I really like the look of this planner. I am now thinking that 2015 might just be the time to move back to a paper planner.

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Getting Organised

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

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Project 3.01 in the CRCSI

It is more than a year ago now that I started working with the CRCSI on the Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) program, also known as Program 3. The mandate given to the newly appointed science director and myself, the research fellow, was quite straight forward: “Produce a draft research strategy within 6 months, followed by a research project or we may close that program down.” This was my first task as a research fellow, baptism of fire. I had absolutely no idea what was installed for the next 12 months of my life, and on that note, nor did my family. It was a ride that took me to places and introduced me to people I never thought I would visit or meet.

Where are we at now? Program 3’s Project 3.01 is up and running… more to follow.

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Time to Update the Publications

Today was the day, it was time to update my publications listing with the publications from the past couple of years. So they are all there now and ready to go.

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Eye Tracking

Tracking the human eye is a fascinating science. Recently I was one of the supervisors of an Honours student in an eye tracking study. From the thesis we published a paper with the results. This paper is now available under the Publications section.

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The actual thesis: A Software Inspection Methodology for Cognitive Improvement in Software Engineering

So here it is. Four years in the making and it is now available. If you are suffering from insomnia one evening and need something that will put you straight to sleep here it is. In full and unabridged attached to this past is my final PhD thesis.

The Abstract

This thesis examines software inspections application in a non-traditional use through examining the cognitive levels developers demonstrate while carrying out software inspection tasks. These levels are examined in order to assist in increasing developers’ ability to understand, maintain and evolve software systems.

The results from several empirical studies carried out are presented. These indicate several important findings: student software developers find structured reading techniques more helpful as an aid than less structured reading techniques, while professional developers find the more structured techniques do not allow their experience to be applied to the problem at hand; there is a correlation between the effectiveness of a software inspection and an inspector’s ability to successfully add new functionality to the inspected software artefact; the cognitive levels that student developers functioned at while carrying out software inspection tasks were at higher orders of thinking when structured inspection techniques were implemented than when unstructured techniques were applied.

From the empirical results a mapping has been created of several software inspection techniques to the cognitive process models they support and the cognitive levels, as measured using Bloom’s Taxonomy that they facilitate. This mapping is to understand the impact carrying out a software inspection has upon a developer’s cognitive understanding of the inspected system.

The knowledge and understanding of the findings of this research has culminated in the creation of a code reading methodology to increase the cognitive level software developers operate at while reading software code. The reading methodology distinguishes where in undergraduate and software developer training courses different software inspection reading techniques are to be implemented in order to maximise a software developer’s code reading ability dependent upon their experience level.

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Distinguishing the Virtual World from the Real World…

In a Rolling Stone magazine on November 7, 2007 William Gibson stated:

One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real.”

I find this to be a very helpful statement as of late I have begun to hear the changing of terminology. In the past we have spoken of reality and virtual reality. Virtual reality was often thought of as something that was not real, a place to escape and to getaway from reality. If you were in the Virtual Reality World too much you were often looked down upon. This was especially for people of my age, our own generation would judge us.

However, of late I have noticed the changing language. Very rarely do I hear the term “Virtual Reality” used. The term that is being used is “Alternate Reality.” No longer is the digital arena being referred to as something that has an underlying “not real” tone but rather it is referred to as something very real but alternate to that which has traditionally been referred to as reality.

The world that my children will grow up in, and are currently growing up in, is one in which the old perception of virtual reality will not exist but simply these digital areas of our lives will be, and are currently, referred to as simply alternates to what has traditionally been considered reality.

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It is finally over

On February 12, 2010, I submitted my PhD thesis for examination. Something that was supposed to be completed back in September 2009, well that is at least when I thought it would be done finally came to an end on that Friday in February. Almost 4 years of my life was summed up on just over 300 pages and just under 70000 words. Then it was up to 2 people who I had never met nor even knew existed to decide whether or not it was worthy of granting my the admission in to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Just before the 3 month mark passed, I finally heard. It was a Tuesday afternoon when the BVK called and said that I had passed. The worst thing, the day before I had gone to the Office of Research and Development and enquired as to the status of my thesis and was informed that both examination reports had arrived. However, the person in that office was a little busy writing an email so I would still have to wait for anther day until I heard.

So it is over and I am no longer a student. I will link the thesis to this blog shortly. If you come across this page and you download it to read, please drop  me an email, I would like to know anyone who actually takes the time to download it and then even more if they take the time to even read it.

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What really has changed

While reading the Report on a conference sponsored by the NATO SCIENCE COMMITTEE Garmisch, Germany, 7th to 11th October 1968, I was amazed to read the opening comments as to the motivation behind the conference: “One of the major motivations for the organizing of the conference was an awareness of the rapidly increasing importance of computer software systems in many activities of society.”

Then when reading the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee Report to the President (1999) I read: “Information Technology will be one of the key factors driving progress in the 21st century it will transform the way we live, learn, work, and play.”

Followed by reading Ian Sommerville: “Virtually all countries now depend on complex computer-based systems. National infrastructures and utilities rely on computer-based systems…”(Software Engineering, Sommerville, 2007).

What does this tell us: 40 years further into the software engineering discipline we are still talking in similar terms. Software is going to play a key role in the evolution of society as we know it. It was foreseen in 1968, and we continue to see it today. We now talk about our Digital Lifestyle, where so much of our lives are stored in the digital zone. Even so, we are still working out the same thing, how do we produce better software faster, software that won’t collapse under pressure, software that won’t do strange things when we least expect it?

I think these types of questions will remain for quite sometime to come. In the mean time, we can continue to strive to produce higher quality software, with fewer bugs, that achieve the goal set out for them in more efficient ways.

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Clarifying Definitions

thesis (noun): 1. a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved: his central thesis is that psychological life is not part of the material world. 2. a long essay or dissertation involving personal research, written by a candidate for a college degree: a doctoral thesis (New Oxford American Dictionary).

dissertation (noun): a long essay on a particular subject, esp. one written as a requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy degree (New Oxford American Dictionary).

So what I’m writing is not actually a thesis, I’m writing a dissertation that is about my thesis. It is, as I thought, quite a challenging thing to write. Writing my honours dissertation was rather challenging, but my PhD dissertation is proving to be a lot more challenging.

In trying to go Agile, I’ve encountered my first mistakes: trying to do too much in one iteration. In writing agile style I wanted to produce early versions for feedback. This hasn’t happened this week so far but there is still two days left in the week.

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