On 2/25/2012 7:48 PM, Julian Leviston wrote:
As I understand it, Frank is an experiment that is an extended version of DBJr that sits atop lesserphic, which sits atop gezira which sits atop nile, which sits atop maru all of which which utilise ometa and the "worlds" idea.

If you look at the http://vpri.org/html/writings.php page you can see a pattern of progression that has emerged to the point where Frank exists. From what I understand, maru is the finalisation of what began as pepsi and coke. Maru is a simple s-expression language, in the same way that pepsi and coke were. In fact, it looks to have the same syntax. Nothing is the layer underneath that is essentially a symbolic computer - sitting between maru and the actual machine code (sort of like an LLVM assembler if I've understood it correctly).

yes, S-Expressions can be nifty.
often, they aren't really something one advertises, or uses as a front-end syntax (much like Prototype-OO and delegation: it is a powerful model, but people also like their classes).

so, one ends up building something with a C-like syntax and Class/Instance OO, even if much of the structure internally is built using lists and Prototype-OO. if something is too strange, it may not be received well though (like people may see it and be like "just what the hell is this?"). better then if everything is "just as could be expected".

in my case, they are often printed out in debugging messages though, as a lot of my stuff internally is built using lists (I ended up recently devising a specialized network protocol for, among other things, sending compressed list-based messages over a TCP socket).

probably not wanting to go too deeply into it, but:
it directly serializes/parses the lists from a bitstream;
a vaguely JPEG-like escape-tag system is used;
messages are Huffman-coded, and make use of both a value MRU/MTF and LZ77 compression (many parts of the coding also borrow from Deflate); currently, I am (in my uses) getting ~60% additional compression vs S-Expressions+Deflate, and approximately 97% compression vs plaintext (plain Deflate got around 90% for this data).

the above was mostly used for sending scene-graph updates and similar in my 3D engine, and is maybe overkill, but whatever (although, luckily, it means I can send a lot more data while staying within a reasonable bandwidth budget, as my target was 96-128 kbps, and I am currently using around 8 kbps, vs closer to the 300-400 kbps needed for plaintext).

They've hidden Frank in plain sight. He's a patch-together of all their experiments so far... which I'm sure you could do if you took the time to understand each of them and had the inclination. They've been publishing as much as they could all along. The point, though, is you have to understand each part. It's no good if you don't understand it.

possibly, I don't understand a lot of it, but I guess part of it may be knowing what to read. there were a few nifty things to read here and there, but I wasn't really seeing the larger whole I guess.

If you know anything about Alan & VPRI's work, you'd know that their focus is on getting children this stuff in front as many children as possible, because they have so much more ability to connect to the heart of a problem than adults. (Nothing to do with age - talking about minds, not bodies here). Adults usually get in the way with their "stuff" - their "knowledge" sits like a kind of a filter, denying them the ability to see things clearly and directly connect to them unless they've had special training in relaxing that filter. We don't know how to be simple and direct any more - not to say that it's impossible. We need children to teach us meta-stuff, mostly this direct way of experiencing and looking, and this project's main aim appears to be to provide them (and us, of course, but not as importantly) with the tools to do that. Adults will come secondarily - to the degree they can't embrace new stuff ;-). This is what we need as an entire populace - to increase our general understanding - to reach breakthroughs previously not thought possible, and fast. Rather than changing the world, they're providing the seed for children to change the world themselves.

there are merits and drawbacks here.

(what follows here is merely my opinion at the moment, as stated at a time when I am somewhat in need of going to sleep... ).

granted, yes, children learning stuff is probably good, but the risk is also that children (unlike adults) are much more likely to play things much more "fast and loose" regarding the law, and might show little respect for existing copyrights and patents, and may risk creating liability issues, and maybe bringing lawsuits to their parents (like, some company decides to sue the parents because "little Johnny" just went and infringed on several of their patents, or used some of their IP in a personal project, ...).

( and, in my case, I learned mostly on my own, starting with a plain PC, mostly first learning BASIC, and then later migrating to ASM and then C... and doing so mostly due to fiddling and internal motivation, mostly doing whatever seemed interesting and/or worthwhile at the time. but, this isn't really the path of social or parental approval... ).

