Sunday, August 28, 2005


The Hit List

I've got some people for Pat Robertson's hit list; my upstairs neighbors are stomping around, making tons of noise, and it is past midnight on a Sunday.



An individual is forced to read journal articles as a masters or Ph.D. student. As a Ph.D. student your life pretty much revolves around journal articles. Journal articles contain the most recent research and you are also doing your level best to get your research into a journal. While talking about journal articles the other evening I messed up, slurred my speech (as any good southern Indiana boy will), and generated a new word: journicles. The girl thought it was funny, I like it, and think I'll keep using it and see if I can end up adding it to the Ph.D. student lexicon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Fire Hose

The first day of classes was Tuesday. Things weren't bad on the first day I guess. It was mostly trying to find this, and work to get over here in time, trying to stay cool in the summer Atlanta heat, and figuring out bus schedules. I found out that one of my classes is actually two different classes (I thought I had a course and the lab for the course, but nope, two different classes coving the same subject from two different angles). I am also observing a course that I will have to teach next year. I don't have my books yet (!!@#$ Amazon resellers).

Then, today hit. It was like the people I had met decided they had been able to insert the fire hose far enough into my mouth without me noticing that they could now turn it on full blast. My reading stack just had inches added to it. One of my advisors already have me some work and the other advisor has decided that with his help I really can finish in 4 years. I can finish in 4 years if I start my literature review now, have my first draft for my first paper before Jan, and submitted by May, and then turn the outcome of that paper into my research for my 2nd paper. The 2nd paper, of course, will be done by May of the 2nd year (a full year early!).

Somehow I will figure out how to have a life of my own, if only a little bit of a life for a little bit of time. To top if all off, and I'm not sure how, I really enjoy this!

Friday, August 19, 2005



We were told by the faculty to start trying to figure out some of our interests in research now. My overarching interest is obviously in creativity, but I must narrow that down somewhat before I can start doing any real research. One of the very first things I should do is line things out a little first.

There are a few ways in which creativity is looked at. The first is the creativity of one: one individual doing creative things. The creativity of one could be an artist working alone or someone making a major breakthrough in cancer research. Then their is the creativity of a few: small groups working developing creative solutions to difficult problems. I would argue there really is very little, maybe even no, creativity of one these days. To be creative and to meet all of the creativity requirements a person's work must be judged in a field and domain. To boot, often, researchers require the work of others, either directly in the lab with them or indirectly through conferences and papers, to develop new ideas. But, for now, we will leave the creativity of one simply because it leaves open some interesting research topics. And finally, the creativity of many. The creativity of many would be, sort of, the way in which several groups of few combine together and effect groups of others. Of these three views, my interests lie in the creativity of one and of few.

The things I find interesting in the creativity of one may be out of the reach of Georgia Tech. Much of this current research relies on brain scans and super computing. Now, if we have those capabilities or I can gain access to those capabilities, I would love to work in these areas. Right now, creativity comes from the ether. It would be great to start pointing out, no, this is where creativity comes from and this is why some are more creative than others. But that seems a long way off.

The creativity of few is more in line with what is currently done at Georgia Tech or, at least, I believe it is in line with what is going on at Georgia Tech. I have already stated my interest in finding out what happens to creativity in the long-run and the short-run due to out sourcing. I'm also interested in what happens when organizations work to change their culture to one that is more creative. I'm sure effort is required to keep things at that level. What is required to keep things up? How quickly does it slide back? What are the implications to leadership?

Of course, now that I'm in a program and will start working on real research, I probably won't be able to blog about this stuff. As it would turn out, I have to keep all of this hush hush until I publish, otherwise I might not get to publish. Kind of sucks. I hope you all reading this weren't too interested in what I had to say about creativity.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Last threads

Today was borin'tation at Georgia Institute of Technology for Ph.D. students. There were almost 1000 of us. It was pretty bad. There were three and a half hours of 10 to 15 minute presentations, back to back, with no piss break. Then they got mad when people would get up to go to the bathroom. Most of the presentations, while thankfully short, were next to useless and rather annoying. Some of the presenters were very condescending. I'm sorry, but if a Ph.D. student can't remember to sign up for classes before a deadline they don't belong at the school; there is no reason to chastise the rest of us. The only good presenter was the female cop, who was very funny, and also very informative.

We were then lead on a tour around campus that I cut short. It was noon in Atlanta in August: hot. Once I discovered all of the places I needed to go to get all of my stuff taken care of I just wondered off the tour. One of the things I wanted was a MARTA student pass that I can only get from the Tech Box Office. Of course, these won't be available until next week. Oh good for me! I get to go back to the main campus, a task I was hoping I would have to do only on rare occasion since the Management school is across the interstate at Tech Square. Then I had to trek over to Health Services to have an angry black woman yell at a line of 30 Ph.D. students for about a half hour. Many of us older students should not be required to have hepatitis B vaccinations. Georgia Tech, however, has decided to go against most other schools, public health policy, state requirements, and do its own thing requiring all incoming students to have this vaccination. I'm only part way through the series of three shots so I had to have the hold removed from my account so I could sign up for classes on Wednesday.

