Friday, July 24, 2009

Ride: Greenhill loop

Rode parts with Cyndi, but forked off to climb Willow Creek by myself, as well as the last leg home.

Willow Creek in 10:00 (very good if not my best time)
McLean in 3:41 (PR?)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The namespace problem

After extended, silly perseveration (look it up) over a blog name, I finally chose "melange" to indicate that this one is a miscellany with no single topic or theme. Setting the title is no problem, but then one needs a URL ... and as one would expect, the namespace of * is cluttered with abandoned blogs, among them and insalata-mista and insalatamista (mixed salad) are taken also, but at least one of them seems to be an actual living blog (with recipes, in Italian).

Clutter is an inherent problem in popular namespaces. Any popular email service soon forces users to choose handles like JaneDoe232. Since Facebook recently started allocating non-arbitrary names, it will soon face the same problem. Hierarchy helps some, but only some ... the internet domain name system didn't avoid huge conflicts in the .com and .org portions of the space. Likewise, making the namespace large (by making names potentially long) helps only a little, because the set of names people find mnemonic and meaningful is a tiny portion of the syntactic namespace.

Is there any fundamental solution to namespace clutter? As far as I can tell, one can have a system of meaningful names, or a system of unique names, but never both. The inevitable compromise is to pair meaningful names with arbitrary (and inherently non-mnemonic) names.