Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

RxOL and Cocina

April 23, 2011

I was looking on the internet for things that are similar to what I envision for Applied Cuisine, and I found something that made me very excited: A little book from 1985, Computerized Cooking, that has already worked out a lot of the things that I was about to research!! The author of the book, David A. Mundie, seems to have a similar background to mine (Logic in Computer Science), and when I compared his book with my private notes that I have obtained brainstorming about Applied Cuisine, the amount of overlap was uncanny. He has developed a program called Cocina which denotes recipes in a functional programming language called RxOL. The program doesn’t seem to be around anymore. Recently, the concept of RxOL has been revived by the website Cooking For Engineers, using a patent pending graphical successor of RxOL called Tabular Recipe Notation. It seems though that the site no longer uses this notation on a regular basis.

I am now convinced that my vision for Applied Cuisine is the right one, as I seem not to be the only one to have had it and acted upon it. Basically, you could say

Applied Cuisine = Cocina + 2011 .

Don’t forget to register for early access to Applied Cuisine!


Mad World

April 22, 2011

I was just cleaning up (no, don’t worry, not Taxi Driver style :-)) my apartment. As always on these rare occasions, I enjoyed my iTunes song rotation. When I arrived at “Mad World” by Tears for Fears, I wondered why I associated so much emotion with it. Yes, the world is sometimes mad, but that couldn’t be the source of these emotions. I checked iTunes and saw that I had it as part of the “Ashes to Ashes” TV show soundtrack. But there had to be something deeper behind this, this couldn’t it be either. Finally I checked Wikipedia and discovered why this song sounded so familiar to me: a cover version of it was part of the sound track of the movie “Donnie Darko”, a pretty deep and inspirational movie. Funny how associative memory works.

Modernist Cuisine

April 19, 2011

A very interesting book is going to be available on the market soon, it is called Modernist Cuisine and will be available soon, for example at Amazon Germany for more than €400.

I guess I will get me a copy of this as the name is eerily similar to my Applied Cuisine. The intriguing thing about Modernist Cuisine is that it applies the principles of science to cooking. The goal of Applied Cuisine is to describe recipes as accurately and simply as possible so that they can be used on a daily basis in an affordable way. So it seems that Applied Cuisine can learn a lot from Modernist Cuisine and it is something I will continue to closely watch.

Edit: I found an interesting article talking about that precise methods in cooking as championed by Modernist Cuisine are nice, but that the real problem is in finding the right ingredients. I could not agree more 🙂

Applied Cuisine

April 18, 2011

I have a new working title for my project, it is not tasticious anymore, but Applied Cuisine. I really like the new name, as it combines the charme of French Cuisine with the precision of Applied Mathematics.

I seem not to be the only one who is interested in a more precise rendering of cooking. Google just introduced recipe view, a way to search for recipes that have been published in a structured way; this way you can filter for cooking time, calorie count, ingredients, etc.

Also interesting is the book Cooking for Geeks. It seems like I could pick many good ideas from it.


April 18, 2011

I have had a few days now to think about my decision to make a poker site my main project, and to see how it feels like. Actually, it does not feel to good. My main enthusiasm for a poker site is fueled by the idea that the site lets both people and machines play against one another, and that this will be an ideal playground for developing ideas about poker artificial intelligence.

The sad truth is that except me, there are maybe only 100 other people thinking that this is exciting. So in order to make money out of the site, I cannot make the AI the focus of my work, but must concentrate on how to make people buy many virtual coins that they can spend doing online gambling. My hope would be that people like playing against AIs, as a way to train themselves to beat the toughest of opponents. I think this hope is valid, but that it will take a long time to educate people to see this point clearly. I don’t have that long time. Also, after a long time, what really would have been achieved?

What I really need is a vision that is worth the effort. That is worth, when in a few months my current funding runs out, to take on a day job and still work on my vision during the week-ends and nights. A vision that if properly implemented and brought to full bloom, improves not only my life, but also the lifes of many many millions of people on this planet.

