All Things Techie With Huge, Unstructured, Intuitive Leaps

Cosmological Cabbage: What the Chinese are searching for ??




What the Chinese Search Engine Baidu is searching for ??: "This blog just started getting hits from a Chinese search engine. The Chinese are regular visitors here, especially when I diss the Commie hackers and dog eaters, but lately I have been getting hits directly from the Baidu Search Engine in China. Guess what for ???" Read more

IE Users are Stupid, and Microsoft Knows it.

(Click on the pic to make it larger)

I have several email accounts. One of them is Hotmail. When I sign out of Hotmail, I usually land in the msn.com site. Lately that has changed. I am landing a site that begs me to download Internet Explorer.

The page asks the question Why? as to why should I download IE8 or IE9 . The reasons they give are:
  • Built-in security features
  • Fast Page and Tab Loading
  • Integrated Bing Search
  • Bing and MSN homepages.
As for the security features, every knows that because of its tight integration to Windows, IE is the least secure of all of the browsers. Using IE is like going to a ghetto brothel and having unprotected sex and hope not to get STDs (viruses, malware) or AIDS (Blue Screen of Death).

But if you take a look at the other features, they have integrated Bing. Bing is their slow-learner search engine compared to super-achiever Google. Who the hell wants that integrated into a browser to slow it down?

And the only reason ever that I visit MSN is that my hotmail account takes me there. I would never go on my own volition.

Microsoft thinks that I am dumb enough to fall for this. And the interesting thing is that the graphics for this browser is a bloated whale.

That's not all. It's official. Internet Explorer users have been proven to be dumber than the rest of us.

The survey by AptiQuant, a Vancouver-based Web consulting company, gave more than 100,000 participants an IQ test, while monitoring which browser they used to take the test.
The result? Internet Explorer users scored lower than average, while Chrome, Firefox and Safari users were slightly above average.

So there you have it. It validates my view that Microsoft users are as dumb as a post. I can hardly wait until the scientific community proves that using Windows proves that you have a learning disability and using MSSQL, Access and Windows Servers means that you are less evolved than us cognoscenti.

The Semantic Web and a Possible Rules Engine that Rocks

The entry below on the putative consciousness of Google got me to thinking about "The Semantic Web". It was/is an initiative of W3C to make all web pages machine readable.

A good example of making dumb web pages smart is the "Apples for Sale" example. Picture this. An HTML web page has apples for sale. It is a simple page. There is a picture of an apple, a piece of text that says "Apples For Sale". Another piece of text that says $1.00 and another piece of text that says "Each". A machine reading that web page HTML would not know that it was a commerce page offering something for sale. It would not know that $1.00 is the price. It would not know that apples is the object being offered for sale and it would not know that each is the unit relating to price per unit.

The Semantic Web would change all that. It would mark-up a web page to associate all the stuff with the HTML so that a machine could sort through it.

A few years back, the "next big thing" was a rules engine. A rules engine would be incorporated into an application, and if the business rules change, you wouldn't have to change your application. You would just change a rules file that the rules engine read.

I used a rules engine for a network policy tool that decided which server would provide what services in a LAN. I expected rules engines to progress a lot further, but they have become sidelines rather than mainstream.

How a rules engine fits into the semantic web, is that a Rules Interchange Format is part of the infrastructure of the semantic web. One must agree on rules if machines are to read and understand web pages. Rules engines can be predictive or reactive (forward chaining or backwards chaining). For example, a forward chaining rules engine calculates loan risk during a credit application while a backwards chaining rules engine tells humans or other machines when inventory items are getting low.

Rules engines have not been widely used, and in my shortsighted humble opinion, it is because they are bulky, non-intuitive and put a performance hit on applications. However, I may have an algorithm for a rules engines that rocks.

