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September, 2006:

Interesting thought

I use google personalized homepage a lot, as I have different RSS feeds as well as part of my gmail box on it. With the addition of the new tabs this means I can even put more content on it.
One of the feeds that I use is “Buddhist Thought of The Day”. I must say I rather like the entry for sunday, and have decided to share it with the very small crowd that actually reads this blog.

The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to. -Chuang Tzu

P.S.: I had some issues with the ‘pre’ html tag making it run all the way off the screen, let’s hope that with just blockquote it will work nicely.

Interesting thought

I use google personalized homepage a lot, as I have different RSS feeds as well as part of my gmail box on it. With the addition of the new tabs this means I can even put more content on it.
One of the feeds that I use is “Buddhist Thought of The Day”. I must say I rather like the entry for sunday, and have decided to share it with the very small crowd that actually reads this blog.

The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to. -Chuang Tzu

P.S.: I had some issues with the ‘pre’ html tag making it run all the way off the screen, let’s hope that with just blockquote it will work nicely.

Organizing information

Looking over the huge directory of papers that I have collected, I notice that it gets harder and harder to categorize papers in a purely hierarchical system. As my supervisor said, papers often contain different orthogonal subjects at once. On the other hand, often you come accross a paper that looks interesting and you do not have time to read, so it ends up in Unsorted, which slowly grows and grows.

Therefore, I think it would be ideal if there were some system that allowed one to easily categorize information. Currently I’m not aware of any. The sort of features that I would look for are:

  • The ability to annotate files with information (be they pdf or ps, but why not html-links as well?).
  • Have some easy way of calling up the files and reorganize them without having to duplicate the work in the tool as well as in the filesystem.
  • Have the ability to have a hierarchical tag system. By that I mean the ability to organize tags in a hierarchical way (and possibly even visualize them in some sort of graphical way to see where your major set of papers reside, indicating that perhaps that needs to be categorized more, although each item that is actually coordinated by the system can be categorized with different tags. This, I think, combines the power of tagging with the power of a hierarchical system. Besides, I do believe that in the world of research it is possible to categorize tags into a hierarchical system. If anyone disagrees, of course, I would definitely be interested in their point of view.
  • Have the ability to annotate other paper-specific items, such as the author list, possibly a list of references (linked to the other papers in the system if they exist, and otherwise creating an empty entry), the abstract and personal comments.
  • Lastly, of course, the ability to search, either by author, institute, tag or keyword either in the abstract or comments.
  • A desireful, though not necessary, feature would be the ability to have this application communicate with others (not necessary online, but maybe through some patch system) to allow people to share their own categorization.

If anyone has any ideas regarding such a system, I would definitely be interested in hearing about it.

Organizing information

Looking over the huge directory of papers that I have collected, I notice that it gets harder and harder to categorize papers in a purely hierarchical system. As my supervisor said, papers often contain different orthogonal subjects at once. On the other hand, often you come accross a paper that looks interesting and you do not have time to read, so it ends up in Unsorted, which slowly grows and grows.

Therefore, I think it would be ideal if there were some system that allowed one to easily categorize information. Currently I’m not aware of any. The sort of features that I would look for are:

  • The ability to annotate files with information (be they pdf or ps, but why not html-links as well?).
  • Have some easy way of calling up the files and reorganize them without having to duplicate the work in the tool as well as in the filesystem.
  • Have the ability to have a hierarchical tag system. By that I mean the ability to organize tags in a hierarchical way (and possibly even visualize them in some sort of graphical way to see where your major set of papers reside, indicating that perhaps that needs to be categorized more, although each item that is actually coordinated by the system can be categorized with different tags. This, I think, combines the power of tagging with the power of a hierarchical system. Besides, I do believe that in the world of research it is possible to categorize tags into a hierarchical system. If anyone disagrees, of course, I would definitely be interested in their point of view.
  • Have the ability to annotate other paper-specific items, such as the author list, possibly a list of references (linked to the other papers in the system if they exist, and otherwise creating an empty entry), the abstract and personal comments.
  • Lastly, of course, the ability to search, either by author, institute, tag or keyword either in the abstract or comments.
  • A desireful, though not necessary, feature would be the ability to have this application communicate with others (not necessary online, but maybe through some patch system) to allow people to share their own categorization.

If anyone has any ideas regarding such a system, I would definitely be interested in hearing about it.

Darcs repository space saving

For some of you out there that have many repos floating with libraries in them that are either accessed infrequently, or only file-accessed, you may, like me, want to reduce the disk footprint of the repository. Darcs, in fact, keeps a complete copy of the pristine repository in the directory _darcs/current. So if you have large files in your repository (for instance data sets), you’re storing them twice.

I had tried before to remove this directory, however when I then tried to use darcs functions I would get the error:

darcs failed:  Pristine tree doesn't exist.

Reading through the different options I found the repair option, but that gave me the same complaint. Today on #darcs, Heffalump told me that I had to ensure the directory _darcs/current actually exists for it to work. So indeed, after creating an empty directory there, repair worked perfectly, and I can now happily remove redundant storage \o/.

It seems, as well, that the operation copies the current directory to current-old. Additionally in newer versions of darcs, the directory seems to be renamed to pristine. As a last note, Igloo mentioned that if one does not want a pristine or current copy, then one can touch the file _darcs/current.none (or _darcs/pristine.none). I will have to experiment with this feature.

It might be a nice idea if darcs detected the lack of the directory and created it if it was missing.

Darcs repository space saving

For some of you out there that have many repos floating with libraries in them that are either accessed infrequently, or only file-accessed, you may, like me, want to reduce the disk footprint of the repository. Darcs, in fact, keeps a complete copy of the pristine repository in the directory _darcs/current. So if you have large files in your repository (for instance data sets), you’re storing them twice.

I had tried before to remove this directory, however when I then tried to use darcs functions I would get the error:

darcs failed:  Pristine tree doesn't exist.

Reading through the different options I found the repair option, but that gave me the same complaint. Today on #darcs, Heffalump told me that I had to ensure the directory _darcs/current actually exists for it to work. So indeed, after creating an empty directory there, repair worked perfectly, and I can now happily remove redundant storage \o/.

It seems, as well, that the operation copies the current directory to current-old. Additionally in newer versions of darcs, the directory seems to be renamed to pristine. As a last note, Igloo mentioned that if one does not want a pristine or current copy, then one can touch the file _darcs/current.none (or _darcs/pristine.none). I will have to experiment with this feature.

It might be a nice idea if darcs detected the lack of the directory and created it if it was missing.