Entropy Gradient Reversals
Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further:
and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.

Job 38:11

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Handwaving Recognition

The Happy First Families
On this Thanksgiving Day, EGR would like to express its gratitude for the fact that America is a such a happy country. Everybody is forever waving to somebody else.
The Happy Mr. Letterman
We wanted to provide readers with some graphic examples of this outgoing goodwill, so we naturally turned to Alta Vista. Many readers may not know that this prodigious search engine can be used to find pictures, whether for purposes of amusement or -- in cases like our own -- plagiarism. All you have to do is specify, for instance, "image:wave AND waving" in your search string. That's how we located the heartwarming photographs above.
Note: Do not attempt this with the so-called "AltaVista Search My Computer Private eXtension," which is a broken piece of crap that simply serves as a loss-leader for Digital's belated and somewhat pathetic plans for world domination -- currently void outside Massachusetts.
While this web-scouring methodology does work, it leaves something to be desired, depending as it does on surrogate text to retrieve the GIFs and JPGs curious websters might want to... borrow. Wouldn't it be better to search for such images by a description of their visual content? For example, the query might specify "happy american raising hand in ritual demonstration of outgoing goodwill" -- which would find appropriate web graphics whether or not they were labeled wave-something-or-other, and also would not bring up so goddam many yacht clubs!

We can assure our Cutting-Edge readers that such technology is indeed on the near horizon, but we are bound both by the unwritten editorial rules governing conflict-of-interest as well as by various forms of legally binding non-disclosure from providing much more than a broad hint as to its likely source.

However -- and here, Gentle Readers, we come inexorably to Our Main Point -- even this form of advanced graphical search would still not retrieve textual instances of "hand waving," wherein those telling terms never literally appear in the accompanying markup. This challenge takes us into the deepest heart of information retrieval theory, and poses questions about the nature of human language that may not ever be fully answered.

What we are proposing, then, is a new and much needed technology: handwaving recognition. The following examples are offered as a sort of gedanken-demo of the utility such a technology might deliver. Sadly, they do not represent current capabilities, which remain but a pale and distant shadow of the genuine insight we'd like to someday see our software tools incorporate. However, if the promise of "intelligent agents" is ever to be realized -- and hey, we're holding our breath -- competence like this obviously constitutes a non-negotiable prerequisite. This is one smart agent we would surely turn to every day in our tireless effort to become the Fully Informed Net-Enabled Symbolic Analyst -- clearly the dream of every EGR subscriber.

In the ten examples that follow, the URLs point to actual sources from which we have quoted topical examples of high-level handwaving. The explications listed under "HRE" represent the results of non-monotonic fuzzy-logic reasoning as applied by our hypothetical Handwaving Recognition Engine (patent pending).

Source: Microsoft
MAPI-Based Workflow Specification Now Available
Microsoft Corp. and Wang Laboratories Inc. announced today the first public availability of the specification for the MAPI Workflow Framework (MAPI-WF). MAPI-WF provides a standards-based mechanism to allow production and messaging-based workflow systems to interoperate. It also extends MAPI, the Microsoft® messaging API, to create a robust foundation for mail-based workflow solutions.
For companies that don't mind using the cycle-pig that is Microsoft Exchange, this "solution" enables users to take an inordinate amount of time to fire off single-line email messages. Don't try plugging in Eudora unless you want to generate weird-ass addresses that will bounce all over cyberspace.

Source: Netscape
How does SuiteSpot compare to Lotus Notes? Lotus Notes is a combination of proprietary technologies similar to those that make up the Internet.... Ultimately Notes technologies and the corresponding Internet-based technologies in SuiteSpot perform many of the same functions and solve the same set of problems.
We have a major deal in the works with IBM, so are ill-inclined to piss all over this dogshit product they bought from the bozos at Lotus for WAY too much money. Just like the Internet, yeah right. And ketchup is a vegetable.

Source: IBM
Bamba is a technology demonstration of a streaming audio plug-in from IBM Research that allows you to play streaming audio over the Internet.
Since we missed the boat on so much Internet development, we figured why not rip off a few trivial apps no one really needs? At least they won't actually compete with our current and prospective customers -- which include all companies everywhere -- as this stupid Bamba thing hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of ever becoming a commercial product.

Network Computers
Source: Network Computer, Inc. (a.k.a. Oracle)
The NC
The ideal device to tap the power of the network is the network computer. A new generation of affordable, easy-to-use information devices, the network computer is optimized for electronic communications, information access, entertainment and a host of applications. The network computer is simple because it receives all data and software from a server over the network. Additionally, all software backups, upgrades and maintenance are done centrally from the network server.
If you liked mainframes and dumb terminals, you're gonna love this one! Finally, user "empowerment" is a thing of the past!

Electronic Commerce
Source: software.net
software.net home page
software.net has been delivering brand name software via the Internet since 1994. Now we have over 1600 electronically deliverable titles - over 20,000 total!
Some smaller banking institutions -- like say Citibank Mastercard -- may not have enrolled in our program, thus causing you hours of hair-rending frustration as you navigate our secure interface, call 800 numbers that don't answer and exchange email with arrogant "customer-service" twits with massive attitude problems. Thank you for ordering from software.net!

Source: Starfish Software
Starfish Internet Sidekick
From Starfish Software, the makers of the #1 organizer of all time, comes a revolution in organization! Starfish Internet Sidekick is designed specifically for every Internet user. It's personal organization that makes managing your calendar, contacts and communications as easy as using e-mail. It's so easy, you'll be up and running in 3 minutes or less. Guaranteed! And because Internet Sidekick uses the global reach of the Internet, you can now schedule anything with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
From Starfish Software, the company recently escaped from Borland's minuet with Chapter 11, comes a product catapulted onto an unsuspecting networked public by clueless marketeers who never stopped to think you might want to send a simple email message that did NOT involve scheduling a meeting! MAPI-compliant!!!

Source: Prodigy
FREE Prodigy Internet Software
You Could Win $10,000 Cash... just for trying Prodigy Internet!
We're dying over here! If we'd thought of this two years ago, maybe we'd still be in the running. Along with the FREE software, we offer this FREE Internet Advice: never allow yourself to be owned by Sears and IBM.

Source: Yoyodyne
About Yoyodyne
As far as Yoyodyne is concerned, all net.citizens are created equal.
There's one born every minute -- and we've got a bridge in Brooklyn we think you might just be interested in.

Big Business
Source: MCI
A Letter to the Future From Bert Roberts
We are a 28-year old company with first generation management who's been through it all and seen it all and yet, unjaded and without cynicism, has the opportunity to step up to leading the industry, the country, the world into the new century.
Why has everything we tried on the Internet bombed so horribly? I knew I should have passed on that fourth martini with Rupert...

Source: Harvard University
Letter from President Neil L. Rudenstine
My own view is that networked computers, the Internet, and related technologies have already demonstrated their capacity to enhance the process of learning in ways that many previous inventions -- such as radio, television, and even the "free-standing" personal computer -- did not. The new technologies are more versatile, more interactive, and far more capable of reinforcing established modes of teaching and learning that we know to be effective. Their full potential is only beginning to be realized -- at Harvard and elsewhere -- and we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to move forward.
Make no mistake, the Old Boy Network is still the service provider of choice if you plan to go for the Big Bucks.

Handwaving Recognition
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Entropy Gradient Reversals
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                                     Entropy Gradient Reversals
                                     CopyLeft Christopher Locke


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