Writing has become a bit of a UoH Computer Scientist past time recently with many more people joining the ranks of bloggers.
We’re frequently reminded how important it is to be “building the brand”, a phrase which refers to making yourself an attractive employee to potential future employers, because at the end of the day the outcome of higher education should be a better job.
A blog is a good way to show people that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your subject and allows for feedback in the way of comments, allowing you to improve your communications.
Setting up a blog is pretty simple and can be cheap or free depending on how advanced your needs are. You can use a free blog on wordpress.com, or you can install and set your own up for free on Freeside, the universities open source server rack, this gives you more customizability and options but will require you to buy your own domain name to make it easy to get to.
Due to the sudden influx of bloggers it could have become a bit difficult to keep track of all the updates. In an effort to solve this problem my friend John set up HullCompSciBlogs.com which aggregates all of the blogs of University of Hull Computer Science Students into one place, including updates from my friends Nick, James, Charlotte,Christophe and John Himself as well as my flatmate and good friend Rob. You can of course also see my posts 🙂
So, head on over to HCSB and read some cool stuff!
Back to 9.15 starts as of today I’m afraid, but at least its a day closer to see Jess and The Specials! The day started with a professionalism lecture which essentially gave us an overview of who and what a professional is and gave us some information on what chartered & professional bodies are: the ones of particular interest to Computer Science being the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and the BCS (British Computer Society) of which I, like all Hull CS Students, am a member.
After this lecture Rob and I had 2 hours to kill, so naturally we went and got some food, once we were done I thought it would be a good idea to go and have our second goes on Diagnosys (the maths diagnostics test). One of my issues with diagnosys is that it isn’t ever very clear how it wants its answers and often it will mark you wrong for an answer which is technically right but not set out how it expects it, but even bearing this in mind both Rob and I improved our scores — In just over a week I’d improved by 6%. Good progress I think, thanks in part to excellent tuition for the girlfriend!
As 12:15 rolled in we made our way over to Applied Sciences 3 for a lecture on the structure of an Operating System which was very interesting, particularly the bit about how process queues are managed.
After this I headed over to the Robert Blackburn building to take part in the Computer Societies first Fragfest of the year — essentially a bi-weekly opportunity to play games with like-minded people and shout abuse at each other whilst doing so. Great fun, as you can imagine! Whilst there it was nice to meet up with Adam (aka Insomnia) and have a chat about many things including the viability of Linux ever overtaking Windows in terms of market and mindshare, he also told me some things I didn’t know about or were simply misinformed about. (I thought you could only release open source software for Linux – this is false, though Canonical cannot package closed source components with its Ubuntu Operating System). It was also great to have a chat to the ComSoc organisers as well as fellow gamers, hopefully I’ve made some new friends! You can see some of the attendees in the photo above showing just some of the lab.
I spent much of the evening talking to Jess, which was nice, before heading off out to meet up with some friends at the pub.
All in all its been a great day and I can’t wait for the weekend!
Today was that lovely day I have each week where I don’t have a lecture at 9:15 in the morning. So I spent my day relaxing, tidying my room and attending my one lecture on different ways of searching using algorithms, which I personally in my sad little way found fascinating. I love logic and problem solving.
Above you can see the end result of the cleaning, stored forever on the internet to show the one day I will manage to keep it safe for human habitation.
Tonight I set up a 3 Network Sim card on my old ZTE Blade Android phone so that Jess can use her 5000 free 3 to 3 calls to ring me and save on contract costs (is the word three starting to sound weird yet? :P). I also joined the Freeside IRC channel and made some friends and learnt more about the group, it’ll be fun joining them from time to time, especially now that I have my own user on their cake server with some web-space!
Im trying to keep my blogs more consise and readable, so thats all for now!
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:
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!
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/