This post has been moved to blogspot. No further posts will be made to this location.
I just got a email from my boss in India (no, I am not going to be working there, she's just visiting family), and everything is a go for Jan 5th. Yay!
Okay, back to cleaning now...
Well, maybe for a BC Christmas... I can't believe how much rain we got! I would have much rather to have gotten snow, but that's just me. It would have made for crappy weather, but if you don't have to travel, I think that's great for Christmas. Just sit around and enjoy the snow and some hot chocolate.
I think that school now is finally, finally done. *knock on wood* Now on to the next great adventure.
I think that this is a time for reflection. There are many things in my life that I would have liked to have done differently, different paths to have taken. But looking at things as they are today, I am really happy with where I am. Now just to enjoy the ride. ;-)
Today my "work" called asking for my SIN number. I was asleep, so I just returned the call and it went directly to voice mail where I left the number and asked to be called back. No one called. So I don't know if that's a good sign or not. Do they want my SIN number just for putting me on file, or does that mean that I am going to start in January?
It looks like SEG 4100 is finally done... no one has time to work on it anymore, and I don't think that anyone wants to anyways. I know that I don't want to spend any more time on it if I don't have to...
Karen pointed me to an additive game from Ryan's site. Karen was actually using strategy, but I found that brute force seems to work quite well... I think that I had 135k score on my first try... I had 12 lines left of level 9. It just started to go too fast...
On another note, if you want to see something really funny and offensive, I found just what you are looking for. Just make sure that your speakers are on and you are ready for a laugh.
Now I just have to get ready for Christmas eve... I'm really excited about this Christmas for a number of reasons... ;-)
I finally buttoned down and worked on school stuff that's due at the end of the month. Seesh. You'd have thought that I'd be able to get it done before this, but I think that I really need a deadline to drive me. Sad really, but it's true. So I had to pretend that tonight was the only night that I can work on this (which might be true), so I got it done. *knock on wood*. Now all I have to do is do my Christmas shopping... but that's what tomorrow is for. ;-)
Apparently I am the defination of aggravating, acording to my mom at least. My sister was asking what it meant, and my mom's defination included me. Ah well. But I am only aggravating to my little sister, so it's all good. ;-)
Not too much new on my front right now... just working on some Christmas gifts (which I will talk about after they have been given out), cleaning my room, etc. I really wish that I had kept my room more clean durring school. At least that way it would not be such a job doing it. Or maybe just dust it more. I want one of those Tim Allen Man Bedrooms where it would be self cleaning. That would be sweet...
There is a bunch of things on my todo list, but I have not really touched them since 4100 is still hanging over my head. Tonight it the night that I have to get it done or I am sure that people will beat me with a stick, and I'll deserve it. One of the things that I want to do is finally get my Linux box up and working with Peter's help... that's something to do in the new year. That way I'll be able to finally get some of the things that I want: dev box with CVS, something that I can put a dev web server on, have it as a file server, and generally play around with Linux. I'd put an external web / ftp access, but there isn't any point right now while still on dial-up. One day I will have fast access, oh yes, one day...
I thought that this article was really interesting. Taking something that many people hate, and using it to fight cancer. Talk about using only your powers for good... wow.
Speaking of powers of good and evil, I saw LotR - Return of the King. As expected, it was great. I won't say too much other than it was more than worth it just seeing it for the visual effects, which were mind blowing. And sometimes they didn't follow the book as closely that I remember, but I have have to keep on reminding myself that it is just an interperation of the book, not the book itself. And there were some things that I took for granted, but had to explain to others who had not finished reading the book yet *cough* Karen *cough*. Easily worth the money. My only complaint was that is was so frigging long... when the dvd extended edition comes out, I think that they will have to put the movie on 3 disks so they can fit in all the different audio tracks. Good times, good times. ;-)
Ya, it looks like my job might be up in the air again because of the new freeze on federal spending. I just hope that the project that I am is under the 5 M $ cut off wire. This will really make Christmas not as much fun if I don't know if I have a job again. And my contact is on vacation till like the 28th of December. Maybe it was all in the plans before the cut was announced, so maybe it's okay. Maybe.
