Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facebook, as metaphor

Metaphor of what? Well, The New Yorker had an article on Mr. Z which was a great read. Since he does represent the epitome of the generation (and just not because of his wealth), his thoughts are of interest.

You see, the ubiquitous nature of computing was seen before [now], by some of us [who were looking at the future of computing]. Yet, insights due to being immersed already in the technology from day one [as in, from youth] are not what the older wave [as in, those who paved the way] sees. Mind you, not talking age, as even 30-year olds are not privy [to whatever appeals to incessant enthrallment with the glowing tube -- err, screen].


The generation gap is real [always was]. But, would it not be nice for the younger set to, at least, acknowledge [each new generation rests upon its own foundation] that what they were immersed in was the result of the work of many [Newton's comment applies, shoulders of giants]? It [anything that appears to be a basis for progress] was not just something that emerged by itself (oh yes, that is the prevalent ontology of the best-and-brightest, some, that is [some, meaning, of course, secular reasonists], that we're just something that 'emerged' from nowhere [to wit, Krauss,et al] (albeit over a long period of time and during completely random events [oh, I know, only partly random]) -- so why wouldn't the kids pick up on that [mis-use of Markov, to boot]). Rather, people, of talent, somewhat like the Mr. Zs of the time, worked with what they had to improve matters.


So, of what is Facebook going to be a metaphor? Well, whatever it is that is pulling attention to those little boxes [existential smashing of the spirit, probably worse than altering the mind with excessive mineral, or herbal, intake] such that people [dumbing themselves down]  run around like zombies mindless of their rude intrusions [physical presence talking, looking middle distance, close to the personal space -- overbearing, to the max] on the peaceful lives of those [what happened to civility?] who are unlucky enough to be in their presence [luck of the draw, more now of these than ever].

You see, Ford and GM are bringing Facebook to the auto experience [or so we hear]. Mind you, how much attention will the driving responsibility get [we already know about this from ample evidence via the texters who cannot put aside that part of their brain -- for even a moment]? Of course, they could also put into place the heads-up technology so that there can be some attention paid to the people (walkers) or other cars who might be in the way.


Or, there would need to be more real-time warnings. Imagine this: driving down the road, engaged in Facebook (or some ilk of a similar nature) with a small screen showing what lies ahead (of course, one could glance out the windshield from time to time, if one chose - but, hey, the legal profession just might make it a crime to be in the area of a moving car (as a pedestrian) thereby increasing the probability of an accident -- that is, blame the victim-ness). And, don't you think that the screen would have to be real-time and not propagated through the delays of the internet and its servers?

This could work with heads-up, assuming proper training, sensors, and the like. But, how long would it take, and how many lives, to shake out the bugs [FB, et al, push out for real tests, it's atrocious that the populace gets to guinea-pig new products (as in, shunted test periods in order to rush to market)]?


Mr. Z sees Facebook as a new layer (as in the context of strata) that is everywhere and always present. Does this sound like a possible modification to the communications model (orthogonal dimension - spirituality? - jest, in part [not really, see 01/05/11 Remarks, below])?

But, he is right that such will come about (Facebook? Mr. Z, consider that as a vanguard, it would not be your thing [new technology is always on the way]). Except, we don't know what this might look like, the rules of the road (etiquette), affects on ourselves (neuropeptidergically) [our bio selves], and much more.


We ought to be considering these things with the public (various domains already have an interest - including those of the nefarious intents).

Having Facebook (and, thank you, Mr. Z, et al) as the thing to look at in this regard is apropos to the time and the technology. Given the theme of this blog, 'what oops lurk?' (mind you, Facebook has already face'd a few of these) is of interest. Are they boundless (yes, Mr. Z's quote from classical literature)?


By the way, in another context, the question is asked, about unbounded domains and those who seek such (or what the new royalty thinks is without limit): how many royal pabodies are we expected to kiss?

Actually, there are more metaphors which we'll be getting into from time to time, thanks to the growing presence of Facebook.


04/09/2015 -- We need to get back to the metaphor issue.

11/03/2014 -- Really need to raise this topic back to fore. The viewpoint is from many decades of computing, even more in dealing with "smart" humans, and even more in analyzing systems (their good and bad points). The 80s.

10/08/2014 -- Many, many metaphors.

10/04/2012 -- 1B users, give or take. Too, a re-look.

08/04/2012 -- So, the market pushers say that they need things like program trading, and whole bunch of other stuff that we'll get to. So, the idea is that we need computer-based 'gaming' in order to discover 'price' and to provide liquidity. Liquidity? Yes, like that put into the pockets of Zuck (see 7 points on FB) and his ilk after the IPO. You see, those who made money bailed when the price was high. It is estimated that if they sold now, the take would be 1/2. Notice that I didn't say return (for what? -- 'gains' obtained this way are near-zero. Whose to cheer that a few make some massive amount of bucks (well, beyond those personally involved -- even the bankers who put deals together)? This type of thing is capitalism? If so, do we really need this, folks?

