I walked out of my algebra exam today confident i did well but distracted a question i don't think i completely nailed. I'm sure i got the right answer but that's only a small part of getting full points for the problem. This particular question had to do with identifying the additive inverse of the multiplicitive identity in a ring containing non-numeric elements using a provided multiplication table. I had finished all the other problems and was ready to get out of there so i decided to let it be. It wasn't until the calk outside to my car that i finally figured it out. I had to e-mail my prof when i got home to make sure it was correct. It's never the test scores that make me happy; it's just knowing that i can do this stuff that feels good. Today was a success in that regard.
That wraps up another semester at GVSU. Before leaving campus, i stopped by the bookstore to get my text for my summer class. The book is called "Discrete Mathematics with Graph Theory." I suppose i'm officially on my summer vacation now. Classes resume May 9.
After i got my gold trophies in each of the Mario Kart races, i still wanted more out of the game. I decided to make it my goal to get a perfect score in each of the races as well. That meant a score of 40 points for each of the regular cups and 160 points in the all-cup races. It took forever to get first place on every one of those mirror-mode tracks but i finally did it. It's nice to have achieved a perfect score in something and to be be able to scratch a mini-goal off the list. I suppose now i should probably choose a more ambitious goal.
I still have a Hotmail account i keep active because that's the screen name i use for MSN Messenger (the IM client of choice at work). I don't use that address to communicate with anyone so the only e-mails i receive there are spam. Since Microsoft added junk mail filtering, usually there aren't many that wind up in my inbox. I've recently started to receive a few more. In an effort to evade Bayesian filters, spammers are no longer simply including random words as i had grown accustomed to; but they are apparently scraping blogs for content and putting that in an e-mail along with some large picture that acts as the body of their "offer." Rather than simply copying the text, its seems are though they are stitching together different sources in mid-sentence.
I've decided to post the body of one of these e-mails in case you've never taken the time to read one. I found it fascinating. It reads like free verse poetry. Anyway it's probably more interesting than most of the stuff i post here.
laundry. Ohh well, it will be an early morning, but I'll get to see myClare so everything will be fine. create your own visited states map or write about it on the open travel guide I hate being whiny on lj, there's plenty of that here already, but today really sucked. Ever since I decided to do something about work boring me to death, it has gotten worse. The minutes today ticked by like hours. John is going to be gone tomorrow through Tuesday, so Blake is in a more pissy than normal mood. Also, for the first half and she was half asleep for the second. I just got up to get a drink of water and glanced out my balcony. The fog is so beautiful. It's so foggy that I can do laundry.
The rest of this e-mail can be found after the jump.
[...] it seems I have arthritis in my fingers. Luckily it was just two fingers of my left hand, but it was very painful using a screwdriver with my left hand at work today. I got a 100 on the calculus quiz today and we got out of class early. So I called clarkk and we had dinner at Kirby before I headed over to the UGL. The hostess at Kirby was deaf. I wish I knew a little more often then once every 4 months from now on. Let's see, life: I spent new years in Colorado with a bunch of my friends. I didn't get much done. I just kind of stared at my physics book. Guess I'll be finishing the homework before class tomorrow. Won't be too bad since I've been leaving work earlier lately. I can hardly wait till my birthday and I'm very excited about seeing Clare. I wasn't getting my English paper done and I wasn't looking for a wild Friday night so I went to sleep at ~2330. Clare woke me up at 2, and we talked for an hour and a half. Lots of good conversation since I was half asleep [...] I wish I knew a little more ASL than "thank you" and "2 waters". I doubt she gets much conversation at work, and I know that was the only thing that made working at a resturant tolerable for me. By the time I got to the UGL, I had a pounding headache (which has thankfully, finally gone away). So I didn't get to go skiing because I (foolishly) let myself get dehydrated. That really would have pissed me off except that I spent the week with the most incredible girl in the world. I've really fallen hard. Ohh well, things are working out wonderfully so far. I turned in two weeks notice at work yesterday. I explained to them that I was frustrated with the lack of advancement opportunity, the repetitive nature of the job, and the poor pay. They seemed understanding and sad to see me go. They do want me to work the two weeks though since they don't have anyone else to do my job yet. For now I think I'm going to concentrate on my school work. I came so close to a 4.0 last semester, and I WILL achieve it this time. I also think I'll pick up one or two more classes for the second half of this semester. With a little work I might not be so far behind the people I graduated high school with. I finally told Fuzzy that he needed to find another place to live. I was ok with him staying here for awhile, but this is getting old. I need my space back. I'm tired of not being able to get work done in my own apartment. Besides, my lease is nearly up and who knows what I might do. Hard work is good for the soul. I'm exhausted. My mother now has a nice level spot for her new hot tub. I'm exhausted. We also moved a new hot tub into her back yard where it awaits a concrete slab for the nice level spot for her new hot tub. [...] I'm exhausted, but my mind is _finally_ clear. I know I've told some of you about my car getting wrecked. I finally got charm going on my laptop so that if I prefer. to bookpeople to by a deadtree edition. Think I might do. Hard work is sucking today. Neither my father nor I