We learn not just from our experiences, but by imagining experiences we then don't need to actually enact.
This is discussed in "Time Travel in the Brain" (by Daniel Gilbert and Randy Buckner, professors of psychology at Harvard), an article in a recent Time Magazine issue on "The Brain." The article says that when we're doing nothing, our idling brain travels through time, reliving past experiences and imagining future possible ones. These future experiences are like simulations our minds run that enable us to learn without actually living the experience. Apparently our minds do this for us automatically when we're not otherwise engaged in conscious thought. It's an ability of conscious that (non-human) animals do not seem to have.
Richard Dawkins discusses a similar observation in The Selfish Gene, published in 1976. (Thanks to Bill for lending me that book.) Computers learn from running simulations, and so do people. It's a key part, Dawkins says, of what has made our species fit to survive.
The Time article says Alzheimer's patients lose this ability--they can't remember the past or imagine the future. I've wondered what humans would be like without imagination, without fictional stories or the ability to generalize. Seems like we'd be a lot different.[Read More]
Bobby Woolf: WebSphere SOA and JEE in Practice
From archive: January 2007 X
IBM announced quarterly earnings yesterday, and they were lead by middleware.
Profits are up 11% ("IBM Posts Big Fourth-Quarter Profit Rise" in Forbes). Software Group contributed significantly to the good earnings with sales up 18% ("IBM profits rise 11 percent on middleware revenue" by IDG News Service; "Big Blue's Profitable, Middleware Year" in Internet News) and a gross profit margin of 86% ("IBM Sees 4Q Profit Gain From Software Acquisitions, Service Contracts" by Reuters).
In "IBM earnings beat; stock tumbles" (CNN Money), an analyst says, "Software was really strong, and they've clearly integrated the acquisitions very well," and continues, "Plus their suite of products is unmatched amongst their competitors."[Read More]
At WebSphere Technical Exchange 2006, IBM announced a conference called WebSphere Fast Track for SOA. Whatever happened to that conference?
It's been renamed to IBM Impact 2007. Hard to tell from the name, but it'll be all about WebSphere and SOA. The dates and place remain the same: May 20-25, 2007 in Orlando, Florida.[Read More]
IBM has a lot of conferences coming up again this year.
I've listed the most relevant software ones on WebSphere Learning Resources (on my wiki). It also has the link for the full list of IBM conferences: hardware, software, etc.
Probably the single most significant conference this year will be WebSphere Fast Track for SOA. The US editions of the WebSphere Technical Echange and the Transaction & Messaging conference have been merged into Fast Track, but the European editions are still being held in November. Lotusphere is coming up in just two weeks. Rational will have their conference in June.[Read More]
There's a new podcast on SOA appliances available.
The podcast, "Making SOA real with WebSphere: Episode 10: Leveraging SOA appliances and application connectivity," (on my wiki) is part of the WebSphere Technical Podcast series, which is one of the Resources for learning about WebSphere. Check it out.
You might also be interested in my previous WebSphere Technical Podcast Interview which talks about SOA and ESB fundementals, and developerWorks Podcast Interview, in which I mostly talk about me.[Read More]
Lately, I've heard people using the terms "adapter" and "mediator" somewhat interchangeably. I think they're different.
They are similar, in that they're different ways to accomplish the same goal, with advantages and disadvantages to each. For the full write-up, see Mediator vs. Adapter (on my wiki).
You may also wish to check out Message Channel Revisited.[Read More]