Back Home Again

May 8, 2009

Well, it seems as though the school year is basically over. I am still waiting to get grades in two of my classes, but I don’t expect any surprises from either of them so I guess that means I will graduate! I’m glad that I was able to get through college in 4 years. About half way through I decided to add Math as a major in combination with Computer Science. During the time I had to deal with the coursework, I second guessed my decision, but I am glad that I choose to do that. Certainly I plan to find a computer science related job, but I think the skills I have learned from my math classes will come in handy depending on what I do with computers. Even if they don’t, learning mathematics has taught me to think much more logically than I used to. As many programers know, being able to think logically is quite helpful when writing code.

The feeling of being “done” with school hasn’t fully set in though. I’m sure it will eventually, but I can’t really predict when that will be. Right now it just seems like another semester has ended and I have gone home to try and figure out what to do for the summer. Though, in my case, it’s what to do in terms of a job. I still have some time from now until there are a couple senior events and then graduation. I hope to make some more posts and work on my personal webpage in that time. Those plans aren’t really set it stone though so I may up doing something else instead.

It’s good to be back on Lightflame (my desktop computer) again. For the past weekish I was using only my laptop since I wanted to bring the motorcycle back to school and needed to bring Lightflame home when I had the car out at college. It was fun having the bike at college though, so it was worth forgoing the full power of my computer for a time.

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Computer Work on the Horizon

December 30, 2008

For almost a year now there has been a bad fan in my PSU, which is not terribly disappointing because I have had it for around 5 years now. Since it seems to be getting worse and worse I need to replace the fan which is going bad (or get an entirely new PSU). I took some time today to dismantle my setup, which is a bit painful because I have SO many wires in there, which I took time to organize about 2 years ago, but that’s the way it goes I guess 🙂 .

Now, I found out that my PSU has two fans, a 92mm and a 80mm fan, so I need to order some new ones on newegg.com and replace them. I figure I may as well replace both while I’m in there because I certainly don’t want to open it all up again! When I get the new fans in I’ll probably do a little write up of how I did it. This is just going to be a standard replacement as I won’t be adding speed controls are anything fancy. The only tricky part is that the new fans will not just plug in nice and easy. I’ll have to do a smidge of soldering, but that will be very basic. This is 100% for functionality 🙂 .


Glowing Objects

December 1, 2008

Many of my friends know of my obsession with glowing gadgets. My computer can glow as well as my keyboard and my mouse throws off a bit of light itself. I’m not sure why I think all this stuff is so neat, but I do 🙂 . Specifically around Christmas time I get to have all my glowing gadgets out. I don’t have anything too crazy. Simply a few USB light up toys that are pretty neat. My external hard drive also has lights in it but they are not working so well and I don’t really use them. Anyway there isn’t much else to say so here are some pictures:

This is my main computer setup

This is my main computer setup

A Cool USB Christmas Tree

A Cool USB Christmas Tree

Sorry some of the pictures or blurry. I had to rest the camera on a chair but I still had to hold it to the get the right angle. Needless to say… my hands are not that steady so the picture blurs 😦 .


The Magic of Computers

September 28, 2008

I had some plans that were cancelled today so I found myself with some extra time, and decided to write about something that was on my mind a day ago.

When I think of magic I don’t typically think of computers. They are rather finite machines that can only do an assigned task. However, it was my initial enchantment with computers that led me in to the major I am in. Wondering exactly how a window was opened, wondering how the computer booted, wondering how to install software, etc. This is the stuff that kept me wanting more which brought me deeper in to the world of computers.

I find that as I move further in the computer science world, and in my experience as a coder, some of the magic gets lost amongst the code and the understanding of how things work. I no longer find it impressive when I compile my code and run it from a terminal. No longer do I stare at a scene in a video game and wonder how everything fits together. I can assemble and repair a computer and it doesn’t seem terribly difficult or nerve racking.

I started thinking about these things a day ago when I had to recompile my kernel to add support for an old floppy drive. For some reason it brought back memories of when I first compiled the Linux kernel (yay Gentoo Linux ^_^). I got such a sense of accomplishment out of watching my computer boot from the configuration I just devised out. That magic has been lost on me because since then as I recompile the kernel as if nothing is special about it. Even more than that I did it through several ssh tunnels I had configured to allow me off campus access to my dorm room computer. I gave none of this even a second thought I just knew it was what I had to do. The magic of all those things has been lost. I’m sure anyone who was around me when I learned about ssh, or more recently the -D, -L, and -R flags could have told you I was like a kid in a candy store. Absolutely enchanted by the assortment of options I had just been given, and never content just trying one particular flavour or style. I desired to know the ins and outs of ssh and every additional piece of information was as awesome as the last.

Why do I write all of this? Well, during my pondering I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I understood so much that I never found magic in computers. Even though certain aspects of computing no longer excite me the way it used to I know there are many more areas that are littered with things for me to explore. I remember reading an interview with one of the Gentoo devs on gentoo.org. He was saying that now that he works on all this essential tools he longer sees the magic in computers. I don’t think he was particularly bothered by this, but it struck me as sort of a sad thing. I LOVE discovering new commands and gaining knowledge about computers. It is one of the things that keeps me coming back for more. I often feel that there is no way I could ever learn everything about computers (or come close), and I sincerely hope that is true.

I always enjoy seeing a new CS student delight in some of the awesome things you can do with ssh, or to see their excitement in finally getting a tricky program to just compile (let alone run). It reminds me much of myself, and I think it is those sorts of people that will be most fulfilled in jobs as computer scienctists, but also the people that will require the most fulfillment out of their job to continually enjoy working somewhere. With any luck I hope to find that in a job, but I don’t expect I will land a programmers dream job straight out of college either.

I suppose only time will tell, as they say 🙂 .