All Things Techie With Huge, Unstructured, Intuitive Leaps

New MacBook Pro

I just unboxed a new MacBook Pro.  Interesting to see that Apple thinks that the iCloud totally replaces a CD/DVD drive.  I wonder what the automagic signing up of me to the iCloud when I setup up the machine for the first time, does to my privacy.  Just saying ....

Concepts to Cogitate

(click on pic to get the whole nine yards)

I started working with graph databases this morning.  Life is sometimes a graph.  (  It struck me that a graph database can describe complex and fuzzy relationships.  Here is the rub though -- it takes a human to interpret these fuzzy relationships.  A graph database can store them and retrieve them and make machine inferences using them, but it really can't understand them.

Scroll down to the blog entry below on Machine Consciousness and you will get the drift of what I am talking about.  I met my friend Al at the venue pictured above, and he asked a cogent, rhetorical question:

"At what point does logic become intelligence?"

It was an amazing insight into the foundations of intelligence and quite a cogent one.  Without logic, there is no intelligence.  It is almost a precursor.  To a sophisticated state machine, there is lots of logic. What is required to make the leap to intelligence?  Interesting, and to be continued.

Java - determine an image or file exists

One of our programmers asked me how to determine if an image or a file exists last week, so I thought that I would post this code snippet for anyone else that needs a reminder.

String thumbnail = <put the name of image or file here>
   File iFile = new File(config.getServletContext().getRealPath("/")
    + "albums/" + thumbnail);  //we keep all of our images in a directory called albums
   if (iFile.exists()) {
    String thisImage = "albums/"+ thumbnail;
     }  else {
        String thisImage = "albums/"+ "noImage.jgp";
catch (Exception e)
  System.out.println("Can't find image.");

Hope this helps someone.

Musings on Machine Consciousness or Artificial Consciousness

(click on photograph to enlarge)

I was walking along a country road and I came upon this scene picture above.  The picture really does no justice to the rolling hils, the lines, folds and textures as well as the light and dark areas.  As you eye takes in the panorama in real life, you realize that it is a magical place that makes you feel numinous.

And right in front of me, was a guy with a huge piece of paper, trying to capture the scene with a charcoal sketch in preparation for a painting.  The back of his VW stationwagon was lifted open and sketches were scattered all over the car.  I peeked at his sketches, and we started talking.

As it turned out, he was from Australia,  an ex-computer engineer, a mainframe guy who was now an artist and had been for over 20 years.  He earns his living with his art.

We got to talking about stuff, computers and such, and the magnificent scene in front of us, and the impossibility of reproducing and how it made us both feel numinous and from there we got on to consciousness.

I brought up the topic that Ray Kurzweil had predicted a machine with a soul with his book "The Age of A Spiritual Machine".  My new-friend begged to differ, citing that we really didn't know what consciousness was, so how could we emulate or even create it on doped silicon.

I wanted to beg to differ with the artist.  My own neural nets tell me that consciousness is an over-developed tropism.  Plants started it with phototropism for the leaves and geotropism for the roots, and after several hundred million years of evolution gone wild, the tropisms developed into senses, the brain evolved to process the sensory stimuli and it didn't stop.  We developed the ability to abstract, to think, and to integrate the sensory data to knowledge and preserve and pass it on to our species.

This got me to thinking about how a primitive artificial consciousness would be formulated in a computer.  We already have the prototypes with QoS circuits in servers monitored Quality of Service.  We have a heartbeat, plus all sorts of monitors that read and report on processes, cycles, peripherals, services and such.  Right now, these QoS circuits report to humans.  They would have to report to the machine itself.  And the machine would have to react to them.

How it reacts is the tricky part.  In humans, we react to our sensory input by abstracting it to a higher plane.  If for example, our heart skips a beat, we start worrying about a heart attack.  What it means for machine consciousness, is that the data integration into information and finally stringing information into knowledge has to be developed.  As a further step, knowledge must be abstracted into an ideal that can be applied to many other things.  For example, any child knows the following ideal:

Using this ideal, a child can match the above to this:

And with even a bit of cogitation, a child can match the abstract with this:

So, just to recap to this point, a computer would need sensory inputs from everything about itself, hardware and software, and then it would need some powerful inference tools to sort the Big Data from its sensors into information, and from there in knowledge and from there, into an abstract ideal, or an interface if you will, in programming language.

We haven't touched the world outside the computer yet.  But we are not done.  Once we have the knowledge bits, we need some emotions bits if we are to match the human experience.  I'm not saying that we really need that.  The computer conscious could be a Spock-on-steroids who has no emotions, but that wouldn't be fun, would it?

Emotions need qualitative judgements and reactions to those qualitative judgements.  In a human being, if we are worried, our performance is impaired.  If we were to match this in a machine, worry would spawn threads that would impair performance based on whether the machine was bummed out or not.  But how would a machine express happiness?  Would it be by innocuous things like playing mp3s when it should be doing floating point co-processing?

My Australian friend said that we would never develop Artificial Consciousness.  Moi, I say that what I have brought up are mere details.  There will be frameworks upon frameworks that will give the computer a good idea of what is going on, how the computer should react, and that there is a whole other world outside the binary bits and bytes of the doped Gallium Arsenide matrices and PNP and NPN junctions in its transistor neurons. It's a scary thought when a computer first comes to the realization of an outside world, but damn, it would be exciting.   More to come.

