John Walker, Macromedia Flash, Fischer Random Chess
On John Walker et al.
There's this essay: The Digital Imprimatur: (How big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle), by John Walker, 2003-09, at http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/digital-imprimatur/
John Walker is a founder of AutoDesk, the maker of AutoCAD, the first widely successful Computer-Aided-Design software. John Walker is a intellectual. He has a personal website at fourmilab.ch, which contains many intellectualization on varieties of topics, including software, science, society.
American Heritage Dictionary defines Imprimatur as: “Official approval or license to print or publish, especially under conditions of censorship.”
It is a 27 thousand words essay on the future of the internet, with strong negative intonation and verbosity. Its style is so painstaking and encompassing that i get tired of reading it thru and become unclear of his points, and remain not convinced.
I think sometimes a intellectual can be driven up into a crotchet. John Walker also has a page exposing the inane emails he receives from his readers. (http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/titanium/) Although a large part of it is by clueless students, but a small portion are non-trivial sincere communications. One should not lost the perspective of communication. I also receive lots of wild emails, but some of which are from unexpected all walks of life, and in a sincere way that i may not realize at first from the way messages are written. (due to a variety of reasons) This makes personal website gratifying, and is part of a grand scheme of the unfettered communication system the internet.
A bunch of very well designed, simple, beautiful, games:http://ferryhalim.com/orisinal/ These are written in Macromedia's Flash . I'm quite impressed by Flash. It's applications seems to be simple, fast loading, beautiful, and not crash prone, when compared to Java Applets. It excels at animating vector graphics, and i was impressed by its ability and variability of programing animations. I wonder what programing in Flash is like.
Chess is a mathematically sorry game, of bad design. Computers are already taking over humans by mere brute force. The ex-world-champion Garry Kasparov lost to Deep Blue 1997, and recent two computer pits humans games both ends in draws. Since computer prowess growth doubles about every 1.5 years and maintainable in at least the next decade, human animal's days at the possibility of one single win are numbered. At best they can do a draw.
In the computer-human chess competitions of the 20th century, there is a flaw in the rules. A better rule is to forbid computers using the opening database, and also to give more time for human players. This way, computer cannot use the no-brainer massiveness of database of openings ever recorded, and we get rid of the time-pressure upon the slow brain of humanity. This way, computers are forced to win by using its AI or algorithmic ingenuity — may it be brute force or heuristic. And, we will be better to judge the true progress of computers at the game of chess.
The oddball chess genius Bobby Fischer invented the so called Fischer Random Chess , which is a much better game of chess. Basically, the placements of the pieces at the rook file are randomized. This way, the rote advantage and stupidity of memorizing openings are eliminated. Players are forced to use their brain to begin with.
But from a mathematical point of view, chess is stupid relative to other zero-sum open-info board games. In particular fascinating is the game go , most popular in Asia. In early 1990s i've dwelled on this game for a while. Today, i have relatively little interest to play this game well. This is because, go is kinda like cellular automata (CA). As we know, CA goes by simple (local) rules, and no theories can predict CA's global or future behavior. So, the intellectualism of go is reduced to some experience and exposure of grid patterns. Those good at go are just those who had better experience or recognition or expectancy with the grid patterns of some particular CA.
This thought of likening go to CA and the reduction of go's esteem is not substantiated. For example, i'd have to come up with a mathematical isomorphism between CA and go to advance this argumentation. For instance, go is not a automaton: it takes two person, and evolution is determined by human will. So, if go is like a CA, one might argue that any zero-sum open-info deterministic board game exhibiting a visual pattern are somewhat like CA.
Recently read the short bio on Noam Chomsky from wikipedia. The programers in high-level programing language online discussion groups such as Lisp , likes to quotes him all the time. After reading his deeds, i think he's a likable guy.