## September 15, 2012

### The Distress of the Privileged

My RSS reader showed me an article this week I enjoyed: The Distress of the Privileged. I was interested in this article because I value social justice. I also work and study in a university where many people are trying very hard to eliminate racism, particularly toward Aboriginal people, and to become a more inclusive and welcoming place. This means that privileged people are being asked to examine their privilege so that they can better understand the issues that are invisible to them but harmful toward Aboriginal people. This article looks at a privileged person, a 1950s western married white man, and presents an analogy that could help privileged and unprivileged people understand each other's perspective.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on September 15, 2012 09:57 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## June 07, 2012

### /ragequit

I learned a new word. To "ragequit" means to quit reading something because the otherwise competent author said something discriminatory (ex: sexist or racist), giving such a stench to the article that you can't read another word. Often, this is disappointing because the topic might have been quite interesting or relevant if not for the author's bigotry. (Update: Ok, I also learned that "ragequit" is also used more generally, for example, you ragequit a video game because you are losing.)

The first time I heard it was from Xeni Jardin, when she said,
"I ragequit this article like, 10 times, and couldn't get past that awful opening line." in reference to David Streitfeld's New York Times article, "Lawsuit Shakes Foundation of a Man’s World of Tech". (This is not a joke, the first sentence of this article is actually: "MEN invented the Internet." Way to gloss over the existence of all the women whose work has also contributed to the existence of the Internet!)

I had a similar experience when I picked up a book on game theory and was slapped in the face with the author's presentation that women are not the ones doing game theory, they are the sex objects who serve to distract the game theorist, who is of course, male. I totally ragequit that book.

This happened AGAIN when I picked up A Game of Thrones and read the first page. One of the characters said something to shame breastfeeding. As a breastfeeding mother, I ragequit this book. I can understand that the book is FICTION and it's just something a character said, not something the author themselves actually believe. But, was it really necessary for the author to shame breastfeeding to accomplish whatever goal they had for weaving this part of the story? I don't know. I'm going to pick up the book and try again sometime soon.

But it's cool to have a word for this now. :) Ragequit.

I predict that some people would say that if you are ragequitting all the time, you are being too sensitive. But that's a mistake. In fact, discrimination is so rampant that everyone is just used to it!!! Since you see so many people ragequitting, it shows how far away our society actually is from equal treatment of everyone.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on June 07, 2012 07:08 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## June 14, 2011

### TLt 2011

So, check it out, I am presenting one of the concurrent sessions at the TLt conference tomorrow. Here is the session abstract and my bio. I wish I had re-worded the 3rd sentence. What I really meant was "Can an institutionally-supported system offer more than disconnected individual public class web pages created by instructors using modern new social media tools". Or something like that. And I don't want to communicate the message that a central infrastructure is better than individual instructor web pages. Because it isn't. A centrally supported open courseware architecture is better than ZERO instructor web pages, which is what we are getting in many cases. If the institution makes it easy, then it works out better for everyone.

Public Class Pages (Open CourseWare) at the University of Saskatchewan
Stephanie Frost, University Learning Centre, University of Saskatchewan

Come and join a discussion about Open CourseWare and Public Class Pages! What is your experience with housing eLearning content outside of a course management system, or giving your class page a public face? Can an institutionally-supported system offer more than social media tools alone? Share your experiences, or just come and listen to the story about developments at the U of S. This session will include a demonstration of the U of S Public Class Pages (Open CourseWare) tools in development, an invitation from participants to share similar initiatives from their own institutions, and a discussion about open educational resources in general.

Stephanie Frost works at the University Learning Centre, University of Saskatchewan as Coordinator - Online Support. Programs at the ULC include Math Help, Writing Help, Community Service-Learning, the PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) Peer Mentor program, Learning Communities, and other projects. Stephanie graduated with a B.Sc. in Computer Science in 2004 and is currently working on her M.Sc., where her research interest is artificial intelligence in education. She is also interested in open scholarship, knowledge representation and philosophy.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on June 14, 2011 04:22 PM | Comments (2) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 26, 2011

### OpenStudy

OpenStudy.com is a neat-o tool that goes with Open CourseWare. For example, if MIT has an OpenCourseWare class ("Physics I: Classical Mechanics"), then they would also create an OpenStudy group to correspond to the open courseware class. Then, anyone from around the world can join the study group and ask each other very specific questions about the class material in the OpenCourseWare. MIT offers the service of allowing access to the class materials. OpenStudy offers the service of hosting the communication tools. The students do the rest.

I think the U of S has a very interesting approach and I wonder how we might use something like OpenStudy. See, our OpenCourseWare is unlike MIT in that we don't have full courses online. Instead, we allow instructors to place bits and pieces online, little snippets here and there. It's up to the student to build their own "worlds" of content and course resources. Instead of having an OpenStudy group correspond to a particular course, then, maybe OpenStudy should correspond to something like a Learning Community theme. (example: Hiebert Learning Community: Human Mind: thought, perception, memory, emotion, and imagination: Philosophy 120.3 – Psychology 110.6 (AR08)I wish I were a professor teaching a class so I could try this out!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 26, 2011 10:03 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 21, 2011

### Sweet, TED video showing my research area

I would like to thank my colleague Dan Neilson for recommending this TED talk to me:

Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education

Now, whenever people ask me about my research area, I just have to refer them to this TED talk!

I would say that my primary research objective is to figure out how to automatically generate the knowledge map that Kahn talks about. Maybe. I have to think about this before I can really say.

Recently, I completed a class project along the same lines but emphasized a factor that wasn't really highlighted in the talk. I built a simulation model that looks at the activity that students create around the learning objects (for instance, the Kahn videos). Any new ideas that students have or new videos that they create on their own would be added to the Knowledge Map (using the Kahn Academy terminology). My model uncovered patterns like, "How are the experiences of other students impacted based on how much the other students are adding to the learning environment and shaping it?"

I am going to read through my term paper to make sure it is OK for copyright and then post it on Scribd.

.... OK I did it. Wooo! I hope I followed all the Copyright rules right. I am acutely conscious of the imperfections in my paper and worry, worry worry, but, heck, I really want to share so here it goes.

A Simulation Model for eLearning: Course Planning in the Participative Web

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 21, 2011 01:39 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 19, 2011

### Women in Biology

Thanks to my colleague Liv for passing along this great website, by U of S professor Peta Bonham-Smith (Biology prof).

About this site: It provides a starting point for finding information for biologists who happen to be women. It is a list of bookmarks to the ample original content already available on the web. Many of the links are aimed towards women who are graduate students, postdocs, or more senior scientists, but there are also sites relevant to undergraduates or even high school students who may be contemplating a career in biology.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 19, 2011 10:53 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## March 21, 2011

### Flipping stuff: real and imaginary numbers

My dad was telling me about some stories behind $e$, and my brother chimed in with this cool story.

Imagine a Cartesian plane with 2 axes. The real numbers go on X and the imaginary numbers go on Y, like so:

Now imagine any 2D shape you can draw on this plane. Or just a big flat plane. Now think of the whole shape rotating around. Now, think of an individual point on the shape, like, say the point lands on the Real number 3. My brother said, now, multiply your number 3 by i to get 3i. Where would you plot this?

I was a little confused as to what the answer might be, as you can tell by the two dots. The correct answer is that 3i sits directly on the y-axis. For myself, I just take this as part of the definition of the y-axis... it is arranged to synchronize with the x-axis by multiplying i by the corresponding x at each tick. I think.

Anyway, the point is that you can rephrase "multiplication by i" to mean "rotating 90 degrees". Is that right?

If yes, then how does this help us? Well, the whole point of the conversation was to tell a story behind e.

Unfortunately, I am running out of time to type this! :( The gold at the end of the rainbow was an idea that "e" is actually a pivot point between dimensions, kind of, because the derivative of e to the x is e to the x. I wanted to draw an analogy between this pivot point and a gestalt shift in the perspective of language, as described in Pinker's The Stuff of Thought. Further, I wanted to bring in the idea of testimony and agency, because, Pinker's gestalt shift uses a notion of perspective, which I think can be drawn to the weighting of evidence. There are some important knowledge engineering questions that need to happen here!!! The other thing was that e to the pi * i = -1.

Sometimes I can sneak away 15 or 30 minutes of quiet in the morning before my daughter wakes up. If possible, I will be back within the next few days before these ideas die to continue the elaboration!

For now, gotta run. :(

Note to self:

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 21, 2011 06:54 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

### Notation preference and anxiety

Consider the following two expressions.

$0x +1x + 2x + 3x + ...$

and

$\sum_{i=0} ^{\infty}i{x}$

While going to school, I was certainly most comfortable with the first one. However, during a recent conversation with my brother and my parents (yes, we talk about math for fun in my family -- I am so lucky!!) I realized that I am thoroughly accustomed to the second one.

In fact, when I looked upon the first, I felt some anxiety because the entirety of the pattern was not stated explicitly. It was just sort of assumed that it would continue in the same fashion. Without the summation notation, I was not entirely confident that the pattern wouldn't do something funky when I wasn't looking, i.e. that I might misread it by accident.

And after that, I delighted in the thought of feeling anxiety about a form of mathematical notation. Hence, this entry! I wish I could have told this story to myself 10 years ago. I remember feeling silly or inferior for not feeling comfortable with the second format right away. The only reason I am comfortable with it now is that I've had a chance to work with it in several different fashions over the last decade. (well, longer actually).

So, to that young woman I would have said, "Meh, just use the one you are comfortable with. It might just change by itself with time!"

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 21, 2011 06:37 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## March 18, 2011

### Racism, Sexism, and other bad things

I am lucky to know several people who are actively doing things in their lives to try and stop racism, sexism, and other bad things. I think that I have always known that these things were wrong, but throughout my life I have struggled to try and put a finger on them, to really understand them. For example, being a woman in computer science: Could I explain the impact of sexism? Or, for being a white person and not having experienced very much or any racism at all in my life: Could I identify anything I could do to stop it?

