Older blog entries for cTaylor (starting at number 113)

3 Aug 2004 (updated 3 Aug 2004 at 14:57 UTC) »
Kudos bellin!

Much thanks to bellin for mentoring my py-bsddb learning. Today I'm going to wrap up the extra POS (that's Parts-Of-Speech) extraction code and start work on the word to POS mapping code.

It's offical, I'm insane!

Maybe in a week, I'll have the bsddb wrapped up for the grammar checker and I can start writing the "Actual" grammar checking code!

I found a couple of good resources on grammar checking, I guess this is a good time to drop some references... I still have a ways to go with this project. A LONG way to go actually. But, the idea is to have a grammar checking engine that prints out nice explainations of errors on text-input streams. I'm also trying to make it `pluggable` to maybe extend support for other languages someday...english is going to be the default. I kind of envision this library working like this: user makes an engine initalization call (selecting language/grammar choice); user then takes a text stream and passes that to the engine; the engine cranks on that stream and returns a list of errors.

I'm probably going to go insane writing this project, but I think my resources are good and, of course, I'm prototyping all of this in python first, doing a C binding later. I want to ensure that my ideas about tackling this problem are close to being feasible.

I opted for a non-statistical solution b/c I don't have a beowulf cluster lying around to compute N-Gram/HMM values for words.

Yeah, I'm going to go completely insane.

I guess I'm just glad to finally be working on something that has entirely attracted my attention. I mean to say, that some of my other projects are still up for work (Lymric, Scout, etc) but, this problem is really academic and I can but only hope that I'll actually follow through, and complete, this effort.

Oh, and JEdit is the sweet nectar.

Well I made it back safely from my trip overseas. One of the most wonderful things to see when you get back are extremely low-cost utility bills. Then again...I'm single so, that's one of the big things for me...gee, I sound cold or lame.

A special thanks to all of my friends that emailed me while I was out. That's probably one of the best experiences a person can get. Written/typed letters, there's nothing like 'em.

While I was out, I managed to learn me some python. Which was nice and handy - that's going to be my prototype language of choice now (if I can't articulate myself with python, then I just need to rethink things completely).

The grammar checker is coming along really well. Right now, I've been able to gather parts-of-speech just the way I wanted them - now I just need to figure out a way to store them, bsddb is looking like the solution to my problem but, I've still some learning about that db to wrap up.

Scout is still in the shop.

I've been thinking a lot about how I'm living and I feel like I've really managed to limit myself for varying reasons, mostly related to the amount of travel I do in my job. I know this is a bunch of bunk but, I can't really seem to find something that I'm overly passionate about being apart of. Right now, I'm thinking about joining a judo club, maybe getting involve in FreeBytes (computer for low-income families), and some type of service for the homeless that's associated with my church. I have concerns about church oriented organizations (mostly, I don't want to be surrounded by yuppie-born-agains, trust me, many things lose validity with me once I see folk from that walk-of-life). So, I cross my fingers.

Now for the random and off-topic, It's strange but, everyone I meet asks about a "significant other" in my life and maybe it's just me, but, I kind of get the feeling that the entire department is really over emphasised in culture (not just mine). I'm not saying it's overrated. I'm just saying it seems like the focal point of so many people/things going on around me. I get this question a lot from random people and I'm getting to the point now where "what are you waiting for" responses to my "Don't have one" are getting old. I'm half tempted to just ignore the question entirely. It also feels equally inaccessible for me right now b/c, I almost feel like I'm walking around on training wheels and am just waiting for an accident to happen. Strange, yes, but true.

I have to say one of the things I did not miss while I was out, jumped immediately to mind while I was in target buying a food processor for my new falafel/humus-making-endeavour, I saw a least ten guys walking around wearing peach/pink/light-colored polo shirts with kakhi shorts, alongside rayban-esque sunglasses with beer-coozy-material'd sunglass straps, oh and don't forget the flip-flops with absolutely zero arch support.

