Mmmm… Data…

Posted by me on Monday, the 12th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 11:42 AM, local time.

or, Data is cool, and so can you?

Everybody likes data, right?

Everybody collects databases of the stuff for later analysis; everybody saves all their receipts, just in case, one day, they can get all the data into a computer so that complex statistical analysis can be performed; everybody sets up complex sensor networks around their beer making equipment so that an accurate model of the fermentation process can best be formed.

Everybody reads through wikipedia for at least a couple hours a day to gather data on the world.

Everybody constantly sets of web cam filters to gauge the amount of light sensed at the time, and saves that data off, with the proportion of the various colors in the frame, so that later one can determine what the ambient background light composition and intensity of a room is, so that real-time changes in that light, given background expectations, can be used to indicate event occurrence (maybe intruder alerts?).

Everybody wants all their circuits in their house to have nice ammeters hooked up to them so you can tell how much power each circuit is using, and tell if any surges or drops occur unexpectedly that might indicate faulty equipment.

Everybody makes a note of when they started and stopped reading a given book (such as, started reading at page 5 at 4:15pm, stopped reading at page 10 at 4:30pm) so that later your average rate of reading can be computed, and when coupled with how well you liked the book later on some sort of rating scale, and how often in a yearly period you read the book, you can start to figure out how much your interest in the material, comprehension, and familiarity increases your reading rate.

Everybody catalogs their book collection online at LibraryThing, with a complex set of meta-tags with internally encoded extra information because they just don’t collect enough accurate information about the books currently for your liking.

Everybody catalogs their music collection, and when dissatisfied with the amount of information collected and how loosely its formatted, designs a new database structure to accurately capture all the complex relationships that can be used to reference a given piece of music in any number of ways, and then takes the time to type all the new information in.

Everybody reads encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun.

Everybody likes doing complex statistical analysis on random sets of data, just for practice.

Everybody likes March Madness time… so they can try out their new March Madness predictor algorithms that take into account all past season data and uses genetic algorithms to determine the best prediction metric.

Everybody surfs through the Mandelbrot set for fun, just looking for that amazing piece of complex space that is the most beautiful.

Everybody wants to keep track of historical RAM pricing via an automated process, to enable estimation of future pricing.

Everybody wants to tag all their non-searchable data so that later when the non-searchable data becomes searchable (like images), their will be a better semantic meaning ready and waiting to be applied.

Everybody keeps all their old mail in file cabinets… just in case.

Everybody wants to scan in all their old notebooks, to allow easier searching of one’s pasts thoughts and so you don’t forget what you thought about one Thursday 12 years ago.

Everybody wants to make a Euchre playing program that keeps track of the random legal moves that were made in a given situation, and what the eventual outcome was, so that this can later be applied to real games.

Everybody wants to record all of television and save it off for later analysis.

Everybody records all of the classical radio station, along with song data, so that later all the good ones can be saved off and compressed into the library… seriously, even when they already might have a copy of that song, its unlikely that it was the same performer.

Everybody buys multiple translations of old literature so that the differing translations can be compared and word choices analyzed to gain a deeper understanding of the intent of the original.

Everybody wants to get a stopwatch so that various routes to different places can all be timed, so that the data can be added to a database (with the place trying to be reached, starting point, time of day, day of week, etc.) and the best routes from anywhere in town to anywhere else in town can be determined, potentially saving entire seconds of my day!

Everybody loves data…


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