Wednesday, November 22, 2006

my site


Have I mentioned my website WaggSoft ?

-I almost forgot

Monday, November 20, 2006

Find some aspect that is your own

Find some aspect that is your own

That is the message I got from my professor tonight. I'm one part of two 7 person teams working on a weather/radar system for some researchers in Iowa. I haven't yet found my niche in my group, where I belong. The 6 other people all seem to know what it is they want to do with it and they do just that. They do their part. I guess I'm just not as excited about this project as other people are.

I'm a Computer Science student. This is my 5th year in University. I've attended a total of 43 months of instruction within everything from English and Japanese to Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Philosophy and yes, Computer Science. I've spent no more than 3 weeks away from this institution in the last 3 and a half years of the 4 years and three months I've been attending.

I'm not a great student. In fact, my grades haven't really mattered to me all too much the whole time I've attended. I've failed 3 courses. Since then, I've successfully completed two of those three my second time around. The third course I'm currently taking again and doing well enough. Why do my grades not matter? I feel I'm getting as much from my post secondary education that I could hope for. Which brings me back to my lack of interest in this weather/radar project...

My professor last week presented a lecture on the aspect of a human resource person within a company. One of his questions was something of the following: Who would you rather hire...

a) A veteran professional in the industry who has zero knowledge of the system he would be responsible for working on and the programming language it is maintained in.
b) A new graduate who may not have the best grades. He does have some idea of what the system does and has dabbled with the programming language the system is written in. His grades are lower than nominal but only because he spent his class and free time working on his own projects. He educated himself.
c) A new graduate who may or may not know what your company or your product does and who may or may not have any previous experience with the programming language the system uses. But he had top grades in his class.

I think it went something like that. If I can't recall correctly it's because my nose was buried in my laptop while I was teaching myself PHP and JSP. When posed with the question of who I would hire as an HR manager I chose the second guy. I guess the consensus of the class (and the professor) say the grad with the top marks is the best choice. I suppose I might be in trouble if that's the case.

I digress again. Back to the project at hand and my lack of enthusiasm for it. I've spent no more than three weeks (Christmas break) away from this University since the beginning of my second year here. Why? I'm not only a student. I'm also a research assistant. I know what it's like to work on a big project and I know the difficulties in managing time. And frankly, to quote one of my Professors, Dr Alan Paeth, "The smart programmer is a lazy programmer". So I've adopted that philosophy but replaced "programmer" with "student". I don't want to write myself into a corner here for the off-chance a future employer might find this blog and query me on it. I have two other class projects (an clone and a web-based multi (2+) player battleship game) to take care of. I'm not the only one who's getting burnt out with the sheer volume of project time that must be dedicated to the projects.

I wish I had a conclusion to put in here. As I write this I imagine I'm writing for Wired magazine and thousands of people would read this. I'm just tired. I have to find my place in this group and show the professor I can do something when it comes to working with a team. On the bright side, I'm developing a pretty kick-ass website for a first time around. Here it is at for all to see. I develope it Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am and 4pm. Always more to come...

-Educating myself