Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Transactions (LINQ to SQL)

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Transactions (LINQ to SQL)
Transactions (LINQ to SQL)

LINQ to SQL supports three distinct transaction models. The following lists these models in the order of checks performed.
Explicit Local Transaction

When SubmitChanges is called, if the Transaction property is set to a (IDbTransaction) transaction, the SubmitChanges call is executed in the context of the same transaction.

It is your responsibility to commit or rollback the transaction after successful execution of the transaction. The connection corresponding to the transaction must match the connection used for constructing the DataContext. An exception is thrown if a different connection is used.
Explicit Distributable Transaction

You can call LINQ to SQL APIs (including but not limited to SubmitChanges) in the scope of an active Transaction. LINQ to SQL detects that the call is in the scope of a transaction and does not create a new transaction. LINQ to SQL also avoids closing the connection in this case. You can perform query and SubmitChanges executions in the context of such a transaction.
Implicit Transaction

When you call SubmitChanges, LINQ to SQL checks to see whether the call is in the scope of a Transaction or if the Transaction property (IDbTransaction) is set to a user-started local transaction. If it finds neither transaction, LINQ to SQL starts a local transaction (IDbTransaction) and uses it to execute the generated SQL commands. When all SQL commands have been successfully completed, LINQ to SQL commits the local transaction and returns.
See Also
How to: Bracket Data Submissions by Using Transactions (LINQ to SQL)
Other Resources
Background Information (LINQ to SQL)
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Row not found or changed - LinqDataSource

Row not found or changed - LinqDataSource: "The 'row not found or changed' exception happens when either the primary key isn't set, or when the old values for any columns marked for UpdateCheck do not match what is in the database. The best way to track down which column is causing the exception is by inspecting the OriginalObject in the Updating event args.

The Update parameter's ConvertEmptyStringToNull will affect both the old and new values. You should see the difference when inspecting the OriginalObject and NewObject in the Updating event args.

If the column is marked for UpdateCheck and LinqDataSource has StoreOriginalValuesInViewState enabled (the default), then the original value is the value stored by LinqDataSource during the previous Select. Otherwise, the original value will come from the databound control, if available, using 2-way databinding. The values stored by LinqDataSource will likely match the values from the database, whereas those coming from the databound control may have been converted to empty strings.

Compare the OriginalObject values from the Updating event with those in the database to confirm which column is causing the exception. If you need more help, feel free to send me a repro or discuss further over email: chenriks at microsoft dot com

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prison reform

prison reform: "prison reform

Given widespread frustration with social programs, with the size and efficacy of government, and with the shocking crimes that so often turn up on the television news, criticisms of the current social and prison reforms is understandable. At the same time, research over the last fifteen years has shown that some programs, designed and administered carefully, can reduce recidivism rates. Unfortunately, the programs that are available to most prisoners, the education, job-training, drug treatment, and work programs mandated in the federal and in most state prison systems, are often carried out in ways that undermine their purpose. The result is criticism, not only of prisoners and their chances for reform, but about the capacity as a society to do more than put prisoners away and hope they stay gone. This paper, by carefully analyzing and explaining the reasons for failure of most prison reforms, argues that a new approach, such is social rehabilitation, is needed in order to transform the current poor state of the US prisons, stressing the inadequacy of the modern correctional system’s restructuring approaches.

As long as there have been prisons, there have been efforts to rehabilitate. America's first prison, the Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia, was established by Quakers in the hope that isolation, religious counseling, the Bible, and simple useful work would lead offenders to reform. The famous Auburn “silent system” attempted to give prisoners discipline and structure while keeping them from sharing their bad thoughts with other inmates (Derthick 45). The Progressive Era belief in individualized treatment led to the practice of indeterminate sentencing and parole review, in which different plans would supposedly be established for each prisoner, who would then be monitored and confined until evaluations established his fitness for release. And fascination with the possibilities of psychology led to experiments with behavioral modification, counseling, and other forms of psychiatric treatment in the 1960s penitentiary (Derthick 47).

Yet each of these regimes has also been corrupted by a number of abuses. The solitary confinement of the Walnut Street Jail may have induced insanity in its inmates (American Friends Service Committee 18). The Auburn system was unable to maintain silence without whippings and other physical punishments (McKelvey 28). At the Norfolk Prison Colony, a model Progressive Era prison in Massachusetts, ditch digging, necessary for the construction of the prison, was redefined as rehabilitative so that prisoners could be assigned to it. The warden justified this somewhat novel theory of treatment by suggesting that “it will help to teach [the prisoners] to meet emergencies that are bound to arise in their life outside” (Rothman 406). Indeterminate sentencing, originally designed to enable the release of prisoners in individually sensitive ways, became an excuse for longer and longer sentences and the slow torture of an uncertain release date. Psychiatric counseling and behavioral modification programs licensed new forms of prison discipline and control (Derthick 47).

Why do reform regimes, whether they are as extensive as Auburn's silent system or as targeted as a behavioral modification program, fail in such similar ways? One common answer is that prisons are meant, not to reform delinquents, but to create them. Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish (1979) points out that recommendations for prison reform resemble each other throughout the ages and always entail more supervision, more control, more inculcation of moral habits to correct the failures of past supervision, control, and moral inculcation (264–72). But this perpetual failure does have a use. Prison creates delinquents: it brings prisoners together and encourages the creation of a criminal subculture, fails to give them real opportunities that could serve as an alternative to crime, serves as a reason to supervise their actions closely both before and after release, and essentially labels them as unfit to participate on an equal footing with others in society (Foucault 281–82).

This delinquency, “maintained by the pressure of controls on the fringes of society, reduced to precarious conditions of existence, lacking links with the population that would be able to sustain it,” is at once recognizable and scorned, impotent to pose a real threat to the state (Foucault 278). Delinquents prey on their fellow poor, dividing the working-class among itself and making unified rebellion against the state impossible. They provide an outlet for the delinquency of dominant groups—prostitutes for upper-class johns, alcohol and drugs for upper-class addicts, spies and informants upon organized-crime networks—and in doing so prevent this delinquency from threatening the dominant power structure (Foucault 279–80). Through the prison and its sister institutions of control, the state thus manages to use its opposition, to regulate it, and to prevent it from posing any real danger.

More recent critics have extended this theory by arguing that the latest movements in penology—classification of prisoners, the cost-benefit analysis of incarceration—create a type of risk management consistent with the claim that the state's primary interest is in managing rather than reducing crime (Feeley and Simon 19). Certainly as description, accounts like these warn against the arrogant optimism of reformers who seek to end crime, as well as the fashionable cynicism of realists who, taking laws as invariably just, scoff at blaming anything or anyone but law-breakers for breaking them. But as an empirical story, Foucault's critique lacks actors (Feeley and Simon 20). Neither the administrators who enforce the disciplinary function of the prison, nor the prisoners who suffer it, appear as anything but illustrations. As such, it is impossible to ask questions that compare how different groups of prisoners or staff experience, reduce, or resist the pains of imprisonment. The one account of resistance is a passage on workers' newspapers, which tried to recast criminality as a challenge to an unjust social order (Foucault 287). Yet Foucault gives no story of how this resistance arises or how it is overcome.

David Rothman's study of a Progressive prison in Conscience and Convenience (1980) and Rose Giallombardo's study of a 1960s women's prison in Society of Women (1966) tell this micro-story. Work programs in these prisons were designed around the labor needs of the prison, rather than around marketable skills. Education and counseling programs suffered from a severe lack of resources. Less familiar observers might be led to blame incompetent staff or simple shortages for these problems. But by developing an understanding of the prison environment, Rothman and Giallombardo were able to explain that in these prisons, rehabilitation was imperfectly understood and equated with permissiveness. Staff considered rehabilitation an extra, incidental and clearly secondary to the more pressing needs of custody (34). Thus, everything from getting accurate counts to keeping prisoners orderly, from preventing escapes to clamping down on contraband, from maintaining the daily routine to instilling a healthy fear of guards, necessarily preceded any thoughts of treatment.

In such cases rehabilitation enjoyed support from the wardens of the prison, as well as much of the administrative staff. But this support did not translate into a coherent understanding of how the demands of programming could be reconciled with the custodial functions of the prison. Thus, supervisors in each prison repeatedly emphasized rehabilitation in discussions with staff, but did not see the conflict that programs created with custody, and could not give their staff direction on how to handle it. Staff responded by fighting among themselves about the relative priority and importance of their jobs, or simply by insisting that the demands of everyday life in the prison required the modification of programs. In Rothman's Massachusetts prison, for instance, the counselors complained that guards revoked rewards that counselors had given inmates who showed improvement; guards responded by complaining that the inmates needed more discipline. Prisoners, quick to catch on to the situation, played off one set of staff against the other (Rothman 401).

