27 Jun 2002 raph   » (Master)

Diary rankings

Yes, as tk noticed, you can now enter your ratings of others' diaries. There's eigenvector-based code to compute the ratings too, but it's not really ready for prime time. For one, it allocates all its memory in one pool per request, but it needs to be finer grained. For two, I haven't done anything about displaying the rankings. Eventually, I'll want to do a custom recentlog, where you can specify thresholds.

I think this rating system will be very robust. Among other things, there's no bias toward generosity as there is for certs. Of course, merely being able to accurately evaluate the quality of diaries doesn't directly lead to a high quality site. One of the problems is coherence. If some people are reading low-ranked diaries and others aren't, it makes for some fragmented threads. But it ought to be a good start.

In any case, the mod_virgule code lives on casper now. Follow the directions there, but replace ghostscript with mod_virgule.

Stories

Alan was negotiating his allowance with Heather this evening, and I was reminded of the classic story about the doubling of grains of wheat as a reward for inventing chess. I told this to him, and he was quite captivated.

I just got done reading Max his bedtime stories. Tonight, it took him fifteen books to get to sleep. This reminds me of one of my favorite Alan stories, from five summers ago. The Rockridge Library in Oakland had tables out on College Avenue to promote their summer reading program. As it happens, Heather happened to know one of the volunteers, so she stopped to chat. I was holding Alan and probably looking a bit bored, so the other volunteer started trying to sell me on the reading program. I must have seemed skeptical, because she insisted that it was pretty easy. I just had to read him eight books. "Eight books?" I protested. "And I only have until the end of the summer to read them to him?" She pointed out that board books would do. At this point, Heather overheard our conversation and blew my cover.

We're also reading the Phantom Tollbooth to Alan. It's a pretty good book. There was a patch of a few months where he didn't seem very interested in books, but now we've gotten back on a reading track. It's very good, I think, as it's one of the few things that will reliably calm his anxiety.

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