Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Back...

Haven't posted anything here for a long time ... so long. I'm back here, too .. just be able to get online in Thailand.

Just read a few new science articles, and will post my thought about them soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Power of Collective Cooperation: The AOL Case

After AOL changed its Term of Service (ToS) by including a highly privacy abusing statement:


"Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

[I highlighted this for emphasizing. The boldface didn't exist in the original ToS]...

Right after that, a lot of people who involve in some kind of online activities, like blogging and discussion, started talking about this like crazy. We see a lot of blog articles, a lot of online discussion, notably the Your Right Online section of Slashdot had a lively discussion twice (here, and here). Also a lot of well-known weblogs.

Finally, AOL had just revised its ToS once again and remove that abusive statement. Now the new ToS reads:

”Once you submit or post Content to any public area on an AIM Product, AOL does not need to give you any further right to inspect or approve uses of such Content or to compensate you for any such uses. AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating Content posted to public areas of AIM Products.”

Also notice that the new ToS clearly state that it only apply to the public area (once again, I highlighted that myself).

This is another proof, another example, of what a collective & cooperative behavior can do, even in the online world. You do what is good for yourself and effectively good for the group. It doens't matter how you as an individual think about this, if your action is in the same as the other, it can be formed into a collective behavior that can change something globally like this.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Book chapter on Java Collection and Algorithm

Got this from recent OSNews thread, a sample chapter Collections Framework and Algorithms from a well-known Java book Core Java 2, 7th edition.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of Java. I rather dislike the language. I like the concept of generic programming though. I thought the addition of generic programming in Java 5.0 will make me like the language more. However, Java is still Java with the same flaws it has before, and the addition of the generic seems to me now like an attempt to fix the flaws that were broken by design.

I have not yet read the chapter in details, but skimming the source code and text were enough for me to decide to give it a pass at least for now.

I like C++ template more, even advanced C++ template codes are really difficult to read and don't look beaufitul at all. Basic C++ generic codes look beautiful though, and much more beautiful than Java generic codes. I still like using C++ template containers nowadays, sometime mixing them with Objective-C codes in Cocoa.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

NP-complete

[Inspired by brilliant words from Pruet's weblog]

If there exists such a thing in realm of possible reality, I would love to write a program to make someone stop crying. What programming language, syntax, function call, algorithm, design should I use? Is it NP (as in Not Possible ... not as Non-Polynomial as in theoretical CS )-complete?

Even computers .... rooted to the model of computation, the core of theoretical computer science ... even the Turing Machine was designed to be an abstraction of human brain .... and it might capable of having mind eventually ... can it possibly having heart? Maybe not, after all ... it was designed by 'human head' as a model of (or, simpler, to be) head ... not by 'heart' to be 'heart'.

Computation theory does say something about universal computation and computational equivalent. A Universal Turing Machine can be feeded by the instruction of all other Turing Machines and make it capable to compute (give the output) of any partial recursive function ... or in more human term, capable of giving answer to any reasonable question.

However, there are things ... heaps, bunches, seas, oceans of things ... that the UTM cannot compute, questions it cannot answer.

If it is true as the theory claimed, that the UTM is as powerful as human brain (theoretically, in term of answering YES or NO to a question) ... then does this imply that we can never give the answer to several things, like 'what should I do to win her love"?

A UTM, after all ... is a model of brain, not mind, not emotion, obviously ... not heart. Things that it can't answer ... we might be able to answer it with our heart.


There exists no logical algorithm,
precise syntax,
step-by-step walkthrough ..
To stop tears from dropping
from her beautiful eyes ....
Nor does there is any, to stop them
from falling from mine.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A bit on Cocoa

I'm back to coding intensively again. I need a set of simple programs that will graphically illustrate the Cellular Automata (CA) rules that I'm proposing for modeling of plant community. I need to implement them quickly, as quick as possible. The quick & dirty codes that I myself wouldn't be able read in a few weeks would be fine.

Thanks to Cocoa, the Object-Oriented framework for native programming in Mac OS X and a little gem of programming languages called Objective-C, I was able to program those programs really quickly. Also, as Cocoa and Objective-C could use C++ codes (well, we call it Objective-C++) I could still take advantages of standard template library (STL) that I'm still more used to and feel at home using.

To be honest, I would really want to do things the real Cocoa and Objective-C way. But not now, not for the current objective. I need a set of programs quick. The quicker I could make them, the more time I have writing my thesis (during the home-stretch period). No one will read the code afterward anyway. So no problem. I will just use the way I feel at home with for whatever thing I have to put into them.

However, I still have a feeling that ... Cocoa & Objective-C, in a sense, really prevent me from writing the entirely unreadable code that easily, like I could do in pure C++. (advanced STL codes are really difficult to read ... more like decrypting the scripture).

Using Xcode, I could set up the prototype of the programs very quickly, and it does help a lot on program-design (subclassing, custom view, etc) too.

