The All-Thing

All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.

各位能夠讀中文得來賓您好。小的這還在學中文中,恐怕中文寫得不太好,希望你們還看得懂。


四時田園雜興 (范成大(1126-1193))

晝出耘田夜績麻,村莊兒女各當家。
童孫未解供耕織,也傍桑陰學種瓜。

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Fri, 19 Dec 2003

Burrows-Wheeler Transform

So we've been talking a little about this at work and I just found a good page describing it here: http://dogma.net/markn/articles/bwt/bwt.htm

It's like magic. Basically, the BWT is a completely reversible O (n log n) transformation that increases the compressibility of text. It's pretty mind-blowing to follow through the algorithm because it's really not clear, at least on the first pass, how it works, much less why it works. But the basic idea is that it permutes characters by sorting on their (left or right) contexts, which tends to group similar characters together, as they typically have similar contexts. Of course, doing this in a reversible manner is the brilliant part.

So this will work on any data that exhibits local contexts, which is the vast majority of data that we, as humans, care about (though not all—there are apparently certainly types of image data for which this doesn't hold true, though I'm not clear on the specifics). It would be interesting to compare the effect this has on, say, English vs. Chinese at the character level vs. Chinese at the byte level in different encodings.

I think bzip2 uses the BWT as a first pass, so they've apparently decided it is useful for arbitrary binary data.

Posted at 20:22 | /computing | 1 comment | permalink

Lockdown

Christ. Check out what these fuckers are doing when the Democratic convention reaches Boston next year.

Now, I'm not known for liking where I live, in general, but are there any good points to living in Boston?

Posted at 19:42 | /news | 1 comment | permalink

The Sims

All this shit with the Sims online and cybersex prostitution is just wack, yo. It doesn't make sense on so many levels, it's hard to know even where to begin being confused about it.

Speaking of levels, and Sims, wouldn't it be cool if your little Sim could could use the computer to play Sims? It would just take you to an inner Sim game that could only be accessed through the outer game, where you'd control a little dude or set of dudes like normal, except that your outer sim would slowly have his need to pee and need to sleep and whatever else meters increasing. And you could take the inner Simoleans converted to outer Simoleans at some exchange rate. And then your inner Sim could do the same thing, and so on, until... I dunno. I guess at some point one of your Sims, presumably the outermost one, or you yourself, is going to die in the time it takes you to get to a certain level of nestedness. So there is a natural limit to the depth of recursion.

Ok, I'm drinking a lot of strong tea, is the only excuse I can proffer.

Posted at 19:03 | /media/games | (leave a comment) | permalink

Work Schedule

I've been trying this new schedule at work (I have flexible hours) where I come in around 1 and work till 9. It's fucking fantastic. First, I avoid ALL traffic. Plus, I am naturally just energetic and happy in the morning, and kind of depressed and prone to loneliness in the evening, so being at work where I have work to keep myself occupied with is great. The mornings I just spend screwing around on the computer, practicing, running errands, etc., and when I get home in the evening I just have some drinkie, read a little and go to bed. Mad props to the schedule pioneers at work who showed me the way.

Posted at 18:14 | /mortal | (leave a comment) | permalink


   

The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow; there is no humor in Heaven. -- Mark Twain