Friday, December 30, 2005


76. The day when most suicides occurred in the UK between 1993 and 2002 was 1 January, 2000.

77. The only day in that time when no-one killed themselves was 16 March, 2001, the day Comic Relief viewers saw Jack Dee win Celebrity Big Brother.

BBC News | Magazine | 100 things we didn't know this time last year

If I were one of the people who had considered suicide on March 16th 2001, then I'd feel really special reading that.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

diebold's machines are worthless shit

"The logic to print that zero report is contained on the memory card itself,"
Wired News: Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws (quote is from page two)

The wider flaw is that every single person working for the Diebold corporation is obviously an idiot. I would say that they should go into the clown business, but that would be cruel to children. BAD, DIEBOLD, BAD.


Monday, December 19, 2005

shame on us

or, rather, shame on the U.S.:
The $50 million would have represented about one-third of the monthly cost for the peacekeepers. The European Union is responsible for most of the remainder.
US Congress rebuffs Rice on Darfur troop funding

This is pennies compared to Iraq. How exactly does our complete lack of concern for Africa fit into our image as "liberators"?


Santa Ain't Fat

a new song from zefrank


writing to my representatives

I feel so ridiculous writing to my representatives. How is it supposed to work? I get the idea that it used to be that no one ever did write to their representatives. Maybe someone did every once in a while, and they'd read it and say, hey, OK, that's nice. Then comes the era of form email activism, so presumably now they get thousands of copies of the same email from people all over the world. Either way it seems meaningless.

I don't really want to contact my reps in whatever way has the "most impact." I don't want to have a disproportionate impact. What I would like is to have an exactly equal impact with all of the other constituents. That's democracy, as I reckon it. Obviously there is nothing democratic, nor even sensible, about taking letters and emails and phone calls from whoever happens to call and then taking that as some sort of barometer of public opinion. It's worse, if anything, to ignore what people say who are trying to contact you. So where does that leave us?

I think it leaves us with representatives having an obligation to make some sort of modern system to communicate with the people they are representing. It's certainly possible for them to get good, authenticated data about what their constituents think. So if we're serious about the project of democracy, then that's what should happen. Duh.

The Australian: Singularly fanciful [December 17, 2005] (in blockquotes, my responses unindented)

In the final analysis, it is based on a bad inference.

Where is this final analysis? Don't you have to present the analysis? Is it really enough just to stipulate that it exists? Is all of the thinking in newspapers this fuzzy, or is it just the Singularity's mind distortion field?

Incredibly, Kurzweil argues that factories and farm jobs in the US have dropped from 60per cent to 6 per cent because of automation; no mention of Third World sweatshops or corporate outsourcing and downsizing.

Factory work has been outsourced, true, but that hardly proves that it hasn't also been automated, which it has. Farm jobs on the other hand are inherently unoutsourcable, and it's just sloppy reasoning to throw them into that sentence like that.

Farm work provides a much cleaner allegory than factory work. Most of the people in the United States used to be farmers, and now hardly anyone is, and yet we are still producing tremendous amounts of food. It's insultingly silly to look at this complete revolution in the nature of everyday life and to deny that it's important because-- well why? Because there's also outsourcing? Please.

The information sciences have sparked the mystic belief that everything is made of ethereal data and that consciousness or identity can be separated from the complex electro-biochemical dynamics of the brain.

It's not merely a mystic belief, though (& what do you have against mystics, anyway?), it's a particular philosophical argument. I'm doubtful that the author of this article understands the terrain of the debate.

Given what I've seen so far from the general public, it seems doubtful that we are going to get any serious public discussion about the Singularity until all of the essential decisions have been made and it's far too late.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Shirky: Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content

Individual bits of content that are even moderately close in quality to what is available free, but wrapped in the mental transaction costs of micropayments, are doomed to be both obscure and unprofitable.