For me, it helps to understand a little better, to get specific. During my experience, I have gathered 3 points that have helped me clarify why "-isms" are bad. I am sharing these below in case they can help someone else in their own personal journey as well.

Here are the three points that helped clarify my own understanding:
1. you shouldn't judge someone by something they have no control over, for example: eye colour, skin colour, sex, sexual orientation. Basing a decision on this can be problematic, particularly if the decision affects people (example: forming a policy, allocating a resource)
2. you can't assume that an individual automatically has an attribute that is part of the stereotype of their group. Because they might not! and, it would not be fair to the individual.
3. you can't assume that one's own experience is the same as another's. I learned that "privilege" is how the world is set up to accommodate a certain group of people; Privileged people have advantages that they they think are normal. I like these excerpts by Betty: " Privilege is a big bag of stuff you are not forced to think about. ... Have you ever wondered why a certain colour is called "flesh-tone"? Have you ever worried that the way you act might cause someone to judge your entire race?" (end excerpts.) So, a white person might say "Racism isn't a problem anymore" because that white person never actually experiences racism. Their privilege made them blind. It is important to recognize that privilege can blind you to some things, and this is why you cannot assume that another person's experience or perception is the same as your own.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 18, 2011 07:30 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## March 16, 2011

### Learning Specialists Association of Canada

This looks like a valuable network of people:

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 16, 2011 09:41 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## March 12, 2011

### How simulations are used in the field of Education

I think I can imagine 5 different ways in which simulations are used in educational environments:

1) simulations to do administrative/logistical planning: scheduling teachers, class times, student loads, timetables (example)

2) simulations for pedagogical use: Giving students the opportunity to apply knowledge in a simulation environment. There are a HUGE number of these; this might be the biggest category. I would put "Serious Games" into this category. (example)

3) simulations to evaluate teachers, teacher training (see this earlier blog entry for an example)

4) simulations for what I am trying to do: Inform teacher decisions to select which activities to plan, watch how students create learning objects and to acknowledge that "we shape the learning objects and the learning objects shape us". Example: Teacher could say "okay, what if we do assignment 4 before assignment 2, what might happen? What if we make assignment 6 a group assignment?" Just letting the teacher play with different options and parameters to see the possible impact on educational outcomes

5) perhaps more of an ethnographic / sociological study, of how knowledge travels among groups of students (memes, spread of delusion, evolution of knowledge, study of group learning)

What do you think? Can you imagine any other categories?

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 12, 2011 12:01 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

### Research predecessor

I just leafed through the Master's thesis of one of my intellectual predecessors. Although I never knew his name before today, Robert Ascroft did some work in 1978 to design a computer simulation in the area of instructional planning, like me! His thesis title was, "Design of a Simulation to Asess Pre-Instructional Planning Skills of Teachers".

I looked at the source code in the appendix of the thesis and felt VERY LUCKY that today, computer programming is far less about the computer and far more about the ideas and processes themselves.

Also, today, I am lucky that we have advanced the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and know more about effective teaching than we did 33 years ago (although still not enough!).

I also see a perspective of work being more toward "building tools to empower teachers & students" and less about using the computer to evaluate the teachers' performance.

A question that I see is still very alive today in this work is the listing of "choices" given to teachers. For example, for the simulation teachers had to decide "when to ask" a student a certain type of question. However, instead of paying attention to which choice the teacher made and evaluating whether it was optimal, I would be happy to give the computer the whole set of choices, so it can start to gather whatever resources the teacher needs, and predict the path the teacher might go, so that the computer can show the right tools and supports and information that the teacher might need, regardless of which action they pick.

There was also reference to another computer simulation that allowed the teacher to perform an "instructional move" and the computer would simulate student responses. This is definitely in common with what I am doing, however, I am also putting huge emphasis on the modelling of learning objects and their growth and behaviour. I note that student can create learning objects, which can be re-used by other teachers and students (or not!).

It was also a very valuable exercise for me to read though a full example of experiment, evaluation and assessment (including some statistical chi-squared calculations!).

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 12, 2011 11:24 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## February 20, 2011

### Detecting a shift

You know, since I have been learning about process modelling (system dynamics, agent-based modelling) I am finding that representation is becoming less of a problem for my research. A large chunk of my blog to date has been about exploring different tools, particularly from artificial intelligence, for representing my problem. Now I am receiving an influx of new possibilities, with scaffolding for dealing with time, to boot!

It will take a long time for this to settle, I think. I am excited to work though my ideas again using these new perspectives!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on February 20, 2011 02:01 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## February 04, 2011

### Oxford's BA program - Computer Science + Philosophy

This thing of beauty was recently forwarded to me by my colleague Chris Brooks:

Oxford introduces BA in Computer Science and Philosophy

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on February 04, 2011 09:37 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## December 09, 2010

### Journals vs. Blogs

Here is a kick butt entry from Dr. Isis The Scientist that explores the nature of scientific discussions that go in Science Blogging vs. which ones go in journal publications. Love it!!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on December 09, 2010 06:48 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## November 08, 2010

### Jean-Claude Bradley on Open Science

Thanks to DeDe (blog) for passing on this link from a Science Librarian listserve, STS-L, about Jean-Claude Bradely as a leader of Open Notebook Science.

http://www.infotoday.com/it/sep10/Poynder.shtml

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on November 08, 2010 01:24 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## November 02, 2010

### Technology Week 2010

This week at the University of Saskatchewan, it's Technology Week.

This year, I have the pleasure of being a panelist at one of the sessions, Open Educational Resources, because of the Public Class Pages (Open CourseWare) project I'm involved with as part of my job.

As part of my segment, I'm going to plug the Open Scholar Facebook group. hehe

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on November 02, 2010 12:32 PM | Comments (0) categorized under accomplishments Tweet

## October 25, 2010

I LOVE it when publications have a cover page that includes something to the effect of:

How to cite this article: Birnholtz, Jeremy, Ranjan, Abhishek and Balakrishnan, Ravin (201) 'Providing Dynamic Visual Information for Collaborative Tasks: Experiments with Automatic Camera Control', Human-Computer Interaction, 25:3,261-287.

If I ever produced a document and I wanted to refer to this article, everything I need is RIGHT HERE! Normally, I defer to APA style but I can never remember the syntax. It's a time sink to have to go and look it up each time. But if I just copy/paste this, mwuahhahahaaa!

Also, the Papers software that I use does produce a BIB export which is actually better than copy/pasting a citation like the above, but, even though it's getting better, it's still a tad tedious to get the data fields into the software in the first place.

La, la, la, I'm so happy!

In other news, Dr. Birnholtz is coming to the U of S to give a talk (sorry I can't find a permalink; here is the announcement page that currently shows some info about this talk). Unfortunately, I have a schedule conflict with 2 meetings during the time of his talk, so that is why I went Googling to find his paper instead. Which in turn prompted this blog entry.

OK I will get back to work now.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on October 25, 2010 10:40 AM | Comments (1) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## October 21, 2010

### Purple2

Update from my previous post: Wearing purple is to recognize the recent suicide deaths of LGBTQ youth.

http://womensrights.change.org/blog/view/wear_purple_to_honor_lgbt_suicides

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on October 21, 2010 05:06 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

### Purple

Wow. I just watched a video that was very honest, very personal and very eye-opening. It reminded me of my privilege, being a heterosexually-oriented person I have far fewer challenges in my life than people who are not necessarily heterosexual, including but not necessarily limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning.

Here is a link to the video.

The emotional response I had, I think, caused something to "turn" -- an anger, maybe? - where if I see someone being mean to someone else for this reason, my anger will be strong enough to make me speak out in defense of the person being mistreated, instead of staying silent and trying to forget about it. I should even do more... like, speaking up in defense is really "neutral" and not saying anything is "bad".

In other words, Let's no longer "Assume" that everyone walking around the street is either Male or Female and Nothing Else. Let's no longer assume that every woman you see would be romantically attracted only to a man, and that every man you see walking down the street would only be romantically attracted to a woman. Let's recognize the difference between "sex" and "gender". That is, "sex" means the biology you were born with, i.e. the organs you are equipped with, while "gender" is a cultural thing that can be linked to things like the type of clothing you choose, behaviours etc.. For instance, a person born with female organs may be much more comfortable wearing male clothing and being referred to with pronouns like "he" instead of "she". Those who do not fit the "mainstream" expectation are fully human and normal and are to be treated with all the rights and privileges as anyone else.

The reason I entitled this entry "Purple" is that there was a Spirit Day on our campus recently where you could choose to wear a Purple shirt to show support for people who are not necessarily heterosexually-oriented, and in the same direction to encourage continuing change in society.

UPDATE Update from my previous post: Wearing purple is to recognize the recent suicide deaths of LGBTQ youth. Here is more information about the reason behind wearing purple: http://womensrights.change.org/blog/view/wear_purple_to_honor_lgbt_suicides

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on October 21, 2010 07:55 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## October 12, 2010

### Open Scholarship includes Open Notebook Science and Internet Mentorship

I think that there are a couple important needs that Open Scholarship is filling, including Open Notebook Science (sharing data, techniques, results, content) as well as Networking Support & Mentorship. I think that both increase access to the discipline, allowing more people to contribute, and both improve the quality of the work done in the discipline. ('Mental note to find data to back this up.) Other components to Open Scholarship might include Open Educational Resources, like for undergraduates. (there is a short but relevant discussion thread about this on the Open Scholar Facebook group, *waves to DL!)

These thoughts were sparked by a cool article (via Thus Spake Zuska) about geoscientists using the Internet for professional networking and mentorship: GSA Today (Geological Society of America), October 2010 issue: The Internet as a resource and support network for diverse geoscientists [A. J. Jefferson, K. A. Hannula, P B. Campbell & S. E. Franks]. (PDF)

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on October 12, 2010 11:31 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## July 15, 2010

### Great Minds at the U of S

One of my colleagues sent this link - Great Minds at the University of Saskatchewan.

It was not clear to me what the purpose of the site is, but I think it's a way for researchers to put themselves forward as willing to answer questions from the public. I think.

