Fold.com Folds

If you remember my previous entry about the Fold.com public beta, you may be interested to know that the site is closing up shop. Apparently there is not yet a demand (or some claim there is oversaturation of the market) for that sort of “Web 2.0” site right now. It should still be remembered for a noble effort, and of things we may look toward in the future.

I guess the main thing to me, it was a neat little ‘toy’ that might be useful for some… and maybe it would be better if it were a replacement backend for ‘active desktop’ type of things… but ultimately there needs to be more forward thinking beyond reimplementing existing schemes as web schemes, to implementing new user interfaces and things of that sort.

Why?

Or possibly how? How does anything exist? Or why?

If you believe in god/_God_, why does it exist?
If you can reduce the universe to an infinite recursion,
why does that exist?
If you believe in a singular Big Bang, why did it, or the
singularity that caused it, exist?
In other words, in any schema there would be what can
be referenced as a “beginning..” can it really hold?
The only available answer is infinity. A continuum. There
could never have been a true beginning.
Can something without a beginning have an end?
Did you begin? You were born. What does that mean?
You were begun as (hopefully) a good evening/afternoon/
twice in the morning (before and after breakfast). You
were created out of nourishment from the mother.
What is food? It’s dead (formerly living biologically) creature.
So you are what you eat. Therefore in some physical sense
you are made out of non-living material.
It becomes living in you via digestion which supplies to living
cells the nutrients to multiply, continue to live, and provide
whatever function they are created for. (Computers do the
same thing.)
The first life forms were probably just relatively simple chemical
reactions in odd combinations causing the basic blocks of
biology to come together. Think of what happens when you
mix vinegar and baking soda. When they first mix, the life
begins, and when they have finished mixing, the life ends.
But you still have something there, the remnants? No, you
merely have separate substances.
Where did these substances come from? They are composed
of tiny (physically) bits of energy. (These bits of energy are
something like bits in a computer.)
These bits of energy (particles) are basically three dimensional
pixels. When you mix a couple of pixels on a computer monitor
(red, green, blue I guess), you get a picture.
When you mix several particles together you get a substance.
Water, for instance.
What are the particles made of? They are made of tinier particles.
Where did these particles come from? Most likely they came from
the Big Bang in some form. It’s also pretty likely that they are
not the original substance, but instead one that has, like biological
life, evolved.
More specifically, the Big Bang was probably just one of many
significant events in the continuum of the universe. An expansion
along a particular set of dimensions (spacial and temporal).
The particles (elements) were expulsed from a tiny (in spacial and
temporal dimensions) singularity that suddenly lost its nerve, or
more likely suddenly came into existence.
They came out in one form each. Probably of a singular type that
reacted with itself and the reactions caused new combinations of
this particle to combine, some stable and others unstable. The
unstable ones would change again, while the stable ones remained.
Some small amount combined to form individual atoms, while the
rest fly around random (some of which can and do penetrate solid
materials all the time).
So this sounds like a neat setup, right? The singularity suddenly
exists in these dimensions, and in these dimensions it is
unsuitable for a space to be so dense and rich in energy, so the
energy has to move away from itself.
The energy can basically be thought of as computational bits with
the realization that each one is not merely a one or zero instead
a stack of them to form its energy. Each bit is analog as well as
digital. (This means ultimately there is a point at which digital
becomes analog/good enough to be equivalent.)
The universe is a quantum computer of itself. This means it
calculates itself perpetually.
The brain is also a computer. It receives input from the
preexisting code of biology, as well as external stimuli via
the organs and nervous system. But are our experiences
“real?” Not exactly. They are a representation of our senses
rendered/viewed internally.
Think of it like this: a digital camera takes a picture of a flower.
The light that is not absorbed hits the photoreceptor/charged
coupled device, gets turned into digital information. That
information passes through wires into presumably a buffer,
which then feeds it through a program/chip that then changes
the bits into the arrangement needed (the image format).
The brain receives reflected light, focused via the lens, hits
the retina, and then gets sent through the optic nerve. The
brain (or more specifically certain structures of the brain
adapted to do so) then reorder the data to be perceived,
and then the mind perceives it.
The brain is unique in that it is evolved to be adaptive.
People might be born blind, or lose sight during life. The brain
is made to be rewired depending on the process. Senses are
particularly adaptable since they are very much dedicated
processes of the brain; it makes sense for survival. The sight
is lost, the brain rewires itself to be capable of more processing
of the hearing/feeling/smelling senses.

