Progress Report — (old)
(old) This page is entirely obsolete and no longer reflects updates made to this site.
That deficiency will be corrected as soon as possible, but who knows when that will be.
(This note added 10:14am December 30, 2001). Stay tuned.
The role or function of this page will in future be fulfilled by the new Social Technology News page.
Most recent Daily Update added below at 6:30 AM PST, Thursday, January 4rd, 2001
To create the illusion of visible progress and provide friends and colleagues with (pick one)
- reason for despair
- grounds for cautious optimism
- an excuse for celebration and wild partying
I am providing this progress report page. All in the first person singular.
- The mere existence of a progress report page is progress, isn’t it?
- A couple of pages are available for inspection and carping
- Various other pages have been written, and some uploaded to the server, but are not listed here for safety and security reasons, not to mention the fear of mortal embarassment.
- Forms working now . You might try out the page recommendation form below on this page. It’s just accumulating addresses in a file at the moment since I’m late in finishing the mail sending program.
Update for Wednesday, January 3nd, 2001
I occasionally decide that the total absence of responses to the one posted form means the CGI system must have failed, so I fill out the form myself and send it in, hoping it doesn’t get here, which would at least indicate a real problem that I could fix. But it still works for me, so people are just not filling it out. This web site seems invisible. I have received a very small number of comments from family and friends, but nothing substantial to indicate I’m getting through to anyone. I don’t know how to solve this, but I’ll try posting more interesting forms and reducing the emphasis on separate e-mail accounts, and I’ll try some advertising. Any other suggestions? Meanwhile, work continues, slowly, and some of it will be visible tomorrow, I hope.
Update for Tuesday, January 2nd, 2001
Ouch, a big gap here. Were anyone actually reading these notes I would be terribly embarrassed. Some social activity and a mild case of the flu have kept me from completing any of the tasks started before Christmas, but perhaps I needed a break. I’ll try to get back to daily reports, which if nothing else serve to record my own intentions. Check back tomorrow.
Daily (well, almost daily) Update for Friday, December 22th, 2000
OK, I missed a day. I went shopping. Ugh. I’m still working on the first Java thing, but I’ve added a couple of new pages and updated one. The former How It Works page was getting too specific, so I’ve spun off a new page to deal with the specifics of putting up stuff on the web , and begun a new page for the analysis and design of the web interface . These two new pages are short outlines of what will come, but it seemed important to get them put up even if very incomplete.
Daily Update for Wednesday, December 20th, 2000
I’m having a bad computer day today — keyboard rot keeps forcing me to reboot, normally reliable pieces of software fail without warning or reason, my hard disks are almost full, and nothing goes right. So there just isn’t any progress today! Not so far, anyway. I’ll keep you posted.
Daily Update for Monday/Tuesday, December 18th/19th, 2000
Most of my late Monday to mid-Tuesday work day/night has been spent programming — stuff to appear any day now. But to keep up the illusion of visible progress, I’ve knocked off two quick web pages. The first is very incomplete but should be interesting — it is a comparison of two approaches , the one for people themselves and the other for their web pages. Strkingly different, but the same math and technology underlies them both. Also yet another “Help!” page asking people to join us or sponsor us in some way. That’s all for now — at least one Java applet by tomorrow!
Daily Update for Sunday, December 17th, 2000 (and now well into Monday)
Here’s what I’m trying to do: I have a lot of programs that manipulate graphs (in the non-graphical, sense, as in graph theory), and perform various combinatorial algorithms. These would look good as Java applets, and help explain what I’m doing. But browsing the web have given me too many different examples and I’m not sure which approach would be best. I’ve also been looking at databases, hoping for some one standard that would do for fast high-speed processing of large data sets but also be a handy way of extracting small examples for demonstration purposes. I’ve installed MySQL, which seems like a nice package, but I’m not sure how to access it from programs in various language — I’m not interested in interactive access at the moment, just handling lots of data fast. Oh, well. This has been another of those frustrating days/nights when it seems impossible to pin down the right approach to problems everybody seems to handle differently. I’ll have to take a day to get my thoughts together, and files, ditto, then see what I can put up.
Daily Update for Saturday, December 16th, 2000
Four new pages today, one with (some) Technical Information , one with some Sociological Information , and one with an Easy Introduction for the non-technical and non-academic. There is also the beginnings of a page on p rogramming languages, with special attention to translators and converters , which will have to be used in this project if I am to rescue the masses of code I have written in archaic languages from oblivion. As well as this, I have finished a crude first prototype of the content management software for handling large numbers of web pages that was mentioned here yesterday, and used it to do some updates to stuff on my own personal website. Once better developed it will be posted here for download, and perhaps to SourceForge.net , which seems to have become the repository of choice for open source software and a way to organize the projects that create them. We may do some of the latter here, with more of this software when it is ready.
