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Ot: Another small update

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  • Ot: Another small update

    Just thought I would let you all know how I am doing with my job at the university. I have been working my brain harder than I have for a very long time. I haven't ever done much coding in the Ruby language so I right away had a very steep learning curve in front of me. That language is a full object style language and that alone is different than what I am used to. I have either written code mostly in straight machine code or some form of BASIC with a bit of Fortran in the past and JAVA more recently.

    Ruby is both easy and very difficult. You can easily write nice clean and tight code. But, you can also write code that is nearly impossible to decipher even with heavy commenting. It is also case sensitive, uses one character operators all over the place and even the number of periods can matter. Even spaces count in a lot of places. Put in a space and it does one thing, take out the space and it works in an entirely different way.

    I was really straining my brain for the first couple of weeks but I am now getting back to full speed. It is kind of weird too. It feels like my brain is now running in overdrive. Time seems to be running slower during the day. The code is working really nice now and I am getting things to work better than is even supposed to be possible. I wish I could show some of what I am doing but it doesn't seem right to show it off here before even the professor has seen it along with the rest of the lab gang. They come first even though my work belongs to me since I am volunteering.

    I have been in communication with the prof and will soon be going in to get together with the rest of the people. He wants me in there but I'm not going in until I have something decent to show. I am highly critical of my own work. I sent some stuff to the prof last Friday and he got back to me with this:

    Hi Evan,

    This looks amazing! We can even use the colours to code for statistical significance which would be cool. We should meet so I can give you manuscript data so we have a common ground.
    When you want to show your work to the lab for input let me know - we have weekly lab meetings and you could get input / show off.

    Great work! And have a great weekend too.

    So it seems like I have a long time job there. I have all sorts of ideas on how to make it easier to understand how the brain works based on something other than 64 channels of squiggly lines. I now have the basic graphics display system working well enough that I can show anything anywhere on the screen in 2D or 3D and full individual control over hue and intensity at around 700 frames per second on 16 channels simultaneously.

    Well, time to hit the sack.
    Last edited by Evan; 10-25-2016, 04:48 AM.
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  • #2
    I haven't dealt with Ruby, but have with Java, C#, and most recently, Swift. I really like Swift. Sounds like you are locked into Ruby, not by choice.
    The project you are working on sounds ground breaking.


    • #3
      WOW, Ruby!
      You are really up to date.
      Have fun. That's what it's for.
      I cut it off twice and it's still too short!


      • #4
        It sounds like you shouldn't be volunteering. You should be driving a custom Lamborghini motorhome and parking it in the campus climate controlled garage....


        • #5
          The project is ground breaking and I am the first person the prof has been able to con into trying to do it. He is the professor of a very new field of neurology, Neuroeconomics. Very fortunately he and I get along well. This is the sort of thing I never expected to be involved with at this time of my life but it is very much a good thing. It is putting my brain back to full speed. Without a challenge like this I never would have done something on my own to give myself such good brain exercise. It really does work that way too. It is cranking up the cognitive reserve I have and that actually repairs the brain damage I have. I can really feel it too, the time slowing effect is something I haven't felt in quite a few years. It's like my CPU is now overclocked. Must not allow it to overheat though <grin>.

          The main issue with Ruby is that it is just too flexible. One can mix things together in a thousand different ways. Everything can be an object no matter how complex it is. Even an entire method or even a class can be referred to anywhere as a single object with whatever mix of variables, strings and arguments it needs. All local variables can be called from anywhere just by adding a single character to the front of the variable name. Flexible is nice but it also makes it possible to make the code unreadable. There is even a little app, the Ruby Obfuscator, that mixes up the code in such a way that all still works but really is unreadable. It makes it hard for others to play with your code.

          edit: One of the biggest issues I must deal with is that everything I write must run on a Mac. That is why I am using Ruby. It is Linux based but also runs in Windows. I am not accustomed to writing code for Linux. That is where the case sensitivity comes in. I even had a major issue with the very basic problem of what character set encoding I use in my code writing app. Use standard Windows encoding and Ruby chokes.
          Last edited by Evan; 10-25-2016, 01:31 PM.
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          • #6
            I've found using the RubyMine IDE helps with finding basic case errors and with refactoring code.


            • #7
              I will look into that, thanks. I sent another sample to the prof last night and he just got back to me. It seems he likes my work.

              This looks great! Keep up the awesome work. I cannot wait to see the "final" version.
              It is going to be nice knowing Ruby. I will be able to write plugins for Sketchup.

