Friday, November 27, 2009

Class Viewer as an applet

Oh yeah, you can run Class Viewer as an applet. For a while I did have it up at my SourceForge site as an applet but I wasn't sure that was ok, and didn't want it to turn into some kind of reference site.

But anyone can just throw it on a webpage, maybe with their own code's javadocs bundled up in the jar file so that they can access their class information from the web.

Class Viewer is a hybrid app--it runs on the desktop or on the web, with less functionality from the web.

I think hybrid apps are the future of app development.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Handling low light, two camera review from Pogue

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the Source:
Low Light Becomes a Highlight
Published: August 20, 2009
New cameras from Sony and Fujifilm come with redesigned sensors that mark an important step forward in personal photography.

An interesting review from David Pogue, which has good information about sensors. I'm putting this up partly as a reference for myself later for when I might pick up a camera good in low light as I have been frustrated trying to take nighttime city-scape shots of San Francisco.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fun Twitter game for bright people: perfect tweets

Because Twitter has the rule of 140 characters or less for a tweet an obvious and fun game is to produce perfect tweets, defined to be 140 characters exactly, but that's not enough as here is a perfect Tweet that I tweeted earlier today to my Twitter:

In my opinion, crucial criteria for a perfect tweet is that it be EXACTLY 140 characters, have few if any abbreviations, and is grammatical.

That tweet is 140 characters exactly and is (um, I'm fairly certain), grammatical.

Ok, updating as I got in an argument over this subject, so have a variant to handle both cases in case it turns into some kind of major thing:

In my opinion crucial criteria for a perfect tweet are that it be EXACTLY 140 characters, have few if any abbreviations, and is grammatical.

And later I found another...

The perfect tweet must have the following conditions: it must be 140 characters, be grammatically correct and have few if any abbreviations.

I'm curious, how many tweets on Twitter on any given day are perfect by those rules?

Here's one more perfect tweet:

My wild guess unsupported by inside information is that YouTube is now profitable. If so congratulations Google, and what took you so long?

I will admit that I don't in general try to make my tweets perfect but will if I see one approaching perfection work at it if I can, briefly to see if I achieve that, but if not, it's not a big deal.

But how hard can it be? I have one more perfect tweet:

Ok, I've locked down both variants of the "perfect tweet" which defines itself as perfect within the tweet while also being a perfect tweet.

That tweet is perfect.

(Hmmm...editing yet again to wonder, how many times can you use the phrase "perfect tweet" in a tweet which is itself perfect? I've managed twice above, can anyone do better?)

But when it happens I do wonder, how hard is it to do really? And, how did I do it?

Doing a web search on "perfect tweet" I see other people are using the term and differently. Oh well. Also one site has the phrase "twoosh" for a tweet of 140 characters "on the first try", which I guess means no editing.

Hmmm...maybe I should call my definition a "twee-dunk"?

Oh, I know, how about a "twee-three"?

No, basketball references may not work with all I will still call it a perfect tweet, and others can do what they want.

James Harris

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Science and traffic jams

Link above goes to: MSNBC

Quote from the Source:
Math model may decrease phantom traffic jams
Method could help engineers design roads to keep traffic density low

updated 11:49 a.m. PT, Fri., June 12, 2009
Some traffic jams have no apparent cause — no accident, no stalled vehicle, no lanes closed for construction...

Great article and I'm glad scientists are studying these things as when I lived in the Atlanta metro area--thankfully in the Bay Area I rarely have to drive--it would be so frustrating when I figured out that a slow-down that could have you completely stopping at points was just about a lot of cars being on the road and nothing else.

Here's one more quote introducing a cool word:
Key to the new study is the realization that the mathematics of such jams, which the researchers call "jamitons," are strikingly similar to the equations that describe detonation waves produced by explosion...

That's what I'm calling them from now on as that is just a cool word: jamitons

Friday, May 01, 2009

Why we need PBV

My research on equality in mathematics and consistency, and on logic may have paid dividends with the surprisingly obvious in retrospect latest non-math research into money itself.