I guess the reason why I find this so funny, is just something beyond uniformity of dress - I see this kind of thing as a reflection of the "fast-food" mindset in Western society (something I heard a lot of while I was out). This kind of thing just sounds to me like: don't give me any surpises, don't give me any real options or anything to really get excited over, I'll take #5 b/c it's #5(globalization folks!). There's a lot of +'s and -'s to that thought process but, I guess my thoughts about it all are obvious.

Go fig. Oh, I've reverted to the short-hair style.

Shout-outs. Surphaze, email me about all that crap I sent you while I was out. Bellin, yo, sorry man, had to trim the hair - I just don't do `shaggy` - btw, I've got a bunch of photos from the trip, I'm slowly going through them and getting some of the best.
6 Jul 2004 (updated 6 Jul 2004 at 12:16 UTC) »

Warning, this is in random order!

Well, I've managed to see all the `hits` for this summer. Spiderman 2 being my favorite, Farenheit 9/11 was disturbing (though I'm somewhat reluctant to believe everything that was shown).

Savannah went swimmingly.

I am about to leave again for another month-long trek overseas.

Scout is pretty close to completion! I'm at the phase of development where you have to just tweek out some of the finer parts of the program and do a little more beta testing. It should be release worthy by the time I get back from my trip.

I went to Boston about 1 week ago (beautiful city, I really had a good time up there, it was good to see dobey, nice meeting dom, clahey, etc).

Wind Waker is starting to get annoying (I'm supposed to teach some dude a song but, I have no clue who it is...gamefaqs here I come!)

Picked up a copy of Invader Zim vol 1

I got a great list of books to read

Started hacking on `GoldenGrammar` seems like it'll be difficult, fun (and did I say exceptionally challenging?), clahey suggested it, I think there's a need for it, so we'll see how it turns out. I just hope that I can figure out a way of doing this library without having to make use of some kind of trainable neural net (which would mean running a long process of txt analysis and databasing all that data).

Bitchin' new music: Involver (Sasha), The Cure (The Cure), Good Speed You Black Emperor (an EP and the big LP), and Dredg's first album (the 2nd was way too "Dream Theater" ish for me).

& Finally...

Thanks to the advo team for getting the site back up! You guys rock!
27 May 2004 (updated 27 May 2004 at 18:11 UTC) »
Being Stateside

Checked out Shrek 2 this week - it always amazes me how far CG in the theater has come along. S2 was a great example of how a simple story concept (sort of a "rap-remix" from fairy tales) can become a major success. The first 20 minutes were really mushy (I didn't even catch some of the movie references they were making) but when Puss-In-Boots showed up on the set, it really started to get interesting. I guess the Shrek series is what I really consider quality, family-oriented cinema.


I sat down the last night at B&N and a light went off in my head. I figured out how to implement Scout's phrase creation system. It's pretty cool b/c I'm going to be making use of Markov Chains. I did some reading up on that stuff in my College Probability book and in my NLP/Speech Book (in that text they're referred to as Markov Chains and N-Grams).

In any case, a couple conversations I've had with Veruss (my reference to all things AI) helped me to realize that thinking of the problem as a simple matter of graph theory and probability was really the key. Veruss and my references are telling me Markov Chains are a "type" of Neural Net/State machine. Which seems like a pretty good point of view. In any case, the culminating moment of this entire thought process occurred right after some Splinter Cell and during a Kids in the Hall sketch.

In the sketch, some guys are jumping out of an airplane. Each one falls to his death. The first guy is really nice and then thinks he'll die b/c he's the nice guy. So he gives his buddies the finger and jumps out of the plane to his doom. The next couple of guys are twins and they jump out of the plane to their dooms. The last guy pickes up a paper and finds out he's won the lottery. He then askes the pilot for the probability of dying on his first jump given the probability of two twins jumping together and dying, and then the probability of him winning the lotto. The pilot gives him an outrageous number (5 kazillion or something to 1) so, he askes what his odds are if he jumped without a parachute - the pilot says 2:1 - so he opts to jump out with out the chute. He goes splat.

