Tag Archive | Computer Systems

Year 1 Results

Hull MyAdmin Results

Yesterday I got my module results for my First Year in Computer Science at the University of Hull. I got a first class in all 6 modules and 82.3% average grade for the year — I couldn’t be happier. Below is a breakdown of my module grades:

  • Computer Systems – 72% – First Class
  • Information Technology and Professional Skills – 77% – First Class
  • Programming 2 – 95% – First Class
  • Programming 1 – 94% – First Class
  • Quantitative Methods for Computing – 74% – First Class
  • Software Engineering and Human Computer Interaction – 82% – First Class

I’d like to thank my lecturers and fellow students for such a great year! In particular to those whom I learnt and revised with, we tend to learn together in Computer Science at Hull, and its been a great help! I’d also like to congratulate my fellow first years who have done very well on the whole (hull?! :P)

Danny

Got Some Results

Was feeling pretty ill today, so I didn’t manage to make it into University. Instead I did a bit of work at home, read the lecture notes and wrote my own for the lectures I missed, added sound effects to Evil Squash and Cleaned my room. I also looked up my results in a few modules, I got;

96% in programming

73.3% in Computer Systems Hardware

and 96% in IT and Professional Skills

All 1sts! Good times

Danny.

Expect Evil Squash WP7 Soon!

Evil Squash WP7 Visual Studio Design

Not too much to report from the past few days, hence the lack of posts.

Thursday we had a module exam for computer systems, the results for which remain to be seen. There were a lot of questions on turing machines… which we hadn’t covered in any of our lectures. So I’m not sure how well I’ve done. Other than that I’ve been doing a lot of work on my Windows Phone 7 version of evil squash, as well as playing XBOX round Simons house.

So, you can expect Evil Squash to be in the Windows Phone marketplace soon!

Danny

University of Hull Windows Phone Camp

(Above you can see my Windows Phone 7 Version of Programming 1 ACW2 game Evil Squash – The first screen shows the set up page where players select the number of human and computer players – The second screen shows the page where users enter their name and select the name of the AI player they want to play against. The third page is the actual Game UI)

Today was good fun, it all started with a somewhat boring IT and Professionalism lecture however which was about Computer Misuse & Software Liability and Contracts. After this we had a two hour break in which I worked on my Windows Phone 7 version of Evil Squash, which you can see above. After this break, which included a few well earn’t pints of coke, we had a computer systems lecture about multi-theading in the context of SPARC architectures, which Dr. Mike seemed rather animated about…

Welcome to Windows Phone Camp

Welcome to Windows Phone Camp Slide (with motion blur, which I totally meant to add and isn't due to my lack of photography skills)

After Computer Systems Rob, James, Lewis, Louis and I headed over to Robert Blackburn Lecture Theatre D in which Ben Nunney and Joanna Tong were ready to present our Windows Phone Camp. The 2 hour or so lecture consisted of information on:

  • How to develop Silverlight apps
  • Information on the ideas behind Live Tiles and Hubs
  • How to get add polish to applications and get them Marketplace Ready
  • How to submit applications to the marketplace
  • Requirements of the Marketplace
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows Phone
  • The Convergence of Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox
  • The Metro Design Language
  • Using Blend and Visual Studio Side by Side
  • Launchers and Choosers
  • Making money on the Marketplace
  • much much more I’m sure I’ve forgotten to write down
  • and most importantly “Witty comments” by Ben 😉

Once the lecture had ended we all walked on to RB-312 for Tea (or in my case coke) and some programming time whilst we waited for our pizza (paid for by Microsoft!) to turn up. In this time I added custom counter functionality to my Evil Squash Application. My users can now use a “CameraChooser” to take a picture of themselves or an object to use as their counter on the gameboard, pretty cool I think!

Tonight I’ve been adding to the game.

Thats all for now,
Danny

PS: HTC updated all their phones, including my model – The HTC 7 Mozart – with Internet Sharing. Neat.

Maths & Windows Phone Development

(Showing off a few of the UI enhancments you can achieve using the Silverlight Toolbox — Most of which I think should be native to Windows Phone…)

Today wasn’t nearly as productive as yesterday, but I still think that I got quite a lot done in the end. I started my day off by improving my score of 41% in my ACW1 for Quantitative Methods for Computing to 56% — quite a good boost after just one extra night of revision I think. Its also worth noting that I’ve more than doubled my original score of 27% in under a month. 🙂

After this I wrote up notes on the subject of Software Infringement for IT and Professionalism and wrote up notes on the subject of Files and File Systems for Computer Systems, both of which are simple concepts to understand.

