Tuesday, November 21, 2017
--- Some cool software ---
This blog is about getting off the computer, getting away from the television, and experiencing your world first-hand, but, occasionally, I will post a nod toward interesting cyber-experiences that I've found. I, too, enjoy a good documentary or lecture...or interesting software package, which is what this article is about.
Most folks read about philosophy and psychology, so, as would be expected, software about philosophy and psychology is relatively rare, but they do exist. Here are some of my favorites.
Argumentative developed by John Hartley and available here: http://argumentative.sourceforge.net/index.html is a well designed program to help construct and evaluate arguments. The program should be valuable for anyone interested in debate or decision making theory. It's well documented and should be easy to learn. The help files are integrated into the program (you don't have to go online to access them) and if they're not clear enough, the Teaching Company has a great lecture series on debate that I will bring up later in a blog on Links and Lectures (Wait for it....)
The National Science Digital Library's Online Psychology Laboratory (http://opl.apa.org/Main.aspx) is "way cool" (I picked that phrase up from some high school students I was tutoring) because any individual interested in psychology can join with others across the Internet to perform group experiments in psychology, then they can download the results and even use statistics to process the data just like a psychology researcher. I repeat - "way cool".
The Online Psychology Laboratory has a limited set of studies you can take part in (a bunch, but still limited). If you want to design and carry out your own experiments, there are two programs (also "way cool") that can be used. They're actual programming languages, so it helps to have some background in programming if you are going to use them. Both are well constructed and well documented. Both install with a collection of experiments ready-to-run.
Todd Haskell's FLXLab is available here: http://flxlab.sourceforge.net/ (Note that FLXLab is no longer maintained and may not work on recent operating systems.
PEBL: The Psychology Experiment Building Language, originally developed by S.T. Mueller and B.J. Piper (users have contributed heavily to it) is still maintained and very flexible and extensible. It is available here: http://pebl.sourceforge.net/
Notice that many of these programs are available from SourceForge. All the ones above are free downloads but, if you like them, send a donation their way. Otherwise, they might disappear.
For philosophy software, I am still very impressed with Warren Weinstein's The Play of Mind website, http://www.theplayofmind.com/index.htm . I can't imagine a more enjoyable way to explore philosophy.
And, talking about "free downloads", I'm continuously developing macros for my ToolBook. Recently, I'm developing a kymograph for the Psychology page, that will be out soon. A kymograph is a tool used to study memory. It's used to flash words and/or numbers at set intervals (or randomly) to a subject. Mine is cool ("way cool", in fact) because it will flash a list that contains anything that can be placed in spreadsheet cells including colored and formatted text or cells. It should be up by the end of the year. The ToolBook can be downloaded from here: http://www.theriantimeline.com/ToolBook.ods
Currently it may not be way cool, but it is cool because it has timers, counters, and randomizers in it.
It's all free, so, if you're interested in psychology or philosophy, you should download all of them and have fun.