Monthly Archives: March 2005



I’m thankful for… biodiversity, the vast web of intricate interrelated behaviors in the world. Like octopuses who walk on two arms, for one of the bizillion exizamples.


CAVEs and disability

I’ll have to talk to Carolina about this: Projection-Based Virtual Environments and Disability.


Flexible communication aids

I’ll have to dig into this: A new generation of communication aids under the ULYSSES component-based framework. I’m slowly forming some ideas about the ways in which computers can assist in communication by transcoding between different world-models for transmission over different channels. To which this paper is clearly relevant.


Robotic mobility aid

Good stuff: Eldercare Robotics: A Personal Mobility Aid, a project that attempts to strike a dynamic balance between assisting the user and letting them be in control. Which, when you think about it, is what all technologies should be trying to do… Anyway, this one adds a robotic element to a ‘walker’ with an agent-based control architecture to allow the user and the robot to complement one another.

A conference paper is available at the site or in the ACM archives.


Inspiring effort, maybe

Reading about a project like this is inspiring, in a weird sort of way. That someone would bankrupt themselves creating it in the first place, then someone would spend 12 years and who knows how much money restoring it 50 years later, well, it just shows you… ummm, it shows you… something.

The world’s ugliest car is restored…


‘If just x percent…’

I don’t know if this tends to get cataloged along with the rest of the common argument fallacies, but it should. It’s annoying :-).

You probably can think of a number of times you’ve heard an argument that starts like “If just one percent of these people…”, and ends with some spectacular outcome.

Well, guess what? There are lots of numbers smaller than one percent! For example, in case you don’t believe me, 0.0001% is smaller than 1%. Zero itself is. There is even, some speculate, meaning in what are called ‘negative numbers’. Just because 1% seems ‘small’ when we ponder it disconnected from any real quantity, it doesn’t follow that there’s always 1% of something to be had to realize some particular goal you dream up.

End rant.



I’m thankful for… catalogs of other beautiful natural things: The Slug Site. If you were surprised (as m’bud Allan was) that lichens are beautiful, you may also be surprised about slugs. I know I was; I mean, the only slugs I ever see in my daily life is space slugs on Futurama or something. I should try to spend more time under the sea…

The site organization is a bit difficult on that site, so make sure not to miss their Opistobranch of the week page.


“Controlled Vocabularies Cut Off the Long Tail”

Besides having a clever title, this article (and associated comments) has some nice insights into the distinction between controlled vocabularies and folksonomies (hey, they’re not my terms, so don’t blame me). It’s very interesting to see what is emerging due to the popularity of folksonomy-based services right now.

I’m sure there’s lots of academic work in this area, too, although I haven’t looked at much of it. Hmm, it’s interesting, the difference between academic research and the emerging understanding from popular services is quite analogous to the difference between controlled vocabularies and folksonomies…

Bokardo ยป Controlled Vocabularies Cut Off the Long Tail


Computer-telephony integration

It’s interesting to see that there are some cheap options opening up in the area of computer-telephony integration, thanks to the growing popularity of VoIP and associated equipment.

I spent a few months researching and playing with CTI a while back, in support of a client’s project that would have integrated real-time telephony into a web-based application. I found CTI pretty fascinating. Now that these cards are getting cheap, I might look at learning some more about the topic. Couldn’t hurt to have that and VoIP in my consultant’s bag-of-tricks…

(I saw the above product link in an article on building a personal PBX that looks pretty good.)


Lichens of North America

I’m thankful for… catalogs of beautiful natural things: Lichens of North America.