Tag Archive | Computer Systems

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/

IT, Professionalism, Operating Systems & Annoyances

(After only 7 minutes waiting at the Cottingham railway crossing “A Wild Train Appears…!” )

Today has been a good day on the whole, It started with our first ever Information Technology and Professionalism lecture in The Wilberforce building — the one that doesn’t look like a boat. The basic overview of the IT part of the course involves;

  • Word Processing Skills
  • Spreadsheet Skills
  • Database Skills
  • Enterprise Computing
  • Information (Management, Systems and the Internet)
  • Understanding the costs to business / business use of IT
Furthermore the professionalism side of the course covers;
  • The Concept of professionalism
  • Professional Ethics and good practice
  • The Law and Computing
  • Technical Writing Skills

It looks to be an interesting course, and I am looking especially forward to the group work in semester two, which involes creating a database running on a Microsoft SQL Server back-end and presenting a Powerpoint presentation to the year.

After this I grabbed a Bacon and Sausage sandwich from the Student Union and checked my emails… which brings me to my first annoyance of the day. Student Finance England have managed to cock up my student loan, by attempting to give me a Maintenance loan I neither want nor need and not paying my university — which I both want and need. This all stems from literally months of mis-communication on their behalf. I’ve never heard a good word said about the company.

After spending what seems like an hour trying to get through and solve the issue it was time for our second Computer Systems lecture, this time it was on the operating systems side of the topic and gave us a very interesting insight into what Operating Systems do and it was asked of us to make our own definition of an operating system by mixing the best parts of 5 definitions shown to us. I came up with;

An operating system is a software interface between hardware and the user; it is responsible for the management and coordination of activities and the sharing of the resources of a computer (such as memory, CPU time, disk space and input/output devices). It acts as a host for computing applications.

After the lecture finished I went to catch the bus back to my flat at The Lawns which brings me to my second (joke of an) annoyance. Cottingham Village Railway Crossing. I swear to god it always closes when I’m either on the way to or on the way back from Uni! Lol.

Anyway, thats all for now,

Danny