The simple principle I'm emphasizing is value for value: we give value in exchange for value in return, which is how our world's money systems work.

A value gap has emerged on the web because the upfront pay model doesn't work for a lot of sources, including very important ones like news providers, but there is no pay after value system in place which is probably just an oversight, as the television model of advertising seemed viable at first, but doesn't work on the active system of the web in contrast to the passive system of television.

But the advertising model is also beginning to collapse on television as a result of people using DVR's to fast forward through commercials.

Television was never free. People paid with attention--to commercials. Now increasingly they're not paying attention, collapsing business models.

Without value for value, content must suffer, and as content on newspapers and television suffer then fewer people still will be there to provide value, causing a steeper drop in value, causing a steeper drop in revenue...a vicious cycle ending in the end of the businesses.

So these industries have no choice but to find a way to get value for value or they end.

I think for most people the reality that the television industry itself may end seems impossible, and I think that the industry will start looking hard for solutions long before that occurs, but then again it might not. We have the American auto industry's travails as a model for how that can occur.

So I think it important to consider the value for value concept that I call Pay Back Value with that in mind. The passive world of television presented this idea that paying attention, as commercials got buyers for goods, and the makers of the goods were the people who then paid directly for the television shows, was enough, but that hasn't worked in the same way on the web.

It may be up to information consumers to ask for the ability to pay for valued content after they've seen its value, for instance, after reading a news article, if they are to prevent valued industries from imploding on themselves, and I have an example to show how natural the concept is, as think of restaurants.

Fast food restaurants in the U.S. ask you to pay upfront. That is like what was tried on the Internet, and it mostly failed. People don't want to pay first for information that might be crap!

But beyond fast food restaurants, at higher end restaurants people can get their food, eat it, chat with company for a while, and ask for their bill and then pay.

We take that for granted so consider a story I have from years ago when I was living in metro Atlanta, when I went to a restaurant, and while eating my meal noticed a couple just get up and leave when the only server around--it was a slow period--went to the back of the restaurant.

I was in shock. I couldn't believe those people just got up and left! The server was upset but also more sanguine than I telling me that unfortunately that did happen at times.

But most of us don't take value in the form of a meal and just leave, even if the server isn't around, and restaurants do just fine though some people do steal meals.

Our web should offer the ability to pay like a high end restaurant versus the upfront pay model of the fast food restaurant, or the no pay model which isn't supporting value because ads are not enough.

Free is not a business model that works for the web, because advertising cannot support it for most. Some may do fine, but when even large newspapers with international appeal are going down, it's time to re-think the value issue.

We need to pay back value as information consumers. It's the only way for major industries we rely on for that information, to survive.

James Harris

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Problem solving reality

To me problem solving is not an academic exercise and it's not about a particular area: problems are everywhere. Since I imagine myself to be a problem solver I can delve into any number of areas as I see fit, and while in the past I've focused a lot on mathematics and computer science, I've also been thinking about pop culture and practical issues like the conundrum of how to make money on the Internet.

That one has become ever more fascinating to me as I realize that there are very weird things about the Internet. For instance, taking the time to pause as I write this post and check Google Analytics about this blog (pausing) I find I have hits from 89 cities in 29 countries in the last 30 days. But a pathetic number of visits! 162.

What gives? I mean, before the Internet, talking about getting attention of any kind from 29 countries I'd think would be a big deal! But now it means nothing in terms of remuneration. Nothing.

Focusing on the problem then of value on the Internet I've come up with a new concept as a problem solving effort:

Pay Back Value concept

There are a couple of things that occur to me while considering this latest idea, as I think back to past ideas for which I had high hopes, like DMESE. And kind of wonder why I bother, but then again, why not?

Puzzles are puzzles not because they are easy and obvious. If they are easy and obvious then I say, they aren't really puzzling!!!

And I'm not the only one puzzling through the Internet money conundrum as I like to call it, as even big players are facing inordinate difficulty despite bringing a lot of value to the table.

