Featured

CS 373: Week 1

What did you do this past week?

This past week I have been fighting the remnants of a cold and trying to finalize my schedule for this semester. As far as this class is concerned, I have just been going to class and taking notes.

What’s in your way?

Getting myself motivated! I can see that a large portion of learning for this class, such as the tools, will fall on me to do outside of class and on my own time. There seems to be a lot to learn and familiarize myself with in a short amount of time.

What will you do next week?

Get on track! It’s time to start filling in my calendar with due dates, reminders, and just general outline of what to look up and read for this class. The first assignment, the Collatz project, is coming up, and I want to start this class on top of things.

What’s my experience of the class?

To be honest, I registered for this class because I need an upper-division writing flag to complete my degree, and I have read favorable reviews of Professor Downing online. When I took a quick look at the syllabus/class website a couple of days before class began and saw that there would be several group projects, I got a bit nervous.

The daily attendance quiz is also something that caught me off-guard — I totally forgot to read the articles! As someone who rarely, if ever, volunteer to speak up, Downing’s policy to make sure to call on everyone to answer his question is intimidating, but it seems like a practice to keep my focus up in class.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

There are a lot of researchers at UT who would love someone with some software design knowledge to reach out to them. Many post listings that can be found here. Though some of the listings may be old, it may be the case that the lab is still looking for someone!

CS 373: Week 13

What did you do this past week?

The last phase of the IDB project is done, and I can hardly believe that there are no more projects for the class. I did not do too much for this phase, but the Planning Poker was interesting. It seemed like it would have been useful during the first two phases, too.

What’s in your way?

As far as this class is concerned, there is really the presentation that needs to be done by the end of the week. It would be nice if the last phase of the assignment got graded and we receive feedback for it before the presentation is due so that we can mention any shortcoming.

What will you do next week?

My team will be the first to present next Friday, so we will have to prepare the slides. There is a lot to mention, but it is also intimidating to be the first ones to go since the expectations have not been set yet. Then there is the next exam to study for, and I feel like there has been a lot of content covered between exams.

What’s my experience of the class?

I feel like the rubric for the last phase is a bit misleading since it does include the requirement for the visualization, for example.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

A little bit too late for the assignment, but I found a useful site that lets you generate a script to create a nice and clean pie chart for D3.js. You can edit everything from the title and labels of the chart to the size, colors, and data. It makes a pretty nice graph!

CS 373: Week 12

What did you do this past week?

This past week would have been a relatively relaxed week in terms of work, but the first three days was completely eaten up preparing and then teaching at a high school for my Classroom Interactions class. Besides that, I have been looking at the API the other team used to scrape their data (for Magic: The Gathering!).

What’s in your way?

There is only a few weeks of classes left and it really feels like the stress has been ramping up. I was hoping the team whose API we are using would have an interesting connection to our NBA data. I can not think of a connection between MtG and NBA quite yet, but I suppose the visualization does not have to have anything to do with our data…

What will you do next week?

The last project for this class is due! I have not done much for this phase yet, so I hope to find something to contribute.

What’s my experience of the class?

It is interesting to see Java in class again, since I think the last class that it was a part of was CS 314. The reading about refactoring was not a difficult read, but I am not going to lie: I glossed over the walls of code. Personally, I found the code comparisons hard to follow just reading it, but Professor Downing did well to explain it in class.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

I personally hate ads, and I don’t think I know anyone who really likes ads (except maybe the Super Bowl ones?). But I also understand that sometimes free isn’t really free, and if there has to be ads, they should be done correctly. Who would have guessed that people prefer well-integrated things? I think the same thing can be applied to features, too.

CS 373: Week 11

What did you do this past week?

This week, my team completed the second part of the IDB project. For my part, I implemented the APIs that we documented during the last phase using Python to scrape the necessary data from Wikipedia and the NBA website. The bulk of the Wikipedia data came as HTML which was difficult to parse and extract the relevant information from because of the inconsistent formatting between articles. I had to manually go in and clean some of the data, but I think it might be time to get better with regex.

What’s in your way?

It feels like my weekend was consumed by trying to prepare for my second and third day of teaching at Crockett High School (for UTeach’s Classroom Interactions class), and it isn’t over until the teach is over this Wednesday. I don’t know what my role for the next phase of the IDB project is going to be, but I hope we can make something interesting with the data from the other team.

What will you do next week?

Get a head start on the next phase of the project, hopefully!

What’s my experience of the class?

As someone with zero experience with SQL, I was clueless when Professor Downing let us loose to write the queries in class. The concepts are not difficult to understand, but I wished I knew some of the syntax of the language so that at least I could be thinking about the question.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

If you have an Amazon device with Alexa, you might want to consider customizing it by using a new API to write “skills” for Alexa. Check it out!

CS 373: Week 9

What did you do this past week?

