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Xanadu Software Released After 54 Years In the Making

mugnyte Big Answer to a Nonproblem (90 comments)

The issue of tracking entities that quote your resource is not really the size of a problem that demands this much answer.
IIRC, the original design included a large number of other features that became nonsensical as modern conventions for information arrived:
- We do not require licensing or micropayment for quoting text or speech. The www follows free-speech by default, and tools must be built on top to restrict things. (Among many reasons why not: There is no permanent trust-able entity for enforcement)
- There is a vastly larger usage of linking than quote usage (links jump but also embed)
- Commercial licensing of text, images and video is still required but the infrastructure to enforce it has to constantly differentiate by usage and intent (satire, education), not mere presence or absence. (YouTube's big review process...)
- There is no permanent barrier to building a free side-channel for information that would otherwise be licensed. (P2P File Sharing, etc)


about 3 months ago

Ray Kurzweil Talks Google's Big Plans For Artificial Intelligence

mugnyte Re:gweihir talks.... Kurzweil walks (254 comments)

^This is exactly what give me pause to blindly swoon over Kurzweil's predictions: His achievements in other fields were at times good, other not-so-much, but really none of it carries over to his AI research predictions: It's a huge problem, much larger than the individual - a composite form of pattern acquisition, storage, search and association that deals with modeling all our senses, modeling our cognition, self-awareness, ethics, history, etc. I see his aim to "understand a sentence" (for his definition of 'understand') as a piece of string connected to a huge sweater: Pull just a little, and one finds it's connected to the entire thing.

When he compounds the (predicted) discoveries of nanotechnology and some form of artificial intelligence into all sorts of fantasy, I'm not able to suspend disbelief. If we replaced sections of your brain with machine replacements in tiny portions over time, so that you never fully realized the difference, there would be, in his words, "no death". I disagree: there would be several dozen post-operation mini-deaths where we didn't feel or act "the same anymore" to our peers or to ourselves. This is not extending life forever, this is converting ourselves into the v1.0 buggy technology equivalent, killing ourselves in the process. Is the "self" just the biology? No, but we're not going to have the first (or any) version of this concept work flawlessly. I envision Kurzweil's future not as sentient machines, networked together in a single giant consciousness - but rather a swarm of flawed algorithms flooding, corrupting the networks, flopping around with fatal bugs - like a post-op brain patient machine-zombie population. "There's Grandma - she got v2.4 of the Kurzweil artificial brain - yeah the one with the 'TakePillsAllDay' bug. We're waiting for a bugfix."

about 7 months ago

South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

mugnyte Wow, short lesson today, kids (665 comments)

By that logic, we could use any of several dozen mythological creation stories that have no evidence. I find the Christian myth really unexciting, can we please instead examples of Scientology, Hindusim or DungeonsAndDragons ?

about 7 months ago

South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

mugnyte Re:dev adv ftw (665 comments)

So you disagree that genetic changes over a long time can result in an incompatible species from another divergent ancestral line, yet remain internally viable? Seems like a quite arbitrary limitation, given that mutations can result in non-viable populations in as short as one generation.

about 7 months ago

South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

mugnyte Re:Your point of view means nothing. (665 comments)

Some meat for under the bridge: How would you expect science to investigate this?

If all the mechanisms for this evolutionary process exist on Earth, and have been observed in the short-term and have evidence over the long-term - why inject any other mechanism that arrives without any evidence? Also, why stop at any one fantasy? If you use the same evidence to construct one fantastical story, why not invent a story of any fancy that simply retrofits to the evidence we're finding? In summary, all claims that cannot differentiate themselves from boundless fantasy must all be grouped together: Creative perhaps, but not a model we can claim to be true. This is why certain models in science are possible, but not yet accepted universally - Scientists disagree if such a hypothesis is able to make a prediction - String Theory comes to mind. String Theory's mathematics can be shown to explain many of our forces and concepts in physics, but it hasn't been yet able to make a unique prediction that's be provably true to be due only from String Theory. The best thing going for it is that there isn't yet a viable competitor at that level of model.

about 7 months ago

Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

mugnyte Comments Are The Content (2219 comments)

Subject is rule #1.
Don't put anything in the way of that.