It seems like a good idea, but there's something missing. Like, if a person lists themselves as an expert on, say, "Artificial Intelligence" still, how do you know the types of questions to send them? For example, if I were on there myself, I would be happy to talk about theory, applications, relevant software engineering paradigms, tools, methodologies.... but what if someone asks me, "Should Intelligent Robots have Human Rights?" and I would say something like, "I don't really care, that's not an issue right now." But that kind of response would be detrimental to the whole endeavour.

I have a solution to the problem. Researchers wanting public discourse in their area should have blogs. It gives people something to latch onto and some frame of reference to the researcher's interests.

But you can't force someone to have a blog. It has to come from a desire to share and a desire to explore.

The other thing I have learned is that relationships are important. You can't have good, deep discussion about research on a Q/A basis. Believe me, I've tried! You need a handful of people in your life who have a rough understanding of what you're working on and can sort of track your progress as you chit-chat about challenges and successes. The really good discussion doesn't often happen because of a Q/A -- I mean, it does sometimes -- but you kind of have to lubricate the system with familiarity. Online, this is easy to do by skimming other people's RSS feeds/status updates from their blog, and commenting or whatever on things that pique your emotions. Then it's easy to drop an idea or ask a quick question. This is how information flows, and this is how knowledge grows.

But there is more, yet, that I have yet to figure out. I still feel huge barriers between myself and other researchers. Not everyone does research the way I do ("Open Scholarship") and as a good academic citizen I have to learn "The Old Way" so I can cooperate with "Normal" people. This is very hard as a parent of a toddler with a full-time job. Very hard.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on July 15, 2010 08:48 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## June 18, 2010

I thought this was just about the greatest thing in the world: (link to example of) Online Reading Groups.

I would like to participate in or organize one such event for my field. Realistically, I do not have time for this right now, but the bug is in my ear. Look out, AI people!!!!

The concept reminds me a little of the Scientiae Blog Carnival.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on June 18, 2010 12:15 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

### Meetings

I figured it out. I know why I have so many meetings! As I normally do on Fridays, this morning I studied my calendar for the following week to get a sense of what I expect to accomplish. Then I spent a moment thinking about my work life now as compared to my previous job, and noticed that since I've been employed at the university, I have WAY more meetings.

This bemused me a little over the years, but, as I said in my opening phrase: I figured it out. I know why I have so many meetings!

It's because I work on a campus with thousands of other staff/faculty. Back when I worked for the school division, there was only like 80 people in the office building. With a smaller number of people, there is only so much you need to talk about with each other. When I had to meet with staff out in school locations, one of the parties had to get in their car and drive across the city. The Board Office was located downtown, where parking was horrible. It was an expensive operation to have meetings. Most of the buildings nearby contained people who worked for totally different organizations.

But on campus, there's so many more people to work with, and it's so EASY to set up meetings because most people's offices are within walking distance of each other.

Next week, I have 14 meetings. That is higher than normal. The following week, I have 7, which is much more typical, for me, this year. I have only been working in this position for 3 years so I don't have enough data to say confidently what a good average would be for summers in general.

I think that too many meetings is a bad thing. I think that I'm more productive when I'm by myself in my office. But, I'm an introvert. I recognize that other people are most productive in meetings, so, I try to find a happy medium. Also, there are certain kinds of decisions and discussion that are far more effective in person, and you can make bigger strides with a project during meetings, to a point.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on June 18, 2010 08:09 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 31, 2010

### Congratulations, Subhabrata!

Subhabrata just sent me a note to tell me that he experienced great success recently with his Machine Translation system. En lieu of e-mailing him directly, I am putting an entry here. :)

I am very happy for you, Subhabrata! Do you plan to publish your new findings? If so, I would be excited to read more detail about your work and I would like to link to you from this blog.

Have a great day!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 31, 2010 08:44 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 27, 2010

### Subhabrata

This entry is to say HELLO to my pen pal, Subhabrata Banerjee, a Bengali cognitive scientist and linguist. I no longer e-mail Subhabrata directly because he was having computer virus problems and I understand that he wanted to minimize risk by accepting fewer e-mails from me. :D But we shared many good messages back and forth. I learned about different names for every month of the year!

Subhabrata published work about Natural Language Processing. From my limited understanding, this system could analyze documents in multiple languages and build a central "corpora" (or library of sorts?) to create links or common understanding between documents. His blog is http://subhabangalore.blogspot.com/.

Wishing you well, Subhabrata!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 27, 2010 12:45 PM | Comments (2) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 26, 2010

### The Numbers

Following up on a previous entry, This is why, I wanted to share this link describing numbers of women in academia (in the USA, in Chemistry, in the top 50 research universities) and why it's important to wake up and change the way do things in order to increase these numbers.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 26, 2010 09:47 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 25, 2010

I think these are cool. (Various YouTube Video lessons in Math, Stats, Science, Business, etc.)

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 25, 2010 08:40 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 24, 2010

### This is why

Why are there so few women in some fields of study, such as Computer Science?

I read this article and I cried a little bit at the part when reviewers would say things like, "Why is she asking that?". "Will it be too hard for her?"

I cried a little bit because I remember times in my life - recently! - when people have asked these sorts of questions to ME.

It's like there's a BASIC ASSUMPTION that "Science is not for women" and any time a woman tries to contribute her work and her ideas, red flags go up all over the place.

Thanks to Dr. Isis for raising these issues!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 24, 2010 01:08 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## February 21, 2010

### Right now, I want to...

- set up a mod_jk on the apache http server on my test server, which gives me access outside the firewall to my dev machine
- pick a programming language for a planner (current set of options: STRIPS, Prolog, Java. I would prefer to use a combination of these - Java for overall architecture and either STRIPS or Prolog for the planning-specific stuff, but then I would also have to figure out how to interface between the two. I don't even know if STRIPS/Prolog can i/o to textfiles, or what other options there might be for connection to outside systems.)
- follow up on business process modelling and game theory strategies for teaching strategy modelling
- examine my MVC architecture from several years ago to see if it fits with my latest problem, figure out how much time to invest in a bit of business logic modelling
- subscribe to some java dev stuff to help me get back up to speed on software engineering principles that have evolved since I've been away for 3 years
- email folks. There 7 or 8 people I'm thinking about in my life who I want to connect with and have conversations with on various levels but simply haven't had the opportunity to email or pick up the phone.
- Are Markov Decision Processes only for decision theoretic problems?
- Whimsy & Smarty
- watch the film, District 9 again. It was good, but due to a fussy toddler I missed several parts and would have liked to watch the film properly. Oh well.
- pay the overdue bills and process health claims that are stacked up on my desk
- pack my daughter's lunch for tomorrow.

Hmm, I think I have made my decision. The last one wins. Hopefully I will be back later. :-D

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on February 21, 2010 07:39 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## February 20, 2010

### Scientiae: Continuity

Hi Everyone!

If this is your first visit - welcome! My name is Stephanie, and I'm a computer scientist. For my first Scientiae submission where the theme is continuity, I would like to share my story about re-linking a highly technical past to a managerial-hiatus which separated me from my background of computer coding, and a recent rediscovery of my love of web application development and what this experience of coming back to a "Full Circle" is like for me. This story will be familiar to my current readers; I am just re-telling the same story from a recent post, Full Circle, within a Scientiae context.

Thanks to Alyssa at Apple Pie and The Universe for the alert about the theme this month!

For my readers who don't know about Scientiae, this is a group of women in science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) who share blog entries about their experiences. Every so often, a member of the community hosts the "carnival" by selecting a theme and collecting submissions of blog entries that follow this theme. Then the results are presented as a story where people can see the theme instantiated in the lives of many women. Or at least, this is my take on Scientiae; I am still a n00b. ;-D

So here is my story.

Very recently, I jumped back into programming. Seeing the web-inf directories again, and the conf files, and the business logic objects, and re-living some of my old Model-View-Controller architectures, I'm recalling my headspace when I chose a career change. At the time I had a sense of mastery of web application architectilures, in the Java world, at least, and I wanted to move beyond modelling objects and explicitly building pages to support business processes. Everything had turned cookie-cutter, and I wanted to learn how to make adaptable processes, where the user could have some ownership in how they pivveyd through the data, but that the system could still offer guiding support in a presentation of options.

Since my time as a full-time software developer ended, I learned a lot about AI. And I learned a lot about the delivery and maintenance of programs (I mean programs like "student leaders provide study sessions" not "computer programs"). I got to re-connect with people, to become deeply involved in a team, and to reflect about becoming a mentor myself, what this means to me and how I think I could improve. I built up strength in a totally new part of my life; I became a more complex and rich person with a wider set of tried-and-true abilities.

But I also learned that I cannot be a master of all trades. I have to decide what I love best, and put my time there. I have to choose how I want to grow, to choose how I spend my energy.

I love the technology, I love the AI, I love the system design. This is my primary love. (professionally-speaking) I also think that technology design must come from real people to support real situations. That's why my work with people is so important, I feel it keeps my work "real".

I am also remembering that specific, nitty-gritty technology can be a HUGE time sink. I am extremely busy and time is a precious resource. Like, I estimate that 25% of my time at work is quiet, creative desk time. The rest is working with people: networking and listening. (I don't know how this proportion compares to other people in my field. I'm sure that when I was a full-time programmer, I had closer to 75% desk time.)

Coming back "Full-Circle", and moving forward in my life and continuing with my past work in technology, I believe that he "new" Coder-Stephanie will be highly critical about possible paths to follow during problem-solving. I will be using more prediction, foresight and metaevaluation than I had in my younger days. I hope that I do continue to blast into the unknown and continue acquiring the new skills that exploration and experience brings. It's just that I have become calculated about it.