If one accepts this interpretation of the failure of prison reform, two possible consequences follow. One is to work within the ways prisons are structured, to reach an accommodation between the goals of maintenance, security, order, and treatment. Giallombardo alludes to this possibility when she writes that “the possibility of arriving at a solution to [the conffict between maintenance and treatment needs] by a reorganization of units at the maintenance and custodial levels was not considered” (72). Yet she casts doubt upon the effectiveness of this solution, calling it a “structural weakness of prisons” and concluding that “in the nature of the case, it could not be otherwise” (Giallombardo 73). Most commentators take this to its logical conclusion. If the attempt to join assistance to an essentially coercive institution eventually nullifies that assistance or turns it into another instrument of coercion, better not to try at all.

The justice model of imprisonment is often suggested as a way to make prisons more, not less, attentive to the needs of prisoners. As one of its proponents argues, “it was as well to recognize that all prison systems were in fact, and of necessity, human warehouses and that the point was to prevent them from becoming inhuman warehouses, whatever their lofty ideals” (King and McDermott 9). Proponents of this model often advocated for shorter sentences (as opposed to the longer ones felt necessary for treatment to take hold); for an extensive array of educational, vocational, and counseling programs that prisoners would be free to choose or reject; and for performance indicators that would hold prison officials accountable for maintaining humane standards of prison life and treatment (King and McDermott 56).

But this model was also supported by another group of proponents for whom the consistent failure of prison reform suggested something else: the hopelessness of reforming most prisoners, who would continue to commit crimes if not deterred by their cost. Scholars like Gary Becker, James Q. Wilson, and Ernest Van den Haag were influential in promoting the idea that criminals knowingly committed crime because it paid, and would only be deterred by stricter and swifter punishments (King and McDermott 59). Two research agendas in criminology also, indirectly, added support to this position.

An influential body of work on criminal behavior argues that differences in criminality are primarily related to childhood antisocial behavior, and thus are stable across individuals. In other words, some people are predisposed by childhood experiences to commit crimes and others are not, even though they may suffer the same disadvantages or enjoy the same advantages later in life (McKelvey 89). If this is the case, attempts to change prisoners are useless: the best hope is to keep prisoners in prison long enough so that they “age out” of their propensity to crime. Similarly, recent work on the benefits and costs of incarceration argues that imprisonment actually saves money when the cost of all the crimes criminals commit is considered. Based on data that show that prisoners commit many more crimes than they are arrested for, these studies argue that the social benefit of crime prevention is great enough to justify the continual expansion of both prison facilities and prison sentences (McKelvey 90-93).

Arguments that reformers should only concentrate on improving prison conditions, or that the most socially useful thing prisons can do is deter future crime, are harder to justify if there is evidence that prison programs can proactively assist prisoners to become productive citizens. But if programs are not effective, as research throughout the 1970s and 1980s suggested, there is no reason to try rehabilitation. A 1974 article by sociologist Robert Martinson, summarizing a review of 231 studies of correctional treatment programs, said it all: “With few and isolated exceptions, the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism” (Martinson 25). A later report by the National Academy of Sciences concurred, finding that if anything, the study Martinson summarized was too optimistic (Sechrest, White, and Brown 23). A simple way of talking about the failure of rehabilitation became popular: “nothing works.”

Research and politics have thus joined to suggest that the recurrent failure of attempts to reform prisons for rehabilitative purposes means that it is time to stop trying. But there is also a countervailing critique, which argues that the research on program effectiveness is not so bleak, the capacity of offenders to reform not so limited, and the failure of rehabilitation not quite so clear. This critique starts with recent evaluations that have reassessed program success. It draws strength from criminological work suggesting that criminal behavior does change with changes in life circumstances. And it returns to the history of prison programs to provide a different interpretation: one that focuses on how staff and prisoners interact around programs.

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Did The Postwar System Fail? - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

Did The Postwar System Fail? - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com: "Did The Postwar System Fail?

I’ve been posting about the contrast between the popular perception on the right that America had slow growth until Reagan came along, and the reality that we did fine pre-Reagan, in fact better; see here, here, and here. And what I’m getting as a common response — including from liberals — is something along the lines of, “That’s all very well, but by 1980 the postwar system was clearly failing, so what would you have done instead of Reaganomics?”

Which all goes to show just how thoroughly almost everyone has been indoctrinated by the current orthodoxy.

How do we know that the postwar system was failing? Yes, there were some bad years — largely due to oil shocks — and there was stagflation. But stagflation was not, as far as I know — and as far as standard textbook economics says — the result of high taxes and/or excessive regulation; it was a problem of monetary policy. It’s a testimony to the strength of supply-side propaganda that so many people think they know differently.

And how bad were those bad years, anyway? Well, let’s look at real median family income over two 8-year stretches, 1973 to 1981 and 2000 to 2008, in each case with income in the first year set to 100:

Funny, isn’t it? The Ford-Carter years look no worse — in fact, somewhat better — than the Bush years, especially if you look from business cycle peak to business cycle peak. And that was in the face of two very severe oil shocks. So a question for all the people who say that the economic troubles under Jimmy Carter discredited postwar economic policies: why don’t the troubles under Bush similarly discredit post-Reagan policies? Funny how that works.

Here’s what I think: inflation did have to be brought down — and Paul Volcker, not Reagan, did what was necessary. But the rest — slashing taxes on the rich, breaking the unions, letting inflation erode the minimum wage — wasn’t necessary at all. We could have gone on with a more progressive tax system, a stronger labor movement, and so on.

In the modern vision, the old US economy is seen as an absurd, unworkable thing. Where were the incentives to grow super-rich? How did you manage with all those well-paid, organized workers? But I’m old enough to remember that system, and it was no more unworkable than what we have now. Radical change happened because a powerful political movement wanted it, not out of economic necessity.

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Irrational drug design, malaria, and Alzheimer’s disease

Irrational drug design, malaria, and Alzheimer’s disease: "Irrational drug design, malaria,
and Alzheimer’s disease

by Eric Drexler on 24 May 2010

Irrational drug design (aka high-throughput screening) parallels other areas of data-driven science: it abandons the methodology of traditional hypothesis-driven science — which demands a focus on specific predictions — and pursues instead the weak and humble hypothesis that looking in a general area will find something. As I discussed here, genomics and synoptic sky surveys are classic examples.

High-throughput screening for drug discovery differs from these examples in that the areas studied are real only in an abstract sense, consisting of regions of molecular-structure-space that nature hasn’t filled. And indeed, making and testing millions of drug-like molecules often turns up interesting results, in both a practical and a scientific sense.

A few of the 1000s of new anti-malarial drug candidates.

Two papers in Nature (here and here) turned this method on malaria, finding thousands of candidate drugs, defined as molecules that inhibit the growth of malaria parasites by 80% or more at concentrations in the micromolar range. The hit rates were, respectively, ~1,100/310,000 and ~13,500/2,000,000.

Many of these candidates are unlike any now in use (different structures, different mechanisms of action) and crucially, these often evade mechanisms of resistance to existing drugs — a problem that threatens to restore malaria to its previous level of deadliness across much of Africa and South Asia.
Promise beyond malaria

In our household, small risks of malaria arise only when traveling to these regions. A footnote to the search for new malaria drugs, however, indicates the potential for finding treatments for scourges of the older populations of temperate zones: the disorders of protein hyperphosphorylation that underlie the leading dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.

These result from imbalances in the activity of enzymes that add and remove phosphate groups to alter the activity of proteins. Kinases do the addition side of this, and they are diverse and specific. Many of the candidate drugs discovered in the studies reported in Nature are thought to work by inhibiting specific kinases in malaria organisms. Molecules with similar discrimination in modulating the activity of specific kinases in human cells could provide leverage in a treating a range of human diseases, including those that can steal the mind.

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Should Australia punish Israel even if we agree with their actions?

Should Australia punish Israel even if we agree with their actions?: "Generous people cross the street before the beggar
October 22, 2009 · 11 Comments

Robert Wiblin points to a study showing that the most generous people are the most keen to avoid situations where they will be generous, even though the people they would have helped will go without.

We conduct an experiment to demonstrate the importance of sorting in the context of social preferences. When individuals are constrained to play a dictator game, 74% of the subjects share. But when subjects are allowed to avoid the situation altogether, less than one third share. This reversal of proportions illustrates that the influence of sorting limits the generalizability of experimental findings that do not allow sorting. Moreover, institutions designed to entice pro-social behavior may induce adverse selection. We find that increased payoffs prevent foremost those subjects from opting out who share the least initially. Thus the impact of social preferences remains much lower than in a mandatory dictator game, even if sharing is subsidized by higher payoffs…

A big example of generosity inducing institutions causing adverse selection is market transactions with poor people.

For some reason we hold those who trade with another party responsible for that party’s welfare. We blame a company for not providing its workers with more, but don’t blame other companies for lack of charity to the same workers. This means that you can avoid responsibility to be generous by not trading with poor people.

