on deepness

Cleverbot is a corpus based chatbot capable of producing some natural conversations by using responses from humans.

As you can see it carries on just fine and can fool a casual observer. But the longer you carry on a conversation with it the more apparent that Cleverbot is frustrating to talk to, not so much that it isn’t human — after all, all of the responses are taken from human sources. If it weren’t so good at emulating a human from which you expected more, you wouldn’t be frustrated.

Cleverbot is frustrating in two ways:

  • it isn’t interesting
  • it doesn’t make sense

In other words, it lacks deepness, like a shallow human. Why?
(Read the article)

Detecting true perfect pitch

This article (also this) proposes that there are two types of perfect pitch, “ability to perceptually encode” and “heightened tonal memory”. And these groups perform differently on a tonal matching test. I take the first to mean the ability to match any tone whatsoever precisely, while the second one to mean the ability to have long-term memory of certain heard tones.
(Read the article)

Smith chart

In my undergraduate EM class, I didn’t particularly pay attention to this part of the course, because it wasn’t on the test. I ended up never knowing what the heck the Smith chart is supposed to be — always thought it was some kind of polar to rectangular complex number conversion chart. Today through random browsing I found this simply excellent explanation:


Turns out it is not quite what I thought, and it is pretty neat. It does convert between two complex numbers, but the relationship has nothing to do with rectangular to polar. It’s the real and imaginary grid lines of normalized load impedance (the circles) layered on top of the real and imaginary grid lines of normalized reflection coefficient (the straight lines). Normalized load impedance and normalized reflection coefficient are functions of each other, so the Smith chart is used to convert between them. Very nice!

Today I became suspicious of Seagate products (part 1)

This is part of the hard disk recovery documentation.

Part 1.

Today I became suspicious of Seagate products (and my fortune in general)

Windows XP was running, and programs were being used. The disk was probably being accessed for memory cache. I noticed the drive making repetitive noises, spinning down and then spinning up, and the machine became unusable. I power-cycled the machine, and it was “NTOSKRNL.EXE is missing or corrupt.” Bad news.
(Read the article)

automatic parking

This is interesting, this self-parking car thing. Well, it’s not completely automatic, but it is supposed to take care of the most difficult part. Now I know my driving test required a demonstration of parallel parking ability – not sure about other states, so it is natural to ask, if somebody had this car, should they turn this off for the test?

Are there existing conventions dealing with technological aid in various kinds of skills testing? I can think of some, and they generally seem to fall on the side of accepting technology, with restrictions that can sometimes be arbitrary. For example, on the SAT you could use a graphing calculator, but not one with a “QWERTY” keyboard, so a TI-89 was okay but the TI-92 was not, even though they ran the exact same firmware. Not sure if they changed this. Guess not. The College Board still appears to be living in the stone age with regard to some of these banned calculators:

  • calculators with QWERTY (typewriter-like) keypads arbitrary
  • calculators that contain electronic dictionaries they all do now or can
  • calculators with paper tape or printers cash register? lol
  • calculators that “talk” or make noise right
  • calculators that require an electrical outlet haha
  • etc…

That aside, the car that drives itself has got to be the most popular civilian application touted by sensor networks people. So far, most automated components of the car are not fully automated. There is always some human element in some key part of the chain, unlike in airplanes. There is some human resistance toward giving up control on this matter. The trend toward more automation may be unstoppable, though, if automation creeps in a bit at a time like this.