Archive for February, 2008

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Stupid Programs

February 25, 2008

Hey everyone, it’s been a while.  Judging from the title, you probably think that this is going to be a rant about how bad a certain piece of software is.  Surprise, it’s not.  Well, it is, but still, hang with me.

My school uses this software called Maple.  Maple is a math program that couldn’t be less user friendly if it tried.  Now, if you wanted to put in, two times X to the third power, most people would type 2x^3.  If you type this into Maple, you get an error.  Maple needs you to put it in as 2*x^3.  That’s right, in between every multipled term, you MUST have a * inbetween it.  So, as you can see, I don’t hold this software highly.

Now, one of the more humorous parts of this software, is that every time you get a problem right, it gives you a motivational pharse such as “You Rock!” or “Way to go kid!”.  Which brings me to the picture…

Mapel's a Genious

That’s right… Genious.  You’re a GENIOUS.  Wait…  Shouldn’t that be…Genius…?  That’s right. Maple’s programmers couldn’t even run spell check.  Ouch…

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College Catch 22s

February 19, 2008

I’ve noticed two different catch twenty twos today.

The first one was our school’s WPA networks. Originally my school used a wireless VPN network, so when you connected, it would present a splash page saying that you needed a VPN for that network, and then instruct you on how to download the cisco VPN client and how to configure it.

However, my school recently switched over to a WPA network. To connect to it, you have to have a security certificate that the school provides on their website. Only… to get it… you have to be online. So if you go to class now expecting to be able to connect to the network, you won’t be able to get online to get the certificate. You have to get it at home, before you even know that you needed. Totally useless.

The second Catch 22 that I ran into today was with my math class’ online homework. Originally we had our homework due at midnight on Sunday. However, we won’t be able to get any help on the homework, because our teacher’s aid if free on Tuesdays. To fix his problem, they made the math homework due at eight in the morning on Wednesday.

This worked fine for a while, but we had a day where the professor missed class, so we didn’t learn part of our assignement. To fix this, they pushed the homework back to it’s Sunday slot. But when they did that, our school realized that gives us two days to do our next assignment. So, to fix that problem… they pushed it back to Sunday. I personally like the Sunday date better, but it still seems a bit off that they haven’t come up with a better solution. If they keep pushing the assignment back till Sunday, then they’re not going to ever be able to get back to the old Wednesday date. Am I the only one that noticed this? Ah well…

So there you have it, my random rant for the day.

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My Computers

February 18, 2008

I love computers.  A LOT.  So much so that I’m a CompSci major.  Seeing as I’ll reference my machines a lot, I figured I might as well get their introductions out of the way.  Throughout my life, I’ve had at least one computer in my household, but in the last few years the number of machines that I own has jumped substantially.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rich, but I’m good at saving my money.

Without further adue, I should probably get onto describing my systems.  However, as a quick footnote, I recently decided to become one of those creepy people who names their computers.  To make things worse, they’re all based off Star Trek…

Deep Space Nine – PowerMac G4, Price tag: $200

This G4 PowerMac serves at my media sever for all of my machines.  I actually fell into getting this machien by accident.  My Macbook Pro was running low on hard drive space, and I figured it was time to buy an external hard drive.  I saved up $200 and set out in mind to buy a 500GB drive.  Needless to say, I found something entierly different.  While crusing eBay, I found a single day auction for a machine that has turned out to be perfect for me.

The G4’s 1.33mhz processor is underpowered by today’s standards, and can lag on simple things such as full screen YouTube videos.  However, the pervious owner upgraded almost every part of this machine.  It’s 700mhz processor is now 1.33mhz, the 512mb ram is now 1.5gbs, and the video card has also been upgraded.  Paired up with 22” LCD monitor, and it’s not too shabby at all.

The name Deep Space Nine comes mostly from the fact that I watched the entire Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series right after purchasing this computer.  However, the name suits the computer.  It’s a large hub, sending my data every which way.  It’s an old machine, much like the space station itself, but it serves it’s purpose.  Heck, with the Back-To-My-Mac feature in Leopard (AKA Dynamic DNS for Dummies), you could even argue this machine has a wormhole nearby.

