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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Not All Views Are Equal

24 March 2011 Leave a comment

I clarify: not all ‘views’ are equal.

I was thinking about what makes a ‘view’ a view on Youtube. I knew that in iTunes, 1 play is counted when a track reaches its end, regardless of whether or not I skipped around (or skipped to near the end) while playing the track. The same standard would surely result in a poor measure of viewership on Youtube, and it would likely have been vetoed for sheer ease of abuse.

The immediate thought was a simple proportion of the video, for example 3/4 or 1/2. However, it was obvious that a fixed time like 0:45 or 1:00 would make more sense. After all, the video wasn’t skipped over in that duration. The next things I thought were, ‘The attention span of the average human has surely declined,’ and that if the standard time was found and published at all there’d probably be work with the time-mark as a basis. Also, would setting a longer requirement be in itself incentive enough for viewers to pay attention for longer periods of time before we made a judgment? (Perhaps a time limit before the like/dislike buttons are activated? Then maybe ‘Friday‘ would have slightly fewer dislikes because you’d have to sit through two minutes of it first.) And how problematic would it be to set that kind of limit with that kind of intention? (‘The chorus only comes in after 2:30 because the industry is too commercial already, and I reject that.’)

Next, I thought if this would apply to longer videos. If I skipped to the next episode of ‘Top Gear’ after five minutes because although the hosts were entertaining as always, I was starting to find the subject boring, should that view be counted? On the other hand, shouldn’t my five minutes of attention have been registered as a view?

So I went to read up a bit and was reminded that there are several places to watch videos (Vimeo, Dailymotion, etc.) and hence standards were different, that I’d also have to consider factors like embedding and whether full repeats of a video from a single visit from a single IP would count (apparently yes on Youtube, if it’s not embedded).

So it seems that most views are indeed unequal.

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Categories: Curiosities Tags:

Housekeeping

28 November 2010 Leave a comment

I spent about five hours reorganizing my room; it involved clearing out the over-sized desk in the room so I could substitute it with a smaller one to make the most of limited space, and shifting existing furniture around, but at the end it was worth it. The new configuration feels a lot more spacious and, as I have experienced in the past two days or so, amenable to profitable pursuits. For one, my table is less distracting, so the computer looks a lot more like a workstation. (It also helps that it is facing away from the bed.) The other result of the rearrangement that makes me happy is that I have a corner for my amp and my instruments. The prospect of practicing or playing is a much less troublesome one than it was before. The bass setup was particularly satisfying:

The other reorganization that I’ve done is with my music library. First, I skimmed it to get rid of the superfluous, improperly-labelled, unappealing and awful tracks. Next, I rechecked the tags to make sure I didn’t have doubles. I consolidated the changes, accomplishing a backup at the same time; I was intending to change the drive I was using, so the backup was a necessary intermediate step, in any case. With the backup, I experimented with using MediaMonkey, but I decided I’d stick with iTunes, since it already does my indexing, even if it is starting to take up quite a lot of system resources when it’s running.

While I was managing the library, my Sansa Clip+ was being charged for the first time. It was done about the same time I was with the library, so the next step was to install RockBox firmware. This took some figuring out. After that was accomplished, I introduced my 16GB MicroSDHC card into the player and proceeded to write the library onto it. The write took about an hour. Although I haven’t looked through all of my RockBox settings yet, it is basically ready to use. I’ve been living without a player for more than a month, ever since my splutzPod died; that sad situation, at least, has righted itself.

Categories: Vagaries Tags:

Sports Tracker Beta

11 November 2010 Leave a comment

I just wonder how long it’ll remain free. The best part is, it works on my Nokia E72 Symbian OS.

Or you can view this workout on my profile here.

Solitude Is Also A Place

5 September 2010 Leave a comment

For some time, now, I’ve been finding it difficult to say whether I’ve been going through a how-are-you-good patch or not. Not being in the middle of any of those 4-, 7-, 9-, 13- or 17-week sprints I’ve known before at work has been very good for my sleep cycle and reading, and also good for that feeling of being ‘up-to-date’, which is real in some senses (current affairs) and not in others, and perhaps not exactly consequential even when real.

I am reading my first paragraph and thinking, ‘What an unpromising first paragraph,’ what with all the strings of hyphens, numbers and long-drawn-out sentences; in this case, the writing does reflect my state of mind quite visually: not narrative, but logical; syntax, but no vision; not focused, but diffuse (all over the place); crowded.