My team finished phase one of the IDB project. After looking over some tutorials of apiary.io, it was actually fairly easy and straightforward to use. To match the information on our UML models, the NBA API we originally decided to use was insufficient, so we decided to use an additional API to grab venue information from Wikipedia. Luckily for us, there’s really only one call for that, and then it’s a matter of parsing the data that comes back.

What’s in your way?

I feel like I could have done a more thorough job documenting the API for my team. Phase two of the IDB project is going to be published soon, and I can only imagine it being more complicated than the first phase.

What will you do next week?

Since apiary is only used to document our APIs, I supposed we’re going to have to use another tool to implement them. I think now we have to consider the parsing of the data we get using our APIs and how to store it in a database.

What’s my experience of the class?

In class, we discussed a type checker for Python, mypy. It makes Python functions and methods looks like they were written in another language! It definitely helps with readability, and is good practice to label your inputs and outputs anyways.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

If you have ever wanted to learn the Swift programming language, you can do it through on your phone! Swifty is an iPhone/iPad app where you can practice the language (from basic syntax to writing classes and closures) in short bursts, whenever you have a bit of free time.

CS 373: Week 8

What did you do this past week?

This week, my team met and chose basketball (more specifically: NBA) as our “topic” for the IDB project. Our initial choice was board games, but since we had a hard time finding a RESTful API for scraping board game data, we are going with our second choice.

What’s in your way?

I need to learn how to use apiary. It doesn’t look hard, and it’s neat that it integrates with github. However, there was a small issue with apiary not letting me linking the project to our group’s github because I needed to be the owner of the repo. This was easily fixed when the teammate who owned the repo connected to apiary and shared the project.

What will you do next week?

Spring Break! Not that I will shirk my academic duties of course! On the to-do list for this week: document the API(s) that my team will be using on apiary.

What’s my experience of the class?

This IDB project seems to have a lot of potential, and a well made site would certainly impress people. However, all of the new tools we have to learn for it makes it look intimidating, but I suppose the challenge of it makes it all the more impressive. I think if this goes well, I might even make one as a personal project!

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

This website supposedly have over 17,000 APIs you can search for, some of which are completely free to use while others require a license. I think some teams might find it useful for fleshing out their dataset. I’m not sure if you can search by API-type, but it does list their type (e.g. REST). Learned the difference between REST and SOAP this week!

CS 373: Week 7

What did you do this past week?

This week, as far as this class is concerned, was a lot of cramming for this class’s exam. I went over a lot of Python topics that we covered in class, and was (pleasantly?) surprised to find that there weren’t that many questions on the exam where my cheat sheet was helpful. Seeing the grade as soon as I submitted on Canvas was a big relief, especially when I found out I didn’t bomb it!

What’s in your way?

While I did better than I expected on the exam, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. There’s only one week left before Spring Break, and our next assignment is due the week we come back.

What will you do next week?

Start collaborating with my group on the next assignment.

What’s my experience of the class?

The exam felt pretty fair. All of the code based questions are things we have covered in class before and/or something that you could have probably figured out if you knew enough Python. It’s a lot like the questions that are asked in our daily quizzes, and I think there was even a question that was ripped straight from one! In my opinion though, the questions regarding the readings felt a bit nit picky and easy to miss.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

This might have been a bit more relevant if I had shared it last week, but it’s still really cool nonetheless. Stethoscope is an open-source web application by Netflix that gives users advice on how to secure their devices. It isn’t like an antivirus in that it doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to your device, but it does warn you about your device’s weak points. The backend is Python, and they’re looking for people to contribute, too.

CS 373: Week 6

 

What did you do this past week?

I got accepted into a summer internship program in China! I am very excited to be able to go abroad. I regret not studying abroad earlier, but this is an even better opportunity to see what life is like on the other side of the ocean!

What’s in your way?

Mid-term for this class is fast approaching. Grade for the Netflix assignment is a lot lower than I was hoping for. I am hoping I am able to sufficiently prepare for the mid-term exam…

What will you do next week?

Study (read: cram?) for the mid-term of course! Luckily Professor Downing provided us a list of concepts that we are responsible for. He encouraged everyone to write a set of test questions and share them, so I will be doing that. Writing the questions is probably a lot more helpful to the learning of the material than just studying questions.

What’s my experience of the class?

Feeling discouraged because of the Netflix assignment score and the low daily quiz grades, but everything has fair. Didn’t expect Professor Downing to encourage us to share our notes page, but it makes sense since we share test cases for the assignments.

What’s my pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

Here is a short article about software engineers’ salaries around the world. My takeaway from it? Don’t just look at someone’s salary and assume that they are doing better (or worse!) than you are. I overhear CS students compare each other’s salaries very often, and it disappoints me because it is such a short-sighted conversation.