Sliding towards insanity

The life (or lack thereof) of a UMD Computer Engineering major graduate
Friday, March 26, 2004
I'm glad I didn't come back home until Wednesday, I think however bad the bordom at UMD was, the bordom at home would have been exponentially worse. Sad as it sounds, I think the lack of a decent internet connection does it the most. At least when I was back in the dorm I could read random stuff, work through a programming projects, or do random shopping online. Here at home... not so much. I did have a nice day with my girlfriend on Thursday, but that wasn't really here at home, though, so I don't think it quite counts.

Tomarrow I've got to drive up to PA to do the interview with my Grandmother. Suppose I ough to figure out just what I'm going to talk with her about for an hour before I go to bed. I think writing this is mostly to stall finishing those qustions; I've been stalling so well for the past two weeks, why stop now?

After the LAN game last Sunday, I've been looking into getting a new mouse. For a while, it was a tossup between the Razer Viper and the Logitech MX510. They're both excellent mice, designed for gaming, but I think the MX510 won out after I found out it would be available in blue. Right now, the MX510 is a Best Buy exclusive, and they only have red. Sometime in April, everyone else should start stocking them, and (hopefully) start carrying the blue. Until then, I wait...

I did buy a cordless, optical mouse for laptops, though. Also a Logitech, had it for around $30. Although I love the linux lab we use for CMSC412, I absolutely hate the mice. The balls are crudded up, and they don't have scroll wheels. They do have front-mounted USB ports, though, and I've started bringing an old optical wheel mouse with me, works great. Since the machines are on the left, you've got the mouse cord running across your lap if you're right-handed (like me), though. I'm REALLY hoping the cordless mouse has enough range that I can plug in the reciever dongle into the machine on the left, and place the mouse on my right side. UPS tracking seems to say it'll be there when I get back oncampus on Sunday, HOPEFULLY along with my copy of the UT 2004 Special Edition (yeah, I still don't have it yet).

Well, I guess stall time is over. Time to get some work done and hit bed.

Monday, March 22, 2004
Wow, it's been a while. A long while... [looks at watch] a hair-over-three-months while. Where to begin...

Well, first things first, I passed all last simester's classes. Straights Bs, may the patron saints of undergraduates and curves be praised. I supposed I ought to sell some of the surplus textbooks, but I haven't gotten around to hauling them all down to Route 1.

The holiday came and went. Went up to Boston, spent a lot of time with my girlfriend, classes snuck up and bit me on the ass again. Don't think I ever did a rundown of this simester's load, so here goes:

CMSC412 Operating Systems, the bitch-queen of the CS department. Required for all Computer Engineers, and most CS majors avoid it like the plauge. A LOT of code, complex stuff, and a major pain in the ass to debug. The class mostly involves modifying a stripped-down version of GeekOS and adding things like executable loading, memory segmentation and paging, and crashing like the stock market under the Bush administration. A lot of work, overall.

ENEE446 Digital Computer Design, an overall kinda cool class. Mostly just architechture tricks to boost performance. A lot of piplining, multissue, and the like. Overall, interesting stuff, and I really like the professor. This is the kind of stuff Paul lives for, but he's in another section. Got a 49 on the last exam, but it was out of 70 and the average was around a 35, so that puts me at 20% above the curve. Out first programming project (a MIPS pipeline simulator) turned out fairly well, but I'm still waiting to get a grade back on it. I got a 79-cycle multiply to work, so I'm fairly confident I did well (better than everyone else I talked to, at least). Overall, a good class that I expect to do fairly well in, despite my problem sets sucking severely.

ENGL393 Technical Writing, a class I kinda like, despite expecting to hate it. My first English course at UMD, and I'm doing fairly well. I think the fact that there's no literary analysis involved, and that we spend most of the time ragging on the Bush administration helps a lot. Mostly writing Resumes, Memos, Abstracts, and the like. Once again, a very good teacher (don't think he's a full professor, so I'm hesetant to use the term).

GVPT170 American Government; What can I say? You're generic SB core class. I hate the lectures, but actually kind of enjoy the discussions. The Prof tends to go on odd rants, and takes a very nonlinear aproach to analysis of the US Government. It's pretty easy, and most of the students are freshman. There's a big Senate simulation project involved, which is kind of interesting, but I'll get into that another day when it goes into full swing. At least the TA seems to share a lot of the student sediments about the prof's outbursts.

WMST200 Introduction to Women's Studies; My diversity CORE. Mostly discussing readings, it's turning out to be a lot more work than I initially thought. A lot of papers (more than my English class, it seems) which I seem to be doing about average on (mid to high Bs). The coursematter is fairly interesting, but I feel like I can't take a hard stance on a lot of the issues. There are about 3 or 4 other guys in the class, but men are definitly the minority. I think I've managed to avoid making a complete fool out of myself thusfar, mainly by bullshitting until the light bends around my testicles, making them completely invisible to the casual observer. Most of the time it's not bad, but there are definitly some topics that range from uncomfortable to disturbing. Shooting for a B, but would be happy with a C as long as I don't end up getting castrated.

So that's it for classes, 16 credits. Definitly a heavier load than I've been running lately, but most of them are core. Mainly a lot of writing, but CMSC412 and ENEE446 have more than thier share of problems sets and coding.

I'm still in awe of my laptop, now equipped with an external 80G hard drive and DVD burner. Went to a LAN game in the CSIC today held by a bunch of grad students, and definitly laid some UT sniper-rifle smackdown. I'm still waiting to recieve my UT2004 Special Edition, but there should be some good times when I crack that open. Aparently gamestop's SE preorders got delayed, and only shipped out recently. It may actually have already arrived, but since we're on Spring Break here at UMD, the mail delivery is on hold.

Speaking of Spring Break, Worcester Hall is dead. Almost everyone headed out by Friday, and now I think I'm one of the 3 people left in the building. I'm planning on heading back home on Wednesday, spending the day at Mount Saint Mary's with my girlfriend on Thursday, going up to Pennsylvania to interview my grandmother for WMST200 on Friday, maybe playing some DDR and generally vegging on Saturday, and heading back to campus on Sunday. That means I've got two days to kill, with the dining halls closed and nobody around. I've got a bunch of leftovers, makings for a lot of macaroni and cheese (Worcester does have a single stove), and a bit of cash on hand to eat out with. I'm just hope I can bring myself to actually get some work done, especially writing up those interview questions. I'd play some DDR, but my roomate brought both his pads home, and mine are still in my basement. I'm kinda UTed out after today, so I think I don't have much choice between going stir-crazy, and work. If I can get something together tomarrow, maybe I'll do dinner at Noodles.

Well, that seems a good long rant for the moment. I think I'll hit bed after this episode if the Outer Limits is over, maybe actually get up before noon tomarrow (but I doubt it).


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