Lately, I’ve been much more relaxed and less stressed out in general, but that really doesn’t define my life, though extreme stresses have served to change it and mark it. Writing and reading are things I have found that I seem to want to do even when I’m busy, because I do find a special kind of solace in writing and reading (here I am referring to an introspective, reflective kind of ‘reading’), but I haven’t engaged in very much of either activity recently. Part of it has to do with being connected to information streams (rivers?); I actually relished being able to immerse myself in it again after the experience of having no choice but to give them up, because of conscription, among other things. It is an odd feeling, and one representation of the experience I’ve seen comes to mind:

From Alan Moore's 'Watchmen'. Image from: http://dicecreator.wordpress.com/

In Watchmen, Ozymandias uses words like ‘imagery’, ‘juxtaposition’ and ‘undercurrent’ in his observations, and, according to his observations, invests accordingly, though I also note that his investments were the minor concern of his at that point in the novel; when his aides ask if he was worried that he might become ‘drunk from such a concentrated draught of information’, he replies, ‘It is the most sobering potion I know.’

Ozymandias’ hand-picked aides carefully prepared the bank of monitors for him, and the idea of preparing such an expensive array for the peculiar purpose of being immersed in information would have been novel a couple of decades ago. As I write this, though, I have seven tabs and four windows open; one of the things I observe in some of the tabs I have open is how information tagged as related or relevant has been made readily available to me, by means that are automated to a degree made possible by the advancement of technology. There is no immediate human direction involved in many of those instances. In other instances, technology seems to have made my social contacts a means of filtering information; this seems altogether more insidious, especially in the light of the third observation I have, which is that information is being made available to me as a service, but there are other customers, including advertisers. The total effect of these factors is an intense stream of information, and one that is becoming ever more intense at that, because of technological change driven by economics. This is sobering knowledge, indeed, at least at this point in time, as I write.

But the rest of the time, the experience is probably more intoxicating than bracing. Earlier, I observed to a friend that, through the Internet, information of interest is so readily available, it seems almost spoon-fed, and easy to choke on; alternately, it’s a web that’s easy to get lost in: on the Web, information leads to more information, related, relevant or otherwise. Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in the information stream on a regular basis, but I’ve been writing less because it’s hard to process it all.

Earlier, I came across comments from an interview (via this post I saw on Freshly Pressed) with Jonathan Franzen, an American author. I was motivated to read the post because a few weeks ago, Franzen was featured on the cover of Time as the ‘Great American Novelist’ of the current time, and  I resolved to keep that issue of Time because the cover didn’t feature technology, economics or war. Franzen comments on what he feels is a novelist’s responsibility in our age. His comments on writing, communication, isolation and solitude were what motivated me to write this post. I quote, from http://www.avclub.com/articles/jonathan-franzen,44716/:

I think novelists nowadays have a responsibility—whether or not my contemporaries are actually living up to it—to make books really, really compelling. To make you want to turn off your phone and walk away from your Internet connection and go spend some time in another place. That’s why it takes me so long to write these books. I’m trying to fashion something that will actually pull you away, so I’m certainly conscious of the tension between the solitary world of reading and writing, and the noisy crowded world of electronic communications.

I continue to believe it’s a phony palliative, most of the noise. […] All of that stuff, you have the sense, “Yeah, I’m really engaged in something. I’m not alone. I’m not alone. I’m not alone.” And yet, I don’t think—maybe it’s just me—but when I connect with a good book, often by somebody dead, and they are telling me a story that seems true, and they are telling me things about myself that I know to be true, but I hadn’t been able to put together before—I feel so much less alone than I ever can sending e-mails or receiving texts. I think there’s a kind of—I don’t want to say shallow, because then I start sounding like an elitist. It’s kind of like a person who keeps smoking more and more cigarettes. You keep giving yourself more and more jolts of stimulus, because deep inside, you’re incredibly lonely and isolated. The engine of technological consumerism is very good at exploiting the short-term need for that little jolt, and is very, very bad at addressing the real solitude and isolation, which I think is increasing. That’s how I perceive my mission as a writer—and particularly as a novelist—is to try to provide a bridge from the inside of me to the inside of somebody else.

The thought of having a mission as a writer has not crossed my mind, but what he describes is what I feel; I do have something else to say about solitude, though: it’s not just isolation.

In the frame before the one from Watchmen I included above, Ozymandias’ aide excuses himself, saying, ‘We know that you prefer to be alone down here,’ to which Ozymandias replies, ‘Yes, that’s right. All alone… Just me and the world.’ Even before the discussion about whether Ozymandias is a hero or not, we should examine what Moore shows us of Ozymandias. He seeks solitude at the point where the accomplishment of his life work is about to be decided, his life work being his plan for saving the world from nuclear Armageddon. ‘Just me and the world’ is the man and his mission, and the man seeking all the clarity and focus he can before everything is accomplished; he finds it in solitude.

When I do write, I have to find the space for it. Writing is a way to be alone with my thoughts and then come out from it with something, whether it’s clarity, a sense of humility, gratitude, renewed purpose, or being tired enough to get to sleep.