26 Sep 2002 raph   » (Master)

FAQ's about thresholding

What happened? I implemented a very simple form of thresholding for the recentlog. The default link off the front page is now recentlog.html?thresh=3. This means that any diary entry rated under 3 will be suppressed.

I don't want filtering. Two choices: don't be logged in when you read, or just use recentlog.html without the threshold parameter.

Can I use a different threshold? Sure, but you'll have to construct the URL yourself for now.

Why are the ratings in gray? The color represents confidence. The paler, the lower the confidence. If you put in a rating yourself, it will have the highest confidence and be rendered as black.

User X doesn't deserve to be filtered out. I agree. Rate her diary at 3 or above.

User X deserves to be filtered out, but isn't. I agree. Rate his diary below 3.

I want X. We're taking patches.

Viewsonic QUXGA

Viewsonic has their VP2290b monitor out for $7k street. It looks to be nearly identical to the IBM T221, but at a somewhat better price. It's very exciting that there are now two suppliers for 200 dpi monitors, as it suggests that the price will soon be reasonable. I want one.


Subscribe. I did.

On chemistry, alchemy, and computer science

I've been exploring the analogy between the development of chemstry from alchemy and the current state of computer science. Here's an interesting quote I found from Chemistry: A History by James R. Fromm:

It is easy to see, then, that more and more facts of chemical changes were being discovered in these ancient times, but the explanations for these facts could not be given. Chemistry and the chemical arts were developing; chemical theory was not. But the dishonesty that was being practiced under the name of chemistry was giving the science a bad name. Today we distinguish the good from the fraudulent, as developed in these centuries, by calling the first chemistry, the other alchemy.

I was struck by this. We call our discipline "computer science", but in practice much of the field is characterized by a dishonesty that makes forgery of precious gems from glass look quite tame by comparison. Of the subfields of computer science, security is probably the worst (even as modern crypto, based on computational complexity theory, shows promise of being one of the most rigorous areas). In context of talking about the way "digital rights management" platforms are currently being marketed as a more trustworthy system for users, Zooko said:

They are selling real poison, real enslavement, as a tonic.


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