At the time of writing it's 2151 and I'm about to go to bed. I've been coughing like a drunken monkey, actually, I've no idea how much monkeys cough when drunk but the analogy sounds funny to me so I'm using it. I didn't do a vast amount of bloggable stuff today, mostly WoA results and some games of DotA with Coel. I'll elaborate a little on both. Firstly, DotA. It's a game where each player has a hero and is part of a bigger team. The two bigger teams send mini-monsters at each other and the objective is to kill the mini-monsters and enemy heros before they do the same to you. Each of the heros are really different from each other and it's such a diverse game to play and is great fun. Better yet is when you find two heros that compliment each other well and play as a team rather (most games involve very little teamwork). Myself and Coel are getting very good at working together. I tend to prefer heros that can support Coel, leaving Coel to do most of the actually work while I sit nearby and throw in magical spells that disrupt the opposition and make it possible for Coel to do what needs to be done. Next up, WoA. If you don't know what it is, well, goto woarl.com and it should tell you there, there's a lot to explain, if you really don't want to read all that, it's a turn based strategy game played via the medium of text. It's better than it sounds. Anyhoo, several players have said that since they started playing their school grades have gone up, most notably Maths and English for those of the GCSE level. Why? Well, the best way to beat your opponent in WoA is often thought to be attacking at the same time as your allies and it is rather effective. The problem is the maths involved, you have to work out how much you have, how much you can lose, logically plan out how you need the battle(s) to go and so on and so forth. But that doesn't explain the writing does it? Well, all players are encouraged to write descriptive stories about their own fictional character within the game or their team or indeed, almost any aspect of the game. So, WoA, it's not just for fun, it's for education too! Right, bed time, it's just gone 2200 (yeah, it took me 10 minutes to write all that!)
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Well, first off, it's not hard to improve over yesterday. Anyhoo, I awoke at 0700 after a fitful night slumber (or not). I flitted in and out of sleep and under normal circumstances don't feel I'd have gotten a very good sleep at all. However, I was wide awake in time for my 0930 interview. Unlike in the last interview, I knew some stuff about HP and managed to think of more past experiences than just Java coursework and WoA. I even managed to use the example of me becoming a Christian! You're probably thinking "this guy is a muppet, trying to tell HP he's a Christian during an interview". Well, in my defense they asked me for a really tough choice I made in the last year, I said that the only choice that was really that tough was my becoming a Christian and that the one before it would be which University to go to. The lady said that I should use the Christian thing, so I explained how I do everything logically and how it applied to that. As with almost anybody I tell the story to, they take one key point home with them. I prayed for free food, or in the case of this lady she remembered it as "you became a Christian because you got free food". It's like saying that soldiers win a war, no they don't. They are the key focal point or "schwerpunkt" as we on WoA say (or people that speak German), the support teams help a lot but yes, soldiers are the key and so was the free food (well, not quite, it was God giving me free food but it can be read either way). At the end of the interview I asked enough questions that we ran out of time, throughout the interview I emphasised my enthusiasm for all things programming and generally being a great part of any team. I think I made a good impression but it's impossible to be sure down a phone. My cold was very well behaved during the interview and I didn't sneeze once. 30 seconds after the call ended I sneezed. For the first half of the day I was pretty ill so didn't have the energy to attend my lectures. In the afternoon after my lectures were over I was better, however, it's not all bad news. The Linked List thing has some vague interface to it and I also created a load of geeky images which are located at slogans.woarl.com. You probably won't understand them unless you're a little bit of a geek (okay, you might get the Comment and Syntax Colouring ones).
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I got up nice and early for the 0900 lab that isn't on my timetable because I've not updated it. Myself, Chris, Henry, Gareth and Aaron were ready to start on the group project. All was well until Hassan told us that we had to split the group. You know how students usually leave things until the last minute? Well, we hadn't, we'd done what Hassan told us to of having meetings and planning stuff and that made splitting the group far far worse. Myself and Aaron are with two greek people whom I can barely understand, their academic performance I am yet to find out. That put me in a foul mood (Hassan also had a go at me for something yesterday that I didn't do yet he thought I did so that didn't help). It doesn't help that my cold is a little worse than yesterday. The single ray of sunshine that was my horrible day was that HP phoned and are going to interview me over the phone tomorrow. Yeah, that's the only good thing that happened. After the lab we had a lecture, it was boring. I reckon my mood didn't help but it was boring to me all the same. Gareth and myself went to Tesco and got some food then went home. I spent the rest of the day being unhappy, playing Warcraft 3, WoA and doing no work whatsoever.
