Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I'm An Artist Too (3)

This is a random drawing of a woman. Women are harder than men to draw, but more interesting. More curves, and whatnot. :) You can see some anime influence in her face.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Think We Need To Talk

Have you ever wondered if the conversations you have with other people are abnormal? I have. I know what a normal conversation with me is like, but I don't know how it compares to "normal" conversations between other people. I often wonder what a "normal" conversation sounds like, and if there is, indeed, a normal conversation.

I understand that there are different levels of conversations. The first level is cliches, things like "It's been really cold, lately, eh?" Mostly about the weather, or some inanimate shared thing in the immediate vicinity. Strangers talk at this level.

The second level is that of facts. This is slightly more deep than cliches. The facts aren't necessarily about anything immediate, or even necessarily shared. But it doesn't get very personal. Business meetings would be at this level of conversation.

The third level involves talking about feelings. This gets personal. This is where friends can talk. They don't always talk at this level, but it wouldn't be odd or awkward if it did. It might seem odd if a stranger started talking about their feelings to you.

The fourth level involves "we" statements. The definition of this level seems to be qualitatively different than the other levels.

I have also noted there are two main types of conversationalists. There are Question-Askers and Story-Tellers. Pastor Jack is a Question-Asker. If you talk with him he'll generally ask you lots of questions. I, on the other hand, am a story teller. Question-Askers always seem more interesting, or at least more enjoyable to be with because they get you talking about your favorite subject: You.

Story-Tellers tell you stories instead. The problem with this is that it tends to be less back-and-forth talk, and less personal, at least less personal for you. You can only get to know someone so well if all they do is tell stories. And if the person is not a good story teller then they are boring, and you tend to not want to talk to them.

Unfortunately for Story-Tellers (and those around them), most people are not great story tellers, so Story-Tellers tend to be somewhat boring.

Now, the aforementioned levels of conversation say nothing about flow or algorithm. I find some conversations follow this algorithm:

  1. Person 1: Story.

  2. Person 2: Story.

  3. Repeat ad infinitum.

Another algorithm is:

  1. Person 1: Question.

  2. Person 2: Story. Question.

  3. Person 1: Story. Question.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 ad infinitum.

Anyway, I'd be interested in figuring out a conversation algorithm or algorithms. The hard part of this is listening to enough conversations that don't include me. In some instances this is pretty easy. The hard part for me is when the conversation that I am witnessing doesn't concern me, it usually bores me. Then I very quickly drift into my own world.

I would be very interested in seeing the three most common conversation algorithms, and their ratings as the most interesting to each participant, and what the level of conversation was, and possibly the topic.

Of course, it might not be the topic or algorithm that makes a conversation interesting or boring. I'd be interested in knowing all factors, and their respective weights, in the I.F. (interesting factor) of a conversation. It could be expressed as an equation.

Let A, B, C, and D be I.F.s.
I.F. = wA + xB + yC + zC
where w, x, y, and z are importance coefficients such that 0 < {w, x, y, z} <= 1

Of course, it may be more complicated than that. Who knows. Do you know? If you do, then please comment.

Maybe I should have gone into social science instead of computer science. Except for the dealing-with-people part, and the writing of reports part, and applying for grants part....Yeah, I think I went into the right field.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Blogging Is Good For You

It turns out, according to today's article, that writing is good for you. Now, I don't see me writing my memoirs. I mean, who would read it? But I do have my blog. Anyway, I don't think the mental health benefits come from people reading your work. I think it comes from the act of the writing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm An Artist Too Two

This is just a random picture of a random guy. His far shoulder looks odd. I just started drawing people at angles. I tend to draw things head on with 0 perspective. I'm trying to draw at angles with some perspective.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Best Time To Philosophize

It seems I do my best philosophizing in bed. While in bed I recently figured out how people can still be accountable to God for their sin even if they don't have free will.

I've also come to the realization that the idea of election (in a Christian sense) can be rather scary. Someone recently said to me, towards the end of a conversation “The Elect are elect, period.” to which I replied something like "Yeah, and that in it's self can be rather scary." To which, he replied in his blog "Surely not!"

Unfortunately, I couldn't remember how I came to my conclusion. It seems initially comforting, if you're a believer, that once in Christ, always in Christ. "Phew! I'm in now, and
'No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand, 'Till He returns or calls me home.'"

A little while later I woke up at about 3:00am and remembered how I came to my scary conclusion, then went back to sleep. By the time I got in front of a computer again I couldn't figure it out.

But, hopefully I'll remember again at a more convenient time, at which time I'll give my response here, on this blog.

Of course, it could be that when I'm lying in bed I'm too tired to think clearly, and I can't see my obvious fallacies that I readily see when I'm awake.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm An Artist Too

The McQueen's aren't the only ones here who are artists. I do a bit too. I just had to find the right canvas. And I have found that styrofoam makes a good canvas. So I think I'll showcase some of my art here on my blog. If anyone would like to buy one of my pieces, let me know.

