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Computer Science

Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Posted in Computer Science, Geek, Google, User Experience on September 20th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Gmail feels like it is slowing down to me. Maybe my standards are going up. Or maybe gmail’s user base has grown to the point where the servers to run it cost real money to Google, and they’ve throttled the computing resources to an “acceptable level of performance.” But it bothers me when I hit the “archive” button and I have to wait half a second for the UI to respond. Sometimes even a couple of seconds. Why does it take so long? Just to get that line off my inbox screen? The answer lies in computer science. Gmail is…

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Rhapsody Greasemonkey Script: Optimizing Text Manipulation in Javascript with Regular Expressions

Posted in Computer Science, Music, Software Engineering on April 24th, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

After many months of talking and thinking about it, I finally wrote a greasemonkey script to annotate web pages with Rhaplinks. The script scans web pages looking for the names of musicians and when it finds them, links them to so you can listen to music by the named artist. This simple idea is actually tricky to implement properly. Rhapsody has a lot of music and a lot of artists. So many that keeping the entire list in a javascript program is impractical, as is downloading the entire list from the server. So I took the most popular 50-100…

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Free Will and Turing-completeness of the Brain

Posted in Chemistry, Computer Science, Philosophy, Physics, Science, Technology, Transhumanism, Uploading on February 22nd, 2007 by leodirac – 9 Comments

In this essay, I’m going to explore the question “If the human brain is Turing complete, what does that imply about the existence of free will?” And moreover, what does that mean about the ability to upload our consciousness into computers? First, a little computer science background. Turing completeness is the idea that a computing system has the same capabilities as a universal Turing machine. This theoretical machine moves along a long tape which has various symbols on it that the machine can read and write. The machine itself is always in one internal state, but will change to different…

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