New Year’s Resolutions 2009

Traditionally I do my New Year’s Resolutions and yearly planning while visiting my family between Christmas and New Years, holed up in a Panera Bread in Haywood Mall in my hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. That’s slipped to January in the past few years now that I live 2500 miles away and time in my hometown is pressed – but, now that the tornado has abated, I have come up with a decent set of resolutions. Here goes:

  • Review your resolutions monthly.
    It’s easy to fall off the wagon. My first resolution is to review my New Year’s Resolutions on the first of each month to see if I’m on track
  • Eat two before you buy one.
    I have a huge library of books, comic books, DVDs and music, and the only thing I stay on top of is the music. So this year, I plan to read two books before I buy a new one, and so on with my DVDs and comics. Since I’m an avid book collector and like to stay current with comics, I have added the following subresolutions:
  • Read two books before you buy one, excluding vacations or conferences.
  • Read two comics before you buy one, excluding three new comics a week.
  • Watch two DVDs before you buy one – and don’t let anyone loan you anything.
  • Work out at the gym at least twice a week, at least three weeks a month.
    I already do this. I just don’t want to quit, or fall off the wagon when Sandi’s out of town.
  • Go to a martial arts class at least twice a week, at least three weeks a month.
    I was spotty about this last year, but this year: so far, so good. And for the record, I miss Taido.
  • Review your GTD folder at least once a week, three weeks a month.
    Or it isn’t doing you any good.
  • Publish at least one Fanu Fiku page a month.
    I have a big backlog of pages. That should get me through June if I do it.
  • Spend at least two hours writing at least twice a week.
    I already do this; I just don’t want to fall off the wagon
  • Spend at least two hours doing generative research at least once a week.
    I don’t do this, and need to. I spend much more than two hours a week reading technical materials – maybe five to seven hours a week. So it’s time to give back.
  • Send a short story to a magazine at least once a month.
    Or what am I writing for?
  • Spend at least one hour a week practicing a foreign language.
    Nihongo wa tottemo muzukashii desu, but that’s no excuse.
  • Spend at least one hour a week practicing your poi.
    Or you’re going to look really silly, setting yourself on fire at Burning Man.
  • Each week, contact a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
    Some of my friends call me “the Submarine” – I surface, send a packet, then disappear.
  • Write a blog entry once a week.
    Starting with this one.
  • Read a novel once a month.
    The “fun” resolution.

So now it’s out there: nowhere near as interesting as Jim Davies’ New Year Resolutions, but more useful for the challenges I personally face. At the end of the year, I’ll go back and review this and see how I did.

Fanu Fiku is Back Up

I mentioned earlier that Fanu Fiku and Dresan.Net were down and that I was recreating them. Well, Fanu Fiku is back up, though posting new comics won’t resume on it until February. Dresan.Net will take a little longer to recreate … please stay tuned.

Maybe your computer just needs a hug

A while back I mentioned an article Ashwin Ram, Manish Mehta and I wrote on Emotional Memory and Adaptive Personalities:

“Emotional Memory and Adaptive Personalities” reports work on emotional agents supervised by my old professor Ashwin Ram at the Cognitive Computing Lab. He’s been working on emotional robotics for over a decade, and it was in his lab that I developed my conviction that emotions serve a functional role in agents, and that to develop an emotional agent you should not start with trying to fake the desired behavior, but instead by analyzing psychological models of emotion and then using those findings to design models for agent control that will produce that behavior “naturally”. This paper explains that approach and provides two examples of it in practice: the first was work done by myself on agents that learn from emotional events, and the second was work by Manish Mehta on making the personalities of more agents stay stable even after learning.

Thanks to the good graces of the search engine that starts with a G, I’ve discussed the article in a bit more depth on their blog in a post titled Maybe your computer just needs a hug.

Please go check it out!
-the Centaur