Somehow, I added 400 and 200 and got 700.
Oh well... As the bridge builder said, looking at his
trusses in the river, The theory was valid -- it was only
the decimal point that was wrong.
Eric Armstrong wrote:
> Jack P:
> You've posted some 400 messages to the list (or maybe it
> was 500 -- I started losing track after 300 or so), most of which
> point to some impressive, cool, or potentially useful technology.
> John D:
> You've posted in the neighborhood of 200 messages, most all
> of which point to some powerful, cool, potentially useful
> These pointers would be very useful, if I had anything like the kind
> of time it takes to track down some 700 relative technologies,
> understand what they are about, and figure out how they can be
> However, I do not have that time. And as great as it is that you
> keep finding new, interesting, useful, and cool technologies, I find
> myself realizing that I am never going to be able to know how the
> latest revelation compares with, or may possibly interact with, any
> of the other 700 recommendations.
> The "information explosion" exhibited by these pointers alone
> illustrates some of the *vital* requirements for a useful
> 1) Categories
> When recommendation "X" comes in, it needs to come in with
> a category (or multiple categories) or, better, categories need
> be retroactively applied, so I can tell which recommendations
> achieve similar goals, or perform similar functions.
> 2) Ratings
> There is no way on God's green earth I am going to investigate
> 700 recommendations, until and unless that is my paid job
> (at which point I will be more than happy to undertake the
> Until that I occurs, I *must* have ratings for these things, so
> can idendify "best of breed" in each category.
> 3) Combinations
> If someone can say, "we can combine technology X with
> technology Y to do Z". That new combination can then
> be categorized and rated, so it can be compared with
> combinations X and M, or combination M and N and P.
> At this point, I find myself in the exact same position as the CIA.
> Someone will always be able to say, in retrospect, "see, I told you
> it could be done using X", for any "it" and an "X", where "X" is one
> of more than 1,000 alternatives that are buried in the list, once
> everyone's contributions are taken into account.
> However, the current system will only allow that recognition to be
> achieve retroactively. When one person with a limited number of
> technologies at their disposal figures out how to make something
> work (because they aren't spending their life evaluating
> then it will be clear that "we had the information" in our possession.
> However, our ability to proactively identify that solution by
> of the combinatorial explosion of possibilities before us is
> at best.
> A system that allows for categorizing, rating, and creating new
> will allow that proactive identification of solutions, because any one
> can contribute a small quantum knowledge (consisting of a combination
> or a rating), and that quantum can be compared with other relevant
> quanta (via categorization, which juxtapose related bits of
> Without such a system, I find myself in a hopeless quagmire. There are
> too many options to consider, so "paralysis by analysis" becomes a
> threat, were I ever to feel optimistic enough to attempt a foray.
> that any one combination is likely to prove untenable, the only way to
> feel optimistic enough to make an attempt is to know that, even though
> my approach will most likely fail, the result will be knowledge added
> the system that help others steer clear, and the expectation that with
> all of us evaluating one combination or another, *some* combination
> very well succeed.
> But, absent the ability to share my results in a way that others can
> from, in a repository from which I will reap the eventual rewards of a
> solved problem, how can I begin to choose from among the 700
> offered to me? How can I begin to focus on one, knowing at the outset
> that the effort may well be doomed at the outset and that, at the end
> the process, I simply will not know which other combinations may have
> a greater chance of success. How can I even begin to figure out which
> combinations to use, when I have no sense of categories which to
> a partial ordering of the options?
> Recommendations, anyone?
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