Then I headed home. The train was late. Then when I got home I was greeted by a girlfriend mad at me because I'm in school. Even though I came with gifts I was still in trouble. Why? Because I wanted to make a sandwich, right away, at 3:00pm after having had nothing to eat since 7:00am rather than watch her open a box. We were nearly out of salad dressing and gasoline is $2.76 a gallon.

Hey, but when I feel like this, I just have to read this quote, or better yet, watch the movie, and feel much better ... repeat after me I push fucking buttons. I push fucking buttons . I push fucking buttons.

Monday, August 15, 2005



Tonight I was playing with the setup on my DVD player to realize it has the capability to generate the 16:9 video ratio for the HDTV input. So I threw in Mall Rats to check out the performance of the converter. My Mall Rats DVD is widescreen and the converter placed the widescreen picture on the TV with no black space at all. The TV has the capability of converting 4:3 to 16:9 using a cut and stretch feature that works out fairly well for TV but when viewing widscreen movies it didn't work out that well. The TV also has zoom features that work okay. But the fact that my DVD player can do all of this for me is just freaking great.

Then I realized my DVD player has component video outputs. I never thought I would get to use the component video outputs of my DVD player since I thought I would have to get a new DVD player to get the 16:9 output. Well, the new TV has two sets of component video inputs, and I decided to try them out. To use the component video inputs requires a few more clicks of the remote but the picture is unreal. I left the standard video input hooked up so it will require less button pushing for novice users. But for the serious video watcher, the component input is the only way to go.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


A New Hike

I am planning a new hike for Labor Day weekend. I do not yet know my schedule for the school year so I have no idea what day I will start the hike. The goals of the hike are to cover a big section of the trail I have never hiked, get the beginning of the AT, and get a good workout.

These are the four days of hiking I have planned out.

Day One
Start at Hwy 28 on the Approach Trail, go over Springer Mountain (the official start of the AT), then end the day at Hawk Mountain Shelter. The full day length is 10.6 miles.

Day Two
Start at Hawk Mountain Shelter and hike to Gooch Mountain Shelter for a hike of 7.5 miles. This is kind of a short day but should allow us time to do things easy after the first kind of long day.

Day Three
The long day. If we were bringing tents I would probably shorten this day and lengthen the fourth day out some. But tents add weight and the shelters are generally pretty nice and also near water. This day starts at the Gooch Mountain Shelter and takes us to Woods Hole Shelter. The last 4 or so miles of this 13.5 mile day include a gradual up hill hike of about 1000'. This is up hill is the start to Blood Mountain.

Day Four
The final leg. We will start at Woods Hole Shelter, go over Blood Mountain, then end the day at Neels Gap. This is the shortest day of only 4.1 miles.

The length of the full hike is 35.7 miles. I already told some others about this hike that may want to come too. Just let me know if you have the equipment to live outside for four days and want to come along.


Storing Thoughts

I've been doing some pre-reading for my Ph.D. I read this book about creativity a few months back. They title was "Creativity" by Csikszentimihalyi. He has done quite a bit in the field and I'm sure I will run into his work again. I wanted, though, to make sure I captured my thoughts that I wrote down while reading his book before I lost my little paper. Well, see if blogging helps Ph.D. work.

I was surprised by his very stict definition of creativity.
- I can see the requirement for having a domain
- The field seems important but the flux of opinion and majority vote does not appeal to me.
* Even if I don't like something I may find it creative.

Interested in the incubation period he seems to show as a requirement.
- The Creativity Forum at RHV found several creative (may just good) solutions to problems without incubation
* We used a forced divergent process with people not versed in the domain
- I would be interested in testing the need for incubation
* Give problem -> solve using a forced divergent technique immediately
* Give problem -> allow for incubation -> solve using a forced divergent technique

Hypothesis: the "play" involved when applying a divergent technique moderates the incubation requirement
Expected Result: increase quantity of creative outcomes in a given time span over no technique.

Creativity defined by man is a group process according to Csikszentimihaly: without man's consent, an original idea is not advanced or creative. Creativity, therefore, has a limit! This limit is based upon man's current judgment of what is or is not acceptable. How can man's acceptance bind creativity? If this is true a result would be that advancing creativity requires a change in culture. Interesting that those working inside the cultural limits are likely considered creative but those working outside of the cultural limits are likely considered crazy.

Csikszentimihaly then confirms that culture issue, "[s]urvival no longer depends on biological equipment alone but on the social and cultural tools we choose to use."

In my view, forced divergent creativity techniques work because they:
* Moderate the need for incubation
* Help put together things that normally would not be associated
* Provide an opportunity for perspective shift (and, by my notes, I may get some of this from Csikszentimihaly (on page 362).

Monday, August 08, 2005


Random Items for Today

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Georgia State Highway 400

The awards I would give to Georgia 400 and the people that drive it:

I could go on with this list, and, in the future, I likely will.