Long story short, that got me thinking about the problem I wanted Scout to solve. Then I started thinking about Markov Chains again, and came up with a good data structure model for handling Markov Chains (2 graphs, one for words and one above that word graph for phrases).

Sounds sexy and I implemented both graphs and the basic ui today.

I'm using Microsoft's C# SDK. No, this isn't some trendy, fanboy, fashion-minded decision. It's a matter of practicality. I'm without computers at home right now (both are still broken) and the machines at work are Win2K with .NET installed on them. It only made sense to go the path of least resistance. Heck, when I'm done with this app, I'll probably end up testing it on Mono (I'm getting a hand-me-down x86 machine this weekend to hold me over) - I may even move it to gcc.

Current Scout beverage count: 1 cup of tea, 2 cokes, and 2 cups of coffee. I started the count last night when I began writing out data structures on paper.

In any event, it felt good to finally have a chance to solve a problem like this with probability. It sort of validated my taking that course last fall (we actually a little Markov Chaining in there). I've even noticed that I could translate this Markov Chaining stuff into a Linear System of Equations to solve. I'm 1/2 tempted to try that technique also but, for now, I'll just stick to my K-ary trees/graphs.

Surphaze, expect a call tonight.

Weekend Plans

Turns out my parents are headed down this weekend. I've managed to clean up the vast majority of my flat but, it still needs a little more love. I also have some uniforms to get drycleaned/starched. Yay. :(

I'll have to hitch another ride back to the office tonight to pull some photos off my digital camera for a friend and then I'll probably make my way north to the mall for a bit. I really need to get out and do something. Being back in the states has been a little depressing of late.

I still can't believe that no less than a week ago I was in the Paris International Airport in the same terminal that collapsed. Had it been a couple days later and I probably would have been a victim of gravity.

back to the Grind.

ct out.
24 May 2004 (updated 24 May 2004 at 17:58 UTC) »
This week on cTaylor...

Well, not having a car has shown me that I'm a pretty resourceful dude. If I do say so myself, and I do...

Took the marta into Lenox [] mall (yeah, that's a square) and picked up a copy of splinter cell. I know, it's an old game and I'm starting to look lame but, hey, it was about 25 bucks and I wanted to see what the fuss was regarding the splinter cell series. Turns out that my inital sensation of being annoyed with the play control turned into an unbridled obsession as I guided Senor Fisher through the CIA level. Needless to say, I'm having great fun with it.

Been reading Ghost Wars and I must say, this book is excellent. It's somewhere between spy novel and history text book. There's a lot of interesting stuff chalked into it. The Count of Monte Cristo is still proving to be an enjoyable interlude during my marta trip to/from work.

Since I'm still without a means of computation, (this weekend my sister is handing me down a laptop, yay!) and not for lack of funds, but more from a lack of strong desire, I've been trying to relax and enjoy the world a little more. I've also been scheming.

After my next overseas jaunt, I'm going to be getting back into Judo. I've decided that I've just got to do it. I've been away for too long. My skillz too weak...

I've also decided that I'll be getting a `real bike`. Since I'll be forgoing petroleum based transport vehicles for `awhile` (that's an ambiguous word on purpose - even though I will have another vehicle soon, I'm going to keep the miles down, gas is like $2 frickin' bucks a gallon here), I'll be in the market soon for a Trek-brand bike. I'll leave the car for drill weekends and the occasional shopping venture.

I'm still adjusting to my daily running routine. The lower back is still jarring from each voyage around GTech campus, but it's getting to be less and less of an issue. By the time I'm back in shape to run, I should be more than ready to rock the road on a bike. Which means I'll need to find a route from my current residence to work...which seems kinda tricky but probably isn't all *that tricky*.

Adam is supposed to be coming on down this weekend with his lady-friend. So, I get to play host for a night! My parents are due to be here Saturday morning at noon. And...I'm thinkin', that's *it* for this week.