05/22/2012 -- Facebook, again.

05/18/2012 -- Thought for this IPO day, motivated by Borel, et al: forget a million monkeys, how about a zillion+ FB users? What would be the 'remarkable' output of such? Ah, I see? Infinite Monkey Theorem. We'll get back to this theme, later. Given my experience, several things seem to be missing (and, a large IPO does not fill in the gap, folks). For one, we won't converge toward a reasonable architecture (or a number of other properties that we've learned) by happenstance, nor can the hackers lead us to such.

05/15/2012 -- We'll have to get back to the discussion of this important subject. FB struck a nerve and attracted users. Given the market mania that'll be going on for awhile, we will have that sort of thing to look at closely (as in, within the current context of 'near zero' (remember, folks, 2000)). One analysis said that this company was found, and run, by coders. I'm one of those (coder, that is, for over 30 years, in advanced technology, so using modern techniques throughout the time -- by the way, over 50 languages, countless environments, non-trivial applications, and many types of platforms -- it's nice to see the 'app' architecture mature -- wait! wrong word, we're a long way from maturity). It's interesting how the FB milieu is such that they determine the requirements and push out at their will. On the other hand, we could look at serious computing issues where determining requirements, minimizing bad side-effects, and more are of utmost importance taking much time and effort (but, we'll get back to all that). Again, 'metaphor' for what? Not being cynical, I won't put things like dashed expectations, compromised personal information, or a number of other things that we read about. No. I'll leave that for others. FB (and whatever follows) is part of a long evolutionary chain going to where (need to switch to teleological matters, folks) we do not know (yet -- can we ever?).

03/15/2012 -- 'jewels' and computing.

02/04/2012 -- Edited content for readability and for unraveling some confounded-ness. Motivated by a recent read.

02/02/2012 -- FB's IPO. We need to update this in another post, and re-edit this a little for readability.

06/10/2011 -- USA Today reporting on the NHTSA comments on autos as smartphones.

02/27/2011 -- Rick Bookstaber's thoughts on Facebook.

01/10/2011 -- Many ways to connect -- Boston 1775: Because We Must All Be Connected All the Time: "Though I like a lot of people on Facebook, I still have no emotional connection to the service itself besides frequent puzzlement. In contra..."

01/05/2011 -- More than metaphor, actually the growing interest in Facebook depicts a whole bunch of things. However, one has to wonder who may rue what they have let themselves post in this newfound enthusiasm. In a sense, Facebook could be thought of as a limited model of the Akashic, albeit grossly, as there is a growing footprint (increasing set of permanence'd data -of varying degrees of frivolity and triviality) whose ultimate dimensions we can only wonder about. At what point will the thing (applies to the total collection from Internet activity) collapse?

11/18/2010 -- Philip's review of the movie and the comments are worth a read. Indeed, the smartest nerd does not make the most money (is that Perelman's lesson?).

10/29/2010 -- Zuckerberg's public page on Facebook. It's nice that he talks technical issues, somewhat. Initiatives, like Code for America, are interesting and of interest to this blog and truth engineering. This old coder (the oldest around?) wonders how these young guys can flip/flop after the latest technical upgrade without (or what appears to be without) due consideration of ramifications (to wit, backtracking due to criticism after the fact). My message to these young guys would be to allow that an older mind (such as mine) can very well participate and contribute to their progressions. How is it that each generation has, of late, thrown knowledge and caution to the wind and attempted to re-write the world? Oh, code is it?

Adage: the world is being screwed by coders running after money and fame without regard to the consequences of their twiddling ways. (Quants are one example; now, let's add web weebles)

10/26/2010 -- One way to know, the media.

10/15/2010 -- There is much more to Facebook than the rush of fame (beyond the 15 minutes) of having one's face (and activities and thoughts) observable by the world. It can help us learn how computational assistance can augment talents, thereby improving one's being, effectiveness, and much more. After all, capitalists are exploiting this, and us at the same time (to wit: the ca-pital-sino was enabled via computer, colonialism (out-housing) requires a world-wide communication scheme, -- the list is long, people). Let's give the suckers power to withstand the onslaughts of the sack'ers, at the same time, educating Big Ben.

09/28/2010 -- It nice to see the IEEE weigh in. Notice: sensors galore, drive in the loop, ...

09/26/2010 -- What was the number? 1/14? That is, taking the current Facebook registration over the world's population, you would show that a very large percentage have signed up. If you dropped those not of age (assuming an almost uniform distribution which isn't the case), you could say that 1/4 of those of rational leanings (again, the behavior of some begs this question) are using the social medium. That points to some type of basic metaphysics (which is where the action is going to be - as the web will enable all sorts of experiments and events that were not possible, nor imaginable, prior to now) in action.