Shirky: Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content (wherein a good argument is made for why micropayment systems will fail)

I can think of one way around this: Have the micropayments come after the consumption, and (necessarily therefore) have them be voluntary. A tip jar system. The systems that have tried this before have failed mostly because of transaction costs other than the $0.10-- the effort of signing up to a particular system, the process required to authenticate a payment, etc. If it were actually as easy as clicking a link to give someone a dime, I think it would have its place. I'd play.

It also might help if there was a minor reward for tipping, such as to have your name listed as one of the tippers. That could make it a sort of microadvertising scheme, especially if your name links to your site, but that's not the main hook I'm getting at. What I'm getting at is more the status reward of being a loyal fan. Suppose that a blogger writes a popular daily blog. There's a community that takes place in the comments. As a regular commenter you'd recognize all of the other participants and have some basic relationship with them. At the bottom of each post it says, "Yesterday's 25 Cent Tippers: Bob, Steve, Mary, Joe." Don't you want to be one of those people, if the price is right?

I think that Clay Shirky is right on the overall picture, though. By rights it should be impossible to sell content on the internet. The internet is so huge that there are still plenty of opportunities for people to make money selling things that really ought not to be worth anything, such as 99 cent songs or Incredimail, but these should be treated as aberrations. The real trend is towards free-as-in-beer information.

What worries me about that is that combined with the robotification of physical work, we are burning the candle at both ends. Everyone who knows that physical labor is increasingly being automated thinks that we can somehow move to an information economy, where people will be paid for thinking of stuff. In fact, ideas are even cheaper than physical labor in the information age. We need to start right now on thinking of a completely new structure for our economy.


Friday, December 16, 2005

true neutrality

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Mona Lisa 'happy', computer finds: "The Mona Lisa features in the opening of Dan Brown's hit novel The da Vinci Code when a Louvre curator is found dead near the painting. "

What is that, a product placement? What kind of reporting is this? What's the logic behind this random string of facts that just happen to involve the Mona Lisa?

They do this with serious stories, too: "The POTUS said such and such about the war. Um, let's see, the POTUS is six feet tall and can bench press 215 pounds. The USA is a country in North America with abundant natural resources. Are we done yet?" It's like the story lasts beyond its own interest in itself, can find no further ways of relating the subjects that come together in its tableau, and gives up on making sense of it, at which point all it can do is give you more details about the protagonists and leave it to you to invent a narrative.

You know what? I just figured out the role of the mainstream news media (MSM). The role of the MSM is to get the fucking fuck out of the way, right now. It is no longer socially responsible for you to go to important events, set up a camera, record high-quality video, then edit out everything except a two-second soundbite, talk for several minutes about the weather and your hair around it, and broadcast it to hypnotized suckers. NO!

If you are in the business of going around to important news events and setting up cameras, you owe it to the public to sell them that data. The information is sufficiently valuable to make a profit, and it's not secret for any good reason. At most I'll grant to the MSM their right to hold off on sharing data for long enough to scoop each other-- give it a two day time lag, say-- but once everyone is in on the story there's no good reason for it not to be open.

Here's a new model: Imagine that there's a camera filming somewhere-- Fallujah, a PTA meeting, somewhere-- and streaming its data out to a data center. You can then go to that data center through the web and access the raw streams. Buying access to the data would mean buying not just the right to view the data, but also the right to redistribute it. (For instance, the data could be under a liberal Creative Commons license (my ideal would be attribs and share alike which would help CC take over the world (drools like zombie)).) Camera operators-- probably mostly independent contractors-- would be making money whenever their camera was rolling and pointed at something interesting.

Q: Why would anyone pay for data that has an open license? A: To get the scoop. Imagine you're a blogger. You want to write about the situation in Iraq. You don't have to go to the MSM begging for crumbs. For twenty bucks you can go dip into the streams coming back from Iraq and buy something new. You could write a special CC-esque license, so that as the Liberator of a particular piece of video you get credited every time that video plays anywhere. If something you had the foresight to liberate gets hot in the blogosphere, everyone's going to know it was you. It might even work as a form of advertising-- this video liberated by Acme, Inc.