I think that my story follows the theme of continuity because it shows the love of my work persisting through many changes in my life: becoming a parent, and evolving my career. A theme in my life is juggling two things: "highly technical work which requires concentration and quiet time" vs. "wanting to give back, to be a loving person, through reaching out to others at work and with my family". Often in dark times of my life it seems that these two things are conflicting, and my journey is to balance these things. I think that maybe, just maybe, these two seemingly opposing forces might be able to strengthen each other, but I haven't figured out how, yet.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on February 20, 2010 10:01 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## February 05, 2010

### Jargon

I just want a place to write all this down:

Open Research
Open Science
Research Blogging
Open Notebook Science
Creative Commons
Open CourseWare
Open Scholarship
Science 2.0
Scientific Commons

I feel like I need a gigantic Venn diagram or something.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on February 05, 2010 03:13 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## February 01, 2010

### PI, Principal Investigator

It has been about a year since I jumped into the wider world of science blogging, where I started using Google Reader to subscribe to the blogs of other folks, especially grad students, and getting an idea of what academia is like from their perspective. It's been wonderful and a definite source of strength and support.

All this time, I've seen the acronym "PI" thrown around, and this morning I FINALLY learned what it means: Principal Investigator. From the context, I always knew it was some sort of boss or senior academic. But now I know, precisely. I remember moments of frustration when I would see this term used in a blog, and I would clicky around other entries and I even Googled it, but I didn't have any luck so I gave up. But now I am "in the know". heh.

I learned this because I got my first follower on Academia.edu. Apparently he himself is a PI, but not in my field.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on February 01, 2010 08:34 AM | Comments (2) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## January 24, 2010

### 2 to the N

I am stumped on something that a computer scientist really should not be stumped on. But I figured if I posted here and made public my glaring lack of some fundamental concept, that fear of public ridicule would cause me to remember what I learned years ago but did not remember. Let's see if this works.

I'm reading about cooperative game theory, and how games are often defined as $$ where N is the set of players and v is the function that groups players into sub-teams. The function v basically takes all possible subsets of N and assigns an integer value according to how beneficial for everyone that particular "teaming up" is.

The function v was defined as $2^{N} \to \mathbb{R}$.

I couldn't figure out what $2^{N}$ was supposed to represent. Was it the number of turns that each player gets, somehow with 2 options?

To try and figure it out, I thought, okay, so what if I have 3 players. Then that would give me 8. In a three player game how would the number 8 be relevant?

Ah, I think I got it. Let's represent a sub-team membership with 3 placeholders, each pace is either empty (zero) or full (one). So 000 means that our sub-team has nobody in it and 101 means that the first person and the last person are in it but the middle person is not. 000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, 111. There are 8 possible ways of. Making a sub-team.

So 2 to the power of N in this case means the number of ways you can pick a subset of N.

I am trying to recall the other places where I used 2 to the N, like learning about order notation O(n) but I am having trouble remembering that right now.

At least I can keep reading by book now, with a solid understanding of the notation in the definition of a cooperative game.

I also have a real problem with building in a "value of this sublet assignment" right into the definition. How are you supposed to know how well the sub-teams work together before the game even starts?

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on January 24, 2010 11:55 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## January 20, 2010

Thanks for the tip, Erin!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on January 20, 2010 08:24 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## January 12, 2010

### Mike Wesch - afterthoughts on yesterday's talk

You may have seen the YouTube video, A Vision of Students Today by Mike Wesch. It's one of the most memorable presentations I've ever seen. Dr. Wesch himself came to the University of Saskatchewan yesterday and I attended his talk. I think he is giving a similar talk at the U of R today and if you are quick you might catch his talk, streamed.

I'm a computer scientist and I like to dabble in technology. But in the last few years I have been overwhelmed with the number of new tools that everyone else seems to be adopting but I can't figure out how to use myself. In the last year, or two, I started a pretty good relationship with my Google Reader, Twitter, and Facebook. But there is still more out there than I have been able to adopt. For example, "texting". I have never sent a text message in my life. All these kids with their phones... I haven't figured it out yet!

Anyway, my reason for posting is that I wanted to share my favourite part about Dr. Wesch's talk. He presented what I would call "all this new stuff" (web 2.0 tools) in the context of our culture. We value "standing out in the crowd" and want to be noticed because of something special within "me" as an individual that would make "everyone else" admire us. He used American Idol as an example. So many individuals actually believe that they could be the next Idol, even though there are thousands of contestants and ultimately only one is chosen. Web 2.0 tools are helping us to overcome this view and to support many definitions of "The Good" and to let us each aspire to and shine where we fit best. At least, that was my impression.

My personal take on "all this new stuff" is that I'm confused about whether this is just a fad or if I am experiencing permanent change. Initially, I tried to adapt to the latter option because I like to be ahead of the game, but, there is TOO MUCH change for me to adapt meaningfully, so I revert to a cynical view that all these new tools are just fads after all.

Also on my mind is a conversation I had with a colleague recently about why young students drop out of university, and a major cause could be the consumerist view of education. (if you are reading this, hello Erin!)

I like the idea of helping our young people to stop worrying so much about turning their learning into a route to making lots of money (hire ME! I'm the best! Like American Idol, but for school!), and instead seeing their education as a means to express their creativity and to enrich themselves as people through experience.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on January 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## December 27, 2009

### Sharing ideas

I'm not trying to imply that I'm a smart person, but, the following article resonated with me:

Why some smart people are reluctant to share by Rajesh Setty on Life Beyond Code Blog.

My grandma called me yesterday to wish me happy holidays, and she asked me how my work was going. I said, "It's great, but I there is a lot of variety in my job and I'm currently trying to identify the things that I like the most and stop doing so much of the rest." (Or I said something to that effect.)

And then she said, "Honey, you have to tell me more about the variety of the things you are doing because I don't know."

When she said that, it seemed really obvious that I hadn't actually told her anything specific. But this is how I think, at the meta-level, so, when people ask me, this is what I tell them. I forget to communicate the specifics to ground the importance of the whole thing.

And then I had the experience of trying to communicate my work to my grandparents. I said that "I was helping professors put lecture slides on the Internet". It felt weird to say that because I strive to build eLearning systems that are learner-centric, and a huge part of my job is to take the "Sage off the Stage" and promote small group facilitation and get the students to teach themselves, supported only by some facilitation...

Anyway. I enjoyed this little meta exercise and will try do do a better job of elaborating on specifics in the future. :-)

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on December 27, 2009 04:39 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## November 05, 2009

### Sharing, Daring, Bewaring - Open Research

I feel extremely fortunate to belong to a workplace that embraces this sort of culture! Twice per month, staff get together for "coffee" (bring your own), and 1 person is allowed 10 minutes to talk about anything they want. After 10 minutes, an alarm goes off and your time is up! Everyone packs up and goes back to work. It's great -- very little time commitment, and huge gains for staff morale. We call it, "Sharing, Daring, Bewaring". There is a sign up sheet in the staff room, and you just slot your name in for the date in which you want to host the 10 minutes.

Today it was my turn, and the topic I picked was Open Research.

I was reminded about how much I love to talk. Sure, I'm not so good at it, and sure, it is an energy drain (because I am an introvert), but, gosh, I LOVE it! It is worth the effort.

Anyway, I just wanted to record in this blog a quick summary of my talk. I think that another reason it went so well was that it was a comfortable atmosphere (around the staff lunch table) and I deliberately seated myself so that I was NOT at the head of the table. This made a huge difference.

During my 10 minutes, I:
- shared a definition of open scholarship and pointed people to Gideon Burton's Academic Evolution blog
- talked about my experience during my maternity leave and how I stumbled upon open research, and
- mentioned a specific project I'm working on as part of my job that has an OpenCourseWare theme. Also,
- I described an example of open research (the polymath project, via Tim Gowers' blog) and
- concluded with a question, which I recently posted on an Open Scholarship facebook group.
"Open Research means that as a researcher, you share your work-in-progress and invite communication and feedback along the way. Open CourseWare (OCW) means that as an instructor, you make course notes, slides, assignment specifications and other class materials open to the public. Do you think that OCW facilitates Open Research? Can OCW help get undergraduates more involved and connected to research? Or is your research too far removed from the courses you teach? "

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on November 05, 2009 11:00 AM | Comments (1) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## July 16, 2009

### At peace with Twitter now

I've written before about my relationship with Twitter. I've never been at peace with the technology, really, until last night. (Or, at least this morning I feel liberated. We'll see what time brings!)

My biggest problem is that I have very little computer time, and that time is so precious to me, I can't spend it idly reading through lines of links and shorthand that may or may not be of interest to me. At the same time, it's really hard on me when I miss answering comments or questions that people send my way, because I value the connections I have. (Is that lame? Feeling some sense of loyalty to a bunch of people I've never met? Maybe. But that's who I am, LOL.) But seriously, if someone were to ask me a question, and I don't answer them, and then I find out that I've left them hanging, this causes me stress and I actually have trouble sleeping. I KNOW this has happened to me on Twitter more than once, and I can't stand it!

Anyway. My peace of mind came the moment I thought, "It's like area chat!" And by "area chat" I mean the chat channel in MMORPGs where all people in the same forest, the same city, the same temple, etc. can communicate with each other. The difference with Twitter is that instead of being grouped by physical location, the area I listen to is defined by the set of people I've chosen. They key is that in "area chat", nobody expects you to have read the entire history of the conversation. If someone said something 10 minutes ago, and someone else says something that makes it obvious they didn't hear the earlier comment, there is forgiveness from the community because everyone assumes that the ignorant person must have just walked into the area. You are not expected to read everything. In fact, it is NORMAL not to read everything. It's a dive-in-when-you-feel-like-it sort of environment.

So this is how I feel about Twitter now. If I ever tweet something or ask a question about something that someone else has already tweeted about, I hope to receive understanding and for my network to "give me some slack". That's how I'll look at everyone else, anyway.

I still have one issue. I have problems missing the tweets that people send directly to me, using @frozone. The answer, I guess, is to keep checking TweetDeck. I think it would be better if I could subscribe to all my own messages, though, and put THOSE into my Google Reader.

But anyway, I think now that I've "released" myself from my obligation to read up on everything on Twitter, and to see it as a "drop in on the conversation" kind of environment, that I can continue to feel the connections I have with the people I follow (and those who follow me!) but without the heavy obligations. Which makes sense, because I think that's the whole philosophy of Twitter, to be able to maintain connections to zillions more people without all the overhead usually required by personal relationships.

