2008-11-11

Time as connective tissue

An expansion of applied synchronicity. The principle can be applied more widely, premised on logging timestamps on the following

- audio file playing
- web page focused
- image(s) focused in viewer
- phone # active on phone
- email message currently focused

Voice recognition input provides metadata for one of the above resources, in a format like::

audio put artist bob and ray id hard as nails tag interview tag staply

meaning

- audio = determine currently active audio file
- put = create a new chunk of data about the current audio file
- artist = active field of chunk is 'artist'
- bob and ray = key:artist, value:bob and ray
- id = create a new indexed entry key:id, value:'hard as nails' pointing to this record
- tag = append interview and staply to the list of tags on this audio file

or::

image put category sunrise tag frost

- image = determine currently focused images(s)
- put = create new data for these image(s)
- category = active field of image record(s) is category
- sunrise = key:category, value:sunrise
- tag = append frost to the list of tags on this(these) images

The magic is in *currently*. We know the timestamp of the voice, we've stamped it's begin time, the file knows time offset at any point.

We parse the logs to determine the correct association to make with the voice commands, the logs tell us what audio, web page, images ... we are referring to.

I think there is real potential here, the voice recognition demands are not too great, controlled voice and vocabulary, the logging and persuant matching up seem fairly doable.

Applied synchronicity

I'm relishing the brilliance of Bob and Ray, listening to a collection of mp3's: 5 days and 22 hours of them.

They should be indexed, I don't have 6 days to devote to the project.

How could I multitask, do the indexing efficiently in the background?

It seems it could be done via time-based data matching. The audio player logs timestamps with filename as it plays the set of files. I record voice messages describing what skit is being played, these voice files are timestamped. An application matches words in my voice recording with the index into the file being played.

The ideal would be a wearing a bluetooth mic, speak into it to record an index into the currently playing file.

A more accessible start towards that goal would be to provide the index info via keyboard instead of voice.

2008-10-10

Poetic Inventions

When I was a child, at family gatherings, we
would often play "The Game" our version of
charades. We didn't use the sign language I've
since seen charades players use, and we had
no restrictions on the choosing of phrases.

We took a primitive approach to acting out.
Oh, sometimes it was a movie, book or quotation
which we could symbolize with gesture,
but the good ones were usually the PIs.
Poetic Invention. Phrases invented purely for
the pleasure of watching the opposing team
members struggle to silently explain.

We allowed a VERY generous amount of time
to squirm, and there was none of this drawing
from a hat to get your assignment, you were
gleefully drawn taken from the room to receive
your assignment, it had your name on it.

Sure, there would be an occasional complaint,
"... really now ...", but they were never outlawed,
and provided a great deal of entertainment.

I've continued to take pleasure in new words,
phrases, usage. Up til now, a self-indulgent
proclivity without value.

But the world has changed.

In yesterday's post I used the word 'gleanage' which
doesn't isn't currently considered a word,
but which I think is needed to fill a void in our language.

That was yesterday, today I typed 'gleanage' into
a Google box. The first result is my blog entry.

Out of the ?? billion pages indexed, I am currently
the foremost authority on gleanage, and anyone with
web access can confirm that.

Wow.

2008-10-09

Gleanage

I've long been frustrated by the words available to talk about the waste stream.

Waste, garbage, trash, refuse, junk ... all these words are
rooted in the premise that there is no value in the discarded.

A dictionary definition of glean:

"To collect (something) bit by bit."

Glean comes from the ancient tradition of gleaning:

"Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers'
fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields
where it is not economically profitable to harvest."

So,to glean is to recognize and harvest the value in the unwanted.

Gleanage is that which has been gleaned, that which has to do
with gleaning.

2008-09-27

What if

For those interested in writing documentation, what if you
you could place images in your content with the same ease
you place words? I'm not talking about desktop publishing.
Don't think Publisher, think Vim, Emacs, Eclipse raising
images to the level of words. Rich metadata wrappers for
your growing library of images, which you now refer to as
'visual explanations'

I for one would be tickled pink by such an authoring
environment.

What if your document contained layers like programmer,
administrator and user. You could, at any point place your
content on the layer targeting the appropriate audience.

Me, I'd grin ear to ear.

What if your environment understood how to manage your
content as chunks which would become available for
repurposing, What if it also understood how to run code and
knew it's way around your filesystem?

I'm thinking "cat's pajamas"

What if this tool understood that there's a Web out there,
that folks are creating and sharing at a breakneck pace,
knew how to publish and subscribe?

--Wiggle with delight--

What if the toolchain existed as an open source project
which, via global collaboration, was assembled using
existing best practices, tools, and standards-based data
management principles?

