Friday, December 11, 2009

risk and complex systems

yesterday I was in the Judge Business School whch is the only place in Cambridge that everyone sounds preppy (or like they went to british public school) - there was this workshop on complex systems and catastrophes - not bad...the building reminds me
of the library in the film of Umberto Eco's

T h e N a m e o f t h e R o w s

Ionic, or ironic? I don't know.

Anyhow, I decided the difference between complicated and complex
was best expressed By Donald Rumsfeld -
complicated is
known unknowns
complex is
unknown unknowns

easy, right?

Friday, November 27, 2009

4D printer - Maxwell's Angels....

so we've all heard about 3D printers, and pretty naff they are too - and soon we'll have 3D fax machines (poor man's matter transporter)

but what about a 4D printer?

This would basically extrude reality - it could be a nascent universe in a box, with an output being a stream of space time continuum - the settings (God's Dials?) would be quite complicated....perhaps the implementation would entail use of Maxwell's Angels (a bit like his demons, only without sense-of-humour failure).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

alien consciousness (machine intelligence or extraterrestrial)

so reading What Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink
by John Brockman , Brian Eno (Introduction)
Amazon Reference
I was struck by the similarity of arguments about alien and artificial intelligence - how do we know something is conscious? how can we make something conscious? what is society but the combination of the theory of other and a model of self?

meanwhile, perhaps Drake's famous equation, promoted by Carl Sagan, and dismissed by some because of lack of detection of any
other is because once you reach singularity, you become
dark matter, and society is simply dark energy.

there's a theory for you to munch on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

sci fi game on google sky map

would be neat to play a sort of
plan your sci fi plot game using google skymap o na bunch of smart phones -

basic model would be to take plot of any classic space opera SF book or film, and tag the journeys in it (most space opera is basically an adventure trail, challenge, journey -) on the skymap visiting relevant planets or stars and see who can get it most right....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

3 masters 3

so in my life i've been lucky to meet
3 masters of trinity college cambridge

interestingly (imho)
one was afraid of women
one was afraid of men
one was afraid of god
as far as i could tell
but i'm not telling who or which

horizon is getting weaker

not a good recent edition of horizon - here's an idea for a decent edition

get ben goldacre (or someone similar)
to do something on
what is medical science?

what constitutes evidence and what constitutes grounds for
accepting a theory (or rejecting it)
and what constitutes waffle -

could start with historical perspective - e.g.
John Snow et al...and give some
homeopathic and placebo lessons
and explain
statistical significance
and risk, properly....

remember, the stuff those folks did has contributed more to human happiness/quality of life than just about anything else except the invention of the electric guitar and the football.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

can 3D printers print 3D printers

and can they print robots that can turn off 3D printers?
and if not, why not?

cf. those of you familiar with Philip K. Dick's dystopic visions of consumer society will recognize the rogue post-war autofac meme, here

Friday, November 06, 2009

oribtals & flat earth and the ecliptic

you know i never could understand how people worked out all the orbit stuff when I was a kid - it was coz noone ever told me that all the orbits were in the same plane! - if you think of the planets goin round in arbitray planes, like hurts your brain....meanwhile so does xkcd

Saturday, October 31, 2009

the day the internet stood still

this has it just about right

Tricycle design

i was lookin at the design of a bike made
simply of 3 circles
front wheel, backwheel and seaterwheel
connected in a triangle by their axes...

/ \
O - O

tryin to realise this in materials... ...

Friday, October 30, 2009

dan brown - the lost clue?

so there's a bit in the lost s symbol when a super hacker
is trying to find the source of a document that a distributed search engine has uncovered magically, but is phoned up by the CIA mid hacking to be asked what he is doing...oh yeah, some super hacker, eh...

meanwhile, the writing "style" (for want of a better word) still reminds me of a small child or puppy that wants to go "wee wee" - it's all breathless urgency, but for no obvious reason whatsoever - the hacks (every chapter starts with a jump forward in time, then has to go back and explain how we got there, then ends with a cliff hanger) reminds me of early TV batman episodes (don't even mention Dr Who:)

THe occasional complete misuse of words is astounding (don't his editors do anything for their vast profit/income he generates...

nevertheless, it was a fun 33 minutes read.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CS meets news control and CS meets germs and immune systems

1. wonders how easy a provenance tracker for news would be to hack up (hint hint = plagiarism detector + rss feed merger) - this'd automate flat earth news reporting - maybe google news could run it as an aggregator:)

it would be nice to see a threaded source of news, and see when the BBC, Fox, CNN, Guardian, Times of India are "reporting" things that are actually just press releases from Number 10 Downing St or Company X's publicity department....