After all, other than being a royal pain in the ass, what is the economic role of the MSM in getting news from where it happens to the public? They're a group that hires camera operators. That may indeed be a role for a large organization, but it no longer needs to be an organization that's also in charge of telling those camera operators what to point at and telling the public what they want to hear. It could be a neutral organization, imagine that.

Of course while this model would open things up tremendously in the short term, it would also provide all of the incentives necessary to deeply institute the surveillance society. But, hey, that's probably inevitable anyway. Uh, yeah.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Roomba wars

Awesome! I had a hunch that if I searched for "roomba cat" on Technorati I would find some awesome posts about Roomba vs Feline relations, but I didn't expect to find anything this awesome!

With a bold swish, she knocks down the cat's favorite string to chase, hoping the ROOMBA will get the string all caught up in its rotors and be brought to its nonexistent knees! It looks like things are all over for the ROOMBA, folks! Quetzlcoatl sits back and waits for her attack to destroy her rival.

Startling resolution, after these messages. <3

Re: BUUYAN > Four square league!

I was trying to remember the rules for Four Square, but then I realized
that there's no way they play by the rules that I remember. The last time
I played Four Square was at Sudbury Valley School (SVS), which has no
mandatory activities, leaving lots of time to dedicate to serious
activities such as Four Square. At SVS the house rules are (I think I'm
remembering this correctly) that whoever is in the lead square gets to
make a RULE of their choice at the beginning of each round. A lot of the
rules are used over & over, for instance that you have to hop on one foot
is a pretty common one, which means that you can build your skill at each
particular rule. Often you know what rule someone is likely to pick if
they get in the lead-- and to displace them you have to beat them at their
own game-- but then it's also 3-on-1 so turnover is sufficient. That's
the kind of game that I like, with a comfortable core but the potential
for absolute novelty. SVS is a wonderful school, in many respects.


Carpe Diem

A beautiful new post from one of my favorite vloggers. <3

Dear Google

My Blogger is all flickery. It thinks that it's lost its connection to you, even though it always gets it back momentarily. It gets it back so quickly, usually, that it's been difficult for me to read the little line of text that flashes down at the bottom. It's actually kind of neat (I dig flashing), but it's probably not working how you intended. Making it wait just a little bit longer before feeling sure that it's disconnected would probably get it out of this noisy patch, so it can be properly digitized.

Also your About page on Blogger links to which is a dead link. Also, when I tried to search on Dan Gillmor to find what you were trying to link to, all I found was a bunch of stuff about how you're being nonresponsive about Blogger. Also, there was no link to send you feedback, so I'm not actually sending this to you.




[11:35:25 AM] rachel_857: Hi there! I was checking out yahoo members and i saw your ad, anyways, yahoo thinks that you're my match.. ;)
[11:35:27 AM] rachel_857: do you want to check out my profile ?
[11:35:42 AM] mungojelly: that depends, are you a robot?
[11:35:46 AM] rachel_857: here, use this
[11:35:50 AM] rachel_857: you just need to sign in (its free) to get to me, my username's "CatLady".
[11:36:01 AM] mungojelly: ok but first i'm wondering whether you're a robot
[11:36:24 AM] mungojelly: are you or are you not a bot, now i remind you you're under oath
[11:37:02 AM] mungojelly: goddamn it, slashdot told me that you bots were getting smarter! i would like to see some intelligence!


dream computer

In a dream I had last night, I was using a computer and running a whole bunch of programs. It was more than the computer was capable of-- I was switching between programs and it was doing the kind of shit that XP does when it's working too hard & you try to switch programs, where one program will half disappear and nothing will work while everybody fights about what to do next, or something-- but I could still tell that the computer was way faster than real computers are lately. It was running lots & lots of programs, and lots of them had hundreds of objects bouncing around doing different things.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

the first language

This is a question I just answered on Yahoo! Answers, which BTW is addictively mediocre:

by: farida q
subject: when languages were first introduced?

how people started communicating each other?
in the beginning was there only sign language?
which language was the first to be spoken by human?