Still working on some software ideas - old and new - so we'll see how it all turns out this weekend.

...and now, back to your regularly scheduled life
20 May 2004 (updated 20 May 2004 at 14:46 UTC) »
Back in town

So, I've managed to survive my first trip overseas. I was out for about a month. Had a great opporuntity to unplug. Got around to reading Cryptonomicon which, I have to admit, was a superb book - I've also completed the next Castaneda book and it happened to be more along the lines of what I had been looking for in his writing (an emphasis on Yaqui- Shaman-Mysticism). I've also been able to get a significant start on the Count of Monte Cristo and it's turning into another wonderful read.

Picked up Figure 8 (elliott smith) and dummy (portishead), kids in the hall season 1 made it to dvd and yeah, i got a copy of that too (it's hilarious). Went out with my coworker in sim land to see troy tuesday and it wasn't really all that wonderful. The one-on-one fight scenes were excellent. There were also some great one-liners in the movie but I'm exhausted with "massive, titanic, high stakes battles". I'm sorry but Braveheart + Lord of the Rings > Troy. I also felt the ending was a bit tongue in cheek.

Planning on getting a new PC ("dude, looks like I'm getting a dell!") next week. It's about time, I've been without a good desktop for about 8+ months. I've also managed to get a hand-me-down laptop for some of my mobile work. I just need something simple, no bells and whistles and it looks like my sisters toshiba laptop would make an excellent pc based workstation for me. Yes, surphaze, I am going minimalist with my linux setup on that machine. And yes, I'll actually be doing real work this go-around on it.

Getting back into country has been hectic. My "other job" is having me scramble to find out who's now doing whom's job. Seems like my main man got severely injured (herniated disk) and is now on disability. So, we've had to restructure our organization. annoying but true.

been focusing on aftermath stuff for my full time job. we've been doing expense reports and i've got to work on a newletter article about our trek across the water. boy, i get to write something. it's been about 3 years since i've actually written something for publication or review.

i was able to get a lot of natty language reading done on my work trip. i'm all about this stuff now. it's fascinating and i think that it shouldn't be all that horrible to implement.

started doing a private journal of my thoughts. it's amazing how wonderful i've been feeling after starting that project. 2-3 times a week i would just sit outside during the night, crank on some tunes, and just write. very relaxing exercise. reading what i've been thinking about on and off for the past 5+ years and then commiting myself to not reflecting on it beyond the scope of the book seems to be a really useful practice.

planning on going to titan games with mikey and gcasey. that's looking like a good thing for me after my AT in june. still need to plan that trip to boston for the week after june 20th. july is still up in the air i may/may not be going overseas for another month.

in any case, surphaze, txtger, bob send me an email when you get time. lataz.

Well, I got my sitation with the prof resolved as much as I could ever think it should or could be - The weekend wasn't the coolest ever but it was interesting the say the least. Joey and Ester came down friday night - we drove into decatur and checked out the majestic (a kick ass diner off ponce). When we got back to my place, it turns out my blot broke into the locked position. So, our likely trio had to wait around for the lock smithy to come by gratis Post properties to get us back into my place. We didn't get into my place until 2am. Joey and Ester are now the proud keepers of my Kung Fu and Aqua Teen dvd sets. I hear Kids in the Hall (season 1) is out april 27. too bad I won't be around to see that happen. they also have my now defunct ibook (it died for the second time thursday).

today i get to make my first trip overseas. i'll be out of touch for roughly a month and i'll have limited internet access. so, if you need to get in touch with me for some reason, just kick an email to my gentoo account and i'll get back with you when i can.

