Friday, September 26, 2008

The course textbook and my progress with it.

My course textbook was written by the professor and his predecessor who taught this course in modeling and simulations for some thirty years. We will meet this older professor as he is going to give a guest lecture. The book for our course then is
Birta, Louis G. and Gilbert Abez. Modeling and Simulation: Exploring Dynamic Systems Behaviour (London: Springer, 2007).

I have read the first chapter expect for the last three short sections including the bibliography. This chapter introduces modeling and simulations. The chapter motivates the reading of the book and covers some roots of simulation work.

I have also read most of the second chapter now but skimmed over the mathematics parts. I read this chapter on the bus from Toronto to Ottawa last Sunday. This is the chapter that covers the structure and form that our term project must take. This form also resembles the systems engineering life cycle process form I learned last winter.

I skipped chapter three which is about data modeling because I know a fair amount of this from my statistics background. The chapter also covers and introduces to me random variates which I could during the lecture guess existed in Java libraries. Now I may learn random variates both mathematically and of course in the context of numerical analysis and the computer math needed to do this. We will do this in Java but can do it in any other language that has a RND uniform random number generator ability. I may come back and scan read chapter three before our first quiz and for our final exam. I will make sure to carefully read the section on random variates.

The fourth chapter is where we are presently in the lectures and I admit I am behind on reading it.

After reading The University of Google, I can really appreciate the quality of this course. It is probably the continuity between the professors that makes the work that goes into this course possible. But I am not so sure that the author of The University of Google who taught media and the professor I am facing who is a computer science professor can be compared or would see the creation of lectures in the same way. All put lot of work into their lectures and that is why the lectures have this quality. I fully intend to use the form and conceptual modeling that these computer science professors have developed to do the conceptual model for my thesis simulation.

Three more chapters read now of The Making of Second Life

I have now read three more chapters of this journalistic book:
Au, Wagner James. The Making of Second Life: Notes From the New World (New York: Collins, 2008).

Au covers the idea of crowds and democracy in Second Life as one of his themes and fully admits that the masters of Second Life that is Linden labs hope to promote a libertarian style democracy. He covers early attempts to make Second Life a socially vibrant world with rules imposed on it from above like rating systems. There are rating systems in Second Life for the objects in the game that players build and then see. As well as, there are rating systems for the avatars. He also explains how these low paying jobs in Second Life such as siting in a chair for money or cleaning windows in a shop came about and this was new material I have not come across before.

In the next chapter, he looks at role playing and identity, covering furries and gender bending. He quotes Turkle at one point.

This leads nicely into the next chapter where he covers avatar sex and of course ends with the familiar detective agencies in Second Life story. He also has some good writing on the meaning and sensations of sexuality through the computer screen. He also does not use Second Life for sexual play and shows that this is a minor but sensational aspect of the game. He ends up telling a few romance stories as well.

In the following chapter he covers politics and video gaming warfare by covering the now familiar Jessie sim story. But he looks at it in the context of the war in Iraq showing what happens when war mongers and peace niks mix in their politics to the game Second Life. He does not resolve the politics very well but then he covers the general views of politics and apathy well.

The book Generation Blender becomes more complex in covering seniors

The book I found ageist is still being read. It is
Salkowitz, Rob. Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age Gap (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008)

I am now on the chapter that covers a charity in New York City, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS). In this chapter Rob was correct he look at the issue of a certain age of workers using technology with perhaps more nuance. At least he claims that OATS has done a great deal of work with making their training age appropriate.

I can also see now scanning the table of contents that this is a Microsoft book because it speaks of the great potential that will be realised in people if they use technology. This seems to be the same as Microsoft TV adds. I buy this whole viewpoint. I fully believe it took my use of technology to unleash my potential.

Pre-thesis study book getting read

I read some of this book on my trip to Toronto on the bus. The book is
Brachman, Ronald and Hector Levesque. Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (San Francisco, Calf.: Morgan Kaufmann, 2004).
I have now this morning started to read chapter 2 on First Order Logic. I first studied logic under the influence of Sam Ajzenstat in Hamilton. I read the beginnings of a book on predicate logic in the spring of 1981 or may be it was the fall of 1980. I formally took a course in symbolic logic in the summer of 1996 and this was my first course in university after being away from school for ten years. I basically failed this symbolic logic course. It was the first university course I took with TV lectures. In other words it was distance learning.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quick read on Second Life.

