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Comment: Fascinating problem, approximate solution? (Score 1) 365

by beachdog (#45903843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many (Electronics) Gates Is That Software Algorithm?

It is more than 30 years ago I learned digital logic from Blakeslee's Digital Design with MSI and LSI. These days I program an Arduino. I have my hands full just reinventing the spokes of a 20 year old wheel.

I think you have a fascinating problem. Suppose you treat your computer program as a black box where you feed pages of data into one end and you get pages of output data out the other end. Suppose you say each page of data is an x,y grid of image values. You could say, your problem is for a central pixel in the image, you want to write a truth table. An initial truth table is the values and locations of the pixels from the immediate preceding image that when always present always result in the specific value of that pixel.

Your image processing process probably uses data from several preceding images to come up with the result. If it takes five preceding images, then the truth table for a single pixel picks up five more blocks of data about the state of the surrounding pixels. No matter how wonderful the computer program may seem to be, it is still a finite state engine. The present state of the image or output (we hypothesize) should be dependent on the some number of previous states of the image.

The process is a classic series dance steps for extracting the essential predecessor logic states. The Blakeslee book models this better than I can remember after all these years. The steps are normalize, simplify, flag all the dont't care states and gracefully conceal or wrap the data to handle the physical edges . When you have one of these cubic things, you go through a simplification process. first, you normalize the input data which means remove the numerical clutter and have a single number. Another feature of the extraction process is you sort the truth table output column and input columns and you try to mark as many of the input columns with does-not-matter as possible. A third thing is, you set a limit on the depth of the input data and that means the possible values for an output point are limited because the permuted possibilities are capped, and that cap is usually an exponent like 2^N.

The resulting gadget will be a truth table that grinds out something like x=1 for a=1, b=0, c=1, d=0 and on and on.

Unlike rewriting the software and putting it on a programmable gate array, This is an approach at writing a state table that produces an approximate pixel based on looking at a chunk of images containing that pixel.

Comment: Re:Not the point (Score 1) 396

Regarding How has this changed over the decades?

Well there are two answers. There are the usual sources of information like newspaper stories.

  But a second change is the recent rise of behavior examples that emphasize a different kind of relationship to time and the passage of it. First player shooter games emphasize pressing the trigger button as fast and as often as possible. A sports tennis shoe maker advertised "Just do it." or a sport drink maker may have advertised "Grab it and go.". All of these are modeling the process of skipping over the deliberation phase of mentation. The shoe maker and the sport drink maker should have said "Just buy it."

How is time, timing and the passage of time represented and modeled when a human learns motor skills? Studies of infants beginning to speak have shown some children are speaking quite well except that the pace of vocalization is much faster than the parent expects. When slowed down by electronic means, the baby babble sometimes is intelligible as speech.

Compare that with any young adult precipitous action like shooting at transformers or shooting at a school. If you could "slow down the clock" of the young person's behavior by a factor of 10x or 20x, the destructive content would be reduced or eleminated.

From another angle, the young adult who eventually engages in a precipitous action mentally went through numerous alternative scenarios while they were stewing or deliberating or grieving at some perceived personal event. The young adult's machinery for evaluating alternate scenarios has got stuck on a bad action. What part of the action is the bad part? I am proposing that the problem has something to do with time or timing being locked. The person feeling the grief or anger can't escape from some kind of locked state.

Comment: What to teach to avoid destructive actions? (Score 1) 396

From the incident story, it appears to be two persons who chose a property damage target for the purpose of minimizing the risk of prosecution for any construction or prosecutorial exaggeration regarding the potential or accidental killing of a guard or workman.

The recent tactic being developed after school shootings is for the responding authority to promptly engage the apparent assailant by the use of gunfire directed at the assailant. For those assailants who are arrested live, the district attorney spares no effort to describe the crime in such a manner as to prevent any sympathy for the alleged assailant by the public nor the jury.

