Friday, April 29, 2005

Less than a Week

and it will all be done. This is really one of those times when I can feel the irony of time. I would like more of it to put toward my classes. Yet at the very same moment, I want it to hurry up so I can get past all of these things I have to do.

There is much still to do. I spent most of today working on the Software Practice group project. It was really cool to see parts of it come together tonight. We are finally in beta! Just a few more days to go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


A couple of weekends ago, I was having a discussion with Chris and Curtis about the project that we have been working on. Well, Curtis wanted to “draw” and in typical fashion we couldn’t get messenger to do what we wanted it to, so we went off to GE’s imagination tool.

Sadly, by the time we got there, we didn’t need it. I had to run off to some meetings, and it appears that Curtis left us homage to HomestarRunner. Don’t you just love the dragon? Looking at the picture, just makes me chuckle. When I think of the brain cells I have killed by watching the strongbad emails, it is no wonder studying is so hard.

Oh… and today was the last day of classes. That means that I only have an assignment, a paper, a project and two finals to go! A week from tomorrow at this time, it will all be behind me. Let’s just hope that I get good grades.

Monday, April 25, 2005

isPalindrome() revisited

The Internet is an interesting beast. If anything, it gives one the opportunity to drown in information. A simple search for palindrome will easily return 884,000 websites that google thinks may interest a person searching for that topic. Several months ago, I wrote a blog entry that talked about an assignment I had been working on in a class. We had been assigned to write a recursive method in Java that would determine if a given string of characters was a palindrome. It was a fun algorithm to figure out and write, but at the same time, I didn’t find a lot of helpful information about recursive palindrome functions on the Internet, so I posted my solution along with that of a friend for the sake of having contrast.

Interestingly enough, I wrote a blog entry that spoke about recursion, where I first learned about it, talked a bit about Scheme, and some of the most pertinent points to writing recursive functions. Then at the very bottom of the entry, I posted a link to my recursive palindrome solution written in Java. This is what I think is funny. Of the things that people link to my site over, it is something having to do with palindromes, however, less than half of the people who make it to the blog entry actually follow the link to the solution. So, either there are whole bunches of people doing searches for recursive palindrome methods who just want to know about how it works, OR there are a bunch of lazy people, who cant read to the bottom of a page of text to get an answer. You be the judge.

Just for good measure, here is the answer to the palindrome solution again. Lets just call it an experiment. How many searchers will read to the bottom and click on the link giving them their precious answer they are searching for? Time will tell.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Weekend

It was a good weekend. I managed to get some homework done, read a novel and visit with family. There was a little bit of everything in it, but most of all there was time to rest and get ready for another week. Crunch time is upon me, and though classes end on Tuesday, there is still quite a bit to work on. Projects, assignments, papers, and studying for finals, it will all take a toll on time. I have learned many things this semester, but the lesson that seems to stick with the very most application came from the first week in software practice when the professor told us that time was our most valuable asset. Having had some time to mull it over and test the theory I must agree with his assertion. So much of what we become is what we choose to do with our time. It is imperative that we invest it well. I guess the point of the lesson is that for me, I just have to buckle down for a couple more weeks and work hard. After the assignments, projects, papers and finals have been turned in, there will be time to relax and play. Maybe I will even be allowed to have a social life and go on some dates.

The book I read was Gods in Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson. What a read. I must admit, I haven’t dabbled in the realm of “literature” in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time with my nose in books and websites, but generally they have something to do with computers, programming, or some class that I am taking. But I digress, this premier novel by Ms. Jackson, really gives one some stuff to chew on. It was not a hard read, but it was thoughtful. I think that she has done a great job at capturing the human condition, and painting a situation where the reader will experience a full range of emotion from laughter to deep sadness. It was a good book, and a nice break from the “end of semester” stresses. I needed something that could divert my attention for a few hours. Maybe reading a novel wasn’t the most prudent use of my time, but it was good for my mental health. One can only do so much studying.

Here’s to a new week.

Friday, April 22, 2005


No, I know that I still have a blog here. Things have just been really busy with school. I have been working on keeping a group project website updated, and while that isn't much of an excuse, it is something I have been doing. One thing I am glad for is that I don't have to code all of the html by hand every time I make an entry here.

