jsclark2 — May 2, 2010, 6:46 pm

Final Blog

 My computers skills at the beginning of this class were below average compared to the rest of the class. I knew I was in trouble. The only reason I wanted to try my luck at a computer major was because I was tired of everyone knowing more about them that me. But looking back at all my experiences from this class, I succeeded my expectations in every way and now have a good foundation to build on.  There were times that I thought their was no way I was going to be able accomplish certain assignments, but most of the time with some basic knowledge of the subject, most of them went pretty well.

I had several good experiences throughout this class.  Starting with the beginning of the class and working toward the present. It is really hard for me to say that I enjoyed binary, but I have a good understanding of it and also know how important it is to computers in several way. Binary looks real easy from the outside because there are only two possibilities a 1 or a 0. The difficult part is when you start converting to other bases,that can become a challenge. One of the most useful project for me was building our own computer. The assignment was wide open to build any type you wanted. This assignment probably gave me more knowledge than any other. I was still a little new with computers at the time and how they worked and this gave me a completely new understanding. When we were asked to create a HTML page, I thought I had a leg up on this one. But what I forgot to consider was that in High School I used a Adobe program to create a page. So I learned how to create a web page the hard way, which was fun. It gave me a entirely new look at web pages. I also had a public speaking class this semester and had to do a demonstration speech. I choose to do my demo speech on Creating a Web Page using HTML. Although I not much into programming, I enjoyed the Scratch Project. Mainly because Scratch provides a really good learning environment for beginning programmers. One of our last big project was Lego Mindstorm Robots. With the exception of the other group that was assigned to our robot, the project went well. The first week my group did some experimenting with the design of our robot. We made a truck and a trailer, which was not part of the assignment at all, considering that Dr. Brown told us that the three wheeled design works best for the line following program.

There were also some subject that I didn’t enjoy so much. I have to start with the Assembly Language Simulator. I started on this project early because I knew it was going to take some practice to learn to use it. I spent an entire weekend attempting to use it and to this day, still don’t know how to use it. I think I understand the importance of this assignment, but I just never caught on. SQL and Databases were not near as difficult as the Assembly Language Simulator. In fact SQL is pretty straight forward. I just couldn’t get into it as much as I did other topics. Virtual Intellience and Virtual Reality are two subjects that I never got into. I am not a big time gamer and I don’t think into the future that much, so these subjects don’t really mesh with me.

I think the good part is that the paragraph about what I enjoyed is much longer than the paragraph about what I didn’t. Even tho I may have not enjoyed every topic, in a intro. class I think it is important to cover a wide variety of topics. I think Dr. Brown did a good job selecting topic to cover and not making the class to hard for beginners like myself. I always looked forward to coming to class twice a week. I have never been considered a overachiever, but I didn’t miss one day of this class all semester and that is unlike me. I really enjoyed this class and look forward to gaining more computer knowledge in classes to come.

jsclark2 — April 25, 2010, 7:27 pm

Virtual Worlds

This is not going to be my week for blogging because I don’t participate in any Virtual Worlds. However, I have played a few video games.  They include: Nascar, Golf, and some other racing games. (possibly they would count as a virtual world, I’m not really sure) My experience with video game as been positive. I’m amazed what can be done with the graphic technology we have these days. I have played a few games on Xbox 360, but I have not gotten to see what PS3 is all about. I can remember back to Sega Genesis, NES, and Super NES. My favorite game of all time was Donkey Kong. I guess you could consider that a virtual world.

This week has made me consider getting involved in the virtual worlds. I really thought the hardware that puts the gamer more so in the world was cool.

jsclark2 — April 19, 2010, 12:11 am

Artificial Intelligence

I have found this week to be very interesting. I don’t feel that computers are intelligent and at this point in time. I don’t see how they ever can be. I simply think what computers can do is a copy of our intelligence. Possibly one day I will change my mine, but for now that is my view. I do think eventually the  Turing Test will pass, but I still don’t see how that make something intelligent, if a human programs or creates it.