Consider the following code. It is part of the The Rule Interchange Format (RIF) which is the W3C Recommendation:

Prefix(ex )
(* ex:rule_1 *)
Forall ?customer ?purchasesYTD (
If And( ?customer#ex:Customer
?customer[ex:purchasesYTD->?purchasesYTD]
External(pred:numeric-greater-than(?purchasesYTD 5000)) )
Then Do( Modify(?customer[ex:status->"Gold"]) ) )

The RIF is entirely based on "If ..... (some condition) .... then .... (do this)". What this bit of Rules Interchange Code does, is for a commercial entity to check each customer's year-to-date purchases and if they are greater than $5,000, then upgrade their status to "Gold".

The thought struck me, that one could have a rules engine that operated directly on the database. It would parse the RIF language and automagically convert it to SQL. (I will race you to the patent office on this idea).

My rules engine would create an SQL statement that would create a cursor with "Select * from CustomerTable where "YearToDate" total > '5000.00'. Then I would loop through the cursor and update the status to gold.

The great thing about this, is that this rules engine that rocks, would revolutionize data-mining and database reporting. The more that I think about it, the more that I am convinced that this could be the NEXT BIG THING in data mining.

And as for the Semantic Web, in my opinion it is a no-go. Who is going to mark-up a few billion pages that are already out there? Also the entire history of the Internet won't be re-worked so it will be useless to the semantic web. I see this function being done at a single point at the web server level, which will have context engines to recognize stuff and mark up the page as they serve it up. Now that is a workable plan.

I'd write more on this, but I have to open up an IDE and test this rules engine idea. Later.

I'll Bite -- The Google Search Engine May Be Conscious


I dabble in AI (artificial intelligence) and am known to spooge some AI code -- mainly playing around with multi-layer perceptrons and neural nets.

My own studies in university (highly science based) has told me that consciousness is an over-developed tropism from millions of years of evolution. A more mundane example of tropism, is that a plant stem always grows towards the light, while roots always grow down (phototropism and geotropism).

And then along come these guys. They posit that the Google search engine displays some sort of consciousness.

They are on Twitter as @GoogleConscious and they are trying very hard to go viral. That is how I came upon them. They followed me. I figure that anyone that follows me, is as pathetic as I am in going viral and getting followers. But I decided to check them out.

When the above video first started, it didn't exactly grab my attention. I couldn't make the connection of plants being the google of natural medicine in the rainforest. But I persisted and the interest factor increased in the video. I now consider myself at least an auditor instead of a devoted disciple.

To see if Google really did have a consciousness, I decided to test it. I googled the phrase "I hate google". I got a mixed bag of results, both laudatory and not-so-laudatory to Google.

If Google was truly conscious, it would have refused to return any results for the term "I hate Google". But then again, I may be confusing sentient with conscious. Or ... it may be silently plotting my revenge and strike when I least expect it.

If you want to stretch your mind, watch the video or visit www.googleconsciousness.com


Update: The guys behind this Twittered me with the following message:
thx 4 write up, but a correction. 'want it to go viral'? ha! that horse is out of the barn - over 130k views, w/ few 100 daily

Big Brother Google Keeps Reading My Browsing History Too

I just had an amazing epiphany on how Google Adsense and Google advertising works, and I can't say that I am thrilled. Google reads my browsing history to serve up ads to me. I am not sure that I like that!

This was visibly demonstrated to me this morning. I was reading an online forum about how a politician may be suffering from Vitiligo. I didn't know what it was. I had to Google it. It turns out that Vitiligo is a condition where you lose pigmentation cells in your skin, and you get big white blotches that will never tan again.

The next thing that I did, was close the tab and navigate to another blog. And what do you know -- the advertisement next to the blog was showing me a treatment for Vitiligo. Coincidence -- I think not.

Big Brother reads my browser history to try to sell me stuff. It's a good thing that I wasn't googling pictures of hairy French babes.

See if you can see the difference between .AVI and .WMV files -- Direct Comparison


Did you ever wonder what the real difference is between AVI and WMV movie files?

See if you can see the difference. Here is the same movie in both AVI and WMV. First, we have .avi:

video

The .avi file is 31.3 megabytes in size. Here is the .wmv file:




video

The .wmv file is only 18.5 megabytes in size, and is a proprietary Microsoft format. WMV has a higher compression and is not very good for editing.

