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Gary Robinson
Sedona, AZ
Software Developer, married to retired eye surgeon in Sedona, AZ 2 wonderful kids.
Interests: I've been in the software business for a long time. I'm apparently the earliest publicly verifiable originator of the concept of tracking people using cookies for advertising purposes. Google owns my relevant patent. It fully described the tracking cookie, but only claimed patent rights in the context of specific algorithms for recommending ads. The patent has expired, but even in 2021, they and Twitter are using it as prior art defend themselves in a patent lawsuit; in their brief, they refer to the concept of using cookies for tracking people as “Robinson’s 'Cookie'.” ( page 25). Here's the patent: In another area of work, a mathematical approach I devised was used in SpamAssassin, SpamBayes (PC Worlds Editor’s Choice for spam filtering), SpamSieve (MacUser's Software Of The Year). I wrote about it in General interests include great music of all kinds (classical, late bebop-period jazz, interesting songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman), programming, statistics, songwriting (I play guitar and write music & words), movies...
Recent Activity
In 1995, I apparently invented the use of browser cookies to track internet activity for the purpose of targeting advertising. I say "apparently" because the fact that I haven't seen evidence to the contrary doesn't prove anything. And yet, there... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2021 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Upon further reflection, it seems like it's for the same reason I'd go pay a museum to let me see a rock sample from Mars, but wouldn't go to so a rock sample from an iron-rich American desert which would be visually indistinguishable to me from one from Mars. There's just something about something being "the real one".
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2021 on The Wild World of NFTs at Gary Robinson's Rants
I also had the thought that maybe I missed your point completely and ranted nonsense in my last comments! It hadn't even occurred to me: Why would somebody want to view the NFT-backed identical copy of a digital image if they are NOT a collector?? I can't explain it, but I do note that I'd be far more likely to go view the real Mona Lisa than a copy that was, to my unsophisticated eye, exactly identical to the original. Maybe a lot of people wouldn't feel that way. I don't see a logical reason to want to view the original in such a case, but my feeling is that I would.
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2021 on The Wild World of NFTs at Gary Robinson's Rants
Also, the first purchaser gets to know he's supporting the artist! That would matter to some people, such as myself...
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2021 on The Wild World of NFTs at Gary Robinson's Rants
Why would a viewer care if he was looking at the Mona Lisa, vs a copy that was good enough that he couldn't tell the difference? A collector would pay a lot more for the original Mona Lisa than for a known copy, no matter how accurate. Same with NFT's, with the only difference being that it would be literally impossible to distinguish the one not backed by the NFT. For an average viewer, though, that difference is moot, because they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the Mona Lisa and a really great copy. So I think the key is that some people are collectors. They would care. People who only want to see the image wouldn't. That being said, I think it IS possible for the NFT to be digitally signed in such a way that the true buyer could be sent a private key that would unlock the full resolution image, and anybody could see the image in less resolution. I think there is stuff like that being done, where anyone can see a rough version of the artwork, but only the buyer of the NFT gets the key. If Lynne wanted to do that, I could look into it.
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2021 on The Wild World of NFTs at Gary Robinson's Rants
Hi again Sri, yes, Sad for Russell, but he was still brilliant! I think you might enjoy this anecdote I posted some time ago involving Godel and Einstein.
Hi Sri, nice to meet you. "" An artist can also create the equivalent of limited edition prints by creating a fixed number of NFTs that are identical except for ownership information." Gary, Good ideas" Just to be clear, that's not an idea of mine, that's already being very actively done on OpenSea and elsewhere. I agree with your comments about associating physical art with NFTs. I don't think that's the future of NFTs. BUT, I do think that as things stand right now, a non-digital artist who publicizes her work by creating NFTs for it may be able to make sales she wouldn't have had access to otherwise. Not sure about how effective it really would be for marketing, but I do think it's plausible that it could help.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2021 on The Wild World of NFTs at Gary Robinson's Rants
"The story goes that Bertrand Russell, in a lecture on logic, mentioned that in the sense of material implication, a false proposition implies any proposition. A student raised his hand and said "In that case, given that 1 = 0,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2021 at Gary Robinson's Rants
You may have heard about an artist named Beeple selling an "NFT" for $69 million a few weeks ago. NFT's are "non-fungible tokens," a definition that may not explain much! In this piece, I will try and provide a birds-eye... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2021 at Gary Robinson's Rants
[A note on these predictions: the following is a coldly analytical look at fatalities counts. Every single death is an enormous personal tragedy to the families, friends, and associates of the person who died, and such an analysis seems to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2020 at Gary Robinson's Rants
As of April 19, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is predicting 60,308 US COVID-19 deaths by August 4, 2020.[1] (Down from their prediction of 68,841 a few days earlier, and from a prediction 61,545 for that date made... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2020 at Gary Robinson's Rants
As of April 17, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is predicting 60,308 US COVID-19 deaths by August 4, 2020.[1] (Down from their prediction of 68,841 yesterday, and from a prediction 61,545 for that date made on April 12.)... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2020 at Gary Robinson's Rants
As of April 13, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is still predicting 61,545 COVID-19 deaths by August 4, 2020.[1] Here is the recent growth in fatality rates. You’ll notice that the rate was lower yesterday than on any... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2020 at Gary Robinson's Rants
[I will be updating this daily for the foreseeable future.] A very simple, two-week-ahead COVID-19 fatalities predictor. The main purpose of this predictor is to give a better sense of the implications of exponential growth to viewers who may not... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2020 at Gary Robinson's Rants
If you've been exploring ReasonML, you might have run into a problem where the Pipe First operator doesn't seem to work in rtop. You get the error message: Error: Unbound value |. Well, it turns out that that's just the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2020 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Nope, didn't know that about the numpy function. Thanks for commenting, it's amazing to see this post still reaching anyone after 10+ years!
From the Unix & Linux StackExchange: Q: We've noticed that some of our automatic tests fail when they run at 00:30 but work fine the rest of the day. They fail with the message "gimme gimme gimme" in stderr, which... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Derek Sivers asks: How do you know when you've found the right solution? Is the ugly solution ever the best solution? ... Which got me wondering how other programmers handle this situation: when you've written something that WORKS, but goes... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2016 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I can't let this go unremarked. This may be one of the greatest milestones in the history not only of technology, but of humanity, and it is not being noticed at all by the vast majority of people. A machine... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2016 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I assume everyone reading this has heard by now of the LIGO experiment detecting gravitational waves for the first time. The discovery is encapsulated in this very short YouTube. It is a little confusing without explanation. I saw the video... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2016 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Inspired by “Git in 5 Minutes”, I decided to take things a step further, and create guide for git that takes even less time to get through. Of course, this is very minimalistic git! But it’s enough be useful for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at Gary Robinson's Rants
An observation found on a t-shirt my son owns, and which I also noticed today on Hacker News: There are 10 people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don't. The first reply on Hacker News: There... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2013 at Gary Robinson's Rants
Durandal provides the Durandal Test Framework for unit testing. This test framework uses [PhantomJS]( and [Jasmine]( As shipped with Durandal, it's focused on testing Durandal's own internal components. But it can easily be adapted for your own unit testing needs.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I love Python and have posted a number of Python tips on this blog. And I've been involved in the creation of sizable web sites using Django. But I've come to feel that for many types of web sites, doing... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at Gary Robinson's Rants
I've always been pretty mystified about the use of the word "disc" ending in "c" for CD's and the like. Why?? The world seemed to have gotten along pretty well with "disk" ending in "k" for a few centuries. Still... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2012 at Gary Robinson's Rants