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Recent Readings

Book review: Darwinia
Reviewed: Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer reading: Spin
Reviewed: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Reviewed: Tuesday, July 18, 2006

the Omnivoire's Delimma
Reviewed: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the Golem's Eye
Reviewed: Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Technical and Social Features of Categorisation Schemes
Paul Dourish, 2000 , (Paper URL)
Monday, November 14, 2005

Paul Dourish has done interesting things in Computer Support Collaborative Work (CSCW) and other areas too. This technical report offers the thesis that humans and computers don't get along because the usual programming models are neat and the real world is irredeemably scruffy. In particular, the usual Smalltalk like message-passing model of most object-oriented languages fails to talk the different roles that objects can play based on the current situation (note that multi-methods provide some amelioration to this). Dourish talks about predicate classes -- think of #'eql methods with eql replaced by any predicate! -- and subject oriented programming as attempts to make categorization more context based (and I'd be remiss if I didn't give Pascal Costanza a big shout out for ContextL). This is just a note, so Dourish doesn't go into any details but I think that he absolutely correct in saying that computers don't help nearly as much as it seems they should and that part of the reason for this is that the tools we have don't let us express the messiness inherent in our concepts.

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