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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Tuesday 23 March 2004 (Day View)

23.03.2004Tuesday 23 March – Stopwatches & Goodbye Lenin

I skipped the second hour of my “Software Specification” lecture, as it was a tutorial-style demonstration of the BToolkit we have to use to develop our horrible B-Method stuff. I have no idea why I am doing this course, except that it’s recommended in both the study plans that I’m paying attention to and compulsory for software engineers. Perhaps I should be asking why it’s recommended, because I really can’t see it being of any use to anyone ever, and the few people I’ve mentioned it to sort of chuckle, yet it’s looking like being quite hard and if I don’t really apply myself, it will drag my GPA down.
I spent from one o’clock until four o’clock helping a girl with her “Systems Interface Programming” stopwatch (using only pixel manipulation in C) assignment in the labs. I couldn’t believe it was four o’clock when we finished, but it was.
  I also had quite a long chat to the lecturer, while he tried to justify the course layout – it’s obvious he receives a lot of criticism about the way the course is structured, which isn’t surprising I guess. I can see how it’s a good idea to have a course where you’re just given a sparse (and intentionally wrong in the case of our next assignment) specification and told to implement it with virtually no assistance. Those who actually manage to learn the basics of an entirely new coding language within two weeks and successfully implement the specification, and then repeat it all for another language and specification the fortnight after, will probably be able to do the same in this fabled “industry” to which people keep referring. On the other hand, we’re at university – this is where we’re supposed to be taught things, not just told to do things. Forcing me to learn the basics of the C programming language serves some purpose, namely it forces me to learn the basics of the C programming language, but considering I’m paying good money for the privilege, I’d like to be taught how to code good C – something that is not going to happen at this university. I actually think the learning style (can’t call it teaching style because there’s no teaching) used by “Systems Interface Programming” is a good idea – but only after, or perhaps concurrently with, another course teaching us good programming practices in the languages we’re being forced to use.
  I then spent some time in the library discovering how to use their online Neuro-psychoanalytical journals with Clint, before discovering that it would take more than half an hour to buy a pizza from the Schonell and having to settle for unhealthy potato wedges with a free allowance of 8 millilitres of tomato sauce instead. We then went and saw “Goodbye Lenin” at the Schonell, which wasn’t as bad a movie as it sounds – although I’d rather not have seen it while sitting inside a cold room, the air-conditioning was a bit harsh.
It was after ten o’clock by the time I got home.

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