Harry Seldon's blog

Fractals, Chaos, and Control Systems on Rails


iPhone or iPad synchronization with iTunes, iCloud and Outlook

Posted by Harry Seldon on November 10, 2011

Since I had installed iOS5, when syncing my iPhone with iTunes and Outlook on Windows, I got the error message :
“Unable to retrieve conflict information from sync server. Please try again next time conflict resolver window is presented”
or in French:
“Impossible d’obtenir les informations sur les conflits depuis le serveur de synchronisation. Veuillez réessayer à la prochaine présentation de la fenêtre de résolution des conflits.”

You may have this message because you have activated iCloud on the iPhone, on iTunes, but not on Windows. To solve this you need the iCloud Control Panel for Windows :
Search for iCloud in the Windows search bar. If you don’t have it, you can download it here.
Launch the iCloud program and simply enter you iCloud login / password. Select what you want to synchronize with iCloud (Mail, Contact, Calendars, bookmarks or pictures flow). Apply. Then go back to itunes and sync your iphone or iPad. It should work better but prepare to have some duplicates in your calendars or contacts.

If you have too many duplicates, for instance for your contacts, first make sure you have a backup of your contacts, a backup independent from iTunes. Then one option is to turn off iCloud / Contacts, to delete the iCloud contacts, then to synchronize and finally you reactivate iCloud / contacts and you resynchronize.

One more thing, don’t forget you can directly check what is on iCloud by going to https://www.icloud.com/.

I hope it helped.



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Symposium : Tribute to Benoit Mandelbrot at the Ecole Polytechnique

Posted by Harry Seldon on February 28, 2011

Tribute to Mandelbrot

A symposium specific to a tribute to Benoit Mandelbrot will take place at the Ecole Polytechnique on the 17th and 18th of March 2011. Entrance is free but upon registration :


Title of the event is “Universalities and fractals”. You can find the absolutely fascinating program at the previous address.
Here are just a few presentations :

  • Heinz-Otto Peitgen. University of Bremen and Florida Atlantic University « The Mandelbrot Set: Revitalizing Iteration Theory and Popularizing Mathematics »
  • Luciano Pietronero, Universita La Sapienza, Rome « Fractal Cosmology »
  • Laurent Calvet, HEC Paris et National Bureau of Economic Research (USA) « Risque extrême et régularité fractale en finance » (Extreme risk and fractal regularity in finance)
  • Jens Feder, Physics of Geological Process, Université d’Oslo, “Fractals flow and Fracture”
  • Peter Jones, Yale University « Product Formulas for Measures and Applications to Analysis »

By the way of this blog, I much thank the organizing committee as it seems to me that Mandelbrot was one of the greatest genius of the XXth century. I have been much awaiting this kind of tribute in France. That’s why I will deeply regret for a long time the fact that there is no way I can come on the Friday.

Here is a reminder of the few articles I wrote about Mandelbrot:

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Best videos about fractals chaos and Benoit Mandelbrot

Posted by Harry Seldon on October 19, 2010

Everything you have always wanted to know about fractals without daring to ask.

These two movies about fractals and chaos are amazing.

In French and in only one part here

Thank you Prof. Mandelbrot for teaching us how to describe nature !

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Tribute to Benoit Mandelbrot

Posted by Harry Seldon on October 18, 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot is, imho, the biggest genius of the XXth century and our time. His work has already technologically changed our world (CGI, cell phone antennas, processors shapes, unerstanding stock market krachs, etc.). But the day, the philosophy, the epistemology, behind his work is understood, the day, the “language of nature” that Mandelbrot taught us, is understood, this day, the world will be a lot more peaceful.

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Benoit Mandelbrot, father of the fractal theory, has just died

Posted by Harry Seldon on October 17, 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot is leaving us way too soon, even at 86. There is still so much to do to educate people about fractals.

I got the incredible luck to speak to him on the phone almost exactly one year ago (on the Sunday 24th of October 2009). He was still in good shape and he had quite a lot of projects. Among them, he was preparing a book of his memories. I hope he had the time to finish it.

I am shocked by this news.
All my thoughts go to his familly.

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My best jokes about the French Football Team

Posted by Harry Seldon on June 22, 2010

I have already tweeted these joke but here is a summary:

If you want to see Blues who run and are joyful see the Smurf trailer : http://yhoo.it/blOxoh

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Why this disaster of the French Football team?

Posted by Harry Seldon on June 22, 2010

To non French Football fans, here is an exchange with a friend about the mess in the French football team.

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Controls vs Chaos, a simple illustration

Posted by Harry Seldon on February 14, 2010

A visualization of chaos is given by fractals. I showed you the pictures of fractal trees taken during a walk at the Parc de Sceaux after a snowfall in Paris. But I had taken a few more pictures of the very beautiful French garden of this Park.
A French garden (“jardin à la française”) is a nice illustration of control. Basically, the gardener controls the shape of the trees. The proximity of the natural trees with their fractal shapes and the gardened trees allowed me to take great pictures that show this contrast between chaos and control.

Let’s begin with my preferred one:

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How did we get here? Chaos vs God

Posted by Harry Seldon on January 18, 2010

I love the description given by the BBC for their documentary “The Secret Life of Chaos” (which you can watch here).
As I have written a few articles about fractals, chaos and controls lately, I have added links internal to this blog to the text.

“Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to Chaos, one that scientists are only now beginning to understand. It turns out that chaos theory answers a question that mankind has asked for millennia - how did we get here?

In this documentary, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science -

  • how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life?
  • How does order emerge from disorder?

It’s a mindbending, counterintuitive and for many people a deeply troubling idea. But Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics.

Amazingly, it turns out that the mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern. The natural world is full of awe-inspiring examples of the way nature transforms simplicity into complexity. From trees to clouds to humans - after watching this film you’ll never be able to look at the world in the same way again.”

Notice that this introduction can be sum up by “Chaos vs God” or “Chaotical Design vs Intelligent Design”. However, anyway, one question remains: who created the laws of physics? Or how were created these laws of Physics, if you prefer ;-)

I have often privately said that James Gleick’s Chaos book gives clearer answers than the Bible about our world. Now is the time to say it publicly!

Enjoy the documentary!

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The Secret Life of Chaos (BBC 2010)

Posted by Harry Seldon on January 18, 2010

The BBC aired on Thursday, January 14th an excellent documentary about Chaos, Fractals and Nature. You can watch it right here thanks to YouTube. If you are in UK you can also watch it on the BBC website at this address.

I am glad the BBC helps making these subjects popular and fashionnable more than 20 years after James Gleick’s Chaos book.

Part 1

All parts follow.

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