Ideas

Frighteningly Ambitious Programming Language Ideas

Jon Purdy: Furthermore, 1D languages require jumps for flow control, but since any graph can be embedded in three dimensions, languages of three or more dimensions can be written jump-free. An easy way to do this is to allow changing the direction of the instruction pointer rather than its position. Blew my mind.

Future · Ideas · Instruction · Languages · Pointer · Programming

Will Faught

1 minute

Password Scheme

Here is how I used to create new passwords: I picked a starting idea, free associated from that about five times until I had something suitably random and about the right length (8-10 characters), converted some of the letters to leet, capitalized a letter, and reversed the characters. For example, I could start with “pillow”: “pillow” makes me think of “bed”, “bed” makes me think of “sheet”, and “sheet” makes me think of “sunlight”.

Computation · Ideas

Will Faught

1 minute

Password Strength

They say you should use a strong password, one that is long, has uppercase and lowercase letters, digits, symbols, even spaces. You should have a unique password for everything in case the security for one of them is compromised. Until recently, I had used two passwords, one for important things like computer accounts, e-mail, banking, and electronic payments, and the other for everything else, like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. They had uppercase and lowercase letters and digits only, and were about eight characters long.

Ideas · Opinions · Stories

Will Faught

2 minutes

What Kind Of Thing Is That?

Have you ever wondered, “What kind of thing is that?” I use Wikipedia to answer that question all the time. You can even use Wikipedia to find similar things that share the same category. What kind of thing is a senate? Well, apparently it’s a legislature. Did you know that a tricameral legislature is also a kind of legislature, and that there was a Tricameral Parliament in South Africa until 1994?

Fyi · Ideas · Opinions

Will Faught

1 minute

Social Surgery

I have Facebook and Twitter configured to copy everything I publish on my blog. Occasionally, I want to edit a post, but it’s already been copied, so I have to edit the same content in multiple places. The phrase “social surgery” popped into my head, and I thought I was very clever for thinking it up, but it turns out that I was beaten to it.

Ideas

Will Faught

1 minute

Interoperation For Lazy And Eager Evaluation

My dissertation for Master of Science in Computer Science was just approved and published by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Dissertation · Ideas · Thesis

Will Faught

1 minute

IPhone Calendar Needs Improvement

I wholeheartedly agree with Ben Brooks and Marco Arment: we need a new calendar view that presents the next three days like in a week view and then puts events for the following week or two in a list, all visible at once. Using landscape orientation would be perfect for this. At least give us a week view. Event repetition needs the flexibility that Google Calendar provides: I want events that can repeat every Tuesday and Thursday.

Calendar · Ideas · Iphone

Will Faught

1 minute

New York Times Pay Wall

I tapped to look at the subscription information in the NYTimes iPad app. Apparently, one can save either $19 or $34 at the same time when paying $0.99 for either digital access plan. What is this, non-deterministic saving? Neither digital access plan interests me. I have no problem paying $5 per week for quality news coverage, but not letting me use their apps on all my devices is a deal breaker.

Ideas · Ipad · New York Times · Opinions · Paywall

Will Faught

1 minute

Artificial Intelligence

For a while I’ve thought that creating artificial intelligence would be straightforward. Regardless of whether the nature of human intelligence will ever be understood, eventually every detail of the physiology of the human brain will be discovered and known. Computers can know the current state of every atom in a brain and compute its next state, thereby simulating the brain. Computers don’t need to understand human intelligence to simulate it, they need only to simulate a brain, and intelligence will arise from that.

Artificial Intelligence · Computation · Computers · Concurrency · Ideas · Life · Reflections · Turing Machines

Will Faught

2 minutes

A Video Game Idea

I’m very intrigued by alpha and beta versions of video games. It’s fascinating to see early incarnations of the final product. It’s like discovering a secret world, the backstage of the game world, that few actually witness. Granted, most of it is rough draft quality and incomplete, but it’s always interesting to see what might have been. You can find tons of screen shots and videos of alpha and beta versions of one of my favorite games, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time.

Alpha · Beta · Ideas · Life · Reality · Video Games · Zelda

Will Faught

2 minutes

Giving Weight To Online Words

It seems to me that political debates nowadays are a waste of time. Two people come together to debate an issue and wind up either talking about different things or don’t address what the other person is saying, much less provide concrete support for their arguments. There’s just too many tricks to fudge your way out of really committing to something and sticking to it. I blame the dependence of our electoral process on audio/video media.