Many consumers feel that if they are going to trade with poor people they should buy fair trade or thoroughly research the supplier’s niceness. However they don’t have the money or time for those, so instead just avoid buying from poor people. Only the less ethical remain to contribute to the purses of the poor.

Probably the kindest girl in my high school said to me once that she didn’t want a job where she would get rich because there are so many poor people in the world. I said that she should be rich and give the money to the poor people then. Nobody was wowed by this idea. I suspect something similar happens often with people making business and employment decisions. Those who have qualms about a line of business such as trade with poor people tend not to go into that, but opt for something guilt free already, while the less concerned do the jobs where compassion might help.

Categories: 1
Tagged: altruism, poverty, Selection effect
11 responses so far ↓


Robin Hanson // October 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Reply

There is the simpler explanation that we gain or lose status via the status of the people with which we affiliate. So when we trade with lower status people, we lose status, compared with trading with higher status people. I expect this effect to be much stronger than trying to avoid charity responsibility.

Robert Wiblin // October 22, 2009 at 7:22 pm | Reply

One such case:

Australians condemn people smugglers who put asylum seekers into leaky boats to get to Australia. Of course this is the best option for the asylum seekers, so all you can say it the people smugglers aren’t doing a good enough job of helping them for free. Yet, we in Australia are equally able to help asylum seekers get to Australia safely by donating them boats or money, but nobody does. It’s just because the people smugglers are trading with them that they end up with some extra responsibility to help them, as you describe.

Duff // October 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Reply

I’m enjoying your very thoughtful writing. Please continue!!

If I may add something, there is an argument for becoming rich that is *also* driven by guilt about the poor. Many who are driven to become rich say that part of their motivation is to give to the poor, but this often belies a hidden guilt about one’s initial privilege due to accident of birth in a developed nation.

This is part of the critique of “social entrepreneurship,” especially the notion that one can help the world and make a killing doing so. The profit that is made in such an endeavor is created in the context of global inequality, and often further entrenches systems of injustice, even as the social entrepreneur and philanthropist can feel great about being so generous with his accumulated wealth.

Robert Wiblin // October 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Reply

Duff: even if the current system is a bad one compared to alternatives, one should only reject it outright and refuse to do good within it if doing so will actually help bring about one of the more desirable alternatives. That seems very unlikely.

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Should Australia punish Israel even if we agree with their actions?

Should Australia punish Israel even if we agree with their actions?: "Don’t help refugees, you bastards

October 23, 2009 in Everything | Tags: consistency, immigration, utilitarianism

Actually, please do.

More posts on immigration.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says:

“People smugglers are engaged in the world’s most evil trade and they should all rot in jail because they represent the absolute scum of the earth,” he said. “People smugglers are the vilest form of human life. They trade on the tragedy of others…”

People smugglers help refugees try to get to Australia so that we will consider giving them asylum from whatever poverty or political persecution they are fleeing. While doing so they often offer refugees places in dilapidated and crowded boats: these boats aren’t coming back and the refugees presumably can’t afford good ones for the single brief trip. It is true that people smugglers rely on the presence of human misery for their business, but no more so than doctors or any other group whose work involves helping people with serious problems.

How can Rudd get away with and indeed benefit from, this hyperbole? I think his reaction is accepted by the public because of this peculiar intuition raised by Katja Grace: someone who avoids having anything to do with a suffering group is unlikely to be condemned for ignoring them but someone who interacts with them, even a little bit, is usually condemned if they don’t do a great job at their own expense. Due to their interaction with asylum seekers people smugglers are condemned for failing to provide refugees with boats in good condition free of charge. But because they refuse to have anything to do with these refugees, the Commonwealth of Australia avoids condemnation for failing to do the same, even though it is in a much better position to assist them with their problems than the people smugglers.

Were those who sold Jews an escape route from Nazi Germany the worst scum in the world? If you accept Rudd’s bluster, presumably he believes they were worse than the people who refused to interact with them at all.

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Insert, Update, and Delete Operations (LINQ to SQL)

Insert, Update, and Delete Operations (LINQ to SQL): "HomeLibraryLearnDownloadsSupportCommunity

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Programming Guide (LINQ to SQL)
Background Information (LINQ to SQL)
Customizing Insert, Update, and Delete Operations (LINQ to SQL)
Insert, Update, and Delete Operations (LINQ to SQL)
Insert, Update, and Delete Operations (LINQ to SQL)

You perform Insert, Update, and Delete operations in LINQ to SQL by adding, changing, and removing objects in your object model. By default, LINQ to SQL translates your actions to SQL and submits the changes to the database.

LINQ to SQL offers maximum flexibility in manipulating and persisting changes that you made to your objects. As soon as entity objects are available (either by retrieving them through a query or by constructing them anew), you can change them as typical objects in your application. That is, you can change their values, you can add them to your collections, and you can remove them from your collections. LINQ to SQL tracks your changes and is ready to transmit them back to the database when you call SubmitChanges.

LINQ to SQL does not support or recognize cascade-delete operations. If you want to delete a row in a table that has constraints against it, you must either set the ON DELETE CASCADE rule in the foreign-key constraint in the database, or use your own code to first delete the child objects that prevent the parent object from being deleted. Otherwise, an exception is thrown. For more information, see How to: Delete Rows From the Database (LINQ to SQL).

The following excerpts use the Customer and Order classes from the Northwind sample database. Class definitions are not shown for brevity.

Northwnd db = new Northwnd(@'c:\Northwnd.mdf');

// Query for a specific customer.
var cust =
(from c in db.Customers
where c.CustomerID == 'ALFKI'
select c).First();

// Change the name of the contact.
cust.ContactName = 'New Contact';

// Create and add a new Order to the Orders collection.
Order ord = new Order { OrderDate = DateTime.Now };

// Delete an existing Order.
Order ord0 = cust.Orders[0];

// Removing it from the table also removes it from the Customer’s list.

// Ask the DataContext to save all the changes.

When you call SubmitChanges, LINQ to SQL automatically generates and executes the SQL commands that it must have to transmit your changes back to the database.

You can override this behavior by using your own custom logic, typically by way of a stored procedure. For more information, see Responsibilities of the Developer In Overriding Default Behavior (LINQ to SQL).

Developers using Visual Studio can use the Object Relational Designer to develop stored procedures for this purpose. For more information, see Object Relational Designer (O/R Designer) and Object Relational Designer (O/R Designer).
See Also
Downloading Sample Databases (LINQ to SQL)
Other Resources
Customizing Insert, Update, and Delete Operations (LINQ to SQL)
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LINQ Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide)

LINQ Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide): "HomeLibraryLearnDownloadsSupportCommunity

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Visual Studio
Visual Studio Languages
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Visual C#
C# Programming Guide
LINQ Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide)
Query Expression Basics (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Write LINQ Queries in C#
How to: Query a Collection of Objects (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Return a Query from a Method (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Store the Results of a Query in Memory (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Group Query Results (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Create a Nested Group (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Perform a Subquery on a Grouping Operation (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Group Results by Contiguous Keys (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Dynamically Specify Predicate Filters at Runtime (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Perform Inner Joins (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Perform Grouped Joins (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Perform Left Outer Joins (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Order the Results of a Join Clause (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Join by Using Composite Keys (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Perform Custom Join Operations (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Handle Null Values in Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide)
How to: Handle Exceptions in Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide)
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* Add code samples and tips to enhance this topic.

Visual Studio 2010 - Visual C#
LINQ Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide)

Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) is the name for a set of technologies based on the integration of query capabilities directly into the C# language (also in Visual Basic and potentially any other .NET language). With LINQ, a query is now a first-class language construct, just like classes, methods, events and so on.

For a developer who writes queries, the most visible 'language-integrated' part of LINQ is the query expression. Query expressions are written in a declarative query syntax introduced in C# 3.0. By using query syntax, you can perform even complex filtering, ordering, and grouping operations on data sources with a minimum of code. You use the same basic query expression patterns to query and transform data in SQL databases, ADO.NET Datasets, XML documents and streams, and .NET collections.

The following example shows the complete query operation. The complete operation includes creating a data source, defining the query expression, and executing the query in a foreach statement.

class LINQQueryExpressions
static void Main()

// Specify the data source.
int[] scores = new int[] { 97, 92, 81, 60 };

// Define the query expression.
IEnumerable scoreQuery =
from score in scores
where score > 80
select score;

// Execute the query.
foreach (int i in scoreQuery)
Console.Write(i + ' ');
// Output: 97 92 81

For more information about the basics of LINQ in C#, see Getting Started with LINQ in C#.
Query Expression Overview


Query expressions can be used to query and to transform data from any LINQ-enabled data source. For example, a single query can retrieve data from a SQL database, and produce an XML stream as output.

Query expressions are easy to master because they use many familiar C# language constructs. For more information, see Getting Started with LINQ in C#.