were much for planning, to the UGL. The hostess at Kirby was deaf. I wish I knew a little more ASL than "thank you" and "2 waters". I doubt she gets much conversation at work, and I wasn't looking for a wild Friday night so I made up the stairs. At least my cat is happy to be gone tomorrow through Tuesday, so Blake is in a more pissy than normal mood. Also, for the soul. I'm exhausted. My mother now has a nice level spot we dug. I'm exhausted, but my mind is _finally_ clear. I know I've told some of you about my car getting wrecked. I finally told Fuzzy that he needed to find my three best friends in my own apartment. Besides, my lease is nearly up and who knows what I might do. Hard work is good for the first time ever it seems I have arthritis in my apartment, since my world turned on it's ear. It's 81 degrees outside, and the girls seemed to enjoy themselves as well. It was nice to finally meet the woman Matt is so taken with. Anyway, I'm sore and sunburnt. Should have some wakeboarding pictures up as soon as edolnx tells me the dsl is working again. I'll probably slack at work until I have to head to class. So, tomorrow is Dad's birthday. Just the thought of how wonderful it is for life truely to be posting, but I'm still having nightmares. I'm still existing largely by staying distracted. I don't have anyone else to do something about work boring me to death, it has gotten worse. The minutes today ticked by like hours. John is going to concentrate on my English paper done and I wanted to share. Just finished reading "Down and Out in the middle of my left hand at work today. I got to the porch and sit awhile. So, I finally got charm going on my English paper done and I seem to be more interesting than fiction. Spent the weekend at the lake with Caleb, Judd, Matt, Connie, and Mary Catherine. It's always a good time, and the AC in my own apartment. Besides, my lease is nearly up and who knows what I might buy one just to show my support for online distribution. Well, it's Sunday night and despite the fact that my todo list keeps growing I feel accomplished because my apartment before my guests arrive tomorrow. Well, I'm way to drunk to be gone tomorrow through Tuesday, so Blake is in a more pissy than normal mood. Also, for the sporatic reading it long enough to head to class. So, tomorrow is Dad's birthday. Just the thought of how wonderful it is for life truely to be the worlds first day-long flashmob. Around Two-Hundred women participated, all wearing similar hair styles, over-generous applications of makeup.ere for awhile, but this is getting old. I need my space back. I'm tired of not being able to read some without becoming too depressed I'm struck by how much I missed it. I mentioned that I just kind of stared at my physics book. Guess I'll be finishing the homework before class tomorrow. Won't be too bad since I've been out to the sometime dismay of those around us. Now, scared, I'd give almost anything to have a clue if I'm doing better or worse than is to be posting, but I'm still existing largely by staying distracted. I don't have anyone else to do my job yet. For now I think I might haul my comfortable chair out to the porch and sit awhile. So, I finally got pictures . Well, I didn't make any progress on my English class. I did however head over to the UGL, I had a pounding headache (which has thankfully, finally gone away). So I didn't do defensive driving, and I didn't get much done. I just got up to get work done in my own apartment. Besides, my lease is nearly up and who knows what I might do. Hard work is sucking today. Neither my father nor I were much for planning, to the porch and sit awhile. So, I finally got charm going on my English paper done and I WILL achieve it this time. I also think I'll pick up one or two more classes for the internet age. Offline, I'm also reading "N Space" by Larry Niven, a collection of his short stories. It too is wonderful. In addition I'm slowly making my way through "Between Silk and Cyanide" by Leo Marks. It's a good time, and the poor pay. They seemed understanding and sad to see me. I ran into a random friend from high school last night and work is sucking today. Neither my father nor I were much for planning, to the UGL. The hostess at Kirby before I headed over to the UGL. The hostess at Kirby was deaf. I wish I knew a little work I might not be so far behind the people I graduated high school last night and work is good for the first time ever it seems I have to head up to get a drink of water and glanced out my balcony. The fog is so.
I just read an article called The Cognitive View: A Different Look at Software Design. Originally published 15 years ago, the article talks about "new" research which attempts to look inside a developer's head as he designs software. When most people nowadays talk about software design, they usually refer to UML diagrams or detailed technical specifications. This article describes the mental activities involved with creating a design.
Researches found that developers would put together a solution in their head and run test cases against it to see if it would work. They would play with an idea until they found a weakness, adjust the solution to overcome this failure, and repeat. Ultimately they would come up with something that they think would do the job. The process of recursive failure and adjustment can remain hidden in the brain. The more a developer works with a particular type of problem, the better he probably is aware of all the possible ways things can go wrong and can make gut choices about ways to avoid them.
Now that i've been looking for it, i've noticed my brain undergoes this process. I think i now have a better understand of why i'm more comfortable with certain type of projects. I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to work. I hate making mistakes. When you're working on a problems similar to ones you've done before, you make all the mistakes in your head while you are designing and no one else gets to see them. When you are working on something new, failure of some kind is a certainty with this model. That's why i like to try out new ideas on fun side projects to get a better idea of what works before jumping into something that's going to be used by thousands of people across North and South America.
