2008-12-29

Let 3: Tazi, Tazi



Song "Tazi, Tazi" by modern rock band Let 3 from Rijeka, Croatia. Enjoy :)

2008-11-27

Typewriting as a new evolutionary step

(Before the beginning: I was surprised when I realized a couple of minutes ago that there is no article about typewriting on Wikipedia in English. It is a redirect to typewriter. Maybe I am missing something because English is not my native language.)

NetworkWorld brings IBM's five predictions for the next five years. By accident, these weeks I am preparing a text about just one big improvement which we will get in the next five years and which will change our lives a lot. Some of IBM's predictions are very close to mine. And, indeed, it is not about prophecy, it is about rationally analyzing current trends.

However, I think that one part of their predictions is a field for not so brilliant speculations, which proves this Slashdot article.

As someone educated in linguistics, claims that listening the Web will substitute reading it or that written communication (especially chats) will be substituted with communication by voice -- seems to me at least as not well informed speculation. Keyboard will become past at the moment when computers would be able to have read-write access to our brain. Not earlier, but maybe much later.

Did you ever try to talk (by voice) separately with more persons at once (like talking with someone in person and with other by phone)? What are your impressions? With how many persons you are able to talk at once and to be able to have more sensible conversation than just arguing? For me, separate spoken conversations with even two persons is stressful enough. (I want just to mention here that even speech recognition is an issue which is far from being solved.)

And now, repeat previous questions for communication via instant messaging. While number of separate conversation via IM has limits, having two separate conversations is not so hard. If you are just talking, you would be able to handle maybe up to five separate conversations, but I am sure that young persons are able to have even more of them.

We are not thinking a lot about our everyday tasks, situations, technologies. If we are able to use Internet, we are not asking ourselves often what our parents did without Internet and what Internet changed in our lives. We are not asking ourselves even what our grandparents and grand-grandparents were doing without electricity. We are not asking ourselves often how many days one ordinary person had to spend to travel 300km and back without cars and highways.

We are not asking ourselves about consequences of typewriting, too.

Ten years ago, when I wanted to teach someone to work with computers, I had to spend significant amount of time to explain them that they have to learn typewriting. It is better to use some standard ways, like professional typewritists, but the most important is to know to do that blindly. Simply, I can't teach someone Unix if they need to spend extra efforts to type 'ls'.

Today, the situation is different. People around me know to type; not so fast, a lot of them just with looking into keyboard, but at average level it is much better than it was ten years ago.

But, I don't want to write here about running Unix commands or typing an essay as an evolutionary step. This is a kind of technological advance, but it is not an evolutionary step.

A real evolutionary step is when you are communicating with three persons at once via your Gmail account. For the first time in history one person is able to talk easily with two or more persons. Before instant messaging systems (back to BBS chats and early IRC), humans were not able to do that.

Like printing press was not so big social advance (while it is, of course, much bigger technological advance) in comparison to daily newspapers, typewriting on typewriter or even in text processing programs was not so big social advance, like typing instant messages is.

Simply, other brain functions are in use when you are typing your essay and when you are chatting with different persons. Typing an essay is just a faster way to write it by using different methods than handwriting. Chatting with more persons is improving your communications skills in a different way than any other kind of communication is doing. And, probably, it is not just about communication skills.

It is very hard to talk about consequences because this is the time when children are starting to use IMs at the wider scale. Probably, their social skills will be much better than our are. Probably, interaction between them will be more intensive. They will be able to think much faster. Working on complex tasks will be much easier to them.

And this is not a type of change which had been happened between us and our parents. We are better informed. Because of that, on average, our skills are better maybe 10% than skills of our parents. This is it. Changes between us and our children will be much bigger. (Of course, it may be different if we find some way how to improve our skills by improving our brains axon by axon, dendrite by dendrite.)

Such skills may make completely different society. Bad scenario is an extra-anxious society. Good scenario is a society with much more free and content persons.

2008-07-27

Pinker on heredity, environment and language

First, to reassure the nervous: yes, there are important roles for both heredity and environment. A child brought up in Japan ends up speaking Japanese; the same child, if brought up in the United States, would end up speaking English. So we know that the environment playes a role. If a child is inseparable from a pet hamster when growing up, the child ends up speaking a language, but the hamster, exposed to the same environment, does not. So we know that heredity playes a role.
Steven Pinker, Language Instinct, HarperPerennial, New York, 1995, p. 408.