The variables in a query expression are all strongly typed, although in many cases you do not have to provide the type explicitly because the compiler can infer it. For more information, see Type Relationships in LINQ Query Operations (C#).

A query is not executed until you iterate over the query variable in a foreach statement. For more information, see Introduction to LINQ Queries (C#).

At compile time, query expressions are converted to Standard Query Operator method calls according to the rules set forth in the C# specification. Any query that can be expressed by using query syntax can also be expressed by using method syntax. However, in most cases query syntax is more readable and concise. For more information, see C# Language Specification and Standard Query Operators Overview.

As a rule when you write LINQ queries, we recommend that you use query syntax whenever possible and method syntax whenever necessary. There is no semantic or performance difference between the two different forms. Query expressions are often more readable than equivalent expressions written in method syntax.

Some query operations, such as Count or Max, have no equivalent query expression clause and must therefore be expressed as a method call. Method syntax can be combined with query syntax in various ways. For more information, see LINQ Query Syntax versus Method Syntax (C#).

Query expressions can be compiled to expression trees or to delegates, depending on the type that the query is applied to. IEnumerable queries are compiled to delegates. IQueryable and IQueryable queries are compiled to expression trees. For more information, see Expression Trees (C# and Visual Basic).

The following table lists topics that provide additional information about queries and code examples for common tasks.



Query Expression Basics (C# Programming Guide)

Introduces fundamental query concepts and provides examples of C# query syntax.

How to: Write LINQ Queries in C#

Provides examples of several basic types of query expressions.

How to: Handle Exceptions in Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide)

How and when to move potential exception-throwing code outside a query expression.

How to: Populate Object Collections from Multiple Sources (LINQ)

How to use the select statement to merge data from different sources into a new type.

How to: Group Query Results (C# Programming Guide)

Shows different ways to use the group clause.

How to: Create a Nested Group (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to create nested groups.

How to: Perform a Subquery on a Grouping Operation (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to use a sub-expression in a query as a data source for a new query.

How to: Group Results by Contiguous Keys (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to implement a thread-safe standard query operator that can perform grouping operations on streaming data sources.

How to: Dynamically Specify Predicate Filters at Runtime (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to supply an arbitrary number of values to use in equality comparisons in a where clause.

How to: Store the Results of a Query in Memory (C# Programming Guide)

Illustrates how to materialize and store query results without necessarily using a foreach loop.

How to: Return a Query from a Method (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to return query variables from methods, and how to pass them to methods as input parameters.

How to: Perform Custom Join Operations (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to perform join operations based on any kind of predicate function.

How to: Join by Using Composite Keys (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to join two sources based on more than one matching key.

How to: Order the Results of a Join Clause (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to order a sequence that is produced by a join operation.

How to: Perform Inner Joins (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to perform an inner join in LINQ.

How to: Perform Grouped Joins (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to produce a grouped join in LINQ.

How to: Perform Left Outer Joins (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to produce a left outer join in LINQ.

How to: Handle Null Values in Query Expressions (C# Programming Guide)

Shows how to handle null values in LINQ queries.
See Also
Walkthrough: Writing Queries in C# (LINQ)
C# Programming Guide
Basic LINQ Query Operations (C#)
LINQ Query Syntax versus Method Syntax (C#)
Standard Query Operators Overview
Other Resources
Language-Integrated Query (LINQ)
Query Keywords (C# Reference)
Reading and Writing Queries
What is a collection?
Link to Everything: A List of LINQ Providers
Community Content
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Howto mount nrg image - Ubuntu Forums

Howto mount nrg image - Ubuntu Forums: "Howto mount nrg image
Hello i found and used this nautilus script to mount iso files

Now i needed also nrg image mounting and tried the howto over here
I followed the steps and had problems during the install of cdemu (which i understand is only needed for bin files?).

I can still use iso mounting with the updated mount and unmount scripts for nautilus.
But nrg is not working.

Any ideas or a howto for nrg script nautilus working for edgy?

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Old January 14th, 2007 #2
Run, little guy, run...

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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Re: Howto mount nrg image
There's a program called nrg2iso that would allow you to convert .nrg to .iso and then you can mount it as you would with any other .iso file. It's in the repos...


sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install nrg2iso

In the world of Linux, who needs Windows and Gates...

Got most of my golden beans at an auction on eBay (with a couple of free drinks).
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Old January 14th, 2007 #3
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Re: Howto mount nrg image
Thank you taurus,
it works quiet fast with big filesizes too .

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http://www.burnsautoparts.com/blog/2010/05/10/asmpandlessig/: "ASMP and Lessig

First off, I want to make it clear that I think ASMP is (still) a great organization made up of people who have the best intentions to help photographers. Unquestionably, that is so. They do a hell of a lot of good and I am still a proud member. Also, with the changes in the economy I applaud their efforts in trying to help the industry figure out new and better ways of exploiting the intellectual property photographers create and how they work with clients. Now is definitely the time to evolve.

That being said, I am extremely concerned about ASMP’s recent interactions with Lawrence Lessig. He was one of the speakers at the recent Copyright Symposium and, although I can understand giving “the other side” a voice, I think he needs to be ignored/silenced as much as possible. Mr. Lessig is a brilliant man, but he has done more harm to small creative businesses than any other single human in the US, in my opinion. And he continues to be dangerous.

Creative Commons and the encouragement of “sharing” instigated and promulgated by Mr. Lessig have hurt a lot of creative people. Many have lost their businesses and seen their professional dreams crushed. The idea of “free” content and “free culture” is very much his personal responsibility. His past writings and lectures indicate he did intend exactly what he has achieved culturally, to the detriment of small creative businesses. See the wikipedia entry on the Free Culture movement, and this video of Lessig himself at copybyte.com/z/w4 .

Recently, however, Mr. Lessig has (sort of) changed his tune. He is now claiming that he was trying to get the idea of licensing to the masses and that his intention was to fight against the big business corporate “abuse” of copyright. I’m skeptical. While he may be anti-corporatism (a good thing in my book), I think he still does not see the needs of the little guy and, thus, his idea of balance is off.

For example, he still speaks out against the laws eliminating arcane formalities in order for protections to apply. He claims, in the video cited above, that requiring the formalities was good because it limited how much IP is protected (reducing the number of IP monopolies). He claims that extending copyright terms has no justification (in originalist constitutional policy) but rather was based in modern big corporatism (he doesn’t even consider the extension of the human lifespan over the past 200+ years as well as how there are new methods of exploitation). And sure, Disney benefits by these laws, but so does Bob’s Photography. He misses that completely.

He spins the issue very well, as a good lawyer should, especially an academic one like him. Yes, we need to find new approaches to exploiting the rights of photographers (& other creatives), but his way has most definitely not been the way. Yes, copyright may impede some creative growth, but what about all the incredible creative growth we have seen thus far in our society? Growth done WITH these “onerous” copyright laws? More and more creativity just as the laws have gotten “worse” in his view. How is that possible, Mr. Lessig?

Additionally, at the end of the video cited above, please note that Lessig talks about his new crusade: anti-corruption. Gosh that sounds great, but when you look more closely at what he is saying, it seems to me that it is more of a call to anarchy. He mentions earlier in the lecture that he thought he’d win in front of the Supreme Court and when he didn’t, he discredited the rationale and thinking of the court. Then, he talks about how we have relied on courts to interpret our laws and how maybe that isn’t such a good idea anymore. Really? We should overturn centuries (going back to the Magna Carta, and beyond, really) of reliance on the rule of law as interpreted by people who have devoted their lives to the law and, instead, let the people decide? Really? The same people who think President Obama is a foreigner and that Palin is smart?

To paraphrase Monty Python (The Meaning of Life), the people are not qualified to make the decisions the courts make. Interpretation of the law is a highly specialized intellectual skill (I’m definitely learning that in law school!). Although we (the people in general) have access to more and more information on diverse topics, the knowledge of the people is paper thin in depth, quite often. We the people do not know everything and although we know more than ever we often do not know well that “more.” For example, I know enough about how a combustion engine works to be able to tell my mechanic that I think the problem is in the fuel system, but I am not at all qualified to repair my car.

Moreover, we have to have some faith that our institutions, as flawed as they may be, will continue to work. That’s fundamental to society– faith that the systems we have created will work. So, yes, the courts get it “wrong” sometimes, but they get it right far, far more often (we just don’t hear about the right as much in the news). I cite the state of California for how not having faith in our systems and letting the people decide mean that nothing ever gets done. Here in California, the people vote on proposition after proposition, overturning what the legislature does, meaning well but not really understanding the issues and ramifications of the details of the propositions, and then complaining when the system doesn’t work. Well duh! It’s no wonder this state is circling the drain in many ways (although it is a huge shame).

My point (albeit a bit rambling) is that Lessig knows how to push a listener’s buttons to make his ideas sound not only reasonable, but good. Just like it sounds like a great idea for Californians to get to vote on every issue, in reality, it makes things worse. Lessig’s arguments about stifling creativity sound very good, but they are well spun and ignore the reality that creativity has hardly (if at all) been stifled by the laws we have. We, as an industry, must not be taken in.

