The End Approaches

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Today opens the final two weeks of classes for this semester.  Once they’re over, there’s only final exams – of which I only have two this semester, so I’ll be done altogether by early on the afternoon of the 14th.

I got the results back today for the two tests I took just before Thanksgiving break; my scores were 88% on the CMJ 103 one (gods damn ambiguous multiple-choice terminology questions!) and ~86% on the ECE 101 one (I may get a point or two back from some omitted work that wasn’t actually omitted, but eluded the instructor’s notice because I did it on the back of the page and forgot to include a TURN OVER FOR WORK-> note on the front – we’re going to talk it over in lab on Wednesday).  Either way, I am reasonably pleased.  There’s no final exam in CMJ 103, so unless I utterly tank on speech #4, I should have no problems pulling an excellent final grade in that class, and ECE 101… well, that all depends on how I do on the final.

In other news, I got last week’s double homework and attendant quiz in MAT 122 finished with more than a full day to spare – even got some of it done from Chapman, which is a good showing, given the lack of really comprehensive facilities there.  There’s one more week’s worth of homework and one quiz to go in that course, then a week of review sessions and the final exam.  Again, unless I completely blow the final (which is conceivable), I should be well-positioned to make a respectable showing there.

I should note that two things of major significance remain in ECE 101: the final exam and the robot testing. (There are also three homework assignments left to do, though they’re fairly short compared to some of the monsters we’ve had earlier in the semester.)  We have two lab periods left; in one we have to complete and program the robot we’ve been building all semester, and in the other there will be a competition in which the robot must navigate a maze and then travel a set distance (not revealed to us until almost go time) in a straight line.  The second actually has potential to be the greater challenge, given that few of the robots, built as they are from recycled parts by fairly cack-handed students, are liable to track all that straight (which makes getting them to travel a set distance and only a set distance not as simple as just saying “proceed forward for $NUMBER motor steps”).

I’m a little nervous about the robot competition.  For one thing, I don’t particularly like competitions in general; for another, Let’s Call Him Matt and I still aren’t finished building ours.  We haven’t slacked off, particularly, but we’re not very speedy builders, and we know for a fact that two of our robot’s four photosensors aren’t working.  We’ve known that for months, actually, but when we first discovered it the TAs said, “Don’t worry about it, you’ll have a chance to fix those later.”  Well, it’s later, and they’re not fixed.  Plus, there’s a certain amount of creative programming required (and I strongly suspect the sample code we’ve been given has some deliberate mistakes in it to force us to debug as we go), and – as we have previously established here – I am crap at that.

So I dunno.  I don’t think you actually fail the course if your robot doesn’t perform very well, but I think it does at least have to work

Oh, and the weather has been so lousy this fall that we’re still not finished with all the observations we’re on the hook for in AST 110, which means tonight – which is forecast to be clear and bloody freezing – we’re up.  Which is why I’m in the library on campus blogging, waiting for it to be 8 PM so I can get my frostbite on.  On the other hand, this late in the year, Orion will actually be above the horizon before the session is over, so I can get my favorite asterism on the board after all.  (And then I get to drive to Moonbase Dad in a car whose heater controls packed up earlier today!  Hooray the Mini’s ongoing electronic senility!)

I’ve got more to say about AST 110-0990, but I’ll save that for an after-semester postmortem.

(Where the hell is all that noise coming from?  It sounds like a high school cafeteria in here.  This is a library, for Christ’s sake.  Kids these days.)

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