Meetings make us dumber, study shows

Meetings make us dumber, study shows - LiveScience - - I knew it! [My]

Yes, it's true. Meetings make us dumb. Or, at least, less creative. And yet, we're a collaborative species. So, what's the best way to combine work and still keep people's creative instincts intact? That answer to that is probably worth several million dollars.

Bluetooth Research

Bluetooth: Ye olde King BluetoothBluetooth: Ye olde King BluetoothBluetooth is a wireless protocol for sending serial data over the air. It was named after Harald I of Denmark. In fact, the symbol for Bluetooth consists of the runes for that king's name.

In order to put a project together, you'll need the following resources:

  • A Bluetooth modem board, such as the BlueSMiRF
  • An Arduino board or stamp
  • Outputs from the Arduino (vibration "rumble" motors in our case)
  • Input to the Arduino board (like our accelerometers)
  • A computer or other device that can communicate via Bluetooth (most recent Macs and laptops, as well as certain Nokia phones, etc.)

A Year Of Wine and Swine

Just to note a couple of blogs that my friends write. First off is my buddy Ravi, who is blogging about the barrel of wine we're making in beautiful Jersey City, New Jersey. It's still young, but it's getting pretty damn good. Plus, I'll be up to my neck in cheap hooch for the rest of next year. Woo!

Also, this being the Year of the Pig, my pal John (who is an amazing artist) is tracking his progress over the next year to create the perfect short ribs recipe--as well as any other porcine production he comes up with.

Neural Networks

As Inti Einhorn mentioned in his presentation (which was great, man--I've had several conversations based on it in just the past couple of days,) getting the Wii to work requires training. That'll be true of anything we build, too, especially w/r/t anything gestural.

With that in mind, I would strongly recommend that we look into neural networks as a way to train the machines. It sounds a little intimidating, but it really isn't. In fact, it ties in very closely to the reading about logic gates we've been doing so far.

IBM has a pretty good introduction to NN. In particular, read Threshold logic units (TLUs) and How a TLU Learns. The rest is pretty math heavy--though it's still good reading, if you're up for it. You can recreate AND, OR, XOR, etc. gates using neural networks pretty easily.

Non-Electronic Logic Gates

Hot on the heels of our readings in class are two unconventional examples of how logic gates work.

Karaoke Computing

I gotta say, if you go to some of the better karaoke joints in the city, you really see some pretty straightforward physical computing stuff there that's done very effectively. At the place I was at last night, there were LED tambourines, lights that dim and shone with the baseline, all kinds of stuff. So, let me say it here first -- KARAOKE COLLAB! Because it's time, people. It's time.

Light Meter Arduino Project

Arduino Light Meter: Ye olde digitalWrites and analogRead at work.Arduino Light Meter: Ye olde digitalWrites and analogRead at work.Here's an example of something simple and (potentially) practical you can make with an Arduino: a light meter!

The trick for me, if you look at the photo, was to use a voltage divider for the photoresistor. That is, the analog input comes from the point on the circuit between the photoresistor and a 1K ohm resistor.

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.


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

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