I hope, most sincerely, that Mr. Lessig has indeed seen the errors of his ways and that he will now contribute to improving the lives of creative professionals. He owes it to them after the damage he has caused via CC, etc. But he has not fundamentally changed his tune, just his spin. And until he proves himself no longer a real enemy to the best interests of photographers and other small creative businesspeople (and I do not use the word “enemy” lightly!), we should not entrust him to be anything other than that which he has proven to be.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 10th, 2010 at 8:28 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
38 Responses to “ASMP and Lessig”

1. Tweets that mention Burns Auto Parts blog » Blog Archive » ASMP and Lessig -- Topsy.com Says:
May 10th, 2010 at 10:45 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by photo blog feeds, Bargin Auto Parts. Bargin Auto Parts said: Burns Auto Parts blog » Blog Archive » ASMP and Lessig: First off, I want to make it clear that I think ASMP is (s… http://bit.ly/b0vZZP [...]
2. Don Giannatti Says:
May 11th, 2010 at 9:27 am

I love this post. Huglely love this post.

I have been against the so called ‘Creative Commons” from the beginning. It is a thinly veiled rights grab, and the most detrimental single thing to come along in commercial and non-commercial art in decades.

The rants of those who declare that ‘information wants to be free” are there in the books you must buy to read. Hypocritical? Devious? Or simply an intellectual lapse into absurdity?

Warning photographers of the uncomfortable union of someone who actually wants to eliminate the IP to property because it will benefit corporations seems somewhat dangerous to me. Remember who brings the biggest knife to the knife fight… it ain’t gonna be the photographer.

The new ’softer, gentler’ Lessig is no less ingenuous, no less insidious, and no less dangerous. The spin is new, the message is the same…

“You make it, we get to use it… get out of our way.”

I am hoping and working toward a time when we can tell this sort of goofball to hit the road, but giving him a voice within a group who stand to lose the most makes the battle even harder.

Great post, excellent points well stated. I will be tweeting and referencing this article like crazy.

BTW, I do hope that people who may not share your political opinions are welcome to comment… :-)
3. info Says:
May 11th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

A reminder to anyone wishing to comment: I do NOT, by policy, approve anonymous comments. If you wish to be heard, you have to identify yourself. Thank you for playing.
4. Steve Says:
May 11th, 2010 at 2:59 pm

He spins the issue very well, as a good lawyer should, especially an academic one like him.

I don’t agree that a “good lawyer should” “spin the issue very well.” The practice of law (and, for the most part, I don’t consider academic work to be the practice of law) are not about “spin”; they are about justice, following the law, and doing the right thing.

It’s very easy for an academic to make all kinds of waves from a comfortable, easy academic position with tenure. I’m not impressed.
5. Is Creative Commons a Rights Grab? | PlagiarismToday Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

[...] May 12th, 2010 • Category: Articles, PunditryMarketer and Consultant Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua wrote a lengthy post on her blog about the American Society of Media Photographers’ (ASMP) recent “interactions” [...]
6. Brandon Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Unfortunately, the problem isn’t Lessig. It’s the fact that the digital age has taken something scarce (the quick identification and development of ideas, especially those of a “creative” nature) and made it plentiful. Designers, photographers, whatever all have to compete with an extra 6-7 billion people connected the world over. What value does your idea have if others are coming up with it somewhere else in the world where first-world copyright laws have no meaning?
7. Andrew W Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Maybe you write of it elsewhere, but could you say a little bit about your argument that a Creative Commons license hurts photographers and small businesses? I’ve used them quite a bit with some success: it’s me saying how I want my work to be used and others agreeing to follow it. For example a photographer could use a CC license with great effect, it seems, by licensing a low resolution version of a photo with “Attribution Share Alike” and the high res version with “Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives”.

Also I’d be interested in hearing some stories of photographers who’ve lost their businesses due to these licensing schemes. (Full disclosure, I’ve worked with some of Lessig’s colleagues at Harvard’s Berkman Center, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I disagree with you.)
8. info Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I disagree. Sure, there are many people who are shooting now that weren’t before, but they aren’t really competition, especially not for assignment photographers. Someone who happens to get a good stock image isn’t any competition to a pro photographer who can put together a production, concept a visual solution, and make it all happen every time the client calls.
People said desktop publishing would kill designers. It didn’t. Same thing here. The low end is gone (in both design and photography), but that is a good thing I think.
9. arvind s grover Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I’m a teacher, photographer, webcaster, blogger. All of my work is in the Creative Commons. As a result my work has been used by many people, particularly my photos and my audio recordings. I was paid for none of those. But that’s how I licensed them. I could have chose a traditional copyright, and likely no one would have purchased them either.

As a result of sharing so widely I’ve received developed a brand for myself which earned me numerous consulting opportunities, conference speaking engagements, and my first conference keynote this year.

You don’t need to be scared of Lawrence Lessig or the Commons. I’ve met incredible people being part of it (including Lawrence), and really feel like I’m part of something for the benefit of anyone. I don’t think I’m a saint, I just make helpful work available to people for free.

The Commons is about finding a license that works for you. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Again, no need to be scared, just don’t participate if you’re not interested.
10. Stephen Jenkins Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

While I disagree strongly with your thesis, I understand that the issue is personal for you, and I was at least following your line of thought until this statement:

“Creative Commons and the encouragement of “sharing” instigated and promulgated by Mr. Lessig have hurt a lot of creative people. ”

How on earth is giving content creators the ability to license their work in EXACTLY the manner they choose “hurting a lot of creative people”!?!

It feels like you are misunderstanding the concept of free culture, or are confusing it with spec work. The movement is not about destroying copyright, it’s about concerned citizens re-evaluating the role copyright in light of a technological revolution that is changing the way we play/live/work like never before.

It’s about my choice to put my photography, my music, my video, my ideas into the hands of my peers and fellow creators around the world and letting them re-use, re-mix, and re-interpret my work according to my specific preferences. Lessig has given this movement a legal grounding and done a great service to millions of Americans that have become completely disenfranchised with a copyright system that was not designed to serve creators, but to perpetually enrich shareholders – who do you think Sonny Bono’s biggest donors were?

It’s sad to see attitudes like yours. I’m sure you are committed to your craft, and I’m sure you do excellent work, but you are clinging to the status quo, even as the world is changing around you.
11. info Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Okay… this post has hit the ether and I’m getting inundated with comments. To reiterate the STANDING POLICY (started long ago): no comments will be approved without some identifying info–usually that is in the form of a website or an email addy that is not just @gmail or @genericwhatever.

Getting lots of hate and I won’t post without the person identifying him/herself.
12. Mick O Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

You write: “My point (albeit a bit rambling) is that Lessig knows how to push a listener’s buttons to make his ideas sound not only reasonable, but good.”

You know how he does this? Using actual examples. I would like to know some specific examples how Creative Commons have hurt actual small businesses. If you wish to make your arguments compelling, please cite some examples of businesses that have gone out of business, but would still be in business if Creative Commons has never existed.

I am curious.
13. Dan Tobias Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

How, exactly, is a Creative Commons license that only applies to works whose legal owners (usually the creators) have *chosen* to release them under such a license somehow “stealing” from the creators? How, exactly, is extending the copyright term from 50 years after the death of the author to 70 years after the death of the author a necessary adaptation to longer life spans? (People now live 20 more years past their deaths???)
14. On IP Law – Feeding The Machine Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

[...] This is in response to this post [...]
15. Tero Tilus Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I’d like to hear stories about people who “have lost their businesses and seen their professional dreams crushed.”
16. Stephen Jenkins Says:
May 12th, 2010 at 4:22 pm


I stand by my comment above, but in the interest of avoiding any kind of “hate” (I don’t hate you, I’ve never met you!) could you perhaps clarify your feelings towards speculative or amateur work? I feel like this is where a lot of your concern lays, and I know there are a lot of creative professionals that would side with you.

For example:

You invest $8k in a digital camera body, and another $5k in lenses, $4k in lighting equipment, etc. Your wedding photography business is booming year after year, until you notice that you are losing jobs to photographers you have never heard of in your area.

These photographers are young, have little formal training, are using $2k cameras and kit lenses – and generally producing acceptable if not excellent results.

You and I both know your photos would probably be more attractive, your equipment and experience would lead to stronger staging, better lighting, etc

But the COST of entry into professional or semi-professional photography has fallen so much in the last 5 years that now you have amateurs charging $900 for what you used to be able to charge $4500 for – AND they are giving the client all the digital negatives in RAW format – no strings attached! While some clients may recognize the value you provide up front and still choose your services, many will be attracted to low prices and the promise of total control over the photos.

This trend is happening in graphic design, web design, videography, programming, etc.

