Saturday, December 06, 2008

If you are concerned with children education

Below is the Conclusion Section of an article (The efect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence) dealing with the effects of violent video games on people.

"The present experiment demonstrates that violent video
game exposure can cause desensitization to real-life violence.
In this experiment, violent game players were less
physiologically aroused by real-life violence than were nonviolent
game players. It appears that individuals who play
violent video games habituate or “get used to” all the violence
and eventually become physiologically numb to it.
The integration of systematic desensitization processes
and models of helping behavior with GAM is heartening in
the insights provided to a long-standing and somewhat
muddled research literature. But it is also frightening in
some of its implications. The existing rating systems (Bushman
& Cantor, 2003), the content of much entertainment
media, and the marketing of those media combine to yield a
powerful desensitization intervention on a global level.
Children receive high doses of media violence. It initially is
packaged in ways that are not too threatening, with cute
cartoon-like characters, a total absence of blood and gore,
and other features that make the overall experience a pleasant
one, arousing positive emotional reactions that are
incongruent with normal negative reactions to violence.
Older children consume increasingly threatening and realistic
violence, but the increases are gradual and always in a
way that is fun. In short, the modern entertainment media
landscape could accurately be described as an eVective systematic
violence desensitization tool. Whether modern societies
want this to continue is largely a public policy
question, not an exclusively scientific one (Anderson et al.,
2003; Gentile & Anderson, 2006).

N.L. Carnagey et al. / Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43 (2007) 489–496

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America Lives

Just heard Mr. Obama. Congratulations America!
Let´s hope that change will come, for peace and for a better world all together.

I just picked some parts of the speech that seems to further strenght our belief in better times.

It's the answer that -- that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy

And above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.

And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals -- democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.
That's the true genius of America, that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Complexity (New frontiers)
Very hard problem (several levels)
Requirements from several levels
Platform Strategies (vs the usual Product Line)
Architectural Styles (different levels, different contexts)
Simulation at Different Stages (embedded systems)
Change management

Complexity: Architecture vs Requirements

Architectural Sytles/ Organization Principles 2
Architecture Control/Stability/Modularity 3
Validation/Prototyping 2
Consistency/Change Control/Sustainable/Granularity 2

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Whom to hire: Requirements Engineers or Lawyers?

I just learned about the Waste Management versus SAP lawsuit from a Chris Balavessov´s post. If you Google over the issue you will see that this topic did produce lots of reactions. Mine is one of them.

I strongly recommend everyone interest in Requirements Engineering to read the original petition in the civil case brought to the courts of Texas. It is an amazing document.

It is incredible how industry still make the same mistakes over and over again. More than 10 years ago the audit report on the London Ambulance System (LAS) was made public. Several researchers, including myself, did study that amazing report. The LAS report made clear the need for requirements engineering.

Waste Management is suing one of the largest software vendors because the software it was expecting to work in a promised date did not work even more than one year late. The lawyers, in the petition, decided to follow an argument of fraud, saying that the software vendor deceived the client. If you read the petition, it seems that the lawyers do have a strong case, but this is just one side of the story.

At same point the document says: "but instead merely a fabricated "mock-up" of the actual software." and "was demonstrating fake software at the Palo Alto meeting". These two fragments are there to convince the courts that SAP was acting perpetrating fraud. However, one could argue that a “mock-up” is just what is necessary for helping customers to clarify what they want, and is a good practice in early validation. It is interesting that using the lawyers’ argument a prototype may be named “fake software”.

ERP systems have been discussed widely over the trade press and by scientific research as well (see here and here). SAP is a huge success because businesses need that type of solution. However, what seems to be forgotten is that even when buying a COTS system (an ERP is a big COTS), you do need the expertise of requirements engineers.

It may be that the plaintiff supposed that buying an ERP was possible without a proper elicitation and analysis of possibilities. If that was the case, the plaintiff was too naïve, but, as we have seen in the LAS case, this does happen.

In any case, this civil action may work as one more evidence of why we need software transparency.

Monday, March 31, 2008


When teaching about requirements elicitation, I do speak of brainstorming as one of the ways of conducting a meeting. Meetings are one of the key techniques for conducting requirements elicitation.

I have recently conducted a web survey on brainstorm and found some interesting posts. I am sharing what I have found:
  1. An article at the The Heart of Innovation.
  2. A trade press article that is easy to ready.
  3. Donald Clark introduction to the topic.
  4. A vendor description of the technique.
  5. Last, but not least: a chapter of a book where you can find a real example of the use of brainstorming. Of the notes cited above, this one is the only one that describes how brainstorming did solve a real problem.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Need for Transparency

Professor Ricardo Reis posted a note, in the Brazilian Computer Society e-mail list, regarding the issue of citation counting. He cited the paper "Show me the Data" published by the Journal of Cell Biology, as a must read for those interested in the politics of research dissemination.

The article, "Show me the data", is an excellent example of the clamor for transparency.

As I have being saying: software transparency is a key issue for society.

I gave a talk at the IFIP 2.9 addressing this issue. It already shows progress on our research on software transparency.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Words of Wisdom

I have recently watched the movie Bobby by Emilio Esteves.

Looking at youtube I have found the last five minutes
of the movie, where the
Robert Kennedy speech of April, 5th, 1968 can be heard.

They are words of wisdom, but without enough listeners.

I do quote here some of those words.

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

Robert F Kennedy
On the Mindless Menace of Violence
City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
April 5, 1968