I did enjoying learning about game trees, neural networks, expert systems, ect. to make computers appear intelligent. I have wondered how computers seem to have a large amount of knowledge in certain area. I do realize now how big of a problem it really is to teach the computer what humans consider “common sense”. When a computer only knows ones and zeros, I see why it is hard to explain to a computer what “IT” is.

In my opinion there are some loony people working on AI. It looks too me that they are so caught up in AI that life is passing them by, but on the other hand I’m sure they are probably very intelligent people. I think these people are so caught up on this subject because they want to be the first one to conquer the Turing Test. Ray Kurzweil is living on another planet, I’m pretty sure. Anybody that feel that they are going to live forever, need to have a mental evaluation. He is very concerned about living to a certain time in the future because there will be artificial organs I think. I think Dr. Brown mentioned that several of  his predictions have shown to be true, but I’m not sure about this one. The Bible says that every life holds a death.

jsclark2 — April 11, 2010, 1:33 pm

Working With Robots

I found the robots to be very cool. When I imagined getting to use robots, I thought it would be a very strict plan on what to do. It turned out that this past week was very open-ended assignment meaning the groups were able to design the style of robot they wanted and also make and run several different programs. LEGO has done a good job implementing the brink and all the sensors. I was kind of thinking that there would be no way to get the brink and the senors on the robot a once, but they proved me wrong with a good design job.

On Monday my group assembled the basic design. ( the one Dr. Brown said would work best on the track) On Wednesday when we went down to the lab the previous class had torn the robot we built on Monday apart and build what look to be a wrecked trucked. My group then got to do a little experimentation in robot design. We made some what of a 4 wheeler with a trailer. However, we didn’t mount our motors the same was so the programming got considerably difficult to make our machine 4 wheel drive. Overall, I really had fun designing and programming the robots this week. I’m really looking forward the assembling our robot the correct way and seeing how we can do on the track.

jsclark2 — March 28, 2010, 11:50 am

Security

Security is something that is on anybodys mind that knows or does anything with computers. Its has became a big problem in the world of computers and will continue to grow. Security suites and OS’s will continue to fill voids in their software and hackers will continue to discover new one. This will be a ongoing problem, I’m sure.

This past week in class has enlighened  me on how malware and hackers get access to your computer and has probably made me more nervous than I was before. I not aware of a time that I have been hacked, but I have had a virus or two. Their is nothing fun about trying to get rid of a virus. The best way I’ve found to do so is just save all my important files and reload my OS, but make sure you come up with a good story to tell Microsoft when you run out of uses of your product I.D. I wasn’t real sure how hackers would get into someone computer, but now that I know that you may just need to find out someones dog’s name, it makes a lot more sense. I actually had a couple of my password “security question” set to my first pets name, but that has now been changed. When you stop to think about it, you have got to give some of the famous hackers a lot of credit, they took thing such as a whistle to crack a phone code that I would have never realized even existed. And I agree that most of the beginning hackers weren’t try to be mean they were just have fun, except for Kevin Mitnick.

I have to same question as everybody else, why? Why do these people want to create viruses to harm people they don’t even know. I complete understand doing something to see if you can do it, but releasing these viruses and distroying a network of computer or more is kinda over the edge. I have never really heard anything about this, but I know securtiy is causing companys a lot of money which is driving up prices.

jsclark2 — March 18, 2010, 11:34 pm

Scratch and Randy Pausch

I have found Scratch very neat. I had no previous knowledge about programming before this class. I’m not sure that programming is the path that I want to travel in school, but since I’m here for networking it doesn’t hurt to get a well rounded education. So I keep an open mind when it come to programming. I like scratch because I don’t have to physically type any code. I find it easier for me to comprehend programming with the drag and drop method that scratch provides. I can’t imagine just where someone can go with scratch. It seems to me that if you can think of it, you can code it. I have only worked with scratch for an hour or two, but I think I have some good ideas to make for a fun assignment.

