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Day 3
Posted: Wintermute @ Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:20 pm

Third day of classes was boring! It was the same classes that I had on Monday, but I submitted my homework electronically for Programming & Design II so that I could skip the open lab. However, Network Concepts II just about put me to sleep. I don’t know why Dr. Zhang puts me to sleep every time he teaches. He has a very good grasp of English, and one of my best friends is Chinese (OK. Indonesian. But of Chinese heritage) so the accent isn’t even something I notice. I don’t even think it’s his teaching style. I think that, because it’s still a fairly intro-level course, I am just plain bored with it. I’ve already covered the material through the Cisco Academy program. Plus I’ve been doing networking from the time two of my friends brought and I crammed all of our PCs into my tiny bedroom and hooked ’em up to play a little Doom when it first came out. I’ve actually been doing networking in one form or other even longer than that, but you get the idea. It’s old hat to me. When we get into the hands-on stuff, it might not be quite as bad. It’s still mostly stuff I’ve been doing for years, but it looks like we’ll be doing a couple of group projects, so I’ll at least get to interact with my classmates.

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Day 2
Posted: Wintermute @ Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:19 pm

Yesterday was the second day of class. The only class I had was on Visual Basic. The class actually looks like it might be useful in getting a grip on some OO concepts that I’ve struggled a bit with when trying to learn them on my own. We’re going to go behind the visual environment and actually code, which is as it should be. However, I’m not so sure it should be in BASIC 😉

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First Day
Posted: Wintermute @ Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:15 pm

Yesterday was the first day of Spring Quarter 2006, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. All of my classes are smaller than they were last quarter, with only a handful of people in each. Two of my classes are the second part of classes from last quarter, and are required for the CTCH degree. Makes me wonder – did a ton of people do that poorly in those classes? I could see it, because it was mostly theory. This quarter is mostly application.

At any rate, my first class is Network Concepts II, which looks like it’s going to be a very abbreviated version of the Cisco CCNA classes, but without IOS. The text is “Network+ Guide to Networks,” if that tells you anything. There’s no homework in the class other than reading (I’m not even wasting money on the text) and a class project. I must have impressed someone last quarter by winging my class presentation, because I’ve already got a partner for the project even though it won’t be assigned for a couple of weeks. It also looks like we’re going to have a field trip to my server room. Should be interesting.

My second class is Programming & Design II, which basically covers ANSI C. We spent last quarter learning the language. This quarter looks a lot more fun. After all, I knew the language already. Plus, a different instructor took this portion of the class. Dr. Zhang is a pretty brilliant guy, but there’s something lacking in his teaching style. He does better teaching the networking classes than the programming ones.

Finally, tonight I have a class called Visual Programming. Yup. Visual Basic. IMHO, anything with “Visual” in the title isn’t a real programming language. Same goes for anything with “Basic” in the title. Visual Basic is the double-whammy. If it weren’t for the instructor being the same as the ANSI C class – and the fact that it’s a required course for CTCH – I would probably drop it.

Both of my programming classes are 5:10 – 7:45. One is Monday & Wednesday, while the other is Tuesday & Thursday. The good thing is, in the C class at least, that we don’t have to attend lab sessions if we understand the material and do our homework at home. The instructor is either going to do half sessions with the second half being lab, or make Wednesdays lab nights. I hope the latter, because that puts me in class one less night a week. I hope she does the Visual class the same way. Guess I’ll find out tonight.

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On Writing
Posted: Wintermute @ Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:02 pm

I absolutely love to write. My biggest problem – the one that’s kept me from starting on that novel that’s been floating around my head for over 15 years now – is that I sometimes lack confidence in my writing ability. In order to overcome this issue, I continuously collect tips on writing from various sources. Some of these tips come from books on writing. Others come from different websites that I have come across over the years. In this series of posts, I plan to pass on some of the tips I have learned while trying to make myself a better writer. Hopefully this series of posts helps me as much as it helps you.

The first tip that I would like to share, probably the most important, comes from a post over at lifehack.org: Just do it. Yes, it does seem to be a bit cheesy, but it is the most important tip I’ve seen. If you are going to write, you have to begin somewhere. The best place that I’ve found to begin is to just start writing. If you don’t like how it turns out, you can always edit it when you’re finished. Or you can scrap it and start completely over (which is rare for me).

Now that you’re (hopefully) writing, I’ll follow up in a future post with other tips that I’ve discovered along the way. I’m by no means an expert on the subject, but I hope these tips help.

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4.0
Posted: Wintermute @ Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:59 am

After a long quarter at school of not really trying, I finally got my grades. 4.0 for the term, 3.970 accumulative. That’s what happens when they’re intro courses (but required) on a subject that you’ve been making a living at for over a decade. That little piece of paper will look really good on the resume, though.

