Post #10, Week #14

So I don’t really have a creative title for this.  “FINAL POST!!!!!!!!!!!1111!!!!!!!!1!1!” just didn’t quite seem appropriate, even if it is my 10th, and last required post.

This class is essentially over.  We have 1 more class meeting, and a couple more assignments (whatever happened to the “make an assignment” assignment?  I thought it was supposed to be due by now, but it hasn’t even been posted yet…maybe we should just all get credit for it).

Our final project is coming along, even though we have a couple glitches to work on.  And by a couple, I mean more than I’d like to think about.  We have a good group, but it isn’t easy given how little guidance was given on the project.  Hopefully we will be able to get everything done before our deadline in a week.

I’m not sure that this class really succeeded in its goal, since I have actually used my Linux build less later in the semester than I did earlier, and from what I’ve seen, I am not the only one.  Not sure if it is the style of the class or the material or what, but it just seems to end up that way.

Response: Shy then Engineers or Engineers then Shy?

Original Post

thatoneguy posed this question back on October 16th. Essentially he asked if engineers started off shy, or become shy because they are engineers.

I think that engineers may start off somewhat introverted coming out of high school, but when they are put into a bunch of classes with other introverted engineers, they adapt and become even more introverted.  This turns into a vicious cycle that outputs what society expects:  introverted, quite, socially awkward engineers who are smart, but are unlikely to be understood by the general public.



There is but one law
It’s: Keep it simple, Stupid
Nothing else matters


There was a cadet who played brass
Who slept through his unix class
The teacher taught them grep
but the cadet missed a step
and never did pass.



Online vs In class

From what we were told last class there is some consideration going into making ECE2524 into a purely online class.  I believe that this would be a bad idea.  While teaching this subject in a classroom is a bit of a challenge, it is extremely helpful to have a teacher to go talk to and to actually see.  Additionally, having an actual class room give an extra opportunity to make sure the students are motivated, or at least keeping up with their work.  A purely online class could be finished in 2 weeks.  Whether it is the first 2, or the last 2 is determined by the student.  Also, the classroom setting allows for true collaboration between students, while online would remove a large part of the team element.


Week 10

Its been awhile since I last posted.  Amazing how long term assignments like this one can get away with you.  My group has an idea of what we are planning to do, but haven’t put in too much effort yet.  But it is still early on for the project.

Also, the VT-Miami Game is about to start, so I have no motivation to do any work tonight.  But its ok because Hokie Football.  Also, just saw a skyfall commercial about the game.  pretty awesome combination.

So far all the coding has made sense in the class, even make files, since I have played with them a little bit before. Not in any depth though so I’m learning everything as I go.


So the ECE2524 Midterm was yesterday, and it was not that bad.  It took me a little longer than expected, but that was mostly because I was looking things up when I had 4 terminals and the internet up at the same time.  But even with all of that, I still managed to get the entire test done.  I decided not to do the extra credit in the last 15 minutes, mostly because I just got lazy.

Now its time to switch gears and start looking for project ideas.  While there may be an infinite number of options, having open-ended projects like this is…different.  I’m not sure I like it.  I prefer to have a little more guidance on something that is work up to 1/8 of my grade. But at least the test is over, so I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Start of week 7

Its hard to believe that the semester is only half over.  I spent this past weekend catching up on all of my python exercises.  I had fallen almost 12 exercises behind, but was able to catch up.  Python has been relatively simple to learn.  Its just a new syntax, but relatively similar to java and c++.  Maybe its just my experience with my other two languages that allow me to catch on to it so quickly.

I’m still not using my Debian partition enough, but that’s still mostly do to laziness.  The fact that I am able to use programs through cygwin lets me appear to be using linux for the homeworks.

I also attempted the practice midterm today.  Most of the questions weren’t too bad, but I haven’t figured out how to save the output work that I was doing, beyond a print screen.  So I will have to look into that before the midterm on Wednesday.  But in all the questions weren’t hard, and i was able to accomplish pretty much everything without too much of an issue.

Week 4/5

Last week was an interesting week.  I was actually looking forward to class.  So, as usual, I packed my uniform and brought it to PT so that I could shower in McComas Hall and get to class on time.  However, disaster struck when I got out of the shower, and realized I had forgotten 2 critical pieces of my uniform in my room, my brown undershirt and my cover (wearing BDUs).  So I weighed my options:  break the regs and go in sweaty pt gear, or follow the regs, and end up missing class.  For better or worse, I chose to follow the regs which had the unfortunate result of skipping class.

Despite this,  I have done my best to keep up with the readings while fighting with the band for time to do homework, and my body which randomly decided that this would be an excellent week to get sick (I have 3 midterms, 2 Wednesday and 1 Friday).  On top of this, I ended up missing all of my classes today (I was supposed to only miss Air Force PT) due to an incentive flight in a C-130.  The original aircraft had an engine failure on landing, so we had to wait for another to come from west virginia.  It was an amazing experience despite the wait.

On the Unix/Python side:  Python seems to be making pretty good sense to me.  I am not using my Debian partition of my harddrive enough though.  Its hard to switch over just because of how much stuff I always keep open (right now, 2 web browsers, email, skype, itunes, 6 word documents, and an excel spreadsheet).  This is after I closed everything that ceased to be relevant…  It also doesn’t help that I just use cygwin and packages from cygwin in order to do all my python and unix homework.  I need to start forcing myself to switch over in order to do class work.


Command School

Class today involved a collaborative effort.  Each student had a list of 7 commands that they had to research and essentially become SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) on.  I had diff, echo, exit, hostname, less, ls, and head.  None of the commands were particularly difficult, but there are intricacies to all of them.  The miniproject was really helpful because it allowed each person to research a few commands and give details while in class.  However, the disadvantage is that if someone neglected to complete the entire assignment, or couldn’t find a command, then there was a gap in our knowledge.  Fortunately with the awesome power of the internet, we were able to figure out every single command.

In all the miniproject was highly useful.  With only 2 risks, people not doing the work or not showing up, it appeared to be relatively successful.

Based off what I have seen in others posts, it appears that those that have experience with unix, or at least the terminal, tended to view this as being effective, while those who have no experience at all did not see it as being anywhere near as useful.

A better attempt

In the summer of 2011 I, at the insistence of my older brother, installed Debian on a partition on my hard drive.  At first I was a fan purely due to to the better boot times, and the more practical layout.  But as time went on I noticed a few issues.

Since I didn’t really know what I was doing, my brother acted, and still acts, as my sysadmin.  He remotely will update Debian whenever we both happen to be online at the same time.  I’m hoping that by the end of the class I will be able to do most of that myself, and only utilize him for major issues or things that I don’t actually understand.

Another issue is that, even using Wine, I can’t play several games that I enjoy.  Therefore, I can  never permanently switch to just using Debian, until it is able to support those games.

Debian also uses Icedove as an email client.  Although the initial set up was a little more confusing, it works better than Outlook, except that it can’t see what I do on my Windows partition, which makes the crossover difficult, since most of my data is stored in Outlook.  I have the same issue with Iceweasel and Firefox.  I tend to just leave tabs up, so when I switch Operating Systems, I don’t remember what I had up on the other and what I need up.

On the whole, I prefer Debian to Windows, but I just need to learn Debian better before I can make any kind of major switch.