Jen posted her thoughts on the last year, the year to come, and the meaning of being born. When I think about Jen, and our two amazing kids, and everything that had to happen just-so to bring us together, I am very grateful.
Our video game warrior turned seven today. It has been a big year for him, with a new school to navigate, teaching himself to read with the stack of Calvin & Hobbes books Mark & Meryl have been buying for him, and a growth spurt that transformed (or transmogrified) him from short to tall overnight. In other ways, he hasn't changed at all, but as he's grown has opened the window into his delightful personality a little wider. He still surprises me with the absurd little things that make him laugh, and he can still turn me to mush in an instant with a simple invitation to play, or a glimpse at how deeply he's feeling things beneath his normally cool, detached exterior.
Dale McGowan, editor of Parenting Beyond Belief, has a great post up on secular Thanksgiving. I like the emphasis on thanking people directly for the things they've done for us, instead of thanking a deity. Of course, not all things I'm thankful for can be attributed to a person. The weather today is absolutely perfect, the trees look beautiful, and bright yellow leaves are falling like confetti on our street.
I had the opportunity this morning, along with several coworkers, to meet and chat with Vint Cerf, Google's VP and Chief Internet Evangelist. We were honored also to meet his wife, Sigrid, who came with him. What delightful people!
I won't talk about Dr. Cerf's accomplishments. If you don't know who he is and what he's done, you have some homework to do. I've been familiar with his name since my days working as a subcontractor to MCI at the Florida Relay Service. Dr. Cerf was a senior MCI VP at the time, who took particular interest in how well his company was serving deaf and hard-of-hearing people. My beloved boss, Susan Tilson Watson, in her official capacity with TDI, later had the opportunity to award Dr. Cerf the Andrew Saks Engineering Award in 2001 for his contribution to making telecommunications and media more accessible.
Nine years ago, I became a dad, Jen became a mom, and the world was introduced to a little girl with endless curiosity, breathtaking creativity, and boundless love for others -- especially for others that are furry. The only thing bigger than her personality is our pride in her.
Happy Birthday, Madeleine! You're half-way to voting age!
In the paper (PDF) Linden cites, Silviu Cucerzan of Microsoft Research describes a method for improving entity disambiguation that takes advantage of the structure provided by Wikipedia's article titles, disambiguation pages, redirect pages, list pages, categories, and wikitext links.