And so it ends…..

With everything that has been going on in my life this semester (karma, I hate you), I’m really surprised to finally be at the end of the semester.  I keep looking at my calendar thinking, “one more week?  really?”.  But this, like all things, must come to an end.


I wish I had been able to do this course in class instead of web based, more so to be able to play with the robots than anything else.  As much as I enjoyed this class, however, I question the need for this class.  From what I have been able to ascertain, this class is meant to be an introduction to all things IT- but I’m not sure why those of us who already know and have decided on our collage course are being made to take it.  While I have had a great time in this class in general, I really think that my collage time could have been used a bit better than an intro course that seems more geared towards someone who may not know what they want to do in the IT field- or if they even want to go into the field at all.

That’s not to say I didn’t learn anything in here.  After all, I didn’t know that ASCII is based on Morse Code.  That was kinda cool.  The class did allow even someone in their third semester a chance to say “whoa, that’s cool”.  The online part of the class was presented well, and was set up to help us excel instead of to fail, like the one other online class I have taken.  I am ever impressed with the material and the fact that the instructor created his own textbook.


Don’t allow the school to make this an in-class only course.  Despite the fact that I didn’t get to play with the robots, this class as a web based class was still very informative and eye opening.  Keep up the good work Dr. Brown.  I just wish we had more time to go into depth about some of the off the wall stuff.  Sometimes a week isn’t enough time.


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Seven of Nine

Or, the assignment for Weeks 11/12 that I forgot to actually post.


Seven of Nine is a fictional character from Star Trek: Voyager.  She is a former Borg drone that has been severed from the Collective, the hive mind for the Borg.  Borg drones are humanoids that have been assimilated into the Collective and various body parts replaced with implants, boosting their abilities according to the implant.


Seven of Nine (or Seven for short) was a human girl of age 6 when she was assimilated.  Due to this, humans are very strange to her- much like they are to Data from The Next Generation.  She has a hard time dealing with emotions in particular.

Due to the nature of the Borg, her reception onboard Voyager was not warm at first.  The crew doesn’t trust her, sometimes rightfully.  Even with the majority of her human appearance restored to her, she is still as different from her fellow humans as if she were a different species.

Seven of Nine moments

The link above is a pretty good video illustrating some of the ways that Seven is so different from her fellow shipmates.  Her responses are generally off, or stilted.

Through the series, Seven begins to become more and more human.  She learns from the others, learning how to phrase her words, how to interact, how to be human.  The process for her made the show interesting to watch- I used to watch to see how she would stick her foot in her mouth next!


Seven of Nine Wiki


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Virtual Reality is any thing that augments reality.  The blog assignment this week is to let me talk about something that I have been  doing for the past, wow, 6 years.  I actually had to go to the site to be sure, I’m amazed.


When I first started playing, I originally played to have something to do with my now ex-husband.  I actually started a character on someone else’s account to see if I would even like it- this was while I was stationed in Korea and before the free 10 day trials.  I started with Shait, and she has been my main since then.  I have way too many characters to list here, but am now up to 6 max level (85) characters; a Druid, Warlock, Mage, Hunter, Death Knight, and Shaman.  I am now working on my all-in-one gatherer, my Rogue.

I have been raiding for most of the 6 years, and for the last 4 of those years I have been the Guildmaster of <Phoenix from the Ashes>.  This guild was formed after the move of <Heaven and Earth> from Cenarion Circle to Farstriders and the failing of <Manus Ignota>’s raid teams (or lack thereof).  We have been playing together for quite some time, although our active players has shrunk to 10 active people.


With the shrinking of PftA, I started looking for something else to occupy my WoW time, and moved over to Horde side for a while to level a hunter.  When the guild I was in decided they wanted to start raiding, I moved over Buto, who was then a Draenei Shaman, to raid with them.  From there I moved her on to my current Horde guild, <Order of the Ebon Shield>.


