Archive for category Uncategorized

Moving hosting … again

So, it’s official. Blacknight VPS‘s suck so much that they can’t even host a single wordpress instance. Yes, one, single, very low traffic wordpress instance, with every last piece of optimisation and caching known to man, is too much for a blacknight VPS.

I really wish I could have stayed with them – it’s bloody awkward moving a blog, but it has already gone way way way beyond any form of humour, and their tech support seem to think the performance I’m getting is normal (and I believe them, which is why I say they suck).

So, this blog is now happily running (in Tokyo!) on a VPS of its own, hosted on a cheaper, and much much much much much faster linode VPS.

Long may it continue.

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Ireland: A Country of Sheep

Voters in the Lisbon Treaty Referendum 2009

Voters in the Lisbon Treaty Referendum 2009

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Wolfram|Alpha

Following from yesterday’s post about Google’s inference engine, someone directed me to a similar project called Wolfram|Alpha which is going live next week.

This is an incredibly interesting video (if a little drawn out):

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Google’s Inference Engine: The Google IQ

Something that’s been on my mind for a bit, brought to the fore today because Google is launching a new product based on it:

Inference Engine

One of the wonderful concepts of artificial intelligence is the inference engine.  It’s a kind of computer algorithm that allows computers to reason things.  Even in a very simple form, it can achieve (what we perceive as) quite complex reasoning.

If it knows:

  • Barrack Obama is the US president
  • The US president lives in the white house

then it can infer that

=> Barrack Obama lives in the white house.

    So the system can know a third “fact” by knowing the first two. It’s kinda smart.

    If you add more facts, the system gets smarter, learning just like a child. And the more facts you add, the smarter it gets, just like a child. This is the basis for most modern forms of artificial intelligence. So what stops people making a super-intelligent inference engine? Someone has to teach it the facts. And, considering the number of facts required to make a system usefully intelligent (in a general sense) – it’s not worth the effort.

    Enter the Internet, and Google

    Google trawls the internet every day, which contains billions and billions of facts – waiting to be reaped. Up until recently, it just stored the content of the pages, so if you searched for words, it showed you the pages that contained those words (or had links containing your words pointing to them). But, as of late, it has started using some kind of inference engine (I noticed this lately when searching for a company director, it gave me the location of his company). And today, Google announced that they do in fact use an inference engine, and will be using it to help searching in their future products.

    So, here we have an incredibly large source of information, containing most of mankind’s knowledge, and an inference engine that is reading it, and gradually getting smarter – based on its knowledge. In time that inference engine will be very smart indeed. Which would be fine, if it weren’t for its source of knowledge: the internet is not fair, just, true, or moral.

    This system is currently in its infancy. Do we want it to grow up having learnt everything it knows from the internet?

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    An Ode to Scrubs

    As the third best show on TV (the 2nd is Lost, and the number one slot goes to House) comes to a close, I feel it is time for me to express my deep sense of regret in poetic form.scrubs

    Oh Scrubs,
    Scrubs,
    Scrubs,
    Scrubs,
    Scrubs,
    We’ll miss you.

    After eight glorious years the funniest show on TV has come to an end.

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    The Millimetre Crisis in Hoodwinked Kingdom

    The Great Big Millimetre Crisis in Hoodwinked Kingdom. by Christopher Brooks

    It came about that a whole kingdom was cast
    over by a spell from a tiny sect in it’s territory
    that from this day forth all “millimetres” belong and are
    controlled in supply by their new “mm” bank.

    This sect grew in power and found many clever
    ways to manipulate and pervert the “mm” from
    it’s genuine honest scientific function as a stable
    medium of exchange.

    The sect grew it’s influence by supporting
    the Hocus Pokus University to research
    the scarcity of “mm” theory and the
    Spellmaker Press always published
    the “Coping with limited “mm” stress”
    reports. Read the rest of this entry »

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    ‘Revert’ does not mean ‘Reply’

    I’ve seen three occurrences of this stupidity recently (all, as it happens, in communications to/from Irish solicitors), and it is really starting to vex me.  Particularly because the people involved should all know better.

    Generally, the usage tends to be:

    Please revert to me

    which, while grammatically correct, only has meaning if the person you are writing to was, at some time in the past, you. Read the rest of this entry »

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    “Magic Time” on Friday 13th

    MySql FROM_UNIXTIME

    MySql FROM_UNIXTIME

    Friday 13th Feb, 2009 is significant, not just because because it’s unlucky and the world will end etc., but moreso because, at 11:31:30pm UTC on Friday, Feb 13, 2009, Unix Time will reach 1,234,567,890.

    It seems this time is becoming known as the ‘Cool Epoch’.

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    Farewell Mr Bush, we’ll miss you

    Some highlights of his speeches.  My personal favourite has to be “The left hand [raises right hand] now knows what the right [raises left] is doing”.

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    Originally from here.

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    My First Christmas In Heaven

    I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
    with tiny lights, like Heaven stars reflecting on the snow.
    The sight is so spectacular; please wipe the tear,
    for I am spending Christmas with Jesus this year.

    I hear so many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
    and be glad I am spending Christmas with Jesus this year.

    I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above,
    I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
    After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold,
    it was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

    Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do
    for I can’t count the blessings or love He has for you.

    So have a joyful Christmas and wipe away that tear,
    Remember I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

    - Author Unknown.

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    Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams

    Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, pioneer of VR technology, creator of the Alice program, gives a very moving talk on his life.

    Randy passed away in July. RIP.

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    Large Hadron Collider – Part II

    Following from my earlier entry about the Large Hadron Collider, two of the internal security cameras are now online for your viewing pleasure.

    Requires flash (but it’s worth it!).

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