2. your immune system can cope with a certain number of different viruses and a certain number of different immune responses - has anyone done cryptanalysis to figure out
why? for example, immunising you against a new thing can make you less immune to another thing - this sounds like wherever the T cells store their signatures has a finite heap or stack size

the former would be good for sanity, the latter for general well being:)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


talk yesterday about optimsiing runtime for javascript vm in chrome
by the chrome add-on man:)

i was confused at first as v8 is a nice multi-vegetable drink we have at home a lot
and its also one of the signs on the back of the Rover 3500 they trashed on top gear recently, and both these associations were probably not along the lines the speaker intended....

on the other hand, he obviously hadn't read about making oCaml networking apps go fast:)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

collision avoidance for cell phone walkers (and cyclists (and drivers))

here's the thing - you're walking along and suddenly someone crashes into you - normally, humans use eye contact to avoid this, but nwoadays all humans are only eyeballing their smart phone screen so the obvious thing to do is to give the phone
the awareness its about to hit someone and have it beep (faster and faster as you get closer - like the parking radar systems on fancy cars and airplane collision warning systems do)

this could be made very ergomomic with camera phones in that as you get quite close, your phoen could show you some eyes and have them look the way you should go (the other persons' phones having made sure they do the same so you don't all go the same way in that collison avoidance dance you sometimes see) _ actually another verison would be one that shows you the person you are about to walk in to is a friend and maybe you should say hi rather than texting/emailing them:)

this could extend for cyclists so they no longer need to look where they ride
and drivers too in cars and buses...

then eventually the phones could just do the driving for you

and we could all just stay at home...

Friday, October 16, 2009

privacy, the internet, and asymmetric warfare

A recent paper on Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization, by
Paul Ohm (colorado school of law...)
and a recent report on net legislationby the All Party Parliamentary Communications Group of the UK government, both conclude that there are interesting times ahead when it comes to personal privacy, and both seem to say that "database state" and "database capitalism" are bad ideas. Essentially, the ability to do "joins" on unrelated databases, whether they are anonymized well or not, allows accurate pinpointing on individuals to a very very fine level of detail.

Solutions invlve
1) only gathering data for fit purpose for specific use by specific users and anonymizing it
and (AND, not or)
2) strictly controlling the flow of such data in any way, means or form.
3/ deleting it for ever when you are done (forgetting things is not an evolutionary error - it is a vital part of staying sane for individuals and probably should be wired into the networked society too - c.f. losing freinds on facebook in a friendly way!)

The problem is that Brin's proposal (we all watch each other, so we lose privacy, but so do the watchers), doesn't work when you have assymetric power (large organisation v. small individual), whereas controlling the flow of data might just work if it is legislated and penalties are good. Note that this does not stop useful things like evidence based medicine, because we have shared goals - but it does stop the use of correlation (think, signal processing, minimum entropy information theory etc) between completely unrelated databases.

For me, this makes a lot of sense human behavioural terms. We all present ourselves differently to different people at different times (we "lie" all the time) - this is essential for society to work well - unifying all views flies in the face of good social flexibility - so the government and the advertisers wet dream of combining information about belief, health, education, employment, finance, for every individual is completely and utterly misguided and actually extremely dangerous.

We already have a stressed out society because of speed of change (c.f. John Brunner's excellent shockwave rider). Complete transparency would be (as has also been speculated in various Sci Fi books) like reading everyones mind all the time - we'd hate everyone. it would be a disaster. I doubt we'd survive in fact.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

hard-to-lose money idea

so we could use the fact that now it is possible to have N or S magnets on their own to create a type of money you would find hard to lose -

your money could be South and your money North (other way round woud be bad, since your money would "head south" which would not be good) - then money would stop falling out of your pocket so easily

we could call this (pause for a comic beat)...

Monopoly Money


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

swiss army locksmithereens

a lot of inventions are really just bi-sociation - one simple exmaple is
wouldn't it be nice if your mobile phone was a camera, or your phone was a laptop, or your phone was a razo

now, lost your car keys, your front door keys, your bike lock keys, your phone keypad unlock keys? solution: the swiss army lock smithereen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

journalists dont get it

some dweeb at the bweeb complained about watching a footie match avaialble only on the interweb, on their 12" display instead of on their 40" plasa tv - doh, why didn't they plug the PC into the TV? all 3 TVs in my house have at least 1 simple way to plug in a mac or a pc....and they're mostly cheaper LCD things....

really we should stop referring to what people produce in newspapers, radio and other broadcast media as "news" - these guys are the "olds".

Sunday, October 04, 2009

comment is content free

so i am not one that subscribes to the idea that the internet is full of sound and fury signifying nothing, but it is interesting how cultures online vary from site to site and time to time , in terms of restraint or thoughtfulness of user contributed content - today's astoundingly stupid stuff includes both youtube commentary

this time: appalingly ignorant comments about the nature and history of the song Helter Skelter, and a fairly hardcore punk/goth version by Siouxie & the accurately named Banshees, apparently a "hippy song" according to some pundits...hmm - i wonder what Charles Manson would do to them; and the BBC's Have Your Say, comments on the significance (or otherwise) of the 2nd Irish referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty- case in point, where the most recommended comment at the time of typing this isn't even grammatically correct.


