|I have officially accepted the offer from CAVS for a full time research associate position. Yay me! The job is basically the same but full time hours and the pay is a lot better. :P
This summer I get a PhD graduate student that I can claim I supervise. Cool. :P|
04/06/2006 - Blake: Gratz
W-2s are ready at ERC/CAVS. This will hopefully be the last year we'll be looking forward to getting a nice, fat refund. :P Hopefully, since our nice fat refund is basically b/c we are broke, have itsy bitsy income, and _big_ tax credits for education and the kids. *chuckle* Hopefully, b/c there should be a significant change in income this summer. At any rate, I'm looking forward to the fat refund. We actually have some savings right now from financial aid and nothing is broken (knock on wood) so we'll be able to pay off some debt with it.
As posted over on LJ, we're all sick. I'm pretty well over it today. Just a little headache and stuffed up nose. Bekah's been home most of the week with a very low-grade fever. The twins mostly don't seem to have it but Jacob had a runny nose and a slight fever the last two days. Just an annoying cold.
The university (Iowa and MSU) lawyers are still taking their time. We're progressing on aspects of the project not involving the Iowa software anyway. We have to write everything that allows the model to "see" and "hear" in the virtual environment. The Iowa software handles movement in the VE. My undergraduate programmers are pretty good at getting things done. Sometimes they need a little push - we have one particularly complex problem that we talked about over and over and finally I sat down and wrote some code to get them started. The actual solution only takes a few lines of code - but the thought process of how its working is complex. We're hooking into the render loop of our graphics package using callbacks to override the regular rendering pass and render a "map" of the 3D scene that we can parse to determine which objects the model can actually see. Later, we'll be trying to figure out what features of the objects can be seen. First things first. :P Working with graphics software and hardware just isn't easy for some reason. At least that part is 100% C/C++. We're also writing network code to pass information between our rendering package (C/C++) and the ACT-R modeling software (LISP). Someday we'll be probably end up interfacing the system with a driving simulator (TCL scripting).
We're pushing hard to get an initial integration working so I will feel comfortable writing something up to present at a conference in September (submission deadline is March). By May, we'll want to have the integrated system in a state where it can be demoed so I can submit something to the workshop that will be in Pittsburgh at CMU.
Over the next few weeks, we're going to settle on the plan for my dissertation. Right up the proposal and schedule my "oral exam" sometime in March - I hope. I'll run the experiments this semester and we'll do analysis and modeling in May/June. Still trying to be done in August even if I won't actually get my degree until December. IF this was the _only_ thing I was working on, it wouldn't be a problem. But I have the CAVS research work and the CSMT (at least until May) website work... as much as I am enjoying all the work, it sucks.
Really getting back to work this week. We're doing a redesign of the CSMT website - visually it won't change much but we're moving to CSS and divs instead of frames and tables. Trying to make things a little better for whoever takes over when I leave later this year. Hopefully it will be easier to maintain and do cosmetic changes than it was. We're also taking the opportunity to trim out all the legacy image files and crap that aren't being used by the site.
At CAVS, we're still waiting for lawyers to hammer out some paperwork regarding software from a partner university. In the meantime, I have two undergraduates working on code that will allow our digital model to "see" and "hear" in a virtual environment. We're passing data between the virtual environment and our cognitive model over a network - so eventually our "brain" may be running its virtual body from another state. :P Once we get the partner software hooked up (easier said than done - deadline: September 2006), we should have a walking and acting virtual human. The first version will have pretty limited capability but that is what future grants are for.
There is a possibility that I will be staying on here after I finish my dissertation (research done by May, writing done by August - assuming no more advisor changes). The research we're doing at CAVS is a huge opportunity for MSU and is a very exciting area of research that I hope to continue working on wherever I am. Starkville's general sucking is going to be irritating but I can deal in exchange for getting to do this work. There are some other opportunites and the CAVS one is nowhere near final... so we'll just have to see what happens over the next 6 months.
I'm likely to be in Pittsburgh again this year during July - that will also depend on how well we progress between now and May. If I have something worth showing off, I'll definately be headed up there to demo some of the potential fruits of our research. I would love to visit some of you while up that way - I'm not sure what kind of arrangements I can make this time to stay before/after the work-related part of the trip.
An annual issue with conference trips is going to be the twins' birthday. CogSci and the ACT-R workshop _always_ fall around July 25th and HCII (every two years) is the same week or the week after. In my field, I should be attending those... *grumble*. If I'd thought of it, I'd have pressured Jenn to try to wait one more week. *chuckle*
The family is good. Bekah is "learning the computer" via a Dora the Explorer game. The twins are walking, climbing, eating everything and have a limited vocabulary - "bite bite", each other's names, "ball", etc. Yesterday, Jacob stole my Arby's cup and was sipping Dr.Pepper through the straw. :P
I will try to post more frequently both here and my LJ. I'm slowly trying to convince myself to blog my research on Blogger. If I can get a list of ideas for posts, I'll start regularly posting to that too and I'll put the address up here then.-- Daniel
|Still alive. Regular updates moved to Livejournal. |
All of my graduate forms are up to date and submitted. We will be submitting the forms for approval for experiments with human subjects this week. We are still holding out some hope we can run two experiments before December 10th, but it is more likely we'll be running the second and third experiment in January/February. We're playing with motion capture systems, driving simulators, and computer simulations in a mix of TCL, LISP and C/C++.
I have a couple resumes out... I haven't submitted anything to university jobs yet. There aren't any close and if I can find a job close Jenn would be happier.