I am mega international by the city and country counts for this blog according to Google Analytics. Yet this blog pales in comparison to my math one which in the last 30 days had hits from 450 cities in 59 countries (my country count dropped as I was at 61 a few days ago).

But how many visits? Only 1517.

For the year my math blog has had 5682 visits from 1220 cities in 93 countries.


It's hard for me to understand how there isn't more monetary value in there somewhere, so the problem solving exercise is to puzzle out the conundrum--and deliver what ideas I may have to the world.

After all, solving my problems can solve those of others, and then it's the desired win-win.

For me proving my problem solving ability is not about a particular area--but about solving problems, and the Internet money conundrum is a big one.

Monday, March 09, 2009

About Quants

Link above goes to: The New York Times

Quote from the source:
They Tried to Outsmart Wall Street
Published: March 10, 2009
“Quants” try to use physics to untangle the messiest of human activities — making money.

Hard to categorize: Is it really economics? Really science? Not sure.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Intriguing. David Merrill talks about and shows, siftables--smart blocks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting serious about Sirius XM

Link above goes to: BusinessWeek

Quote from the source:
Sirius XM: What Price Bankruptcy?
Under Chapter 11, the satellite radio outfit could possibly revamp costly contracts. But it could also lose its top star and lots of listeners

By Olga Kharif

A bankruptcy filing by Sirius XM would have widespread implications not just for holders of the satellite radio company's debt and shares, but also for millions of listeners and for the celebrities like Howard Stern whose fat paychecks have made it harder for the company to pay its other bills....

It bugs me that I predicted an end to this company, when it was two, some while ago because it seems to me so preventable. (Oh yeah, I know they do have some ads.)

Maybe if they had followed a business plan more to my liking it would not have worked, but I like to think that what I said makes sense, so it makes me happy to believe that there is still time.

They need commercials.

Bad commercials are bad. But good commercials are good. People need a break from all that intensity and it gives them revenue.

I think we need satellite radio so I hope the best whatever answers they find.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

History of the Internet

Cool video. I really like the narration. So weird to think how far we have come.

Makes you wonder about, how far we have to go.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wanting to meet Kara Thrace

Link above goes to:, Battlestar Galactica season 4, episode 13 with commentary by Ronald Moore

For the first time after watching an episode I found myself watching the commentary on that episode as it was such a dark and powerful one, but the post isn't really about the episode as while listening to the commentary by Moore, I found my self drifting at times and I pondered about something I've often wondered about, which is wanting to meet Kara Thrace.

That might sound like I want to meet Katee Sackhoff, who is the actor who plays Kara Thrace, but there you have it of course, the actors are not their characters, so in a sense it's a philosophical issue about the impossibility (or is it impossible?) of meeting a fictional character--and why the desire anyway?

I've wondered how bothered actors get by people meeting them thinking they are their fictional persona, but then again, why would anyone think they are? Or, why would anyone think they are not? I like the dueling questions.

The tone of this post is different than a lot of others as I myself rarely do commentary but have done it, in a sense, and it has occurred to me that part of the role of commentary is to give people some idea of the person behind some particular product that is out there, where otherwise you're just looking at the polished (or hopefully polished) output, but there is someone or some group of people, who have put that out there, and how do you get a feel for them?

So for my own cryptic reasons I think it might help to point out that I often think about meeting Kara Thrace, and ponder that I can't, so why do I frustrate myself, and then of course wonder, how bad though really would it be to just meet Katee Sackhoff, and while acknowledging (even maybe saying it out loud to try and sell it) that I know she's not Kara, secretly pretend that she is anyway?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Class Viewer Project 2008 statistics

Here are key statistics for all of 2008 for my Class Viewer project from

Total downloads for 2008: 3132

Pages served from Class Viewer project page: 13442
Pages served from Class Viewer homepage: 6380

Statistics for this blog page from Google Analytics:

2534 visits, 3102 page views, 1440 unique visitors, from 930 cities in 87 countries/territories, with the top city being San Francisco, with 240 visits.