Mike's blog

Arduino Hacking

The Arduino coding session we had today seemed to go pretty well (though I'll let the other folks blog about what it was like on the student end of things.) We got a bunch of things blinking and buzzing, and we covered most of what you need to do to read and write digitally and analog... analogally... analogly... analogalogally... hmm, don't know the word for that. At any rate, it was fun for me.

Gutting the Toy Cellphone

The Phone and the Tool: Today, we're taking apart a toy cell phone.  All you need, really, is a screwdriver.The Phone and the Tool: Today, we're taking apart a toy cell phone. All you need, really, is a screwdriver.

Education and Efficacy: Teaching Comp Sci to Designers

Once again, Kelcey has been tremendously helpful with psychology texts. I've been looking over some of the literature she gave me, and I've found some interesting new facts. One of the key factors in predicting whether students will continue with computer education is whether they feel they have the ability to control the computer. This ability may be pegged to experience, but there is no direct correlation between prior experience and willingness to continue learning about computers. Feelings of comfort in using computers (self-efficacy) are a much better predictor.

This leads me to think that the important part of teaching new students, or students coming from fields not related to computer science, is to give them immediate feelings of control over what the computer does--that this is far more important than having them be competent with computers. The more assured they are that they can overcome a technical obstacle they once thought to be impossible, relative to their ability, the more likely they will be to pursue this work in the future.

Toy Fair Impressions

Just some quick notes while the experience is fresh in my head:

The Chronicle: 2/9/2007: Caught in the Network

The Chronicle: 2/9/2007: Caught in the Network - Very interesting development here with academics using Tor, software created for keeping your Internet usage private. A professor at Bowling Green, who teaches about the social implications of authorities censoring Net usage, was asked not only to stop using Tor but to not teach his students about it. Apparently, the university's IT policy doesn't have an entry for irony. [My del.icio.us]

New Inkscape!

My favorite vector editor, Inkscape, has a new version available. Sweet Gaussian blurring, nice new path effects, interesting additions to their calligraphy tool. I haven't had a chance to try out all the new features, but it looks like a pretty good update. And the version after this is supposed to start animation support for SVG! Wicked!

Imitating A Scanner Darkly | Illustrator Techniques

"Scanner"-Style Self Portrait

Imitating A Scanner Darkly | Illustrator Techniques - [My del.icio.us]
The set of basic design skills is an area I've been playing catch up on, so it's always interesting for me to see how various techniques produce effects that interest me. This includes the rotoscoping tricks put in place with "A Scanner Darkly."

The article points out some obvious procedures that nevertheless eluded me. I had tried, before this, to cheat and use software that pulls out color areas and converts them to SVG paths.

Why We Should Fear YouTube

Fresh on the heels of the Boston PD detonating LED displays of Err of ATHF, as well as me listening to Brewster Kahle's talk on information, I notice that the videos of the project, made by the "guerrilla" marketers who dropped these projects onto major cities, have been removed from YouTube "by the user."

Yahoo, Regulation, and Constraints

Slashdot | Why You & Yahoo Should Like This Human Rights Law - [My del.icio.us] This is a pretty good article, not only for the human-rights issue, but for government regulation in general. I've blogged about this in the past. This is one of those frequently occurring cases where not only does an industry need regulation, in some ways, it may want it. Since any one company can't act ethically, because of its shareholder obligations, regulating the entire industry allows the "good" companies to do the right things, as well as making the others toe the line.

Response to Brewster Kahle

I listened to the talk given by Brewster Kahle, a personal hero of mine. I've long been a fan of his work at the Internet Archive. I've made a lot of use of the Open-Source movie area and the Prelinger Archive, two of the projects he mentions in the talk.

A theme he keeps coming back to is the Library of Alexandria. We're going through a period where we could have a tragedy on the scale of that great burning. Kahle covers the technical, legal, and moral requirements that we must fulfill to avoid this catastrophe.

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

Syndicate content