"Shareable by a wider audience" is too vague. What is difficult with the current design?

about 7 months ago

Slashdot BETA Discussion

mugnyte thanks (60 comments)

Folks, OP here... thanks for discussing this. Express yourselves as you wish. I now understand some of the concerns. As a member since 98, I've seen several style revolts, and I'm hopeful this concentrated thread will get the guys in the home office some food for thought. Everyone here is a member so this isn't some fly-by BS thread.

about 7 months ago

Slashdot BETA Discussion

mugnyte Contrast (60 comments)

Why the more-grey background? Did reduced contrast make it easier for everyone to read? Not me. The BETA needs to go back to a white(r) background for reading.

about 7 months ago

Slashdot BETA Discussion

mugnyte Custom Filters (60 comments)

The mobile version has a custom filter that shows headings even after filtering, but doesn't show the level you have filtered to. Why?

The full-screen version doesn't even offer this. Can we get a filter to be standard, and to actually REMOVE the filtered-away comments?

about 7 months ago

Slashdot BETA Discussion

mugnyte Width (60 comments)

Why must every new redesign narrow the area that comments are actually displayed? The margins are larger each time, and thus the amount of scrolling to see a comment-branch is tedious at best

about 7 months ago

HTML5 App For Panasonic TVs Rejected - JQuery Is a "Hack"

mugnyte Re:Beta is terrible! (573 comments)

Certainly not without a true suggestion for alternatives, or writing like "userpage interfact".

Take some pics, circle the offenses, suggest an alternative pictorially. Ya know, like what real designers do when they want to improve a product.

If you say "I like it just the way it is" - realize that not everyone may agree, and you aren't in charge. Do you write these letters to all the sites you visit?

about 7 months ago

Designer Seeds Thought To Be Latest Target By Chinese

mugnyte Re:Beta sucks! (164 comments)

There is FUtility in spamming the news until you get your way.

The usual Beta-feedback page will be posted a few times, and mods will happen. If you don't like it after that, who are you blaming? We've been here so many times...

about 7 months ago

HTML5 App For Panasonic TVs Rejected - JQuery Is a "Hack"

mugnyte Re:Boycott (573 comments)

Well you didn't actually discuss the Beta, now did you?
I just clicked over. Yes, it's different. Not sure I like it, but I'd like to have that discussion on what specifically is bad, in your opinion.

We've been through this before, see... this isn't the first restyling of the ./ site. And we've watched as folks stomped their feet in protest but had little to suggest. Get constructive.

about 7 months ago

Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

mugnyte Re:Not worthless (593 comments)

Learning is a journey - and if a Christian child is exposed to this debate, they may be guided to thinking one way, but over time the topic of "there's debate" will continue. Let them research over their lives to find the truth. Curiosity can only help. If the truth doesn't win, that itself is a good way to see that it needs a clearer presentation, or may not be so true.

about 7 months ago

Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

mugnyte Re:Not worthless (593 comments)

Posted AC, of course.
The same thing happens to a creationist here as in any intellectual discussion - they are asked to provide a non-scriptural model that fits the evidence. I am curious why Christians even care how species differentiate over time. By all means, if your thesis can stand any critique, it should be proposed.

about 7 months ago

Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

mugnyte Not worthless (593 comments)

Nye isn't stupid, he's thought about the implications of this debate. He's already talked about the promotion of the debate as a leveling effect of the two approaches, when really they are nowhere similar. (Creation Mythology and Scientific Inquiry).

However, I think if Nye plays his cards right, he'll not fall into the trap of a tit-for-tat banter of each little Creationist pseudo-doubt. Instead, he'll address the general sociology of the subject: The Christian religion is just one of dozens of creation myths, popular in certain places of the world at this time in history. It simply cannot admit it is wrong, although it has been proven wrong many times and simply abandoned those historical issues (Copernicus onward, for just a few examples). Additionally, there are still the hangups in Christianity with gender (both women and gays) as lesser actors on the stage. Combined with the peculiar Politically-rightward stance in the US, defining their positions on the environment, poverty and interventionism - Christianity cannot explain many parts of the modern world well, let alone creation.

