Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Netflix million dollar prize, an idea

I finally heard about a million dollar prize that Netflix is offering to improve its prediction of what movies people will like based on what they've said they like so Netflix can recommend movies to them. And they only want a 10% improvement on what their system does to get the million dollars.

Well, I'm not going to join, and I just started thinking about this a few minutes ago when I stumbled across it by reading another article, but it seems to me that most people don't have much of a clue about why they like something, but they are fairly good at what they don't like.

So just brainstorming and tossing something out there as I like doing such things and I'm not going to put in much effort here, I'd consider all the ways people do not like a movie, like it's too long, or the musical score is horrible, or it leans toward celebrities versus great actors, and figure out how to see dislikes in the recommendations.

Then I'd associate dislikes with things like subject, director, actor and use that to eliminate movies in a category that the person likes, which is the only place I'd go with what they've watched in the past.

So, like if they like drama, but their preferences show a dislike for the director Cameron, I'd have the system not suggest his movies, and I'd have it work opposite to what most people would do, and suggest the movies not eliminated by dislikes.

It just seems to me that dislikes can be more powerful than likes, as people avoid nasty things more than they seek things out.

And that's it for brainstorming on this issue.

If you think that idea can be tried and you want to do a lot of database heavy programming, feel free to take it! Go, have fun!

You can even keep all the money. I'd just want to be known as the source of the idea.

James Harris

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In praise of prevention

In general, it's easier to handle the problems that are solved ahead of time.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Not like it's a new idea I think but clearly now we live in a browser centric world, so as has been said by so many others many times before, the next best thing is a browser operating system, which of course, gives you BOS.

Before the DOS was the start of the computer revolution, the disk operating system, but many are the times I'd love to cut my computer on, and simply have my browser--Firefox--come up and go browsing with an instant on, as lately I do almost nothing else from Windows.

We were fishing around in the dark before, but clearly now it is the Internet that brings in the true Information Age, and with so much centered around the web, it just makes sense that you can build from the browser itself.

So the future of OS belongs to the group, company or group of companies that build the BOS.

What's remarkable about building an operating system built around the browser is that you can make it fully parallel, pulling in the best from multi-core systems, and you can use, I think it's virtualization? To connect it back to the old, like to Windows operating system.

And you can then get a true sandbox, where the Internet is isolated to one piece of what happens on your computer, while for other stuff you can use the old, and run Windows.

The BOS could even start Windows or Linux or whatever else operating system you wanted--if you needed.

And in the case of Windows you could, after an instant on as the BOS would load faster than your mind could notice so that cutting on your computer would be an immediate experience--as it should be--when you did something needing Windows you could sit there for minutes as it loaded and understand why the future is immediacy.

I am sick and tired of losing minutes from my life waiting for a lot of crap to load that I will never need!

Why do we pay with our lives for nothing?

The BOS is the future. The people that produce it, are the ones who usher in the true Information Age, and in doing so, save so many of us, so much time.

James Harris

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Musing about the project

Just downloaded Class Viewer again, which I do at times for various reasons, started it up, did a few things and thought to myself that it's a nice little tool, especially for getting to javadocs.

I've thought at times that it might help to have an installer program for downloading as I guess that'd look more professional. And it'd let me have a single download versus one for Windows and Unix, where, um, I should mention that I've never tested fully if the Unix download actually works right.

I've also thought about letting users add packages and locations for javadocs through an interface versus opening up the xml configuration file--packagedirectory.xml--and adding it in there, but that's just so easy to do.

It's nothing to open the xml file with a text editor and just toss in the javadocs location or add packages, so why make some additional interface? Seems like a waste of time to me.

It's like there are these window-dressing ideas I have which I can't quite motivate myself to do.

One substantive idea I have is to give the option of opening source files at a desired method, which would make Class Viewer even more of a development tool, which might happen if I start doing a lot of programming again and need that convenience.

But then again, I'm not sure if that's actually all that useful.

Mostly when I think about the project I just can't really see anything else that it really needs.

James Harris