CS 373: Week 5

What did you do this past week?

Finished the Netflix assignment! Or at least, to the best of my abilities and I still had to turn it in late. Some of the caches made by my classmates were invaluable to getting the final product out, so thank y’all for that! Wished I worked with someone, so there is that for a piece of advice.

What’s in your way?

Finding the motivation to do these assignments at a regular, well-paced schedule. Ran into too many problems last minute, but I should know better by now!

What will you do next week?

Study hard and study early for the test for the first test of this class coming up in two weeks. Definitely nervous about it if it is more like the daily quizzes in class since I have not been doing as well with those as I would like. On the other hand, it might make things easier to study if it just means looking over the assigned readings and the code examples from class.

What’s my experience of the class?

The Netflix assignment was definitely harder in the sense that there was more work to be done before I even got to the “solution” portion of the code. There was almost nothing in terms of code given to us by Downing this time around, so I felt a bit frustrated spending so much time messing around the makefile, for example.

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

Thinking of picking up another programming language so your resume looks better? According to this article, Perl, Python and SQL are currently the languages that popped up most in job listings. Interestingly, Python is number 3 on the list, but maybe it is not a coincidence that we have been using it for this class.

CS 373: Week 4

What did you do this past week?

This week, I started two separate applications to intern abroad. Got started on the Netflix assignment, but I’m still following the workflow closely…

What’s in your way?

Right now, I am feeling stressed about getting everything that needs to get done for other classes while still giving myself enough time to tackle this Netflix assignment alone. I found myself forgetting to time myself for the last assignment, so I could only give a rough estimate of the time it took me to do the Collatz assignment.

What will you do next week?

Write a lesson plan for UTeach. Finish internship applications. Definitely finish the Netflix assignment. Keep better track of time spent on assignments for this class. I have started to keep track of start times and end times of when I work on this assignment. Doesn’t ignore distractions during the time period, but something is better than nothing. Maybe I could use a stopwatch!

What’s my experience of the class?

The last two classes have been strengthening my knowledge of Python’s structures (e.g. Lists vs Set). I have only picked up enough Python to do some assignments in previous CS-related courses, with a bulk of my Python knowledge stemming from scientific data analysis, so I never thought about the language at a deeper level than a functional one.

There was also another useful tidbit that Downing mentioned (that would have been useful for testing in the Collatz assignment): if the code runs too fast to see any meaningful time, just run it a hundred or a thousand times in a row to get a better idea of the impact of any optimizations.

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

Ever feel hampered or slowed down because you have to keep looking up how to write certain commands on the terminal? Want a simple and easy way of learning and remembering useful snippets of code? Look no further than Code Cards (described in this article)! Using the power of spaced repetition,  you too can retain hundreds of programming idioms!

CS 373: Week 3

What did you do this past week?

This week, I finished the Collatz assignment that has been hanging over my head. The coding portion of the assignment, even with all the optimizations, wasn’t too hard to implement. I think it paid to do it as Downing suggested in class: start with the simplest solution and then make it more efficient (either through the algorithm or with the caches).

However, the major issues I did run into was testing and turning the assignment in! For some reason, a newer version of the makefile keep returning errors, and I didn’t realize this until about half an hour left of the assignment. I was relieved when all the tests ran and make didn’t give me any more issues. I guess I just have to make sure I get the bulk of the work done earlier so I will have more time to deal with issues like these.

What’s in your way?

The second assignment, Netflix, is already up. I am not sure if I am going to find a partner for this one. For the sake of convenience and not having to try finding someone with a schedule that matches my own, I might just choose to do this one alone. I also still have to get the readings done for this week, but I don’t think that is going to be a significant issue. For what it’s worth, this Netflix assignment looks very interesting.

What will you do next week?

Same thing as usual: try to get started on the assignment, don’t fall behind on the reading, and keep paying attention in class! This time, I have to make sure my setup with github/etc. has no issue before I start on the project.

What’s my experience of the class?

Piazza on the final hours before the project was due seemed hectic. Having guest speakers from Bloomberg was a nice surprise, and it definitely enlightened me on what software engineers seem to actually do.

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

A good friend of mine showed me something interesting that this article explains in more details. To summarize, a vulnerability was discovered in Cisco’s WebEx, a Chrome extension. This vulnerability allowed any website to potentially install malware on your computer silently, but was patched shortly after it was discovered. Still pretty scary!

CS 373: Week 2

What did you do this past week?

I got started on the Collatz assignment. Or at least, I tried. It was sort of demoralizing to hit a roadblock so early into the assignment. Turns out all I had to do was ./TestCollatz.py or use Python3 to get the tests running instead of using python TestCollatz.py .

What’s in your way?

Right now, I need to look up how to use Docker and run tests on Travis CI. It feels like I am spending a lot of time looking up small things like git commands.

What will you do next week?

  1. Read, read, read! It sure is easy to put off the readings for a “little later” that turns to never.
  2. Go to office hours if I haven’t figured out how to use Docker and Travis CI.
  3. Write good tests for the assignment. There’s a lot to consider when writing test cases.
  4. Finish the assignment! Duh.
  5. Stretch goal: prepare for and attend the McCombs and/or Engineering Expo.

What’s my experience of the class?

I got a 0 on my attendance quiz Wednesday. I wasted a lot of time on the first question and end up guessing (incorrectly) and thought the second question was a trick question (it wasn’t). Discouraging to essentially get no credit for being in class, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Just gotta be more prepared.

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

The College of Fine Arts here at UT recently opened up a makerspace called The Foundry that is open to all students and faculty members. One of the areas is aimed towards Gaming and Video making. You can even rent out a GoPro!

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!