I think this is a large part of why society seems to value keeping children "in the dark" about various matters (keeping many topics secret, telling them fanciful stories which are obviously untrue, ...), and seems to basically occupy their time with busywork (under the guise of education), presumably so that they grow up to be just the sort of dull/boring/unquestioning adults that society wants them to be (who will do what "the boss" says without question or second thought, ...). like, they will always say yes to the boss, just as they were supposed to always say yes to their teachers (and actually care about their grade and GPA and similar...). (like, what if people would just tell kids what is actually that case, portraying things as they are, rather than trying to force-feed them a mountain of crap?... ).

granted, whether or not such a system is good or bad may be a matter of perspective. one person may conclude it is bad, and another may see it as something good, and as something to try to capitalize on (try to get on top and work the system to their advantage, ...).

but, often, things just are as they are, and it is easier to "just go along with it" (like, one goes with the flow, and stuff tends to work out well enough...).

as for the "filter" and possible biases, yes this is possibly the case. it is notable that people tend to show patterns evident of the particular times in which they have lived. sadly, one only seems to have maybe a few decades until they are seemingly frozen (unable to learn/adapt/...), and it is all downhill from there (this may be almost an inevitable fate though).

like, a person starts out easy-going and adaptable, then becomes all rigid and super serious and controlling (apparently somewhere between the late 20s and early 30s), with them being all rigid and uptight and like, this is the "real world" and "time is money" and being unwilling to think about or talk about anything not directly related to their job (except maybe stuff on TV, like they will recap episodes of "CSI" or "Law and Order", or they will rant about the economy or various politicians, ...) and similar (with an apparent peak of "uptight jerk-face ness" somewhere between around 40-45). apparently, "being an uptight jerk" == "being mature" (bonus points if they are prone to making obnoxious comments, having a short temper, chewing people out, ...). yet, for whatever reason, this seems to be the common expectation of an "ideal person".

somewhere along the line, this transitions to people going into story-telling mode, where most of what they do is tell stories about the past and wanting to relive "the good old days" and similar (AFAICT this stage is reached somewhere between 55 and 65). this seems to sometimes go along with belief in notions like "free love" and similar, and a tendency to personify inanimate objects, ... (and they start liking shows like "Jeopardy" and "Wheel Of Fortune" and similar...)

personally, some of this does cause some worry, but I am already late 20s, and as far as I can tell, have not turned into a raving uptight jerk (yet?), though this is sometimes a worry (like, how does one really know how others see them? like, a person may look good and upstanding to themselves, but everyone else sees them as someone very different...).

granted, there seems to be some room for variation (this is mostly just what I have often seen personally, not to say that everyone in these age ranges is necessarily exactly like this, so it is not my intention to offend anyone here).

This is only as I understand it from my observation. Don't take it as gospel or even correct, but maybe you could use it to investigate the parts of frank a little more and with in-depth openness :) The entire project is an experiment... and that's why they're not coming out and saying "hey guys this is the product of our work" - it's not a linear building process, but an intensively creative process, and most of that happens within oneself before any results are seen (rather like boiling a kettle).

yeah, maybe so.

often, it takes a lot of work in "the basics" to really get something "off the ground", but then one starts picking up a lot more speed, as one new thing will tend to lead into another, ...


On the bottom of that page, you'll see a link to the tinlizzie site that references "experiment" and the URL has dbjr in it... as far as I understand it, this is as much frank as we've been shown.




On 26/02/2012, at 9:41 AM, Martin Baldan wrote:

Is that the case? I'm a bit confused. I've read the fascinating reports about Frank, and I was wondering what's the closest thing one can download and run right now. Could you guys please clear it up for me?



On Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 5:23 PM, Julian Leviston <jul...@leviston.net <mailto:jul...@leviston.net>> wrote:

    Isn't the cola basically irrelevant now? aren't they using maru
    instead? (or rather isn't maru the renamed version of coke?)


    On 26/02/2012, at 2:52 AM, Martin Baldan wrote:

    > Michael,
    > Thanks for your reply. I'm looking into it.
    > Best,
    >  Martin
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    > fonc@vpri.org <mailto:fonc@vpri.org>
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