On another note, today Lord of the Rings - Return of the King opens today. Yay! I've been trying to avoid reading about it, and I didn't even buy the sound track yet. I want it to be "just the movie" experience, no songs in my head before I get in there, no reviews in my head, just a blank slate. I figure that I can do that for exams, so how hard should a movie be? ;-)
One thing that has annoyed me is a website that I wanted to check out. It's Teitur.com. I really like his music, but the site is all pop-ups, flash, and badly done at that. Some times I just want to smack people who make pages like that upside the head. Sheesh. Why can't you just pass the user html? It look me a while to figure out that I had to allow pop-ups to see anything. That didn't make me happy. Ah well. At least he has great music. (and LotR's is today!!!! ;-) )
Apparently what I am suffering from is commonly known as a "Man Cold" (MC). This virus or whatever has the ability of making any adult male act like a little child. Common phrases include: "ugg, it hurts", "wimper", and "could you please get me something so I don't hurt so much?". Doctors are currently looking into cures, but at this time no progress has been made.
On a different note, I know know what I want for Christmas! My very own DNA sequencer!! And for like 80$ american too. I found this really surprising. Has our technology advanced that fast in short a time that they are now kids toys? Sort of scary, and sort of cool at the same time. I think that this would have been a kick-ass thing to have in highschool bio class. Something that was only dreamed of in some labs like 10 years ago, and now it's a kids toy...
I was talking about communication skills before, and today I am going to talk about presentations. For business students at U of O, they have to do a one credit presentation course, where the whole thing is they they just do about 2-3 presentations (in small groups), and get evaluated for that in a pass / fail way. I think that this would be wonderful for engineers and scientists to do.
For most of the science sort of fields, you will at one point have to present to your peers in a way that they understand. I've sat through some really bad presentations that my fellow students have done, and I have probably given a couple too. My biggest gripes are: way too long (20 min presentation that last 45 min); too much material (TONS of text on a slide); or just not clear. And this doesn't just apply to students, but professors as well.
The reason why I am going off on this today is because I was reading a post on slashdot about them blaming PowerPoint for bad presentations. Yes, I think that sometimes you are limited with what PowerPoint can do, but if you stick within what it was meant to do, you'll be okay. Like any other engineering field, you should the right tool for the job. So don't try and put a whole technical paper into a couple of slides, it just won't work. If the conclusion of the presentation is what it can cost people's lives, have this on one slide by itself in big bold capitical letters. PowerPoint is only to help you make your points, and have a visusal reminder of what you are going to talk about, it is not supposed to be the whole presentation in itself.
If people die because you made a shitty presentation, that's not the tools fault, it is yours.
Yes, I actually left at 12 minutes after the hour. The exam was about as good as it was going to get, so that's cool with me. It's a pretty significant thing, but I still have a project due for 4100, so until that is done and dead, I am not totally free, but damn close. I can feel the sweet grass of freedom between my toes, but I have not hopped the fence.
James lent the prof his watch because apparently there is no clocks in the sports complex, and neither prof had a watch. I told the prof that a bunch of us were going to be at Zampub for drinks and he was welcome to join us, which he did. I think that was really cool to just sit and chill with a prof having drinks. Overall I think that the exam went well, so it was neither a bang or a wimper.
Even though the prof said that there would not be any info from the projects, there was some on Peter's and Kibee's, but that worked out since it was one of the few presentations that the whole class understood. And the only question that was asked in the review session was one the final.
I always feel like I owe people for helping me get through school. I really don't think that I could have done it by myself. I have no idea how anti-social people do it.
The question that remains now is how will I end my undergrad when I write my last exam. Will I go out with a bang or a wimper? Only 18 hours will tell.
It wasn't cheating, but it sure felt like it. I don't know how I felt about that exam. We just used the info that we got from both profs and put it together, it's not like we stole the exam or anything, or went to another one and get it and ran out of the room. Everything that we did was legit.
So why do I feel so bad? :-(
I think that I just got it. Not that I have put too much thought into it in the past, but the thought just clicked. Creationists believe that humans have "instrinsic value" because they are humans. Okay, now I understand their argument better. Okay, back to studying...
Oh, and about 37 hours to go. Or 12 questions if you want to count it that way. ;-)
One more hoop jumped through, one less thing in my way and keeping me from graduating. ;-) I just wish that it was a little earlier... getting home at 2335 is a bit too late... and I want to go in tomorrow to study and go to a special review section where we are supposed to have questions ready to ask the prof... but I doubt that anyone will have any. I don't. :-|
Okay, off to bed for me...