It is my feeling that we have a growing 10 or 20 year pattern where young people in the 18 to 30 year old age group are to a moderate extent misbehaving and to a very tiny extent engaging in extreme misbehavior like school shootings or power station property damage. There has been a reciprocal escalation of the police response as what was once streaking or knocking over mailboxes is now .01% zero tolerance alcohol while driving punishments and now imprisonment for insanity to be followe by 15 years in jail when the insanity is resolved.

I don't believe listening to the district attorney nor the police department is going to give us the understanding to move away from the imprisonment culture we are now living in. The approach I am pursuing is this: Young adults are problem solving animals. The young adult years have a number of difficult emotional griefs and transitions.

What we are seeing is young adults who are settling on problem solutions that are "fast and final". Unlike most young adults, the persons who do school or power station shootings are prisoners of the material physical execution of a violent act. Stories from surviving assailants indicate grievances that are not too unusual. It appears to me that most people dissipate their similar grief or grievance by abstraction or play or ignoring the event.

My thinking has reached this point: What can we teach in school that will help each individual to have knowledge or understanding of their own mental processes? The words "self knowledge" is too general. A very specific part of the mental problem solving action planning mechanism is becoming latched onto a bad action. These young people are able to do the problem solving process, and they need the specific ability to recognize when their brain has latched onto a bad action.

The actions and teaching needed are probably simpler and more mundane than what one might think. It appears to me that teaching social dance in the early middle school years might help head off certain social anxiety processes. Supervised working with disabled peers can be a gateway to understanding the undisguised bases of human behavior. The US high school football culture with it's awful color scheme was OK for preparing young people for WWII military service, and perhaps that institution needs to be replaced with a new game and instructional culture.

Comment: Much appreciate the debunkers. (Score 2) 116

by beachdog (#45805943) Attached to: Winners and Losers In the World of Interfaces: 2013 In Review

I found the original post article fascinating and then eventually trailing off into 5000 too many words.

I appreciate the multiple effective Slashdot commentators accomplishment at semantically flensing the formerly elegant carcass of the OP missive.

What however is the low energy high quality of life and strife relieved peaceful future that the Internet and connected humans need to facilitate?

The author's OP missive at least noted some of the major twists in the confused battle. By my estimate, the now 20 year old failure of Yahoo mail to permit POP message downloading for free is the little tiny failure that no user interface redesign can correct. I am within a hair's breadth of taking my local mailing list for parents of disabled children elsewhere, thanks to the stupid Yahoo re-design.

The author's description of Google's chrome-cast and Netflix binge watching are both interesting developments in the struggle to get media and infomation moving without the exhorbitant charges of patent licensing and copyright fee collection.

A side comment that a paper newspaper is more energy efficient than a free newspaper furnished over the Internet is an interesting assertion worth exploring. I am concerned that the Internet system burns more electrical energy and has a larger fixed term in the y=mx +b linear equation of value than is recognized.

Comment: Teach self-knowledge; Blind DA Bias (Score 1) 894

by beachdog (#45701155) Attached to: How the Lessons of Columbine Saved Lives At Arapahoe High School

The first point is: The main source of information about this school shooting and many prior crimes is a police department or district attorney (DA). The DA has a built in agenda of convicting every person accused. This results in a rhetorical climate where killing the perpetrator is not a matter of much importance because the alleged shooter should be convicted of the most extreme possible crime anyway. The DA's professional business is to make criminals.

So I argue to you, the news report has viewpoint bias. Except for the bare facts, this news is only supposed to build public acceptance of an immediate armed gun response as the best solution to the ongoing school shooting activity.

I propose that what we need to do is develop a high school level course in "self knowledge" and care for oneself and others when one goes through the emotional and intellectual ups and downs of youth and young adulthood. Now bear with me on this: The thing that is malfunctioning in some of these extremely antisocial events is the pace of time. The resolution of inner issues changes in pace from "take a bath and go for a walk" to "do something extreme and final."