Unfortunately, spring break has been way too short. Classes start back up on Monday, and while the course load is roughly the same, none of the classes are online. This means I’ve gotta spend two additional evenings a week in class. All the classes are again computer-related, so it will not interfere with anything else in my life.

What I really can’t wait for is summer, because I’ll only have work and home to deal with, not school. This will leave me time to hopefully take care of a few of the projects that I’ve got on the back burner (some for awhile now). I also have to get ready to renew my CCNA, which expires in September.

All that said, I plan to continue blogging as regularly as I can. I absolutely love writing, and I have too many good ideas to let fall by the wayside. Look for all of my plans to come to fruition over the summer 🙂

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War Pigs
Posted: Wintermute @ Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:54 am

Yesterday, I posted a rant about the oppressive regime that has power in the US. Many may have labeled me as a raving conspiracy nut as a result, but such is life. That post was prompted, in part by a bill which could restrict freedom of the press.

As an aside, look at the original lyrics to War Pigs, and you’ll see why I chose that as the title of my post.

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War Pigs
Posted: Wintermute @ Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:51 am

I feel oppressed. I feel like we are living in pre-WWII Germany, where a fascist regime has taken power. Yes, I just called George W Bush a fascist. I’ll go one better and call him a war criminal, too.

Everyone remembers Abu Ghraib, right? How about the lack of due process afforded to those at Guantanamo Bay? As President, Bush is also Command-in-Chief. As such, he is responsible for these war crimes.

Now let’s looks at my other charge: fascism. We’ll start with a dictionary definition of the word. From dictionary.com:

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. (emphasis mine)

Anyone who says that the current administration hasn’t used fear of another terrorist attack to push their own agenda is living in an alternate reality. What else is the “War on Terror” for? We’re certainly no safer for it.

Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” I guess we, as a society, deserve neither. And because we have given up so much already, the terrorists have won.

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It’s not that kind of blog…
Posted: Wintermute @ Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:47 am

My wife recently asked me why I don’t have any entries about her on the blog. I replied that it’s not that kind of blog. What I meant by that wasn’t just that I intended this to be a technology blog – which it’s been slowly evolving away from – but that I like to keep some aspects of my life private.

But then I thought, why the hell isn’t it that kind of blog? It’s supposed to be “A day in the life of a computer geek.” My day always includes my wife. Always. By not including her here, I am not being true to the goal of this blog. Not only that, but I’m also setting up artificial limitations to my creativity. That’s not something I intend to let happen, because I am feeling more creative than I have in awhile.

Look for more entries about me, my life (including my wife), technology, and random ramblings. I’m still working on launching several topic-specific blogs that I will restrict to just the topics they cover, but this little corner of cyberspace was set up for me. The fact that others might read it (and hopefully enjoy it) is just a side-effect of blogging.

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Feedback (Please)
Posted: Wintermute @ Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:44 am

I find it a little strange. I mean, I know that by writing a blog, people are going to read it. After all, that’s kinda the point. But recently, I’ve had people I know telling me that they read my blog, and I don’t know how to react. I suppose I should start by asking for a little constructive criticism.

The comments I’ve gotten so far have been positive. My wife, of course, enjoys my writing. My sister says that it gives her insight into her little brother. A classmate from my programming class finds it “interesting.”

Now that you know what these three think, what’s your opinion? Am I good enough to start additional, topic-specific, blog(s)? Or should I stop while I’m ahead? Please leave your feedback and let me know!

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Starting Multiple Blogs
Posted: Wintermute @ Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:35 am

Talk about timely! A day after I do a bit of name-dropping, Darren Rowse has an article up on Problogger about starting multiple blogs. Yesterday, I posed some of the very question that Darren covers in his most recent entry in his blogging for beginners series.

The question remains: subdomain or separate domain (or hosted solution)? My thinking is maybe a subdomain of nitemarecafe.com. Why? Because Nitemare Cafe was my BBS, which had many “subs” (or sub-boards) covering different topics. How fitting is it that nitemarecafe.com should develop many “subs” (in this case, sub-domains) covering many topics?

Many of Darren’s points against using subdomains are related to SEO, AdSense, and selling the domains later. First, I could care less about SEO or AdSense revenue (yes, I use AdSense advertising on the site; but it’s more of an experiment than a revenue stream). Second, Nitemare Cafe is such an inherent part of me that I do not think I could ever part with any piece of it. And should I ever spin a blog off and sell it to someone else, it is trivial to point a subdomain to a different machine on a different network.

The moral of the story? Look for clie.nitemarecafe.com to open soon. When it does, I will post a message here. It will also be all new content – I may link back to some of my original posts, but I don’t want to duplicate content across multiple blogs.

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