Sometime in the near future I need to write about how to put a DLL into a visual studio project, as in my web searchings I wasn't able to find an easy to understand and helpful solution.

I also need to write about my upcoming trip to New York. But for now, I will go to bed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


I almost ran out of gasoline while driving home from the math center this evening. That would have been a first with this car. The light has been on for several days, but I kept telling myself that I had a few more miles left. However, when the car started to die on North Campus drive at quarter to one in the morning, I started to panic. Anyway, I managed to make it to the local gas station on fumes and a prayer, only to find that the punishment for my neglect would come at the price tag of the gasoline.

Maybe you are accustomed to gasoline prices like this. I haven’t purchased gas for three weeks, and this came as a major shock. Never in my life have I spent $30.00 on a tank of gasoline! I remember living in California, when once we paid $2.10/gal, and I thought that was astronomical. Something in this nation needs to change, and it needs to change quickly.

This is enough to make me seriously consider public transportation and a bicycle. I don’t make enough money to support prices like that. I don’t think that many Americans can truly afford such prices for the good ‘ol petrol. I guess this isn’t the forum or time for a discussion on US oil policy, or debate about alternative sources of energy… though it would make for an interesting conversation.

Heaven help us all!

Oh… and school is chugging along. There is a lot to do this week, if I keep at it, maybe I will get it all accomplished.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Thursday marks the last day of the school week for me. Not that I won’t have to do a significant amount of studying once all is said and done though. This weekend I need to contend with an assignment in computer organization, linear algebra, and the great group project. If anything, at least I can count on the fact that each 24 hours ticks away another day. As the semester winds down it feels like it is just winding up. Each professor is to the point where he/she realizes that there are only a few lectures left, and that they still have volumes that they want to cover. The end result being that more information is presented in a less thorough manner, all in hopes that the student can glean something from it, and make enough sense of it to be able to take the final. This is the way it has always been, and I don’t suppose that it will change anytime soon. In the meantime the weather outside gets nicer and every student dreams of how great it will be to spend the weekend playing, rather than studying.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Three Quarters - Again

Six months later...

That is right, four more weeks, and spring semester 2005 will be over and done with. You may get tired of my little countdown, but it is one of the ways that I remind myself of how far I have gone, and the little tiny bit that I have left to do. Yes, the projects, assignments, and exams will be significant; but hey, I have made it this far right? In many ways, last week was pretty relaxed as far as school went. Sure, I took an exam and a quiz, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. This week will be a bit more strenuous. I have an assignment to complete in Linear Algebra; an assignment due tomorrow in Computer Organization, and our group will start programming our chat agent in Software Practice. I enjoyed the luxury of not living in the math center last week, but I think that this week I will be back on campus.

It seems that I am beginning to find a trend in my feelings as the end of the semester closes in on me. Here is my blog entry being at 12/16 weeks from fall semester. Sound familiar? It sure feels that way. The only difference is that there aren’t any holidays this time around, spring break is behind us, and the next break is “reading day” which is the last school day of the semester before finals begin. Soon enough there will be time to read, relax, play, and do all of those things that there just aren’t time to do during the school year.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Scholarship Concert

Still not feeling very homework oriented tonight, I heard from a friend that the University of Utah School of Music was having the second night of their Scholarship Concert, in which they would be performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Deciding that Computer Organization can wait for a few more hours, I decided that I should take advantage of the opportunity to see the ninth symphony live.

I wasn’t disappointed! Being somewhat familiar with the music already, I knew what to expect, however seeing it live really adds an additional element that makes it all the more entertaining and fascinating to hear. Watching the conductor, musicians, and feeling the piece as it evolves is really an experience. Of course the fourth movement of the symphony is the one that everyone wants to get to (for those challenged by classical music, this movement is often called “Ode to Joy”), but the other movements were well done, and I was again left with a sense of wonderment and awe that Beethoven composed the whole thing while deaf. So, back in fourth movement land, I have to say that the soloists did an excellent job, especially the soprano. She was right on! The balance between the chorus and the orchestra was also very well done. They complemented each other perfectly, and there are few things worse at a concert than unbalanced choir and orchestra, so it really was a great experience.

If you ever have the chance to see this work performed live, I would highly recommend it. And now that I have got the “I don’t want to do homework” out of my blood, I will go and tend to my educational responsibilities.