Nye could also simply state that there are too many religions to include them all in an Origins class, and all of them arrive with only scriptural evidence that it's best left to a comparative-studies class on mythologies. Which is exactly where they are today.

Also, if everyone started empirical scientific exploration over again (really, we do this all the time in teaching) - the same models would be arrived at - simply because the models fit the observations. They aren't dictated from any secret cabal, exactly opposite the Christian method. Nye can do this, as well as any of us. The evolutionary discrepancies Ham will blubber on about are not worth the time, but this entire use of one religion to define all things in the universe can easily be made to look silly.

about 7 months ago

FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'

mugnyte GPLv3 is less free (1098 comments)


about 8 months ago



Slashdot BETA Discussion

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  about 7 months ago

mugnyte (203225) writes "With Slashdot's recent restyled "BETA" slowly rolled to most users, there's been a lot of griping about the changes. This is nothing new, as past style changes have had similar effects. However, this pass there are significant usability changes: A narrower read pane, limited moderation filtering, and several color/size/font adjustments. BETA implies not yet complete, so taking that cue — please list your specific, detailed opinoins, one per comment, and let's use the best part of slashdot (the moderation system) to raise the attention to these. Change can be jarring, but let's focus on the true usability differences with the new style."
Link to Original Source

Microsoft support for Functional Programming in F#

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mugnyte (203225) writes "Microsoft Watch and a bag of other writers are abuzz over Microsoft Research's F# (A functional language specification based on CAML) getting full support in an upcoming release of Visual Studio. F# was developed by Don Syme at the MS Research UK office. F# is one of many languages (like Comega, formerly X#, Xen and others) that Microsoft Research is exploring for it's .NET platform."

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mugnyte (203225) writes "Reuters published an article today adding more fuel to the health care debate in the US: 30% responded that the obese (using BMI) should pay more for health insurance, and 60% responded that smokers should pay more for health insurance, relative to others. This is in line with prior results. Given that businesses typically do not want to foot the massive bill, and the recent switch in majority party, is there a wake-up call coming to America's most unhealthy as national health care system creeps more into the spotlight?"

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  about 8 years ago

mugnyte writes "There are various ways to watch single complaints congeal into a groundswell of "market issue" (Badware add-ons, Sony rootkit, AOL uninstall, etc) via blogs and google numbers, but I'm finding no sites that rate Customer Service on an ongoing basis. Something like the home-service-industry Angie's List or perhaps Tom's Hardware guide, but on the topic of Customer Service. Who is doing the hard work to gather and legitimately rate companies by their service?"



Reading as a Transaction

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  more than 6 years ago

There's been a bit of flurry in marketing and advertising circles ever since Danny Carlton posted a rant asking for detection of Firefox's Adblocking plugins in web sites and for them to stop delivering content if advertising could not be sent as well. This went through the usual wash and wear cycle here on slashdot and digg with the expected results: Silly boy! Many good arguments were made, here's an expanded summary from Digg, Adblock's own forum and Slashdot:

Is it illegal to block ads?

  • There's little legal ground to claim a web site is a copyrighted work in total with its ads. The true intellectual content of a web site is always in the new information presented. Otherwise, a conglomeration of ads in a specific configuration (with no original content at all) could be considered copyrighted and of value, when it is commonly understood today that such pages are "empty".
  • There are no laws requiring any content gained from web sites to be strictly bundled with their advertising in all mediums. For example, one may copy/paste text from a web site, store the sent HTML file, or simply re-write the concept into one's own web without original site without breaking laws, save for the copyright restrictions the source has outlined (noncommercial/personal use is always open).
  • Radio and TV consumers who skip/record around commercials are not stealing, a legal decision descending from the tape recorder, VCR and CD, with DVD muddying the waters with the prevention of consumer breaking protection schemes. Technically, the equipment makers have been "incentivized" to not provide automatic commercial skipping by content generators, but nothing forces one to consume all ads on a recording - you can skip them without infringement, albeit perhaps manually. There are no ad delivery mechanisms online that can be construed as using "protection scheme" that ad blocking software would be "cracking". Indeed, the requirements for having a proven and powerful protection mechanism have been tested legally several times, and trivial cases have been discarded.