Been talking a lot with lj via email - it's been a refreshing conversation. Veruss has been really pushing me to get a desktop and to grab a copy of city of heros. i've been out of computer gaming for about 4.5 years now, maybe it's time to make a return to the scene. metroid prime's been a royal pain in the ass - I'm getting tired of the little "updates" that tell me to traverse from one side of hell to other and back again b/c there's a "distrubance in the electro magnetic field" - sounds a lot like the force...i'm suspicious. maybe i'll have to take on a sith lord or something equally unpleasant that the terminus of the game.

haven't done a lot of hacking of late for obvious reasons - i grabbed a bunch of books this weekend so, i'm ready to catch up on my reading. i'm always amazed at my reaction to books. maybe it's a placebo effect but, i just feel sharper after having gone through about 1-3 books in a six month period. i feel more at ease more prepared. i also think i'm going to start writing a book or something once i get out that way. i've been thinking about my life alot lately and i want to start putting some of my experiences to pen. i know no one is probably ever going to read my work but it's not really for them as PA would say.

I've been going through my speech synth/nlp books quite a bit, i'm still fascinated with the area, i've been getting a better grip on how to pull of scout. which has been wonderful.

surphaze got me a feature list for our first release of lymric. i feel that once i get a computer back, we'll definately have something ready by next fall, come hell or high water. i really want to just get this project released so we can work on `cooler stuff`.

best of luck my dear readers ;) i'll be back in a couple weeks.
21 Apr 2004 (updated 21 Apr 2004 at 22:04 UTC) »
The dirty games some people play

So, I get this email this morning from a professor I did some work for back in the day. He's restarting an old project and whatnot and asked for my sourceforge account data.

I replied with a "sorry I can't do that b/c it's my personal account but, if you want, draft an account up and I'll give you admin/maintainer permissions".

He responded with a very nasty and public email to a couple of faculty I was friends with about the issue and essentially accused me of IP theft and then told me he was going to disavow all association of my name with the project.

Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. Because, if one would take time to examine the site for said project (http://keystone-ccs.sf.net) one would see that it's pretty clear what I did with the project (webpaging, documentation, and getting it hosted onto sf) and who actually wrote the project. I mean, call me crazy but, I think it's pretty evident...but, that's just me.

Needless to say, I've added the new dev to the admin roster, given him full privs, did a write up regarding what I did with the sf.net space, and then request SF.net remove my name from the dev list. I can't believe this prof. and I can't believe the unprofessional behavior/response he exhibited/took. If anything, I should be the one diassociating myself from them.

He called into question my integrity. For future reference, I hope everyone reading this document will make sure to check their story first before accusing someone of any type of theft, spinning the words of the individual, and then trying to publicly maim/assassinate/defame the person's credibility.

As for my response - I tired to make it professional and through. Let's just say that I wasn't the one that promised something and then didn't produce.

This happened about 10 am this morning and it's now 1 pm, still haven't heard back from anyone regarding this issue, my actions, and/or the actions of the prof.

Just got this link from a friend. Very interesting...
19 Apr 2004 (updated 19 Apr 2004 at 11:59 UTC) »
Because it's called fun...

Crashed my car 5 hours from Atlanta on a trip to visit my parents.

Flew home the next day.

Saw Kill Bill v2. It definately brought a much needed smile to my face.

Hacked on a rendezvous gnome applet some more. Realized I need 2 threads to accomplish it's task.

Read some NLP stuff.

Dreamed about autonomic computing.

Yes, nothing is new under the sun. AUIML == XAML?
Sweet Show

I saw Murder by Death last night with Rasputina. It was an excellent show. Both bands had wonderful cellists and violinists. MbD had an unreal instrumental piece they rocked out at the close of their set, it left a majority of the crowd speachless (I don't think they expected that kind of performance from an opening band). It reminded me of Earthless out in San Diego (Earthless had a friggin' set at the Casbah that was surreal they played one song for about an hour and a half).

Rasputina wasn't too shabby either. They did a couple of interesting covers, though I guess I've been spoiled by instrumental sets b/c it just seemed like most of their works were a little too short.

Downed a couple beers, chatted with a gal from Savannah that had a university job/private practice teaching violin. Went back home about 1 am, passed out and ta da here I am at work. ;)

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