Today was also the start of our group “Micro-Project” which is worth 40% of our module grade for Computer Systems. My group has to do a 10 – 15 minute presentation on the Fetch Cycle. According to my Computer Science Operating Systems Lecturer we need to:

The fetch-cycle is a vital concept.  Why?  Illustrate your project presentation including a discussion of registers, cache memory (at various levels), RAM, and other memory options.

Though it may sound complicated I think this will actually be quite a simple topic to cover. The fetch cycle is simply the amount of time it takes for data to get to the CPU from the memory it is in — the shorter the better.

After attempting (and failing) to find any of my group colleges on Facebook I moved on to writing some more code for my Oracle ThinkQuest team, through which I stumpled across the single best resource for Windows Phone 7 I have found to date — The Silverlight Toolkit — this tool kit allows custom user interface elements such as the date picker and toggle switch you can see above in my application. These UI elements are used heavily in the Microsoft apps which come with Windows Phone, so it is a surprise to me that they are not included by default in visual studios toolbox, but seen as they’re not if you develop for Windows Phone you should definitely download and use the toolkit.

Whilst i found this what I was actually doing was attempting to get a local database to work in my application… still no luck there however 😦 Maybe tomorrow ill work it out! 🙂

Thats all for now
Danny

A productive day

Today was a good day. It started with my first Quantitative methods for Computing Lecture with Dr. Li which was an introduction to Vectors and Matrices, two totally foreign concepts to me. However, I found them pretty easy to understand at the basic level at which we looked at them this morning.

After the QMfC lecture I had 3 hours of free time so I decided I would use it productively rather than go home and therefore I spent some time on my ACW1 and ACW2 for QMfC. ACW1 is a mathematics diagnostics test of a piece of software called Diagnosys (I see what they did there) —  to pass the module we need a pass mark of at least 40% in it by the end of the first 11 weeks of the semester. Today I finally beat that with a mammoth 41% :P. After this I then submitted my ACW2 which is a serious of logic questions we have been set over the past 3 weeks, starting off simple and ending in some pretty complex theories. (I still not sure I fully understand Logical Validity if I’m honest, choosing the premises is hard) I hope to get over 60% in both ACW’s by the end of week 11. For the remainder of the 3 hours I continued work on my Windows Phone 7 Application for Oracles ThinkQuest Competition which is coming along nicely.

My next lecture of the day was Computer Systems with Dr. Breyshaw, this was all about using logic to perform arthritic, finite state machines and the manufacture of registers on a modern Central Processing Unit. Dr. Breyshaw also took my last lecture of the day which was Programming 1 (Algorithms) which taught us about HEAPS and using them to sort as well as another sorting method called KY Merge which is used to sort two sorted lists into one in an efficient manner.

Since the end of my University day I have spoken to my family on Skype,  been practising mathematics with Jess’ help, registered to give blood and been working on my Windows Phone 7 Application for my Oracle ThinkQuest team. I have been having some difficulty in implementing a Database for which to hold data about the users purchases, however I hope to find out how to do this tomorrow at an event which is being hosted by Microsoft for University of Hull Computer Scientists interested in Windows Phone 7 Application Development, such as myself. Exciting Stuff. I shall post about how that goes tomorrow.

Thats all for now,
Danny.

Very, very, very Busy

A bit early for this I think, but my opinion is meaningless and, as you can see Christmas lights are up in the St. Stephens shopping centre as well as Cottingham village centre as early as the 1 November.

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last week or so — as is the life of a student I’ve been stupidly busy the last week or so, with coursework, lectures, Exams and odds and ends. Last week we had two exams which count towards our modules, one for Computer Systems (Operating Systems) and one for IT and Professionalism, so I spent a lot of time revising for this — which I think paid off, I got 82.5% in the Operating Systems exam, which I think is a pretty good grade! We’re yet to get our results for IT and Professionalism.

I have also been working on adding in “Artificial Intelligence” into Evil Squash as well as the normal lecture/labs routine. Friday night Jess came up to stay until Sunday and we had a great weekend. On Friday we went to  “Bang Tidy Frid’ys” at the Sanctuary Bar in the Student Union, on Saturday we went to Spiders for their usual alternative music saturday and on Sunday we took advantage of the “Free Pool All Day Sunday” deal on offer at the Sanctuary Bar.

