doomed to repeat it….

Lou recommends After the Dot-Bomb: Getting Web Information Retrieval Right This Time “I explained to the broker that […]

Lou recommends After the Dot-Bomb: Getting Web Information Retrieval Right This Time

“I explained to the broker that the idea of “push” technology was first called “selective dissemination of information,” or SDI, and, to my knowledge, had first been proposed in 1961 – yes, 1961 – in an article in the journal American Documentation by an IBM computer scientist by the name of H.P. Luhn (1961). He worked out the idea in considerable detail; the only key difference was that the old mainframe computer would spit out informative postcards to be mailed to customers, rather than sending the information online – since there was no “online” to use in those days.”

Which reminds me both that

innovation comes only from a deep understanding of the problem (otherwise you can fall into the trap of re-invention.)


those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


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  1. 1
    Lawrence Krubner

    And, of course, sometimes it’s good to know history because you want to repeat it. This is especially true in engineering where so many good ideas have been tried in the past and stand ready to serve good use again.

    A simple example involves digital photography. It has struggled with the problem of non-transparent pixels. How does one get red/gree/blue for an image if only one pixel can be in a place and it can only sample for one of those 3 colors? Regular film has, over the decades, worked out the problems associated with having 3 layers of film, one for each color. Digital cameras, it is well known, suffer artifact problems due to only one color being recorded for any given spot on the image.

    Fovion solved this problem using a trick from the 1920s – a beam splitter, which directs the red to one camera back, the green to another, and the blue to another. This was a trick developed for regular film cameras, back in the 1920s, before the transparency problems of modern film had been solved.

  2. 2

    fovion does not use a beam splitter. They use a cmos process that allows color specific transperency based on wavelength. There is only one camera back, one chip on the fovion chips, they invented an new cmos process to do this.

  3. 3

    Foveon (not “Fovion”) has details about the new technology at I learned about the man and the company from an engineer friend of mine who idolizes Foveon. Apparently, the man (a physicist by training) has made some remarkable contributions to the field of chips and circuit design.

  4. 4

    There are two ways to repeat a thing.
    One concept is that of re-volution.

    Once a thing is accomplished, it restarts. This is positive insofar as a whole circular spin has been throughout unfolded: the process is _complete_. Can restart from a higher spiral tier. Planets do not describe ellypses: they describe elicoidals (whatever the spelling in english may be), that is: spirals. The don’t only revolve, but they also rotate.

    The other way is that the thing RE-starts not because it has been completed, but because it aborted.

    This normally leads to what Christina meant by
    “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”: the person failed in an attempt. No analysis of why the attempt failed is undertook. The person repeats. Aborts again. Restarts. Endless recursion until death comes.

    Or: the person makes an attempt; the attempt fails. The person understands why it failed. Repeats in a different way. The attmept fails again. Understands why, attempts, repeat, fails again.

    Where was the bug?
    In the fact the person anlyzed the means, not the objective or the motivations. Analysis does _not_ mean tracking where you were mistaken in your weapons of choice: analysis means understanding why you thought that one was the adversary, and why you felt like having an adversary in the first place.
    Of course, a challenge may be a real one, or an invented one. We’re prolific in misinterpreting our situations.

    A book by James Hillman reports that his old dad repeated always the same story, and when prompted to say why snapped “because I like repating it!”

    If you listen to the “st. Anne” toccata and fugue by JS Bach, you won’t listen to it once: you will play it again.
    A few revolutions are so happily successful that it is a celebration listenting to them over and over again: every time you find something new, and the old shines better.

    Ultimately, why people repeat errors? “beyond the pleasure principle” by Freud summons in 50 pages deep thoughts on it, thinking about war traumas: living matter may have made an attempt to reverse the status and go back to the inorganic status: evbery incoming stimuli is a trauma for the newborn; so that is too, repeat – in order to die again.


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