Thursday, December 27, 2007

Open source software references search

I must have searched for some other term yesterday because today the Keyword Search for "Open Source Software" produced some 200 references.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

RefWorks practice happened last night.

I did a search for my thesis topic and then exported this list from the University of Ottawa library to a Refworks file. I then tried out the bibliography functions of RefWorks further. I used a Science Editor style (I have never heard of this style before) to format this bibliography. The oldest work on this list was from the 1960's. The list was short and included two terms. There is much searching to still be done and one missing search now is of journals and this practice was a Keyword search only of the University catalog. I searched for the terms "Open Source Software" and Software Documentation". The formated bibliography was four pages long. One author on this list was in fact, my future supervisor. So while searching can be done I would be right to actually read these references and especially my supervisor's work. Other catalog searches can still be done of other libraries in Canada and around the world hopefully with RefWorks friendly exports.

I am tired now and feeling easily up and excited and easily pleased with my self, but I also thought the topic of software documentation could be continued by me to the Ph.D level. I could really live with this topic, as I have practical experience working with the subject these days and may be some ideas about it and how to do good documentation. Can I turn this into a field for my studies though? The reason I like this topic also is because it is a slightly literary topic in the field of technical writing which was something the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig did for work after he went on his voyage of recovery and exploration of quality. This book was influential with me in my early college years late high school studies. I also had roommates and later band mates who also read this book and whom I admired. I later learned to rethink this admiration but kept the Robert M. Pirsig story and concepts he wrote about in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance alive in my thoughts. When younger I wanted to have a career in technical writing. That direction I gave up. May be now is the time for a return to this field as a student and theory writer rather than an actual technical writer. Of course his book is considered philosophy. See this Wikepedia entry for this book. I also trust that my boss has said software documentation is a very important topic thus agreeing with my supervisor.

I also practiced with a search for a rare health topic that produced 994 records. This list I formated in APA style both with and without abstracts. I then started to copy these to note cards in Second Life. I am not done that but it was fun to push the length limits of note cards in Second Life and I broke up the bibliography into different letter sets. I mostly had to go one note card per letter of the alphabet with the long APA list with abstracts. This later transfer is not complete yet in Second Life.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I will start to use RefWorks to start my thesis reading list.

The paper I read the other day really begins my thesis with one topic I have so far chosen. Thus I need to start recording citations. I can not use this blog alone thus should be using RefWorks again for only the second time now.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I read a paper on open source software in computer science education.

I read a brief paper that covered Open Source licenses. It also covered the benefits of open source software for teaching students of computer science.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reading and doing hands on learning in R.

I was able to get R up and running with a basic linear models book for R. The book is
Faraway, Julian J. Linear Models with R (Boca Raton, FL: Chapman & Hall/ CRC, 2005).
I read the first chapter finally. Then I installed the author's R package faraway then applied this command library(faraway). I then started the first problem in chapter 1 and produced some summary statistics and linear model graphs with the data set teengamb about teen age gambling. I talked to some coworkers about R at our Christmas lunch. I continue to work mostly in SAS at my day job.

I have been reading some pretty kooky American book on surveillance.

The book I am reading on the bus these days is
Jensen, Derrick, and Draffon, George. Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control (White River Junction, VT.: Chelsea Green, 2004).
These guys are Kooks. They are also not against guns because they fear the FBI will still have guns if they give them up. Thus America and even its scholars it seems are stuck in cycle of violence. The questions brought up by this book are valid though. They briefly cover Foucault, Weber, Marx and claim an ecological moral higher ground. The paragraph on 104-105 is a well written paragraph on vivisection; shocking in its poetry. But still this book is Kooky conspiracy theory stuff although a good critical view of science and the inhumanity of geeks and science fictions generally.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ethics and law.

I am reading a piece that divides Deontological ethics out as European and Consequential as American. That seems too simple but the writer then examines intellectual property and also privacy with these views. This was an article sent to me by Charles Ess after I asked him about research ethics and the differences between world privacy laws and their effects on research ethics. I am wondering if a better paper is possible with less of a simplistic view. I have just started to read it and found it on the Internet using google scholar. I am also reading a piece published by my employer Statistics Canada on the social impact of information and communications technologies.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I did do well with my final exam.

The marks are in and I did well with my exam. I am also getting a second chance with a workplace decision. I must prepare for this Monday and have some notes others at work have given me for this. It mainly concerns managing my own time and I have been studying on Friday evening the topic of procrastination.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My exam is done. I thought I did well.

I usually know how I did on an exam. I think I did very well on this one. I had answers for all questions. I was not too stumped by anything. A few problems I came back to and did not solve until later in the exam as final problems. I should have studied a little more. I answered the multiple choice questions all on the first pass except for one question. I read all the long problems before answering those. Then most of my time was spent answering the long questions. It took me only two hours to write the three hour exam. It officially ended fifteen minutes ago but I was done an hour and a quarter ago.

I have now completed reviewing chapters 4 and scanned chapters 5-7.

Really these are the significant chapters for our final exam. I understand the recourse methods of chapter 5 and stochastic programming but should review the approach and the expected value approach as these are important in statistics. I also understand the topics of chapters 6 and 7 and need to review these fully. I am reviewing at the last minute because this will keep this fresh in my mind.

I intend to go to the professor's pre-exam office hours just before the exam and also register for the next term. I also want to return a book to the library this afternoon after the exam. Then I will place a hold on the book. It is The R Book by Michael Crawley. It is 1000 pages long almost and I only managed to read about 20 pages of it so far. But someone else has recalled it so it is due back at the library this week. I also want to pick up some posters from a student group so I can poster for them.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Progress update. Chapter 3 now read. Chapter 4 started.

Well I did not read all the notes today but I have at least one more day to study and that is Tuesday. I did complete reading chapter 3 and got most of the way through chapter 4. I read the MatLab code for creating neural networks in the MatLab software even though we will not be tested on that at all. I wish I could list what topics I studied today but I am tired and still need to buy my wife some coke before sleeping. I have a very busy day at work tomorrow and then a relaxing community Christmas dinner right after work. I will be ready and rested for a good day of study Tuesday. I also read more statistics research today and more basic statistics problem solving and continue to read a book on statistical literacy, that is the product of years of research into the Australian school system.

I also sent one helpful, I hope academic email to a professor at MSU who is preparing a masters of arts course on organizations and technology. I also sent an email to my old boss, the normal instructor of the survey sampling course at Carleton updating her on my progress at work.

Review progresses for exam study.

My exam is on Wednesday at 2:00 PM. I have spent some time this morning reviewing the course notes. I read the first two chapters so far today. I will report my progress here. I have my wish that the exam cover all topics. The Professor has promised that there will be questions covering each topic on the exam. I have five chapters to still review. I want to do one complete review of the notes today before I sleep for the day. I have a big day of work on Monday. I want to work early and late and earn some time off later on in the month. We also are reaching the end of a project this week. I also have Tuesday and Wednesday off work. Then I am back for Thursday and Friday. I do have charity dinner to attend this week, in fact, checking the web calendar now, I find the dinner is Monday at 5:00 PM. This means I will miss a Second Life event. It also means I can not work too late on Monday only about one hour.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Our project is nearly completed.

Our programmer reported that the software is now working but there are still some build errors. These used to be called compile errors in the old days. At any rate, I am working on the final write up. Actually another student did the write up and I am only proof reading and rewriting it now. We are meeting again Tuesday evening to finalize our work. Our project is due Wednesday and I think we will do fine. So after this there is the final exam in under two weeks then another graduate school course is completed.