I was thinking that I ought to clean up my inbox finally.  A good way to get a lot of crap out of my inbox fast would be to just plow through the unread messages.  So I'd have to filter the inbox for just the unreads.  It's not really hard.  I used to do it.  You go into the view menu, and there's a submenu, and you get a dialog box, and you open another dialog box from there, and there's a tab where you can set a filter.  Then you have to remember to do it again later to turn off the filter.  I can remember how to do it if I try.  
If I try.  
Why would I try?  
Why invest in turning on a filter?  Why haul out the mental equipment to do this task?  
There's a shortcut if I were gonna do it several times.  You can save the set of View settings as a named view, and then you can switch to that view from a convenient pull-down menu any time.  I used to do that sort of thing.  I had views like MonkeyView01 which was good for reviewing new mail, and another that was good for something else.  I did that kind of shit.  Making a view takes extra clicks.  It's worth it if you're gonna use the view a few times.  I could quantify the cutoff;  decide a good metric is number of clicks and then count, and if you're going to use that view more than three times it's worth it.  There were views I invested in that passed the cutoff, and others that didn't.  Good investments, bad investments.  Of course, just learning that I could make views, and then how to make views is a chunk of investment I haven't counted.  
And now I don't do that shit any more.  What's the payoff of cleaning out my inbox?  Really?  Where would a risk/reward calculation land me, if I were to invest in it?  Would I get fired before any investment in a tidy inbox paid off?  Or would a tidy inbox keep me from being fired, somehow?  
There was a Wired article, after the big financial meltdown, about the mathematical risk model that the big financial institutions used when deciding what securities were a good investment.  Turns out it was wrong.  
So if they pay Ph.D.s to calculate what's worth investing in, and they can't help but fuck up, what hope have I got?  
Fuck my inbox.  


re: Flash

Oh, come on, people. Flash was always a hack. Real web engineers always hated it. The Web was missing features, and Adobe filled that gap, but did so by subverting the transparency that was the whole point of the Web. How many web developers have thrown up in their mouths a little bit on coming across a website for a small business, designed and sold by a 'designer' with good intentions, which dances and sings but renders the poor oblivious business utterly invisible to search engines?

While Flash was relevant, the interstitial landscape it created was host to a horde of artists who committed themselves to learning its rules but who were ignorant of the shape of its looming boundaries. Now that the needed standards have been provided by the responsible standards bodies, the designers cry out in shock as the gap which became their home closes around them.


Tomorrow, Metaphorically (Maybe)

What am I doing? Recently I half-joked that I was "watching for signs of the Apocalypse." Subtract the kooky religious implications and that's kind of true. I don't mean the Christian Apocalypse literally, nor do I really believe in the more extreme descriptions of the geek Singularity, but I do have a strong feeling that interesting changes are either imminent or happening already. They'll have broad effects, they'll catch us by surprise, and we may not even know they've happened until we look back at them. While "expect the unexpected" usually receives a response of sarcasm these days, I'm going to say it anyway; I mean by it that we need to stretch our creative faculties if we want to have any hope of understanding, let alone predicting, the nature of the changes that are coming.

The people who have done this well in the past have been the writers of speculative fiction; that's probably why I identify myself as wishing to become a writer of speculative fiction. But it's not the "writer" part or the "fiction" part that I really have in my soul, it's the "speculative" part. I can't help it. I'm like a kid on the night before Christmas; I can't sleep, I'm so excited thinking about what I'll get tomorrow.


He's afraid; he doesn't know what of. He's watching for signs of the Apocalypse. Not like they say in their books, no, he's cleverer than they.

But when the god in his head sends commandments, he obeys just as they would.


I'm reading Verlinde's paper, and I don't have the background to really follow it. I don't know the referents. But I can kind of grasp the logical structure.

There's something important in it; there's a memetic connection that hasn't been made before. Something right. But it also feels like there's an error in it somewhere. I've seen it said that it treats space as emergent from information theory, but I don't think it does. But I think it could have.



The problem has seemed to be to derive ought from is, to find a goal for the tool.


Science in the subjunctive mood

"One difficulty in discussing the propagation of classicality through the Complete Feynman Diagram is that the term 'propagation' suggests that we are discussing a temporal phenomenon, which we are not."


Connoisseurship is not important

No, see, connoisseurship is a hobby. It's not important. Well, except maybe insofar as it's good to hone your senses. But otherwise, no. Please do not think that I think that it's important.



so what does Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem actually give us as a take-home message? what's the upshot? we treat it with great reverence, but what does it actually mean? it's usually accompanied by some parenthetical words about its meaning, when it appears in works for the layman, but they're often quasi-mystical and never fully worked out, much less verified or even verifiable.


Do you tweet?

I just now worried that I hadn't checked my email for a while and that there might be people expecting me to, and then I thought, well, hey, I used to compulsively glance at my system tray for the Outlook new-mail icon every half a minute; is it so bad that I've re-architected not to do that any more?

See, stuff like that doesn't fit in a tweet, so I gotta keep this blog.


I know you know I know.

so if everyone had Logical Fallacies as part of their education, it wouldn't matter if everyone remembered the specifics. it would matter that everyone knew that there were fallacies, and that everyone knew that everyone else knew.



When a computing process wants to keep informed about new information, one technique engineers use is a polling mechanism. Polling is when you go check in a known location to see if there's anything new waiting for you there. Engineers debate about setting polling intervals and when not to use a polling mechanism, and so on, because polling consumes resources. You have to be careful when designing a system to make sure it doesn't demand that a computer do too much polling.

But nobody seems to mind when you design a system that demands that the user do lots of polling. Your mailbox at home, your work inbox, your email inbox, your other email inbox, your other other email inbox, your Twitter page, your LiveJournal inbox, your facebook inbox, your voicemail, your cell voicemail, your RSS reader... all of these demand that you go check them periodically. Which is really not an efficient use of your processor. And every time somebody adds a cool new communication service to the world, they add one more place that everybody has to poll.



An angel offering eternal salvation to a mortal man is like a hot teacher offering sex to a teenage boy. No matter how sure he is that he wants it, he really doesn't know enough to fully comprehend the scope of the offer.