Is it technically feasible to prevent ad blocking?

  • Browsers are under no obligation to display any portion of an HTML file they deem incompatible with their parser, display system, etc. Audio, print and text browsers fall under these scenarios already, as do older browsers. In total, there is no lasting way to discern one browser from another; if a Firebox release provides an "Exact IE mode" (identification, behavior matching per javascript idiosyncrasy, etc) the web site could not make a distinction between Firefox and IE.
  • If a web server forces its own content to be delivered only after all advertisements are sent to a web browser (instead of sending content inline as is typically the practice now), a totally new paradigm must be built into many content delivery systems. In these systems, advertisements source from other servers and can be requested in any order. Additionally, even if all content is delivered, it need not be displayed, as outlined above.
  • If all advertising is delivered from the source content web server, instead of various other ad-syndication servers, ad blocking must discern between content and commercial. However, ad blocking is not typically based on the semantic meaning of the content, but the format (image, animation, etc). Thus, unless a server revolves the names of the files it serves as advertising, it will have those files blocked after their first impression, and other file (content) will be kept. One could argue that this is "post impression", but as modern blockers share information from client to client, a browser could find that all of its revolving image names are blocked on all clients after one impression anywhere, which goes back to blocking pre-impression.
  • Ad blocking is implemented in some fashion on all major browsers (IE, Opera, Safari). Singling out Firefox is simply from a lack of knowledge about the browser marketplace. This is a feature born of the grassroots request for browser extensibility. There is no technical way a browser itself could regulate the actions any of its extensions, save for the API to influence the root browser behavior. The HTML stream and request stack is usually under the control the extensions - this is the core method for providing extension functionality.
  • Ads that use Flash (or now, Silverlight) must ask that browsers have this extension enabled. Nothing requires a browser to have this besides the site itself. Some sites deliver a non-flash version, some do not. As Silverlight and Flash, and possibly any other graphics package compete for market share, web sites cannot expect all browsers to have these extensions present. Thus they must accept that only a subset of total web users will use their site if they employ such delivery mediums. This is the status quo and is well understood.

Is it unethical to block (some) content from web sites?

  • Every real-world metaphor applied to Mr. Carlton's request opinion fails to prove his point. Customers who discard newspaper inserts without reading them are not stealing. Passengers that close their eyes to roadside billboards (revenue from which can pay for maintenance of the road they are using) are not stealing. Removing bundled software with a package software install is common and in most cases prudent.
  • Web sites that use advertising as primary income without selling a product themselves are highest impacted from ad blocking software. However, the information they provide is essentially free and replicated once online (the original content may not be replicated exactly, but the information is paraphrased, summarized and editorialized). Thus, one cannot expect such information to be a constant source of income via ads as that information becomes "stale". Only through constant updates, living up to the "content is king" euphemism, will a site continue to draw viewers. Such a provider must choose between a subscription model and an ad-support model, and each will have different advantages. Neither can be "policy" for online server behaviors.
  • Mr. Carlton explains that the "monetization of the internet" is the fuel behinds its growth. Historically, this is patently untrue and for a large swatch of the WWW's lifetime, there was a struggle to provide commercial services. Advertising is not the primary method for information dissemination on the medium, since text-based searching remains king for information retrieval. The bundling of ads with content can be a source of income via Google AdSense service, but this is not necessary for all web sites to exist and profit.

