It’s kind of a thing

August 11, 2002

Go for it

I have occasionally displayed an interest in Go, the king of deceptively-simple abstract grid-based board games. The problem, of course, is that none of my family or friends plays, and Go software is difficult to find—because it’s really difficult to make.

A recent article I’ve been meaning to reference here suggests that writing Go programs may teach us how to make smarter software. The difficulty of programming Go comes from the vast number of possible moves and the difficulty in assessing whether a given position is superior or inferior to another. Human players develop an intuition, but one could describe intuition as a sophisticated pattern-matching process that operates below the level of conscious thought. Pattern matching is one of those areas where humans are very strong and computers are very weak, so further research into Go may teach us ways to develop computer intuition.

Of course, even the free, handicapped software I’ve played against has been able to stomp me, so no complaints from me. #


Well, the first draft of XHTML 2.0 is out, and the comments and speculation have begun. Of these, I’ll point to Kevin Mark’s notes and this article at XML.com because I’ve read them.

My one thoughts: One of the points of XHTML 2.0 was to abandon backward compatability in favor of improving the language; thus lots of deprecated presentational elements are gone, as are elements like img, embed, and applet whose functionality are subsets of object. These are all positive steps, but I wonder why the working group didn’t go farther. For example, they’ve created new nestable section elements with associated h (heading) elements (thus answering one of my old complaints about HTML), but they didn’t get rid of the old h1h6 headings. Why not? Since they’ve already decided not to be backward-compatible, why bring forward old, less-capable ways of structuring documents? It’s not as though the older versions of HTML are going away, so there’s no need to make things easy for people to convert documents to the new format—they can still use the old ones.

That being said, here are some other thoughts:

Things are likely to change before the specification is finalized and recommended. (What things specifically will change is more difficult to predict.) None of my suggestions are likely to be considered, as the working group does not read ZedneWeb, but hopefully I am not alone in thinking these thoughts—particularly those I stole from others. #