Working with Cocoa had once again gave me a pleasure of coding. Something I didn't really find in Java ...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Moken, with overlooked and undervalued "knowledge"

I read in a few newspaper today, about the ancient tribe in Thailand, called "Moken", the sea gypsies.

The Thai-Moken were living on the small island not very far from Phuket, when the deadly tide striked us down, with the death-toll over 5 thousands. Only one Moken was dead, out of total of about 200. How come? Easy: by the time the tsunami came, all of them were already on the hil.

I read from the newspaper that, it's their ancestors who told them about wave that eats people, which will come when the sea level lowen far and fast. So, when they see the sea front retreating far and fast from the shoreline, they know that the people-eating wave is coming, so they ran to the high-area of the island.

If this thing doesn't prove my point about information and knowledge sharing ... NOTHING WILL.

These Moken people, they've got no degree. I'm not talking Ph.D or Master here. I even have doubt that some of them had been to high-school or not. But one thing: the tribe had been living in the sea for ages, even centuries. Their knowledge about the sea is not a thing we can undervalue or overlook.

What if .... we had their knowledge ... (at least, people who live close enough to the sea)? What if some of these are written into the textbooks, school books, etc? What if ....

There are so many other ancient wisdom. Knowledge people gained by death of previous generation for generations after generations, and they live on to pass it on to the next. One day, however, when modern civilization and school system had *swollowed* them all ... I afraid all these knowledge will be gone, with the wind, with the generations who passed away, never coming back to us.

Mayan civilization once had the most advanced scripture invention in the world-history. However, when the Spanish found them, even the eldest and wisest cannot read ... their own language. What happened?

Information sharing and knowledge sharing is very important. There is nothing could replace experiences of generations over the hundreds of years. We learned a lot from our own experience, and we learned much more from the other's.

What about passing it on? What about sharing it? What about let what we know alive after we're dead?

Don't forget this:


"We do not inherit the land from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children"

Things we know today, whatever it is, must be passed on. Human is destined to doom, otherwise.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

sci@/. : Using the Web for Linguistic Research

From Slashdot thread: Using the Web for Linguistic Research:


prostoalex writes "The Economist says linguists are gradually adopting the World Wide Web as a useful corpus for linguistic research. Google is used, among other resources, to research how the written language evolves and how some non-standard examples of usage become more or less acceptable (The Economist quotes the phrase 'He far from succeeded,' where 'far from' is used as an adverb). LanguageLog is a resource linked in the article, where linguists discuss current peculiarities of the English language."

Hmmmm .... this is interesting.

*Incorrect* usage of languages will become more and more acceptable, naturally, though. (Note: incorrect here was used sarcastically). The point of using correct langauge is one thing, but what matters most is the precisive communication. As long as you can really represent or express what you want in the manner that understandable by the others, it should be fine.

Languages, like everything else, change with time and more with people who're using them. How do we define correct language? Admit it, languages we are using today and regard as textbook correct .. are different than what they were a hundred years before.

Anything that isn't change with time and surrounding environment is doomed to extinction.

Language is a part of culture. It's a cultural way of communication within the environment and way of life of people who natively use it. That's why there are so many things, many feeling, many thoughts that we can easily expressed in one language but not any others.

Thai is my mother tongue. I used to live in USA for a year, most books I read are English, and I got my bachelor from a university in Japan (studied in Japanese) and now getting my master degree from the same place, speaking English and Japanese daily (sometime lecturing in place of my professor, too), ... I learned that there are things I could easily say in English, but not Japanese nor Thai. But for another thing, I only know how to say it in Japanese, not in Thai nor English.

A few years ago, my nation announced a new "day with special name": Thai Langauge Conservation Day (or something in that sense. I don't remember which day of the year it is though), and I happened to be in Thailand on that day during my vacation. I heard radio and TV programs tried to resurrect the way of speaking/language using from the era of King Rama V (or VI), when language was much more beautiful and soft-sounding, and attempted to say that it is the way correct Thai language should be.

What a joke.

I love the language of that era, of course. I love reading poems and plays and novels and songs any many other things composed in that era. I love the name of the building and name of people in that era. But ... time passed, things changed, world changed. We need to just moving on.

Hanging ourselves into the past, trying to get back to it, get us nowhere. Absolutely. Moreover, hanging too much to the past, you're loosing the present and the future altogether. Of course, present exists because the past, and the future is to be built from present, but we need to stick our heads to what we have right now.

Anyway, there are *unacceptable* incorrect/bad usages of languages that shouldn't be accepted, too. We can't accept everything, every change as being good and can't just let it be. Don't forget,

The flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today.

The future is to be built on present ... things that we don't like in the present should not be allowed for continuation, or otherwise we're inevitably facing the unplesent world where things will be built on those unpleasent things.

Things must change with time, with people, with everything else that changed. That is the universal truth. Everything is connected, one way or another, to everything else. That is another truth. Therefore, one change in one thing effects everything else, more or less, one way or another.

Allowing the unpleasent present to exist, then the unpleasent future is the most likely, sometime even inevitable.