Thursday, April 15, 2010
I've been enjoying coming to Uni everyday and learning. Lately though, it feels like everything I've learned is sinking in and integrating into a huge blob of knowledge; making my mind work the way it needs to work in order to become a good engineer. This is extremely exciting for me.
I'm proud of myself because I've worked hard at my studies and the effort has really paid off. I'm also very thankful that I have access to a good university and teaching staff. I think the combination of their and my effort has really paid off.
I think most people who have ever been to school would agree that occasionally it can be a drag. Class come sometimes be boring, the teacher could be less than stimulating, you may not be interested in the subject matter, or you may simply be not in the mood. I think the key is to make sure that this is not the norm though. You only get out what you put in, and if you approach things with an open mind and with a good attitude, a boring teacher/subject matter can actually help you in ways you wouldn't expect.
Rock on education.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I've been watching the news a little more lately because I'm on Easter holidays from Uni, and yesterday I saw the coverage of all the people lining up to be the first to buy and iPad. It's quite appalling.
I know, it's in vogue right now for right thinking people to bitch about Apple's iPad, but I'm more disappointed at the ugly consumer that is people lining up for hours to buy some new gadget. So, this little rant is not really about the iPad itself, but rather people's behaviors towards it. Will your life really be that much more fulfilled if you're the first to get this new product? Will you be happier? Probably not. I don't know how long some people waited to get their new toy, but I'd much rather use that time to do something productive. If I decide to buy an iPad (which I probably won't), or any product for that matter, I want to simply walk into the store and buy it; not line up for hours/days at a time to get. It's not like the world is running out of these things. THERE WILL BE MORE.
Yes, Apple has a brilliant marketing team. I could be cynical and say it is their fault people feel they need their products to lead a happier and more fulfilling life. That may be partly true, but they're a business and most businesses try to achieve this. I'm simply appalled that people are stupid enough to believe it.
I have yet to buy an iPad, I doubt I ever will. Yet I feel happy. I guess we don't need products to give our lives meeting after all...
Monday, March 29, 2010
I'm killing time at Uni and there is someone (a stranger) sharing the table with me eating KFC. I find KFC to be one of the most disgusting "foods" in existence. Not only that but they're eating rather loudly. Not just chewing, but a really disgusting smacking sound. Just the smell is making me feel ill. I don't want to move though because I'm charging my computer.
What I am to do in this situation? It's like so many public situations where some stranger is either being an oblivious wanker or inadvertently pushing one of your buttons. What to do, what to do...
The first situation, when the person is being an oblivious wanker, I believe, warrants anger, although generally I'm too polite to raise any objection. These are the people who step onto public transport and stop right in the doorway so that the million other people have to push past them. You just want to give them a piece of your mind. It's the people with zero consideration for others.
The second situation, when a person is pushing your specific buttons, is hardly their fault. This stranger next to me has the right to eat. Sure she's eating a little loudly, but not unreasonably so. So I'm ignoring it... But although it's not this stranger's fault, I just want to stamp up and yell "GOD DAMN IT! STOP CHEWING SO LOUD!" and "THAT FOOD SMELLS DISGUSTING!"
But in either situation, what do you do without coming off as a bad guy? I would like to believe that in the first situation, other people wish they could confront these jackasses, and, the person who finally does will be met with admiration. The second, I guess, if I was having enough of a problem, I could just be polite and reasonable.
I think I'm just going to move off, however. KFC is too disgusting to try an deal with.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I just had a statistics lecture. They're usually dry and a bit boring, but altogether fairly useful. It made me remember a way to be sort of arrogant, but, at the same time, not too arrogant because I'm simply using statistics to back myself up.
I am smarter and more awesome than most people in the world. It's true. Yes, that probably sounds arrogant, but think about it. If you put everyone in the world into a normal distribution of intelligence or awesomeness, 50% of people will score better than the other 50%. So, if you selected someone at random from the entire population of the world, you have a 50-50 chance of selecting someone who is above the mean. Given that, I have a 50% chance of being above the mean for intelligence or awesomeness. I could go through the trouble of testing myself to see if I am actually above the 50% mark, but, on a 50-50 bet, I'd rather choose to be smart and awesome. Really, why would you choose otherwise?