I have a few questions about programming.(some of which may make me look like an idiot)

1. Say you want to code in Java. Do you have to purchase something from Java to do this?

2. Once you create your code. How do you enter it into the computer? For example, when I created my HTML page I created the code in Notepad. Do programming languages work this way?

3. How are new programming language created?

4. Can you use 2 or more different languages to create a program?

Randy Pausch is an amazing person. Someone that can be  dieing and still have a positive attitude is incredible. Randy is a great public speaker. I enjoyed the way he presented his “Last Lecture” with his sarcasm, humor, and respect for the people that made him who he was. At first, when Dr. Brown told the class we were going to be watching an hour long video in class, I didn’t want much part of it. After a few minutes of watching, I was hooked and enjoyed every second! I would encouarge everyone to watch the YouTube video and also read his Wikipedia page. Maybe it is just me, but It seem a lot of people who do great thing in the world die at an early age.

jsclark2 — March 7, 2010, 8:48 pm

Uploading HTML Page to Web Server, SQL, and Databases

To be honest, I haven’t been able to upload my web page to the server yet. I wasn’t able to make it to school so I have been struggling with FileZilla. FileZilla is telling me that it doesn’t support the ‘http” protocol. I have very little knowledge on this subject. I sent some e-mails for assistants. I hope I’m just making a stupid mistake.

I have now been able to upload my page. I left the first paragraph so everyone can see how big of an idot I am. I was putting the wrong “host” name in. With that said, I’m glad to have my page available on the web. I have found this assignment to be very helpful for my knowledge of the web. I never knew the process of creating a page and uploading it on a server. I still amazes that we can actually do this stuff!

For me, SQL is a very interesting language. I can’t imagine how many statements would have to be programmed to make this system work. I also see why this was invented. The world runs on information and how quickly that information can be accessed. SQL and Relational Databases have simplified how Data is stored. I know from experience at work that it is critical for information to be stored neatly and in one place, so timely decisions can be made. DBMS and Data Manipulation are good systems put in place to organize date and to link data together. I like how the SQL  has been simplified into basic commands to access data or change data.

I can see why there was a need to change from Flat Files to Relational Databases. Flat Files look like they are more trouble than they are worth. I know info. must be stored somewhere, but I glad it is not stored in that manner anymore. It looks like there should be one file format for all databases. Maybe there is now, I’m not sure. With Flat Files the information is in no certain order or format. It seems that there is not a way to search for info. You must type the file name, exactlyhow it is saved. The past 2 week have help me tremendously. I didn’t know anything about databases or html and web servers.

jsclark2 — February 28, 2010, 2:22 pm

HTML

This is actually not my first experience with HTML(for once in this class), however that doesn’t mean that I’m any good at it. My first experience with HTML came in high school. I had a few week section in web page design. I struggled with the “tags”, not so much with using the right tag, but using the right format of the tag, to put the information in the right place. I also didn’t spend much time in coding HTML by hand, the section was mainly a Intro. to Dreamweaver.

When I sat down to start my Web page I decided that I wanted to try a 3 column page. That is a little easier said that done. When Dr. Brown showed that class how to keep the 2 outside columns a set size and make the middle column change size with the size of the window, I thought I had it figured out. I’m sure it had to do with sizing each outside column correctly and setting  the percent on the center column. I went in a different direction and choose to just make a page without columns to make it easier on myself. Making the text flow around the pictures has caused some issues aswell. I figured it out by using the right “align tags”, thanks to some of the Internet resources provided to the class.

