Sonntag, 20. August 2006

Was ist denn an Fernsehen schlecht?!

Mein Kommentar zu http://science.orf.at/science/news/145446:

Ich wundere mich, warum viele Eltern dem Fernsehen gegenüber negativ eingestellt sind. Fernsehen ist doch für das Kind eine sehr effiziente Möglichkeit, viele Dinge über die Welt in kurzer bis kürzester Zeit zu erfahren und optische und akustische Eindrücke zu gewinnen. Freilich haben die Eltern meiner Meinung nach die Pflicht, die Fernsehprogramme sorgfältig auszuwählen, bis das Kind ein entsprechendes Maß an Medienkompetenz erlangt. Aber warum Fernsehen "dumm" machen sollte, ist mir bislang verborgen geblieben. Sicher, seine Freizeit einseitig nur mit Fernsehen zu verbringen, ist für die Gesundheit nicht gut; man muss Bewegung machen, soziale Interaktion erlernen und auch die Kulturtechniken Lesen, Schreiben und Rechnen üben. Aber maßvollen Konsum ausgewählter TV-Programme halte ich für eine gute Sache. Ich glaube, dass das Fernsehen auch einen Beitrag dazu leistet, dass das "Wissen über die Welt" in der Bevölkerung in den letzten Jahrzehnten stark zugenommen hat - auch wenn man sich freilich darüber streiten kann, ob es sich hier um echtes Wissen oder bloß um (zum Teil gefährliches) Halbwissen handelt.

Mittwoch, 16. August 2006

Interview with Josef Penninger

Not too fresh, but interesting. I've accidentially found it today (when randomly browsing Wikipedia):

http://www.life-science.at/karriere/experten/interview-penninger1.php

The most interesting passage is the following one:
life-science.at: Wenn Sie heute zurückblicken, können Sie sagen, dass Sie sich bereits in der Mittelschule von Ihren Mitschülern in irgendeiner Weise abgehoben haben? 
Prof. Dr. PENNINGER: Ich war kein guter Schüler - in einzelnen Fächern 'ja', die haben mich interessiert und in denen war ich gut - aber nicht in allen. Theoretische Physik und Mathematik haben mir gut gefallen - Einmal wäre ich wegen eines Aufsatzes fast von der Schule geflogen. Mit 17 hatte ich die Idee, ich möchte etwas für die Menschheit tun und habe mich spontan entschlossen, Medizin zu studieren. Ich bin daher nach Innsbruck gegangen. Aber das Studieren, das viele auswendig lernen hat mich nicht ganz befriedigt und viele andere auch nicht. 
Ich bin in der Schule und Studienzeit dem Grundsatz gefolgt, was mich interessiert, das mache ich. Das hab ich dann auch gut gemacht. Es war mir auch egal, ob ich damit jetzt Geld verdiene oder nicht. Ich hab damals 4 Jahre meine Doktorarbeit in Innsbruck geschrieben, ohne dass ich einen Groschen verdient habe. Sie hat mich interessiert und ich stand jeden Tag von in der Früh bis am Abend im Labor. 
life-science.at: Welchen Tipp können Sie aufgrund Ihrer Erfahrungen während Ihrer Studienzeit an Studierende weitergeben? 
Prof. Dr. PENNINGER: Das Wichtigste, und eine Empfehlung an alle Leute ist, das zu tun was ihnen wirklich gefällt. Dort werden sie dann auch gut sein. Wenn man das macht, was man gern macht, das macht man auch gut. Und wenn man in einem Bereich gut ist, dann findet man in diesem Bereich auch entsprechende Betätigungsfelder.
life-science.at: Sie sagten Ihre Doktorarbeit hat Sie interessiert, wie haben Sie Ihr Dissertationsthema gefunden? 
Prof. Dr. PENNINGER: Mich hat die Vorlesung von Prof. Wick immer interessiert. Ich habe seine Vorlesung besucht und bei ihm die Prüfung gemacht. Und dann kommt eines Tages ein Freund zu mir und sagt, 'du der Wick braucht einen Studenten für eine Doktorarbeit'. Mich hat Immunologie immer wahnsinnig interessiert und da bin ich am nächsten Tag hin gegangen. 'Und der Wick packt mi am Arm und sagt: am Montag fangen Sie an.' Am Montag habe ich dann angefangen. 
life-science.at: Welche Rolle hat die Dissertation für Ihre Laufbahn gespielt? 
Prof. Dr. PENNINGER: Das war sicher ein Meilenstein, denn mit der Dissertation öffnete sich eine ganz andere Welt. Es öffnete sich die Welt des Post Doc.

