Monday, September 25, 2006

First Day of My Last Quarter of College

If all goes according to plan, this should be my last quarter of college. I'm taking only two traditional courses, both directly major-related: Computer Architecture (despite having already taken all the courrses it's a prereq for) and Algorithms.

I was going to just quickly explain why I'm retaking Algorithms, but it turned into a multi-paragraph rant that I'll recast as a separate post for later. For now, suffice it to say that this repeat quarter with a different professor looks to be exceedingly easy by comparison. Whereas my first professor believed in your-programs-must-be-perfect, all-or-nothing grading, this second professor says he doesn't believe in asking us to learn picky details. There will be no midterm at all, only 5- to 10-point quizzes that ask purely "big picture" questions about what we've gone over that same week. So while I'm pretty confident I'll pass the class this time around, I'm still glad (mostly) that I took it with the first professor to actually learn algorithms in detail. I'd love to be wrong about my first day's impression, but then this second professor said himself he doesn't think people should have to remember details, even for testing purposes...

But I won't actually have as much free time as a two-class schedule might make you believe. I need to get technical credit for my Apple internship, which means a 12-15 page report on my experience. More significantly, I'm finishing up my senior project (which I'm less excited about now that competing projects have been released). Senior project is known to be a giant black hole of free time -- as much time as you have to spend on it, you can always spend more and still not be done.

Forrest suggested I ask my senior project advisor if he'd allow me to switch projects, since I'm no longer that excited about my original proposal. He suggested I do the Asha'ille tokenizing and parsing that I'd like to get around to doing. While that does sound cool, I'm not happy with the idea for two reasons:

  1. I'd need to submit a new proposal for my idea. The spec for my current senior project took a while to write; I'd need to come up with a new one within the week to have any chance of graduating this quarter.
  2. My advisor's specialty is compilers, which involves parsing. My methods of parsing (con)natural language would probably be primitive in comparison to techniques he's familiar with. That might translate into him evaluating my project less generously than if it were on a topic unrelated to his personal interests.

I'll see what I can find out about non-naive methods of language parsing tomorrow and determine whether I think I can do something worthy of a senior project on such short notice... :/

My schedule this quarter is rounded out by a parttime job as a web dev at CustomFlix. It's just HTML and CSS work with some spec-writing on the side, so I'm expecting it to be fairly easy work. Sixteen hours a week is doable, and it'll more than pay for my share of rent, leaving me with that much extra money to invest or otherwise save.



Giynlith said...

By "extra money to invest or otherwise save" you mean... "spend in copious amounts on yarns and other fiberly things for you favorite middle sister", right?

Arthaey said...

You read right through my doublespeak, dearest middle sister. That is of course what I meant. ;)