Sitting here in SITE with the internet going up and down all the time is very frustrating. I have a theory: that the wire is connected to the elevator, and it only works when the elevator is on the third floor. That seems to be a logical explaination to me. :-)
I think that I should have brought a baseball hat today... with it being winter now the sun doesn't rise as high so there is a glare all the time. I am reduced to wearing my touque indoors just to try and shield my eyes somewhat so that I am not squinting all the time.
I've had a breakthrough: it's really hard to study for a class where there doesn't really seem to be right answers, and where the prof / TA can't seem to present answers in a way that makes lots of sense. I'm just going to do my best, but I'm not going to stress if I can't get things... I am looking for the "sweet spot" of the quality for my final. ;-) See! I did learn something in that class! (... that I already knew...)
Ya, I know, I am doing it again. Still. But how easy is it to avoid doing actual studing? Very.
I was reading the lastest on kibbee's site and thought that *I* had also wanted to talk about Love Actually the other day. I saw this with Laura and it was great. I would say that it is a "chick flick", but not like Bridget Jones is a chick flick... I think that the ottawa film thing describes it best. It got a kibbee 2 thumbs up, and I'll give it the same rating. ;-)
I found a good article the other day about Arthur C. Clarke. I find his thoughts really interesting because he seems to see possibilities before others do. He was one of the first sci-fi writters that really brought me into that type of book. His books usually are more about the science than fiction. No space operas. No cheesy stories, even though I was really disappointed in 3001. I guess that he isn't on top of his game anymore... that sometimes happens when you hit your 80's. :-|
Now let us never speak of that again. One more exam done, 3 to go. Yay! I just need to be more worried about these so that I can actually be modivated enough to study. But Laura pointed out, this was the first of the last exams that I will have to write. That's mostly true. I think that in 12 months I'll try and write the PPE exam for peo. We'll see. ;-)
There was a thread on slashdot the other day (can't find it now) where one of the people commented about whether it is better to have a stopped watch or a slow watch: bad info or no info. This reminded me of something that the 4100 prof talked about with making sure that your process is "in control".
If your watch is inaccurate + - something, than you at least have an idea of how you are doing. Otherwise you are just guessing. Or if it is consistantly slow, you can compensate for that. Otherwise you are just guessing. I guess that it just depends on how much + - your measurements are off.
What happens if you don't have any info? Does that just mean that you work really hard out of fear? Like if the school never told us our grades, would be work harder because we didn't have a clue, compared to getting back 90's all the time and stopping trying? (well, I stop trying, others do not). This is something that I will have to ponder some more.
Ever have a case of writters block? I get it a lot... especially when I have long assignments to do. I don't know what it is, I just can't seem to get my mind around them, no matter how much I want to. What does this mean? Usually that I hide from IM while I try and get my thoughts down, but more importantly that my group members get mad at me. Or maybe just annoyed, I'm not sure.
And it's stupid too because I was the one pushing to get it done early... *sigh* I blame it on me being lazy and having no modivation right now. And it's not really like I am doing anything productive either, which really doesn't help too much. Maybe if I just sleep for a week, it'll all go away. Maybe not. Almost there though... this is the home stretch.
After working on my car to get the windshield juicer working again, one of the things that has struck me is that my car isn't designed for maintance. Sure, it's easy to change the lights (tail, turn indicators, ...), but other things are not so easy.
Okay, let me tell you what happened. The other day on my drive in the juicer wasn't working, so on my way home (after letting it sit in the sun all day), I got some -40 juice from crappy tire and filled it up. Still didn't work. I was scared now 'cause I didn't want to replace another part on my car.
