XNA Yayy

18 08 2006

In other news, I forgot to mention earlier that I got into the beta testing program, for Microsoft’s XNA Gamestudio (Express) – found out yesterday. Im so excited. Man its so annoying how little information there is on that thing. Nothing but empty air fluffed up media hype. But managed to scrounge up as much bare details that may be gotten.

XNA Framework will serve as a replacement of Managed DirectX, the 2.0 version which is dead.

Quote:

Q: What exactly is the XNA Framework?
A: The XNA Framework allows game developers to create modern games using the C# programming language and a rich set of development libraries. The XNA Framework provides its own content pipeline to make it easy to get rich content (3D, 2D, sound, etc.) from content creation sources into a game. The XNA Framework also provides a very high level of API unification across the Windows and 360 implementations, thus virtually eliminating the cost and effort required to port games between these two platforms.

———————————

Q: How is this different than the .NET Framework?
A: The Framework is the leading development stack for building general purpose Windows-based applications. The XNA Framework was designed to leverage many familiar elements of the Framework, such as core class libraries and a Common Language Runtime, but is optimized for game development and execution. The XNA Framework includes a custom set of cross-platform libraries built from the ground up specifically for game development.

————–

Q: Does the XNA Framework include the ability to use Xbox Live?
A: The initial release of the XNA Framework on the Xbox 360 will not have any support for networking. We realize this is a big area of interest for game developers and are actively working on a solution for the next release.

To those who know, does this networking incapability apply only to the xbox or windows as well?

XNA Game Studio Express – errr, Read this FAQ.

XNA Build, shorten build time and streamline process – you can see more here.

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Satire Session

17 08 2006

People who use C++ like dropping pianos and anvils on themselves

—————————Unrelated scenario to C++ lusers :)——————
bigkid1: hey! give me back my toy!
kid2: not unless u give me my green man.
kid1: *smacks kid2*
kid1: *pushes kid2 who falls, skids and gashes his knees and elbow, grins smugly*
kid2: *kicks kid1 and stamps on his foot*
adult1: hey whats going on here!
cool adult2: nah, theyre boys let them fight it out
kid2: *has swollen eye, bloody nose and limp*
kid1: *has black eye and sore tummy*
adult2: hey you know guys maybe u shouldnt give each other black eyes, try aiming 4 the chest area..safer. but its up to u big kid, he did take ur toy. n u my boy n all so im gonna give u some leeway.

adult1: I cant watch this silliness anymore. okay thats enough guys break it up.
adult3: yeah break it up kids. *helps adult1 pull apart*

kid2: haha even tho ur bigger I gave u a black eye. Im tough. I won.
kid1: shut up. no i won. look how much blood i made u lose.
kid2: nah uh
kid1: yah uh
kid2: nah uh
kid1: yah uh
kid2: :p
kid1: nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh





Breakin’

15 08 2006

Perhaps you know I am a bboy (breakdancer – wihthin the culture breakdancer has a negative connotation). This weekend I was away doing a show for a high profile client (you certainly have heard and likely used their product), they paid for our hotel, dinner and breakfast and travel – in addition to the good pay for performing. I was fairly nervouse as it was the most major show I have ever done. Thusly, I did not in my opinion perform up to par (although the other 3 in the crew did quite well despite their opinion that they too did not do their best) but apparently this went beyond the notice of the hosts since these people were highly impressed and offered us further jobs (one of the things you train is how to catch messups and cleanly or smoothly link them into something else so it looks like you did it on purpose).

There were other acts as well, all extremely talented – magicians, singer/dancers , tricksters etc. I was most humbled to have been performing with such evidently talented people. All in all it was a fun weekend.

As a side note, in the old days lots of mathematicians used to do gymnastics – Weiserstrass and Sophus Lie come to mind – it is only a recent development that the concept of nerd came to be. I blame hollywood. I note this only because bboyin borrows alot from gymnastics. but i must emphasize that it is a dance artform.

I now return you to our regular scheduling. Some other posts will follow this – Part 3 of the essay namely. But I must go now, Bush is giving a speech. :)





Hope

11 08 2006

Today I met a youth worker for the local council and also met some disenfrachised youths. The worker has been doing this for 20 years – he sets activities and programs (dance, djing, circus) for these kids and is quite experienced, he has seen alot of stuff; 12 year old rapers, shot coworkers (work with kids remember) in a country supposedly without guns. But that was his experiences way up north, I think its safer down here.