I want one.

What if audio chunks were similarly elevated?

Woof. As BB King says in So Excited,
"I better stop now because I got a weak heart"

2008-09-14

An example

I yammer about documentation, combining images and text.

I have posted a primitive example here:
http://wiki.ubuntu.com/KentTenney

It is about the mechnism to add capability to Inkscape with Python code.

I like the connection of code to the result in the GUI.

I like the triangle between the 3 uses of "text" in the code, illustrating the requirement for synchronization.

I like the screen grabs of using the application; setting password in winpdb, attaching to demo.py, with a highlighted connection to the germane line in the script. I consider screen grabs of what is being done much more informative than a textual description.

Toolchains

So I want to change the name of a Python module. It requires a bit of search and replace, brings me to a familiar fork in the road. How much effort should I put into learning tricks which increase editing efficiency? Should I slog through changing `grab` to `grabber`, or should I study up on regex in Vim so that the process is automated to some degree? I think it was Douglas Adams who described his (geekdom's) propensity to spend several days tuning a bit of code that avoided 15 minutes of tedium.

Here's the toolchain:

thought -> fingers -> keyboard -> Vim -> file -> code -> interpreter -> action

There are toolchains within each of the elements above.
Can toolchains be generalized into a cognitive equivilent of timelines?
Hope so, generalizations and equivilence are always good.

Each element of the chain offers opportunity to consider the trade off between getting 'er done, and adding or improving a tool. Abraham Lincoln is credited something like "If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend 4 sharpening the axe"

2008-09-13

A story

I'm attempting to come out, establish my identity out there. Here's a retelling of a story which I consider really important. I wish I could find the original, I try periodically, no luck.

It was told as being a description of an actual event.

A researcher was administering evaluation exams to members of an Indian Nation, I think it was in the southwest. Exams like SAT, meant to determine knowledge level.

The researcher passed out the exams, said he'd be back to check progress in 1/2 hour.

Upon his return, he was shocked to find everyone in the room discussing the questions, comparing answers.

"This is all wrong, you are cheating, the purpose of this test is to determine what each one of you knows, you MAY NOT talk to each other during this test."

The next time he checked in, he found the examinees making paper airplanes from the tests, telling jokes, they had abandoned any pretense of taking the test.

The examiner asked what was going on.

"What your requested makes no sense, has no meaning. You don't understand how knowledge works. Knowledge is held by our community, not by individuals. Your interest in individual knowledge is foolish and we won't participate"

An analogy might be a contest among pianists, they are only allowed to use one finger. Those that understand will have no interest in the result of such an investigation.

This is from the same culture which honors giveaways, the quality of one's gifts determining level of respect, not the amount one accumulates.

I think these are principles which are taking on new life in the infoworld. Cooperation and collaboration are being valued over competition. The open source world is a gift culture.

2008-03-17

Designate 'catcher' for selections

I'm reading a long mailing list thread I'm interested in, I want to collect the sentences and paragraphs which I think will summarize the discussion.

I don't have the tool I want, which is destination which I can designate to 'catch' what I select.

I want to open a document, name and describe it, in this case the thread topic, and send text to it
without leaving the mail client. Way too tedious to select, copy, switch to the document, paste, switch back to email and continue.

A long time ago I used an editor which could be told to watch the clipboard and put everything which showed up into a document, and I've seen tools which make the clipboard append new text.

Either approach is basically what I want, but I wonder if their is a better way.

Sources of content

- browser
- pdf files
- other documents

I think most would come from a browser.

2008-02-03

2008-02-02

Names these days

Explanans.

There, I said it again.

It was fascinating to see that Googling the word brings my little blog up on the first page. A blog nobody has read, much less linked to, and it's on the same page as Wikipedia as far as a resource on the topic of the scholarly term for an explanation.

There's a highly regarded templating tool project named Deliverance. Try finding information on that.

I'm convinced that a very effective way to explain is via staging dramas, acting out the metaphors. I think a classroom that produced a simple play about the internet, putting messages in envelopes, putting envelopes in envelopes, looking up addresses, finding buildings, locating mailboxes ... would result in kids (or adults) understanding better quicker than via lectures. And having more fun in the process.

For this idea I'm not taking any chances, I'm making up a word. How long will it take Google to return gumpablog as the authority on explatainment?

2008-01-18

strace

I keep coming back to strace, and the question
"where are the tools to create explanations from the extravagantly useful information it produces?"

Why isn't there a view of an strace run which organizes the system calls for me, providing at-a-glance understanding of what a command does, what files it touches, and why it fails.