The point I am making is bad things happen when a person's inner clock or sense of pace slips. The use of lead pellets moving at 5000 feet per second is resolving an inner grief or distress too fast. Compare, one could also do a comparable motor skill activity using the arms and fingers and aiming ability by throwing a basketball at 50 feet per second. An afternoon struggling to shoot baskets would equally resolve the inner problem with much less damage.

In this context, a food ad saying "Grab one and go...Do it!" Really is the wrong thing. The point I am making is: Some kinds of antisocial behavior are toxic variations of normal behavior needed by relatively normal people that are made toxic by a slipping or loss of timing or pace.

The underlying neural mechanism is during the toddler years a child explored the world and built up a basic set of neural images and another set of motor skills.
Somewhere at the exit point from high school, we develop multiple sets of alternate motor skills for solving problems. "Take a warm bath." and "Go shoot up the elementary school." are alternate behavior models.

So the thing I propose we should try and teach in high school is an introduction to self knowledge. The specific self knowledge I see is young adults have well developed motor skills but they aren't able to distinguish the griefs and pains of isolated solitary usually lonely young adult life in America.

A fellow Youshock who took a chainsaw and pipe bombs to a high school was sentenced to mental hospital confinment to be followed by a long prison sentence. The psychologists will probably write a thorough analysis of his views and his parents will grieve at his loss. It would have been so much better if he could have understood his personal young adult pains and switched to other problem solving activities.

Comment: One non-academic job with interesting values. (Score 1) 90

by beachdog (#45566279) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: DIY Computational Neuroscience?

I work with severely disabled children as a classroom aide. While the job is an aide position, I am also privileged to have weeks and even months of exposure to a specific disabled person.

If your computer career is declining due to age, education or platform problems I mention this kind of employment as a kind of work that may provide you with many observations that may provide problems or ideas regarding computational neuroscience.

It is my opinion that observation of motor actions and neural operation in most people is hindered by an illusion of completeness. The components and expression that lead to an illusion of completeness are a study in artistic analysis themselves. A less able person will unfold and express an action over a considerable span of time. Understanding the sequence, organization and simplifications of the less able action is a fascinating exersize.

My study in information theory and activity in ham radio has led me to focus on quadrature phase demodulation as a candidate for some kinds of neural function.

My study of embryology at St. John's suggests to me that there is an initial layout of the nervous system.
From topology and paper folding I have a feeling that folding and surface tension processes are involved with what later appears as a tiled surface of processing layers wrapped around an inner device that stores motor motion plans.
  Suppose one explores the hypothesis that nerves start out a lot alike. Clusters appear around neurons due to a diffusion limitation. What else about the layout of the brain can we determine from embryology?
Extracting information from nerve pulses is done in layers. If the layers weren't connected during the cellular development phase, how do the layers later pass information around? Are the folds of the brain part of this?
How does the recently reported glial cell expansion and contraction fit into the connection scheme? Eventually the abstractions are reorganized into motor impulses that move muscles.
Look at just one bar of a Mozart piano concerto. The pianist moves his fingers eight or nine times. It is interesting how ideas have an association with movements.

Comment: Adafruit business direction versus global warming? (Score 1) 139

by beachdog (#45461027) Attached to: Interview: Ask Limor Fried About Open-Source Hardware and Adafruit

I am worried that the USA is not going to figure out how to reduce CO2 emissions fast enough to avert an global warming and oceanic acidification crisis. I have a daughter a few years younger than you. I worry that 8 years of jellyfish oceans and hurricane/drought summers will exhaust everyone's stash of brown rice.

I think part of the excitement about AdaFruit is the business sells the tools and toys of a low CO2 emission future.

So how goes the battle at your level?

  Have the investment bankers got hold of your priorities yet?

What direction do you want to go with AdaFruit to make the crusty old assumptions fall away?

Would you agree, the rate of change is inversely proportional to the debt level of the business and it's employees?