So ya. There's my little epiphany of the day. Hopefully this will work out. ;)

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on July 16, 2009 08:50 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## June 18, 2009

### Twitter - find messages people have directed @ you

I see a lot of value in Twitter. But I haven't found a way to incorporate it into my life. I don't have TIME to read all those messages, and I have not yet found a client that lets me manage the overload. But, I'll stop my ranting here. I'm making an effort to keep using it, to figure out how to master the tool! The point of this post was to document a problem I'm having:

How do you get a list of all tweets out there that have been directed at you? For me, for example, I want all tweets that contain the characters "@frozone" without the quotes.

I'm surfing around, and when/if I find an answer, I will post here.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on June 18, 2009 03:15 PM | Comments (2) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## June 02, 2009

You know how every now and then, you run across an article that makes you say, "Yes, YES! That's exactly right! How come no one has ever explained it so clearly before?!" Well, this happened to me when I read, Multitask Poisoning over at a Machine Learning blog. I especially "YES"ed at this part, quote:

The essential difficulty is that doing good research often requires the simultaneous understanding of several different things—the problem, all the broken approaches to solving some problem, why they break, and some hint about where to look for a solution. Absorbing and simultaneously keeping in mind this information requires a substantial amount of effort.

The article also talks about the time it takes to "re-load" to refamilliarize yourself with your problem if you are forced to set it aside for a few days. This hits the nail on the head about why I, personally, have been struggling to continue as a researcher.

With a demanding job and a young daughter, the story of my life over the last two years has been INTERRUPTIONS. It's impossible to sit down at your desk for more than a few minutes without something tugging away at you. And when you are trying to research exceedingly complex problems, it is so important to be able to CONCENTRATE.

I'm really worried about returning to work after my maternity leave. Right now, I'm able to squeeze some research in, and this has been keeping me alive, spiritually-speaking. I feel happy and fulfilled when I have time in my life for research. However, I'm worried that it'll be harder for me to keep some research time when I have a full-time job; it'll be more of a juggling act. Anyway, in the last couple months I was starting to just accept the fact that I will never have time to myself ever again, and I will just have to be content with "snippet researching" where I sit down for 15 minutes here, read an article there, or contribute something by conversation somewhere else. But another part of me, deep down, rebels viciously because I WANT to tackle the big problems, to devote my entire power of mind to a problem. I was almost ready to let go of this, though, to give up, and to content myself to a life of "snippet research".

But reading this article has given me a little bit of hope -- sure, I may be doomed to be a snippet researcher (ha ha, did I just coin a new term?) for the next couple of years, until my daughter is a little more independent and that I'm more established in my career -- but I still have a firm grasp of the hope that it will be possible to have "real" research as a part of my life again. I think that I'll just have to be more aggressive about claiming and protecting my desk time.

I also wonder if this is one of the reasons there are fewer women in science and engineering. These areas require "thinking" time, but I sort of feel like women get interrupted more. But I don't know, that's just a hypothesis with no real evidence behind it other than my own personal experience. =)

So ya, I thought that this was a good articulation of a problem that I'm facing in my personal life.

Except for this afternoon -- my baby has been asleep for about 2 hours. This is rare, rare HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on June 02, 2009 04:38 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## May 06, 2009

### The fiasco of the objectionable slides at the Ruby conference

So I heard about this incident at a Ruby conference where one of the presentations contained a bunch of pictures of scantily clad women. I guess it was supposed to be funny. I thought, "whatever," and didn't think much of it other than a pang of "well, that's not fair". Then Phizzle articulated the issue really well, and I took a moment to try and figure out what this situation meant to me, as a woman in computer science. This affects me. I owe it to myself to figure out where I stand.

(For more background, check out this article, or the thread on rubyrailways.com and some "reactions from actual women" over at hackety.org.)

So here was my reaction. When I look at that sexy bum on the front of the slides, I hear in my head: "YOU don't look like that. This image on the screen is up on a pedestal showing what is accepted as "the best" and what we want. This is what "good" is. This is what we value. If you are a man, you will understand how to be uber by following the advice in this presentation about size, multiple partners, scalability, etc.. If you are a woman, well, then you had better look like the hot ass in this picture otherwise we don't want you around."

So, there. Stuff like this makes me feel left out. Unwanted. Like I don't matter, like I'm not good enough.

Which is completely stupid, because I'm a very good engineer and a hard-working scientist.

I'm glad to see some of the spin-off that is coming as a result of this conflict. A LOT of developers are going, "what's the big deal? why are you getting all offended?" and I understand where they're coming from. It was all just supposed to be a joke. But I hope in my heart that the people who think that there's nothing wrong with this take a moment, just a moment, to realize that there are minority groups in the room who are trying so hard to join in and try to contribute in positive ways, but because of their small numbers they are much more sensitive to ostracism, and jokes like this can kill what little confidence these people have. And that's one reason why diversity is not thriving.

So ya. There's my two cents on this one. =) When I was reading the reactions of the other women over at hackety dot com, I didn't see my own point of view repeated anywhere, so I wanted to voice it here, at least.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on May 06, 2009 09:17 PM | Comments (1) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## March 19, 2009

### Research Blogging #2

This is a follow up to my earlier post, Research Blogging.

I learned this is also called "Open Notebook Science".

Some scientists who practice this include:

Wow, there is even a wikipedia article about it!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 19, 2009 02:58 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## February 02, 2008

### Poor Descartes

The other day, my boss sent around this EDUCAUSE article to the staff. The article compares a "Cartesian View of Learning", where a learner is to absorb knowledge vs. a "Social View of Learning," where a learner is to bounce ideas off of other people and learn from the feedback.

Poor Descartes! I picked on him in my previous entry while exploring philosopher Daniel Dennitt's comparison of the Cartesian Theatre vs. the Multiple Drafts Model.

What is it about Descartes that causes him to be the "old, faulty way of thinking"? To me, it's the "many-ness" of thought that's the common string, here. In the EDUCAUSE article, the many-ness takes the form of learning in groups. In Dennitt's discussion, the many-ness takes the form of human preceptors and the nature of consciousness.

I wonder if we are all misunderstanding Descartes, and what he would think of all these ideas from the year 2008. Would he agree? Would he say that modern thought is a logical extension of his groundwork? Or would he argue?

I think this would be an interesting discussion... but alas, no time. Gotta go. Bye!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on February 02, 2008 09:30 AM | Comments (3) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## September 30, 2007

### Hello, Blog, I forgot about you!

A couple of days ago I was feeling like, um... a flower about to bloom full of ideas, but I didn't have any room to stretch out my wings! Err, rather, I felt like I had so many ideas and questions I wanted to share, but I didn't know where to direct them, for fear of irritating someone with unwanted rainbows and sunshine.

And then I remembered that, once upon a time, I had this blog! So much has happened since the month of April, there's no wonder I haven't been able to spend time here with my ideas. :-(

I am taking an AI course, though - FINALLY - so I'm really excited about getting some formal education in this area that so fascinates me. I just printed off a paper and am going to go read with my tea. Sigh, life is glorious today!

So, I just wanted to check in and remind myself of what it's like to post something here. lol. Laters!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on September 30, 2007 12:26 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## March 10, 2007

'Went to the Saskatchewan Interactive summit. 'Filing notes here so I can find them later. =) Oh, by the way, this is my 100th entry. Weee!

Chris & Scott, if you are reading this, I particularly enjoyed your session. (highlights for me include: software that improves as the number of users increases, using games for learning rather than merely for reward/revoking-for-punishment, very much enjoyed the video about hypertext)

***********
Day's notes

--- Applications that get better as more pople use them

--- Applications that become better-organized as more people use them
- auto-ontology & people linking their tags with each other. "My way of
relating concept A to B is X. Your way of relating concept A to B is Y.
Therefore, X = Y. Yes? "

--- "Flow" book from 1990s - optimal psychological state

--- IGDA - Core competencies, curriculum for game developers

---Neil Stephenson Snow Crash

--- Artificial Skills - "Boar Hunting" vs real skills in Second LIfe, ex. architectural skills

-- Borges - philosopher The Aleph, The Library of Babel (Thanks, Wendy C.!)

--- Competency validation = doing the job

-- Instructional designer's role to examine the learning outcomes and make
sure the "stories" or learning objects stringed together match up.

--second life educator mailing list... Nakama

*************

1) What was your favourite part of the conference? Did you learn anything?
In a 1:30pm session, Kevin McNulty from Alberta’s oil & gas industry explained how they were using computer game-like software to train workers how to use equipment and learn procedures for working on oil rigs. I was most interested in the direct impact of online/computer learning on real-life applications. Rather than having the e-Learning world be something far away, abstract and only for “the technology-inclined”, I was very interested in the direct correlation between the two worlds. A supervisor on the rigs can now say something like this to a trainee quite meaningfully: “Don’t do that! Remember what happened last time? You blew up the whole rig.” The training software gave trainees even more past-experiences to be able to learn from.

Secondly, I was also interested in how an instructor can figure out whether or not a student is actually learning anything. ( Aren’t we all, LOL. ) In this oil & gas industry context, the “Competency validation”, or, “proof that the student has learned what we want to teach them” is granted when the student is put in a situation in the real world and is able to perform the task well. Equivalents in K-12 education are obviously “writing an exam”, “composing an essay”, etc. Will e-Learning and the increasing flexibility to represent knowledge-images in three-dimensional worlds change our methods of assessment for learning?

2) Did any of the sessions make you think? What questions do you have now that you wouldn’t have asked before attending this conference?

- “How can I write software that gets better as more people use it? How will my software adapt to user-experiences so that it has a better idea of what future users need, and can therefore do a better job of serving them?”

- “How can I write software that becomes better-organized as more people use it?”