E-ZPASS Malware Spam

The malware and virus injection spammers are getting more creative, and it has got me to wondering that this isn't originating from Russia.  Only Western hackers, and virus scum know about E-ZPass which is the transponder system on interstate highways in North America.  Some of the E-ZPass setups photograph your licence plate and send you a bill in the mail.  These guy want you to download your invoice.  Yeah, right.  Here is the email in its comic entiretyl

E-ZPass Collection Agency <>

Dear customer,

You have not paid for driving on a toll road. This invoice is sent repeatedly,
please service your debt in the shortest possible time.

The invoice can be downloaded here.

There are a couple of ironic and funny things about this piece of malicious spam.  First, it is sent from a hacked inactive site of a Catholic girls school run by nuns in Dombivli, India.  The school is call St. Therese in Dombivli.  Going to the site lights up all of my antivirus protection and Chrome won't go there as well due the virus-laden site.  But if you look at the footer of the email, they have an entry call Phishing Policy, and that is exactly what they are doing -- phishing for your private information.

You would think that since this is a Window virus, Microsoft would have solved the virus problem long ago, but they don't have the will to, or Windows is such a piece of crap that it cannot be done.

Microsoft Word ~ Capitalizing Each Word

I had a list of things in a Word document and I wanted to capitalize each word.  I didn't know how.  I had to look it up. Here is how you do it.

Make sure that you are in the standard Home tab.   In the Font area of choices, look for the icon markedwith “Aa”.  After making sure that your text is selected, click on this icon & choose "Capitalize Each Word", the last of the selections as shown:

  • Sentence Case
  • Lower Case
  • Capitalize Each Word

Hope this helps someone.

27 Ways To Make Your Webpages Load Faster

 27 ways to make your webpages load faster

  1. Avoid a character set in the meta tag 
  2. Avoid bad requests
  3. Avoid CSS @import 
  4. Avoid landing page redirects
  5. Combine images using CSS sprites 
  6. Defer parsing of JavaScript 
  7. Enable gzip compression 
  8. Enable Keep-Alive 
  9. Inline small CSS 
  10. Inline small JavaScript 
  11. Leverage browser caching
  12. Minify CSS 
  13. Minify HTML
  14. Minify JavaScript
  15. Minimize redirects 
  16. Minimize request size 
  17. Optimize images
  18. Optimize the order of styles and scripts 
  19. Prefer asynchronous resources
  20. Put CSS in the document head 
  21. Remove query strings from static resources 
  22. Serve resources from a consistent URL 
  23. Serve scaled images 
  24. Specify a cache validator 
  25. Specify a character set early 
  26. Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header
  27. Specify image dimensions 
Hope this helps.

The "I Quit" Spam Insult Spam

I tell you, the spammers and malware guys are getting more and more entertaining.  I recently got a piece of spam that had the subject:

Subject:  Can you handle $365 every 100 minutes?

When I looked at the body of the message, it said this:


I'm done taking crap from you. I've worked myself to the bone for 8 years now and you don't appreciate a thing I do for you.
You're arrogant, egotistical and you have no loyalty whatsoever. Every time I EVER did anything right, you always took credit for it…and I let you…because I was scared of losing my job.
A true leader takes the blame when things go wrong, and praises the people who did the job when things go right…YOU do it the opposite.

I found someone who takes me seriously: blah blah lots of parameters

I don't need you anymore.


See you tonight.

1342 ar allen RD
Beaverton, OR 97008,
Canada, 23r4rd street

It's hilarious.  The URL domain for the link is  I didn't bother checking it out, because of lot of sites that inject malware or viruses are legitimate sites.  They have been hacked with a weak password and the hackers add a new page that injects malware or viruses.  The new page is not seen unless you log in as admin and do a directory listing of all of the directories and look for a file that doesn't belong.

Note the address.  They can't decide where they are in Canada or the US with fake street names that don't even make sense.

I hope that nobody falls for this, but I bet that a fair amount are tempted just by sheer curiosity.

The Twegomaniac ~ The Twitter Follower/Unfollower Egomaniacs

My goodness, call me James Audubon and fly me to the moon.  I have discovered a new species of bird ~ the Twegomaniac.  This was a rare big that is becoming quite common.

The bird is part of fauna that exists in the Twitterverse.  There cry is "Follow Me, Follow Me" and to get you to do that, they follow you first.  But they are like the cuckoo bird who fools its host.  Once you abide by the Twitter netiquette and follow them, they unfollow you.  It's all about them.  They are the birdbrain egomaniacs who thinks that size matters.  They were born with a small size, and to try and enlarge it, instead of having the personality and content to get followers (like Jesus, Ghandi or Clint Eastwood's Empty Chair), they have to resort to trickery.  They just don't have the right stuff.

So how do you know if you have come across a Twegomaniac in your follow list?  The biggest clue is that you have never heard of them, and they have 100,000 follows and 200,000 followers.  The other identifying feature is a big asshole.

So how do you protect yourself from these odious creatures and droppings that they leave all over your home page before they leave.  There are a plethora of tools out there to help detect unfollowers.  I have been known to use the free aspect of as a pest control method.  There are many more.  Beware of the Twegomaniac.