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Literary computers

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Literary computers

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:15 pm

Article in today's NYT on using computers to analyze literature, which is the coming thing. Also includes links to Google's N-grams, a site where you can enter words to see how they're trending over the years. I entered words from a recent post I made on some word or other: memory stick, thumb drive, flash drive for the last ten years. The first one barely scratched, the second climbed, and flash drive took off. Most of you should enjoy reading this.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/techn ... -lens.html
pl
Perry Lassiter
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Re: Literary computers

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:17 pm

This is an interesting article. It is a stretch to compare the things being done with words to the human genome project. Massaging masses of data can produce just about what one wants it to produce. Sometimes it may produce something valuable. I know the general public knows about as much about Dickens as it does about Jane Austen, namely, hardly anything. I suppose the fact the algorithms didn't pick out James Fenimore Cooper speaks something for them. I am not sure knowing about these things improves anyone's vision of literature. Austin definitely falls short of Dickens. Walter Scott should be along with Dickens instead of with Austin. I am not sure a statistical algorithm can prove much of anything about writers.

The simple algorithm that just counts the use of different names for the same object is very easy to do, given the database, and is of value. It has been used for a while now. Notably, an early and simple use was to graph the popularity of first names.

The comparison of the various names of solid-state memories communicating via a USB shows that people choose to name something new with reasons other than functionality. Flash drive has more pizzazz than memory stick, so it will probably rule. Nevertheless, it does not properly name the item because there is no "drive" in a flash drive. It beats the, mercifully now defunct, floppy drive. I had a Zip drive for a short time. It was a real drive but it never caught on. Flash drives overtook it. Flash drives will have to have a lot more flash than they presently have to replace hard drives. But they eventually will. What we need are content searchable memories, unlikely to mature any time soon.

I remember when microcircuits were first being designed. I was a member of the team. I voted to name the little microcircuits "bars", but "chips" won out. To me a chip is a cow patty. Not enough good ole boys on the naming team.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Literary computers

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:12 pm

Writers need more than one name for items. An editor would call you to task in your last post for using flash drive so many times that close together. They would require synonyms or rewriting around it. That's so drummed into my head I automatically substitute in conversation.
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Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2275
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Literary computers

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:37 am

Editors are my reason for not publishing. In my professional life I wrote thousands of technical pages. I had to fight editors tooth and toenail to get my data through without totally changing the meaning.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
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Posts: 1705
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Location: Texas


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