Dienstag, 15. August 2006

Status report

Not much exciting has happened. Just a small update so you know what I've done lately.

Hugi: I've updated the article index at http://www.hugi.scene.org/. Now it features all German and English issues released thus far. Another nice, not too special goodie will be released in a couple of days. I've also made new screenshots of issues 11 - 30 for pouet (for better consistency, as somebody has added screenshots of issues 1 - 10 showing the background / main menu pics) and posted instructions for the gloperators to "fix me beautifull". Let's see if they'll fix it or if I'll have to remind them again.

Homepage: From time to time I'll add articles which I wrote for various Hugi issues. In the last few days I've added some "scene fiction" and reviews. I've decided not to add all the texts I've planned (some of them were not so interesting IMHO, or were written in collaboration with others with me writing less than half of the article), so it will be fewer than 50 articles that I'll add in the next days/weeks.

Wikipedia: Gotta do something about the Hugi pages at Wikipedia. While the German page is "stable", the English one is marked for deletion. I need to prove the significance of Hugi in some way to satisfy Wikipedia moderators. mados has made some suggestions; maybe you have some, too.

Articles: I'll see to it that I write a new article for Hugi once a week so that a critical mass accumulates until the time when the next issue will be ready for release and I won't have to stress myself too much then... My plan for the next article is to review the 64k intros from Assembly 2006.

Reading: There are so many interesting books that I've even made a priority list. Top priority is the textbook on social medicine since I want to take the exam on it in mid/end September. I've already read about 80 out of 140 pages. Then come books on forensic medicine and law for medical students which I've borrowed from the university library. They're very interesting. But I cannot take the exam in the near future yet since I first have to do a practical course. The signing up for the course will be sometime in September. OK, that was what I remembered. Now let me check the list... Ah yes, the next is the book on fuzzy set theory. Then comes "The Code Book" which a co-worker has lent to me. (It's just at that place in the list because it's not my own book.) Sixth is "Psychiatrie, Psychoanalyse und die neue Biologie des Geistes" by Eric Kandel. And then I've also found an interesting biography about Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud who invented public relations. I guess I'll read that now in bed. I've also found a copy of the famous book 1984 by George Orwell, which I haven't read thus far, either - although I know its basic plot from discussions at school and other places.

Gamedev: Not much progress. After my LJ posting about my problems displaying bitmaps, I got working solutions from iliks and LittleJohn based on SDL.NET and DirectDraw, respectively. I'll buy Visual Studio 2005 tomorrow or in one of the next days and then try both variants. Maybe I'll get coding this or next weekend - but as you see, I have many other priorities. Of course I'm also looking for someone to make gfx and music. Regarding gfx, I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to use real photos. On the Internet there are a lot of people who have a penchant for fantasy and love to dress like fairies, magicians, demons, elfs, vampires etc. I guess there hasn't been a game like Shining Force with real characters yet, has there?

Work: I'm spending 8 hours a day at Siemens until the end of August. Work is nice - there is a friendly atmosphere and a great canteen. So far my tasks have not been too difficult, but I've already had the opportunity to do something creative, which I enjoyed. It's a project that suits my academic interests rather well.

Spare time: This long weekend (Saturday to Tuesday) I went out to Lainzer Tiergarten and Cobenzl. Especially the former location is a place where I often was as a young child. This, combined with the working at a company, has given me back the feeling that I'm a human being (rather than a knowledge-based system). I'm happy to be living in Vienna, it's quite a beautiful city with a lot of interesting spots to explore and enjoy spending time at. Well, and apart from that, I've mostly been playing games and watching TV. German speaking people who are slightly bored might be interested in this: http://www.bananenkoenig.de/?ac=vid&vid=44007893

Sonntag, 13. August 2006

Gamedev

I'd like to develop a turn-based strategy role-playing game. Yesterday I've designed much of the gameplay, including the A.I. behaviour of the non-playable characters. At least I can already say now that the enemy A.I. will be far stronger than in the game which serves as my source of inspiration. I've found some parameters with which the strength of the A.I. can be easily modified so I'll probably offer several levels of difficulty. Maybe I'll also do it like that every enemy character displays a different level of intelligent behaviour.