              Unfortunately I must also live in the real world. I have laundry to do and groceries to buy...
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              • #8
                It's great to have you contributing again, Evan. I love reading about what you've been up to.

                If you figure out a cure for Parkinson's disease along the way, let me know!!!!
                Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                • #9
                  Interesting you should mention Parkinson's. I am likely quite close to it. I have quite lower than average levels of both norepinephrine and dopamine and I also have some of the symptoms that are present in Parkinson's. Poor blood pressure control and heart rate and other forms of dysautonomia. I do not have movement difficulties though. I guess my levels are just high enough to prevent serious symptoms. I have found a way to treat it somewhat but I will not give medical advice here.

                  If you wish to discuss this then e-mail me at my current junque e-mail, roboto at ixian dot ca That e-mail will work for a little while and then will be permanently junqued.
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                  • #10
                    I have heard of Ruby, but didn't know anything about it. The Wikipedia article was interesting. I liked the "principle of least astonishment" and isolating the programmer or user from how the machine works. That might be more difficult for someone like me, who has worked on the level of individual components and logic blocks.

                    There is also "Ruby On Rails", which is written in Ruby, and designed for server-side applications that might otherwise be written in PHP or Perl. I also learned about a nerdy programmers' game called "Code Golf", which is won by the least number of keystrokes or characters for a given program. My preferred language is PHP for web applications.

                    I don't want to learn any new programming languages. I am most familiar with "C", which I use mostly for PIC and Arduino applications, and Borland Delphi (object Pascal) for Windows GUIs. I also sometimes use SQL, JavaScript, WScript, and Visual Basic, as needed. I've also done some work with assembly language for the 8080, 8085, 8086, Z80, and various PICs. It takes me a while to get up to speed when switching from one to another.
                    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                    USA Maryland 21030


                    • #11
                      isolating the programmer or user from how the machine works
                      Yeah, that is where I have problems. I am used to working in assembler which requires exactly the opposite. One must know every little detail of how the machine works right down to the real addresses of I/O ports, real memory addresses and so on. I have written code of over ten thousand lines of assembler and that is also what I first started with when I was 14 years old. Programming a Bendix G-15 in pure double precision octal (6 bits total) with no operating system or assembler. My very first program was to make the teletype bell ring: Ding tada ding ding......ding.......ding. It even worked the very first time. I was very proud of myself. Then I went on to draw very crude character pictures on the teletype since there was no such thing as a plotter. That machine had 256 3 bit words of "ram", all vacuum tubes. Two mini vacuum tubes for every bit of ram. It ran hot.

                      I was reading recently that learning a programming language is essentially the same as learning a spoken language. The same parts of the brain are involved. This would explain I think why in the world of programming it is about 50/50 men and women. Gender has no effect on the ability to learn foreign languages. The official programmer at the lab is a young woman. I will be meeting her soon I imagine.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Evan View Post
                        .... The official programmer at the lab is a young woman. I will be meeting her soon I imagine.
                        I hope she likes geeks, cuz that's what you will be after you wake up some morning soon, and realize you like Unix. Welcome to the Mac world.
                        Allan Ostling

                        Phoenix, Arizona


                        • #13
                          Are you kidding? She is already part of the geek club according to what I have seen written up about her. I have already done a lot of work with Linux, just not programming. All the later networked Xerox machines worked with a Linux box inside the back door. I just patched into it with the corp laptop they gave us. Everything in those machines was on Linux including of course all the networking. It didn't use any sort of fancy UI either. It was all command line.

                          The prof doesn't call us geeks though. We are the "techies". Based on what the prof thinks is "really cool looking" from my work I have a feeling I don't have much competition. Based on what I have shown him so far I can do much better looking stuff. I am still at a very early stage. I am very quickly moving back up the ladder and even beyond in my own mind.
                          Last edited by Evan; 10-26-2016, 04:56 AM.
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                          • #14
                            I was kidding, a little.

                            I did not know about your experience with Linux. It looks like you are destined to become an indispensable member of the prof's team, wonderful news for all your friends here.
                            Allan Ostling

                            Phoenix, Arizona


                            • #15
                              The rate it is going it is easily using all my time. I have to stop myself from working on this sort of thing just so I do the necessities of life, like eating etc. I like doing anything at all that involves a computer, but most especially anything creative and visual. Creative work is my life and it doesn't matter what form it takes. However, I do have one primary area that is the most important to me. That is anything visual and especially in 3D. That is how I think and always have. I have more to say about that some day. It is a very interesting subject and it has to do with a slightly different brain construction that I very recently discovered I have.
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