- “How do I be sure that the educational software I write is supporting/encouraging *real* skills in students instead of artificial skills?” Example: Artificial skill would be boar-hunting in World of Warcraft as pointed out by John Lester, as opposed to real skill when a person uses his architectural skills to build a house in Second Life.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 10, 2007 02:26 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## March 02, 2007

### Why? Why? Why? (or, "Friday night for a computer geek")

Does this scenario sound familliar?

You've written a fairly large-scale web application, and its latest major revision was deployed about a month ago. Even though it's been performing quite well, you like to check up on the error logs every now and then to make sure everything looks good. You are aware that the users have a deadline tonight, midnight.

4:45 PM - Web application is working perfectly. You are just finishing up a couple of things before packing up for the weekend.

4:55 PM - Check application once more before leaving -- you know, just because you're a paranoid programmer and want to make sure it's perfect before you leave it alone for a whole two days without your supervision. The application fails. You experience a slight adrenaline rush. Instead of a clear HTTP error message, web Firefox/IE7 both display a customized error message indicating that the web app is unavailable.

5:10 PM - No trace of anything wrong in the error logs, other than a set of empty HTTP requests. Everything else on the web server is working fine -- other web applications, simple web sites, etc.. The problem is definitely application-specific. I didn't run any updates or anything today, did I?

5:20 PM - Ah, ha! The application works perfectly when accessed directly via the Tomcat's port 8080. Why doesn't it work via the Apache HTTP server from the other side of the firewall? There must be a problem with the mod_jk load balancer.

5:30 PM -- Wait a minute. All of the other load-balanced applications are working fine from outside of the firewall. So it's not the load-balancer; it's definitely application-specific. But the application works fine from inside of the firewall. So it's not the application itself. Maybe it's the configuration for this app's jk workers. But it can't be; they've been working fine and untouched for months.

5:45 PM -- Maybe it's a traffic problem, and there are so many requests going between the Apache HTTP server and the Tomcat nodes that only I can't get in. There is a deadline today after all, so it wouldn't be surprising if there were a higher amount of traffic.

5:50 PM -- But if it were a traffic problem, how come the access logs are completely dead of activity?

6:00 PM -- Is it a DNS problem? No, it can't be, the other apps on the same server work fine.

6:10 PM -- It's definitely the load balancer. But...

6:30 PM -- I'm going to be in so much trouble on Monday.

6:40 PM -- Okay, maybe I should just re-start one of the Tomcat nodes. It won't affect much since the others will take over when this one goes down. That's the point of the load-balancer, after all!

6:45 PM -- Tomcat's restarted. If there is something wrong with the app, then hopefully this fresh Tomcat will re-load all of the resources and fix any lost references. Hmm. Still broken. The other day I did do some minor updates on some generic SQL command libraries so that they were explicitly read-only in hopes of being as gentle as possible on the database layer. Could that be causing a problem now? No, that's impossible, the app works fine when accessed internally. Dare I restart the Apache HTTP server?

6:50 PM -- There's very little activity in the logs, so nobody's really using it anyway. Let's go for it.

6:55 PM -- Gah! No effect. Still broken. Now what?

7:00 PM -- It is getting late. And I'm not going to find myself all alone in the downtown parkade on a dark Friday night, thank you very much. I'll just go home, and keep working on this remotely.

7:30 PM -- I'm home. Okay, let's have a look at that error message again.

*** System works Perfectly. ***

ARRGHGHGGHHH!!!!!

Why? Why? Why?

I should have just gone home at 4:30.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on March 02, 2007 07:47 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## December 16, 2006

### I am the Layout Queen, Oh Yeah!

AH HAHAHAA!

I am the Layout Queen! Oh, yes. I am.

This is supposed to be a picture of somebody lookin' triumphant. =) (Gourry from Slayers. )

So I was all proud of myself because I built this rather nice layout, coded to-standard and earning The Golden Stamp of Goodness from the W3 CSS Validator, and also validated perfect HTML 4.01 Transitional. 'Looks great in Safari (screenshot), and just as good in Firefox (screenshot).

Then, I looked at it on Windoze using IE. Naturally, it didn't render properly. (screenshot)

So, snarling like an angry beast, I bit down hard on a piece leather and then re-coded the whole thing again using absolute-positioning instead of my floating layout. It is not as flexible, but at least it looks okay in IE. Here's the compromised layout that works in IE. (screenshot)

Pardon the large blocks of vivid colour -- I do that so I can see where the div blocks are while I'm developing the stylesheet. Later on, I'll go back and adjust the colours so that the thing doesn't look like it was attacked by a swarm of kindergarten students with crayons.

The two drawbacks to the IE version of the layout are:

1. I couldn't get the footer to work
2. Vertical sizing is fixed. In my original layout, it's flexible.

Anyway, feel free to take the code and tweak it for yourself. The reason why I built the thing in the first place - I guess I should have explained this at the beginning of my post instead of complaining about IE, oh well -- is because I wanted to experiment with 1-column, 2-column and 4-column "mini-layouts" to be hidden and shown as the user flips through a set of tabs. It was a lot of fun and I did learn a lot about CSS.

At least my "hacked" layout is still W3-compliant. *sits back and crosses her arms smugly* Lol.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on December 16, 2006 10:58 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## December 11, 2006

### Dealing with Internet Explorer bugs

I am laughing so hard that I have tears in my eyes!

For YEARS I have been silently fuming about CSS bugs in Internet Explorer. At PositionIsEverything.net, Holly 'n John take a look at these bugs and show The Humble Programmer some good ways of dealing with them. They give the bugs amusing names - such as "The Peekaboo Bug" - and use delightful language to turn the Big Evil Ugly Monster that is IE into a mere manageable nuisance.

It just felt so good to take a light-hearted look at something that has caused me so much helpless frustration over the years.

If you are an IE user, click on The Peekaboo Bug, scroll down on the page, then scroll back up. After picking your jaw up off of the floor, go download Firefox and never look back.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on December 11, 2006 09:18 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## November 09, 2006

### Servlet response cut short

Have you ever written a servlet or a JSP page that for no apparent reason gets cut short?

The behaviour is erratic; sometimes the page loads fine, other times the page only reaches three quarters of the way, other times the page might only load the first couple of lines of html. By commenting out different parts of code, it's impossible to narrow down the error to a single line of code. Even the amount of session data sittin' on the server doesn't seem to matter -- you could have a single "Person" object with just a couple of attributes (name, e-mail address, etc.) or you could have a complicated data structure: a graph of several dozen nodes, each pointing to its own set of domain objects, intertwined in various ways... either way, the error STILL shows up.

Playing with the < % @ page buffer="32kb" % > at first seems to affect the behavour, but even setting the buffer size to be absurdly large still does not solve it.

So if it's not the JSP code or the back-end java servlet code, then what is it?

The question has plagued me for years (literally; I first encountered the problem in a system I wrote in '04) and this morning I found a forum posting that shed some light on the issue.

Apparently, the whole trick is to keep your response.sendRedirect() statements at the TOP of the jsp page, not the bottom.

Before:

if (user is already logged in) {
// bulk of JSP code goes here
} else {
}

After:

if ( user NOT already logged in) {
} else {
// bulk of JSP code goes here
}

I tried it, and it seems to work -- I haven't had my page cut short yet since I've made this minor change. I stumbled on the answer by checking in my Tomcat error log - catalina.2006-11-09.log - and found a java.lang.IllegalStateException. After a Google search on "catalina.connector.ResponseFacade.sendRedirect" I stumbled upon the answer as described above.

Who woulda thunk.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on November 09, 2006 09:45 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## October 21, 2006

### Stuck between dimensions

Hmm, I can't log into the U of S blog system today. I wonder if I, Stephanie-the-rogue-alumna, have finally been caught! Oh well. 'Am writing this in my favourite text editor.

As expected, the talk I attended this week got my brains spinning. Academically, my mouth was hanging open in awe at all of the research and accomplishments being briskly reviewed before my eyes. There is so much more out there than I even realized. Despite the two hundred-or-so papers I've studied over the last six months (Eeep! 214, I actually counted) it dawned on me that I hadn't even scratched the surface.

At the same time, I also realized that this lifelong-research -is- within my reach and progress in this field -is- attainable.

After the talk, I enjoyed standing amongst so many of my former professors and fellow students and listening to the discussion. Someone in the group related a story about how quickly a particular student finished their Ph.D. thesis, and, as the group baulked or laughed at the tale, I remained blank-faced, having no frame of reference for how long it actually does take to complete a thesis. - I don't know! - "I am such a n00b". In some ways, I felt I belonged, and in others, I didn't.

I'm very glad that I attended the lecture. Life goes on; I return to my full-time job, and my hobby continues. "Grass is always greener on the other side," They say. I felt so "at home" among the academics at the U of S, but - somebody - has to be on the front lines, working in our school divisions. I know that my office building isn't exactly front-line territory, either, but it sure feels like it sometimes. My heart will fill with joy when we can actually start talking about using technology for LEARNING. When we can bring together our on-staff educational psychologists, our top-notch teachers and our computer scientist(s), and discuss things like, "You know, I've found that when introducing quantum theory to my grade 11s, that a constructivist approach really works well to show them orbital diagrams so that students can play with different electron configurations around different kinds of atoms. How can we use technology to better tie this in to our students' assignments and learning experiences?" Or, "Wouldn't it be neat if an online course could automatically detect when a student is struggling with their grade 11 math, then it could automatically throw in a couple of lessons from grade 10 to help them brush up their skills and help them achieve success?" It is so frustrating that we are so close to that kind of technology but are so preoccupied with short-term XML-usage problems that there isn't even time to think about the "real stuff".

So, I will roll up my sleeves, and complete the repair work using technical skills that I teach to my grade sevens (get over the wounded pride, Stephanie) and life goes on. As time passes, the rift between theory and application grows even larger. (No wonder I'm frustrated.)

Following the same theme, today I attempted an old-fashioned Tolmanian oscillation pattern to narrow down my research topic to a small, applicable focal point. Then, I was quite expecting this focal point to suddenly open up a bazillion more papers that I would have to read to fill in the topic. I even daydreamed that this would lead to a Table of Contents for my thesis.

