Sunday, September 25, 2011

Booktime, Metadata, Data Smelling like Garbage and something absolutely FREE!

BOOKTIME. I am on a crusade to get my son to read more. I have come to the conclusion that such an undertaking entails me actually being around him more. So I hope to cut down on the late nights and actually be with him. I have a friend who 20 years ago ‘adopted’ an orphan. When he used to be back from overseas (he was studying), he would visit his ‘adopted’ brother in the orphanage. He also used to give him money and books. But above all else, he gave the boy (he was about 9 years old maybe) what is the most singular and irreplaceable personal resource he has – Time. My friend was not married, not particularly well-off, nor very old (he must have been 21 then). So I had an immense respect for him. I still do.

METADATA. There is an interesting essay about metadata entitled “Metacrap: Putting the Torch to Seven Straw-Men of the Meta-Utopia.” in Cory Doctorow's book I am reading now (Cory is in the vanguard of free eBooks. If you want to read the absolutely free eBook version of his book 'Content - Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future, just CLICK HERE).  

Metadata is basically ‘data about data’, about how people collect, classify and sub-classify information. Essentially he puts the proposition (which I agree with) that there is no such thing as a Meta-Utopia, this seamless, perfect and efficient world where information is collected, organized and classified in a perfect form and perfectly accessible and true. He says this because the painful truth is that people lie, people are lazy and people are stupid. We lie because we have an agenda, we want to sell Coca Cola and not Pepsi. We are lazy because we don’t event title our work files properly (I am saving this file under “http3” simply because MS Word is suggesting it from the first paragraph of this document). We are stupid because we make spelling mistakes. All this goes to turn the Meta-Utopia fantasy into the Meta-Crap reality.

DATA SMELLING LIKE GARBAGE. Please don’t leave yet. I have a reason for writing about Metadata/crap. Outside the realm of commercial metadata on the internet and search engine algorithms, the idea of data about data is interesting in the context of our interaction with information. Any information. What I am noticing is that our interpretation of data depends upon pre-existing set of data which influences our interpretation. And that is our upbringing, our friends, our parents, our studies in college, the books that we read, our religion or atheism, the movies that we watch, the websites that we frequent, and even the food that we eat. All this goes to affect us even in a Meta-Utopia, so that even if such a camelot realm do exist, data is computed based wholly upon our personal preferences. It is not the same rule as “Garbage in – Garbage out”. It is more like “Data into the Garbage Can – Data comes out smelling like Garbage.”

THE WINE OF DIVINE ATTRIBUTES. So unless you are like Oscar who actually loves to live in a garbage can, you would prefer to live in a beautiful place. And that beautiful place is your heart and your conscience. Perceive the world with love, whether it is a Meta-Utopia or Meta-Crap, and the world will become beautiful regardless. You become a catalyst of Divine Providence. Because you take whatever crap the world will throw at you, then you distill it into a Wine of Divine Attributes. The Wine of D.V. will taste of Love, Mercy, Compassion, Beauty, Kindness, Tolerance, Courage, Chivalry, Charity and Empathy. Your friends and family will then drink of your wine, and be happy. You yourself will be happy. Isn’t that what we all want?

Wa min Allah at-taufiq.

No comments: