I’ve been a bit lazy about writing the last few weeks, but there isn’t much to tell as far as school goes.  I’m in the middle of Data Structures Using Java, which is a pretty standard programming class.  The schedule consists of reading either one or two chapters per week (about 50-150+ pages) and executing one or lab assignments per week, plus an electronic test every 2-3 weeks (3 tests total).  I’m definitely getting better at writing methods and classes and getting these things to cooperate together in a program.  It’s funny to think of what I was hassling with in Feb/March in my computer architecture class and how it seems like pretty basic material now.

I was especially interested to find out that I have free access to the full text of hundreds of computer texts through the university library system, and I’ve already been scouring through the titles.  I’ve found a few that I had been planning on buying, which saves me a couple hundred dollars, for now anyway.  Some particularly interesting titles that I randomly found are ‘Designing Gestural Interfaces’, ‘Objective-C on Mac’, ‘Intro to C++’ (a language particularly important for me to know but for some reason not required for my program – Java is instead more emphasized and then they assume everyone just knows C++ already), and ‘Mind Chi’.  The last book is not to do with computers obviously, but is nonetheless absorbing because I had a lot of lazy thought habits and I already have been practicing a sort of mind chi on myself since high school basically.  I think anyone with any kind of bad habits that tries to ‘reprogram’ their thinking does a little mind chi on themselves.  So this book basically puts into print a very common and effective thought remodeling process.  Cool!  And the C++ is something I have to self teach in the four weeks between end of summer class and start of fall semester.  It’s apparently just assumed that everyone going into the program knows this language because it is so generally used and important.  So if I can at least get the basics down and then keep working on this on the side, I should be well armed to start this program.  The Gestural Interfaces just sounds completely cool and I think that all interfaces are moving in this direction, so hopefully I can sneak in reading this and be somewhat knowledgeable on the topic.  I think I will inevitably get into programming for apples too, which is why I want to look into objective-c.  I need to go through those titles some more to find a good reference or two (or ten) on operating systems.  I know zero about them, something I was hoping would have been a more prominent topic in my architecture class.  Anyone know any good systems books for computer babies?  🙂

I really feel like an infant in my understanding of computer science.  Which makes it amusing and interesting that I’m going into a masters program in computer science starting in just over a month!  I might have thought this is a crazy proposition, but by this age I’ve done many things that are experimental or out of my education field (mechanical engineering for five years after education and years of work in bioscience) that it really is just par for the course.  But let me just state the obvious and say that if you pick an education track (bioscience) just because you’ve been in school long enough already and need to graduate with some kind of degree, you won’t likely be happy with what you wind up doing.  Duh.  Also, just because you wind up in a good (and more interesting) field randomly, doesn’t mean you’re going to get paid like those that purposefully went into that same field.  Doh!

Besides geeky stuff, there has been definite progress on the creative front.  No, no blanket making has happened at all.  Right after that mention in my last post, I went right into making monster dolls for the kids.  It came about when we walked past a shop on Roscoe and the kids saw these cute monster dolls.  They of course asked for them (it is in our DNA to acquire random stuff) and I thought to myself, I can easily make those.  So I did.  Four dolls, a fifth still sitting in the closet needing stuffing.

We also went camping and to the Columbus zoo.  Too much fun, and a lot of work!  Highlights: 6-8 hour drive each way (depending on how many starbucks and McDonalds stops), tent building at 1am, stars over our heads, lantern lit walks, the best grilled dinner ever, the beach, awesome hotel suite, swimming pool, great primate habitats, manatees!, huge tube playground, Mama Zarella’s (yay good pizza!), lost and then found kitty and puppy, baseball team at the hotel (uurrggghhh) and lots of sleep (that’s right folks, only studying in the car while poor T drove the whole way both ways.. thanks P!).  Summary: 5 days of sometimes awesome sometimes crabby perfectly wonder family time.

Back to work…:)