Friday, October 02, 2009


so when i was a yoof, we used to go around wearin ex RAF greatcoats wot we bought from the army and navy shop on hampstead road - this was before punk (and i wasnt yet a post-punk hippy) and we used to go to the Roundhouse and see bands like Magma and Amon Duul and henry cow, or occasionaly famous people like the stones or thin lizzy or whatever

but we woz conufsed as many of us didn;t kno that it was a "greatcoat" - peopel thought maybe it was a Grey Coat...

a bit like
common-or-garden, which some people seem to pronounce common-all-garden

or maybe you can fink of other fings wot we got wrong, i'd appreeshiate u dropin me a line...

maybe you went to the music machine or the electrik ballroom to see madness/speshuls/selector too...

or remember the first gong gig in camden and the global village trucking company, or even Osibisa

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

zipf v. ohm

"remember, son", zipf junior was to remember his
father's dying words
"with great power
comes a heavy tale"

with apologies to xkcd

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time for Carbon Neutral Conferences (and Standards)?

SOme conferences like Infocom and some standards events like the IETF attract a thousand people who fly around the world - a typical academic trying to get promoted might go to 4 or 5 a year just to find out what's going on (just look at the travel budget on any typical research proposal if you don't believe this). So someone working on internet standards and trying to publish papers might do 7-10 inter-continental flights per year.

According to Professor David MacKay's fine book, on sustainable energy, without hot air, (and he is now Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which is a very good thing)
a single intercontinental flight is about equivalent to 1 year's worth of communting 30 miles per day by car. So these academics (mea culpa) are basically contributing about 10 fairly heavy commuters' worth of Carbon emmissions.

We've been nattering about using the Internet to collaborate for a long time, and tried all sorts of tools (now we have even more with twitter, wiki, blogs, social nets, skype with video and shared white boards). Why don't we bight the bullet and
replace some big conference event with a virtual event and make it work by necessity?
People whinge about it, but the alternative is to plant a lot of trees every time you go to Sigcomm, Infocom, IETF, IEEE, etc etc....which would be ok, but expensive, whereas we're supposed to be the technologists, so why don't we set an example.

We could use EDAS (erm...) and annotate every author, TPC member, conference registree, with a C02 measure....that'd be a way to name and shame em....

Friday, September 25, 2009

google become critical infrastructure, and government buys them:)

so gmail failed (again) yesterday - and some other google services - I am not complaining as they do a fine job compared with some other companies.
but someone was walkin by my office from their outfit and said
"please don't say we're critical infrastructure"

well, i don't think they understand - it isn't up to them - if you build something and it becomes indispensable, it simple becomes critical infrastructure
de facto. it isn't on a whim of a provider- irrespective of what their contract says or they think - its what a0 the public/users think and, b) what governments say.

and before people think governments have no power, lets just point out the UK gov just bought 175 billion worth of worthles banks last year, so buying google if necessary steps are needed to protect national resources, is entirely reasonable - actually, I wonder if Obama had thought of this as an alternative bailout strategy - instead of
supporting a bunch of useless morons on wall stret and in detroit (car companies) he could have used the 1 trillion dollars to buy a bunch of solar power and hi-tech companies and maybe a few oil companies then let the banks go broke.
1. cancel everyones debts in the banks
2. use dividends on new worth while stock to pay interest of people who saved money in the now defunct banks
3. spin out a few new banks based on this new principle - first
google bank of america...a gift oriented bank, which instead of paying interest to, you give away your privacy and see a lot of adverts...

you know it would work....any objects must surely be exactly the same only worse for bailing out banks...for example people who think
"The Man" owning something outs a "chill" on innovation and success of business...well that is a very American disease, and perhaps the Chinese wont care (!!) but in any case, if it is true, it is even worse that the Man now owns banks and car manufacturers who were already broken, and maybe an arms length investment of taxpayers money in things like high tech would have changed things around about this attitude...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

end2end and neutrality principles

the end2end principle is simplest described
as the right to receive any well formed IP packet
no matter what it contains

net neutrality refines and extends this principle to say
that it shouldn't matter
where it came from.

many victims of unsolicited stuff, end users and ISPs alike,
might retort:
"be careful what you wish for"

Friday, September 11, 2009

more molecules in a cup of water than cups in the ocean

only there are less notes in a good tune than there are good tunes in the world...