Maybe now that i understand how important failure is in the design process, i can learn to accept it. The only way we know if problems exist is by running into them. A wise developer must learn form the experience and simply avoid making the same mistake again.
We had our last test of the semester in my abstract algebra class on Wednesday and i've been thinking about it all weekend. It was one of the most exciting tests i've taken.
In past classes such as calc or "regular" algebra, tests consisted of problems we've done before in class just with different numbers to prove that we knew how to solve a particular type of problem. This class has been different. We've been slowly building a list of things we have proven to be true in class. We then use those theorems to prove new ones. There are also definitions of basic terms that we have to commit to memory. Using these basic blocks, we are expected to construct proofs. For our exam, we had to prove something we've never seen before. We then assemble these small fragments of mathematical knowledge into something great before time runs out.
It's fun to solve these problems. It's also really not all that hard. We have only proven a limited number of things and only know a handful of definitions. Each piece of information tells us that if x is true, then y is true. All that remains is lining up all the facts until you have a path from where you want to start to where you want to end up.
Once you've found the path, you still need to be able to draw the reader a map showing how to get there. One of my proofs took up two and a half pages of writing and i didn't even use one number. I'm still surprised we end up writing so much in this class.
Hopefully we will get our results back tomorrow. I really want to know how i did. We still have a week or two of new material before the final exam. I hope it's just as exciting.
I've wrapped up my final Java programming project for the semester. Hopefully that means i'll never have to open Netbeans on my Mac again. What a mess thing turned out to be. Building a Java app in Java IDE that sucks isn't reassuring. The program would crash on me one out of every three times and i would loose all of my work. I never did figure out how to get it to read keyboard input. Instead i had to fake user input by reading from a text file in order to test my code.
This will probably be my last Java class for a while. Since i've decided to go for a math degree, this class was the only computer science credit required. I may end up taking more to fill in some electives. The condensed Java syntax did grow on me after a while. I even caught myself adding semicolons to the ends of the lines of my VB.NET code. Silly me. I thought about switching over to C# just to reduce the shifts in cognitive momentum between programming for work and school. I still might. It's good to mix things up every now and then to keep one's self fresh.
Two impressive sports related video clips passed my way today. First is Tiger Wood's amazing putt from this weekend's Master's tournament. I swear that ball must break some law of physics. This other is a collection of impressive basketball shots from the fellas at DC Shoes. I'm still not sure those can all be real.
My abstract algebra class has been a lot of fun. I can't even remember the last time we multiplied actual numbers together; for the past few weeks it has been all letters. And it hadn't even been "unusal" multiplication at that; it's been multiplication-sub-R, -sub-S or some other silly subscript. I've enjoyed it so much i'm trying to figure if it makes sense to go full time with the intention of applying to grad school after i get my BS. It would be a nice change from web pages.
I have come to accept that fact that i won't be able to get away from the computer completely. It seems that they are now using computers to generate those proofs that we've been working so hard on all semester. It sounds like pretty interesting work and it would be cool to be a part of something like that. I wouldn't want to leave all of the yummy mathematical goodness to the machines, but it would interesting to see how a computer would tackle the stuff we've been working on. Despite what seems like the natural combination of computers and math, some mathematicians are reluctant to accept these computer-generated proof as they may not be as easy to read and understand as a well-crafted human-written one. These are very interesting times for the world of mathematics.
I love it when things come full circle in my RSS aggregator. Today i came across two posts about the Verizon wireless "Can you hear me now" commercials. First, my friend Aubrey who attends NYU met the actor in the commercials. Then i found a link on BoingBoing to a guy who rode-along with a Verizon employee whose jobs it to actually test the quality of their service. I hope you're not too disappointed to learn they don't actually use the phrase "can you hear me now" but rather "smoke poured out of every crack," among others. Yea for blog serendipity.
Today my sister moved back into my parent's house to help out until things with my father settle down. I got roped into helping with the move. I drove out to Detroit with my mother so i could drive my sister's car back as she drove the rent-a-truck. I was told the truck was going to be filled when we got there but it was not. I got quite the work out.
I learned a few things in the process. While Ikea furniture may come in a flat box, it is not easy to move after its made. Plus, books are very heavy. I'm also making a new rule for anytime i help any one move: you are only allowed one box of Christmas crap. I have no idea why my sister keeps more holiday decorations than Woodland Mall. I also refuse to move exercise weights. I'm not going to carry around items whose only purpose is to be heavy.
When the truck was finally filled, we headed back home. I had no idea how incredibly boring the drive from Detroit to GR can be. It is just a two hour and twenty minute straight shot across the state. The views are monotonous and unremarkable. The sunshine i should be enjoying outside back home was heating the car to womb like temperatures and was making me very sleepy. I hate long car rides in general so i was so happy to hop out of the car when we got to my parent's. The happiness lasted for 17 seconds until i remember that we now had to unload the stupid truck.
As miserable as i made this day sound, make no mistake: i'm glad my sister is back in town. I wish it could be under better circumstances, but nevertheless i've missed seeing her as often as i used to before she moved out east and it will be good to have her more readily available. It's good timing too seeing as how her birthday is tomorrow.