And, yes, all the cups are used cups.

My Dilert

This one shows why I am not the Dilbert artist. Scott Adams does a fine job without me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Need Another Reason to Switch?

Internet Explorer version 6 was open to vulnerabilities for 284 days in 2006. Firefox's longest vulnerability period was 9 days.

I'm sure if this woman gets out of prison alive she'll probably never use Internet Explorer. Just another example of American "justice."

UPDATE: Here's another story. This poor 16 year old was almost convicted of possession of child porn and labeled a sex-offender for the rest of his life. The culprit? Spyware, virii, and other malware. You know, that stuff that can make it onto your computer so easily through Internet Explorer without you even knowing anything at all went on your computer.

UPDATE: I just checked my viewer stats and am pleased to report that, while the majority are using non-IE browsers, IEv7 hits are greater than IEv6. While IEv7 is still less secure than any other popular browser it is much better than IEv6.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Be Careful What You Mail in the U.S.

Today's link tells us that U.S. authorities can open other people's mail without a warrant now.

Monday, January 08, 2007

False Confessions

A few posts ago I mentioned something about people confessing to crimes they didn't commit. Here's an article from Psychology Today that discusses this issue.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Not Surprising

Apparently most websites on the internet suck. At least according to today's link.

How do you tell a good webpage from a bad one? Chances are if you're using IEv6 and suffer from no disabilities, you would probably judge it on aesthetics, how it looks, and how it's laid out. If you're using a different browser, or using a different operating system, or have a disability such as visual impairment, colour blindness, deafness, etc. then the question is moot to you. You just know.

You go to a site and find you can't even use it if you don't have Javascript enabled. The font is too small. The colour's don't contrast enough. You have to embiggen the font, and sections start overlaying each other.

Of course, web developpers can ensure they're writing good code if they adhere to the recommendations made by the W3C.

I am a professional web developer. I suffer from a disability. It's called "artistic cluelessness." What it means is that I put functionality way ahead of look'n'feel. For layouts I use simplistic, logical layouts. If I were building buildings I would be an engineer, not an architect.

The evidences of my artistic cluelnessness could be seen way back in my childhood. When brother Jack and I were teaching ourselves to program when we were 14 and 15 years old, Jack's programs would have nice colour schemes with nice layouts. His programs would be nice to look at. My programs just used the DOS default grey on black text, one line after another. White space was used as a divider, like I use here on this blog.

It can still be seen on this blog. Look at my blog. I used the default blogger layout. No imagination.

So, how do I have the gall to call myself a professional web programmer when I admit that I suffer from artistic cluelessness? Thankfully every web developer position I've ever held has had someone else hired as a graphic designer doing that work. I've been free to do the coding. And to compensate I stay very close to the W3C recommendations. As a result, my sites, as ugly as they may be, are as accessible as possible...or they will be, if I ever get the time to fix them up.

This blog post has no point, as few, if any, of my readers are web developers. I just saw this article and wanted to point it out.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Pressure's On!

I am taking a break from studying for my chemistry exam tomorrow. (Granted, by the time you read this the exam will be way in the distant past.) Something as occurred to me.

I am a web programmer. I develop web pages for the federal government. It's not a permanent job. It's co-op position. The position ends December 22. I have been here for over two years now. My team wants to keep me around. They like my work.

When I finish chemistry I will have completed all degree requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Computer Science.

Now, I don't use a whole lot of my schooling at work. There were classes I could have taken in university that deal with web programming, but I never took them. I'm self-taught in this field.

I mentioned that my team wants to keep me around. This is possible through what's called the "bridging mechanism." That's a mechanism where someone can be hired into the federal government without competition if they have done some student work with the government. But, since it's government there are rules. Lots of them. And they can't be broken or bent. One of those rules is that before bridging can take place, the student must have graduated from the program under which the student work was done.

I have done my student work while studying computer science, earning a bachelor of science from Algoma University. So I need to graduate before they hire me.

Now, to get a bachelor of science from any university, you need to take a bunch of courses in your major, and a bunch of courses that are not part of your major. Some of those non-major courses have to be science courses. One of the specifics is a general chemistry course. That is the last course I have before I graduate. My exam is tomorrow, and I'm rather nervous about it.

The bottom line right now is that if I pass the exam then I pass the course, and I get bridged in and keep my job (for a year, at least).

If I fail the exam then I fail the course and I don't get bridged in. ie: I loose my job.

So, here's the cruel irony:

Right now my job does not depend on my ability to code web pages or write web based applications. It depends on my ability to predict which liquids have higher boiling points, the shapes of molecules, balance chemical equations, etc.