why is that, pray?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

liquid bomb effectiveness

previously I "pooh poohed" the idea that you could do in a plane with but the beeb got some explosive expert to try it with fairly
convincing results - while a modern wide body plane would probably survive this, a lot of passengers might not, and there's always a probability they hit some vital controls in some unforeseen it looks like the whole painful thing of not carrying drinks through security in airports was not totally bogus after all....oh well...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gambling with only 1 throw of dice...on the Earth's Future

The BBC reports that one could engineer to save the planet

while many of the proposals make some sense (e.g. mirrors in space) in basic physics terms, what they totally fail to capture is the risk. We really don't know what happens if we block a significant amount of the spectrum/sunlight hitting the earth's upper atmpsphere, while continuing to fill the biosphere with too much CO2 and other stuff

what we do kow is that homeostasis works in Very Large Systems whereas messing with basic parameters/operating points might change a whole set of sub-systems stability and is completely reaching in the dark - scientists (especially scientists, not engineers) making these proposals are wholly dishonest and irresponsible to claim these are "stopgaps" until we figure out how to re-stabilize our own behaviour (switch to sustainable culture) since the timescales to understand the impact of massive geo-engineering projects are precisely the same as the timescales to fix the fundamentals in our societies. Frankly, I am dismayed to see the re-emergence of 1950s style naive optimism in the Men in White Coats.

Friday, August 21, 2009

sigcomm 2009

there's loads of nice info on their website (tweets and photos) but I have to say tghe restaurants of barcelona didn't disappoint.

weirdly, I bumped into Machalis Faloutsos in the airport as I left and he arrived...flying back to greece from spain, goin over thw gulf of corinth it occurred to me that Greece contains a miniature model of the mediterranean sea inside itself as well as being inside the med itself - so no wonder they were so wiley, living in a recursive geography.

really bizarrely, the people in front of me inline at the gate had bags with "National Pornographic" labels on - this was especially surreal as Aegian Air played sleezy 1970s jazz music as we boarded the plane...

watching some partioculalry dumb movies, I realise that the quality of a film is inversly proportional toi the number of filler (stock footage) shots of builds, cars pulling up, driving away, people looking uo,m tracking shots over hawaii surf maybe Eno should make some Ambient films for airports?

Friday, July 31, 2009

download 800 songs= lose 4 limbs

the US courts are about to award sony et al
more money in damages against a
file sharer than the british army gives in compensation support to a soldier who loses all his limbs

rough justice?

no, completely stupid and inappropriate - who values the songs like this? - the model is like each person is responsible for the loss of sales (which precedes the whole filesharing technology) due to the incompetence and lethargy of the A&R side of the popular music industry.

talk about immoral.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A release citrix note dropped through a hole in the spacetime continuum

with Xensoul , you can clone you personality in your Xenbrain (TM) up to 64 times - a popular application is to enact shakespeare plays and have your own virtualised personality act out the different parts in perfect isolation, enabling surprise and engagement, whilst enlisting at least one of your virtual selves as a cyber-audience in your head. with Xenbrain (TM) Speedup running at 2^24, you can complete a single shakespeare play (even Hamlet) in the time it takes to blink - with the new 64bit brain, you can complete all the 42 plays (including disputed ones discovered in the vatican in 2043) with several variations, in less time that it takes to make a really hot cup of tea.

Xen and the art of Shakespear in the Head
is available for download from any major respectable neuralware stockist.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

the internet of tings

i'm from london, where we drop our aitches (except we then restore them in inappropriate other places, like
"H'Im sick of your bloody effin and blin, you 'orrible oik, 'urrican 'iggins"

so in london, during the olympics (3 years off now) we will have an Hinternet of Tings

you will be able to actuate traffic lights with your smart phone, and to actually pause live
games....with a single click on android's slimey new touch interface - not the image - the actual game (the players wil lreceive a powerful electric shock if they try to play on:)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Things you never learned from your mother's knee

GSM (Global System for Mobile communications: originally from Groupe Spécial Mobile)
MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3,Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) was formed by the ISO
SCART (from Syndicat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs
Video Graphics Array (VGA)
DIN connector by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN)
LG pronouncedd "Lucky"

how many other widely used product names or trademarks in every day life use have weird origins that owe nothing whatsover to marketting dweebs?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

glastoblog 2009

so the glastonbury festival of the contemporary performing arts for 2009 was really quite good- but contrast with previous years ,where headline acts were dull and obscure bands from nowhere were good, this time around, headliners were all pretty godo and some of the obscurities should stay so (imho - of course with 11 stages and other venues, and only seeing 1 at a time, i surely couldn't speak for the whole shebang)

some pix

what did I see (hear)?
In order
Mr Hudson & the librarians - excellent (fine sunger with very sharp lyrics)
John smith - awesome guitar player - version of Winter was staggering
Regina Spektor - pretending to be animals in NY zoo as a kid, was amazing! very Tori Amos
NERD - excellent , except when the plug got pulled due to them running over (coz of late start:(
Fleet Foxes - stand out performance - truly gladstock! and then they all hung at the back of
Fairport convention - superb cover of sandy denny song and some serious mad dancing!
Lily allen - even better than last time - her voice is really pretty good!
The specials - turned up drums and bass, and did that ghostown song justice rightously
neil young - what can i say - cinnamon girl and day in the life were just stellar