However, implementation is going to be a great problem since I have no experience at graphics programming at all. At the moment I'm not even able to display a bitmap. :-(

Freitag, 11. August 2006

Wikipedia

I ask myself: What would the Internet be without Wikipedia? A mess stuffed with information, but without a central place where to find all of it at a pretty high level thanks to open reviewing and editing. Wikipedia has been the greatest innovation since search engines!

Donnerstag, 10. August 2006

More articles for my HP

I came to the conclusion that my HP contains far too few articles, and so I've selected another 50 articles which I wrote for Hugi issues 20 to 32 to be added to my homepage. Well, maybe I'll not add all of them, but let's see.

Samstag, 5. August 2006

Geistige Strömungen in Österreich 1867 - 1918

I've discovered an interesting book in my shelves and am now reading it. It's called "Geistige Strömungen in Österreich 1867 - 1918" (Intellectual Movements in Austria 1867 - 1918). The author is Albert Fuchs and it was first published in 1949. On about 320 pages he describes (classical) liberalism, catholicism, the workers' movement, various social reform movements, German nationalism, idealist philosophy, the influence of psychoanalysis and pacifism.

For the first time in my life I've read about "Volapük", an artifical language. I really wonder if today's Greens somehow relate to the "social reformers" of those days who had similar ideas in some aspects. I've also found an interesting quote about liberalism: "Privateigentum an den Produktionsmitteln scheint ihnen die einzig mögliche Basis der zivilisierten Gesellschaft." In other words: For classical liberals, socialism was barbarism.

By the way, the liberal party was called "Vereinigte Deutsche Linke" (United German Left-Wingers). Obviously the meaning of the term "left-wing" has changed quite a lot in the course of centuries.

Coding...

OK, I've managed to reduce the size of my SDL template .exe to 7168 bytes. It's still in debug mode as I get a linker error when trying to build the project in release mode (it says: "msvcrt.lib(MSVCR71.dll) : error LNK2005: _exit bereits in LIBC.lib(crt0dat.obj) definiert" - maybe somebody knows how to fix that?). Anyway, this leaves more than 88 kb for code, gfx and music - that oughtta be enough to make something decent. What a coincidence: CoaXCable has asked me to join his group CoolPHat as a demo/game coder - so maybe he has some ideas about what I could code (i.e. better ideas than I currently have).

Coding

I've successfully managed to install SDL on my Visual Studio. After some tweaking the .exe file is 40 kb (debug mode, so I guess it will be even smaller in release mode). This means it will probably be no problem to create a 96k game with this configuration.

I guess the first thing I'll code is gonna be "shadeblobs" :-) ((c) by one of our proofreaders)

Mittwoch, 2. August 2006

Advanced Multidimensional Personality Matrix (AMPM)

I tried some tests from http://queendom.com/tests/ (I had found the link on DiamonDie's homepage). One of them was the biggest personality test I've ever taken. Here are the "Summary Results":
Based on the Five Factor Model credited to Goldberg, Costa and McRae, the Advanced Multidimensional Personality Matrix (AMPM) is a comprehensive personality assessment designed to provide you with valuable insight into your character, aptitudes, and disposition. 
The AMPM is based on the theory that all human personality traits belong to one of five broad dimensions of personality. Below the summary report, you will find a detailed personality report, including an advice section and your scores on the thirty-seven distinct personality traits. 
Your Personality Type:
Manager 
Your confidence, flexibility, and organizational skills make you the Manager. Your ability to juggle tasks is admirable, and your firm but friendly attitude gains you respect. You love trying out new ideas and methods to perform tasks, and don't get discouraged if things don't work out as planned. You enjoy spending time on your own as well as in the company of others. Your pleasant demeanor and emotional stability allow you to help people when they need you, and if there is a problem, you don't give up until you reach some kind of insight or creative solution.