Tuesday, March 29, 2005
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, spim via text message to college students' cell phones is becoming common.
So of course I Googled it. And the hit list was full of uses of the phrase -- most of them commercial, as in florists.
I gave up and went to AskJeeves "what is a gilded lily?" Jeeves himself didn't know, but the first Web hit was from http://www.phrases.org.uk/ -- a database of phrase origins with a companion discussion forum.
Turns out the phrase is a misquotation of Shakespeare's "King John":
SALISBURY: Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
So the lily is painted, not gilded; Shakespeare speaks of how silly it would be to apply gold onto gold. The Bard had such a way with words; too bad centuries later we can't even get the quotes straight.
Monday, March 28, 2005
It will be very interesting to see whether this ends up changing the universe, or is just a flash in the pan. It's generating a lot of buzz amongst bloggers and tech reporters.
The gist of the matter: A9 lets the searcher pick "columns" which are nothing more than subject-specific search engines (which the search engine industry likes to call "vertical searches").
For instance, here's an A9 search for me. In this example, I've asked A9 to search the Web (powered by Google), to search Web-based images, and to search The New York Times:
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Ya gotta wonder how big a demographic you get when you cross country music with figure skating. What's next? Opera and NASCAR?
Thursday, March 17, 2005
The growth of information retrieval corresponded with the popularity of Sartre and existentialism, so that answers simply were; their meaning and content was not relevant. Later, the influence of popular mysticism and Zen philosophies led to a reverse approach, in which answers were not. Anarchists insisted that answers be statements that undermine the question. Another approach has been to attack the implicit dominance of the query and ask whether the query is relevant to the answers, thus seeking equality in the query-answer relationship.
The papers were all accepted!
The professor, Joel Stubinz, concludes that no one reviewed this paper, as any reviewer would flag this as gibberish. He notes that there is a fee for presenting your paper, and the rules state you don't even have to present the paper so long as you pay the fee.
Prof. Stubinz observes:
This highly-successful event -- a remarkable 1,859 papers were accepted for the 2001 event -- is run by the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (or IIIS). This is "a non-profitable international Organization which takes into consideration the globalization process". It appears to have no officers or location, and is not associated with any academic institution. Its only public role appears to be to host the SCI conference.
How many people pay money to present at this event and think they are advancing science?
They're still at it:
Sunday, March 13, 2005
A feature film rendered in ASCII in a high definition world. Incredible!
When I arrived at Michigan State in 1974, one of my first trips was to the Computer Center, where I encountered Dr. Charles Wrigley, who gave me an account on the Control Data 6500 mainframe. One of the first cool apps I encountered allowed you to print banners with ASCII characters as the pixels. I remember printing out my first letter back home using it.
The command was hal,banner as I recall.
Plus Ça Change
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Hmm... MSN Money uses the open source tool, MySQL, not Microsoft's SQL server product.
Here's the hit list, devoid of Google Maps links:
What?!? Google can't find its own new awesome map service?!? My guess is this is an artifact of the insistence on integrity by Google's founders: they won't goose their own new product to the top of the hit list. But they could sell themselves an ad.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
It's dead, Jim.
My Treo 600 is stuck on a screen that proclaims:
Service Connection Progress
So what are my options? ...
I can't access any functions on the phone.
- I can't dial out.
- I can't reach a menu
- I tried a paper clip reset; the phone steadfastly wouldn't reset. The screen stays lit with the useless message.
Here's the deal: yes, this device is a "Smart Phone" but first and foremost it is a PHONE! The sucker needs to work as a phone when you most desperately need a telephone.
So here's my prediction: someone will die because Palm doesn't understand that point. Someone will need to call 911, and won't be able to, because their "Smart Phone" isn't so smart -- it's frozen in an un-rebootable state. The device needs a simple and obvious way to boot into a mode where the...
... duh ...
... ahem ...
... "smart phone" ...
... can make a phone call!!!! As in, to 911. Duh, you'd hope a device marketed by Verizon and others as a cell phone could actually be relied on to make a phone call in an emergency.
Here's my bet:
- Palm doesn't "get this"
- Someone will die as a result, a direct consequence of the phone they sell for hundreds of dollars not being able to complete a damn 911 call
- Palm will be sued for millions of dollars
Palm, here is your advanced warning before the first lawsuit. When this happens -- not if, because this will happen -- when someone dies because the Treo "phone" can' t make a phone call -- guess what, guys, you're reading the words of your opposing expert witness.
Palm needs to fix this. They need to put out a firmware upgrade for the 600 and 650, and they need to document a simple, keyboard-based way to boot the phone into 911 mode. You need a fast path to 911 if you are under attack, whether heart, assailant, or food in the windpipe.
PS -- I tested from my home phone; the one function the Treo 600 seems to be able to do in its frozen state is receive a phone call.