Daily Update for Friday, December 15th, 2000
Happy Birthday to my daughter Clara,
who is 22 years old today — dpw.
As mentioned below, in yesterday’s daily update, I spent many long hours yesterday looking for a website organization tool which would make it easier for me to create and maintain this rapidly growing website and my own personal site which is also too large to handle. But after much fruitless search, I concluded that nothing available would do what I wanted and so I would have to write my own. I’ve since done some analysis and come up with a good design, to which I have devoted a new web page. —- Since writing that last bit this idea has grown considerably. And it is now almost mid-day Saturday, several long hours later. I am recording some of the new material which accumulated around the basic idea on a separate page, which can hardly be more than a draft, but could stand airing. I have done some prototyping on this, and used the result to clean up my own personal website which still needs some work to accommodate the new system, and to create a local copy of it, with the ordinary SocialTechnology.ca headers (footers to come), in a subdirectory of this site, where it can be gradually integrated with the rest of the material on this site. If all when well, this link should take you there , but I can’t test that until I upload it to the server, by which time I’ll be too tired to fix it.
Daily Update for Thursday, December 14th, 2000
Actually this is posted about 7:15 Friday morning, after a long day and night with little but frustration in it. Two tasks, neither completed. As mentioned below, I’m trying to get around the problem of people unwilling to fill out forms anonymously after getting webmail especially for the purpose. People will still have to do that, but I think the trick is to get people interested first by supplying services for their websites, rather than for the people themselves. Then, when they see what is possible, and how it is done, they are more likely to cooperate in supplying personal information (anonymously). To do this I need some kind of spider that can be made available to people to map out their own neighbourhood of cyberspace, then return the data here where it can be turned into a directed graph (digraph) and processed with graph theoretical techniques including numerical analysis on the implicit adjacency matrix. I couldn’t find anything quite write for the task, but I’ve found things I can adapt. Tomorrow.
The other task I wanted to complete was getting the rest of this site organized with clean and relatively uniform pages — then do the same to my personal site, with some slightly different colour scheme, perhaps. But I now have too many pages to handle by hand, so I went looking for site organization tools. A surprising number exist e.g. those listed at HotScripts , but none was quite right (again), so I think I’ll have to do my own. Tomorrow.
I was just getting set to post this when I saw an ad for a web host provider with more build in capability than I have now, so in an impulse I signed up for a few month’s worth. I only moved SocialTechnology.ca here to IICInternet a month or so ago, being fed up with ICOM ‘s lack of interest in new things like Python and PHP, but I might just move again, or perhaps run a mirrored service on both hosts until I figure out which works best. I can’t afford all this trial and error stuff, but I think at this point trying to save money on web hosting is a bad idea.
Daily Update for Wednesday, December 13th, 2000
Just one new webpage today , and a few minor alterations (hopefully improvements) in a few others. Most of today’s work involved writing or cleaning up some programs to post on this site beginning tomorrow and collecting or formatting some data to go with them for test and example purposes. We are still not getting any significant number of form submissions, so people are still ignoring the What Do You Want form. Or perhaps just not seeing it. This site has not been advertised at all except to the 50 or 60 people on the SocialTechnology mailing list , although the single page that has been sitting here with few changes for a couple of years was advertised to search engines and on links pages over a year ago. Within a few days this site will be tidy enough to display openly, and by then there will at least be some software to download, so at that time, perhaps by Monday of next week, a serious attempt to get the message out will begin. If anyone knows of good free ways of advertising websites on the web, please drop me a line at email@example.com by clicking on that mailto link.
Daily (sic) Update for (Monday and) Tuesday, December 12th, 2000
(It is actually only about 5 hours later in the day that when I posted the last update, but whereas that was a report for Sunday, filed a few hours into the early morning of the next day after a night that went on too long, this report now is so far into Tuesday that I can’t get away with calling it the Monday update. Over the course of the week I’ve obviously slipped a day, having 7 diurnal cycles in 8 days by working later each day. Perhaps because of the confusion this causes, all dates below are wrong — I think. Today is Tuesday, the 12th, which is exactly one week since I started putting stuff up on the web, last Tuesday, the 5th of December, 2000. The first version of this page, very short, vague, and predicting slow progress was filed two calendar days later, without any intervening sleep. At that point, there were 30 pages, now there’s about 65, half of which have significant amounts of content.).