The Defiant – Macbook Pro, Price Tag: $1,800 (With Student Discount)

 Following theDS9 metaphore, my Macbook Pro is a small machine, but it’s armed to the teeth to the point where it almost rips itself appart.  Well… when I first bought it at least.  Oh, my Macbook also wasn’t designed to fight the borg.  Err, anyways…

My Macbook Pro was my first Mac.  It’s got a 2.0ghz Core Duo processor in it.  You heard me right, Core Duo, not Core 2 Duo.  I was one of the poor smucks who didn’t see the Core 2 Duo coming, and am stuck with the 32-bit, power hungry Core Duo.  It’s still a great machine though, and is great at multi tasking even with only 1gb of ram.  This machine doesn’t get too much use nowadays, but it’s still a decent portable gaming rig.  It’s still surprising how quickly this machine lagged behind compared to the newer Core 2 Duo Macbook Pros.

My major complaint with the unit is the battery.  In my day to day usage, I would charge it two or three times, which quickly wore the battery away to nothing.  Even my replacement battery is having trouble getting an hour of battery life with the wifi antenna turned on.

The Runabout – HP Compaq TC1100 – Price Tag: $500

To finish up the Star Trek metaphore, I’ve got the Runabout.  If Deep Space Nine is defined by it’s big-ness, and the Defiant by it’s power, then the Runabout’s claim to fame would have to be how small it is.  I had origionally set aside the name for the Asus EeePC.  However, due to Asus’ inability to ship the 8gb version of the unit, I started shopping around for a comperable machine for around $500.

Due to the Defiant’s short battery life, and large desk footprint, I was looking for a machine that would be nice and light to lug off to class with me.  While the TC1100 is a bit bigger than I had origional planned, it turned out to be just what I wanted.

For the same price as the 680mhz EeePC, the TC1100 sports a 1.2 Centrino processor, 512mb of ram, and a small but usable 60gb hard drive.  This sounds like an underpowered machine, and you’re right, it is.  However, for what I use it for, the TC1100 is abosutely perfect.

When I wake up in the morning, the TC1100 takes 2 seconds to wake up (a requirement of the Tablet PC standard), and runs Firefox at acceptable speeds for simple things like Google Reader.  Then, going off to math class, I use the tablet on the TC1100 to take paperless, searchable notes that I can pull up and study from later.  Walking across campus, I get an amazing signal wifi singal as I head to my next class, history.  In history class the professor gives long, powerpoint-less lectures, so the TC1100’s keyboard comes in handy to type out notes quickly.  Finally, heading off to my CompSci lab, the Runabout compiles C++ flawlessly, well, when I don’t have any bugs in it at least.

The Bird of Prey – Dell C800, Asking Price Tag: $200

 Whoops, I lied, the Star Trek metaphore isn’t over yet.  My last computer is a Dell C800.  This 700mhz laptop, with 256 ram, was given to me by my old school.  We were tiny, so the school could actually afford a laptop program.  However, as you can tell by the specs, the machines are starting to show their age.  This guy still runs Windows XP or any flavor of Linux pretty well though.

The Bird of Prey has never really fit in my collection, hence the fact that it’s got the name of a Klingon ship.  I’m actually in the middle of selling it to a friend of mine, who lives for old technology.

So there you have it.  I own 4 computers.  Excessive?  Probably, but I still enjoy having them all the same.  As for the Star Trek naming scheme… yes, I do need to get laid.  Anyways, hope you enjoed that post.  *Looks up* Man, I can’t remember the last time I wrote 1058 words of my own free will.

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Pop Quiz!

February 18, 2008

1) In C++, which is the proper formatting for a string?

a) var = “string”;

b) var = ‘string’;

c) var = string;

d) var = string;

e) All of the Above

2) Was the above question lame?

a) Yes

b) True

If you answered A, B, C, D, or E for number one, you are wrong.   You you answered A, or B on question 2, you are probably just as outraged as me that any self respecting professor would put that question on an Exam.

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The First Real Blog Post

February 18, 2008

Hey there everyone.  My name’s Stu.  Welcome to my blog.  I’m new at this, but I hope that I’ll have something to say anyways.  I’m currently a student at Texas A&M, I’m a technology whore, and I enjoy pretending that I have digital art as a hobby.  If you’ve found this blog already, then you probably got sent the link by me.  In which case, thank you for reading my blog.  *Stuart has gained +1 Self Esteem Points.  Four more till he levels up!*

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Howdy World

February 14, 2008

Hey there WordPress.  I’d love to post something tonight, but I’m afraid that I’ve got a Math exam tomorrow.  Hmm…  I wonder how Indiana Jones thinks I’m going to do.

http://talbfij.ytmnd.com/

Yeah, I’m screwed