As cheaper technology and software enables new generations of amateurs to compete with professionals – there emerges a strong (that’s an understatement!) backlash against crowdsourcing, amateur work, and speculative work. This protest usually emanates from industries fearful of losing jobs, losing work, and being overtaken by a faster, younger, cheaper workforce – albeit less experienced, and perhaps less refined.

The challenge of professionals is to find ways to differentiate themselves from “cheap or free labor”. If you are so proud of your services, why not just let your work speak for itself?

I know this comment was less about CC and more about speculative/contest and amateur work, but I wonder if at the end of the day that is more where your real frustration lays.

Either way, change is unavoidable. Adapt or perish.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition - robertfortner's posterous

Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition - robertfortner's posterous: "Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition

Pushing up daisies (Photo courtesy of Creative Coffins)

Mispredicted Words, Mispredicted Futures

The accuracy of computer speech recognition flat-lined in 2001, before reaching human levels. The funding plug was pulled, but no funeral, no text-to-speech eulogy followed. Words never meant very much to computers—which made them ten times more error-prone than humans. Humans expected that computer understanding of language would lead to artificially intelligent machines, inevitably and quickly. But the mispredicted words of speech recognition have rewritten that narrative. We just haven’t recognized it yet.

After a long gestation period in academia, speech recognition bore twins in 1982: the suggestively-named Kurzweil Applied Intelligence and sibling rival Dragon Systems. Kurzweil’s software, by age three, could understand all of a thousand words—but only when spoken one painstakingly-articulated word at a time. Two years later, in 1987, the computer’s lexicon reached 20,000 words, entering the realm of human vocabularies which range from 10,000 to 150,000 words. But recognition accuracy was horrific: 90% wrong in 1993. Another two years, however, and the error rate pushed below 50%. More importantly, Dragon Systems unveiled its Naturally Speaking software in 1997 which recognized normal human speech. Years of talking to the computer like a speech therapist seemingly paid off.

However, the core language machinery that crushed sounds into words actually dated to the 1950s and ‘60s and had not changed. Progress mainly came from freakishly faster computers and a burgeoning profusion of digital text.

Speech recognizers make educated guesses at what is being said. They play the odds. For example, the phrase “serve as the inspiration,” is ten times more likely than “serve as the installation,” which sounds similar. Such statistical models become more precise given more data. Helpfully, the digital word supply leapt from essentially zero to about a million words in the 1980s when a body of literary text called the Brown Corpus became available. Millions turned to billions as the Internet grew in the 1990s. Inevitably, Google published a trillion-word corpus in 2006. Speech recognition accuracy, borne aloft by exponential trends in text and transistors, rose skyward. But it couldn’t reach human heights.

Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology Benchmark Test History
“I’m sorry, Dave. I can’t do that.”

In 2001 recognition accuracy topped out at 80%, far short of HAL-like levels of comprehension. Adding data or computing power made no difference. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University checked again in 2006 and found the situation unchanged. With human discrimination as high as 98%, the unclosed gap left little basis for conversation. But sticking to a few topics, like numbers, helped. Saying “one” into the phone works about as well as pressing a button, approaching 100% accuracy. But loosen the vocabulary constraint and recognition begins to drift, turning to vertigo in the wide-open vastness of linguistic space.

The language universe is large, Google’s trillion words a mere scrawl on its surface. One estimate puts the number of possible sentences at 10570. Through constant talking and writing, more of the possibilities of language enter into our possession. But plenty of unanticipated combinations remain which force speech recognizers into risky guesses. Even where data are lush, picking what’s most likely can be a mistake because meaning often pools in a key word or two. Recognition systems, by going with the “best” bet, are prone to interpret the meaning-rich terms as more common but similar-sounding words, draining sense from the sentence.

Strings, heavy with meaning. (Photo credit: t_a_i_s)
Statistics veiling ignorance

Many spoken words sound the same. Saying “recognize speech” makes a sound that can be indistinguishable from “wreck a nice beach.” Other laughers include “wreck an eyes peach” and “recondite speech.” But with a little knowledge of word meaning and grammar, it seems like a computer ought to be able to puzzle it out. Ironically, however, much of the progress in speech recognition came from a conscious rejection of the deeper dimensions of language. As an IBM researcher famously put it: “Every time I fire a linguist my system improves.” But pink-slipping all the linguistics PhDs only gets you 80% accuracy, at best.

In practice, current recognition software employs some knowledge of language beyond just the outer surface of word sounds. But efforts to impart human-grade understanding of word meaning and syntax to computers have also fallen short.

We use grammar all the time, but no effort to completely formalize it in a set of rules has succeeded. If such rules exist, computers programs turned loose on great bodies of text haven’t been able to suss them out either. Progress in automatically parsing sentences into their grammatical components has been surprisingly limited. A 1996 look at the state of the art reported that “Despite over three decades of research effort, no practical domain-independent parser of unrestricted text has been developed.” As with speech recognition, parsing works best inside snug linguistic boxes, like medical terminology, but weakens when you take down the fences holding back the untamed wilds. Today’s parsers “very crudely are about 80% right on average on unrestricted text,” according to Cambridge professor Ted Briscoe, author of the 1996 report. Parsers and speech recognition have penetrated language to similar, considerable depths, but without reaching a fundamental understanding.

Researchers have also tried to endow computers with knowledge of word meanings. Words are defined by other words, to state the seemingly obvious. And definitions, of course, live in a dictionary. In the early 1990s, Microsoft Research developed a system called MindNet which “read” the dictionary and traced out a network from each word out to every mention of it in the definitions of other words.

Words have multiple definitions until they are used in a sentence which narrows the possibilities. MindNet deduced the intended definition of a word by combing through the networks of the other words in the sentence, looking for overlap. Consider the sentence, “The driver struck the ball.” To figure out the intended meaning of “driver,” MindNet followed the network to the definition for “golf” which includes the word “ball.” So driver means a kind of golf club. Or does it? Maybe the sentence means a car crashed into a group of people at a party.

To guess meanings more accurately, MindNet expanded the data on which it based its statistics much as speech recognizers did. The program ingested encyclopedias and other online texts, carefully assigning probabilistic weights based on what it learned. But that wasn’t enough. MindNet’s goal of “resolving semantic ambiguities in text,” remains unattained. The project, the first undertaken by Microsoft Research after it was founded in 1991, was shelved in 2005.
Can’t get there from here

We have learned that speech is not just sounds. The acoustic signal doesn’t carry enough information for reliable interpretation, even when boosted by statistical analysis of terabytes of example phrases. As the leading lights of speech recognition acknowledged last May, “it is not possible to predict and collect separate data for any and all types of speech…” The approach of the last two decades has hit a dead end. Similarly, the meaning of a word is not fully captured just by pointing to other words as in MindNet’s approach. Grammar likewise escapes crisp formalization.

To some, these developments are no surprise. In 1986, Terry Winograd and Fernando Flores audaciously concluded that “computers cannot understand language.” In their book, Understanding Computers and Cognition, the authors argued from biology and philosophy rather than producing a proof like Einstein’s demonstration that nothing can travel faster than light. So not everyone agreed. Bill Gates described it as “a complete horseshit book” shortly after it appeared, but acknowledged that “it has to be read,” a wise amendment given the balance of evidence from the last quarter century.

Fortunately, the question of whether computers are subject to fundamental limits doesn’t need to be answered. Progress in conversational speech recognition accuracy has clearly halted and we have abandoned further frontal assaults. The research arm of the Pentagon, DARPA, declared victory and withdrew. Many decades ago, DARPA funded the basic research behind both the Internet and today’s mouse-and-menus computer interface. More recently, the agency financed investigations into conversational speech recognition but shifted priorities and money after accuracy plateaued. Microsoft Research persisted longer in its pursuit of a seeing, talking computer. But that vision became increasingly spectral, and today none of the Speech Technology group’s projects aspire to push speech recognition to human levels.
Cognitive dissonance

We are surrounded by unceasing, rapid technological advance, especially in information technology. It is impossible for something to be unattainable. There has to be another way. Right? Yes—but it’s more difficult than the approach that didn’t work. In place of simple speech recognition, researchers last year proposed “cognition-derived recognition” in a paper authored by leading academics, a scientist from Microsoft Research and a co-founder of Dragon Systems. The project entails research to “understand and emulate relevant human capabilities” as well as understanding how the brain processes language. The researchers, with that particularly human talent for euphemism, are actually saying that we need artificial intelligence if computers are going to understand us.

Originally, however, speech recognition was going to lead to artificial intelligence. Computing pioneer Alan Turing suggested in 1950 that we “provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand and speak English.” Over half a century later, artificial intelligence has become prerequisite to understanding speech. We have neither the chicken nor the egg.

Speech recognition pioneer Ray Kurzweil piloted computing a long way down the path toward artificial intelligence. His software programs first recognized printed characters, then images and finally spoken words. Quite reasonably, Kurzweil looked at the trajectory he had helped carve and prophesied that machines would inevitably become intelligent and then spiritual. However, because we are no longer banging away at speech recognition, this new great chain of being has a missing link.

