Blog has Moved

March 30th, 2010

Greetings, I am still in the process of combining the works of this blog an my new blog, but in the meantime, my blog updates now occur here.

Updates soon.

October 26th, 2009

I need to update this blog, I will do so soon, I’m trying to decide how I want to go about the changes that I want to make.

Get versus direct access on Maps in Scala

August 11th, 2009

I know I haven’t posted in a while, I’m going to try to post more often.  I’ll make a relevant post soon about what I’ve been up to.  For now, I want to talk about Scala.

I’ve been learning Scala, it’s a great little programming language.  I would like to see java replaced by it eventually.

I was dealing with a very specific issue in scala, whereby I was matching a Map and getting the following error:

error: constructor cannot be instantiated to expected type;
[scalac]  found   : Some[A]
[scalac]  required: Int
[scalac]           case Some(x) => {

It turns out, there are two ways to access a Map.  So if I have

val wallet = Map(”Money” -> 100)

wallet(”Money”) returns 100

wallet(”Monkey”) throws an exception

wallet.get(”Money”) returns Some(100)

wallet.get(”Monkey”) returns None

Therefore, I was supposed to be using get when matching access to wallet:

val numOfM= wallet.get(”Monkey”)

numOfM match {

Some(num) => {println “#:” + num}

None => {println “You don’t have enough bananas :(”}

}

Css in xml?

March 31st, 2009

Why isn’t CSS defined in an XML format?  If XML is so perfect for xhtml, you would have thought it would be the default standard in styling xhtml and therefore used in CSS?

Even if they removed explicit end tags, it’d be better.

Doesn’t this:

background-image:
url(’bgdesert.jpg’)

Requires understanding a lot more syntax than:

<background-image>
<url>bgdesert.jpg</>
</>

Dear facebook, On Ads

February 26th, 2009

Dear Facebook,

If I thumb down an it means I don’t want to see it again.  Yet, I constantly have to look at this stupid ad:

Please don’t show me it anymore. :(

Thanks

Twitter Bomb’d

February 12th, 2009

I just want to say how annoying it is to search for things when twitter results get mixed in.  Twitter results are near useless, they almost never contain source hyperlinks, they are  few lines of text that are  summed up by the link itself from Google.  I’ve been finding them more and more frequently in Google search results.

I was looking for more information on glassy-bleu, a theme hp made for their laptops, and I found a link to this guy’s twitter page as one of the top 4 results.  Thanks, Google, for letting me know someone out there is trying the theme.  Maybe if it was a blog post he’d have details on how I could try it.

A better application of twitter links would be to just inline them into the search results as the full result.  Why do I have to load another entire webpage to view the twitter user status change?  This whole thing is stupid.  In the best case scenario, they would just derank twitter.

Facebook and Friends

November 4th, 2008

Recently, a lot of my friends have started using their facebook status to post political beliefs.  I think it’s great, however it does come at a price for friends of yours who don’t agree with you.

You see, on facebook, it’s my closest friends reading my status.  So if a friend with a dissenting opinion reads my status and is compelled by a post to offer a differing opinion, he can’t reply to it to argue because he would do so knowing I have spent my entire life orienting myself with a group of friends which essentially forms an overly complex system of confirmation bias.

To correct this, people post on their OWN facebook status their own beliefs.  This forms a cycle in which everyone is expousing beliefs to cope with annoying friends they disagree with.

Is this a bad thing?  I am not sure.  People are discussing their ideas more, and becoming more interested in policies and politics.  Regardless, I have a feeling it is one small stone in a large quarry of the trend of people grouping up more and more by self similarity in society.  Doing so is rational, beneficial, yet  perhaps less colorful.

Copyright Law, Fairness, and Folly

October 16th, 2008

Senator and republican presidential candidate John McCain recently had drama with youtube.  Basically, his videos were being pulled from youtube for the same copyright mechanisms within the DMCA he voted for.  His theory is that some sorts of videos deserve extra attention because to prevent their viewing, you are hurting voter’s ability to judge candidates; indirectly, you’re hurting the democratic process.  This whole thing is rediculous.

But what’s interesting about this is that McCain is feeling hurt from a law he supported.  When the shoe’s on the other foot, it feels different.  I would hope that instead of trying to make special cases, he’d instead realize that there are either some flaws with the overreaching power of the DMCA, or accept it and host the videos on his own servers, free of youtube’s takedown policies, but at the cost of viewership.