Spiders Nightclub Saturday Night

Spiders Nightclub Saturday Night

Today I’ve been writing up about Logic Gates on modern CPU’s as well as checking over my ACW2 for Quantitative Methods for Computing before I hand it in, hopefully I’ll do quite well in that as well (fingers crossed). Speaking of maths, I’ve also spent a lot of time going through the notes lovingly prepared by Jess which make maths seem so simple — a lot of the problems I was having with the Diagnosys Test were that I’d never heard of the types of equations and thus didn’t know what to do. Now I do, so I plan to (hopefully) go and get myself over 40% tomorrow.

As well as the above we learn about Structures in C# today in our Programming 1 Lecture.

Anyway, Having finished going through my Maths notes in preparation for tomorrow I’m off to sleep, I’ll post again tomorrow!

Night.

750 Blog views & more Windows Phone 7 Development

First of all a bit think you to everybody for actually reading my Blog!  I’ve just looked at my admin panel and I have over 750 views! Which is around 750 more than I expected when I started writing, each view is appreciated!

Today I had Quantitive Methods for Computing to start the day which was all about Logic — which so far I have found to be really easy, its basically programming without a computer.

Logic is basically programming without a computer

After that I had Computer Systems Operating Systems which was as fast paced as usual — i.e. too fast. But it is actually pretty interested, today was all about concurrency.

Concurrency is when you have multiple processes interacting with each other and using the same resources

Later in the day I had a Quantitive Methods for Computing tutorial to go over the lecture material, this too was rather simple. Finally to round my day off I had my favourite module — programming — which for me is the reason I like computer science, today’s lecture was all about “advanced methods” much of which I already knew from the C# Yellow Book, but it was a nice recap — particularly on the out and ref keywords.

After the lecture my Oracle ThinkQuest team and I caught up with Rob Miles and showed him our prototype Windows Phone 7 app (which I have been programming over the weekend) and asked him to register us to ThinkQuest, Rob seemed pretty impressed, which can’t be a bad thing!

Above you can see the main pivot page of the Application on the Windows Phone 7 emulator, with the C# code for that page in the background in Visual Studio 2011 Express for Windows Phone 7.

I don’t want to say too much about the application online until we’ve finished but I will write a little review of the Windows Phone 7 Application Design and Devlopement Process (from the eyes of a newbie)

Windows Phone 7 Application Design and Development Review

I guess the first thing to say about WP7 D&D is that it is by far the smoothest development process I personally have ever used. Controls such as buttons and text boxes are simply to put onto a page using the simple drag and drop mechanisms Visual Studio Visual C# Developers are used to, and adding functionality (via events) is as easy as a double click on any button.

This ease of development for User Interfaces allows you to spend more time on the functionality of your application, which after all is the point for it to exist!

99.9% of what I have experienced with the Visual Studio IDE, Windows Phone 7 Emulator and XAML User interface design method has been great, however there are a few things which I would like to see changed:

  • Styling list boxes is incredibly frustrating
  • Creating some sort of tile based UI is even more annoying.
  • Expression Blend is simple impossible to understand
  • Its annoying debugging on a device requires Zune to be open
  • It needs to be easier to make live tiles
  • There is no good resource online to learn how to use MS SQL CE on WP7, hopefully this will change soon
That is all for now.
Thanks for reading,
Danny

Fire Alarm!

Unfortunately this post starts with another rant about the bloody Railway Crossing in Cottingham which today decided to come down right in front of my morning bus to uni for about 6 minutes for a train with approximately 10 people on to go past.

Once I’d finally got to uni my 9:15 lecture was about Professional Conduct as an employee in the Information Technology Sector, most of it is common sense, like have a contract and stick to it and don’t do things which could be considered as illegal misuse of computers.After enduring that for an hour I had two hours to fill with eating in the Student Union and talking to Sean and Rob. Half way through this however the large magnet powered doors all shut, red lights started flashing and the fire alarm came on. This resulted in the entire SU being evacuated — you can see people leaving in the feature picture.

My next lecture was Computer Systems Operating Systems and was all about Memory Management which is a ridiculously complex process by which the OS allocated memory resources to individual processes and then feeds the addresses of the memory locations containing said processes to the processor. There are several methods which we have to learn about.