Daily Update for Sunday December 9th 2000 (actually posted 5:30 AM Monday)
For the more skeptical there is also a short placeholding page called Does It Work? It does, but that remains to be proven, and a healthy skepticism is to be encouraged, especially when it comes to software, which is often too soft and little more than airware. Actually the “Does It Work?” page is not simply a bone thrown to the skeptical but the beginning of an online test page which will eventually include test software to demonstrate that the other software does indeed work, find bugs when it doesn’t, and do regression testing to make sure miscellaneous minor fixes haven’t broken anything. It should do that for itself, too, if possible. Recursive.
This will all be open source software , of course, open, and visible on web pages, and documented. Later the (or a) as-yet-unnamed business based on CASA will develop proprietary software, but that’s not happening yet. There’s now a page about free and open source software , quoting from the New Hacker’s Dictionary (or the Jargon File) about Brooke’s Law, and thus opening the question of the social interactions of software developers and how CASA-like social technology software can help people develop software better — and again recursively itself.
Also new is a somewhat longer page which elaborates (yet again) on the distinction between science and technology , this time presenting them as opposite pathways in a trapdoor or inverse problem. The concept of inverse problem has long been important but is only now becoming accessible because of the wealth of examples provided by modern cryptography.
Daily Update for Saturday December 9th 2000
A couple of missing pages and bad extensions again caused problems, as the page that supposedly directed people to a list of free e-mail providers was not provided. Thanks to an astute member of the SocialTechnology mailing list for pointing that out to me. I hope people finding dead links will send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org (click the link) so that I will know what to fix. I also added about a dozen pages, so that all of the many links on the What Do You Want? form now go somewhere — some of the pages have little content as yet, but at least they are not dead links any more.
I’d very much like some input from people on colour schemes. I think I prefer the dark blue with light text style, which you can see a sample of here , to the faint pastels of the page you are reading (if anyone is) now.
But the big news of the day is that I finally got some data from the What Do You Want? form, other than my own. Exactly One (1) person has filled it out. Whereas it is nice to get some data, finally, it is very hard to match one (1) person to any other one. This clearly illustrates what I call the “pool size” problem. All matchings will be between the pool of users we have some data from (currently all data must come from individuals, but companies and organizations and even machines will be able to submit data soon) — but we must enlarge the pool so that there are a significant number of choices. My old page on a scale for rating compatibility describes the pool-size problem in more detail. Their may be a lot of fish in the sea, but unless we get some more of them to swim into our pool, we won’t accomplish much.
One quick comment is aimed at our single informant, whose privacy I want to guarantee — the best way and only practical method I’ve got for preserving privacy and security is if I don’t know who anybody is and cannot identify the people who filled out the form in any way except by a mysterious e-mail address that they don’t use for any other purpose at all. I don’t want to know who anybody is, I only need to know some way of linking the various forms together so that I can combine the answers a person gave on one form with those given on another — and, of course, I need an e-mail address that I can send the results to. Our mysterious Participant #1 used his or her own usual e-mail address, which takes all the mystery out of it. But the fault is probably mine, since the page which lists free webmail services was broken earlier. It works now.
Please take your own privacy and security needs seriously. I know this is an inconvenience, but it is something important. Of course I will protect the privacy of people who do use their own address — I’ll try hard to do so — but that isn’t the only problem with using your ordinary address: if you know that at least one person (me, and at most me, too, I promise) — if you know that at least one person might know who you are, your answers will be affected, not being quite as open as otherwise. Even the best of us changes our behaviour in many ways when others may be watching. So, if you did fill in a form and used your ordinary address, please consider getting a new address and filling out that form again.
This page is really for mentioning visible progress, so people will know where to find what is new. But there has been some invisible progress in the past couple of days that will become visible soon (I hope). I’ve written quite a lot of software over the past few years, hundreds of programs, but most of it has only been used by me privately for my own work. The time has come now, I think, to make public most of what I have, if I can find a way to do that which is compatible with the way I work. I think the best approach is to put up small pieces of demo code first, that people can try on the web, and only later to integrate it into a big packaged system. So to this end I have been translating programs written in various languages over the years into Java so they can be packaged as applets for people to play with from web pages.
My old code in Pascal, C,. and some in Fortran or Basic is being translated into Java source code with the available translation tools, but newer code in Python can be used to create applets by using JPython or the newer Jython which implement exactly the same language as the ordinary Python, sometimes called C Python, but create code for the Java Virtual Machine instead of the Python Virtual Machine — a great idea, well implemented. I don’t know how long it will take me to get software up on the net, but I’ll be sure to note it here when it happens. I’ve got about 3/4 of my old (Delphi) Pascal code successfully translated, and what little I’ve tested seems to work ok. Most of what I have is in Pascal, not because I like the language, but because I like the others less. It’s still the same crude prototype code I’ve been embarassed to show people, but I’ll clean up stuff incrementally as I put it up on the web.