Comment: Copyright and patent value delusion in the treaty. (Score 2) 212

by beachdog (#45419213) Attached to: WikiLeaks Releases the Secret Draft Text of the TPP IP Rights Chapter

One reason the treaty has been kept secret is the copyright and patent privileges do not have socially redeeming intrinsic value matching the legal measures proposed.

My point of view as a citizen bystander is it appears that copyright and patent privileges are becoming too inflated in their value. The organizations that hold or depend on copyright and patent privileges are aggressively and systematically are trying to use law and trade treaties to close all the ways in which others might evade paying for the use of their privileges.

The point I wish to propose to Slashdot readers is: The intrinisic worth or value of the fact or accomplishment underlying a copyright or patent privilege is a modest dollar amount. What is happening in our society is the percieved value has undergone an enormous inflation. The companies are effectively policy prisoners.

In previous centuries, novel and plausible arguments about the intrinsic worth of things has set off revolutions. Adam Smith instantiated time, money and energy beginning with his Theory of Sentiments. Karl Marx redefined another similar set of relationships and launched a political restructuring.

Consider the level of corporate belief in the value of their copyright and patent privileges. Some corporation decided to invest in tipping the trade treaty towards their business benefit. Lets estimate, each well qualified lawyer dispatched to edit and ammend the international trade treaty costs $2m dollars per year. Suppose one company sent one lawyer and they budget 3 years of lawyering and 1 year of waiting. For their 6 to 10 million dollar expenditure, how much gross sales do they require to recover their expenditure?

On the other side, suppose we look at taming the financial stupidity of "charge all the market will bear" patent and copyright licensing. What model to use? Well the Uniform Commercial Code is a body of business law that is a model of fairness. I would start with that.

To estimate the "intrinsic value" of a patent, we could first figure the labor and material cost for the first embodiment. How about one engineer year plus some electronic equipment; $250k. For the next 12 patents, lets cost those at $250k for all 12. Suppose we say a fair profit is 100%. That makes $1m/13 = $77k each for a bundle of 13 patents. Suppose we license the entire industry of 10 companies, each company paying $7,700 each for a lifetime of the patents license.

Comment: Gmail phone and change terms of bandwidth sale. (Score 4, Interesting) 330

by beachdog (#45309059) Attached to: Microsoft To Can Skype API; Third-Party Products Will Not Work

As previous posters have mentioned, if you open a web browser page to your Gmail account, there is a telephone option. If you have a suitable headset and microphone you can type in a landline phone number. In the USA, calls are free to USA locations.

I use the Gmail phone for every possible call I can make from my desk because local toll and long distance calls are charged on a per-minute basis. The deep advantage of all the internet communication methods is the connection is per packet, not per minute.

I played with the Asterisk scriptable phone and communications engine (also known as a PBX or private branch exchange). I was looking for a fast local and free communications solution for facilitating just-in-time ride sharing. There are little fragments of the solution scattered around.

At the risk of being a little impolite: Except for amateur radio (which is very circumscribed in its usage), the American communications game consists of continually figuring out more and more mutually incompatible and progressively more expensive ways of selling tiny dribbles of two way communication bandwidth for progressively higher and higher prices.

It seems to me that a series of communication solutions could exist. The key is to change the terms of sale of cell phone bandwidth. Present policy, I guess, sells a radio band x geographic area x population to the highest bidder. What the people would benefit from is selling the reciprocal of that relationship: The federal price would go down as the total bytes transmitted increases. The user charge would be an asymptote like function that as usage increases the price approaches the basic cost: (cost is like: price of transmitter electricity + amortized cost of transmitter + monthly fiber optic access + profit) divided by count of users. Dollar sums point to a cell site: $20,000 per month, 5,000 users; $5 per month each.