Language is always changing, therefore the language that was first spoken by humans no longer exists. It is the mother that gave birth to all of the languages that exist today. The mother's spirit is in all the children, but none of the children are the mother.

A sort of Holy Grail of linguistics would be to discover what the mother of all languages was like. It's possible that with enough study we can figure out something about it-- we have after all learned quite a bit about Indo-European, a prehistorical language which has been discovered by careful examinations of the commonalities between modern languages stretching all the way across Europe and Asia.

The first language probably developed along with the first speakers, people who lived long enough ago that not just their cultures but even their bodies were substantially different from how things are now.

It's pure speculation, but I think that sign language and spoken language probably emerged at the same time, in that strange noble race. Sign and spoken languages seem to me to share a spiritual core, to be the same in their essence. The great singular power of our facility of language is to make any thing mean any other thing. A pile of rocks may mean a burning fire. Some strangely shaped lines can mean the very "meaning" itself. What a glorious world.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - Can newspapers weather the techno-storm?

"Information that's free usually crowds out information that's not." - Can newspapers weather the techno-storm?

Duh. And could somebody tell that to.. everybody, please? <3

The Seoul Times

Gangnam has used the internet to make decision on "over 480 policies since September 2001 (and since) 2002 the district has been setting the priority of project budgets through internet polls."

Gangnam: A Model to the World?

Electronic democracy is obviously going to come sometime. I predict that we'll see a lot more of this popping up over the next few years.


The Examining Room of Dr. Charles: How to Stand In for the Doctor

"Ask something like: “What brings you here today?” Listen for about five seconds. Furrow your brow and look disgusted. Shake your head with disapproval. Interrupt the patient. Then try some empathy. “Your back pain must be painful. That rash seems to constitute quite a rash.”"

The Examining Room of Dr. Charles: How to Stand In for the Doctor



well here's the last response

Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 10:54:04 -0500
From: ""
To: Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly
Subject: Re: you don't understand the internet

You merely confirm why this lawsuit is required.

That's it. Sigh, I can't think of anything fun to say to that. Oh well. I'm considering "moo moo, mr fish brain!" but he could only be genuinely insulted, I'm sure.


copied from slashdot without permission

As is, I firmly believe, my moral right to do:

The myth of the poor mouse
(Score:3, Insightful)
by SimianOverlord (727643) Alter Relationship on Tuesday December 13, @08:33AM (#14245772)
( | Last Journal: Tuesday November 22, @07:39AM)
Mice and Rats in research are supposed to be pitied, by the usual pathetic ways that humans impart everything around them with the feelings or emotions which we possess. Actually, you should look at some facts.

FACT: Mice in the wild live about a year, in the most stressful, difficult and inhumane conditions you wouldn't like to imagine. Should they be unfortunate to gain access to one of the animal rights protestors habitat, middle class suburbia, the self same protestor, full of indignation at experimental killing, will of course call in someone to rid them of their little problem, or condemn them to freeze to death in wooded areas with humane capture traps. In the lab, mus musculus live on average about 2 years in controlled, warm conditions with regular feeding and exercise.

FACT: Rats in the wild live about 2 years max, again in stressful, disease ridden cramped conditions. In the lab, Rats can survive double that, again in nicely ordered, well controlled and comfortable conditions.

So don't bring up that ignorant rubbish about how animal experiments somehow harm rats and mice: unlike Joe Public taking potshots at rats and mice in his backyard, everything WE do is sanctioned, pored over and refined each and every step of the way to minimise suffering. Hell, our animals are no use for experimentation if they're unhappy or agitated: they get difficult to handle. We go to see them and handle them a couple of weeks before expts even start to get them used to our presence, smell, voices etc.