I am breezing through this book:

Au, Wagner James. The Making of Second Life: Notes From the New World (New York: Collins, 2008).
Basically a brief history of select aspects of the Second Life world. It includes behind the scenes view of the founding of the company Linden Labs and also the origins of the Gibson sim so far.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reading goals begin for my course

The Java book I have now started to read is

Liang, Y. Daniel. Introduction to Java Programming Core Vision 5th (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2004).
I jumped right into chapter one a few days ago and am now on Chapter 1.12 the last section in chapter 1. I probably need to read 14 chapters of this book to be able to do course home work. This is 545 pages of reading. I have about two weeks to do this. Thus I need to quickly read the first five chapters about the elementary programming materials in about three or four days. I will try to read two more chapters today and then chapter 4 on Monday and chapter 5 on Tuesday. Then the following five chapters cover object oriented programming and I will try to read these Thursday through the weekend. Then start the chapters 11 through fourteen next week. These cover GUI programming. Then the last week of the month read anything not read yet and complete exercises. I should revaluate this reading plan after class on Monday's and also when I get the course textbook.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Welcome to Java!

I wrote, compiled and ran the intro "Welcome to Java!" simple print to screen program on both the eMac and the Debian machine. On the eMac there was nothing to install to get it to work. On Debian I needed to install a free SDK for Java and run time environment but I got the program to work under Linux as well. So today's learning goals were completed and I even set aside time to do this study. But I did not run the program in Windows.

Books I am presently reading for class, thesis, work and fun and/or business.

My professor loaned me a book to learn Java programming. My goal today is to write a "Hello, World." program in Java on three operating systems residing on two computers. But I also have a power point slide show to make for work as volunteer work on workers with disabilitiies and employment equity. I have just this past week learned to write, "Hello, world!" in PHP from the book:

Williams, Hugh E. and David Lane. Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL 2nd (Sebastopol, Calf.: O'Reilly Media, 2004).
I will test that now. Um it does not seem to show up. The code is.. arg! I can not write it unless I use some escape character magic like this <?php print "Hello, world!"; ?>.

The Java book is

Liang, Y. Daniel. Introduction to Java Programming Core Vision 5th (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2004).
This is for school and our first simulation programming assignments. These will be done programming in Java.

For my thesis my new possible supervisor has suggested I read

Brachman, Ronald and Hector Levesque. Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (San Francisco, Calf.: Morgan Kaufmann, 2004).
This book is from the Q 387 range in the library and is on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). I started to read this on Tuesday and Wednesday, as soon as, I borrowed it but did not read it Thursday.

For work I am reading

McDaniel, Stephen and Chris Hemedinger. SAS For Dummies (Indianapolis, Ind.: For Dummies, 2007).
This book I bought used from Amazon and paid less than 5 dollars and with the next book paid less than 15$ including shipping. Both books are new. I set a goal that if this book arrived today I would read the first chapter today which I did. I also read the introduction today.

The other book to arrive today from Amazon was an official guide to Second Life book. This one is the guide to creating content. Here is the cite:
Weber, Aimee, Kimberly Rufer-Bach and Richard Platel. Creating Your World: The Official Guide to Advanced Content Creation for Second Life (Indianapolis, Ind.: Sybex, 2007).
I had planned to read the first chapter today, but only read the front materials up to the first chapter.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

First class went well. Textbook in the mail.

Our first class went well last night. I will most probably be adapting Dr. Arbez's conceptual framework for simulations to my thesis simulation. The professor asked me about my second life involvement. I am going to be learning JAVA and the professor loaned me a basic Java textbook from first year computer science to study.

I ordered the course textbook used from Amazon and it is in the mail as of today.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I am studying one course this term: Foundations on Modeling and Simulation

Here is the calendar description of my course this term.

Foundations on Modeling and Simulation
Fundamental aspects of system modeling and the simulation process. Elements of continuous system simulation. Issues relating to the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations. Elements of discrete event simulation. Generation of random numbers and variates. Simulation validation and quality assurance. Introduction to simulation languages.