  At present, jaw dropping sums of money have to be bid by huge organizations of national scope to get a communication franchise. With this fixed annual cost, franchise winners have to charge for every byte transmitted. The franchise winners have to charge a spectrum of prices that avoids the perception they are charging "all the market will bear". Remember all that linear programming you studied in college? The bandwidth is chopped into a blather of services that obscure the basic price per byte. How much does Tracfone pay for a three minute call thorugh an ATandT cell tower? That manufacturing cost recovery reality in turn means no anonymous users and no free data transit. Unlike the land line phone, incoming calls are not free in the cellphone business.

Comment: OP is asking wrong questions. (Score 1) 435

by beachdog (#45288533) Attached to: The Case Against Gmail

I have been thinking about pushing Gmail aside if I could find a better replacement. No outlook for me! Lets think: about a better Internet future.

Need a secure email. Suppose instead of me talking about encryption schemes, suppose we say we want an email where the computational price for any snooper to read the mesage is 10^5 or 10^6 more than the sender and receiver pay. The computer time required to snoop is sufficient to cause snoopers to snoop only on valuable targets.

Need a mail system that supports machine-to-machine exchanges with a new level of clarity and authenticity. Microsoft spoiled the entire field of email exchanges with the easily hacked html files and worse that launched spy programs on client computers. I still get the creeps when I see an Internet Explorer web browser start running. Has anybody got a redesign of multipurpose mail extensions (MIME) available? The stability and clarity of double entry accounting money management still has not reached the Internet.

The original post was talking about little tiny errors and omissions from Gmail. Gmail email is a success because it is simple and stable in appearance. Beyond email I would say are still are a few good open source ideas and implementations waiting to be released.

Comment: Wish list for open source better than Word (Score 1) 479

by beachdog (#45112877) Attached to: Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die

Much as I disapprove of Word and it's complicated underlayer of kluge programs, the problem for open source software is how to coordinate and document multiple word processing sub-systems to put together a clean, balanced, and powerful word processing performance suite.

Like Eric Raymond's model of the Cathedral and the Bazaar, the problem for open source software is to pull together small parts of a superior system from many independent authors and coordinate the accomplishments into districts and describe what each module does in a way that makes sense to the wide variety of visitors.

For my wife, a very busy fast working touch typist, there needs to be a pushbutton "Word mode" to make the word processor behave keystroke by keystroke just like Word of the Office XP vintage. With her, she always is facing deadlines, writing furiously and always exchanging .doc files.

For me, the problem with Libre Office is I am stuck with a version I downloaded outside of the Ubuntu Debian package system. I have lost track of the re-union of Open Office and Libre Office. Big embarassment for me, I don't have time to straighten it out.

So how can open source free software move away from Word and become the clarity, quality and power leader?

            I really like the observation earlier that the office suites need specific development by area experts.
            The user documentation for add-in modules needs to be very good. That means OO or LO need a documentation system that can pick up new chapters and new cross references when a additional package is added to the word procesing suite.
                          I would like a 8-up card module, a mailing list module, a bulk email response tracking module, a wall-poster module, a fill in a scanned blank form module, a Google Docs module, a google blogger editor, a music quoting module, a classical greek quoting module, a school-teacher-class-student-parent database module, an rsync remote mirror and a paragraph checksum integrity module.
                        Another half of the battle is the suites need good example files. How about identical example files in American English, Dutch, German, French and classical Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi. These language files would model how to set up OO in each of the languages. I would like to see example files of a short book, a term paper, tables, photos, movies, mathematical formulae and music notation with linked audio.
            Finally, another area where open source software is lacking is in the conversion from screen image to printed on paper image. There is a point where the WP program dumps data into the printer driver and control and knowledge about sheet size, ink and pixel size is embedded in some unknown place.

Comment: Republicans need a fresh human agenda. (Score 2, Interesting) 1144

by beachdog (#45056109) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

It seems to me that Republicans overlook many aspects of the health care plan being enacted are design features created in response to Republican criticisms.

The system that is being enacted is not single payer, it doesn't end the business deductibility of health insurance for employees, it is not a socialistic giveaway, it isn't a state system like Canada or Britain. All of these "isn'ts" reflect decades of Republican and political conservative editorializing and theory spinning.