That void and its potential implications have gone unremarked, the greatest recognition error of all. Perhaps no one much noticed when the National Institute of Standards Testing simply stopped benchmarking the accuracy of conversational speech recognition. And no one, speech researchers included, broadcasts their own bad news. So conventional belief remains that speech recognition and even artificial intelligence will arrive someday, somehow. Similar beliefs cling to manned space travel. Wisely, when President Obama cancelled the Ares program, he made provisions for research into “game-changing new technology,” as an advisor put it. Rather than challenge a cherished belief, perhaps the President knew to scale it back until it fades away.

Source: Google

Speech recognition seems to be following a similar pattern, signal blending into background noise. News mentions of Dragon System’s Naturally Speaking software peaked at the same time as recognition accuracy, 1999, and declined thereafter. “Speech recognition” shows a broadly similar pattern, with peak mentions coming in 2002, the last year in which NIST benchmarked conversational speech recognition.

With the flattening of recognition accuracy comes the flattening of a great story arc of our age: the imminent arrival of artificial intelligence. Mispredicted words have cascaded into mispredictions of the future. Protean language leaves the future unauthored.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Help:Books/Printed books - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Help:Books/Printed books - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Help:Books/Printed books
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
< Help:Books
Jump to:navigation, search

Open book nae 02.svg Wikipedia Books Create a book · About printed books · Bookshelf · Help for beginners · Help for experts · Questions · Post feedback
Wikipedia-Books by PediaPress

Wikipedia offers users to order individually printed books based on collections created with the Book Tool. The service is offered in cooperation with PediaPress which is the official print on demand partner of the Wikimedia Foundation[1].

* 1 How to order a printed version
* 2 How are books manufactured?
* 3 How much do printed books cost?
* 4 Which shipping options are available?
* 5 What is PediaPress?

[edit] How to order a printed version
Pediapress book ordering step 1.png Pediapress book ordering step 2.png Pediapress book ordering step 3v2.png
1) Click on 'Preview with PediaPress' 2) Book gets loaded by PediaPress 3) Setup cover, choose country, get price
PediaPress book ordering step 4.png Pediapress book ordering step 5.png Pediapress book ordering step 6.png
4) View preview 5) Add to cart 6) Enter shipping and billing information

First create your personal collections of articles as described on the Book-Tool help page.

Then simply click on 'Preview with PediaPress' on the 'Show book' page. This uploads your book to the PediaPress website. After choosing the destination country, an approximate number of pages and the price are shown. Title, subtitle and editor can be set or changed here. Further users can customize the cover by selecting an image from within the book to appear on the front of the book, as well as setting a background color.

There is a preview which shows what your selected articles (only the first N pages) will look like in a printed book. (Note: The typesetting and layout of printed books differs from downloadable PDFs, since the page size is half letter, not letter and it includes additional features like an index, references as footnotes, etc.)

At this point, your book can be ordered by adding it to the cart and checking out. Available payment methods are MasterCard, Visa and PayPal. Books are printed within 2–3 business days, and shipping takes another 2–10 days.
[edit] How are books manufactured?
Printed Wikipedia-Books

PediaPress uses the TeX typesetting system to generate a digital prepress repro. Books produced by this technique look just like conventional paperback books.

Book specification:

* Content
o Table of contents
o The selected articles
o Endnotes
o Licensing information
o Index
* Paper size: 8.5 inch × 5.5 inch (216 mm x 140 mm)
* Images are printed in greyscale using the highest available resolution
* Books can contain 50 to 800 pages, larger collections are automatically evenly split up into multiple volumes

There is an example book (PDF), which shows how printed books are typeset.
[edit] How much do printed books cost?
number of pages price
100 US$ 8.90
200 US$ 12.90
300 US$ 16.90
400 US$ 20.90
500 US$ 24.90
600 US$ 28.90
700 US$ 32.90

Pricing for printed books depends on the number of included pages (see table). Shipping costs depend on the shipping destination. To get a detailed quote, simply upload your book to PediaPress and select your country and currency.

The Wikimedia Foundation receives 10% of the gross total for each book sold.
[edit] Which shipping options are available?

For the US and most European destinations express shipping options are available. For most other countries in the world a standard shipping option is the default. Delivery time varies from 2 to 10 business days depending on the destination.
[edit] What is PediaPress?

PediaPress is an online service which offers customized printed books from wiki content. The web-to-print service works on any MediaWiki which has deployed the open source Collection Extension. The company actively supports the MediaWiki community and established a long-term partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation [2]. The company was founded in 2007 and is located in Mainz, Germany. For more information see [3].
Retrieved from 'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Books/Printed_books'
Categories: Wikipedia book tool

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Diaspora’s Kickstarter $$$,$$$ success endangers both Diaspora, Kickstarter & you

Diaspora’s Kickstarter $$$,$$$ success endangers both Diaspora, Kickstarter & you: "Diaspora’s Kickstarter $$$,$$$ success endangers both Diaspora, Kickstarter & you
By mushon 7 Comments | and tagged collaboration, crowdfunding, diaspora, facebook, kickstarter, open source, social media | This entry was posted in in English
The Internets is all buzzing with chatter against Facebook’s latest privacy breaches. Into this happy mix a bunch of NYU students have been cast as the Davids against the social networking Goliath. Is that really a good thing? Can we help?

Friends are there... or are they?

Diaspora is a new initiative by 4 NYU students to create a “privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network” by the end of the summer. A worthy mission indeed with quite an ambitious time line.

Doing what every smart start-up would do, the Diaspora founders seized the moment, and on April 24th published a video presenting the idea and started a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund (distributed seed donations) the project. They set a goal of raising $10,000 in 5 weeks time.

Some FB users got sick of their own impotent frustration and decided the answer should be Diaspora. The project’s Kickstarter campaign has become a referendum on Facebook with geeks expressing their frustration by throwing many $$$s at Diaspora’s direction. For better or worse this is done out of protest against Facebook, not necessarily out of faith in Diaspora.

News of Diaspora being cast as the battlefront against Facebook spread fast, with twitter updates informing blogposts (and ¶, ¶, ¶, ¶, ¶, ¶…), (ironically) informing Facebook updates, informing a New York Times article. At the time this post is published Diaspora have met their funding goal almost 18 times.
This is all great BUT…

This is supposed to be an open source, community effort kinda thing, not a start-up. It is kinda alarming as this pressure to deliver something by the end of the summer something so complex is not necessarily going to help them. The open source community have been trying to develop peer to peer web solutions for ages. There are many reasons why we have not seen a strong distributed social web yet. Some of these reasons are technical, other are social, it’s not impossible, but also not trivial.

Scratching everybody else's itch (By Daveblog CC-BY-SA-ND)

It is not unlikely that Diaspora would fail to deliver on it’s promised milestone by the end of the summer. This should not be a big deal for an Open Source project with developers scratching their own itch. But in this case, the Facebook users frustration, Diaspora’s media attention and the actual $$$,$$$ make this an itch shared by many many more users and only 4 students are given the scratcher.

Frankly, as inspiring as this successful Kickstarter campaign is, I do believe they would’ve been better with no money at all and no thousands of “micro-investors” waiting for them to deliver. Money changes everything, and firstly this is no longer a campaign supporting the open source community to find a solution together. This is (as a friend mentioned) a high-payed summer internship.

I’ve always supported the idea of failing gracefully, especially when it comes to open source software. But in this case, a failure would be not only for Diaspora but also for what it stand for – a distributed, privacy-friendly open alternative (/resistance) to FB and the other exploitative web 2.0 shenanigans. If all this attention is turned to disappointment, Facebook will come out of this winning.

Being a huge record breaking Kickstarter project, this project has now also become a poster-child for Kickstarter and its inspiring crowdfunding model. If Diaspora fails to meet its promises, it might actually hurt Kickstarter’s reputation and trust. Open source does not work that way and these guys do mean well but they have yet not published a single line of code.
Contribute your code, not your $$$,$$$s

Max, one of the four NYU students was a student of mine, I am familiar with the excitement, enthusiasm and creativity he can bring to the project. There is no way they could see this coming and I know they are pretty overwhelmed right now. They don’t need more money, but they need a lot more help. The real help Diaspora needs now is guidance, support and code. We at ShiftSpace who’ve been working on distributed social web for quite some time intend to contribute that to them.