The twins are both walking and babbling nonsense words. I've been playing poker online at Last Call Poker. It is actually an ARG that includes a poker site. The puzzle aspects of the ARG haven't been stellar but the storyline is fun and interesting and the poker has been a lot of fun.
Okay... videogame movies basically suck. That's the rule. Even the best ones are pretty much mediocre. :P And I won't believe Doom will be good until I actually see it. But the new trailer for the Doom movie actually raises my hopes - even the first-person view sections of the movie (while still slightly cheesy what with the game-like reloading) aren't bad and might even be fun (I can see how first person could be scary). The BFG looks nice too. The chainsaw even makes an appearance. So - here's hoping Doom starts a trend of good movies from videogames that the upcoming Halo movie continues. *chuckle*
On another note I thought I'd share some blog links... Cognitive Daily - a blog of cognitive related psychology - and Tangled Bank - a collection of blog postings in different areas of science. Tangled Bank was hosted on Cognitive Daily today and I think I'll keep track of it as it pops up on other blogs in the future.
I've been having trouble with Google Desktop's web clips. It seems to have forgotten the RSS feeds I wanted it to track. I'm not sure if its because I used the automatic feed tracking or what. If it "forgets" again, I'll set the feeds manually and if that doesn't work I'll let Google know something is up - tho I've never gotten a reply for any bug reports before so I feel like its kinda useless.
Lastly, I've been thinking about switching to a "real" blog system. Not that Azimuth's blog system isn't great and functional but with other Sanc-ites using livejournal it would be nice to have the friends linkage and to be able to have an ID to post comments. I'll probably end up having more than one as I'd like to have a blog for posting research-related info and one for more personal use. Also, I've got to get around to creating a personal page for Daniel Carruth and not for Ego with more of a professional feel. :P-- Sketch
So, I was wrong about parking. They did limit the parking stickers. It was just people without stickers and/or ignoring the new parking rules the first week that was filling up the West zone. Yesterday I rolled into the parking by the tennis courts around 9:15 AM and, holy cow, there was totally plenty of parking spots! Yay for new rules! Yay for me beating the lazy losers to picking up my sticker! :P Traffic is still sucking but I think that as the semester goes on and people discover the best entrance to use for their parking zone it will get better.
Jenn picked up Psychonauts for XBOX for my birthday. I had a blast playing through even though I usually don't like platformers. The game was headed up by Tim Schafer (of Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, and (half of) Day of the Tentacle fame). It is definitely on the recommended list - and is available on PS2 and PC for the non-XBOX types.-- Sketch
Update: I just got an email saying that all graduate assistants will be given new stickers allowing them to park in any commuter zone. So, I'll be able to park wherever I used to be able to park. (Except some old parking that got changed into residence).
Also, I downloaded Google Desktop 2 yesterday. And Wow... I know some people are like: it doesn't do anything new or better than other apps do it... but having an integrated news alert, RSS alert, email notifier, IM (with Google Talk - limited but they say they will be adding support for other networks like GAIM, I run both for now), a TODO list, a scratch pad, AND the desktop search app -- it has completely changed the way I use my computer and surf the web. For someone more a casual user than a power user, GD2 is pretty handy.
08/24/2005 - Jenn: WooHOO yeah for the graduate assistants! I have been saying they shoud get staff parking but at least this is a start.
So, the Las Vegas trip had an unfortunate side-effect (similar to my trip to Pittsburgh): Starkville sucks. This is not to say that it doesn't have its good points, but I particularly despise the complete lack of any real "fine dining" in Starkville. When we get excited about the prospect of an Olive Garden in Starkville, that sucks. :)
I got excited about something else yesterday - signing for a new "welcome center" near the football stadium revealed that Barnes and Noble will be opening a bookstore here on campus sometime next year. Woo! A real bookstore (of course, it could be a itsy bitsy tiny hole-in-the-wall B and N - but I have hope) right next door. Then, I thought how frustrating that I'm actually excited about a stupid bookstore - I buy most of my books online anyway. It is really just a reaction to the possibility that Starkville might suck a little less - but really how much does a single bookstore reduce the suckage quotient? *chuckle*
Its also time for my annual "Start of School is Great" post. I still believe it. I walked through the Union yesterday and the energy level is just amazing. Given the right perspective, it is a real privilege to just be present when so many people are so excited about positive changes in their lives. The weather is nice (a little hot lately), people are excited, campus is busy... I love it. Traffic blows. The new parking system (parking stickers are for specific zones now) is terrible. They didn't control the total number of stickers distributed for specific zones - so everyone has West (lots near tennis courts) and East (lots near McComas, Simrall) parking stickers and no one has Northwest (Evans pit, near Stadium) or Coliseum (except freshmen who are now required to park at the Hump) stickers. I should've gotten a Northwest zone sticker and walked to work like last year. But since the only place I have to go on campus is by Allen I thought West would be good - how stupid of me. :P But really other than parking I'm really excited about school starting up again.-- Sketch
08/19/2005 - Sherri: I really miss MSU sometimes. I've been to two other Universities and neither of them have even remotely compared to MSU. There really IS just something about that place. *sigh*
08/24/2005 - Jenn: Stupid school, stupid people, it's all retarded. who cares anyway
Cause Sherri had it on her livejournal and cause I wanted to post something to prove I'm still here and cause Buffy rox.
Season Five - You're about growing up, and you're
probably the most mature of the bunch; after
all, you've got Buffy giving up her own life to
stop uber-tramp Glory. Your best episode is
"the Body," which explores the
process of grief by breaking TV conventions of
Which Season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Are You?
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