The fact is that health care expenses have been destroying American families for decades and this proposal is going to slow down the destruction of American families by medical bills.

What I would like to see is Republicans start paying attention to the two big individual American problems. Your average American is in debt most of his or her adult life and your average American is a petroleum slave obligated to burn typically 1 or 2 gallons of gasoline per day to get to work to make payments on his or her debt. There is plenty of room for changing the economic rules of the game away from debt and the commuter rat race.

In short, a Republican that works for the benefit of the common man exists. Health care has arrived. Time for Republicans to move on.

Comment: Another way of understandling language translation (Score 1) 115

by beachdog (#44983737) Attached to: Automatic Translation Without Dictionaries

"Vector spaces" is the heart of the Google proposal. Previous posters have disassembled the weaknesses pretty well.

The thing a "vector spaces" analysis needs is specific vector mapping based on the sounds of speech, the rythmns of a language, the breathing of the speaker and the physical proximity parts of the brain associated with hearing and parts of the brain associated with speech.

Multiple languages exist because the growing infant's brain organizes the sounds it hears by passing the neural sensations through many layers of pattern forming and recognition processes. Multiple languages and the ambiguities in languages means the language learning process within a developing child has some features that are quite consistent, like saying "ma ma". The rest of language aquisition spreads out in the physical vector space of the topology of the brain. Italian has been noted as wonderful for singing, Spanish as good at expressing emotion. Perhaps these languages follow slightly different paths in the brain.

An idea I picked up from digital ham radio tutorials is quadrature phase demodulation. It extracts data from a carrier signal, it looks simple, it looks like you could do it with nerve cells and it associates nicely with known large scale brain electrical activity.

I work with severely disabled kids. Language aquisition or finding work arounds for missing or weak parts of the language pathway is an interesting challenge. A fellow who stone facededly ignored my spoken words laughed at me and smiled when I began signing to him in pigin half made up American Sign Language.

Comment: There really ought to be sane patent licensing. (Score 1) 150

by beachdog (#44977383) Attached to: Martha Stewart Out To Exterminate Patent Troll Lodsys

At the heart of the patent licensing issue is the relatively unlimited ability of the patent holder to ask for exhorbitant patent license fees.

To turn that around, the legal design problem is to define a reasonable statutory patent license fee that can reasonably fit with the public purpose of the Constitution's patent clauses.

Taking the F.O.B. wholesale price of any product (such as a cell phone or computer), I think the fair statutory patent license fee is 1.5%. That 1.5% would be shared equally with each of the agents for each patent listed in the headerfile or nameplate. If the product is free software, no fee is collected. If somebody sells the software, then the 1.5% fee would be due.

Why is the the patent license fee so low? The novelty of a patent is over when it is published. Patents in the software and business systems realm deteriorate as fast as any business software system. Massive parallel re-invention is very common because of the many documentation types and source code languages used to describe software and business systems. Reciprocally, massive over claiming of patents is very common because any patent attorney can add plausible extension language to any patent no matter how limited or constrained the scope of the original reduction to practice.

Comment: A useful low carbon society maneuver (Score 1) 184

by beachdog (#44899291) Attached to: California Becomes First State In Nation To Regulate Ride-Sharing

Ride sharing is an important social innovation for moving to a low carbon emission society.
The global warming benefit of ride sharing is when you raise the number of people riding in a conventional commuter automobile less CO2 is emitted per passenger mile. The financial aspect of ride sharing is substantial amounts of personal cash are released when cars are not driven.

I live in California and I have seen that free ride sharing services like 511.org mostly do not work. There are many reasons why these ride sharing services do not work. The Lyft business model addresses some of the social needs that must be met for ride sharing to work. The California State law echoes the Lyft safety requirements. The State law apparently formalizes some of the social and safety issues that ride sharing needs if it will be a major activity.

I have been studying and writing about the California public bus system for many years and I am absolutely delighted to see Ride Sharing beginning to get started.
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