  Overall, Mr. Carlton's comments express an opinion that suffers from a short-term knowledge of the technology of the internet. Since its inception decades ago, the continuing design decisions are around freedom of the client side. Information can be gather and collected from almost any source server in an automated fashion. Advertising attempts to link and defend the cost of internet participation with the transfer of commercial information. This has never been true, and today as savvy users remove unwanted information from web sites the core design features become present again: The client can do anything it wants with the information your server provides. Indeed, this freedom is how innovation and creativity caused the web to explode in popularity entirely; the web grew from having an immense data source of users, references, content, and techniques available for manual or scripted use.

  The rise of ad blocking can be attributed to the disconnect of a web site's content to the relevance and design of its ads. Most unintelligent ad servers do not screen their delivered content for offensive or annoying presentations. Web sites have traditionally had little say in which ads could be rotated through their system, save for the largest categories of pornography, violence, etc. The top provider in the market at the moment, Google's AdSense, does allow for the strongest intelligent delivery and ad filtering concepts. It also works to remain relevant to not just the site, but the content itself, as well as any behavior about the client that can be tracked. This results in the least annoying, and subsequently, least blocked ads. One could infer from this relationship that if web sites took more personal responsibility for the ads they delivered, users would accept/reject the site in total, rather than blocking/partitioning the content.

  This author expects that, like all things online, this meme of Danny Carlton's will not die fully but live on in a limbo in perpetuity. Functionally it will not change much of the function of the web. If a large percentage of the online users implement file/script blocking, we may see a movement for advertisers to provide full-page ads that require an impression before moving on to ad-free pages. As an example: experiments with this format with some success. It cookies the impression and one can use the site without (full-page) ads afterwards, and also provides a 2nd tier subscription model for more content. For Salon this is a good balance, since the site seems to take responsibility for it's advertising, much like the models for TV broadcasters.


mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  about 8 years ago

FPS is slick but tired. It's becoming a commodized format that is sorely in need of not just new genres, but new gameplay mechanics. In other words, the actions of "Move To Place"/"Act On Object"/"Fight With Being" are Ye Olde Hat. Even when combined into a neat bunch of puzzles, to achieve a new location/object/fight, are flavors in an ever-diminishing cup.

  The market for games is new large enough that targeting a subsection of that market could be profitable. If the commodization of the capable engines continues, focus on the design content, storyline, and others may soon follow. I already know of a plenty of texture manipulation packages that line up the "to do" list of surfaces and transitions so that you have to simple fill out the spots (albeit a huge lineup of nice images) to re-skin.

  But what I want is to start injecting programmability into the FPS environements. I want to run a Corewars+QuakeArea game, with bots linking to one another, communicating, learning. I want algorithms to be shaped, reshaped by hours of tourneys, and eventually reach the limits of the platform.

  Game AI is finely tuned, since bots could have perfect reflexes, perfect aim, etc. But let's make maps that demand more advanced path algorithms, let's have bots attack the puzzle collections. Let's present the bot language to the gamer, and have them simply watch, or perhaps coach, the bots during gameplay.

  I'd much more enjoy a war sim if the "eye in the sky" coaching was tweaking bots in real time, dealing with variables as "fear", "erratic behavior" or "hubris" in a bot. early on, we're doomed to a limited platform for such things, but with some amount of movement from that huge market, we ought to see games commoditize the AI control platforms much like physics engines are are to be in the next 5 years.



Sensoral Templates for the Web

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Ask a web-based bot to define something, and you're almost guaranteed to get an english paragraph, written in part or wholly by humans and sitting on a site, or in a cache found by a spider.

  Now, this itself isn't bad, and it's gotten us almost all the "reference" material one could ask for on certain topics. Images and videos are now emerging as the next target of the human search realm.

  Now, what if there were a series of extended descriptive templates anyone could fill out? These templates were a general format (like Unicode) that could be used to describe something for a particular sensory function. For example, you wanted to learn the shape of an apple, and a normalized, general format 3D mesh would appear. Also, there would be links to the development cycle, varieties, diseases, etc. For the most part, a "representative sample" for such an open-ended search such as "apple" returned a red 3D mesh, complete with descriptive qualities of the make up this mesh.

