be much more low key about TVoIP. Because a) Voice data is such a small load, b) the Telco have delayed upgrading their last mile infrastructure for so long. Cable companies should be giving away VoIP to its High Speed customers or using it to attach new customers, either way the Telco loses: : "Get High Speed and throw away your Phone Company!"

Long Term: Cable companies and Telco companies are becoming non-monopoly communication carriers - competing on capacity, reliability, security and price - of internet services like text (web, email, sms ), audio (voice, music), video (TV, Pay TV, video on demand).

The rise of the Weblication

Blogs, Gmail, Flickr, ebay and Amazon powered by XML Http request, DHTML, XML, real world web services, and Home Broadband.

Trout Girl writes "Google is good for webdev" and highlights a major tend ahead : the rise of the Weblication.

A New must have box for the Home

HDTV and PRV will slowly become more wide spread and a new player is all this will be Microsoft! When MS launches it Xbox2 this year it has a chance to do something different and make in more than just a game platform but a media platform. Imagine a box which was also a HDTV PRV, or a Digital Music Jukebox, or one which enhanced your old (analog) TV to do some fancy trick using all that gaming processing. Sony is unlikely to do this because it what to sell you a separate PRV and a stereo, and a HDTV, etc., etc. But for MS it might allow they to sell the Xbox2 to people who wouldn't buy just a game box and also deny Sony some sale revenue.

64 bit and Multicore
These start to get in more hands and on the desktop. Could be a big factor in more market share for Linux and Macintosh.

A Better Way to Build Blog Traffic

Evelyn Rodriguez grapples with becoming an accidental media star of the tsunami.