Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Recently, the term OpenID has started to gain much attention, especially among bloggers. But what is OpenID? As mentioned in the OpenID website:

OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity. OpenID eliminates the need for multiple user names across different websites, simplifying your online experience.


I just found this interesting page, whose author criticizes a research paper that has appeared in VLDB 2006 (a major Database research conference). The author of that page (not the paper) proceeds to point out some major (and minor) flaws in that paper, and also tries to find reasons why this paper did not get rejected. Here is an interesting extract from that page:

There is a common belief that the conference program committees never read more than a few pages of a conference paper when they make a decision on whether to accept or reject a paper. Since the statement contradicting the claim in the abstract is near the end of the tenth page, it would be easy to for such a referee to miss the contradiction.


Well, this happened almost 3 weeks ago. My backpack got stolen at the gym, with my wallet inside it. This is the kind of things that you hear about all the time, but never think it could happen to you.

It never seizes to amaze me how different “custom service” and “customer relations” are. Customer service employees, on many occasions, seem to have no idea what they are doing, and just want to get you – the customer – off their back. On the other hand, customer relations employees seem to have a lot more knowledge and experience, a lot more that they actually CAN do to satisfy the customer.

Researcher’s Block

Posted: August 13, 2007 in Thoughts
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Many of us have heard of (or talked about) a problem called the Writer’s Block. This basically related to writers when they find themselves unable to come up with something to write about. It gets really frustrating, especially if there are deadlines to consider. The more time that passes, the more frustrated the writer gets, the less they are able to write…and the cycle continues.

A find a similar problem relating to me as a researcher, and I call it the Researcher’s Block. This happens when we are looking for a research problem to work on, but unable to find one. I feel like I am currently in this situation. I went through a lot of literature, done a lot of brainstorming, trying to branch out of existing work, but with no use. I have been told to read a lot, and LIVE in whatever topic I’m working on, trying to think “outside the box”, until I find something. I have been doing just that, to no avail.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who faces that problem occasionally (at least I hope so), and I wonder what others do to overcome it.

I came across an article written by Roger Clarke (from the Australian National University). The article lists some common practices related to publishing research papers; practices that can be considered unethical, at least under some circumstances. Although I do not agree with all the listed items, I do think that the author is mostly right, especially when it comes to the influence of superiors or sponsors on the publishing of information. In addition, the author also touches upon issues like adding particular (well-known) author names or citing particular sources to increase the chance of the paper being accepted. I think many of the listed issues have been practiced by most researchers (myself included); whether intentionally or not. Still, it was an interesting read to see them listed and organized.

You can access the full article by clicking on the following link:
Ethical Issues in the Preparation and Submission of Research Papers in the I.S. Discipline

Google Calculator

Posted: March 1, 2007 in Cool Finds, How to...?
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This is one use of Google that many people don’t know about. The Google search bar can be used to evaluate arithmetic expressions, ranging from simple additions and subtractions to advanced expressions that contain trigonometric functions, logarithms, and exponents. Just type something like: 20-7^4+cos(pi/3) and see Google at work!