Old News

Archived news items from December 1998
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.

Thursday, 31 Dec 1998 [19:28 CST]

I am definitely a Computer Scientist. And a programmer. I'm supposed to be grading now. Got some done today, but I took about an hour/ninety-minute "break" to write a Windows program in C++ Builder to add up scores for me.

This wouldn't be so bad because the way I score programs, getting a percent is non-trivial. However, I already had such a program for DOS (compiled in Turbo C++ 3.0). It read in information from an INI file, let me type in points scored in each of seven categories, and printed out the final grade (including an optional curve).

So anyway, I have a functionally equivalent program now but with a cool Win32 stay-on-top toolbar type window and a right-click context menu and everything. Which probably saves me two whole seconds on each program I grade. So in a year (assuming I grade one hundred programs a six weeks) I could save ten whole minutes!

Well, I've got to get on to a New Year's Eve party. Please note that 1999 is not the last year of the millennium. 2000 is, and 2001 is the first year of the third millennium (and of the twenty-first century).

Have a good one and be safe. God watches over you, but He'll certainly abandon you to your own devices if you want to be stupid.

Monday, 28 Dec 1998 [22:52 CST]

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been on Christmas break. Hope you and yours had as enjoyable a Christmas as I did.

Working on grading stuff from the fall, attending frequent study sessions with the AcaDec kids, and coding furiously for the voting software thingy I'm writing. Successfully pulled a value out of the Windows registry in a console application, and even got a TCP/IP connection established.

Since my parents have already seen me, I guess I can let the cat out of the bag; I've grown a beard. Mostly I'm just tired of shaving. But I thought I'd share.

Wrote up some prose that I think I'll read to my students once they get back from Christmas break. Some students are trying to take advantage of my good nature and want me to go to parties with them and such. Just to set the record straight. It might be instructive for those who wonder what sort of teacher I am. (Though I'm sure anyone who knows me can probably imagine: picture Robin Williams but more self-absorbed, and then mix in a little Don Knotts just for dorkiness' sake.)

The prose is up on the teaching page. Check it out. (New content!)

Anyway. Hope you missed me. I missed every one of you semi-frequent visitors. (Hi, mom!)

Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 [14:36 CST]

The fall semester is drawing to a close. My students have been working on their final projects, so I've been staying late with them, trying to help those that either need extra help or want to put that extra something into their programs.

Can't say that I have done much programming over the past few weeks. Been somewhat busy with the AcaDec kids and trying to gear up for final projects, so most of my slack time has been pretty taken up.

CD-RWs are nice.

Sunday, 6 Dec 1998 [17:49 CST]

Nothing much to report for the last few days. Students are about to begin their six weeks projects, which means that this semester is nearly over.

Computer Science II is writing a linked list, and the book not only uses templatized classes, but also uses a generalized iteration method for the linked list which takes a function as a parameter! This makes me happy, since it means the authors are not afraid to use real coding techniques in the effort to make some sterile ADT. I'm happy they're not dumbing down material for the Computer Science II kids; they don't need it.

Gotten some good feedback from my students regarding Pong (they've been "testing" it for me). Found one alarming error where the ball can leave the screen, and one annoying feature where player 2 can "steal" the ball from player 1. Fixing these issues and going to a full release (non-beta) version is planned but not imminent.

Tuesday, 1 Dec 1998 [22:31 CST]

Been a little under the weather the last couple of days. Sinus/cold type stuff. Sudafed helps the congestion but keeps me so wired I can't take it. I got virtually no sleep on Sunday night because I forgot and took some before trying to go to bed. Arrgh. Hopefully all the lecturing won't bring on another case of laryngitis like happened last year. Anyway, I've been feeling a lot better today on average.

I got all my backup stuff in yesterday. I now have an 8G tape backup drive, a 6x4x2 CD-RW drive, and a SCSI controller to run it all. Did the first ever full system backup on my machine last night and it felt great. Hopefully now I'll never again have a catastrophic drive crash.

The CD-RW seems to burn audio CDs fine (made two last night), and even supports digital audio extraction so it can rip even testy CDs. I suspect my mp3 collection is about to grow....

In other news....

After over ONE YEAR of phone calls, letters, haggling, signing forms and general red tape, my student loan statements are finally being billed on ONE SHEET OF PAPER. This month, I actually received a single statement covering ALL FIVE loans. It has but one tear-off section to return. I only have to write one check.

There is a God.

Previous news

November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998