Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Spam's a really hot topic these days. Heck, check out how much play it's getting on Slashdot recently. There's been plenty written about solving spam, about white lists and false positives and server-side and client-side and blah, blah, blah. Allow me a couple of personal observations.

I wonder what these people (groovy site, by the way) think about all the hype. Ah well, as they say, any press is good press. Ah, here's what they think.

Email enjoyed a brief golden age, roughly around the fall of 2000. By that point enough people had email accounts to make "emailing someone" a regular occurrence. More importantly, most businesses had email addresses and actually responded to queries. Then came spam.

I was thinking about all of this recently because I'm looking for an antique filing cabinet. Something with four drawers, in oak, from the 30s or 40s, looks like this. They're very difficult to find locally (for God's sake, if you know of one, let me know), so I did some Googling. I located the email addresses of fifteen local antique dealers and sent them an querying email (a sort of spam, I suppose, but I'm a customer, so I doubt they mind getting it). I received two replies.

Now, admittedly, antique dealers aren't the most wired folks on the planet, but all of these people had Web sites, so they must have had half a clue. So, I'm blaming spam. Either these vendors have given up reading their email (as they sift through the spam) or my question got filtered out by overly zealous anti-spam measures. Either way, I still don't have a filing cabinet.

10:45:44 PM    

As you may know, the Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight. In previous years, this would have thrown me into something of a funk. I've been a supporter for years, have suffered through the (many, many) lean years and died a thousand deaths in 1994.

Since then, however, I've spent two years in Ireland, watching sports I couldn't care less about. In addition to gaelic games, these include horse racing, football (that is, soccer) and cricket (yes, I understand the rules now). That's made me care a lot less about sports. I can watch with reduced loyalties, and eyes wide open. I can appreciate the other team's checking prowess in much the same way I watched a poetic free kick or a well-bowled over.

That said, it still licks that the Canucks are out.

10:24:03 PM    

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Synapse, the MP3 player with brains. It purported to 'that analyzes playlists and learns people's listening patterns. It then channels its knowledge into generating streams of music that the people themselves would like to listen to.'

I was skeptical, but I've tried it for a couple of weeks and it seems to work pretty well. There's definitely something sophisticated going on...it definitely pays attention to the order and frequency with which songs are played. It's hard to put my finger on it, but I generally like the choices it makes when I ask it to generate a playlist.

It also produces nifty rankings on what songs I've listened to most:

1 liz phair - flower
2 blue rodeo - hasn't hit me yet (live)
2 natalie merchant - tell yourself
2 blue rodeo - what am i doing here
2 melanie doane - adam's rib
6 cabaret - don't tell mama
6 blue rodeo - english bay
8 sarah harmer - oleander (live)
8 dar williams - better things
8 sinead o'connor - nothing compares 2 u live aid
8 texas - guitar song
8 jess klein - cloud song
13 peter gabriel - solsbury hill
13 heather nova - london rain
13 kathleen edwards - hockey skates
13 bob dylan - don't think twice, it's all right
13 bruce springsteen - my city in ruins
13 jill sobule - i kissed a girl
13 guys and dolls - the oldest established
13 rockapella - satellite

3:44:38 PM    

© Copyright 2003 Darren Barefoot.



May 2003
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Apr   Jun

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.  Subscribe to "Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences" in Radio UserLand.  Click to see the XML version of this web page.  Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.