As it happens, I actually DO have such a vision. I’ve had it for some time, but it got lost in the many other ideas that I or friends of mine had. It is a vision that has many good ideas in it, some of which can be turned into reality right now, some of which will have the right environment to blossom only in a couple of years. It is a vision that can become a company as big as Amazon, Facebook or EBay. But it will be fun and useful and just fucking great long before that.

The vision has many facets, one of its most important ones lends it its working title: Tasticious.

Lampedusa and the CSU

April 10, 2011

It makes me really angry how the CSU is handling the Italian problem with the tunisian fugitives. The move the Italians made is actually pretty smart, allowing the africans to travel through Europe so that they don’t have to bear the problem on their own. Isn’t that what the EU is all about? Helping each other out?

Well, Germans seem to know solidarity only when it comes to banks. My personal solidarity with Germany just dropped to zero.

My main (side) project

April 7, 2011

I decided what is going to be my main project for the next 6 months. Or rather, what is going to be the project that will take the majority of my time alongside other topics. It is …. potsized !

I also thought about creating musical software for the iPad (and this might still happen) because I find it fascinating how a computer these days is capable of being the most powerful musical instrument the world has ever seen. There is a whole generation of new Mozarts out there, just waiting to be equipped with the right computer “instruments”.

But a poker site (that is what potsized is going to be) has two advantages: a) I know a lot more about poker than I know about music, b) I see more clearly how I can bring Babel-17 into the development process. potsized runs on the google app engine (right now it consists only of a tiny dummy servlet); it should be possible to write most of the server-side code in Babel-17, given a suitable Babel-17 / app engine bridge. It will also need a client for Javascript, for iOS and for Android.

Finally, a nice poker client needs sound effects! It should be possible to squeeze in an education in synthesizing sound through physical models into the potsized effort 🙂

My vision for potsized is to turn it into the best poker site for No-Limit Texas Holdem on the planet. It will run with virtual currency in the beginning and the focus is on providing the best digital poker playing experience. Pokerstars and fulltilt are already very good in that respect, but with a focus on no-limit texas holdem I see room for huge improvements. potsized will also welcome anybody’s action: if you are a computer, you are welcome, too. This means that anyone can create a poker client for potsized, and  I will be actively encouraging people to do so through an attractive affiliate program.

Check out from time to time to see how potsized is coming along! Or just follow this blog, I will surely post news about major developments regarding potsized first here! or ?

March 1, 2011

I mulled for some time over which name the new online poker site for both humans and machines should have. I am now down to two alternatives, and I think I will go with, because it sounds wittier and sharper than its alternative. Also, if you google for “potsized” you will have only hits relating to poker, whereas when you search for “potsize”, you have the occasional article about moving plants from one pot to another …

Online Computer Poker

February 26, 2011

The idea had been growing in my brain for some time: COMPUTER ONLINE POKER. All the king’s men cannot put it back together again.

It is very likely that soon, my guess is within the next 10 years, the best poker players will be computers. The big poker sites do not allow poker bots, but this does not stop people from employing them anyway. But of course this is unfair to people who still think they are playing PEOPLE online.

So what is more obvious than creating an online poker site where ANYONE and ANYTHING can compete in poker? Men and machines will be treated equally. Security would be tight, meaning that you would only be allowed to “watch” the games you play in. There probably should also be open arena games where everyone may “watch” who wants to. There would be interfaces for humans to interact with the site, and there would be an API for machines to interact with the site. In this way you could obviously also build a client for humans that are supported by AI poker tools. In the beginning, the focus would be exclusively on Texas Holdem No Limit. Generally, the game speed would be high. There would be different speed levels, ranging from maximum response times between 30 seconds and down to fractions of  a second. To make the ultra fast response times feasible, the poker site should offer the possibility to host the poker bot (preferably hosted bots are coded in Babel-17 :-))

The tricky part is certainly to make it possible to actually play for real money at this site. But if Wall Street and Pokerstars are able to do it, then so should this site. In the beginning, the site would probably run with some sort of play money.

Shuffle up and deal!

Giffords for President!

January 22, 2011

Giffords lives, heck, she can even use her iPad again. Congratulations! It would not surprise me if this tragedy might be the push Giffords needs to become a serious contender for the president’s job. Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.