After that lecture I made my way to Cottingham to write angry letters to Student Finance, buy (extortionately priced)  envelope and stamps to send said angry letters and complete some OS homework as well as talk to Jess and eat Dinner.

My angry letter to Student Finance England - Hand Written!

My angry letter to Student Finance England - Hand Written!

That pretty much concludes my day

Thanks for Reading,
Danny

A visit to the Brynmor Jones Library and meeting Freeside

Today was another enjoyable, yet incredibly long day — I left my flat at 8:40am and didn’t get back to it until 7pm this evening! As with any other day it all started with me dragging myself out of bed and attempting to get ready for a full day of computer science before the bus left without me, fortunately as I woke up a bit earlier than usual today and my bag was already packed from the previous evening i managed it.

From 9:15 – 10:05 in Lecture Theatre A of the Robert Blackburn Building I had a Quantitive Methods for Computing Lecture with Dr. Gordon — thankfully I think I am finally starting to get some of the more advanced parts of the module and I am hopeful of not only passing but hopefully doing well! From 10:15 – 11:05 we had an induction follow up lecture ran by Dr. Gordon, Amanda the Administrator and the head of computer science (who’s name totally escapes me) — this essentially was a question and answer session to work out any issues we had and was full of sarcastic banter from some of the students in the row in front of me — very funny indeed.

After an hours bacon bap break we return to AS3-LLT — where the induction follow up had been held — for a fascinating Computer Systems lecture on “The Nature of Computers Today & the Launch of the Home Computer” which detailed how computers scaled down from being massive room sized machines which several users connected to with “dumb terminals” and automated much of the computing process to the personal computing at home. The irony of course being that the move to the cloud is a move back to mainframe style systems, its weird how such concepts come round again.

After this Rob and I has 2 hours to fill before our QMfC tutorial so we decided to venture into the MASSIVE Brynmor Jones Library — which was formerly the library of Philip Larkin, one of the most famous poet laureates of all time and the namesake of one of the buildings at the university — its pictured above. Its 7 floors tall and thanks to Murphy’s law all of the Computer Science and Maths books are on the top floor — however we were pleasantly surprised by the views presented to us once we’d got to the top. Some of the pictures I took are below:

View of Faculty of Business from the Brynmor Jones Library

View of Faculty of Business from the Brynmor Jones Library

View of Chemistry Building from Brynmor Jones Library

View of Chemistry Building from Brynmor Jones Library

View of Venn Building from the Brynmor Jones Library

View of Venn Building from the Brynmor Jones Library

Rob Checking out some of the Computer Science Books in the Brynmor Jones Library

Rob Checking out some of the Computer Science Books in the Brynmor Jones Library

After the brief visit to the library we waited in the Sanctuary bar in the Student union for our 3rd Lecture of the day with Dr. Gordon — a tutorial to support the earlier lecture for QMfC. This was excellent and helped me finally get my head round equations with fractions of x in — which I’m sure will be vital in my day to day life 😉

After that we had a one hour Programming Lecture which consisted of learning about Programming languages and our jobs as programmers. We learnt a few very important things, 1) If you don’t keep the specification of a contract your customer wont pay you. 2) 66% of IT projects fail — mainly due to miscommunication of what the end result should be and perhaps most interestingly

English would make a terrible programming language as a lot of its words are ambiguous and could mean any number of things given the situation its used in. Computers are too thick to understand this and require a precise language where one word or phrase can only have one meaning.

That’s the sole reason we have languages such as C#, Java and BASIC.

After this I went to Freeside‘s first meeting of the year in which they installed Linux onto the attendees computers for them — in this case it was the brand new 10.10 distro of Ubuntu. It was lovely to speak to all the people there, especially “TastyWithPasta” — the executive of the ComSoc at hull as well as to have some free fairy cakes and Pepsi Max, I can’t wait to see what’s going on n the future with the Department of Computer Scientists FOSS group.

Well, it seems I’ve written far too much for anyone to bother reading again so i’ll leave it there!

If you’ve gotten this far well done!

Thanks,
Danny

BTW: If you like reading stories that make no sense whats-so-ever you may be interested in Jess’ blog about her really weird dreams which no-one (including herself) understand — you can find it at http://luciddreamerjess.wordpress.com/