And so: The "narrowed" topic of choice? Just before Thursday night's talk, Gord asked me to identify the areas of AIEd I'm interested in. I said, "The diagnosis part. 'How to figure out what a student's current understanding is, and how to know what other information/resources to offer next."

So, having triumphantly found my oscillation point, I tried to expand the topic into a new universe of sub-topics.

I couldn't do it.

I even cheated, and dug up a couple of good survey papers and attempted to build a sub-topic list from those.

I still couldn't do it.

My fine-tuned oscillation point was suddenly encompassing all of AIEd. I wanted focus, not breadth.

Did I pick the wrong oscillation point? Or, maybe the problem was rooted in my research methodology. The oscillation theory didn't work in physics because of missing string theoretic foundations, so maybe research techniques require similar theoretical foundations in order to progress. I don't know much about string theory, other than that it's multi-dimensional. Maybe my answer lies somewhere in the inter-dimensions of theory vs. application.

Ahem. Speaking of which, the laundry is waiting, at my kitchen is a mess. Bye bye for now, Academia.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on October 21, 2006 09:34 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## October 13, 2006

### 2006 P.G. Sorenson Distinguished Graduate Lecture

Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh!!!! I don't think my heart has ever flipped from reading an advertisement for a lecture before.

I am going.

2006 P.G. Sorenson Distinguished Graduate Lecture

The author of the Ph.D. thesis that has so captured my interest (see my posting from April '06) is actually coming to the U of S!!!!!!

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on October 13, 2006 10:06 PM | Comments (4) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## September 30, 2006

### IEEE work on Reusable Competency Definitions (RCD)

I learned a new term today: "Competency".

In the context of IEEE Learning technology standards, the term refers to human performance aspects of learning. (performance, abilities, knowledge, skills, etc.) I was happy to learn that the IEEE is forming study groups for outlining standards for such things.

IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee - http://ieeeltsc.org/
Competency data standards - http://ieeeltsc.org/wg20Comp/
IEEE homepage (Pronounced "Eye-triple-E" - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.,)

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on September 30, 2006 10:32 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## September 27, 2006

### Emotional anguish of an almost-grad student

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

* relishes in the steam *

Picard and I do have one thing in common. Ah, the joy of tea!

I had one of those days yesterday when five or six absolutely infuriating things happen to you in succession, and, at the end you just snap. What had been lingering in the back of my head as, "I think that I would like to apply for graduate studies one day" turned into "I absolutely must register myself as a graduate student or I will go insane!" I felt so overwhelmed with short-sighted, meaningless drone-like activity that my tentative desire snapped into a firm decision.

One thing is for certain: In September 2007 I will be taking classes at the U of S again. (Okay, well, maybe just 1 class, but that's something!)

My life is just so jam-packed with drudgery. I understand that a lot of what I must do is necessary - "Someone's gotta do it" -- and I feel snobbish (guiltily so) when I frown at completing tasks for people that I feel could be fulfilled by a clerical person. For weeks I've kept my mouth shut and have dutifully put up with data entry work, account management, customer service and other day-to-day things, but with each task slowly adding to my pile of frustration. It's not that I mind doing these things, really, but when there's so much STUFF that's eating up my time that I can't practice the things I love (namely, research in applied artificial intelligence in education) then I feel drained and imbalanced.

I do recognize that many of the people in my life are trying to help me by allowing me my chances to do research and even taking steps to relieve me of monotonous duties, but I'm also starting to recognize that at some point I have to take the bull by the horns and assert myself as a serious researcher, even if I only have 1-2 days per month to myself -- it's *something* and I have to hold on to what I've got or else my soul will be lost forever!

*sips tea*

Wow, I feel better now.

More on topic: I have been lurking in on this year's CMPT 880 notes to psychologically prepare myself for what I'm getting myself into, and, the typical grad-student panic cluched at my heart: "Ohmygosh, how am I going to narrow down a topic for my thesis???"

Other students around the world will glare at me for taking a whole year of leisurely journal-reading before I even have to submit my application to the department of graduate studies & research. This next year will be good: practicing the life of a serious academic with a full-time, non-academic job. Hum.

I really am interested in thought-modelling and practicing artificial intuition -- how can you "feel" what the student is working on right now, and how can you help them meaningfully? I left my notebook at the office but I've started to compile a list of papers in this area. I think there are easily 10-15 of them; maybe I can start to trace a path towards a concrete question.

Another thing that I miss is the companionship of other computer scientists. Sigh.

*sips tea.*

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on September 27, 2006 10:54 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## September 22, 2006

### Girls in technology: Are times finally changing?

I'm a girl. My job title is "System Programmer". My degree is in Computer Science. Hence, I've always been particularly attentive to discussions about women in technological professions -- the theme is that we're relatively rare, and my experience as a student does confirm -- lectures in CMPT classes don't see a lot of female students. Secretly, I enjoy the attention.

However! I have concrete evidence - right here, in my hand! - that the world is changing.

Since the fall of 2000, I have been teaching a course for Grade 7/8 students. I teach them how to write HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the basics of using image editors to make cool (and, ideally, to-W3-standard) web pages. I teach the course two times per school year, so over the years I've seen about a dozen different groups of students. Every single year, my classes are filled mostly with boys. Out of a class of 15 students, there are usually 2-3 girls, sometimes none. I always wondered why young women did not sign up for the class; I assumed that the course title "Web Page Design" simply was not interesting to them. Or, maybe their mothers were just slower to register them -- there is, unfortunately, a limited number of seats in the class, it's first-come, first-serve registration. Or, maybe it's a cultural thing -- girls are pushed away from the computers by their brothers and male classmates, and if they don't get a chance to use the computer, how can they know how engaging and wonderful it can be? But, I'm a girl, I have 3 brothers, and somehow I managed to wriggle my way into technology. Who knows. Regardless of the reason, the statistics are obvious: -something- has been keeping girls away from technology.

Until now.

My eyes boggled, my brow furrowed, and I scratched my head in wonder at the class list in my hands. This term, there are MORE GIRLS in my class than boys! I can't believe it! What is happening?!?! Is the world finally changing?

This is Freaky! But, in a good way. :-)

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on September 22, 2006 02:57 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## August 29, 2006

### Direction

My research up to this point has been - luxuriously, I suppose - directionless.

This is largely due to the fact that I'm not enrolled in a formal graduate program where a supervisor can expedite progress with key pieces of advice as well as embodying an authoritative motivator. Not to mention the obligation to actually produce some useful progress in research, and further being able to articulate it in a clear, well-referenced document - one cannot expect to produce results without having any goals first!

I made a new friend today -- or at least I hope we can be friends; we only just met -- and she was able to relate some of her own experiences with graduate studies; she's just completed her MA in Psychology. She related her practical experiences writing her thesis; doing the literature review, the motivation, and offered the advice of picking up 5 or 6 theses from one's own department to study literary styles, techniques for using headings and so on.

Now, of course, I'm nowhere near the writing stage of anything close to a thesis, but I was enthralled: here was a girl my own age I could talk to about common experiences! I hadn't appreciated the rarity of the situation until I was actually in it. For all my blogging and all my reading, I'm aware that my separation from regular contact with other humans in the area is a serious shortcoming. But I can't enroll in grad studies until I can make the time. Ugh, ugh, ugh! But lots of people juggle careers and theses at the same time, don't they? I'm freaking out and I don't even have any children to worry about raising.

Perhaps my research will actually start to take aim if I start to outline a literature review, as my new friend mentioned - this is typically part of thesis work anyway. Even if I never do complete my M.Sc., the review would be useful to me personally as I continue this independent project.... but I should stay optimistic: with a little bit of background I may be able to muster up the courage to set foot on campus again and have a preliminary chat of possibilities with a potential supervisor. Okay, here's my goal: To be a registered student again at the U of S in the fall of 2007. How freaky to put that in writing.

Perhaps a good start would be to dig out my old 400 paper and re-read it. I'm sure I've learned a lot more about the field of research since I last wrote that paper; perhaps I could elaborate on a couple of the sections. I could also do to look more closely at my supervisor's comments -- at the time I was too exhausted and too-aware of the paper's superficial shortcomings to be able to appreciate the additional advice he offered. Anyway, after an improved literature review, and a new arsenal in the form of a nice JabRef database, I can better aim this personal research project of mine towards a useful new idea.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on August 29, 2006 04:39 PM | Comments (2) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## July 08, 2006

### Being human and an academic

Anyway. Drunk on this literary romantic escapade, I'm finding it difficult to resume my research. Perhaps I've neglected the project for too long. Or, perhaps such emotional barricades are normal for an academic to face from time to time. It's just that, given the complexity of ourselves as human beings, it makes things such as mathematics and science seem cold and irrelevant.

Blast. Give me some coffee and a classic paper about granularity-based reasoning. I'll come around.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on July 08, 2006 11:20 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## June 21, 2006

### Thank you U of S blogging system admin

This morning, I logged in to my blog and noticed that I had 4 new comments. They were all junk, but it was easy enough to tick off 'Junk' on all four of them and do the update in a single click. Next, I peeked into my junk comment folder and noticed that there were FIFTY THREE - yes 53 - junk comments that had been automatically tagged for me.

So, thank you to whoever set up the automated junk filter on the blog comments. I didn't even realize that this timesaver was implemented for me until I looked. =)

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on June 21, 2006 08:11 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## April 29, 2006

### Hello World!

"Hello, World!"

No, I'm not learning a new programming language. (ha, ha)

A couple of weeks ago, I put up a StatCounter. I was very surprised to see that my baby blog here regularly gets international visitors. Check it out:

68 visitors from Canada (Most of these are probably just me reading my own blog. lol)
16 visitors from the United States
6 visitors from Australia
2 visitors from Switzerland
2 visitors from Germany
1 visitor from France (yay! My father's family is from France! Well, this branch of the family came here in the 1700s or 1800s - I ought to look that up, it's written down somewhere - but if you go back far enough, my ancestors are indeed very French.)
1 visitor from Spain
1 visitor from Belgium
1 visitor from China
1 visitor from the United Kingdom (My mother's ancestors are from Scotland. I really ought to learn more about my fellow commonwealth countries. Like, how do Ireland and Scotland relate to England? Is that what the United Kingdom is - all of them put together? What about Canada and Australia? We're not part of the U.K., I don't think... hmm... how embarassing that I don't know these things! oh well, another research project for another day.)