2008-05-02

Why you should know different alphabets

It may be very helpful :)
  • (12:19:48 AM) mohsen salek: ψαν υοθ ρεαδ τηισ αλπηαβετ
  • (12:20:36 AM) millosh: :)
  • (12:20:45 AM) mohsen salek: υεσ ορ νο?
  • (12:20:57 AM) millosh: yes :)
  • (12:21:14 AM) mohsen salek: φορ Γοδ σακε ηελπ με
  • (12:21:21 AM) mohsen salek: ι αμ λοστ ιν λινθχ
  • (12:21:28 AM) mohsen salek: κθβθντο 8.04
  • (12:21:55 AM) mohsen salek: ι τρυεδ το αδδ περσιαν λανγθαγε σο ι φινναλυ γετ υο ηερε
  • (12:22:07 AM) mohsen salek: ανδ ι ψαν'τ γετ ενγλιση ρο περσιαν κευβοαρδ βαψκ
  • (12:22:22 AM) mohsen salek: δο θ κνος ανυ ψομμανδ το μακε ιτ βαψκ
  • (12:22:34 AM) millosh: are you on ubuntu?
  • (12:23:05 AM) millosh: gnome or kde?
  • (12:23:06 AM) mohsen salek: υεσ
  • (12:23:09 AM) mohsen salek: κδε
  • (12:23:34 AM) mohsen salek: σο εωεν ι ψαν'τ σεαρψη τηε ιντερνετ
  • (12:23:46 AM) millosh: so, you have a problem with putting greek alphabet and you don't know how to back to english and persian?
  • (12:24:21 AM) millosh: i'll take a look into kde now
  • (12:24:28 AM) mohsen salek: νο ι κνες ςερε διδ ι μαδε ψηανγε
  • (12:24:37 AM) mohsen salek: βυτ ι δο τηε εχαψτ τηινγ
  • (12:24:41 AM) mohsen salek: βθτ ι ψαντ γετ ενγλιση
  • (12:25:02 AM) mohsen salek: 10 τιμεσ ι ινσταλλεδ ανδ θνισταλεδ λανγθγεσ
  • (12:25:18 AM) mohsen salek: :((
  • (12:25:23 AM) millosh: do you see a little flag at the bottom?
  • (12:25:30 AM) millosh: greek flag?
  • (12:25:45 AM) mohsen salek: νο
  • (12:25:50 AM) mohsen salek: ιτ ισ ενγλισ φλαγη
  • (12:25:56 AM) mohsen salek: ι θσεδ τηισ ψομμανδ
  • (12:26:00 AM) mohsen salek: setxkbmap -model pc101 -layout us
  • (12:26:10 AM) mohsen salek: ι ψοπιεδ τηισ ψομμανδ
  • (12:26:29 AM) mohsen salek: αφτερ ι δοςνλοαδ περσιαν λανγθε παψηακφε ι γοτ τηισ προβλεμ
  • (12:26:40 AM) millosh: oh
  • (12:26:45 AM) millosh: i understand
  • (12:27:16 AM) millosh: log out from the account and log in again
  • (12:27:36 AM) mohsen salek: οκ λετ με δο ιττ
  • (12:27:41 AM) millosh: :)
  • (12:28:54 AM) millosh: so?
  • (12:29:08 AM) mohsen salek: seems to be solveh
  • (12:29:12 AM) mohsen salek: solved
  • (12:29:12 AM) millosh: :)
(Of course, I asked Mohsen to publish this part of conversation.)

2008-03-19

A not so ordinary night of one Steward

A story about stewards ;)

New languages on Anarchopedia

After long time, I opened new language editions of Anarchopedia: Albanian, Armenian, Finnish, Hebrew, Latvian and Turkish.

Today, Anarchopedia exists in 28 languages (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Serbo-Croatian are treated as one language, as well as there are three sites for two Norwegian languages). The most of the language editions have at least one or two contributors who are developing the project, while editions like German, French, English, Italian and Spanish have fully active communities.

Requirement for opening Anarchopedia in another language is writing the word Anarchopedia in that language. If you know how to spell Anarchopedia in some other language, please write it at the page: Anarchopedia in different languages.