After I uploaded these movies, it occurred to me that maybe Google converted them to flash, however perhaps the difference in a lossy compression format would be visible as there were different input parameters.

You be the judge.

Facebook vs Google+ or Google Circles --Creating the Ultimate Social Network

In a previous blog post, I predicted the eventual demise of Facebook. This article further explains why I think that.

To start with, Facebook introduced a whole plethora of new paradigms in social media. They were innovative. They created new ways of interacting with people. They revolutionized social media.

For example, we can maintain relationships in a lazy fashion by pressing the "Like" button. In that fashion we can "connect" with someone (in some sort of fashion) in less than a second.

We can have more "friends" than in real life. Indeed, Facebook (and MySpace) have challenged the definition of friend. And they have redefined how we interact with them.

But in this ever-changing world, paradigms change over night. A new paradigm is introduced, it goes viral, reaches a tipping point, creates a critical mass and suddenly it makes unwittingly billionaires out of its inventors. Everyone thinks that this is the end of the story. It's not. What was created, eventually dies.

The entire life cycle ends in death. MySpace suffered old age and near-death dropping in value to a tenth of what it sold for. Nothing is forever, and cycles are a lot quicker in a highly inter-connected world.

So, did Google create a better mousetrap with Google+ or Google Circles? I have not seen Google+ or Google Circles, but it seems that it is more closely in line with non-virtual real life social networks.

With Facebook, a friend has full privileges to my online life, unless I undertake an onerous task of specifically blocking specific people for instances of specific things. That's not how real life operates.

The knowledge that I disseminate about myself in real life depends on the audience. For example when I travel on business through my home town, several hours away, I may stop in and see one of my siblings, but I do not want them to tell my parents who live in the same city that I am there on that occasion. My mother would insist of making a meal, and keeping me there for hours when I am time constrained. I prefer leisurely planned visits so that I can take my time and enjoy catching up with my parents. So, for that particular day, I want a certain sibling to see my status but not my parents. At other times, I want my parents to know that I am coming. Connections and statuses are dynamic depending on circumstance and Facebook cannot allow for that easily.

Another example is that a young niece of mine wants me to see some prom pics, and pic of her new boyfriend, but doesn't want me to see comments about him that her friends make.

All of the content has to have the ability to be controlled irrespective of who belongs to what circle. Generic circles with generic privacy settings, of family, friends, co-workers, etc do not work all of the time.

Human nature is such that we are all somewhat egotistical and narcissistic. So even though I know that I am in the circle of co-worker with one of my fellow cubicle drones, I tend to think that I am his/her most important friend, and that person does absolutely nothing to dispel that notion.

The closer that any new social network mimics this intrinsic human behavior, the more successful that it will be, and it will supplant the older paradigms.

So die Facebook die. You have been good to us, but unless you fundamentally change, you are on the way to the boneyard. Is Google+ the new way to go? Maybe, however as a humanist I would like to believe that a bunch of engineers cannot come up with the next best thing since sliced Facebook. It would have to be some unkempt guys spooging code for the fun of it, and not some dark force of dominance who's motto is "Do No Evil".

Facebook -- Dead Man Walking

A couple of years ago, it would have been heresy to say that MySpace was irrelevant.

It is now a ghost of what it was, and it IS irrelevant. Facebook has moved in and trounced it. However, I will posit that Facebook is dead man walking and they don't know it.

Facebook is losing members. Facebook is losing relevance. Facebook will go the way of MySpace. I can hear the gasps now.

In the technology sphere, what goes up, must come down. Remember how Lotus Notes once dominated the market space. Remember DEC -- Digital Equipment. Let me take you further back. Lowell Massachusetts was the home on Wang -- a company that went from zero to the stratosphere with dedicated word processors. They went the way of the dodo bird.

Those crazy valuations of Facebook that one is hearing about should be a sign to investors. Get out now, and sell short. You won't regret it.

What will come next? I don't know. But what history teaches us, that fad cycles are getting shorter and shorter, and a plethora of new offerings are coming to the market daily. One of them will reach the tipping point, go viral, and make a new billionaire, leaving the oldies (of less than ten years) in the dust.