So, that’s all the progress for today … — dpw
Daily Update for Friday December 8th 2000
As I suspected yesterday, my various tinkerings had managed to break something, and the forms no longer worked. That has been fixed. The What Do You Want (browser challenged version) works fine, (convenient version for modern browsers is still unfinished), and I’ve had no trouble collecting data (so far just my own) from it. (But some links on that form, including many important ones are still broken because I put a .htm extension in a few links that should have had a .htm extension. I’ll fix that right away). This is quite a carefully designed form, so the data should be really useful. I plan to add a couple of more forms before tomorrow’s update. These pages were described in a post to the Social Technology mailing list yesterday. That’s worth calling a significant event since the original reason I established the mailing list two years ago was in the hope of using it to announce web pages and discuss this project. I’m a couple of years late, but it is finally happening.
Original Report posted Thursday December 7th, 2000
To briefly sum up: — so far the visible signs of progress are extremely limited. The invisible progress is more extensive, believe it or not. Quite a lot has been almost done and almost tested. Please check in here again on a daily basis, and you may expect to see changes (improvements, that is) every day. — dpw
(Details, when available will go here — that will happen momentarily, i.e. tomorrow). [postponed a day now, dpw]
Copyright © 2000 Douglas P. Wilson
Copyright © 2009 Douglas Pardoe Wilson
Other relevant content:
Please see these web pages:
The main Social Technology page.
Find Compatibles , the key page, with the real solution to all other problems explained
Technological Fantasies , a page about future technology
Social Tech a page about Social Technology, technology for social purposes. I think I was the first person to use this phrase on the Internet, quite a long time ago.
Roughly corresponding to these web pages are the following blogs :
Social Technology the main blog, hosted on this site, with posts imported from the following blogger.com blogs, which still exist and are useable.
Find Compatibles devoted to matching people with friends, lovers, jobs, places to live and so on, but doing so in ways that will actually work, using good math, good algorithms, good analysis.
Technological Fantasies devoted to future stuff, new ideas, things that might be invented or might happen, such as what is listed above and below.
Sex-Politics-Religion is a blog about these important topics, which I have been told should never be mentioned in polite conversation. Alright that advice does seem a bit dated, but many people are still told not to bring up these subjects around the dinner table.
I believe I was the first person on the Internet to use the phrase Social Technology — years before the Web existed.
Those were the good old days, when the number of people using the net exceeed the amount of content on it, so that it was easy to start a discussion about such an upopular topic. Now things are different. There are so many web pages that the chances of anyone finding this page are low, even with good search engines like Google. Oh, well.
By Social Technology I mean the technology for organizing and maintaining human society. The example I had most firmly in mind is the subject of Find Compatibles , what I consider to be the key page, the one with the real solution to all other problems explained.
As I explained on my early mailing lists and later webpages, I find that social technology has hardly improved at all over the years. We still use representative democracy, exactly the same as it was used in the 18th century. By contrast, horse and buggy transporation has been replaced by automobiles and airplanes, enormous changes.
In the picture below you will see some 18th century technology, such as the ox-plow in the middle of the picture. How things have changed since then in agricultural technology. But we still use chance encounters, engagements and marriages to organize our home life and the raising of children.
I claim that great advances in social technology are not only possible but inevitable. I have written three novels about this, one preposterously long, 5000 pages, another merely very very long, 1500 pages. The third is short enough at 340 pages to be published some day. Maybe. The topic is still not interesting to most people. I will excerpt small parts of these novels on the web sometime, maybe even post the raw text for the larger two.
This site includes many pages dating from 1997 to 2008 which are quite out of date. They are included here partly to show the development of these ideas and partly to cover things the newer pages do not. There will be broken links where these pages referenced external sites. I’ve tried to fix up or maiintain all internal links, but some will probably have been missed. One may wish to look at an earlier version of this page , rather longer, and at an overview of most parts of what can be called a bigger project.
Type in this address to e-mail me. The image is interesting. See Status of Social Technology
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, Douglas Pardoe Wilson
I have used a series of e-mail address over the years, each of which eventually became out of date because of a change of Internet services or became almost useless because of spam. Eventually I stuck with a Yahoo address, but my inbox still fills up with spam and their spam filter still removes messages I wanted to see. So I have switched to a new e-mail service. Web spiders should not be able to find it, since it is hidden in a jpeg picture. I have also made it difficult to reach me. The picture is not a clickable link. To send me e-mail you must want to do so badly enough to type this address in. That is a nuisance, for which I do apologize, but I just don’t want a lot of mail from people who do not care about what I have to say.
Copyright © 2009 Douglas Pardoe Wilson