VV brown - suprtb
warsaw village band - scarily good poolish dervish folk
bombay bicycle club - disappointing (bad mix didnt help tho
spinal tap - did what it says on the box.
jamie cullum - cover of MJ song was very very well done
CSN - missed coz we were watchign Paulo Nutini who was sick (as in good)
maximo park (dont like kasabian:) were extreemly amusing and fun
baaba maal was beautiful - senegal came to south west england
The Boss- now I am not a springsteen fan, but this was some band - very strong...

woke up and it was sunday morning with the quo and tony christie - someone should put them out of their misery:-)

Amadou & Mariam - mali came to south west england - very charming!
Bon Iver - superb - very spooky too...
Imelda may - absolutely stonking set from a brill singer - had the roof blown away
i'd not have been surprised

madness - good (not quite up to the specials for me ) but everyone was skanking so must have hit the right buttons...

blur - graham coxson seemed to be crying but that was probably the other 200,000 people...simply awesome...

oh, a bunch of stuff in chai wallah's was really great (jamie woon, gentleman's dub club etc) I spose there was some good indie things

emily the great (in queen's head, not the other set) was * observant I guess...

Friday, June 19, 2009

?can you imagine a worse death than that?

i was reading some grisly literature recently (actually have been for a few years) about torture and mayhem...and that's just on the croquet pitch

anyhow, i set to, trying to imagine a worse death....and, unfortunately, now, have succeeded several times...

do not ask...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

short book proposal

first line:

The day that I died had started in such an ordinary way.

last line:

And so we all repaired to the gazebo to break our fast once again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

more bbc bogus p2p reportage

bbc report repeats the canard that file sharing is "lost revenue" - right now there's a recession -do they really believe people would spend the money they suggest in this report ? what a bunch of morons. we already spent it all bailing out the banks

Bad Science does a straightforward analysis of some more basic flaws in the original report from UCL:(

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

time for a google maps of UK MP's expensies

why not draw the UK with constituencies and colour them the traditional party colours and then draw a column as high as the MPs expenses (could compare with the council tax rate and number of kids below poverty line)
oh, no wait someone has done (half of) it already - viz
hayes map by distance
reported in the guradian online

the beeb has a very good graph of distribution of income with where MPs are with expenses or not (top 9 or 5%)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

millenium trilogy part trois (stieg larsson)

so as i have he attention span of a popup ad,
i decided i couldn't wait til october for the english tranlsation of the swedish masterpiece by stieg larsson about the intrepid Mieke and Lisbeth, and
bought the french translation of part 3

typical phraes

il francer ses sourcils,
hausser les epaules,
hocher la tete, et dit

what a language
frowns, shrugs, nods, "sorry"
[apols, cannot say what the original swedish said as I don't have a copy:)

Monday, May 04, 2009

mid-flight crisis phobia

i hate flying
but it is a tiny bit comforting to know that so do a lot of people

after years of sitting in airports seeing people nattering on their mobile phones up to the last possible moment (and after in many cases) it is clear to me that most people have a built in fear of imminent mortality destructive testing...

this is added to by the number of people in UK airports who go up to those fancy fast car lotteries - it is clear no-one in their right mind would buy a 20 quid lottery ticket for a car they could never really drive - but many people in air ports behave like
men in the middle age (male meno-pausal) crisis who need to test their testosterone (when, by the way, do we get issued with proper osterone that has passed all the tests?:)

ayeee - human frailty, thy name is frequent traveller

Friday, May 01, 2009

two kinds of mutable things

so the cool thing about the interweb is that stuff is mutable - if i dont like what I wrote (or somone else wrote) it can be changed

the bad thing about twitter, fb updates, and rss is that it isn't mutable - i can't get it to shut up and go away

Thursday, April 30, 2009

journalism, security and mexicans

so in a discussion (you can guess where easily) last night, we wondered about new definitions for a
Mexican Wave (stay away from US - we're all ok)

Mexican Hat (keeping the infected at arms length)

Mexican standoff (sneeze at me & I sneeze at you)

etc etc - ah, Tequila Mockingbird, you may say...

meanwhile, why do the media (sorry, Ben Goldacre, you are right again as is Nick Davies
always cite security companies when reporting items about cyber-security threats eh?

do you really expect a security company to be moderate when discussing this? they have products (and shares) to sell....

it'd be like asking Big Pharma their opinion on Pandemics... ...