So I figured that it wasn't the sprayers that were having trouble, and the motor seemed like it was working, but I couldn't see the container or the pump because they (brilliantly) placed it over the wheel well, and behind the compartment on the car. To change / work on it, you have to take 1) take the tire off, and 2) take the wheel well out. Wonderful. Luckly we were able to just get a hose and pour hot water in it for like 5 minutes till whatever was frozen thawed. Note: start putting blue fluid in your car in September. I'm just lucky that it didn't crack anything. So after that we flushed it out and filled it up again with more -40 juice and everything should be good to go.*knock on wood*
Long story short, I was annoyed at the possibility of having to take apart the front end of my car to fix something stupid. If people are designing systems, they should have maintance in the back of their mind, because systems will always need it, not matter how well you build it. This is another thing that should be kept in mind with software, as well as with other engineering. Mind you, it's harder to think of an example where you have to take apart 1/2 of the system to fix some code, but I am sure that it exists somewhere. ;-)
One of the things that we seemed to have been doing with AudioMan is checking the inputs for functions too much. This might have been a lot of redundant checks, and maybe made the software sighly slower, but I think that this is a good thing. I was talking to my dad the other day about some software that he has to deal with. It's an app written in VB that stores the data in a database, and I don't really have a high opinion of it. Neither does my dad.
One of the things that we was telling me yesterday is about some (all actually) of the input fields. Lets say they allow you to enter in 30 characters. You hit submit. You get a database error. huh? What did you do wrong? Well, max allowed field in the DB is 15. So, they don't do any checking for things like that. I am sure that they don't look for special characters (ctrl-D, ...) or things like that. He was also telling me about how they have double quotes " in the database, but that screws things up because that's a special character for SQL (if I remember correctly). Yikes.
So, your software might work correctly with "good data", but if you don't even check with for bad data, you'll end up having to deal with it no matter what. This is really bad. There are other horror stories, but this is all about checking out the input. I'd give the company some leeway about this, but they are on release 7. There is no excuse for that. They are giving software a bad name, but that is where I think the industry is coming from right now. It's our job to change that.
Just to clear things up, when I said that I had a "door" in my last post, it's an imaginary door. Just an opening in my cube. But I DO have four walls, which I have not really had before. They are actually going to encourage pair-programming so it's good that the cube isn't tiny... but I don't know if that means I have to move my computer to a straight part of my desk.
As for iron ring pics, I have posted some quickly, and I left them all in... bad pictures and everything... It's just a dir listing now, but I'll make a page later when I am less lazy. Or, if other ppl have some software and would like to do it for me, please go ahead. Note: if you like these pics, you had better get them soon off of this... I am sure that the school will kill my account soon.
I find that during school, with the short schedules always given for what can seem like a lot of work, after 4.5 years of school I think that I need things to be an emergancy for me to work on them. I find it SO much harder to work on things and get them done like a week in advance. Sometimes it doesn't help me that the prof's keep on extending the due dates. Maybe this is just an exercise on modivating myself... probably not.
On another note, I mentioned yesterday that I went into work and saw everyone, including my cube. And it's HUGE. And the place seems quiet. It sure will be nice not bumping chairs with people all the time. Even though my cube is on a corner, it doesn't seem like a busy place, and the "door" is a bit away from my desk. I really like the position of it. I won't feel so guilty when I am reading slashdot because people won't be reading over my shoulder. But I'll still take in music to block out people's conversations and make some white noise. ;-)
After going in to work today to meet the team (who all seem to be wonderful), I found something really surprising. I was told that I "beat out some stiff compantition" the other day. I didn't know that I beat out people with a lot of experience, as much as 14 years. Yikes. It's gotta be pretty tough out there if someone with 14 years experience is going for a junior developer role.
I was told that the thing that got me the job was how much they judged I would fit into the team, but most importantly how when my non-technical interviewer asked me to explain a technical concept, I did it in terms she understood. I keep on hearing that communication and how you work in a team are the key things that bosses look for. It still surprises me everytime. (as a side note, Andrew found a great article to read about communication in the work place)
Tomorrow I am going to go "see the team" and I guess fill out paper work @ 1400. I start on Jan 5th as a CS-01 at Industy Canada. I might be able to find a different job, but I'd rather get one now an get more experience. I guess in a month it'll be time to update my resumé again. ;-) Yay! Now I can feel better about buying christmas gifts and not worry about totally running out of money.
I am happier about this position after meeting the lead developer. She's really into XP and I'll be doing J2EE using tools like ant and WSAD and some rational tools (read: IBM). I think that it will be good experience for me. Now all I have to do is start saving more money...
Currently I think that it will be a contract for 3 months to end of fisical year (March 31st), with an extension after. I guess it will depend on how much they like me. We'll see. Now all I have to do is just learn what the hell J2EE is.... ;-)