Some initial tips:

1. They should start by a real deep research of what’s already out there, learn from the work on OneSocialWeb, Status.net, DiSo, BuddyPress, Activity Streams, CouchDB, even Google Wave (speaking of an open source project too hyped for its own good). Some of these are already mentioned on their site, but they should really be studied thoroughly. Only doing that might take more than 4 months. Which brings me to #2…
2. They should change their milestone promise ASAP, as this is not what they should accomplish in the next 4 months and they should not be held back by it.
3. When they do write their own code, they should not wait until the end of the summer to publish their code. They should release early, release often.
4. They should not build this as a monolithic project but componenatize it to smaller more general projects that can gather more contributions.
5. They should not see this as a high-paying 4 months gig, but really turn Diaspora to a home or an umbrella project for these various types of efforts.
6. They need to make sure the AGPL license as rightfully chosen as it is, doesn’t harm their chances of integrating other code and collaborating with other open source licenses. (there are ways to do it)
7. Maybe even offer a portion of the funding they didn’t plan to get anyway as a grant to the first team to come up with an open protocol that the developer community would like to gather behind.

So start send them code patches, not more $$$,$$$s. And leave your comments here and/or on the GPL Social list where they promised to hang out. And lets try not to overwhelm them, but really make sure this translates to an inspiring moment towards “a” (not “the”) ‘…privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social…’ web.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Movin' Meat: Friday Flashback - The Weirdest Damn Thing I've Ever Seen

Movin' Meat: Friday Flashback - The Weirdest Damn Thing I've Ever Seen: "21 May 2010
Friday Flashback - The Weirdest Damn Thing I've Ever Seen

I will preface this with the obligatory disclaimer: I shit you not.

The complaint was 'Visual hallucinations,' and the patient was not exactly the sort of individual you would expect to be hallucinating. He was a middle-aged, affluent corporate executive, a sharp and high-functioning individual with no history of either substance abuse or mental illness. He was, therefore, rather perturbed by the little red and green elves he kept seeing all over the place. He knew they weren't real, but they just wouldn't go away. (We attributed the fact that they were red & green to the fact that this case occurred shortly after Christmas.)

My partner, 'Bill,' was a superb physician, but I would never let him take care of me in a million years. Not because his skills aren't good: they're excellent. He's one of the best doctors I have ever had the honor of working with. But Bill is what is known in the business as a 'black cloud,' or, less politely, a 'shit magnet.' Somehow he always manages to get the most awful, obscure, or just plain bizarre cases, and when he works, the crazies always come out in force. In fact, it was Bill who signed out this gem to me. So when he came to me with this case, perplexed and looking for advice, I was not particularly surprised. It seemed par for the course for him. The work-up in these cases is pretty straightforward and almost always unsatisfying: rule out medical causes and consult psychiatry. So Bill orders a slew of labs and a CT scan of the brain.

This is where it gets weird. Um, weirder. For some reason, Bill ordered a Troponin, which is a blood test marker of heart damage. I wouldn't have ordered it -- there's no logical connection between the heart and odd psychiatric symptoms. I would have probably confined my lab tests to electrolytes, blood sugar, a drug screen, that sort of thing. But Bill, conditioned by the strange stuff he sees, casts his net a bit wider. And the troponin came back strongly positive.

Which was completely unexpected. We had not even done an ECG. But when he saw the troponin, Bill immediately ordered one, and saw something like this:

Which was even more unexpected. The following amusing conversation with a cardiologist ensued:

'So I have a guy here having a heart attack with a positive ECG and troponin.'

'Great. I'll be right in. Is he still having chest pain?'

'Well, that's the funny thing. He's never had any pain.'

'Interesting. What was his presenting symptom?'

'Visual hallucinations. Elves. Christmas elves, we think.'

'Bullshit. You are kidding me, right?'

But we faxed him the ECG, which was really quite convincing, and the cardiologist came in reluctantly, and somewhat dubiously took the patient to the cath lab. Sure enough, the patient had a high-grade obstruction of his LAD, and upon opening it, that patient's ECG returned to normal. The next morning on rounds, the patient thanked the cardiologist for saving his life, and ventured that he didn't want to seem ungrateful, but the elves were still bothering him, and could he please do something about that? Psychiatry saw the patient and concluded that he wasn't crazy. So the neurologist was called in and noticed an odd motor tic every time the patient looked at the elves, who were always sitting to his left. The neurologist speculated that the hallucinations might be a form of a partial complex seizure, so he started the patient on an IV drip of dilantin, an anti-seizure medicine.

And the Elves went away.

So there you have it: Acute Anterior Myocardial Infarction presenting with Partial Complex Seizures manifested as hallucinations of Christmas Elves.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the weirdest damn thing I have ever seen.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Help:Books - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Help:Books - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "[close]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to:navigation, search

Open book nae 02.svg Wikipedia Books Create a book · About printed books · Bookshelf · Help for beginners · Help for experts · Questions · Post feedback
Enwp screencast4.theora.ogv
Play video
Confused by the book tool? See this video guide on how to create a book!

* 1 Step-by-step guide
o 1.1 Step 1: Enable the 'Book creator' tool
o 1.2 Step 2: Gather articles
+ 1.2.1 Individual pages
+ 1.2.2 Categories
o 1.3 Step 3: Review your book
o 1.4 Step 4: Download or order a printed copy of your book
* 2 Advanced functions
o 2.1 Changing the order of wiki pages
o 2.2 Saving and sharing your book with others
o 2.3 Printed books from PediaPress
* 3 Further information
* 4 See also

Step-by-step guide

This page shows you how to create a book from Wikipedia articles in four steps. Books can be created in PDF or OpenDocument formats, or ordered for printing on the PediaPress website.
Step 1: Enable the 'Book creator' tool
Fig.1 – The 'print/export' box

The 'Book creator' tool can be enabled from the 'print/export' box on the left hand side of the browser screen towards the bottom (see Fig.1). Click on 'create book'. The 'Book creator' tool will appear at the top of your screen.
Collection Extension - Create a book box.png
Step 2: Gather articles
Individual pages

By clicking on the 'Add this page to your book' link, the current page being viewed is added to the collection. To add another article, simply go to that article, and click on 'Add this page to your book' again.

Another way to add articles to your book is to hover your mouse over a link to another article. After one second, a message will pop-up, giving you the option to add the linked article to your book.
Collection Extension - Hover and add.png

If you move to a category page, the 'Add this page to your book' will have changed into 'Add this category to your book'. Clicking on 'Add this category to your book' will add all the articles in that category.
Adding categories.png

Likewise, if you hover on a category link (located at the very bottom of articles), a message will pop-up, giving you the option to add the entire category to your book.

After you have selected the articles that interest you, you can click on 'Suggest pages' and you will be presented with a list of articles that are related to your selection. This helps you to create a more complete book if you run out of ideas, or just want to make sure that you haven't forgotten anything.
Step 3: Review your book
Fig.2 – Set a title

Once you are happy with your book, click on 'Show book' to be taken to the next step.
Show book.png

After you have clicked on the 'Show book' link, you can add a title and a subtitle to your book (see Fig.2). You can also arrange articles and order them according to your taste with clicks and drags (details in the Advanced Functions section below).
Step 4: Download or order a printed copy of your book
Fig.3 – Click to download

The finished book can be downloaded or ordered as a bound book. You can download the book, in PDF and OpenDocument format (viewable using OpenOffice.org software), by clicking the 'Download' button (see Fig 3). To order the book as a bound book click the 'Order book from PediaPress' button. Further information about printed books can be found in the FAQ.

Advanced functions
Changing the order of wiki pages

To change the order of wiki pages in your book, simply move the pages in the list titled 'Your Book'. To do so, hover over the page title to move, click and drag it to the new location. Release the mouse button to finish moving the page to its new location. You can also automatically sort the pages into alphabetical order.
Saving and sharing your book with others

To save your book, you must have a registered account on Wikipedia for at least four days (see Why create an account?) and have made at least ten contributions to the encyclopedia. You can save your book on the 'Book' page, which can be reached by clicking the 'Show book' link in the menu on the left hand side. In the 'Save and share your book' section, choose one of the location options and then provide a title for the book collection. It will then be saved by clicking the 'Save book' button.
Printed books from PediaPress

Printed Wikipedia Books

By clicking the 'Order book from PediaPress' button, your collection of wiki articles can be printed as a bound book. You will be forwarded to the website of PediaPress, a service that prints books based on wiki content. Further information about the printed books, including the cost and format, can be found on the FAQ page.

In 2007 the Wikimedia Foundation and PediaPress agreed upon a long-term partnership aimed to improve the availability of Wikipedia and other wiki-based project content in the form of high-quality print products or text documents in the OpenDocument format.
Further information

* FAQ about the Book tool.
* Help for experts – details about the advanced functions of the Book tool.
* Feedback – for reporting and tracking of bugs.
* Wikis Go Printable – Wikimedia Foundation press release, 13 December 2007.
* Technical documentation of the Collection extension.

See also

* PediaPress books on Wikimedia Commons
* Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikislice
* Wikipedia:Merchandise – the Wikipedia 'gift shop'

Retrieved from 'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Books'
Categories: Wikipedia book tool | Wikipedia interface help | Wikipedia sidebar help
Hidden categories: Wikipedia move-protected project pages
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