I do want to point out a couple of things:
  1. When merging onto a major highway it is helpful for all of the other drivers if the driver of the merging car tries to match the speed of traffic and uses his or her rearview mirrors to find an appropriate merging spot. This is opposed to just coming down the ramp and swerving into traffic hoping all other people will get out of your way.
  2. The entry ramp for Exit 10 onto Georgia 400 south bound is the most ignorant highway design I have ever seen in my entire life. The engineer that designed this should be shot. No one is ever at the appropriate speed to merge due to this ramp forcing cars to enter the highway at the bottom of a steep hill. The ramp is far to short. The volume of cars added at this ramp calls for another lane.
  3. Georgia MUST require Drivers Education and a drivers test for all 1st time drivers.


The Good Life

I went to see the new Dukes of Hazard movie and left in a really good mood. Of course, I really want to work on my Superbee now. And I think working on the Superbee is something I should try to figure out how to do while also getting my Ph.D. The only way to make some of this happen will be with hard work and dedication.

They say one of the best ways to reach some future state is to set goals for that future state. So here's some of my goals for 1 year out:

I also think I should work my ass off and finish off the Ph.D. in four years. With my masters degree I don't know why I wouldn't be able to. This pretty much means I have to complete all of my classes in 2 years and my dissertation in 2 more years.

To work as much on the Superbee as I would like to I will probably have to use some loan money. I don't think this is the best idea. But I don't know how else to do everything all at once.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Moving is Fun

Nothing says "workout" quite like carrying your solid oak dining room table and hardwood chest of drawers up a flight and a half of stairs by yourself.

By the way, my recent lack of posts has mostly been moving related. Once I quit working 9 hour days at work only to come home to unpack and move furniture, then maybe I'll start posting some more interesting stuff again.



Well, I went shopping tonight. Best Buy had the cheapest price on the Toshiba of any of the local stores. On closer look of the Toshiba I was unimpressed. The plastic was thin and cheap (things are bad when you have to grade the quality of the plastic) and the front panel inputs left you stranded if you were to ever loose your remote. As I was looking around one of the Best Buy employees asked me what I was looking for and then directed me toward and open box Samsung. While I have been looking for a 30" with speakers on the bottom (so it will fit in my cabinet) I ended up purchasing the 26" open box with speakers on the sides. It barely fits in my cabinet.

Once I carried the heavy SOB up the stairs I started trying to figure out what it would take to get all of my AV equipment in my cabinet again. For my AV cabinet I use an 80 your old armoire. I used to have all of the audio components sitting on an internal shelf but the weight of all of the equipment caused the shelf to droop significantly. The last time I used the cabinet (about 3 years while living in Kokomo) I ended up putting all of the audio stuff on an external cart; it looked like shit. After a long trip to Lowes I cut some oak and put up my new shelf. The long trip to Lowes was mostly caused by my inability to find the kind of support I was looking for. After much pounding, measuring, cutting, fitting, cutting, and fitting I was ready to install everything.

The install of all the components is not a trivial task. I could list all of my components but the quantity isn't the issue. The big issues is just trying to squeeze all those wires into a cabinet that is much to small. I also make sure to route my power wires separate from my other wires. Where ever power wires cross other wires it happens at right angles. This helps to keep noise lower.

Once I got everything hooked up and all of the fitting done I sat down to watch some television and was rewarded grandly. I missed the F1 Grand Prix in Hungary last weekend because I was moving. In fact, I've missed the last couple of Grands Prix and that doesn't make me happy. But tonight, after hooking everything up, for some unknown reason, my basic cable now includes a somewhat snowy version of Speed TV and tonight is the re-air-ing of the Hungary Grand Prix. So after about 6 hours of shopping and hard work to get everything installed now I get to sit down, have a few beers, and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Decision Time

There are two "big ticket items" that I would like to purchase. "Big ticket" is, of course, a relative term since I am about to be a very broke student again. I've been thinking about purchasing a queen sized bed but could also use a new television.

I have a junker 27" TV that my mom gave to me, but buying a new television provides its own issues. The remote for the junker isn't the original; only about 1/2 of the functions actually work. The tube is curved more than a basketball. To add insult to injury, I can't make the channel display go away using any of the functions on the remote or on the display. If I were to buy a new TV right now I would have to consider all of the aspect ratio and digital options, not to mention such things as size, built in tuners, and all kinds of other stuff. For the very small amount of TV I watch I really question the value of such a purchase.

My bed is also a pile, yet I already have many accessories for this sized bed. I bought my double bed from my old college land lord. I paid a whole $100 for this metal frame, no head board, box of crap. The box springs are totally shot and broke in at least one spot (they've been fixed once before). I need a new bed but the only way I am getting a new bed is if I can get a bigger one. Of course, by getting a bigger bed my two sets of flannel sheets become worthless. I already made my electric blanket worthless by moving to Atlanta. Maybe, if I'm lucky, someone will just give me a new bed with a good mattress and good box springs.

I'm currently leaning toward the new television. My room is very small and a bigger bed isn't likely to fit with all of the other stuff I have to try to squeeze in here. Plus, I'm really thinking about upgrading the cable so I can watch the F1 races without having to drive 45 minutes to a friend's house.

Well, time for bed. Sleeping this over some might help. But if anyone has an opinion of the Toshiba 30HF85 let me know.

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