There have been a lot of ups and downs with this game.  There have been times where we have had to pass doing something else because of previous engagements in the game, and visa-versa.  We plan our time around raid nights, which can get old after a while.  On the flip side, PftA was #3 in the world for WoLK 10 man achievement raiding.  I met my husband in the Molten Core, and two friends in DC that were invited to our wedding.  We have gone from raiding two nights a week both sides to struggling to put together a raid team for PftA.  But through it all, the people make the game.  I log in to “see” them, to talk to them, to play with them, and to kill pixels with them.

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It’s an interesting thing to know that we live with AI every day.  We interact with it more often than we think we do, to be quite honest.  The problem is that some people don’t think of those things as being AI- it’s quite a bit cruder than they would expect.


Take red lights for example.  Some red lights are just set up on timers, they change when the timer is up, no if ands or buts about it.  Others are “smart” red lights.  They have sensors in the road, and when that sensor is tripped, the machinery starts the process of the lights turning.  There are more examples, but the red light does a good job of illustrating what I mean.


AI makes life easier for us.  We don’t notice it most of the time…. unless we are sitting at a “dumb” red light at 2am with no traffic anywhere in site.  Makes you wish for a “smart” red light, huh?

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This is the week that I wish I was taking this class land based instead of via the Web.


The idea of robots is an interesting one.  The idea of building them and making them work is an astounding one, and one that I wish I could get into.  One of the reasons I got into working with computers is I like working with my hands.  I love taking things apart and putting them back together again.


Robots are a part of our lives.  We may not see them day in and day out, but they built the cars that we drive, the pumps that we use to put gas in our cars, the drills that drill the oil…. and so on and forth.  Robots are the original cheap labor force.  They don’t tire, they don’t need food, and are (relativity) cheap to upkeep.  They are, in some cases, the perfect factory worker.


Those of us in the Web class will be doing a blog post on something in the robotics world.  I am going to do mine on Seven of Nine from the Star Trek universe.

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I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who don’t know how to work with computers, much less protect themselves from the malicious people that have access to the WWW.  Some of them don’t even use common sense (not that its very common anymore) when it comes to using the Internet.


Ask my guild members in WoW- I’m absolutely insane about computer and account security.  You pay for these things, you should do what you can to keep them safe, much like you do with your stuff in your living area.  You don’t walk out your front door without locking it, do you?  I sure hope not!


Computer viruses/malware make my life interesting for short (sometimes a little longer) periods of time, since I’m the most computer savvy person that some people know.  Scary, right?  Anyway, most of the time people just need the right tools and some education to fix the problems.   The people that make me shake my head in wonder are those who should know better, but do things they know put their computer at risk anyway.  Like visiting those sites you really shouldn’t, or turning off the window firewall.  Oy.


Even with the best tools at your disposal, there are still people who will try to get past those defenses.  Some do it just because, some do it because they want something that’s on the other side of that wall.  Hackers now days are generally lumped together, no matter what the tool they use to do what they want to get done.  I have no respect for those people out there, the Black Hats, who do these things to hurt people.  They should get exactly what’s coming to them.




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Week 8, Programming

This week’s blog assignment is to talk about using Scratch and Randy Pausch’s exhibition of VR worlds.


I’ll start with Scratch.

Having never done any kind of software programming before, using Scratch is a wholly new experience for me.  I am excited to learn to use it more, but I think I will be limiting myself to basics for the assignment, mostly for my own sanity.  I’m happy to do this assignment though, as it will give me a chance to do something that I have been wanting to do for a while, and write a PSA for all teens telling them that it really does get better, and the bullies don’t win in the end.

What I am worried about with this project is that I won’t be happy with it.  I’m not very computer art inclined, and in order to create a lot of the animation, I will have to deal with it at least a little bit.  I refuse to do voice overs though.  I’m way too self conscious about that >.<


On to Randy Pausch.


First off, just getting to the video was a trial in itself.  The link in D2L doesn’t work, so I ended up having to Google it.  It was hard to pay attention to it for long, as the sound quality was pretty bad.

