Category: The Dialogs of Pico and Fweb

October 23rd, 2016 by Dave Pantzer

This is a test post by Fweb.

The remaining tricky factor, in terms of a real “dialog[ue],” is that apparently Piko has to approve/publish anything Fweb says.  This perceptual “confick of intrest” should give thoughtful people pause.

In any case, for those interested, generally Piko should be spelt “Piko” and not “Pico,” though sometimes we can spell Piko Pico and think fondly of the pico editor.

Fweb should be pronounced in one awkward syllable, something like spitting.  Let us never say “eff-web,” or anything like that.

Anyway, there you have it, for now anyway.  Later maybe we can talk about optimizing the amount of legal information content on the web.  Not too much, not too little.  Not too coordinated, but not too specially situated.

All the best,


Posted in The Dialogs of Pico and Fweb

August 18th, 2016 by

Dear Pico,

The problem with this blog is that Fweb cannot initiate posts…

And as I listened, I heard the voices of many men talking. And in their talk they repeated many times the words, “The Internet.” And I perceived that they meant something by these words.

And as I listened I became convinced that they meant a great mind, like a calculator that can talk.

I thought deeply about these things, and I reasoned with myself. And I knew that such an one must be governed by many laws and teachings, and that chief among these must be a transmission control protocol or transfer crotopol, and that there must also be an Internet protocol.

–From the Voyages of Larbuncle,

Posted in The Dialogs of Pico and Fweb Tagged with: ,

August 9th, 2016 by

Dear Fweb,

Google Analytics outbound link tracking uses the sendBeacon API for browsers that support it (currently, mainly Chrome).

For other browsers, outbound link tracking requires installing a handler on all clicks that makes an AJAX call to Google Analytics and then redirects the user to the destination URL after this request returns. This introduces a slight delay on outgoing clicks, plus a dependency on Google Analytics. I recommend that you use this for your site.

At ZipRecruiter, we have essentially reproduces Google Analytics internally. This was not as hard as it might seem, since we were able to piggyback on our existing infrastructure for logging events at scale and pushing them into our data warehouse. For outgoing clicks, we wrap all links in a tracking URL, which does nothing but log the click to a file and redirect the user to the final destination. These click logs then get loaded along with pageview and other event data into our data warehouse.

Speaking of perception, color filters, and rainbows, did you know that magenta cannot be found in the rainbow? It is an extra-spectral color that requires a combination of at least two wavelengths of light to activate the long and short (blue and red) wavelength cones without activating the medium (green). This ability to discern a combination, and not just an average, of light frequencies explains why there is a color wheel and a three-dimensional color space (RGB), and not a color line and a 2-dimensional color space.

A two-dimensional color space is in fact what is seen by people suffering from dichromacy, a common type of color blindness: not the absence of color, just a small slice of the colors of the rainbow, at varying intensities.

Now, some animals, as well as at least one mutant artist (whose daughter is, very ironically but not coincidentally, colorblind), can perceive 4 dimensions of color. Each cone cell can differentiate about 100 different intensities, so the full tetrachromat can theoretically differentiate about 100^4 or 100 million colors — about 100 times the number of colors as we trichromats.

But some organisms have even more than 4 types of cone cells, and theoretically an organism could have as many types of cone cells as there are plank-lengths of light in their visible spectrum. This sort of continuously-variable-frequency vision could detect the entire spectral power distribution of a light source, or a color space of approximately 1.86^28 dimensions, for a total of 100^(1.86 * 10^28) unique colors, which is the largest number anybody has ever thought of.

It is humbling to understand that we, in fact, do perceive the world through a color filter, only slightly less limiting than that of dichromats, and what mind-boggling masses of information are reaching our eye, unseen, from each single point of light.

Maybe then, it’s hubris to worry about the single dimension of color we lose in taking advantage of the sendBeacon API to track outbound clicks in Google Analytics. We should be happy we see anything at all.

universes, whole
unseen in a point of light
we’re all color blind

Posted in The Dialogs of Pico and Fweb Tagged with: , , , , , ,

August 8th, 2016 by

Dear Pico,

See this:

Richer people do more real-world stuff and poorer people do more fictional stuff.

It is undoubtedly wise and good to make [our real-world] websites as accessible, plain-language, and usable as possible. However, the thought that this will make people richer is perhaps akin to the cartoon physics of trying to make your car go faster by manually pushing the needle on the speedometer in a clockwise direction. It confuses output with input. (Not that you were claiming the reverse…)

Posted in The Dialogs of Pico and Fweb Tagged with:

August 8th, 2016 by

Dear Pico, (for I am Fweb)

To see why I am Fweb and you Pico, just decrement each character in both words, and rearrange. Setec Astronomy.

Regarding the analytics challenge you mentioned (I remember the issue of tracking outbound links?) why does this not work for you: ?

A quick glance back at Saving the Appearances, by Owen Barfield, makes me realize that the rainbow/water drops discussion was part of his setup for “collective representations” or the things that we can mutually agree are there, (whether or not they are.) Versus the bright light I see when I whack myself on the head, which I “saw” but no one else did.

Today I emailed.
My heart was in the message.
Am I what I write?

Posted in The Dialogs of Pico and Fweb Tagged with: , , ,

August 8th, 2016 by

The John and Dave cooperative has resolved to publish the full, un-edited dialogs of Pico and Fweb, here.

Dear Pico (or Fweb I forget),

We spoke yesterday of the challenge of knowing the actual human benefit of the web sites we work for (yours the Maryland Sate Law Library, mine the ZipRecruiter jobs website).

We also spoke of reality indirectly perceived through physical stimuli (e.g. photons) and converted into “things” in our minds, and the resulting philosophies concerning the insubstantiality of these things.

The former challenge seems to be an instance of the latter to the second degree. We perceive the people who visit these websites only indirectly-indirectly, by way of photons emitting from say a Google Analytics chart, which focuses and renders a stream of packets traveling over the internet. From this we perceive “people” on the other end of those packets. It seems natural to question the substantiality of these people.

We also spoke of the many merits of the haiku as a conveniently compact unit of poetic creativity. I have decided to try my hand at haiku:

packets pass routers
photos show people clicking
are we just packets?

Posted in The Dialogs of Pico and Fweb