August 27, 2003

Snow dreams.

I liked SSX Tricky. I played it a lot. The fan tricks video was the first time I ever heard Evanescence, and I loved them.
I'm anticipating SSX3. I'll play it a lot. The Snow Jam demo video was the first time I listened to Placebo, and didn't loathe them.

Happiness? That's only on the first peak. I've glimpsed the second and the third peaks, where snow falls on The Throne and Gravitude puts you on top of the world. That's happiness.

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 01:32 AM | Comments (4)

August 24, 2003

"the most bellish thing on earth".

I used the network simulator ns for a few years, and took part in the discussions on their mailing list. Occasionally, I'd answer a question; occasionally, I'd even get an answer to a question I asked. Eventually, I learned enough to contribute small chunks of code to the simulator.

As a result of the archives of that mailing list, I now get several emails a week from students requesting help with their projects.

One ns-using student in particular sticks in my mind, for emailing me at length, copying to multiple addresses, and then blogging about his disappointment with my response.

To: Jithendriya R
Subject: Re: Hello. Pls help me.

On Wed, 30 Jul 2003, Jithendriya R wrote:
> Hi Llyod,
> Dunno how to start.

spelling my name correctly would have been good.

please talk to your project supervisor about your concerns.


Yelling, eh? Kids these days.

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

Tag alphabet soup.

starting with Slashdot... A is for Amazon. bb is for boingboing. C is for Cisco Connection online. D is for Disney. E is for... Dell? F is for F-Secure.
G is for Google. H is for hardOCP i is for Insignia. j is for Triple J. K is for Kottke. L. is for Lloyd Wood M is for Mentat
N is for Netscape. O is for Opera. p is for Publix. Q is for theQ. R is for Risks. S is for Salon. T is for Teoma.
u is for V is for Verity. W is for Wired. X is for XFree86. y is for yappa-ng. Z is for Jeremy Zawodny. dot

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

Future blows from invisible hands.

(Better never than late.)

Contrast and compare:

Danny O'Brien at oblomovka:

"My editor mailed me to ask about that last entry, and whether we should rewrite the piece. He said someone had pointed it out to him. Someone, my foot. Do you see what this is? This is the Internet getting back at me again."
Danny O'Brien at advogato:
"I help write which makes me one of those observers who collapse the eigenstate and ruin the experiment a lot of the time."

One of those many observers, I'd hazard. Observation, and remarking on observation, affects reality -- although perhaps not to the extent hazarded by the observations of Greg Bear's Blood Music.

Prophecies are predictions based on observation. The problem with the prophecies that we're told is that they can be self-fulfilling or self-negating; for some (social) experiments, the act of recording and promulgating the observation can affect the experiment. Do Gallup election polls affect subsequent decisions, and invalidate the very prophecies they make? Consider how Gore almost conceded, based on exit polls.

(You won't read to the end of this entry.)

Orlowski spitting fire about extropian political-futures markets for the Register misses the fundamental point of markets -- participants want you buy into the market philosophy. If you believe in markets, then what markets say matters to you. Much of what market analysts say exists only to evangelise the market process. Buy what they're saying and buy into the markets, for the markets can't become truly properly-functioning fair markets until everyone's playing in them. They're pyramid schemes that can pan out, with global prosperity for everyone.

(Extropians are optimists who have already bought in.)

Or so we're told. Markets are just large secondary experiments based on mass observation, and in the market the reaction to market behaviour based on observations of the market becomes the new reality of the market, and affects the primary experiment.

(Someone on blogshares bought shares in my blog and promptly blogged a link to me to up the price. Behaviour encouraged by that market.)

Make an observation on the worthlessness of your article, and suddenly your article really just might be worthless in its market as your observation is reacted to. Danny discovered that the observer exists within the system, and can ruin his own experiments in getting paid.

(Try calling an Old Master a fake. Once you've bought it. Try to sell it.)

Make an observation on, oh, the likelihood of political assassinations by buying into a dead-pool futures market that encourages the likelihood of such observations, and you affect the future likelihood of assassinations as your observation sparks reactions. Can such markets really predict the future, or merely cause it to happen by exercising the much-vaunted invisible hand? Would placing a price on someone's head in a futures market really be just a purely theoretical exercise?

