Reckless Ramblings

Don't let the the fickle finger of fate point you out!

Final Blog

Of all of the labs and lectures this semester I enjoyed the programming using Scratch the most. After some coaching by my classmates I was able to very quickly create a Rock Paper Scissors game that took me a few hours worth of coding to recreate in Java.

Still on the programming labs, I felt far too much time and exam space was spent on the ALS. Network routing or wireless labs could be a valuable addition

The two methods of content delivery that worked best for me was the lab time and completing the worksheets. The lecture notes and comic book should be combined so the information is consistent and in one location.

Some of fellow students were a great help, Chris Hubbard and Andrew helped me on the Scratch programming, thank you. Professor Walters must have spent a lot of time preparing the 2nd Life demo and made it interesting and fun, thank you.

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Virtual Reality and 2nd Life

Mr. Walters did an excellent job of showing off some of the benefits of VR with his virtual classroom plan. He must have spent a great deal of time setting-up the 2nd Life demonstration, with each of us having our own avatar, and some with special items based on their personal interest. Having never experienced 2nd Life before, it took me a while to get accustomed to it. I was able to move around but I didn’t really get the hang of using objects. I was surprised by the learning curve to achieve anything; I’ve always thought VR should be more intuitive and easier to use. In spite of my own lack of talent in mastering 2nd Life in five minutes, I had a good time flying around, trying to drive the stationary yacht, and getting stuck under the bed. It was one of the better labs.

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Robotics and A.I.

Being an old computer nerd, I have always enjoyed learning about the latest advances in robotics. The lecture in which several of my classmates suggested YouTube videos of some of the more recent robots was very interesting. I found the robotic fish to be one of the most fascinating.

Professor Lowe has a cool job; playing with robots and having someone else fund it. The lab was a little disappointing due to the amount of typing. Some students stayed after lab time to finish entering the code and didn’t have any time experiment with it. Most of us didn’t finish the code entry.

See my previous post for my definition of Artificial Intelligence. I don’t think that threshold has been eclipsed yet. Although the organic based computer Chris Hubbard mentioned in class may eventually reach that level. Furthermore, I hope computers never reach that level. Think about it! The three laws of robotics are only used n movies, I’ve yet to see a real robot programmed with them.

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The Pegram Postulate of Artificial Intelligence

An artificial being/device can only be considered intelligent when it can exceed the sum of its programming/learning.

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Mindstorm Rebuilding Exercise

Over the last two weeks our lab for Intro to Technology has been to (re)build Lego Mindstorm robots and program them to do tasks of our choosing. Honestly, when I saw Mindstorm robots on the class syllabus I was really looking forward to it. The reality of the exercise hasn’t turned out as enjoyable as I had hoped. The main issue was, we had to share the robots with another class, and we spent half of our lab time rebuilding the damage done to the robot by the other class. Once we had a functional robot we were able to get it to do the minor tasks of turning right or left based on input from one of the three sensors. I would have liked to have had more time programming and less time rebuilding. Professor Burlingame had a poster sized track for the robots. I would have enjoyed the challenge of making the robot follow the track. But alas, if wishes were horses than beggars would ride.

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Security Lecture – “Hackers”

The Security portion of CSIT-1110 was very interesting for me. However, I do take exception with the idea that “hackers” was ever considered a positive term. Perhaps amongst the hackers themselves they thought of their actions as harmless. The phone company was so big it would never miss the revenue from their unauthorized use of the phone company’s resources, all in the name of exploration or the quest for knowledge. The sharing of information between them was also fun for them until it started to impact their own wallets. When Wozniac saw the dollar signs for his garage built Apple computer he quickly abandoned the hacker group.

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Working with Databases

The database exercise was a refresher for me. I haven’t used Access since the 90’s. The lack of a key field, the combined first/last name field, and the string format of the height field, really made it clear how a bad design can adversely effect data retrieval. I enjoyed linking the different tables to solve the problems. I didn’t use it to summarize numeric data, but I did use it extensively to solve the DB exercises. I enjoyed working with the criminal database and only killed a couple thousand brain cells in the process.

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Are You a Robot?

Having never met Dr Brown, Wednesday’s lecture was first time seeing or hearing him. He made some interesting points regarding the value of robots as workers vs. people as employees. He also touched on some of the dangers of food production using assembly line methods. However, I got lost during the “Battle Star Galactica” part of the speech. Being an old, mostly bald dude, I remember the TV series from when it originally aired. NERD ALERT!! Yes, I actually watched it. Cylons were chrome bodied, Darth Vader headed looking robots, only resembling people in general bipedal form. Ben Cartwright in space! What would Little Joe or Hoss say?

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Assembly Language Simulator

For the Lab this week we (CSIT-1110) used the Assembly Language Simulator. We loaded programs into it and watched the various operations as we ran the programs step by step. As a programming major, I’m glad I don’t have to use Assembly to write programs. It did give me an appreciation for how far programming languages have progressed. Fortunately no words, numbers, or symbols were harmed during this Lab.

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The Ether Muse 1st Edition

Electronic journaling? Hmm, I’ve never had any aspirations of putting my personal feelings to pen and paper, or in this case the digital domain. However, I am looking forward to several topics listed in the CSIT1110 course content, this Blog being a requirement.

World of Warcraft during class, SWEET. Seriously, I am looking forward to exploring several programming languages and learning more about databases. Playing Legos sounds good too.

Being this is my first semester of a CSIT-Programming degree, I’m hoping to complete this course without cooking my brain. Upon completing my degree I hope to find employment developing software for portable devices like cell phones and tablet pc’s.

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