Personally, I think copyright law is a difficult thing.  It’s expensive to manage and defend.  It offers low value in return for high costs to content producers to defend their copyright works against all violations without tools like google has provided.  Yet, with google’s tools, it has come at the cost of free culture.  Is there even a balance that can be struck that is fair to both the copyright holders and the content producers that minimizes time spent in court, paying lawyers?

Likely Date Nintendo came up with the name “wii” is June, 2005

August 6th, 2008

The Wii was announced in april, 2006, to be the next Nintendo game console.  However, google just recently released a trend tracking tool that is incredibly specific.

Because of this, I was able to extrapolate the following graph. This graph shows that the Nintendo wii was likely first searched around June, 2005, in Japan.  I believe that this is when Nintendo first came up with the name.  Therefore, the Wii name was identified as a possible name almost a year beforehand.

Is this useful at all?  Probably not.  I do, however, think it is interesting that the actions of companies could possibly be inferred by the searches their employees do.

In-Game Advertisements versus In-Game Advertising

July 31st, 2008

Advertising is coming to videogames. This is something gamers will come to accept.

However, I have reservations with some arguments supporting in-game advertising.  First of all, very few people want their game spoiled by blatant, obvious, advertising.  Posting billboards for pepsi inside a Counter-strike third world city map is bad.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, most people are happy when games that mimic reality.  We might not want billboards in strange places, we’re fine with the fake-company parody advertising in Grand Theft Auto.  Any ad that is as realistic as possible, even though it mentions no real company, makes Grand Theft Auto feel more real.

However, my reservations are on people who argue “I’m fine with in game advertising, you can put pepsi in a pepsi machine because it promotes realism.”  My argument is that it isn’t real.  Unlike the manufactured advertisements in real life ™, the advertisements in games promote only the brand of the advertiser.  I’m only fine with pepsi machines in my sandbox GTA-esque game, as long as across the street I might find a coke machine.

Advertising doesn’t promotes realism in games, because there is only one advertiser.  It is void of product differentiation; advertising tries to convince you that there are no other products.  Yet those who want advertising in games want it because it makes the game feel more like reality.

Without competing advertisements, there is no realism.  It is eerie, and gives the user a feeling of being cheap.

Therefore, I argue in-game advertisements are fine, but in-game advertising is not immersive.  It can never be immersive by definition.

This ultrakill brought to you by MOUNTAIN DEW.. YEAH

The Feasibility of Competition

July 28th, 2008

What inspires a David to fight a Goliath?  Cuil is a search engine created by those who know how to make search engines.  These same people contributed to the being they’re now trying to surpass with merely brute force.  It seems Cuil’s strategy is trying to beat Google at the thing it does best.  You would think that it would make them experts at knowing the Achilles heel of the great search engine.  Even if they were able to find a potential weakness, would it be something google could not find in itself; in doing so, fixing itself?

This leads me to wonder: what markets are left from the pre-web 1.0 world?  Is web 2.0 a spawning of new interactive web applications, or is it merely a new version number on companies who have long stood the test of time?  Any web application that stands the test of time on their idea alone will soon be replaced by an iGoogle version, whether it be calendars or otherwise.

… “We’re gonna revolutionize the calendar industry.” …. Uh?

Open Source City Assistance

July 21st, 2008

So I’m sick of the mbta website.  It’s unwieldy.  The problem with google’s T schedule service is that I want to find the fastest point in a radial location to another radial location, but it only allows searches for point to point traversal.  With too-exact searches I produce inaccurate results because unlike google maps, I’m not trying to figure out how to get from Cambridge to a specific building at a university, I just want the fastest path to an area around the university.  There are a lot of areas that cannot be pathed because they are not technically roads.

I had a few MBTA results which were different based on whether I wrote Harvard Station, or selected Havard Station from a dropdown.  This was because it was comparing the Harvard Bus Entrance versus the subway entrance.  To you or I, the distance was only 1 minute, but the pathing engine had a difficult time moving out of the bus station and into the subway station part.

I propose that these sorts of websites should be work done by open source and research communities.  What better use of budding computer scientist graduates than to have them improve the pathing engine for the public transportation website.  The great thing about this idea is that other cities could benefit from such open source material.  Once we solve the “transportation scheduling” problem, we no longer need to resolve it.  I am certain there are other areas where open source could merge with the government.

Unrelated Link: Class Math (Posting all my comics from last issue of the northeastern Times New Roman, this is 3 of 6)