2008-02-12

Developers and stewards needed on Anarchopedia

Anarchopedia started with work in September 2004. For a long time it was a wiki based encyclopedia with the most supported languages after Wikipedia. (I suppose that there are now wiki based encyclopedias with more then ~20 language editions.)

I am trying to keep Anarchopedia technically similar to Wikipedia (it is running MediaWiki 1.12alpha); thanks to the people from pywikipediabot project, it is supported there, too; etc. From the technical side, Anarchopedia is "a small Wikipedia": (almost) everything which exists on Wikipedia, exists on Anarchopedia, too -- but with a much smaller size.

A couple of days ago, a contributor from Portuguese Anarchopedia, Sir Lestaty de Lioncourt, started to take care about Anarchopedia in a fashion similar to Wikimedia stewards and I really support such effort. However, I realized that we need more people involved in developer and steward roles: administrators of the wikis from the server side (developers), as well as from the MediaWiki side (stewards).

If you are willing to help us, please contact me (by leaving a comment or sending me an email). It would be useful to write a little bit about your Wikimedian (or any other relevant) experience. (Of course, if I know you, just tell me that you are willing to help :) )

2008-02-07

Firefox 3.0beta4 is using GTK

Which is a very useful feature for us who are using Gnome.

2008-02-01

Synchronic linguistics and prescription

Consequence of strictly synchronic linguistics is a strict prescription of language.

Simply, synchronic linguistics is not able to deal with language changes. However, sentence above is just my hypothesis and it proves should be found.

2008-01-30

Community development and POV stages (1)

I wrote the first part of the text Community development and POV stages.

2008-01-19

Machine for looking the past

Imagine that you have a telescope which would be able to see the Moon at very high resolution. "Very high resolution" means that you would be able to see pixel-for-pixel images of the Moon. For the generation which is using Google Earth and Google Moon -- it is not so hard to imagine such telescope.

Then, send such telescope to the Moon. Distance between Earth and Moon is around 1.255 light seconds, which means that you would be able to see things which were done 2.51 seconds ago. Made much better telescope and send it to Saturn's orbit and you would be able to see a couple of hours ago of past. Make much much better telescope and send it to the orbit of the Alpha Centauri system and you would be able to see around 10 years in the past.

But, this concept is generally stupid. There are some better ways to do so. Let's say that we may put a telescope in the Earth's orbit and that we will say to the telescope system A to store data for a year and then to start to send, to telescope B to wait 10 years, to telescope C to wait 100 years and so on.

While it is not so stupid concept as the first one, it is still stupid. Instead of keeping data for 1 or 100 years in the orbit and use three different systems, we may just keep the data from one telescope system and use them whenever we want: after 5 minutes or after 300 years.

And this is the end of scientific models for making the machine which would be able to read the past. Simply, it would be a big computerized telescope system which would store its data at some place. If we start with it tomorrow, generations which would live 300 years in the future would be able to see their past and our present.

But, let's try a science fiction speculation...

When we are looking at the distant stars and galaxies, we are looking into their past. Astronomers saw a number of galaxies old a couple of billions of years. But, if geologists would like to see even such distant past, we, ordinary people would like to see a couple of years in the past or at the most a dozens of millions of years. Maybe a hundreds of millions of years, but it is not so funny to look at the monocellular life forms. At least, we want to see some big arthropoda or the first trees on the Earth.

If we are able to look at the past of 10 millions of years of some star, that star is "able" to look into the similar past of our star. We need "just" to find a method to see what that star "saw" in that time; of course, without sending anything there. When we find that method, we would be able to look at 20 millions of years into our own history.

And I already may imagine how the "historical hysteria" would look like...

There would be a lot of "historical telescopes" on different parts of our planet, even a number of them on some other planets or so in the Solar system which would have some advantages and some disadvantages. And all of those telescopes would be connected to some of the Internet's successors.

Then, instead of looking to some artistic or scientific movies about some events from the history, we would be able to look at "real" events, like we are looking now some documentary movies from the near history. Some people would prefer to look it in "real time", others would prefer to look them only as well prepared documentaries (it is not so funny to look how someone was sleeping 8 hours per day if you are not a scientist who is doing research about sleeping, that person -- or if you are obsessive toward some person).

Of course, with well developed such technology it would be possible to look into the past old a couple of seconds, couple of hours; and it wouldn't be possible to hide yourself from your friends or lovers.