(c.f. Davies comments on the Millenium Bug)

more biased sampling of sources about botnets....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Internet has a Great Future Behind it

I'm sitting here in Brussels listening to talks about the EU FIRE projects.
While there's lots of useful work going on, I am having a very hard time finding a
possible Future Internet in any of it.

The idea that is common and cool as a research experiment is the notion of a Living Lab.
The idea that's probably least useful is the Public Private Partnership as a vehicle to fund such a thing.

oh well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A simple model of tussel spaces

if you have apolyadic op
x op y
such that there is also an inverse op, po
such that op aggregates, and po de-aggregates
a resource (where a resource can be an identifier space such as names
or a transmission resource such as links or a processor resource etc etc)
then obviously op and po aren't information hiding in some sense, but they may be land grabs

when are they land grabs? when the ag-op or de-ag-op stat mux, or
(essentially) do anything that is sub-linear (superlinear in the de-agg op case)
then there is an economic advantage going on (scaling, in internet terms)
so then you have a tussel...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

truly, this is what the internet was invented for...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


so thinking about neal stephenson's last tome, Anathem, it is a paeon to
science - the point of the story (spoiler alert:) Is that
the best people to communicate with aliens are scientists
because the "language" of science is (quite literally) universal (actually, it is meta-universal) so even if aliens show up from (several) parallel Universes
then we (scientists, or "avout" steeped in "theorics") can communicate with them - indeed, the aliens have a helpful clue (much as voyager does) which is they have a diagram of the geometric proof of Pythagoras (of coruse, neither they nor the folks
on the planet (arbre) call it Pythagoras) on the outside of their "ship"

one discussion about meta-theory centers on whether the metaverse is ordered (DAG) or random, and whether there is some "higher" versus "lower" plane; another discussion is about Hemn (quantum state) spaces....another is about cross breeding plants to grow a simulation of a part of history....still another is about time

most religions are given fairly short shrift in the book (though not all) and of course there are (as in snow crash) some cool dudes who do marshal arts quite well...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

digital signatures in a mixed reality world

so here's an idea (this is because increasingly I am asked for PDFs of references to include a signature - this is annoying since I have to print out a PDF, sign it, scan i in then email the resulting (larger therefore network and storage wasteful, as well as waste of paperful) file.

so if printers had a robot arm on them, this could be used for 3 things

1. I could have a remote control for it, so I send them the plain reference, but then SIGN it remotely using a haptic interface at my end - this has the added benefit that they witness the signature re as well as me

2. if I decie (too late) that I've sent something to the printer that is private, but I wont get too the physical device's outtray soon enough, I could tell the robot arm to
take the printout up and tear it up

3. if someone is printing way too much stuff ahead of me, I could tell the robot arm to beath them soundly about the ears as a lesson.

Friday, March 06, 2009

figures of squeech

as lazy as a simile

as slippery as a metaphor

as onomatopoeic as a thump

as lyrical as a lyre

A telecom Engineer explaisn the credit crunch

1. black swan events are just rare events in a heavy tailed self similar arrival process - using large deviation theory from admission control algorithms is fine for explaining this.

2. instability and cascades happen when you don't implement feedback controls and damping (regulation, in old steam engine terms)

employing both of these would be necessary and sufficient for non divergent, stable, non cascading markets.

people that don't get this should be fired.

putting out the fire...

with gasoline

FIRE is a "me too" european programme to do next gen internet infrastructure

time for a rant - putting out the FIRE with GASOLINE...

Architectures are
Let the

I cannot see ANY work going on in Fire that's actually delivering something real, relevant or not just redundent.