It was a most discouraging thing to meet some of these kids. Speaking with pride of their joy riding, burglary and forced entry into homes, they seemed totally a lost cause. Another kid enjoys setting fire to live cats and spoke of his doing just that as you or I may do about what we ate for breakfast. He was 15 or 16. My age range attempts to waylay them on their path to that, for at that age, I feel the cause is lost. teaching abstract critical thinking will be too late.

Tomorrow I write the final part of my 3 part essay describing my solutions in my attempt to make a difference for these kids. *sigh*.

Next week monday I take my proposal to the local council.

Today, August 10th is my younger sisters birthday. She turns 14. She was top of her class in Honors Physics last school term. As I hear it, she had one of those brilliant teachers who manage to surmount the system.





Broken Schools Part 2

9 08 2006

My last post was fairly well recieved, it has provided much motivation. For, even if I have been resistant to the effects of schooling, I have not been immune. I find my self asking ‘but who are you to think that you may affect any kind of a change, even if only locally (at first)? What do I matter?’. And to that I reply ‘what is this blasphemy you speak? do you seek to resign to failure, without even had begun?’.

From a young age, a deafeatist and submissivist attitude is instilled in us all, crushing whatever curiosity that we may have had as children. Think to yourself, children are born highly curiuos and interested in the world about them. By the time they are about 13 and properly when they are 16, all such is gone as they enter the adult world. If the natural and default mode amongst most is one of independence loving, world curious why then is the world filled with so many dissaffected, disinterested and dependent people? Perhaps something goes wrong somewhere? I have an answer and it has to do with what happens when you pull a rubberband too far and then let go suddenly. It snaps back to a state more brittle than before. You need to take it back to its natural state slowly, or better yet, never had stretched it in ther first place. What do I mean?

From a young age children are treated as if they are lesser beings, who need not concern themselves with important dealings of the world they so wish would acknowledge them. They are told to restrict (read bottle up) themeselves and to obey authority (as oppossed to respect and treat others fairly). They may not relieve themselves without a pass and not without permission. In fact they must ask permission for near everything. They may not move without permission or a bell tells them. They must compete for attention and quickly learn to become embittered towards their fellow students who might steal the attention away from them. As they grow, the constant bells, realization that they are not an individual but a mere number in the class they are taught indifference. Disinterest is done simply.

A barrage of unrelated subjects (many of them presented in an irrational manner) with constantly interrupted study periods are launched at them. How can you become attatched to learning if every 40 minutes a bell rings to interrupt your stream of thought? There is no better way to hinder concentration and progress than constant interruption. Anyone who has ever thought ‘its gonna take a while to get back into this, get in the zone’ knows what I speak of. How can you care for what you do if most of it is meaningless (seemingly), disconnected and no more than monotnous busywork never to be looked at again after two weeks? The thought would be ‘If this is what it is like, how uninteresting it is when it is so simple then I dread to think what the more difficult aspects are!’ (it is quite frustrating telling people that no, mathematics is alot more that adding and subtracting and that yes, you can in fact study only it for 4 years or more and yes, there is a use for it. yes i am sure that there is a lot more to it than 1 + 1 = 2).

To go from thinking one minute about how to conjugate a verb and the next, a bell rings and like conditioned rats, to move without thinking (except me, I had a bad habit of staying after and finishing what I was doing. I got many, many referealls for being tardy. hah i say) to our next destination to learn that some president never lied (mix them up a bit, the more disparate facts fed a person in a day the less likely they will remember any, making learning a most unpleasant thing which is good). How can a child learn to learn? We do not teach critical thinking, instead we teach how to cross reference and regurgitate what we are fed. We are taught how not to think, this is the easiest way. We are trained on how to fill forms and grouped and seperated (fist by age, then by so called ‘ability’, then by most thoughtlessly obedient etc). Multiple choice exams (those things used to cause me much stress) train on how to give expected answer. If is say this, will you say a) ,b) or c)?

And you know what? The teachers can do nothing, the walls of the burecreacy encage them quite securely. One misstep and they are out of a job. They can but attempt their best to learn the kids something given the constricting space of proper technique, cirruculum, no child left behind, political correctness and the list goes on. There is no freedom of movement.

