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1) Thanks, everyone, for your earlier recommendations. Nero is indeed by far the most user-friendly software for this purpose that I've seen. Unfortunately it hasn't solved my problem. I went out and bought some of TDK's CD-R's, but they don't seem to cut it - though the burner is able to write to CD-RW's OK, so I guess I will just have to trade up in terms of my CD-R purchases. (The TDK-made recordable DVDs don't seem to work either.)

2) In case anyone interested hasn't already seen it, the Robert Anton Wilson appeal has been a success. The man himself responds:
To steal from Jack Benny, "I do not deserve this, but I also have severe leg problems and I don't deserve them either." ...You have all reminded me that despite George W. Bush and all his cohorts, there is still a lot of beautiful kindness in the world.
3) If you're wondering why I haven't posted any book reviews yet this month, given that it's already the 7th, the reason is that in the spirit of this post I'm reading Neal Stephenson's The System of the World and it is taking me, er, a long time.

4) I did read Alan Turing's "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" and came away somewhat unconvinced. It seems to me almost axiomatic that real artificial intelligence, whatever it turns out to be, will be very different from the way humans experience intelligence and consciousness; the Turing test is basically a parlour game. But I really hate "cute robot" sf stories, and perhaps I was biased against Turing's argument because I feel he bears some responsibility for that particular genre.

5) del_c  posted a response to my various crazed rantings about how authors born between 1942 and 1951 have won twice as many Hugos and Nebulas as would have been expected. I think his argument fails even a simple visual inspection of the data he presents, but look for yourself. fjm  offers an interesting theory in a comment to my last post on the subject; I should like to be able to quantify it a bit better.

6) The Belgian municipal elections are tomorrow, and voting is compulsory for those foreigners who (like me) bothered to sign up to the electoral register. Our mayor has been in power since the 1976 reorganisation of local government and is running for a sixth term. There's very little to choose between the parties; the Mayor's list of candidates is officially independent but unofficially Liberal (the Liberals in Belgian are to the right of centre); he is in coalition with the Christian Democrats, led here by our local MEP; the Socialist Party leaflet had no identifiable policies in it at all; one of our neighbours is standing for the Greens so I will probably vote for her. (The far-right "Vlaams Belang", formerly the "Vlaams Blok", have no candidates here.)

7) Thanks to everyone who has posted good wishes on certain entries recently. You know who you are.

8) Good night.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 7th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
I think the problem could be that the the CDs you're using are 700MB ones (80 minute). Most audio CD players now support these, but some do not, and most that are over 5 years old won't. Oddly, I've found high-end hi-fi systems slower on the uptake of 80 minute CDs than cheap high street ones.

They can be quite hard to find these days, but I suspect you need the older 650MD (72 minute) disks. If you can't find them in computer stores, you could try a specialist audio/studio equipment supplier.
Oct. 8th, 2006 05:35 am (UTC)
Interesting point - though the problem at present is in fact at an earlier stage, that my burner won't record onto the CDs I have; when I have had some success there, the car will play at least some of them.
Oct. 8th, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
It seems to me almost axiomatic that real artificial intelligence, whatever it turns out to be, will be very different from the way humans experience intelligence and consciousness

What if one of the routes to AI is to simulate a working human brain? Then the experience of intelligence and consciousness should be identical...

Or maybe I've been reading too much Kurzweil.
Oct. 8th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on the Turing parlour game. It is quite conceiveable that a machine could pass the Turing test without being intelligent in any manner that we would recognise.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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