[sorry, I’ll try to finish this later, but for now I’ll throw it out
there]

Flash: What were they thinking?

Okay. One major downside of linux is Flash. Or rather, one major downside of Flash is linux.

Adobe (Macromedia) are supposedly going to release the next version (9, formerly 8.5) for linux, after they release (“ship”) for Windows & OSX. Great. They have stranded linux on version 7 for far too long, are skipping support for 8 and going right to the next version. Wonderful. And they still won’t ship it at the same time. Spectacular.

It makes you wonder why they even bother to support it at all? But it also makes you wonder why so much of the web is enamored with this beast. Is it too much to ask for open standards? Aren’t we all better off? Rather than giving all our resources to a single company (which makes it a defacto monopoly), we could have many tools for online animation. We (windows and mac users included) would all be better off.

But the real bitch is that if Macromedia/Adobe opened the source for the linux plugin, or even invited some experienced developers to come help out for a bit and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, this entire post would be moot. It isn’t and shouldn’t be this hard for them to port to linux. The logical conclusion is that they are unwilling to fund proper development; it just isn’t a priority.

This is why we need competition. If they had to compete with another similar product, or similar implementation/toolset that did support linux they would want to. Because they’re the only dog in town they feel empowered to ignore linux. It’s sad and speaks poorly of a company that many consider to be wonderful for their tools that enable so much artistic expression.

Since there’s already a beta out for Flash 9 on Windows/OSX, we can probably expect a shipdate sometime late this year. That puts decent linux support for Flash in the late-spring 2007 range. I can only hope that between now and then SVG will see more implementations and Adobe will have something to worry about.

Mexico’s Plight is its Neighbor

Several weeks ago the US had a hand in coaxing Mexican President Fox to hand a bill that would decriminalize minor possession of drugs back to the Mexican Congress.

Put in context of this story it is a curse for them to have us as their big brother. To wit:

A poll published Friday in Excelsior newspaper found 50 percent of respondents feared the government was on the brink of losing control. The polling company Parametria conducted face-to-face interviews at 1,000 homes across Mexico. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Sure. Contest the accuracy of polls. You can’t contest the fact that drug lords have a heavy hand in Mexico, and that isn’t going to change the way we’ve tried to. Making it illegal will not make it go away. Only had they passed the decriminalization would the linchpin be pulled, the tensions eased. Mexico has a drug problem. Their drug problem, like ours in the USA, is illegalization. If you decriminalize, you greatly reduce the black market, and with that you reduce the violence. Had that law passed it would not be surprising to see Mexico turn around in many ways. Their economy would certainly be better for it.

If Mexico’s economy did improve, we would see less illegal immigration. They aren’t coming here to bother us. They are coming to earn money. When the economy of Mexico is strong, they will come as tourists. When the economy of Mexico has been put right, we will be setting up partnerships, and tearing down the fences that the shortsighted “leaders” who helped stop Mexico’s salvation from taking place will put up.

Mexico’s plight is the myopic United States political scene. And so the USA reaps what it sows.

Anyway

So the width of the page is now 980 meaning you should be viewing the site with at least 1024×768 resolution. If you _are_ viewing at that resolution and it’s still too wide, please leave a comment and I’ll make it a little narrower.

The good news is, I’m now running debian linux. Aside from enjoying the ends and outs of the operating system, it also makes it much easier for me to run a local clone of this site (which makes tinkering less of a pain). So hopefully I’ll be able to do some better stuff in terms of layout/design in the future with it.

(ignore if you’re not interested in linux, and probably even then)
I’m running gnome on Xorg with alsa for the sound; finally got fglrx to compile (though I had to switch out the symlink of gcc to do so). I’m pleased to discover VLC has debian nightlies. For now it’s still a pretty vanilla setup. Whenever I actually get further into themes/skins I’ll post a screenshot. It’ll probably still be cleaner than not though; as pretty as some of the skins/themes you can find are they aren’t functional for me. And I guess I (try to) put usability over aesthetics.
(okay, it’s over)

Of course, for now I just stretched out the existing header background to accomodate the new page width… I also made the sidebar a little wider as I noticed the search button was wrapping under the searchform. Not a big deal (apparently it (did?) that with IE too). I haven’t booted to windows lately so I haven’t checked to see if it still does.

Anyway, if you have any usability issues/comments on the design of the site, or anything, drop a comment and let me know. Even if you just hate the color green.

Thanks, and goodnight.