Filled as children are with curiosity, seperation from the world of the grown makes them want to grow much too fast, they wish to know what it is they are missing. Which as they later find out, really is not much. Indeed they lose many rich experiences that might otherwise have been undergone in their eagerness to become members of society. Hurried and rushed to grow (mentally), by the time they are of age, with proper grooming for materialistic compulsion created by Television, they snap into place having been properly schooled/trained, undeveloped as people but ready to become functioning members of society. How many say they do not know what to do with their life? Just go through it, day by day not truly expriencing it?

They do not seek to learn, to expand or go beyond themselves because it is not their job. ‘What you say? Learn that? But I cant, I am not capable enough.’ They are intimidated by what is foreign ‘Indeed I deserve to be ripped off because I have chosen the path of wilfull ingnorance. But that is ok, I have not a certificate which says I may do that, someone else must do it for me, for since it is not my job it is fine that I have not even an incling on what it is that must be done that I may be charged reasonably’. Quickly we learn that we are not capable of learning on our own ‘What? no that other person is more capable because he went to school and partied, cheated and squeezed his way to a degree, we have no paper that says that fellow over there who spends 12 hours a day studying the matter is knowledgable so he certainly knows nothing. This is a go go world you know!’. How often do You say to yourself ‘but I cannot do that, I can never be as good as that person’ even if you would fail, you would reach further and gain more by having tried than not at all.

Please note that I realize the importance of guidance – in order that the speediest path to knowledge be taken and irrevalncies not be retrodden. Indeed, teachers would do better to act as guides and not indoctrinators. But each person requires a unique level of guidance lest their free will and intellectual creativity and freedom be stifled.

But then you know, it does not do to have people who feel that it is better to try something even if they may fail nor those who think they might be able to do some task on their own,who can think openly and reason freely running about – that would ruin the entire economy and destroy the polarization of society we so cherish!

Some quotes on the purpose of Schools from the original directives

John Gatto is a retired teacher of some 30 years experience who was highly respected by his community and enjoyed as one of the best teachers. Yet he has much to say agaisnt the school system. Although you or I may not necessarily agree with all he says he makes many stong points in this speech. I quote from the strongest below.

Quote:

The BEHAVIORAL TEACHER EDUCATIONAL PROJECT outlines specific teaching reforms to be forced on the country, unwillingly of course, after 1967. It also sets out, in clear language, the outlook and intent of its invisible creators. Nothing less than quoting again “the impersonal manipulation through schooling of a future America in which few will be able to maintain control over their own opinions”, an America in which (quoting again) “each individual receives at birth, a multipurpose identification number which enables employers and other controllers to keep track of their [underlings]”, (underlings is my interpretation, everything else came out of the document), “and to expose them to the directors subliminal influence of the state education department and the federal department acting through those whenever necessary”.The project identified the future as one (again I’m quoting) “in which a small league would control all important matters, one in which participatory democracy would largely disappear”. Children would be made to see that their classmates, and indeed the average man or woman were so inadequate, were so irresponsible that they had to be controlled and regulated.

According to the BEHAVIORAL TEACHER EDUCATIONAL PROJECT, post modern schooling would focus, (I quote directly from the document), “on pleasure cultivation and interpersonal relationships and other attitudes and skills compatible with a non-work world”. It makes sense of course, doesn’t it? That irresponsible semi-illiterate people could not be trusted with much responsibility so in the new change agentry schooling, which is called for by this national teacher training document, the teacher is a therapist, translating the prescriptions of the social psychologists into practical action research in the classroom.

The third critical gospel signaling a great transformation at hand, to those in the know, was Bloom’s TAXONOMY OF EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES, which has, since its publication, spawned a number of descendant forms, like “mastery learning”, “outcome based education” and “school to work” business-government-economic projects. Dr. Bloom’s compilation was a tool, (I’m quoting from Dr. Bloom), “a tool to classify the ways individuals are to act, think or feel as the result of participating in some unit of instruction”.