Friday, April 08, 2005

UNIVAC and School History

Because I had no desire to study tonight (though I think I will acually do some reading here in a bit), I decided that I would do some resesarch on the UNIVAC, just because I was curious. Computing sure has come a long way. Also while reading on the UNIVAC I found an interesting page that detailed some of the history of the University of Utah's School of Computing. They started out with this quote from The Algorithmic Image: Graphic Visions of the Computer Age, by Robert Rivlin:

"Almost every influential person in the modern computer-graphics community either passed through the University of Utah or came into contact with it in some way."

That is quite the statment. I don't think I had though of my school in such a context before. Anyway, it's food for thought.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

First GUI

Today was an eventful day. In the morning, I did my first programming in C# and made my first ever windows GUI. Yes, I understand that it is simple, but it was fun, and perhaps for the first time, Visual Studio was intuitive to use! Yes, I realize that it isn’t much of a step up from the classic “hello world” example, but the adder does work, and it even has some error handling. It was a great way to start out.

Work was work. I managed to help out on the design of some modification requests, refined a couple of queries, and started testing some program changes. Work could really use some more of my time and dedication, but school is taking more effort than it usually does. After a meeting with one of our projects business owners, I decided that I would head home and work on school.

As it turns out, I ended up spending part of the afternoon in the hospital with the family, as my grandmother (mom’s side) ended up having a problem that required medical attention. Thank goodness it wasn’t a heart attack or stroke like the emergency crew thought it was. They are home now, but the hospital did take some time.

This evening, I worked on setting up an instance of CVS for the group project that I am working on in software practice. I was somewhat intimidated by CVS at first, but after playing with it for a bit, I have decided that it is actually a pretty cool tool. I am having some problems with it when it comes to consolidating different branches of code, but the GUI I am using says that it is a manual process anyway. I need to play with it some more tomorrow, but it has been good getting to understand how it works.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Begin Week 11

May 4, 2005 at 5:30pm will be a great time. Of course, there still may be some sorrow associated with the final that I will have just finished, but on the upside, the very glorious upside, I will have earned 16 weeks without school! Not that school is a bad thing, but I am really ready for a break. It has been four years of going to school every semester without a break. Now, for the first time in my academic career, I can take a summer recess and not feel any guilt. All of my generals are done, there are no CS courses offered in the summer, and the math classes I need aren’t being offered either (unless I really wanted to take an accelerated intro to analysis).

It will be nice to go to work, read this pile of books that I would like to read, program for fun, play, and rest. It is so appealing; it will be a fantastic reward for working hard for the next five weeks.

Today was back to work and school, I was a bit surprised when I learned that the website that I built yesterday was actually due TODAY along with some other forms for which our group had to have an actual meeting. I should have paid more attention to the calendar I suppose. Thankfully, everyone was able to pull it together for a lunch meeting where we were able to make the decisions that had to be made. I am glad that I spent some time on the site last night, as doing it today would mean that it looked very much like plain old HTML with out any styling.

Tomorrow I have an exam in Computer Organization; it is going to cover a lot of ground, so studying will be essential. I also have a Linear Algebra assignment due. It seems that if anything I am learning the importance of time management. There is always something else in the queue to get done. Dedication is the name of the game. At any rate, I will keep my eyes on the task at hand, remembering all the while that there is a great reward of rest and fun coming my way in 5 weeks. The time will pass no matter what, so I may as well make it pass well.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Turned in the project at 7:30 on Saturday morning. I had never been awake so many consecutive hours without sleep before. I think it was close to 27. An experience I am glad to have had, but don't care to repeat.

Most of Saturday and Sunday were spent resting, and trying ot catch up on missed sleep.

Today, I built the skeleton of a website as part of a group final project. It looks a lot like a blogger template, but this time around, I did it on my own. I am sure it will change between now and the end of the semester, but at least we have something to hand in on Tuesday.

I think I will call it a night tonight, tomorrow there is a test to study for, and a math assignment to do, but for now I just want sleep.

Friday, April 01, 2005

32 hours to go

Yes, we have 32 hours to finish this project. Curtis made a movie for everyone to see!

Given that I am not feeling very much like writing tonight, I thought I would just post another quick picture with the the movie.