09/21/2010 -- We won't be picking on Facebook, alone, as a whole bunch represent the accumulated notion. We're 15 years, give or take, from that early phenomenon, called Mosaic, and all sorts of things have happened (some good, some not go good). Having been in the technology, but neither immersed nor embedded, from the get-go, almost, what seems imperative for us to learn are the principles of 'truth engineering' (look it up), the first step being the discovery and clarification of these. Facebook can help there. Since it's new, its founder is young, and the strongest analog is that we, the humankind, are like adolescents in this regard (with all due respect to the heads-in-the-clouds, pure mathematicians, logicians, et al) - this is an evolutionary phenomenon and needs to be understood thusly.

Modified: 04/09/2015

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Decline and fall

Gosh, some (many?) Boeing engineers are probably sick at the status (Chicago Tribune) of the 747, and the 787. Guess what? Their bosses are probably clueless. Jim M, included.

Yes, farm out work (the proverbial throwing things over the wall) that you don't understand and hope that it'll pay (something for nothing - plus, magic is in the air).

We'll be getting into this with more depth. But, as a prolog, there are oodles of posts here berating the decline of capability, the wishfulness brought on by computation, and the whole notion that one can be successful while relaxing (idiocy to the max) along all axes in a problem solution search.

The world is screwed up. England became a financial center (of course, we know that there isn't much behind that whole notion - see Fedaerated - except movement from one pocket to another - generally, from the many to the few). Professor Wiener thinks that it's due to the aristocratic influence of: wanting something from nothing (get it from the peasants), not doing for self (oh, no way, that is what maids and servants are for), being mostly head-driven (classic cause of egoism and out-of-touchness - as with reality). Yes, we're talking about his thinking as published in 'English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit: 1850-1980'.

Some think that England needs to get back to its engineering glory of old. Yet, a lot of that left the old world (to wit, the influx over the pond), just to get away from the aristocratic mess (yes, some of that was brought to here - why else that CEOs (and other business leaders - political leaders, to boot) think that they're it?).

Actually, we had a generation of the best-and-brightest run after finance. And, what a mess? Thanks, Harvard, et al.

As said before, we need some type of Magna Carta for business. And, we need to run things with people who have taken a vow of simple living and ethics. Yes, indeed!!! We, and the earth, cannot abide these idiots (cartoon - Phila Daily News).

One cause is the ignorance of undecidability and its place, along with the requisite necessity for quasi-empirical views in our work.


08/01/2013 -- Ben cannot unwind or taper downhe has too many Doves. We'll have to get back to the king thing (yes, the divine rights of the CEO, new royalty, in other words) and dampening of these types by a new outlook (Magna-Carta'√≠sh).

10/07/2011 -- Magna Carta, the celebration thereof.

09/21/2010 -- Definitely, there are class divisions, in business. Such as the one who waits out the contract period, gets the contract signed (albeit after a rejection by the union members), and then lays out layoff plans that were known all along. Magna Carta needed, indeed.

Modified: 08/01/2013

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Must and May

One can argue that what we get with computation, if done right, is a good model for the world, our systems, their processes, and a whole bunch of other things. Then, this model can be used for analysis, for decisions, and learning. That last applies to the theme of this blog.

It is very easy for unsound modes to come into play with computation added as a resource, to wit product modeling as we've seen with the project motivated this blog and the accompanying mania about life cycle management's new expertise, called systems engineering.

You see, folks, if we're going to overlay computation on the world, then, we need to be aware that 'undecidability' is a stronger, and more prevalent, phenomenon than allowed by the 'can do' thrusts of engineering (and the associated business mind that wants something from nothing).

'must' and 'may' come into play. We'll be looking at a technical paper recently published by the ACM (Intro, Article) that shows what is necessary to statically analyze a program, that is a computer program. But, do we not use 'program' for labeling real world things, such as an 'airplane' program?

Let's be real. There are strong analogues between the cyber and physical (to wit, cyber-physical systems). So, we need to get a handle on the basic notions related to 'undecidability' for the sake of project success (that is, increasing the may) and for continued peaceful existence of that much beleaguer'd thing, called capitalism.

If we were truthful, we would see that 'must' is not frequently the case. As in, 'that' must follow from 'this' (except, tautologies are strong - yes, though trivial, this is a big set). Somehow, power (that is, top-down enforcement -- as opposed to the middle-out of engineering) seems to think that 'musts' are a larger set than what is real.

We'll be addressing this, too, from the truth engineering viewpoint, as the need for such endeavors arises from the main quandary that we face.

Systems engineering got to a state of hubris by thinking that it handles the 'may' in a strong fashion, it seems. Let's back up, folks, as they have no better way to handle undecidability than does any other discipline (it's somewhat amusing, as a few years ago, Scott Carson was going on about what we don't know - atta boy, who has 20-20 foresight (actually, who has this in hindsight?)?).

We can use the current state of, and the known (as in public) history of, one project to discussion the important issues, all in the name of progress.


09/27/2010 -- Capitalism is for the good of us, let's bring that forward.

Modified: 11/21/2010