Over all my page went smoother than expected. I have a great appreciation for programs such as Dreamweaver, that will take most of the work out of it. I think when I get some free time I will look into this more to  see just what all I can do.   I’m not completely done with my page it and I’m sure its not the best in the class,but I think it will turn out ok.

jsclark2 — February 15, 2010, 12:27 am

Machine Code, Assembly Language, and Assembly Language Simulator

This has been a terrible week for me. When we were learning to use the Assembly Language Simulator in class, I thought I pretty much understood what was going on for the most part. I was wrong. When I sat down to do the assignment, I could not figure out what to do what so ever. I have struggled with the Simulator all weekend and haven’t been able to complete the assignment. I knew going into this assignment I didn’t have a programming mind and I’m not good with numbers, but as simple as this simulator is suppose to be, I thought I would be able to figure it out.

I understand Machine Code and Assembly Language for the most part, but the way the simulator works, I can’t figure out. I think it may not be as much the Simulator, as me not completely understanding how the CPU and RAM work yet. One of the questions on the assignment was asking what was the output of a certain program. I never could figure out if that was asking for a certain number or just a generic term and when it came to counting forward and backwards from 100, that was way over my head.  I feel like after this week and with the test coming up this week, I am falling behind. I will try to get some help with the simulator on Monday and hopefully have an understanding enough to complete the assignment.

jsclark2 — February 7, 2010, 11:54 pm

Building A Computer

This is my first time attempting to build my own computer. I am not real sure how to get started, but I’m going to give it my best shoot. Since this is my first time attempting this project, I choose to try to build a simple low cost computer.

The first piece of the computer I would purchase is the case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811148030&cm_re=cases_computer-_-11-148-030-_-Product, since everything has to go inside of it and also becasue it came with a power supply (480w) and a free card reader with purchase. It is also steel, so I thought it would be more stable than plastic. It had a really cool look and came with a headphone and USB port. The next item I would purchase is the mother board http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131393&cm_re=motherboards_intel-_-13-131-393-_-Product . This mother board was reasonably priced, has good reviews, supported the CPU I liked, and had several slots for memory. With the case I choose it will support a 12 by 10 mother board, it should screw right in and receive its power from the power supply. Moving on to the CPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115206 . I would like this CPU because from what I understand Intel is a good brand. Also, It supported DDR3 memory. I thought that was a plus. When looking at the CPU, I noticed terms that I have recently learned about like cache, bus, and clock cycle. From what I understand the CPU will have pins on the bottom side that will slide on the receiving slots on the mother board. I choose this hard drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136521&cm_re=hard_drives_internal-_-22-136-521-_-Product for several reasons. Once again it was priced in the budget. Also, the average seek time (8.9 ms), average write time (10.9 ms), and RPM (7200) seemed to be fast for the price. This hard drive should screw into the cage provided by the case and receive its power from the power supply.  Thought next I should look at CD Rom Drives. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135203&cm_re=cd_rom_drive_internal-_-27-135-203-_-Product . This one was a little over budget, but had several cool features, including CD, DVD, and Blue Ray. It has capabilities to record and rewrite. Once again it should screw into the case and receive its power from the power supply. I choose this memory.  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220436 The speed was DDR3 and provided 4 gb of RAM. Also, it worked with my mother board for a good price. There will be slots in the mother board for the memory to slide into. The next item that I Will need is a video card. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143032&cm_re=video_card_pci-_-14-143-032-_-Product I choose this video card because it was inexpensive and was compatible with my mother board. The reviews were good for the casual gamer or second monitor. It will slide into a slot provided by the mother board. The mother board came with an on board audio card and the case included a fan. I choose Windows 7 for my operating system.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116713&cm_re=windows_7-_-32-116-713-_-Product Thought I would look for a nice wide screen monitor with built in speakers to eliminate some wires. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001340&cm_re=monitors_with_built_in_speakers-_-24-001-340-_-Product Next I choose a keyboard and mouse compatible with windows 7. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126023&cm_re=keyboard_%26_mouse-_-23-126-023-_-Product    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826104320&cm_re=keyboard_%26_mouse-_-26-104-320-_-Product

Overall, I learned quite a bit from this project. As I mentioned before this was my first attempt at anything like this, but I feel I built a pretty good computer.