05 February 2005

2,550 words so far in February, 19,050 for the year so far.

Posted 10:23 AM

03 February 2005

One of the hot topics in the blogosphere these days is tagging. For example, when I add a link to my Furl archive, I tag it as belonging to one or more categories. Doing so makes my archive more useful to me, but the interesting bit happens when someone else searches Furl for anything related to one of my tags. They'll get a list of all the pages I've marked with, say, the "semiconductors" tag. Depending on how closely their interests match mine, this list could be much more useful than the generic results returned by a search engine. Combine my tags with those from other Furl users, and you start to build a relevance-ranked list of pages on any given topic.

Tagging is being touted as a way to build a catalog of the web. Such a catalog, if it existed, would be much more useful to human users than the brute force algorithms currently used by search engines. Even better, the catalog would help autonomous software agents navigate.

That's the theory. I'm skeptical, in part because so many potential tags hide cultural assumptions. Consider the many games subsumed under the term "football." Many other potential tags have both generalist and specialist meanings, and there are many more generalists than specialists out there. If I tag a page on appendicitis, it probably won't be helpful to a surgeon looking for reference material. On general topics, recommendation engines can find people with similar interests to mine and show me pages that they tagged. For specialized topics, though, there might not be enough people out there, or their tagging schemes might be idiosyncratic enough to keep the recommendation engine from finding them.

Corante has an interesting article about tagging, with pointers to some of the ongoing debate.

Posted 10:29 AM

Here's an interesting discussion of recent animated and CGI films that do (Lord of the Rings, The Incredibles) and don't (The Polar Express) work. Read the comments as well, as lots of knowledgeable people have weighed in.

Update: Sorry, forgot the link. Now fixed.

Posted 09:46 AM

01 February 2005

600 words yesterday, and another project shipped. That gives me 16,500 for January, and for the year so far.

To reach my goal of 300,000 for the year, I'll need to average nearly 26,000 words per month. So I need to pick up the pace relative to January, but I already knew that.

Posted 04:30 PM

Dave Taylor offers some succinct advice on hiring consultants to write your business plan: don't do it.

When you think about it, outsourcing your business plan is exactly the same as buying a term paper off the web. You might get a good grade, but you don't learn anything and therefore miss the whole point of the exercise.

Posted 09:42 AM

31 January 2005

Good day yesterday. 1650 words, so 15,900 for the year.

Posted 10:32 AM

It's only a beginning, but the people of Iraq voted yesterday. For anyone they chose, without worrying that the secret police would kick down their doors if they checked the wrong box.

Whether you supported the invasion of Iraq or not, open elections are always good news.

Posted 09:58 AM

30 January 2005

Slogging along. 4350 words since my last update; 14,250 for the year. January will come in low, which I was expecting. Need to pick it up for the rest of the year.

Posted 10:37 AM


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