Possessed by an SD Daemon My Search for Real Unobtainium By Michael McCurley Okay, I’ll admit I’m possessed.

Not just any possession mind you, but that full-blown obsession for the inaccessible Golden Chalice (like unobtainium)--what software manufacturers will never give us-just because it might bankrupt them. Yes, we all once dreamed that a SMILE would save us, born of XML and other software illusions, users have been quite rudely awakened as they try to convert handy simulation models from one format to another. This seemed natural to assume since word processors have been doing this for ages, but SD alchemy initiates us into secret gilds with renewable annual licenses. Untold is the fact they all share common ancestry with Jay W. Forrester’s forays with his Whirlwind computer, our National Defense System, and what everyone today knows as System Dynamics. Although Dr. Emeritus may have rescued the original computer code from the military, others have earned profits by using it to educate us. Those of us who work as teachers find it challenging to create interesting activities that engage the minds of our students. Isn’t that what we live for? Salary considerations are another matter, but few teachers get to complain about having more money than they know what to do with. Schools rarely have much more than teachers do. So where’s the beef? Schools with time, money, great teachers and flexible curriculums are in heaven. Good for those who go there. Such kingdoms are not of this world. The rest of us need not apply. My teaching venue is Myanmar, somewhat off the beaten track. For faithful Guildsmen throughout this world, there is a Holy Trinity, known, but never uttered all at once—Vensim, Powersim, and Stella. There are other gods (θεοί), of course, but these three are what countless believers swear by. It is not well that your right hand not knoweth what its left is doing. People are publishing books about computer simulation modeling, writing papers, teaching, and using software that can only run with that version and no other. This is meant, of course, to prevent the blasphemy of non-renewable licenses. Followers are careful to follow the rituals of their sects, even though these are not terribly different from one another—Bogforgiveme4Inonotwhatudo. BUT this becomes difficult when one sect has a particularly good model that might be interesting for another. Reusability here would be welcome. Setting religious considerations aside, I see no reason why we shouldn’t share together and work for a common purpose. We all want models, don’t we? My modeling ideas might save you time (and time is money, and so on), or your ideas might be better than mine. Oh, yes, my numinous internal daemon daiō —who never leaves me—has not forgotten, not by a long shot! I’m possessed by the conviction we must share our models across all platforms, software versions and emulators. I dream of the day when I can simply crack open a model like a can of soda, and enjoy it immediately. I know this seems like an evil form of adulterous encouragement. But I’ve done as my daemon requires—now so that you’ve read these words... Sorry!

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