Re: organization of internet material

Michael Nielsen (
Sun, 28 Jun 1998 11:45:18 -0600 (MDT)

On Sat, 27 Jun 1998, Eugene Leitl wrote:

> Michael Nielsen writes:
> > I am presently attempting to improve my use of the internet; a
> > problem of applied Intelligence Amplification. I have a few questions
> > and an observation which I would greatly appreciate comments on.
> An interesting project, I'm looking forward to the summary.

"How to use the internet: a practical guide to intelligence amplification"
or a similarly titled document will be linked to on my home page
(currently, probably by September.
I'll post a link when it's available.

> > What are your most effective sources of information on the internet?
> Documents, and people. People spontaneously segregate in virtual
> locations, and generate interesting informations streams both
> spontaneously, and upon cues. Of course you have to pay for these
> resources in the same coin.

There is an interesting anthropology or economics PhD waiting to be done on
asymmetry and altruism in information flows. Why some people act as
information sinks, while others are sources, and what are the economics
of the exchanges which take place.

> > How did you find those sources?
> By word of mouth, hotlinks and search engines.

Generically, I'm finding personal homepages a tremendously useful source
of links. Search engines are useful, but they rely almost completely on
my intelligence. With other people's homepages, I get access to a
distilled form of their intelligence.

> > How do you make use of those sources?
> Personally I scan the email, crosspost relevant items to several
> persons/mailing lists. The big problem remains mail management.

Interesting observation. A project at present is to develop a nice Perl
filter program for my email. This works several ways. I can send myself
messages, which results in actions being performed (example: I can send
myself a list of words which need defining; my filter program then
retrieves definitions from online sources, and puts the relevant
definitions in my inbox); the other desirable goal is to organize my
incoming mail much more efficiently. A lot will be auto-junked; the rest
ought to be sorted and backlinked to other relevant documents. Scoring
email would also be useful. Unfortunately, only some of these ideas are
implementable within my current set-up.

> I read the documents on the web, in the last time frequently abusing
> the local mirror. Let's hope similiar services
> will spring up for other fields, I'm missing this particularly for
> chemistry and biosciences.

It's gradually happening. NSF is funding xxx, and they are expanding
their coverage slowly into other fields. I'm hoping that more filter
sites like Daniel Gottesman's
( will appear over time.

> Researcher's pages are very useful, but
> sometimes hard to find.

Yes. Incidentally, see for links to the home
pages of many researchers in quantum computing.

> > It strikes me that a very well-thought out document "How to use the net",
> > along the lines of Mortimer Adler's "How to read a book" would be
> Apropos books: my next project is OCRing my entire library, book by
> book, and digest my CD collection into mp3. Ideally, these should live
> in a wearable computer. seems like a good
> starting point for a conversion. Particularly built-in networking and
> IrDA make it sound ideal for hot-synching with the home unit.

Interesting project. There is an excellent repository of on-line books at The Library of Congress also has some
superb online sources (

> Sorry, this has become unfocused/ranty. No time to fix it up, gotta
> run.

I found it most useful. Thankyou.