Wednesday, June 11, 2008

CS Community: Top Ten Questions You Wanted To Ask About Nuit Blanche But Were Afraid To Ask

I have increasingly interacted with some of you in person or by e-mail over the past two months. It's been great and I have enjoyed it very much. Through these conversations, I felt that there were common themes that I'd like to address here in a fake Q&A entitled: Top Ten Questions You Wanted To Ask About Nuit Blanche But Were Afraid To Ask.

10. Being Featured Here Seems to Produce Some Impact Beyond Your Field.

I heard through the grapevine, that at least one of you got a larger than normal amount of download of his paper after being featured here. wow. I have no proof but I also have had the impression that the blog may have brought about some discussions within papers. If this is the case, I am doubly impressed...Really... With people from such diverse backgrounds coming to the site, one would expect some type of acceleration in the use of compressed sensing.

9. Traffic Is Increasing

There are about 82 people reading this blog daily through an RSS feedreader and about 160 people coming daily to the site through search engines like Google or Yahoo. This is an increase of about 20 readers from the RSS feed and a average of 4000 hits every month on the site (three months in a row). I have noticed that when I link to smaller blogs that mention compressed sensing, they generally get a boost from 0 to 2 in the Pagerank system.

8. No, I Don't Spend All My Day Doing This.

In order for me to find relevant articles, I use a service called Watchthatpage. I have collected about two to three hundred pages that are being watched everyday through this service. If you put something new on your publication page, I am likely to see it but if I don't, you need to tell me "Hey Igor, there is something here....". If by the same token you could provide the name of your co-authors with a link to their personal webpages, it would be fantastic. By doing so, you will also help produce a de-facto Community. Also Nuit Blanche does not refer to my spending all night on the blog, rather that when traveling, jet lag helps in writing thoughtful posts in the middle of the night.

7. I Won't Tell.

I have seen sites that were not well protected (please check your chmod permissions) but I have no intent on linking to them or even using that information as the goal of this blog is to share information that people are willing to share.

6. A Webpage: What Is It Good For ?

I understand that putting something on the web maybe not seen important as most of you are not judged professionally on this effort. But if you do want your ideas to be read, implemented and make a difference beyond your field, then I urge you to make that paper (not a reference title) available on your site. At the very least, you should send a copy to Mark Davenport at the Rice Compressive Sensing Resources site.

5. Hosting is Possible But Not Recommended.

I'd rather not host a paper or a code (that is not mine) on my site but I understand that sometimes there is no other way to make it available.

4. Share It Because It's Fair Use.

I believe that my using figures and text of papers in these blog entries are fair use. I am pretty much convinced (and it looks like I am not the only person to think that) that one group doing compressed sensing has received less publicity and probably less acknowledgments from their work because they did not provide directly their papers on their websites. It's a shame.

3. Be Someone.

The corollary of item 4 is that people, especially students, need to have webpages as it directly impacts their ability to show off to their future employers and/or colleagues. Young researchers in France, Indonesia and Iran have webpages with their newer publications, I find it odd that in this day and age, some people in the U.S. still don't even have a web presence as it takes about fives minutes to set up one up on googlepages.

2. Sometimes I Just Don't Get It. Be Kind, Straighten Me Out.

If you feel I am not understanding or putting the wrong emphasis on issues you articulated in your paper. Please by all means mention it to me. There is a high probability that somebody has been, like me, misunderstanding what you meant. This is why I generally I ask for your permission to put our interaction on a blog entry. We all know that the rest of the crowd gets a deeper understanding from these types of teacher-student relationship. I have noticed that there is a mix of newcomers and people who have published on the subject coming to the site. Some of these newcomers, cannot for different reasons spend too much time in understanding the subject. The blog acts as a technology watch of some sorts to them and they want to get a sense that the subject is lively, i.e. that the community is still taking a stab at different questions of importance that sometimes can only be revealed by asking dumb questions.

1. If You Like It, Link To It.

If you like this blog, please take two seconds of your time and link to this blog at the following address:

with the title "Compressed Sensing Blog". Google does a very bad job at linking to this address. Instead it links to specific articles that are not wholly relevant sometimes. I would like to have the freedom of posting outside of compressed sensing every once in a while. If you use this address, only CS related issues will appear on your screen and I'll be free to talk about subjects such as technical issues in Space, Search and Rescue operations, Cognition and Cognition Deficit, Artificial Intelligence and Robots as I used to without boring you with these issues.

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