Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, July 06, 2021

The next time you prop open your wireless-enabled notebook computer any old where, think about Benjamin Smith III of St. Petersburg, who made history for being arrested for illicitly tapping into someone else’s open wi-fi access point.

Makes it less convenient for some of us to tap into the Web while out and about. Personally, I rely upon the (unintended) generosity of strangers when visiting my mother’s house in New York, since she’s not likely to ever get Net-connected.

Enabling encryption as a default setting in wirless equipment would obviously kill off this practice. Of course, I’m writing this from an unsecured access point, because the WEP mode is too damned hard to turn on…

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/06/2021 10:45:28 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Society | Permalink | Feedback (3)

ball sees allDuring my Independence Day revelry, I became acquainted with 20Q.

This molded little pile of plastic and microchips uses artificial intelligence (or, at least, a darn good approximation, like this) to probe whatever’s on your mind. In classic 20 questions fashion, it proceeds to dissect your brain until it zeroes in on the object of your concentration.

I’m convinced it’s a tool of Satan.

It took all 20 questions each time, but it managed to get me for three tries: The first time on “racecar”, the second on “bread”, and the third — the one that really killed me — was on “mp3 player” (I was actually thinking specifically of “iPod“; but I was still impressed). It managed to trump a couple of other people at the party, too.

Setting aside the sense of awe the 20Q inspired, I was most taken by the early choice of questioning it employed. Right after the initial “animal, vegetable, mineral, or other” question, it went with, “Is this object flat (yes or no)?” I found it amusing that it determined to divide all worldly objects into flat and non-flat categories, and use that as a basis for divining what was on my mind.

It’s really eerie how these AI algorithms manage to narrow down the choices so effectively. I think their success rate says more about how predictable human mental patterns are, rather than how advanced the technology is getting.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/06/2021 09:46:45 PM
Category: Tech, Creative | Permalink | Feedback (5)

Maybe it was the upgrade to WordPress 1.5. Maybe the hosting company quietly undid whatever they fouled some two weeks ago. Maybe it was the general haze I was in most of the day as a result of only three hours of sleep (don’t ask).

Whatever. After a little bit of tinkering — doing the same exact edit that I know I did several times before — I’ve managed to get this blog’s root and permalink structure back to normal. Yippee.

What that means is that visitors coming in from Google searches and other post-specific links are actually finding what they were looking for. And commenting and trackback are both working again (despite their cosmetic faultiness). Plus, the feeds are working again. So everything’s functionally back in business.

There are several things that still need to be fixed. The comment fields need to be redone back to the customized look I had for them (the WP default in there now is pretty damned ugly, but at least it works). The pagination output under each post needs to be fixed. The categories list needs to be re-jiggered to show nesting. And a few other things, apparent and not-so-much. Hopefully, I can fix all those and not have the whole thing blow up on me (which tends to happen).

Basically, I’m looking to get back to zero, i.e. the look and feel of this blog before the Error 500 blackouts began and subsequently escalated. Once there, I’ll move on to a slight redesign and move to a new hosting company. After that, I’ll hopefully not have to mess with the mechanics for a long while.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/06/2021 04:40:26 PM
Category: Bloggin' | Permalink | Feedback (3)