The Lumber Room

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Posts Tagged ‘technology

First thoughts on Google Wave

with 6 comments

Just saw the demo for Google Wave. It’s impressive and ambitious. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a collaborative real-time thing (think Google Docs for everything) that can work like email, IM, blogs, forums, whatever you want — and can be embedded into, or integrates with, apparently everything: Orkut, Blogger, Google Maps, Google Code (the bug tracker), Twitter, etc. (They’ve already fulfilled the annoying-word requirement, by creating “twave”.)

They say it’s a “product, platform and protocol”.

I can see myself using this. (And thinking of the privacy implications (or the having-your-data-out-there-in-the-cloud-somewhere implications), it’s bloody scary.)

They’ve got pretty amazing sync. Search results and messages get updated in real time character-by-character, and the latter seems to make people cheer as if they’ve never seen good old talk.

Finally someone had the “playback” idea I have been trying to propose for years. (I was calling it the “undo bar” or “edit history bar”, or more recently “Time Machine for Emacs”, but whatever.) You can “play back” the edit history of a document (“wave”), seeing what changes each person made and in what order, and when the “wave” is a chess game, you can play back the chess game. Perfect.

They variously say it will be open-sourced, or that “a lion’s share of the code” will be open-sourced, but let’s hold off believing that until we see it. It’s extensible, so you can add your plugins to it. It’s a protocol, so you can write your own implementations of it. It’s a platform, so you can run it on your own servers. Now someone add a LaTeX compiler to it, and collaborative work with LaTeX will finally be possible.

If you have 80 minutes to spare, here’s the video, or an article at TechCrunch.

Written by S

Fri, 2009-05-29 at 21:35:55 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

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Google and inflection

with 3 comments

It is a generally useful feature that Google tries to “Do What I Mean” instead of taking our queries literally to “Do What I Say”, but sometimes it’s annoying.

For example, searching for [sarah palin trigonometry] includes results that do not contain the word ‘trigonometry’ at all. Fortunately, searching for [sarah palin "trigonometry"] works (which might contradict intuition that putting quotes around single words should not matter).

I have seen Google do this many times (return results which do not contain the words searched for), but can’t recall other examples right now… can you?

Written by S

Thu, 2008-10-23 at 10:27:33 +05:30

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My “megabyte” rant

with 7 comments

Read this.

Quoting from the NIST site:

Once upon a time, computer professionals noticed that 2^10 was very nearly equal to 1000 and started using the SI prefix “kilo-” to mean 1024. That worked well enough for a decade or two because everybody who talked kilobytes knew that the term implied 1024 bytes. But, almost overnight a much more numerous “everybody” bought computers, and the trade computer professionals needed to talk to physicists and engineers and even to ordinary people, most of whom know that a kilometer is 1000 meters and a kilogram is 1000 grams.

Then data storage for gigabytes, and even terabytes, became practical, and the storage devices were not constructed on binary trees, which meant that, for many practical purposes, binary arithmetic was less convenient than decimal arithmetic. The result is that today nobody knows what a megabyte is. When discussing computer memory, most manufacturers use megabyte to mean 2^20 = 1 048 576 bytes, but the manufacturers of computer storage devices usually use the term to mean 1 000 000 bytes. Some designers of local area networks have used megabit per second to mean 1 048 576 bit/s, but all telecommunications engineers use it to mean 10^6 bit/s. And if two definitions of the megabyte are not enough, a third megabyte of 1 024 000 bytes is the megabyte used to format the familiar 90 mm (3 1/2 inch), “1.44 MB” diskette. The confusion is real, as is the potential for incompatibility in standards and in implemented systems.

Really, please just read this.

Links:

  1. http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html
  2. Mathew Somebody, A plea for sanity
  3. Markus Kuhn, Standardized units for use in information technology
  4. Wikipedia, Binary prefixes
  5. Pidgin, my tiny contribution :-)
  6. Random forum, my probably pointless contribution

Written by S

Tue, 2007-10-30 at 06:32:12 +05:30

HTML encoding

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Look at this article for example:

It was a feeling of d and #233;j and #224; vu.

Not only has the decoding gone awry, it has also gone and replaced “&” with “and “. This always happens on that site, BTW.

Written by S

Mon, 2007-04-02 at 09:16:55 +05:30

Posted in Uncategorized

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Technology

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Often fails.

That is part of why Futurama was so funny — its very first episode had automatic doors hitting people, and so on.

Roomba: My life is not more efficient

Written by S

Sat, 2007-03-31 at 12:27:33 +05:30

Posted in funny

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