Friday, February 27, 2009

now I know the internet will never die...IP over social nets

my facebook account now has an IP router cpu -see

Router operator: Jon A Crowcroft
Loopback0 address: 2001:db8:face:b00c::2bb1:7b2a/128
Friend interfaces: 1
Connection proposals from friends: 0
Your router does not have a default route yet... So, you cannot send traffic to the real IPv6 Internet. Please connect to more friends and wait until RIPng has converged.
Incoming packets waiting for your actions: 0
Last CPU run:
FIB size: 1
RIB size: 1
Received packets: 0
Forwarded packets: 0
Transmitted packets: 0
Dropped packets: 0
Received SIP messages: 0
New SIP messages: 0
Enabled debugging: The wizard mode allows you to change these settingsenable all debugging
Your Neighbors
You have no configured interfaces, please go to the 'Configure' tab.
Your Friends' Routers
Name Last CPU run Packets waiting Packets forwarded/
Received/Transmitted FIB Size Loopback address
Scott Brim 2009-02-27 13:36:21 3 329/356/189 445 2001:db8:face:b00c::6207:3daf
Richard Gold 2009-02-27 13:23:34 0 18/10/14 4 2001:db8:face:b00c::28ca:2112
Kenjiro Cho 2009-02-27 13:13:58 0 2/27/57 446 2001:db8:face:b00c::3c0e:7b4e
Manish Lad 2009-02-27 13:11:40 0 0/8/7 4 2001:db8:face:b00c::1ec0:e865
Tristan Henderson 2009-02-27 13:01:44 14 0/3/2 3 2001:db8:face:b00c::7:d45b
Simon Leinen 2009-02-27 11:30:13 8 49/698/454 442 2001:db8:face:b00c::28ef:7c60
Tom Vest 2009-02-27 08:54:07 60 199/708/428 445 2001:db8:face:b00c::25bb:b4bf
Geoff Huston 2009-02-27 07:14:10 4 0/1/1 446 2001:db8:face:b00c::2790:17e6
Bob Hinden 2009-02-26 19:53:34 10 0/33/24 442 2001:db8:face:b00c::222e:129d
Harald Tveit Alvestrand 2009-02-26 15:30:10 18 0/62/47 442 2001:db8:face:b00c::21e9:5a5d
Fred Baker 2009-02-25 16:45:29 260 0/212/146 423 2001:db8:face:b00c::2828:266e
Mark Townsley 2009-02-25 09:20:31 183 0/143/56 394 2001:db8:face:b00c::20f1:6bb9
David Oran 2009-02-24 17:55:57 108 0/11/11 356 2001:db8:face:b00c::2354:62f8
Ping Pan 1 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::235e:3cc4
Jari Arkko 14 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::29de:3483
Christian Huitema 6 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::2798:f96
David Meyer 0 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::29a5:a855
Lixia Zhang 0 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::2ba3:b64c
Christian Vogt 2 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::3fdd:8414
Scott Bradner 0 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::0:1db4
Ricardo V. Oliveira 0 0/0/0 1 2001:db8:face:b00c::26:5194

Thursday, February 26, 2009

cloud computing clarified

after a vigorous discussion at a retreat in the castle yesterday, experts from Xensource (now Citrix) were able to help me understand what Cloud Computing is all about.

Basically, high up in the earth's atmosphere, there are these grey or white amorphous blobs of droplets of water and ice - there are officially ten types of these objects,in the now classic Hamblyn scale, ranging from Linux Nimbus, through Windows 7 Stratus and on to OSX Cumulus and finally down to TinyOS Pryoumulus. Some of these condense on
small intel ice particles, while others appear to be dropets of pure AMD.

The presence of very small particles of silicon in these droplets was made possible by the UC Berkeley research into so-called "smart" "dust", and followon work in Scotland on "speckled" "computing". Originally, it had been envisaged that these arrays would be used for weather prediction - indeed, one large storm grid was run for a while to detect or predict the weather, but then it became clear that self-fulfilling prophesy was the way to go, and the systems were used to control and pre-set ratehr than predict Internet weather.

However, early cloud computing was confusing and difficult to programme - much like the weather, it had a mind of its own, and was prone to chaotic, and even catastrophic

So then along came virtualisation. Now instead of a vast array of different clouds, we can now report that every cloud is controlled via its silver lining.

The wisdom of the Cloud is now commonplace. The layered architecture, with
clouds at ground level providing isolation through fog, while cloud 9 at the highest level presents an ecstatic API to the user, is complete. Many users are no longer at sea when the use the Cloud to access Ocean store services.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Wisdon of the Clouds

aside from the wonderful novel, cloud atlas, we
have to put up with the latest internet fad in
cloud computing

but enough about xen - now
how to compare two competely different network architectures?

think about these:

1. internet & telephone
2. road and rail
3. food chain, family tree
4. social network, circulatory system

what is common and what would be a category error to try to compare?

a) user perception/mental model

1 - computers transfer information around v. humans communicate with each other
2. I can drive my car from a to b v. i get to sit and read a newspaper
going from a to b
3. a eats b eats c v. a begat b begat c
4. I know she thinks he hates her v. blood gets oxygen to let ADP/ATP
changes work so muscles can do things

b) economics
1. anyone can put any information application anywhere and everyone
else can use it - k*n^2 scale in income v.
I can call you or you call me....
2. road infrastructure is there, everyone has own vehicle v.
track and rolling stock are both infrastructures.
3. you need constant supply of food, so there has to be breeding as
well as good chain v. you convert O2 to CO2 so you need plants to do
CO2 -> O2 ,or we are in trouble - i.e. mutual dependency
4. If I know who relates to who and context, I can advertise right
good and services to them

c) technology
1. smart network + dumb edge, v. dumb network + smart edge
2. expensive wasteful car v. efficient rail, + user choose when to go,
but not control journey time, v. operator chooses when to go and
control journey time
3. biosphere v.
4. facebook and internet v. arteries and veins & heart

d) complexity
1. need moores law for end systems to keep going,
v. telephone service becomes marginal profit business
2. if oil and safety cost too high, individual car ownership bad idea
whereas if cheap, rail isnot worth infrastructure costs
3. food chain is exponential complexity, family tree is just
4 social net structures follow power law - so does artierial system

e) application/intended use
1. phones were origianlly thought to be useful for music (less
interference than radio) whereas internet was originally intended for
command and control and distributed community for US army.
2. road were for armiens to invade places - rail for industrial
revolution working class to go on vacation.
3. predators and prey...
4 advertising