Today, I got up around 0700 and did various internet related things such as WoA. I then walked with Gareth to our Java lecture. After arriving 10 minutes late, Ionnais proceeded to tell the class how to do a load of things I had already done for my linked list. As always, most of the class didn't care, though I have a feeling that this time it's because a Linked List is one of three options and it could well not apply to them. After the lecture I regret going to, I stated working. I was a student guide for the rest of the day. Interestingly enough, Nick Savage made the mistake of getting me to do the tour for the coach, I figure I should add that to the mistake of giving me his phone number. So, on the coach tour I failed to say anything interesting and doubt that I'll be asked to do it again. At the end of the day I helped pack stuff away and managed to acquire two litres of Orange Juice along with a lot of sugar and tea-bags (hey, it was going in the bin otherwise). I got home and was very tired, so I played some Warcraft 3 with Gareth, it lastest a long while so I didn't do much else (some programming for WoA and some Java). I've got a smidgin of a cold and still haven't heard from AMT about the placement, I am wondering when's best to phone them to ask about the interview, I'm thinking Friday Morning.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I got up, and for the rest of the day alternated between work and Warcraft 3. I have two lots of Java Corusework, some of it is due in two weeks. I've done almost all of it. Seeing as I've got two things to talk about and you'll not be interested in Warcraft 3 strategies, I'll explain my Java project minus geeky terminology (well, I'll try not to use geek-speak). I have to make a Linked List Editor. Well, you already know half of what I have to do. When you make a shopping list, you have a list of items. There, that's halfway and I even talked about something non-geeky, aren't you amazed? Okay, the Linked part isn't quite so easy, or is it? To use our shopping list, lets say we have the following. Tuna Fish Mayonnaise Bread Milk Tea Bags Sugar Right, we'll use that as our list. Lets suppose that we know how Tescos (or ASDA or Sainsburys as the case may be) is laid out. We know that it's fastest to perform that shopping in a certain order, we could number each item in our list and say what comes after what. Something like this? 1) Tuna Fish -> 3 2) Mayonnaise -> 5 3) Bread -> 4 4) Milk -> 2 5) Tea Bags -> 6 6) Sugar -> End of List Now our list tells us what to get and what order we want to get it in, we have just created a linked list. Yes, in the form of Food Shopping I've explained what is otherwise known as a "Data Construct". Maybe I should teach computer science to non-geeks or something, maybe I should have a fan club, we'll never know because I'm about to explain the tougher part of my assignment. To make this list, I have some tools at my disposal. I can make my own tools too, so I've made a tool that is a "List Object". Each List Object has a value (such as Tuna Fish) and also a Next/Linked Item (where next we're going to go). Here's the REALLY clever part. Rather than have lots of them and make a list as you would assume, I've made one. Each item contains another item, which contains another item which contains another and so on and so forth until one of them contains a special Empty item (in our case it's the checkout where you hand over some money). Tell you what, I'll draw a diagram. List Object - Value - Next Object - Value - Next Object - Value - Next Object - Value - Next Object - Value - End of List Object Okay, so how is this in any way useful? Well, I'm not 100% sure of the practical purposes but it's a new way of thinking and apparently allows you to prove your code works. I just think it's a really geeky way of doing things and makes it really hard for other people to understand it. However, I've recently had a chat with a University professor called Barry. He's quite cool and told me that when I learn how to do things recursively I will begin to find it easier. Hence why I am making an effort to use it. And apparently we're not allowed to use something called an Array to do it (geek-speak for List). See, by reading my blog you learnt some Computer stuff as explained through the medium of a shopping list! Incidentally, you've probably noticed that the blog now has a new look, do you prefer or dislike this new look? I chose it because it actually makes use of my entire screen rather than a narrow column of it. A large amount of credit should go to my Mum for actually teaching me how to shop, find the shortest and fastest queue and generally teaching me how to live.
I got up early, did a load of WoA stuff which put me in a good mood. I dragged myself to my lectures, they were not amazing but they were bearable. I got back and the day got better fast. After several games of Warcraft 3 with Coel. It was great fun and I really enjoyed it. I turned up to CU in time to find out that Steve was arriving at the same time as me at around 1845, it starts at 1900. We set up sound and talked about various geeky things. I went to the pub and had a game of Chess with Ryo, it was even until the last few turns when I managed to gain an edge and pull a close win.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
I got up, walked 2 miles in the pouring rain and high winds. Collected a Lady called Tayo and then Siän. On the way to Church my umbrella blew inside-out three times because the wind was so strong and actually snapped one of the spindles when I pointed it at the wind. In addition, I got soaked. Umbrella was binned and I'm not getting a new one. The rest of my day was boring and involved getting wet, getting home and playing on the computer.