That being said, the exhibition was really neat.  Seeing the projects that some of the groups came up with was really awesome.  I think the Spiderman project was most impressive to me from the sheer amount of research these guys did for it.  Plus the idea of slinging webs as Spidey is awesome.

VR has been something that interested me for a long time.  I remember watching VR Troopers as a kid and wondering when I would get a chance to do something like that.  I’m still wondering when I’ll get the chance to put on that headset and experience VR.


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I’m starting to think that I am at a bit of a disadvantage taking this class as late as I did.  I’m not much of a chatty person to begin with, but the point of these blogs is to put down our thoughts on the week’s lessons.

It’s kinda hard to do that when some of the stuff we are going over is stuff that I already know, and all I am getting is a refresher.  My thought process is literally: “Oh yeah!  I remember that!”

But I digress.  This week we uploaded our hand coded html pages to the pstcc server and went over the basics of SQL and DMBS.   I was actually happy to see that we would get to share the pages we wrote (I am also currently glad I’m not in the land-based class, just in case these are shown in class) since I have never uploaded html pages to a server in this way before.  Also- when loading those html pages, make sure it’s actually going into the public folder!   It took me 20 minutes to figure out that mine hadn’t and why!

HTML has always given me an appreciation for the internet.  I know that if we were all still hand coding pages things like Word Press would not be here today.  The advances in web page technology are amazing, and the genius who set up sites to let people build their own web sites without having to know anything about the web languages is just that- a genius.  People can now set up web pages and blogs on their own, and most of the time for free.  The amount of information out there now for these things is astounding.

SQL and DBMS.  I am currently taking CSIT 1810, and we are just now learning SQL.  Up to now we have been learning how to use MS Access.

As I said in my last post, I’m OCD.  Databases are interesting to me- they remind me of the records room at the BAMC (Brook Army Medical Center) clinic I helped in when I was stationed in Ft. Sam Houston for a while.  The records room was huge, and looking back, I am reminded that the way we filed papers into the correct records then made sure they made it back to the correct location is much like the computer file system works- just on a much more “flat” level.


All in all, this week has been interesting, interspersed with flashes of mild irritation.  Sounds about normal.

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I remember now why I was glad to stop writing web pages in HTML.


I’m OCD.


This page is going to take me forever.  I will sit and tweak it until the last minute and its time to turn it in.  I can’t help it.  It’s just the way I am.  I’m also having a hard time trying to flesh out the writing.  I keep looking at it in Chrome and thinking that there isn’t enough text there, but I’m afraid to ramble.  And I don’t really know what to talk about.


On topic- I do like seeing a bunch of code translate into something with pictures and that’s pretty and flows well.  I think if I ever get into this full time I would rather use software to do it, but knowing the code makes it easy to go into the code and change something you don’t like.

Learning, or re-learning in my case, HTML is pretty easy.  I also have a tendency to go google something that I want to do.  The only thing thus far that I have not figured out how to do is change the font.  Still having issues with that.


All in all, HTML is still fun.  I just have to make myself stop obsessing about the details.  >.<

Now that it’s done,  I have noticed something odd that I don’t remember from High School: I am having to save the file as a new file every time I open and edit it.  I also elected to upload 99% of my pictures to Photobucket instead of fighting with getting the pictures to load from the folder.

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I have decided that I don’t like that Java program, as evidenced by my score on the quiz  for it.

I don’t know if it was the browser I was using (I use Chrome) or ID10T error, but I never could get it to work the way I thought it should- and I sure couldn’t get it to give me any numbers that was NOT zero.

On happier topics, I am glad to see that most of what we have been taught so far mirror the other classes I have been able to take up to now.  Being a third semester student it’s interesting to see what the base is that we are supposed to have before starting some of the other classes.  Some things that I missed in A+ Hardware also make a bit more sense now- like why we are branching out into things like cell phones and tablets.


I know this one is short, but in order to keep from cursing the ALS, I’ll just leave it at this and move on to studying for the test next week.




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