Quote:

But why is all of this being done? One large piece of the answer can be found in the current edition of FOREIGN AFFAIRS MAGAZINE, which will be in all your libraries. It is surely one of the most influential periodicals in the U.S., perhaps in the world, which extols the American economy with its massive lead over Europe and Asia, and an article written by the owner of U.S. News and World report in the New York daily news by Mort Zukerman. Zukerman attributes our superiority which he claims can not be lost in the 21st century, so huge is it, to certain characteristics of the American worker and the American workplace. If you read between the lines of this article it’s quite easy to see that the advantage that Zukerman boasts of can only come from our training of the young. What does the advantage consist of then? According to Zukerman in the first position, the American is a pushover, dominated by management, with little to say about what happens. By contrast says Zukerman, Europe suffers from a strong crafts tradition which demands a worker voice in decision making. Asia is even worse off: their tradition, religion, and government interferes with what business could do. The Islamic world is so far behind, so crippled by religion that Zukerman doesn’t even bother to mention it.His analysis makes further telling points about the American worker and the American consumer. Like nowhere else, he says “workers in America live in a constant state of panic, a panic against being left out, they know that companies owe them nothing, there is no power to appeal to for management’s decisions. Fear is our secret supercharger, it gives management the flexibility other nations will never have”. Zukerman says that even after 6 years of economic expansion, American workers including management workers fret they might not survive. He is boasting of course – this is not a critical article, this is a laudatory article. In 1996 almost half the employees of large firms feared being laid off. This is double the number fearful of being laid off in 1991 when things were not nearly as good as they are now. This keeps wages under control.

And finally, our endless consumption completes the golden circle. Consumption driven, says Zukerman, by an astonishing American addiction to novelty which provides American businesses with the only domestic market in the world. Elsewhere in hard times, business dries up — here we continue to shop till we drop, mortgaging our futures to keep the flow of goods and services coming. Remember this is not in any way a critical article. There can be no doubt that the fantastic wealth of American big business is a direct result of school training. Schools training a social lump to be needy, frightened, envious, bored, talentless and incomplete. The successful mass-production economy demands such an audience. It isn’t anybody’s fault.

Quote:

A higher mission would exist too. Schools would serve as “instruments of managed evolution, establishing conditions for selective breeding before the masses take things into their own hands” (now I quoted that from a published essay by Edward Thorndike at Columbia Teacher’s college in 1911). Standardized testing would separate those fit to breed and those fit to work and those unfit. Back before WW1, educational psychology, which was the creation of Edward Thorndike, had established that certain kinds of mental training in history, in philosophy, in rhetoric, for instance, made students resistant to manipulation because it developed independent intellect, it reduced their plasticity. That knowledge coupled with the new German directive to serve corporation and government, provided a sufficient motive to dumb instruction down.





Broken Schooling

6 08 2006

It is not often that I write personal posts, I try to keep myself transparent. However, recent events have moved me to write this. Which is ofcourse, that the current school educational system is broken. Or rather, it works all too well. It was created with the purpose in mind of removing the ability of critical independent thought – grooming the perfect cog for the globalization machine. This is not an excuse for me, it is stated plainly here:

Quote:


One of the principal reasons we got into the mess we’re in is that we allowed schooling to become a very profitable monopoly, guaranteed its customers by the police power of the state. Systematic schooling attracts increased investment only when it does poorly, and since there are no penalties at all for such performance, the temptation not to do well is overwhelming. That’s because school staffs, both line and management, are involved in a guild system; in that ancient form of association no single member is allowed to outperform any other member, is allowed to advertise or is allowed to introduce new technology or improvise without the advance consent of the guild. Violation of these precepts is severely sanctioned — as Marva Collins, Jaime Escalante and a large number of once-brilliant teachers found out….Once you think that the control of conduct is what schools are about, the word “reform” takes on a very particular meaning. It means making adjustments to the machine so that young subjects will not twist and turn so, while their minds and bodies are being scientifically controlled. Helping kids to use their minds better is beside the point. Bertrand Russell once observed that American schooling was among the most radical experiments in human history, that America was deliberately denying its children the tools of critical thinking. When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That’s if you want to teach them to think.There is no evidence that this has been a State purpose since the start of compulsion schooling. When Frederich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten in 19th century Germany, fashioned his idea he did not have a “garden for children” in mind, but a metaphor of teachers as gardeners and children as the vegetables. Kindergarten was created to be a way to break the influence of mothers on their children. I note with interest the growth of daycare in the US and the repeated urgings to extend school downward to include 4-year-olds.