Rats and mice are far better treated in our labs than in the wild or in your homes, and they are also better treated than the conveyor belt of cattle fattened and slaughtered for your own diet. I get angered by the hypocrisy of people opposed to experimentation while conveniently overlooking the animal suffering inherent in large scale production of meat in all the developed world, with cattle stunned with bolt guns wandering into saws. It's so much easier to criticise someone else than look at your won behaviour, isn't it?

This is a very compelling argument. The terrain gets tricky so quickly, though. The implicit moral argument here is: If you could ask the mice for consent, and they had accurate knowledge of the options, they would choose to live in the lab rather than in the wild.

I think this is at least very close to the truth. Laboratories are just one of the places in the world to live-- at times wonderful, at times terrible, just like anywhere.

But since we are manipulating the entire existence of each mouse-- its genes, its diseases, its cures, its food, its challenges-- it's very difficult to really fix a frame on who is being imagined to give consent. If laboratory mice had to give consent in some particular way, we would write their genes so that they'd do whatever it was.

We're leaving the realm where these questions make normal reasonable moral sense in terms of "individuals" and "naturalness" and so forth. We use cloned strains of animals to run the exact same program over & over in different circumstances-- hacking out a momentary bit of code from the ongoing soup and prolonging it. It's difficult to stretch any moral understandings across this discontinuity.


Mice created with human brain cells

"But the brain poses an additional level of concern because some envision nightmare scenarios in which a human mind might be trapped in an animal head."

AP Wire | 12/13/2005 | Mice created with human brain cells

That's fucking ridiculous. It's funny that the singularity is so obviously filled with so many transformative and dangerous potentialities, and yet all the mainstream can come up with to be afraid of is this random nonsense.

If we could successfully build a human-like brain out of any substrate, then we would either already understand it or we would be in a much better position to understand it. At that point we would have the chance to see if we can transpose it to a Universal Turing Machine.

That's the ENDGAME, folks. Thinking about what we would do after we can build "human minds" in ways other than a human womb is like thinking, "Hmm, after he takes my King, then I can take his Pawn on B2..."

(By then we will have put away the chess set, and taken out the footbag or Monopoly.)


my correspondence with wikipediaclassaction

Subject: you don't understand the internet
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 10:25:20 -0500
From: "Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly"
Organization: love

Please leave the internet alone. You don't understand it.
Go play with your own toys.


this is the first email i sent to them. i just figured i should help bombard, since i knew it was going to happen. i like to participate.

Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 12:27:28 -0500
From: ""
To: Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly
Subject: Re: you don't understand the internet


You do not understand the issues here, so perhaps,
it is best for you to sit this one out on the side.

Why must I become involved in the Wikipedia website?
If there is offending or inaccurate content, about me,
my business or family, why should I be required to
become a user and edit the content?

I am interested to learn why you thought I would be
interested in your comments.


this is a form letter. i know because other people discussing this got the same one. who gets snarky in a form letter?

Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 21:17:08 -0500
Subject: Re: you don't understand the internet
From: "Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly"
Organization: love

On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 12:27:28 -0500, wrote:

> Why must I become involved in the Wikipedia website?
> If there is offending or inaccurate content, about me,
> my business or family, why should I be required to
> become a user and edit the content?

We are entering a future in which every person on the
planet is in relationship. Many of the people on this
planet are not nice, Mr Regards. People are going to
say mean things about you. That does not give you the
right to *carelessly* attempt to disrupt the great
Intellectual Project which this century is about to be the
culmination of. If you are going to attempt to disrupt it,
do it because you understand what is happening.

The force that created Wikipedia is now quite possibly
irresistably strong. It is, at any rate, without any
doubt to a prodigious strength, to a strength at which
the only act which would halt its culmination would be a
Complete Transformation of our society, a total reversal
of deeply held norms & morals of the people of this
world. It is not vulnerable to class action lawsuits.
It is not a tamed tiger. It will devour the unwary.

That force is information technology, Moore's Law.
It is a rabbit hole that we have stumbled into. We
found a trillion trillion unwritten pages, and now
anyone can write. The scitzophrenics will write.
The robots will write. There is enough space to write
every truth and every falsehood, echoing, repeating
in a thousand different tongues.

> I am interested to learn why you thought I would
> be interested in your comments.

I have found that a brain is a tough thing to crack.
Sometimes a knock won't seem to do anything at first.
The same old ideas still hold in their same patterns.
Then, hit again, you break, you learn, you remember.

So knock my brain, if you think you can: Isn't a
publically created narrative a Right of this infant

> Regards,


here i started getting all artsy.

Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 21:23:20 -0500
From: ""
To: Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly
Subject: Re: you don't understand the internet


There is nothing careless about my efforts. Each step is
premeditated and designed for a specific cause and effect.

As to the rest of your piece, the only issue here is that
the publishers of Wikipedia wish to disown the defamatory
writings of individuals they permit to use their service.
All publishers must be held accountable for the works which
they allow to be published. They can remove the offending
content and ensure that it does not re-appear or they can
be driven out of existence and wish they had.


he's obviously from some other planet, other than the internet, which would explain why he topposts (i've cut from the bottom his unedited quotes of my emails), but i think probably even on that planet you are supposed to sign your name after your signature. maybe he signs the printouts.

Subject: Re: you don't understand the internet
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 10:13:28 -0500
From: "Pope Salmon the Lesser Mungojelly"
Organization: love

On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 21:23:20 -0500, wrote:

> There is nothing careless about my efforts. Each step is
> premeditated and designed for a specific cause and effect.

Unless your goal is to become infamous, be ridiculed, waste
people's time and then be thrown out of court, you are
choosing your efforts incorrectly.

> All publishers must be held accountable for
> the works which they allow to be published.

There ARE NO PUBLISHERS ANYMORE. These are infinitely
reproducible bytes of INFORMATION on a NETWORK. The old
rules CANNOT apply. Wikipedia data, for instance, is
stored in countless places and owned by no one in
particular. Trying to eliminate any piece of information
from anywhere on the internet is morally and practically
equivalent to trying to eliminate the color green.

Any article which you mention as an example of inaccurate
or disallowed information will BECAUSE of your mentioning
it be reproduced many extra thousands of times. This has
been established over & over, going back at least as far
as the E911 document. You are fighting a hydra. Stronger
people than you have failed. The Government of the United
States has tried with great strength and failed. The cat
is out of the bag.

> Regards,

Is there some reason you don't sign your emails?


more forthcoming if i continue to succeed in wasting this deluded fellow's time. oh well, that's what you get if you go randomly attacking things you don't understand.

it might, of course, be a fun hoax. i'm just hoping.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Among Makers of Memory Chips for Gadgets, Fierce Scrum Takes Shape - New York Times

"Chang-Gyu Hwang, chief executive of Samsung's chip business, caused some eyebrows to rise in skepticism in September when he predicted that the chips would soon hold enough data to make hard-disk drives obsolete, paving the way for lighter, thinner and tougher laptop computers."

Among Makers of Memory Chips for Gadgets, Fierce Scrum Takes Shape - New York Times

Intuitively it seems to me that storage space could hit the point of true ridiculousness well before processing speed. It's something where you can go along flipping bits, and just extend endless rows of them, each the same as the next. I feel like we're likely to hit upon storage technologies that will really give us endless amounts of storage. That we're going to find them quicker than we expect.

The possibility of really recording everything on the planet will change everything. For instance, it will create a radically different way of doing science. If you have sufficient data, you can do "experiments" by going to millions of recorded situations and comparing statistically what happened. Here's an example: Someone wants to know why they get acne, and they have a brand new state of the art Life Recorder that's been recording. Some people get acne when they eat chocolate, so that's one theory-- "hey, computer, create a chart with a line made by going through all of the pictures of my face and counting how much acne I have, OK now put a mark each time I ate chocolate."

We'll be able to finally actually study all of the species on Earth. We can send out robots that specialize in studying particular species. A robot for a particular kind of ant would spend hours and hours following its ants around, recording many thousands of hours of video of ants eating different things, crawling over different surfaces, responding to different events.

