I have an abiding passion for imaginative fiction, but not of the sort in which an individual's perspective is involved. But the closest thing I got to that was perfectly done by Umberto Eco in Foucault's Pendulum. Now that I think about it, I have forgotten Eco, and the last book I read by him was Baudolino. Since then, nothing. But in FP, there was a conspiracy of individual perspective to invent a bogus world and that conspiracy began on a misfunctioning computer: Abulafia.
'Technical fascination' is my way of evading the term 'geek', because there is something deep within me that is unsettled by the idea of being a 52 year old 'geek'. So I have abandoned the term 'geekery' and am likely at some point to sink the ship of Cubegeek. But I can't resist the urge to ask that geeky question, have you ever named your computer 'Abulafia'. I have, standing at the nexis between computer geek and literature nerd. Heavens to mergatroid what is wrong with our culture?
It turns out that I am about to enter the days of perfection where the tools of AWS have begun to resemble the inner workings of the Krell Machine. I try not to be excitable and paranoid, buy make no mistake, Amazon has built 'mydatawarehouse.com'. In fact, they have built my super grid compute resource, and few of us have even begun to think big.
This week in Vegas, of course, re:Invent took place for the first time. Full360 was mentioned amongst the most glitterait of ISVs. And we have launched our new website as well. I'm starting to feel the hotness.
Again. Bezos is absolutely right. I'm not quite sure these days if I find him or Elon Musk most admirable. Bezos is a deep contributing member of the Long Now, and he understands the future very well as he demonstrated in his chat with Vogels. And in that regard, Bezos is the Sam Walton of our generation. Chances are that if I don't get rich, then it will be the Blue Origin spaceship I ride in, not the Virgin Galactic or the SpaceX.
Here is the thing that strikes me, apropos Abulafia. There is an Abulafia wiki which seems to be just an index into a crowdsourced set of literary subroutines, although I can't figure out how to join that crowd (Bad UI! Bad UI!), it is an idea I have as part of something I'd been cooking up. My thing is called enumbra and it's basically an enumeration routine. It's a tool for what I call random dimensioning - which is essentially an iterative chunking process for handling large numbers of things. This concept goes back to tabletop computing - which I have recently been thinking about in the context of building the perfect office, which is my enduring long-term wish. It has been about two years since I last talked about that, and now I think I'm reasonably competent in Ruby to build it. It also ties in with Bucketmaster, which I'm sure I first thought about 12 years ago. I hope I've described all that well enough.
But I'm really drawn to the idea that there are naming paradigms that work well with each of our brains, and it's something that we can do to assist in analogous thinking. There seem to be a lot of possibilities for recategorizing - taking off on tagging and the ontology problem. What if, for example, our whole way of naming animals and plants are incorrectly biased to the peculiarities of discoverers? I mean how much time is wasted when we think of - for specious example - "Fleming's Sparrow" aka the Red Throated Sparrow, and then it's Latin Name and what it's called in the Orkney Islands? What if you could crowdsource tag all birds? Now what if you had expert curators re-tag all birds? Now what if you had an enumbra type system re-tag and reclassify all birds? What if there were a most appropriate name for everything based upon the actual things that make it most outstanding? This is a kind of tagging problem and it needs a combination of human and non-human intelligences to do it.
I bring this up because these days I am thinking about what it means to classify all sorts of data that have never really been organized, and some that are at risk of being permanently dysorganized, dysfunctionally organized according to the institutional biases of those we leave by default to do the organizing for us. Somebody mentioned this is a video I watched last night. Google is interested in personalizing my search. I don't want to know what people Google thinks are 'like me' think is the best pizza. I want the opnion of the best person who knows pizza. I don't want all of my information to be served to me in a way that makes my search self-serving. I want to explore to find out things I don't know, which means I have to use some terms that are not completely familiar to me, or even anonymize the objects whose metrics and behaviors I find notable.
I know this sounds all very abstract, but then so would be the opinions of someone in the business intelligence world who appreciates spycraft and understands semiotics. We have every opportunity to go off the deep-end to madness in our abstraction business. How we structure up and index our data is important; we need to be able to do it iteratively from the perspective of many measures.