Archive | 10:11 pm

Curiosity keeps your cat fit

21 Nov

The saying goes Curiosity kills the cat, however I think that is a negative approach of the observation that cats generally like to investigate their surroundings. Those surroundings are often meant for humans, not for iddi biddy kitty cats (or small children).

So, in my cat-safe apartment, I have to keep my cats occupied with new things to explore. The WowWee Tri-bot came in a huge box, and my cats have explored it with tooth and nail (literally). My Bengal cat (a neutered male) has pulled it over, again and again. The sides are ragged from the clawing and biting.

Cat in a box

However, being a creature of habit, this cat decided to put the box to another use. He jumped over the side and sat inside the box for half an hour, hoping I wouldn’t spot him. He likes to play hide and seek, and doesn’t move until I’ve spotted him. Many cats like this kind of game. It is part of their arsenal of hunting strategies.

When I had spotted him, he stayed in the box just long enough for me to take a photo (how polite of him). Soon thereafter, he jumped out of the box, toppling it over in the process. The box was fun, now for something completely different.

I love cats and their antics.

That is all.

It’s just not fair. Tri-bot in a box

21 Nov

The WowWee robot Tri-bot has a self discovery mode, in which this toy robot uses its sensors to safely navigate a room, while giving funny remarks. So why not put him in a box, where there’s nothing to explore?

The Gift of…

21 Nov

As children, born healthy and free, we are given many gifts as we are growing up. At birth, we get the gifts of hearing and seeing (and some more), and somewhat later the gift of speaking and reasoning. Some years later we are blessed with the gift of reading and writing. However, it doesn’t have to stop here. We can also receive the gift of… programming (software development).

As I am entering the wonderful state of receiving this gift, I can only wonder why some many people are deprived of it. Why are so many people using computer programs, but not producing them? It’s like being able to read (or being read to), but not able to write for yourself.

Before people were able to read silently (before the invention of the space between words, punctuation and capitalization), all text was recited. Because, at that time, most people were illiterate, reciting was the best way to let people know what was written by others. I’m afraid, with computer programming, we are in that state right now.

It is just too hard to write computer programs, unless one takes a concerted effort to acquire the skill oneself (or by being taught in some highbrow CS institution). The tools and the language are not yet refined enough for large parts of the population being able to read and write programs themselves.

I have to admit that this idea of computer illiteracy is not mine originally. I’ve received it from listening to the eloquent lectures/speeches given by Robert Lefkowitz on OSCON 2004 and 2005, “The Semasiology of Open Source ” (part 1 “The Thesis” and part 2 “The Antithesis”). Nevertheless, it is good to know in what state computer science is at this moment.

So, one needs to do rigorous study of the art of computer programming, just as one needed to a similar study in the art of reading and writing. It is unfortunate, that this skill isn’t mandatory for elementary schools. It may be because the teachers often are as computer illiterate as their pupils.

Being in the Dark Ages of computer programming, it is good to see some individuals take the plunge into being enlightened in the art. However, what is really needed is an advancement in the way computer programs are written. At this moment, programming languages are still too crude and too ad hoc.

If and when we reach the Enlightenment of software development I do not know. What I know is that the best has yet to come.

That is all.