Re: >H Managing Mail,

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 18 May 1997 13:04:34 +0200 (MET DST)

On Sun, 18 May 1997, David Cary wrote:

> Leitl, you've been paralling some of the same thoughts I've been having
> recently.

Such an _amazing_ conincidence. I guess we're all power users on this
list ;)

> > [...]
> I once had a theory that humans were attracted to maximum information
> density objects. The eye is attracted more to things higher on this list,
> things with greater information density, than to things lower on this list:

You forgot to include pseudorandom pixel bitmaps, which have the highest
bandwith of them all, yet our brain has not been evolutionary equipped to
properly deal with them. Visual overload.

> moving colored images
> moving black-and-white images
> multi-colored image of complex fractals
> black and white image of complex fractals
> multi-colored image of simple shapes
> black and white image of simple shapes
> bland white image
> [...]
> Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be the same natural load-shedding that
> RTC has built it. It's all to easy to keep *everything* in the queue, when
> really the queue should hold, at most, the amount of stuff that it's
> *possible* for a single finite individual to handle.

My todo queue keeps growing longer and longer :(

> > [ current 'gene implementation inadequate, a redesign is in order ]
> Well, obviously, you need to get a better form than that puny human body
> you are now wearing :-)

I was actually less radical, trying to delegate the task of sifting and
sorting to an external artifical agency, which first learns by looking
over my shoulder, then gets progressively more autonomous. I'd like to
have a newsfeed continuously available, which requires a cell-linked
wearable, and a headup. Btw headup, TI now offers a MDM beamer kit, but
it's much too expensive yet (6k$, or so).

> > [ attention load leveling ]

I think we _need_ periods of vita activa/contemplativa. Just maxing out
the load might blunt down you concepts/reduce overall processivity. I do
my best work when I deliberately isolate my self from the environment,
though I haven't tried out the proverbial cabin in the woods yet.

> There is a qualitative difference between "transportable computing" (I can
> carry my computer anywhere, but only use it while I'm sitting down plugged
> into the appropriate power and phone jacks) vs. "continuously online" (I

This is very good for work, when you need to make last-second changes to
the software when out in the field (I recently had a problem out at the
BMW research center, where there was no adequate IT infrastructure, it
would have taken 30 sec to fix, but so it required a trip through the
congested city), but I am thinking more towards an augmented reality,
rendered by a wearable. The Wintel cartel has not been contemplating
these yet, though it is only a question of time. Another opportunity lost
to big business :(

> can, at any instant, give my computer a bit of data to remember, or have it
> beep at me with a reminder message indicating what the alarm was about, or
> ... instant response, without waiting to boot up ... the Apple Newton
> concept).

I have got a Newt 130, which looks like a prototype in relation to a Newt
2000 I've recently toyed with. The later lacks belt wearability, a colour
headup, and speech input still for a killer app. True wearables are at
least a decade off. Whoever has the resouces, should contemplate building
one. The MIT wearable group had some Linux-based wearables, which I
thought an overkill at the time, but a better machine would lack the
software basis Linux has.

> [...]
> >once the Linux box is done
> Amazing coincidence, I've been setting up a Linux box in my house.
> (Nothing terribly complicated; I bought Debian on a CD-ROM ... I hit one

The Rat Head (Red Hat) distribution seems to offer a good value for the
money, their installer and the Accelerated X considered. I will be
sticking with S.u.S.E. Linux for the next time, though.

> little glitch, but When I Get Around To It, I think I can make one little
> change and it should install nearly automatically).

I guess I will simply dump the raw hard disk image to the streamer.

> > [ email dbase ]
> Yes, I have stacks of floppies laying around. I have decided that I want
> *all* my information online; I am willing to pay extra to buy a
> adequately-sized hard drive to hold *all* my information rather than
> shuffle it in and out on removable media.

Yes. I consider buying a scanner, and OCRing most of my multi-K treekiller
infobase into a digital medium, best accessible as a wearable. So far,
hard disks are not large enough. But soon....

> (I still shuffle CD-ROMs in and out ... but I rationalize and say that is
> not "my" information)

I will buy a CD changer quite soon. I'd wish the multi-TByte holographic
storage units were already here....

> > [truly smart filters ]
> While this seems like a good idea, I haven't really seen any good
> general-purpose implementations. (I've seen a few pretty-good ad-hoc

I was speaking about the wetware implementations.

> implementations -- fresh new mailing lists before they get bogged down in
> spam or flamewars). Moderated Usenet Newsgroups are the best
> general-purpose implementation I've seen, but there seems to be something
> missing. There must be a better way.

I guess there is. Let's invent one, in a pinch.

> ...
> >I volunteer for a scanner. Anybody else?
> Me !

Great. I was thinking about dividing several mailing lists/usenet
newsgroups around persons with similiar interests, who bounce messages
they consider interesting to a _small selection_ of mailing lists. E.g.
classes involing alternative energy, nanotechnology, cryonics, or whatever
other sorting bins a vote among scanners might result (an important point,
this). This feed going into web-accessible archives cum a full text
index/search engine, the whole shebang being later to be financed via
digicash by the subscriber.

But initially, this to be run purely on a nonprofit basis. I guess we
could achieve interesting results with just 2-5 scanner volunteers,
probably using Extropy Institute's planned new infrastructure. Hence, I
am CCing this to the extropy list. Anyone more joining "A Scanner Darkly"


> >
> >ciao,
> >'gene
> David Cary "" ""
> Future Tech, Unknowns, PCMCIA, digital hologram, <*> O-
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