Quote:


One of the most interesting by-products of Prussian schooling turned out to be the two most devastating wars of modern history. Erich Maria Ramarque, in his classic “All Quiet on the Western Front” tells us that the First World War was caused by the tricks of schoolmasters, and the famous Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that the Second World War was the inevitable product of good schooling.It’s important to underline that Bonhoeffer meant that literally, not metaphorically — schooling after the Prussian fashion removes the ability of the mind to think for itself. It teaches people to wait for a teacher to tell them what to do and if what they have done is good or bad. Prussian teaching paralyses the moral will as well as the intellect. It’s true that sometimes well-schooled students sound smart, because they memorize many opinions of great thinkers, but they actually are badly damaged because their own ability to think is left rudimentary and undeveloped. We got from the United States to Prussia and back because a small number of very passionate ideological leaders visited Prussia in the first half of the 19th century, and fell in love with the order, obedience and efficiency of its system and relentlessly proselytized for a translation of Prussian vision onto these shores.

Even as a mere 12 year old I knew that school was working to remove my individuality. It should not be suprising to hear that I was considered a disruptive student and that I did not work up to my “potential”. In fact, it was suggested that I attend military school, in order that I might learn “discipline”. It was during that time period (I was 12 or 13) that I had to take an IQ test. After something like 2 very long hours it was reported I scored in the 98th or 99th percentile, so I could not be retarded. I simply was not interested in spending my valuable time, which I could use to write my QBasic RPG or read about black holes, ancient greece and nuclear fission instead of writing some silly book report, or reading such untruths as Washington never told a lie or Paul Revere galloped yelling ‘the British are coming’ (what a silly concept in retrospect) or doing homework for that farce of a subject they call “algebra” (farce because it is presented in such a very unnatural manner). Note though that I find the whole concept of IQ to be entirely revolting. What a silly concept to encapsulate the entirety of a person with a mere number! Truly all this shows is the ability to think in the same manner as the test makers. But now I diverge.

I should note that I grew up in the US and found my education anything but exemplary, I certainly am not a product of its machinations. Although I will certainly admit that I had a few teachers: 1 world history , 1 English, 1 math, 1 French, 5th grade (during my entire 12 years or so) who made a strong impression and in fact did teach me. However, they were the exceptions and not the rule. Teachers are good people and as I heard often, they were constantly under the pressure and restriction of some “cirruculum” they had to follow – supposedly created to ensure the well educatedness of our children while doing anything but that. I will note that those teachers who were most liked, who did in fact surmount the system and were able to teach often operated far outside the cirruculum and were either old and impossible to fire or young and willing to experiment. Most importantly they showed a true love for teaching and what they taught and were not embittered by the whole horrible mess that is the education system. I thank them and am indebted to them for that.

Nonetheless I cannot look back at my school days without a strong feeling and taste of bitterness. So much so that I feel that I must do something about it. And so I am. This is one of the things which I feel most strongly about. Recently I have registered and worked to start an enrichment program. During the next year and hopefully beyond I will be taking children and teaching them critical thinking alongside their regular schooling. The critical age range of 9 – 14 where ability to properly abstract begins to solidify but before they have been totally destroyed by media is my target demographic. I will post what it is I am covering and how I feel it should be done, based on my trials. But that will not be for some months yet. (I know I still owe that post where I argue that vectors are best thought of as due to a relation where translation is the only invariant quantity – thus allowing us to consider them a group retaining both the intuitive geometric notion and abstract algebraic one and also to construct to the reals and then extend to the hyperreal but I been busy recently. Hopefully will do tomorrow).

It is my hope that I may make somekind of a difference to these kids. Parallely, although there is a focus on technical ability and content the emphasis is on thinking. Nonetheless I hope to provide a home for the “geeks” who have no place. The jocks and sports kids have one, the artists as well. But not the science and technically interested kids. Need to settle stuff with local council first. Wish me luck.





Schedule

6 08 2006

Where 1 represents Monday, 2 Tuesday, 3 Wednesday, … :

Math Studying

  1. Category Theory as a foundation for mathematics
  2. Elementary Number Theory
  3. Geometry and Transformation Groups
  4. Logic
  5. Abstract Algebra
  6. Category Theory and Computing
  7. Analysis

Programming

1,2 ,3. Game Project
4,5. Logic, Mathematical visualization
6,7. Coq proof assistant

Writing/Extra Reading

1,2. Exposition
3,5. Analogy Theory – Mine or Nonstandard Analysis
4,7. Metamath
6. Education or Nonstandard Analysis