Yeah, I suppose I could get down on myself and go the other way, seeing as I'm just as likely to be on the lower end of things, but that doesn't accomplish anything for my self esteem. I'm going to take the option that makes me feel good about myself. So no, I'm not being arrogant, I'm just choosing to interpret things in my favor.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I've been partaking in a discussion in an online forum on the importance of grades (at school, university, etc.). My knee jerk reaction to grades is annoyance. So much emphasis is put on grades, especially in highschool. Get good grades, go to a good school, be successful, be happy. We all know there is more to life than this. Yes, the emphasis on grades can be a downer. We can pick apart the system and point out its flaws - grades are not necessarily an accurate indicator of future merit or intelligence. There are plenty of examples of people who got good grades simply because they test well and then can't do anything, or those who test poorly and go on to do some amazing things.
So, if they're not a good indicator, why not get rid of them? Well, used in conjunction with other things, they can be helpful. As I said, my initial response is disdain for grades - on the surface, those who make important decision in a person's life (school admissions staff, potential employers, etc.) seem to take too much stock in what grades a person got. I don't think that's really the case though and I'm hopeful because I think those with any real sense weigh things up correctly. Unfortunately for all of us, people with sense aren't always the ones make important decisions.
Because of this, we have a few options. One option is to complain about the system, decide it's fucked up and have disdain for society. The next option is to subscribe to the status quo without question. The third is to use the system to your advantage and maybe make some positive change.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
You may be aware that Corey Haim just died of a drug overdose. At the risk of being offensive, why do we care? He was a B grade actor who did a string of mediocre movies.
Yes, any death is sad, but the reason I'm disgusted is that suddenly everybody cares, or, more accurately, feels they should care. Face book is plastered with "RIP Corey, I was a huge fan." I saw one (on the the facebook fan page) "RIP Corey, I love you, Breakfast Club is my all time favorite movie." That's all well and good, the only problem is that Corey Haim wasn't in Breakfast Club - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088847/.
I'm not criticizing people in mourning. If someone actually liked/looked up to Corey Haim, by all means, be sad. But to everyone else... It just seems to me that today with so much media attention of every little thing and facebook, etc., people have become over sensitized to these things. They seem obliged to show the world that they have feelings.
What's the difference between Corey Haim and any other drug addict? Corey Haim was in Lost Boys, that's about it.
Monday, March 8, 2010
A couple of months ago, I started duel booting Ubuntu with Windows XP. After a few weeks, I wiped XP off my computer. Since then, I've started learning more and more about Linux and open source software in general.
Through this learning process, I've gone through periods of rage and joy. If companies want to charge for a piece of software, that's fine. I'll gladly pay for software if I think it's worth it. There is just plenty of free software out there that works just as well or better than something you have to pay for. The rage comes when companies luck Microsoft effectively trick people into think that their software is the only way to go. This practice not only impedes the development of great open source and/or free software, but it costs people money. The joy comes when I know that what is right will win in the end.
A recent experience with my MSI netbook bugger me. I needed to update the bios in order to get it to function properly with Ubuntu 9.10. MSI supplied the bios update on their website. Unfortunately, the simple way of updating was only available using Internet Explorer (while obviously running Windows). There was another option to flash the bios through DOS, which a did, but was a bit tricky. Why Internet Explorer? Does anybody actually use IE?
I suppose a company like MSI could turn around and say they can't make an easily installable update for every operating system. Actually, they can. They make one for Windows, one for Apple, and one that can be run in the terminal of a Linux machine. I bring up Apple because they are shooting themselves in the foot making people think that you can only run a Mac OS on a Mac machine. If they really wanted to take on Microsoft they'd make this more apparent.
But, back to hopeful. Everyday I see that more and more people are using Open Office rather than Microsoft Office. That's a step in the right direction.
Today I am cynical. I want to be optimistic, but it's difficult.
Last year, I decided to study Civil Engineering. This was mainly because the field interested me, and I had the naive hope that I could learn enough to help do good things in this world. I think it's possible, but, in my current mindset, I feel like too many important decisions are made with all too little information or thought.
Some days I'm optimistic though. I've chosen to chart writing my thoughts only in order to share my interpretations on what I'm learning. So, if you're starting on this very first post, don't worry: it's not going to be me complaining about the world everyday. I like to try to put a positive spins in things.