Arguments · Debate · Discourse · Discussion · Elections · Ideas · Life · Online · Politics · Words

Will Faught

2 minutes

Computer Science Is Not Science

Is Computer Science really a science? Computer scientists don’t apply the scientific method. Testing is currently essential for implementing software correctly, but only because we’re either too lazy or incapable of verifying correctness beforehand due to the extreme complexity of the systems and tools we use. It all boils down to manipulating an abstract machine, in most cases a register machine, which is a mathematical construct. The colors that appear on your monitor and the data written to your hard drive are merely side effects of the mathematical operations we compute.

Abstract Machine · Computer Science · Ideas · Life · Mathematics · Register Machine · Scientific Method

Will Faught

1 minute

A Story Idea

I’ve had an idea for a story for a while now that I think would be pretty interesting to write. In the future, a computerized virtual world would be accessible to most people like a utility, much like the internet. Users could interact with the virtual world like a virtual reality game, where your sight and hearing are tuned to the virtual world, not the real one. Its use has become so pervasive that people do many things in the virtual world that are currently done in the real world, such as playing games, meeting people, conducting business, collaborating, performing financial transactions, etc.

Economics · Factions · Game · Ideas · Life · Story · Virtual World

Will Faught

2 minutes

Large Wildfires Unavoidable

It seems to me that large wildfires like that of southern California are unavoidable. I’m not an expert, but it’s my understanding that wildfires are a natural phenomenon that play a useful role in the life cycle of the environment. They can clear out thick underbrush and smaller trees that can come to choke larger trees and in doing so they enrich the soil with the ashes they leave behind. In fact, Yellowstone has a policy of letting small natural fires burn freely because its management recognizes these benefits.

California · Containment · Ideas · Life · Reflections · Underbrush · Wildfires · Yellowstone

Will Faught

2 minutes

Behind The Scenes

The Christmas card poem that didn’t make it: Greetings Bill and Maria! I had a great idea To send you my love via … I’m writing this in a pizzeria In a galleria in South Korea I hope I don’t get diarrhea In their bathroom I could get gonorrhea

Bill · Card · Christmas · Ideas · Life · Maria · Poem · Quotations

Will Faught

1 minute

IPod Video Transcoding In Linux

I’ve cobbled together a pretty good tool for transcoding video in pretty much any format into the MPEG-4 format that iPods play. You have to have the VLC media player installed because it does the actual transcoding. So in other words, I’ve researched a program that was already out there and made an easy wrapper script. Damn I’m smart. Yay modularity! Seriously though, there aren’t a lot of guides out there that are easy to follow.

Ideas · Ipod · Life · Linux · Mpeg-4 · Transcoding · Ubuntu · Video · Vlc

Will Faught

1 minute

Expressiveness In Human Languages

Programming languages vary across a spectrum of expressiveness. By expressiveness, I mean the ability and ease by which you can express something in a particular language. For example, programming languages having closures are widely considered to be more expressive, and hence more powerful, than languages that lack this feature. I wonder if natural (human) languages also vary in expressive power and if so how this affects your thinking and personality. If you grew up learning the most expressive natural language of all, would that make you smarter than those who didn’t?

Expressiveness · Human · Ideas · Languages · Life · Predispositions · Programming

Will Faught

1 minute

Inflatable Me

Being a computer science major, my job after graduation will most likely entail working in an office. I’ll have to attend meetings. If I’m promoted, I’ll have to attend even more meetings. If I progress higher into the ranks, I’ll lose more and more of my day to the time suck of meetings to the point where I can’t get anything useful done during normal hours. I’ll have to develop a second personality to come into the office to get something done at night while I rest up, hopefully while not starting a club at the same time.

Ideas · Inflatable · Job · Life · Meetings · Office

Will Faught

1 minute

Electronic Voting Is Stupid

The problems with electronic voting machines are threefold: Your votes can be changed and there’s no record if they’re changed. Pen is permanent and cannot be hidden. Your votes cannot be authenticated. It’s difficult to forge a signature and impossible to do on a large scale. The process by which votes are tabulated is not transparent. Counting by hand is understandable and easily verifiable. We should use paper ballots with ink circles to indicate our votes and ink signatures to authenticate them.

Electronic · Ideas · Life · Problems · Reflections · Tabulation · Voting

Will Faught

1 minute

Who Are You?

Is my identity constant or variable? On the one hand, my identity could be some thing or things about me that always have and always will be unique. On the other hand, my identity could be the variable but unique combination of my characteristics at any given moment, like my location, appearance, personality, relationships, and memory. I think it is a mix of the two. I think my choices identify who I am.

Babylon 5 · Ideas · Identity · Life · Philosophy · Quotations

Will Faught

2 minutes

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