Modeling for life 

Life, to me, is a lot about modeling. Not just plastic planes or scale model railroad machinery. Modeling is about understanding something in one domain and rendering it another. There is great satisfaction in that, and knowledge, and craft, and even art. And the craft of it can be so Zen like in working with materials and being one with the moment, be it code, plastic or brass..



Audiophile Sound


Scale Modeling

Brass Locomotives:

Iron and Steel Industry:

Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad:



Home Computing

Computer Industry History

User Interface Design

Information Theory

Living Systems

The Brain and the Mind

Other Interests

Guide to Dave's Books -  Recommendations






Modeling as I see it

Recorded sound is modeled sound. A documentary is a model of an experience. Books are models of a story or body of knowledge (another model !). Programs are models of processes and structures. Computers are excellent general purpose modeling machines, but second best. The top of the heap is the human brain and the mind. The hardware and the software. 

Humans model the world instinctively, intuitively, and at a basic wet ware level. That's how we understand the world we see and hear and read about. The model IS the understanding; the simulation; right or wrong, adaptive or insane. We also model the internal. Our imaginations and dreams are the experiments of our internal models.

Models are  fundamental to the scientific method.  A theory needs to expanded out to a (usually mathematical)  model to link it to the known,  and allow experimental  verification.

Modeling takes things and connections from one domain and recreates important aspects in another medium. But models always lose something: detail, size, dimensionality. But then again they  gain something too, portability, usefulness, beauty.

Models types: Conceptual, mathematical, physical, acoustic, visual...

Virtual to Real - Model to Prototype -Information to Physical



My Modeling

C&O RR logo

I've been a model builder since I was a child. I started HO model railroading in late 1959, and have never really stopped, even when I was in the army. Brass steam locomotives, the steel industry, steam machinery, construction equipment, The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, and logging RR's are major areas of interest.

Blast furnace model C&O switcher          


Audio and Music

My audio system

In the mid 1970's I was introduced to quality audio sound by Doug and Harry at Audio Dimensions in Birmingham. There was a hiatus in my audio pursuits during my marriage, but I'm back at it again trying to get the best sound on a budget with some Do It Yourself electronic upgrading and careful equipment selection.

I was brought up with music in the house. Popular 40's and 50's stuff, and classical, from a wonderful old phonograph with a big speaker and one of those electrifying magic eye tuning tubes ! And then there was the radio - 60's pop and rock and roll, Motown !, and... you know. My own interests started my record collection - movie themes, easy listening (!), folk rock, spacey rock, early music, classical, minimalist, space, fusion jazz, new age,  and lately, electronica, namely down tempo chill and trip hop, trance and some techno. Those are not my limits, just the concentrations.



Mac logo

Personal computers kind of snuck up on me.  I had worked on mainframes for years, First repairing them, then I started  programming about the time of the early PC's. But the WinTel micros initially turned me off. Some time later, my ex-wife's Macintosh 512K showed me what personal computing could be. 9 Macs and 3 PCs later I have a nice stable system that, while not state-of-the-art, works just fine. 

Oh, and Microsoft sucks. There are other, better things under the silicon sky. Check them out, you'll see.



What is programming, but building a model of something in computer software. It may model the structure of a file system, the location of items in a warehouse, the movement of funds in a banks accounts, the stresses in a metal part, or particles in nuclear reactions. Models all. (Well perhaps some used to be models, but are now the prototype ! Lets hope the computers don't crash - or run out of electricity)


Theoretical Interests

Information theory, Modeling theory, Systems, Living systems, Operating systems, Universe models. But not formally ! I want the gist of it, the structure, the concepts. You can't go too deep into too many pies ! Also Business history, Technology history, and Industrial Archeology, among others. It may be an odd collection of subjects, but I follow my nose; my curiosity that is.

Douglas Hofstadter and Donald Norman have been big influences on my thinking.


Other Interests

Art Glass

Photography has never been a strong pursuit for me. More of a means to an end. Never the less I have taking lots of pictures, mostly railroad and model subjects, since my teens.

I like to collect glass paperweights, the more organic or prismatic the better.


Science Fiction - No Star Trek please ! I grew up reading SCi Fi and value hard science and imagination. Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, Charles Sheffield are tops in that area. Going back further, John Brunner, Samual Delany, Hal Clement, and of course Aurther C. Clarke also fill my boxes full of better paperbacks.

Science Fiction on Artificial Intelligence

Guide to my Reading Recommendations

My Most Influential Books  (coming...)