understanding others and understanding ourselves: intention, emotion and incarnation

One of the wonders of the human mind is the way we can get inside one another’s skin; understand what each other is thinking, wanting, feeling. I’m thinking about this now because I’m reading The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition by Michael Tomasello, which is about the way understanding intentions enables cultural development. However, this also connects a hypotheses of my own from many years back, that our idea of self is a sort of ‘accident’ of being social beings. Also at the heart of Christmas is empathy, feeling for and with people, and the very notion of incarnation.

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reading barcodes on the iPhone

I was wondering about scanning barcodes using the iPhone and found that pic2shop (a free app) lets third part iPhone apps and even web pages access its scanning software through a simply URL scheme interface.

Their developer documentation has an example iPhone app, but not an example web page.  However, I made a web page using their interface in about 5 minutes (see PHP source of barcode reader).

If you have an iPhone you can try it out and scan a bar code now, although you need to install pic2shop first (but it is free).

By allowing third party apps to use their software they encourage downloads of their app, which will bring them revenue through product purchases.  Through free giving they bring themselves benefit; a good open access story.

Apple’s Model-View-Controller is Seeheim

Just reading the iPhone Cocoa developer docs and its description of Model-View-Controller. However, if you look at the diagram rather than the model component directly notifying the view of changes as in classic MVC, in Cocoa the controller acts as mediator, more like the Dialogue component in the Seeheim architecture1 or the Control component in PAC.

MVC from Mac Cocoa development docs

The docs describing the Cocoa MVC design pattern in more detail in fact do a detailed comparison with the Smalltalk MVC, but do not refer to Seeheim or PAC, I guess because they are less well known now-a-days.  Only a few weeks ago when discussing architecture with my students, I described Seeheim as being more a conceptual architecture and not used in actual implementations now.  I will have to update my lectures – Seeheim lives!

  1. Shocked to find no real web documentation for Seeheim, not even on Wikipedia; looks like CS memory is short.  However, it is described in chapter 8 of the HCI book and in the chapter 8 slides[back]

First blog from iPhone

Just downloaded WordPress app and doing first iPhone blog. Can imagine doing short blogs this way, but typing longer ones will be a pain. I hope Apple will listen to their users and allow bluetooth keyboards soon, then this might become really useful rather than expensive toy.

big file?

Encountered the following when downloading a file for proof checking from the Elsevier “E-Proofing” System web site1.  Happily it turned out to be a mere 950 K not a gigabyte!

  1. I was going to add a link to the system web site itself at http://elsevier.sps.co.in/ but instead of some sort of home page you get redirected to the proofs of someone’s article in the Journal of Computational Physics![back]