But then again, a mesh is really just a surface formula used to approximate a real thing. Perhaps a full-blown language is necessary to codify the whole apple, subsections, and so on. When this language was read through a "visual" template, it returned a picture of the apple, but enabling a 3D slicing/dicing of the object. When run through a "tactile" template, it returned something that could describe the touch of an apple. Smell, Taste, etc. Our computer-human interfaces are really only auditory and visual, so for now perhaps only that information gets focus.

Obviously, this language would be most easily adopted if it:

  • Used existing web technology to encode the proposed language
  • Was approachable through the use of tools and/or techniques that allowed anyone to contribute to the body of information
  • Was globally accessible and yet politically agnostic - not encoding into any regional format and not locked away from any set of users.


  - Extend HTML or a variant (perhaps through some of the open-ended tags/attributes for custom data) to encode the visual and auditory holdings of a concept or thing.
  - Provide a series of tools to encode information into this format. It should take in visual and auditory information to a greater degree than a simple picture.
  - Provide a tool to consume this information, enabling drill-into capabilities for the visual information, markups, etc.

These of course is sort of a Wiki with extended information. In fact, extended Wikipedia in this way would be a great undertaking. "Person" references could bring up a video of that person. This doesn't need much in the way of new technology. However, if "Object" references were more fully flushed out to include this Mesh concept, and a small java window to spin/slice/zoom the object, I think more folks would be drawn to it.

Candidate Technologies:
  - Generalized 3D meshes, or material composition languages. (POV-Ray's C-like syntax is a crude example)
  - Encoded sound in a compressed format, but transferable in both test-based and binary formats.
  - Certain medical imagery interfaces, whereby 3D images can be explored in a CAT-scan like manner.


Collaborative Systems

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  more than 8 years ago

The ever-growing uses for information connectivity:

  • HTML, Hyperlinks
  • Blogging, Commenting
  • Peer-to-Peer Networking/File Share tools, personal-hosting
  • Collabortive Knowledgebase-ware (Wiki's)
  • Social Networking Sites

If we can begin to fill out more complex templates for the world described in all this web content, then perhaps a semantic web may be borne of it. At least, a better version of AI or at least NLP could result.

More to come...


Information Age

mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  more than 8 years ago

An ongoing research project:

The "Information Age" era so far is the 100 years from 1950 to (perhaps) 2050. It subsists not on the year-by-year declarations of "Information wants to be free" or "digital is open" and so on, but merely from the combined long-term effects of:

  • Information and the machines to store/access it are ubiquitous and relatively cheap.
  • The more open flow of information creates a multitude of societal changes, some overlapping and some trumping each other.
  • Society thrashes and skitters on new concepts until they slowly settle, limited only by scientific physical barriers. Attempts to control these changes politically or with laws consume huge amounts of energy, but are eventually defeated.
  • The pioneers of the era are defined by pushing information's movement and creation. Cataloging, summarizing, capturing, copying and distributing information causes a flood of public experiments to fork and mature. Best of breed winners, fragmentation and eventually encapsulation make the interim market.
  • Societal change happens, and yet concepts that divide groups migrate to new mediums, continuing much of the stife between these groups across the globe. Group-based feedback systems repeatedly report that the era's new platforms do little to change minds, and much to only reflect them.
  • The era only ends when the feedback loops on this information are on a slowing curve. At the moment, these loops are only expanding, where new systems to re-process the growing body of information create ever more metadata. Decision-based systems using this metadata are the most useful levels of the era - and only when slowing will the era be in decline.
  • As of 2006, we are in the prime of this era.


mugnyte mugnyte writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Ok, so its been about a year of /.'ing and i've come to rely on it as my constant work distraction. Be it reading, commenting or moderation, or modding, I'm addicted.

I'm constantly enjoying how vast the world of computer age really is. The niches are numerous and so deep I get a great sense of satisfaction that I always have a lot to learn.

Even as I try to move among different technologies, I like the "worldly" sense one gets from reading /. I can truely say I've gotten a little education perusing the high modded comments on a subject.

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