There are several things I must and will say again and again. Perhaps the first should be just this personal note: even in the unlikely event that I were to do all of the software development myself, I have to write about it as if writing to someone else, and saying “we”. That’s just the way I work. I have to write, a lot, and I have to write as if someone is reading it.
Next, I must say over and over, raw data, raw data, raw data. Sing the data miner’s lament with me “Oh my deepest data mine, lost forever data mine.” Once the data has been truly thrown away, it is gone. When the teacher throws out the test pages, to the incinerator or landfill, so much of what we want is gone. When the people who collate data collected on paper throw away apparent errors where a person has picked two or more choices when only one was wanted, all data on the mistakes those people made on those questions is lost. Mistakes are data, sometimes the most valuable data.
I must also say over and over again that social science survey data is ideal to practice on, before we collect our own data, but is not just practice. It will prove invaluable. I have said over and over that the social sciences have made terrible use of terrible data collected with terrible instruments, but it is still invaluable data, especial to the social technologist.
I’m keeping to my one post per day per blog resolution, for 3 blogs. This rather personal one, described as the “administrator’s blog” on at least one of the websites, and the one to contain chapters of a novel about social technology, and one for software development.
The latest chapter of the novel Social Tech High is out, on http://SocialTechNovel.SocialTechnology.ca/ — I am turning these out rather quickly because I am using characters thoroughly developed in other novels. What I am writing is consistent with those novels, though created from scratch. — dpw