Thursday, February 19, 2009

proving the existence of google^H^H^H God

maxwell's demon sits at the entrance to heaven and asks you if you have free will or not

if you do, you go to hell - if not, heaven

if this is not true, there is no good. if it is true, there is no argghhhH!!!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

lily allen admits...

...she doesn't "get" the rolling stones - all I can say is that the 72 live version of
Love in Vain sends shivers down my thing - Mick Taylor slide + keef and mick vocal/guitar is awesome

but really the meisterwerk is Exile on Main St.....definitive R'n'B

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tips on the Digital Economy...

1. there's no money in it:)
2. keep your fingers off!
3. I'm done.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

et in arcadia, placet

went to a talk at wolfson about publishers views on the academic world of stuff in the digital era -

basic premise is that:

past/once upon a time, a publisher was the venture capitalist of gutenberg

then/now (recently) they turned into the bankers of the journal/monograph era

future/where they'd like to be is the tax inspector of metadata...

sort of...

bra xkcd ket

toay's toon poses a problem for which the solution stands out:

linux, :-( bsd :-)
osx ;)

game over.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

william gibson continuity error

In all tomorrow's parties
gibson refers to Rei Toei
as post human at one point.

here is your starter for ten:
why is this the wrong term for an Idoru?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

special relationship

milliband(pede) and clinton (unhilarious) renewed the special relationship between the U[K|S] today = yippee - we are still in "special needs" and we can follow the US into war, be their european aircraft carrier, missile launch site, and supporter in all things
financially reckless.

I am so proud - it is so consistent with rolling over and letting foreign companies ship their exploited workforces here to work underpaid, underprotected AND displace local workers.

Just WTF is going on with people these days? have they no spine? how did we end up in this craphole?

civil rights, finance, services, just which policy (and mechanism) did anyone actually vote for (n.b. I have never voted for either major party in England since 1976 - although I voted in every election -)

stand up and be counted, you moron thatcherites and new labourites.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

cambridge heresies

Ross Anderson has witten a piece for the Times Higher about
the disruptive value inate in thehistory of cambridge
I think its quite right

Monday, January 26, 2009

warrentless wiretaps continue unabated in US

so much for obama's "civil rights" agenda (see for published list of stuff) - he did of course say before he was elected he support this, but you'd hope now he had access to more information he might realize it is bogus

oh well.....absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say....

I hope you can read this fine, oh NSA..

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Im fairly certain I first heard about this from Vint Cerf over dinner in Palo Alto (possibly in the fine Il Fornaio, on Cowper in Palo Alto) over a fine meal
the evening before he got the SIGCOMM award in
Stanford, late august 1996.

I remember writing on the tablecloth with him
about the RTT variance between earth and mars...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

heathrow expansionist BS

so the government wants to approve expansion of heathrow so as not to lose jobs/business to frankfurt/paris....the claim is heathrow is already losing due to the other airports having 4 runways

the real reason heathrow is losing is because it is so bloody baldy laid out and security is such a pain in the backside that ANYONE who travels from/to/through london will do their damnest to avoid London Hearthrow if they possibly can. This is really simple - heathrow is TOO geographically big and distributed already - it takes too long and cost STUPID amounts of money to get to heathrow (even the so called "heathrow express", the worlds MOST expensive railway route per mike, kands you up at Paddington, which is not exactly well connected when you see how bloody unreliable the circle line is.

No, expanding Heathrow is EXACTLY the wrong thing to do at the wrong time for the wrong reason in the wrong place.

Networking the UK with TGVs - now THAT would be worth doing (and would employ a bunch of people for the next coupld of years) - to be honest, in Cambridge, I could use BIrmingham internatinal airport more easily than Heathrow, if the trains were better:)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hi-tech mid-life crisis in Nice...

so i just flew into Nice - comin in over the Med in bright sunshine is (like
flyin in to San Fran over the bay) one of my favourite arrivels, with a really nice drive along the coast to near Antibes, Snow-Capped Alpes Maritimes on the horizon....

very pleasant - reminded me I need to revisit childhood traumas and also look into seriosu disorganisation of the senses asap:)

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home