recent posts related to technology in general

The state of payments systems in ten years

“If you think you know what the state of the payments system 10 years out you're in a state of delusion.”

~ Charlie Munger talking about AMEX

The thermodynamics of learning

From a article titled The thermodynamics of learning:

“The greatest significance of our work is that we bring the second law of thermodynamics to the analysis of neural networks,” Sebastian Goldt at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, told “The second law is a very powerful statement about which transformations are possible — and learning is just a transformation of a neural network at the expense of energy. This makes our results quite general and takes us one step towards understanding the ultimate limits of the efficiency of neural networks.”

Dan Bricklin: The history of VisiCalc and other things

Dan Bricklin, inventor/creator of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers, has created this page of historical notes and images about his work. His work came long before my interest in computers and programming, so I enjoy reading about it from a historical perspective. He shows a TI calculator and very large state diagram on this page. I remember seeing calculators like that in stores, and the work he put into the state diagram looks like a modern mind map.

If you’re into history, it’s all very cool.

If iPhones were made of gravitons (dreams)

I went to bed last night thinking that it would be cool if iPhones were made of gravitons configured to your body’s unique vibrational frequency, so if your phone was in the kitchen while you were sitting on the couch, you could hold your hand out and the phone would come flying over to you. (Pity anything between you and your phone, and I don’t know how the gravitons were configured to only activate on demand, rather than being in constant orbit around your body (or stuck to your body)).

Then in a dream in Santa Fe this morning I was driving along and realized that I needed to change lanes very quickly to make the turn from St. Francis onto Cerillos Road. From what I can gather, I did that so fast that I flew into another reality. I ended up in a forest where I first came upon some combination of a gorilla and a bear that was walking upright through the forest. Fortunately it was wearing a breathing mask of some sort and I thought, “It’s not threatening, it’s just out for a walk.” Then a skunk as large as a car came walking down the road. It freaked me out, and I quickly thought of that bear-gorilla’s breathing mask, but the skunk was actually quite pleasant and just wanted to be petted. A large four-legged animal was flying in the sky above me, but cows the shape of giraffes (and twice their size) inside 30-40' tall chain-link fences had my attention, especially when they all came over to the fence in anticipation that I might feed them.

After a few more quirky sightings, I arrived at my destination and went to get my dogs some water. The water came out of a fountain normally, but then when it hit my clasped hands it become a consistency thicker than jello. This was convenient, because it let me carry a large “bowl” of water over to my dogs, who were really thirsty. They initially thought they had to bite the water, but then they learned that they could lick it normally.

After that things got a little weird. (I don’t know words in the English language that I can use to describe most of what happened next, though there was a lot of telekinesis, and a few beings were training me in the possibilities of what *could* be done, as opposed to the limited set of things I normally do in the dream state.)