2008-01-13

A few words about this blog

I am using this blog for organization of my (public) work. So, it may contain a lot of posts with different subjects. If you want to subscribe to this blog, I suggest to you to check labels because I think that you would get a lot of posts otherwise; label feeds are in the form http://blog.millosh.org/feeds/posts/default/-/labelname.

Simcity became free software

It is very good to hear it :)

Python Twisted

This is from the series about "Ultimate Internet Communication Tool", which means that it is not strictly related to Python Twisted, but to finding relevant tools.
  • So, query inside of Synaptic was "python twisted".
  • Install all python-twisted-*.
  • python-axiom is an interesting ORDBMS concept, but, again, not now :)
  • python-epsilon ... hmm... interesting. Actually, I want to see their implementation of time function.
  • python-protocols -- interesting -- I want to see how do they manipulate with protocols.
  • scalemail -- connected to this story only because it uses Python Twisted. But, interesting thing is that it is combined Postfix, LDAP, Courier IMAP, Python and Twisted.

Instant messaging software

So, now I need to find all relevant software. Debian's Synaptic is a good tool for the beginning of the road.
  • A couple of days ago I found python-irclib. However, I realized that it is too basic tool for me.
  • I think that the best idea is to find some existing client and to build generalized client around it. So, I started: Synaptic -> Search -> irc.
  • epic4, a classic IRC client -- good for the beginning.
  • ircii -- epic4 is based on ircii -- so, ti it is good to have it, too.
  • Jabber. Hmm... So, I'll need to make another query for all jabber utilities.
  • kvirc -- even it is not what do I want, I want to try it; maybe I'll get some idea (I am using Pidgin/Gaim and XChat).
  • pidgin-plugin-pack -- I didn't realized that it exists; I'll have to make another query (as well as to search on Internet) for pidgin extensions.
  • python-twisted-words -- very interesting -- low level protocol implementations or AIM, ICQ, IRC, MSN and Jabber. I heard for twisted, but I forgot about it. I'll have to make another query for python-twisted...
  • SILC is interesting protocol, but not for the beginning.
  • tor is interesting protocol, but not now :)
  • Hmmm... there is a Gnome interface for XChat!

Instant messaging systems

A month or so ago I realized that we need something which I called an "Ultimate Internet Communication Tool". It is a concept, not a particular tool, but it has to have its own implementation.

I will talk more about the concept some other time, but now I started with finding the starting point.

Instant messaging is a good starting point because there are a lot of good implementations of them, as well as instant messaging has a dynamics which other messaging systems don't have (except VoIP, but it is too complex for the beginning).

The best described instant messaging system is, of course, IRC. (OK, someone would tell that it is not an IM system, but I treat it as an IM system because it has all relevant IM possibilities.)

2008-01-12

All roads lead to Rome

This day was very interesting...
  • I realized that Blogger allows your own domains and subdomains.
  • Then, I opened this blog and I didn't realize why do I need it...
  • Then I was talking with Brianna and she mentioned to me Twitter, microblogging portal.
  • Then I remembered that I realized that I need a blog for saying to friends what do I do. However, while I mostly need a place to put a sentence or two, I need a place where I would be able to write much more.
  • So, this is the right place for such blog.
  • And Twitter... We were talking about our obsessions, one of my obsessions is future. And predictions, of course. Brianna asked me did I predict Twitter. No, I didn't predict even Internet :)
  • But, I have some number of interesting predictions... The next post will be about one of them.

Mathematical and computational linguistics

I am learning now mathematical and computational linguistics. Exam will be at Friday.

Wikicouncil

It seems to me that a lot of people don't know that the discussion about Wikicouncil -- maybe a council, maybe an assembly -- already started on Meta. This is an issue of high importance for our community. Please, join discussion.

"Proposal for Policy on overuse of bots in Wikipedias"

Some people, simply, have a religious fear of computer programs. Proposal for Policy on overuse of bots in Wikipedias is one of such examples.

Purpose of this blog

A couple of days ago I realized that I need a blog which would say what do I do. Hmm... It may be a form of microblog, but not necessarily. So, I will start to add here what do I do.

In brief, I want to allow to people who are interested in what do I do -- to know that. This blog will be about my personal, social and scientific work.

Just another new blog

From time to time I really like to start from the beginning. It makes me more creative. So, here is one more beginning without any idea how long it will be :)