Miscellaneous Notes from Rafner

(June 2007)

We have a script. We can expect certain pieces of information to be passed back and forth.

  •   There are certain key pieces of information you can’t escape, but the more familiarity there is between people, the less information is passed. (Man walks into a restaraunt, says nothing, but gets everything that he wants because there’s a script and set of expectations. Particulars are no longer required because it’s already codified.  (One example of a progression from unfamiliar to familiar)
  • A person sits down in a different place, and the waiter needs to explain that the olive oil is used for dipping bread into
  • The opposite continuum – historical. Floppy disks produced in the earliest days never said hard vs. soft sectored. Hard sectored meant that the physical geometry of the disk was predetermined. All they could do was flag a sector bad if there was bad data. Soft sectoring, the computer chooses where the sectors are. A small sector of the disk can be excluded based on flaws.
  • You can use the lack of information to date a system, or to locate it culturally. When and where was this data created?
  • Approach to epistemological analysis. Then you have a corpus of data, and you want to figure something out. Take a corpus of medical records. Is there a lack of reporting on a particular thing. Does this mean that it wasn’t tested, or all results were normal?
  • “Simply characterizing the domain is very exciting to people”. If you can come to it and identify 8 different ways that data can be missing, that’s a perfectly acceptable piece of intellectual achievement.
  • Figuring out the reason why its missing is the starting point for determining how to use it.

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