The mysteries of life won't be so mysterious. There will be mysteries, sure, but not the ones we're used to. Not the usual human ones. You can keep secrets in a waking world, but humans are too giant to keep secret. All of the echoes of our actions will be plain as day in these new oceans of information.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

lonely blog

[10:14:36 PM] mungojelly: i never get any comments on my blog, not even from you
[10:14:40 PM] mungojelly: it's a lonely blog sometimes
[10:14:49 PM] mungojelly: but at least there's no one to impress
[10:14:58 PM] mungojelly: only cold compresses
[10:15:03 PM] mungojelly: sassy dresses
[10:15:15 PM] mungojelly: and Ses

what the fuck is going on in china?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I just clicked on the wrong thing in a windows menu for the gazillionth time. I'm beginning to think that there's something fundamentally flawed about this design. It's like how Donald A. Norman says in "The Design of Everyday Things" that people assume they're clumsy or technically inept, when really they're dealing with a poor design. I've assumed that I was just being clumsy in the way I used windows menus, but now I feel more & more sure that there is something wrong with them.

Hmm, what would I do to change them. What I'd like as a most basic step is to put some sort of physics at the boundary of menu items, that would keep them as clearly defined spaces, so it's harder to slip off the edge of the one you want. I would make them more adaptive, for instance by making items that you choose more often larger than rarely used items. I would make any nested windows be entered into by a more solid state transformation, so it didn't feel like balancing a house of cards. In general I think it could be useful to watch how long the cursor has been over a place-- if you just glance at a menu, it will quickly flitter away, but if you hover over it a while then it gets more attached to you and will take a second of ignoring to be ready to go away.

While we're on the subject, while aren't all menus customizable? Shouldn't I be able to put a new menu in any program called "SPLAT" and move over the "Save" and "Zoom" buttons, if I feel like it? Whose applications are these anyway? Don't answer that.


paging dr freud

OH SHIT, I can hardly believe what W said today. He was talking about US troops in Iraq winning a battle, and he said, "Our guys played^Wperformed well."


everyday Turing testing

When receiving a link in an instant message, the best practice is to verify with the sender if the link was sent intentionally or not.

New IM worm chats with intended victims | CNET

It's funny that they said that stock safety precaution, even though it's now insufficient. Perhaps what they meant was: Verify with the sender using a sufficiently difficult Turing test whether the link was sent intentionally.

I've tried Turing testing people who wrote to me out of the blue, and it's not easy. I would say, "Please write something in response to this that proves that you're a human being," and they'd say "OMG yeah ok." Maybe in the next few years, via just this sort of ridiculousness, the idea of Turing testing will bubble up into the mainstream.


don't worry, robots are just toys

He has his own memory in the form of Sony memory sticks and he will remember where he left his favourite toy. Voice recognition is standard and he can now read out webpage content. He can sense just about anything including temperature, pressure, light and vibration.

Festive Robot Antics at Gadget Spy

There's a lot of talk about robots that almost pretends as if we're going to go along leaving things as they are until we've successfully created intelligent humanoid robots, at which point we will have a serious public debate about the ethical implications and then consider whether to actually roll them out.

In practice what we're really setting ourselves up to do is distribute each new technology to everyone in the universe In Time For Christmas and then later start thinking about what the consequences will be. For instance, the present ( presumably increasing) cheapness of cameras means that more more "toys" are going to be able to see record what goes on around them. We're rolling out a surveillance network undreamed of in human history, the plan is just to play around with it for a while see if it's any fun. Huh.


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Monday, December 05, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005

how are you today, blogger?

Portugal hold Number One Position among Europeean Union nations for the largest quantity of cocaine confiscated by the police in 2004: 7,377 kg, of which 873 were brought in by air, 3,508 by sea and 2,996 by land. Source: Portuguese Ministry of the Interior.

For some reason this made me think of "One If By Land; Two If By Sea."