The market doesn't stand outside the experiment. The perfect market becomes the sole way you manipulate that experiment -- but that market offers perverse incentives that are aligned to the internal reality of the market, not to the primary experiment and its reality. I'm coming to distrust the undeclared purposes of markets; they're not just tools.

Recording this observation here is probably a really stupid idea. It's just asking for it.

(You'll forget you ever read this, or you'll think someone else wrote it. It's just another blog entry.)

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 01:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2003

To beat a dead horse.

In trying to improve this Movable Type implementation, I followed the spirit of these zlog instructions to implement YEAR/MO/name.html urls.

I wound up adding:
<$MTArchiveDate format="%Y/%m"$>/<MTIfEmpty var="EntryKeywords"><$MTEntryTitle dirify="1"$><MTIfNotEmpty var="EntryKeywords"><$MTEntryKeywords$>.html
to the individual archive template, while ignoring zlog's recommended php-specific directives. Seems the IfEmpty plugin syntax has changed somewhat now it's built-in; the close tags weren't parsed.

The result is less than perfect; I'm copying over the YEAR_MO.html summaries to YEAR/MO/index.html after rebuilds manually via a script to make a browseable directory structure, the use of underline instead of hyphen and stripping of all other punctuation from entry filenames irritates, and I still have to do something about the default 'Convert Line Breaks' setting on that Text Formatting popup when editing.

But it's an improvement over the default numerical entry. I no longer long to use the Dead Horse software that Danny wrote for Oblomovka, which achieves the same visible structure using rather more url rewrites.

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 01:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2003

Only god can judge us.

Hayes Massive now behind bars.
Hayez Squad still at large.

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

Brief encounter.

Saw Poppy.
Got blogged.

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 01:08 AM | Comments (1)

August 02, 2003

Marketing the future of the futures market.

Now that it's working well for me and I'm paying more attention to it, I'm finally starting to get an idea of the emergent properties of Blogshares, and of the nested structures that it's building. (Finally reading Blogshare's help pages helped considerably with this, of course.)

You start by buying shares in blogs that have been listed on Blogshares.

Similarly-themed blogs now exist within industries. Properties of blogs (link statistics) generate ideas; you could think of these as shares in industries, as they express the properties of industry connectivity.

Buy enough ideas, and you have an artefact. Right now artefacts are internal operators, given cutesy and functionally meaningless thematic descriptions, that are generated by the ownership of ten thousand bought ideas. An artefact is a modifier of the internal status of Blogshares; it has little external reality. It's like reaching the next level of Blogshares and getting a trading powerup; it's self-referential.

What matters is the external reality that Blogshares is based in.

What if Blogshares could track the spread of a meme through an industry's blogs by relating a train of links back to an original permalinked post? It's already doing this, in a granular fashion, at the blog level to generate the statistics needed to compute ideas; improving the granularity for selected nominated permalinks and building a list of related permalink urls, where each added permalink is an entry linking to a permalink url already in that list, can't be that hard. A growing list is a spreading meme; an idea that, literally, has currency.

Nominating a permalink as a meme might be made expensive, in Blogshare currency terms, to discourage computational misuse; if a meme skyrockets in popularity, there should be a payoff for nominating it and betting your money on that rising star.

If Blogshares could track growth of nominated memes via the growth of their chain of related permalinks, and you could really buy and sell shares in or bet on the spread of real expressed-in-words ideas... then we would have a futures market as soon as the first idea about the future is expressed in a permalinked blog entry, and someone decides it's worth nominating as a spreading meme.

So, for example, I might want to speculate on the worth of an idea described in, oh, a post in one of the Jupiter Research analyst weblogs, or in another analyst's weblog, because ultimately all bloggers can be analysts. I'd nominate that as a meme via its permalink, and reap the reward based upon the extent of any growing linked blog discussion around that post and idea.

In tracking posts relating to a nominated link, you're really tracking the spread and growth of controversy about an expressed idea or position rather than votes in favour of the likelihood of that idea per se. But it's an attention economy, where linking is a form of credit. And that does seem to be good enough for Google. Google works. Attention to the future is just one sort of attention; the futures market is just one subset of spreading memes expanding from permalink to permalink. News is another.

I think I've just described the future of Blogshares (and when no-one links to this, I'll know I'm wrong. If only I could nominate this as the first Blogshares meme.)

Posted by Lloyd Wood at 12:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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