And, here are what people are searching for when they discover my blog on Google:

java_home macosx
screen scrape swt
solvent firefox extension
eclipse osx intel startup
graphics editor framework (gef) runtime 3.1
jbuilder intel mac
unspecified mime type. because you donâ€™t have a plug-in installed for this mime type, this
the page has content of an unspecified mime type. because you donâ€™t have a plug-in installed
os x java for ppc cannot run in this jbuilder
steph (lol, I thought this one was funny.)
has content of an unspecified mime type. because you donâ€™t have a plug-in installed for th
phish the story of the ghost script
which version of eclipse runs on intel mac? (I didn't realize people actually use natural language searches in Google. I wonder if that works; I ought to try it myself!)
because you don't have a plug-in installed for this mime type, this content can't be displayed
eclipse 3.2 discover update site
os x gef update site eclipse
svg plugin mac intel
what is woo browser that shuts down my web page
the page has content of an unspecified mime type. because you donâ€™t
svg adobe viewer osx universal binary
intel mac eclipse plugins wont install
running mime on intel mac
eclipse mac osx crash
java for ppc cannot run in this configuration.
os x gef eclipse update site

I hope that my blundering notes are at least semi-helpful to the international community! hehe. I know that my notes -do- contain answers to many of the questions people were searching, so that makes me feel good.

On another international note, I won't be working on my research project this weekend because my husband and I will be going on our honeymoon! It has been exactly 1 year since the wedding and since we didn't go on a honeymoon right after the wedding, we are doing it now, one year later. This will be the first time in my life to venture outside of my home Canadian borders!

'See you all next time!

*********

Update: By the way, if you found this page by searching for "eclipse unsatisfiedlinkerr" or something to that effect, I highly recommend that you check out my other post -- I discuss a detailed solution.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on April 29, 2006 09:38 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## April 14, 2006

### Make it faster!

'So I finish building this piece of software, and I show it off to my team members. I was so proud of it - it worked, was thoroughly tested, and was actually pretty darn cool when you stood back and looked at it.

So I run the thing, and I get one comment: "That's cool, but can you make it faster?"

Uggh.

'Nothin' like reality to take one out of self-pride. lol.

And I -do- want to make my web applications run faster. I am using Java/JSP after all, so all of the heavy stuff should run whiz-bang from byte code, right? =)

Definitely what slows down my apps the most is when the systems have to read in information from a storage source like a database or LDAP directory. So, a good staring place for me would be to try and read in as much information as possible when a human is -not- waiting for me. My answer probably lies in entity beans where I can have some business logic stuff always loaded up and available for application use. This should be easier on the RAM, too - rather than having objects duplicated at each session level, I'm hoping that an enterprise bean will let me share the same objects across many sessions.

To rectify that, I'll be reading some articles in the near future. =) I also want to keep an eye out for how such beans can fit into the big picture of everything. I poked around some of Apache's projects and found myself nearly drooling at all the delicious possibilities: Jetspeed, Turbine, Velocity, etc.. Maybe one of them will provide a hint about where/how beans fit.

I've already come pretty far down the path from my original quest. My goal at this point is to make a connection between an implementation-picture and the theoretical picture of picking domain knowledge out of the web (thus, where it fits in the implementation-picture) and then being able to work through it with AIEd research technology.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on April 14, 2006 08:27 AM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## November 18, 2005

### Hot diggity!

Woah, talk about "It's a small world after all..."

I stumbled upon the U of S blogging system. I finished my degree in 2004 but happily it seems I've been able to create a blog with my account anyway.

After I left the U of S, I was hired as a software developer for a local kindergarten - grade 12 school division. We decided to purchase a Movable Type license so our staff and students could have blogs. What an amazing coincidence that the U of S decided to do the same thing!

I hope to jump into this community to share my similar experiences.

 Posted by Frozone Permalink on November 18, 2005 04:13 PM | Comments (0) categorized under Community Networking Tweet

## Index to Steph's Notes

Feb. 24th 2007 - Weee! This new part of my website is not an entry, but rather a permanent fixture whose purpose is to "Look Down on All Those Notes With Some Grand Vision of Organization". Wish me luck. LOL
1. Representing meta-data (fuel) & the different kinds of "hooks" that intelligent systems can use (how fuel is injected into the motor of the engine)
1. Motivation: Semantic net / Rationalizable to a machine
2. Technology & Philosophy: RDF, modus ponens,
1. Predicates, Logic & situation calculus
3. What kinds of data? - What kinds of meta-data would an AIEd system possibly need, and how is it represented?
2. "is-prerequisite-to"-type knowledge
3. interactions with learning objects & other learners - (location, composition is-a/part-of, sequencing by restricting navigation, personalization, ontologies for LO context)
4. lesson plans, curriculum plans, practicing sessions (What is stored, what is generated on the fly? What is remembered?)
4. How to organize it - When is it stored in a database? Meta-data? Agent memory banks? Protocols? Repositories? XML files? Home-servers? WSDL services? Frameworks? Portable banks? P2P access?
1. Database of object-agent interactions
2. Concept of "Home" on a P2P network -- maybe the bulk of a learning object's usage data is on its home server and can be queried using WSDL or something ? Similar homes for each student's usage history, etc. Baggage problem.
1. referring to a concept/relationship - ex. AgentOwl?
6. Generation of this data
1. Rationalization: For use by other AIEd systems
2. What is generated - discuss items under part I.C.
3. When it's generated - describe procedural model, which parts of the engine generate what (isa-part-of data, XML feeds, web services, meta data bout groups and collaboration, protocols, examples Friend of A Friend FOAF project)
4. Technical notes of HOW it's generated: JENA, issues of implementation demo, my Hermione & Ron agent examples, lol
5. Usage of this generated data - see part IV. A.
2. Given the engine, who uses it?
1. Students / Learners / "Me"
1. instructional planning, student model, pre-requisites, tutoring, coaching, collaboration,constructivism
2. Teachers / Educators / "Me"
1. putting together lessons
2. be able to browse through task domain knowledge in an objective / encyclopaedia format, then be able to pick-and-choose what you need for your students
3. compose examples, design explanations, pull together diagrams, learning objects, etc. Haystack Relo?
3. Administration / Governement / Structure / Crowd Control
1. as restrictions/obstacles/sand pit to the robot in agent environment
2. can't just have a swarm of students and teachers out there -- need structure of courses, curriculum, objectives, requirements (at least, we do in this day and age!) - Report cards, evaluation, feedback
3. government, marks, certificates, requirements, funding, curriclum, attendance, delinquent, non-attending, motivation
4. school''s images, goals, strengths, payroll, HR, security, accounts, permissions, privacy
5. registration, failed courses
3. User Environment -- How does this engine work? What does the user see on the screen?
1. Introduction - Given a background in educational psychology, how does the system present itself -- what does the user see, and were does this data come from? Links to thoughts from part I.)
2. Task Domain Browsing - Suppose you're you're just idly browsing through the "raw" content. How would it look when it's not wrapped around a learning-context or lesson or tutorial or anything. 'Cross between browsing a raw task domain ontology and browsing a learning object repository.
1. Cleaning up the data -- Visualizing the data for humans to pick through the task domain and work on it. Suppose the "Subject Expert" discovers an advancement in science and needs to update the "world's" domain knowledge. (I used the "Subject Expert" terminology from Ontologies to Support Learning Design Context - Thanks Chris) How would they make corrections to ontologies and learning objects, or at least point the users of "old" objects towards adopting the newer ones.
2. "Modes" - Learning & Lessons / Checklist - Homework, Assignments, Courses being taken / Collaborative mode / Teaching mode / Calendar- email -adminisrative mode -- See also the different kinds of scenarios in the ActiveMath system
4. Evolution of this engine
1. target some key implementation hooks discussed in part I - design an experiment/demo
1. scrape a page - (Note, scraping can only give objective data, not in-context dat)
2. LO repository - related to browsing the task domain?
3. a learners "To Do" list - where does it come from? Assignments, courses.
4. sample group scenario
5. sample teacher lesson planning
6. sample data "left behind"
7. sample use of that data
2. Data mining (for what? lol )
1. discovery / generation of ontologies - when do you need to hunt for them, and when do you have to have a solidly-known & predictable ontology?
3. I/O - where it happens, which languages, protocols, which agents perform i/o and when, precepts, actuators
1. Role Assignments
2. My Environment Adapts to me
1. Displaying feedback from the server on JSP pages (Software engineering considerations)
2. Sketching out a design (Content planning vs. Delivery planning)
3. agent negotiations / social structures / ummm... Web 2.0 ?
4. garbage collection of meta data
1. Artificial Intelligence & Evolution
2. open learning environments
5. Agents, pets, grouping, Community modelling
1. Protocols - finding groups, cyber dollars, state diagrams (?)
2. "Community Studies" - graphs & communication hubs, types of communities (free-for-all, hierarchy of authority, etc.)
3. implications of joining a community - what do you share, which parts of your student model are relevant
4. Walls & sand traps -- deliberate restrictions as problem-solving for learning
5. Communication channels - individual-to-individual, individual-to-community, chat channels, agent-only "administrative" communications, ex. requests for related learning objects in a particular community, etc.
6. Educational/Pedagogical focus (this part probably shouldn't be its own section but rather incorporated into the whole picture, but it's separate for me right now because I'm still only just starting to learn about it.)
1. Semantics - what there is to talk about in Education
1. ex. Merril's First Principles of Instruction, linking educational terms to AI terms
2. Pedagogical skills for tutors -- supporting human *and* artifical tutors
3. Student modelling - what the machine needs to know about the student, pedagogically-speaking, about learning history/preferences
4. Roles - Simulated students, Coaches, Tutors, Teachers,