Monday, October 31, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Oddly enough, it doesn't work that way. The chances of a 1 are around 30%, almost three times what one might expect. This phenomenon, known as Benford's Law, applies in all sorts of disparate cases (areas of rivers, constants, figures used in newspapers, debits in an accounting report, etc.). The distribution of starting digits is shown in the following chart.
Finding an even distribution of starting digits can be a really good indicator of someone fudging the numbers.
Mathworld offers an in-depth explanation.
Visual Studio 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
"I/O Brush is a new drawing tool to explore colors, textures, and movements found in everyday materials by "picking up" and drawing with them. I/O Brush looks like a regular physical paintbrush but has a small video camera with lights and touch sensors embedded inside. Outside of the drawing canvas, the brush can pick up color, texture, and movement of a brushed surface. On the canvas, artists can draw with the special "ink" they just picked up from their immediate environment."
(ht:Drawn!, return of the reluctant)
Friday, October 28, 2005
River City Gazette: "We've Got Trouble With a Capital B!"
The publishing industry is becoming progressively more electronic. What if everyone had a printing press? With blogging and the Net, more than ever, not only is it looking like everyone does indeed have a printing press, but also a printing press capable of producing millions of copies nearly for free. Due to the nature of electronic media, the quality of an online publication is largely limited only by the boundaries of human talent; clearly legions of talented individuals are connected to the Net, and many of them are new rising stars collectively capturing the attention of millions of readers.
Undoubtedly, the publishing environment existing on the Net amounts to a more competitive playing field for publishers than ever was the case in print. It really comes as no surprise to me when old school publishers trash bloggers and point out the worst examples of blogging they can find. Oh, we've got trouble in River City. Maybe, just maybe, there are some vested interests at stake here.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Sony's Bouncing Balls
Computer Graphics: Derivative of Fame?
Very Famous Model = Not Famous Model + Computer Graphics
Computer Graphics = Very Famous Model - Not Famous Model
"LONDON – Relatively unknown Italian model Mariacarla Boscono and a set of computer graphics will replace Kate Moss as the face of H&M, the Swedish retailer has confirmed..."
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Oh, the things you'll find for sale on eBay...
"This was a very loved cat & is for sale because the kids are scared by it."
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
Manhattan Short Film Festival Ad
Sunday, October 23, 2005
The number of chilren's books I've read to my sons grows slowly but steadily. Of all so far, I have to say that those written by Kate DiCamillo are some of my absolute favorites. Her stories are wonderful. Her prose is most excellent in its timing and rhythm. It flows so gracefully and effortlessly. And that isn't always the case with children's books. I've often been surprised by the rambling, syncopated tongue-twisters penned by some authors of children's books, even classics.
Over the weekend, I picked up my wife's copy of Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer's book on Mormonism. It took only a few pages to suck me in, and it has been hard to put it down. Great writing, fascinating, riveting! Did you know that Joseph Smith once commanded an army half the size of the U.S. Army at the time?
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Cirque du Soleil
Last night, we took our children to Cirque du Soleil's Corteo. There are little moments in life, moments difficult to duplicate or predict, when you see the faces of your children overjoyed and enthralled in magical wonder. So it was. Bravo!
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Computational Photography @ East Anglia
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The Collective Worry Stack
"These people are under continual disquietudes, never enjoying a minutes peace of mind; and their disturbances proceed from causes which very little affect the rest of mortals. Their apprehensions arise from several changes they dread in the celestial bodies: for instance, that the earth, by the continual approaches of the sun towards it, must, in course of time, be absorbed, or swallowed up; that the face of the sun, will, by degrees, be encrusted with its own effluvia, and give no more light to the world; that the earth very narrowly escaped a brush from the tail of the last comet, which would have infallibly reduced it to ashes; and that the next, which they have calculated for one-and-thirty years hence, will probably destroy us. For if, in its perihelion, it should approach within a certain degree of the sun (as by their calculations they have reason to dread) it will receive a degree of heat ten thousand times more intense than that of red hot glowing iron, and in its absence from the sun, carry a blazing tail ten hundred thousand and fourteen miles long, through which, if the earth should pass at the distance of one hundred thousand miles from the nucleus, or main body of the comet, it must in its passage be set on fire, and reduced to ashes: that the sun, daily spending its rays without any nutriment to supply them, will at last be wholly consumed and annihilated; which must be attended with the destruction of this earth, and of all the planets that receive their light from it.They are so perpetually alarmed with the apprehensions of these, and the like impending dangers, that they can neither sleep quietly in their beds, nor have any relish for the common pleasures and amusements of life. When they meet an acquaintance in the morning, the first question is about the sun’s health, how he looked at his setting and rising, and what hopes they have to avoid the stroke of the approaching comet. This conversation they are apt to run into with the same temper that boys discover in delighting to hear terrible stories of spirits and hobgoblins, which they greedily listen to, and dare not go to bed for fear." -- Gulliver's Travels, Chapter 2
Apple's new RAW imaging app.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Sampling from the Simplex
The Sum of All Nags
Connecting my camera is like running a gauntlet. Everybody wants to help me so much. I'm beginning to feel like the little old lady who was helped across the street by the zealous boy scout; helped, even though she didn't want to go.
My new car is in on the game now too. It's a stick, and when I put it in reverse, it emits a shrill, relentless beep until I get my act together, do the sensible thing and chuck it back into a gear labelled with a number. The least they could have done is chosen a soothing a British female voice. "Sir, I just want you to know your auto is in reverse." Backing up without my seatbelt buckled unleashes a cacophanous chorus. Oh, there's a shrill beep for that too. If the passenger's not buckled, I imagine it's a trio rivaled only by the howling hounds of hell.
In each particular instance, it probably makes sense to an individual developer. "Oh, my little nag won't be annoying. It's just one little nag!" But I'm having a problem with the sum of all nags. They add up to a collective irritation akin to a virtual nagging spouse.
I think Paul Ford may have the right idea, returning to WordPerfect for DOS. I think I'm ready to return to my 1985 Honda Civic too. :-)
Monday, October 17, 2005
Bayesian Filtering & the if statement
"A very senior Microsoft developer who moved to Google told me that Google works and thinks at a higher level of abstraction than Microsoft. "Google uses Bayesian filtering the way Microsoft uses the if statement," he said. That's true. Google also uses full-text-search-of-the-entire-Internet the way Microsoft uses little tables that list what error IDs correspond to which help text. Look at how Google does spell checking: it's not based on dictionaries; it's based on word usage statistics of the entire Internet, which is why Google knows how to correct my name, misspelled, and Microsoft Word doesn't."
Sunday, October 16, 2005
In a much more laid back environment...
"One bright young Harvard grad I met at the party has a job as the full-time, personal system administrator maintaining the PC of a famous hedge fund manager ... (Dude, come work for Fog Creek... we can waste your talent in a much more laid back environment.)"
Friday, October 14, 2005
Bayesian Inference & Occam's Razor
In chapter 28 of his book Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms, David MackKay uses an example of a box behind a tree as a demonstration of the embodiment of Occam's razor in Bayesian inference.
What's behind the tree? One box or two? What is the basis for the belief?
I really enjoyed the discussion and his example. The book is available online as a PDF, and the example begins on page 343.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Scrabble with Transatlantic Arms
Sitting side-by-side and, via wi-fi laptops, manipulating a Scrabble board existing somewhere across the Atlantic on a British computer. Something inside me says, "Now, that's just plain wrong." Sigh. But, still, enjoyable.
Convolution of Gaussians
Consequently, in an image processing application, a Gaussian Blur of radius 3 followed by a Gaussian Blur of radius 4 should produce the same result as a single Gaussian Blur of radius 5 (give or take some rounding error).
Looking at the BrightSide
I've been reading about the HDR monitors manufactured by BrightSide, a Canadian company. The contrast range provided is extremely impressive, a range of 200,000:1, and that doesn't merely amount to finer resolution, these displays get much brighter than existing displays (10X, they claim). And before you get your hopes up, needless to say, at nearly $50K they're expensive and targeted at specialized applications.
Articles: bit-tech, hardware secrets, Tom's Hardware, Engadget
Sunday, October 09, 2005
DARPA Grand Challenge 2005
More info and links at Machine Learning (Theory)...
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Sometimes Things Are Not What They Seem
An interesting story I hadn't heard before...
Many years ago, we had a rash of airplane hijackings in this country, particularly out of Miami airport. One such plane was hijacked on its way to New York. “Turn the plane around and head for Havana,” ordered the hijacker gruffly. The pilot could tell that the man was desperate, so he did what the hijacker said. When the gunman tried to intimidate the passengers, however, they started roaring with laughter. No matter what the hijacker did, the passengers laughed. They laughed all the way to Havana. They laughed while the plane was on the ground and tense negotiations were going on between Cuban and American authorities. They laughed when the plane was allowed to resume its flight to New York. They turned the whole experience into a big party. Only one man was not laughing, besides the hijacker and the pilot. He didn’t get the joke. In fact he was worried that the hijacker would react violently to the laughter of the other passengers. The whole experience was miserable for this one passenger. His name? Allen Funt, host of the popular CANDID CAMERA. When the other passengers saw that Allen Funt was on board, they assumed this was all a prank. They were waiting for someone to say, “Surprise! You’re on Candid Camera.”
From: "Lessons From The Pequot War Presented to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington May 29, 2005 Rev. Paul Ratzlaff"
Friday, October 07, 2005
Photography and Photo-related Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union
(ht: languor management, wood s lot)
"Then he hit the streets. The idea was simple: pay beggars a few dollars to let him attach a glossy, green PokerFaceBook ad to their own signs, and drivers scanning the beggars' rumpled, hand-lettered pleas would inevitably notice his."
To such objections, the resolutely sunny entrepreneur merely shrugs.
"Possibly insensitive," he said. "Definitely accurate."
3 Execs leaving Adobe, 5 from Macromedia join
Poetry & Aeroplanes
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Glass & Light
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Sony Ericsson K750i
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
A Lineman the Size of a Bug
Sunday, October 02, 2005
The Polyphonic Spree
I keep running into The Polyphonic Spree--on soundtracks, that is. Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind marked the first time I heard their song Light & Day, which I believe was also in an iPod commercial before it showed up again in the film Murderball. Yesterday, we saw Thumbsucker and half the songs were Spree songs. I'm not sure what to call this white-robed 25-person group (a band or a choir?) but they're certainly unique and talented enough to be worthy of a blog plug. Check 'em out.