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Sean Turns On - MrPutter: doing things the hard way, because it is there.
July 3rd, 2004
06:23 pm
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Sean Turns On
I am, as some know, a very binary person: I seem to be either "off" or "on." Another word, perhaps, is "manic-depressive," but I prefer binary. Dichotomous? Anyway.

The last month or two (ever since, really, the end of the semester), have been a very lethargic slump -- a lot of moping around punctuated with periods of sleep. Sure I've been somewhat physically active, but flatlining mentally.


But the the switch has finally been pulled, and I'm into a full-fledged flurry of manic activity.

I finally have a job for the summer (but rather than being the catalyst for my activity, it's actually been one of the last things to fall in place). It's at the Alberta Wilderness Association, and should prove interesting. So far it's been largely clerical (managing mailing lists, database work, etc) but the job description, as it were, promises a lot of variety over the remainder of the summer. About once a week, the AWA holds a booth at various Farmers' Markets around town, which I will be staffing. There will also be a good deal of field work -- trail maintenance, wildlife counts and so on. One of the requirements was that I have a tent and sleeping bag and "am not afraid of meeting bears." Oboy! There are also a couple fundraisers (charity auctions, etc.) which I will be helping organdize... generally a bunch of PR work. Telephone stuff, unfortunately, but whatever; I can hack it.

I'm also running a bunch of programming tutorials for people at the school. Doing some prep work with frosh, getting them up to speed for September. Also working with some of the older students. The UofC Compsci policy is to "teach" Java in the first couple of years, then for the later courses, use whatever language is best suited to the task. Which is, in general, fine... except that a lot of the students then hit classes where they need C++, but since all they've been taught is Java, they don't know anything about concepts such as performing garbage collection, the difference between objects and object references, and all manner of like concerns. So I'm running tutorials for a few of them to get them "up to speed" with things they will need to know in some of their later courses.

In addition, seeing as how I'm probably not going to be able to 0wnzor any kittens any time soon, I've signed up to volunteer at the Calgary Humane Society. They have a need for volunteers to take on such roles as "bunny exerciser" and "cat cuddler." Sounds right up my alley! Kitty!!111!1!!!

Finally, I've been just generally "exercising" a lot more in the last week or so. Mostly on the bike -- what else? -- I've taken trips out to Airdrie, Cochrane and a bunch of other places recently. Just to see what's out there. Sometime in the next month or so, I'm planning on a little experiment. I'm gonna work up my bike muscles a bit, then try and see how far I can go in 24 hours. The plan is to start at 10AM or so, head East on the Trans-Canada, and see where I am at 10AM the next day. It'll be interesting. It won't be at all scientific, of course; I'm just curious. I'm hoping for Medicine Hat, maybe the Saskatchewan border. If the winds are cooperative, maybe even Swift Current? Anyway, I'm looking forward to the experiment.


Um.

Stampede in another week, wo0t! ministerphobia is coming up; possibly starslab too (if he can get time off work). Something else I'm totally looking forward to. If nothing else, it'll give me a good excuse to check out some of the restaurants in town that have piqued my interest in the last year. (Yep, that's me. Always thinking wit' me stomach... )


Hum. Manic moods always threaten long posts that no-one wants to read. So I figure this is as good a place to stop as any.

I gots da Best. Hallowe'en costume. Ever.
"I gots da Best. Hallowe'en costume. Ever."

Current Mood: manic
Current Music: The Mountain Goats -- Your Belgian Things
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From:frandroid
Date:July 3rd, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
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the difference between objects and object references,

Huh? This is one of the first things I learned while learning Java...
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From:mrputter
Date:July 3rd, 2004 09:44 pm (UTC)
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Interesting... given that there's no difference between the two in Java (or more accurately, all objects are references).
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From:frandroid
Date:July 4th, 2004 07:48 pm (UTC)
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Well, you have to know that there can be more than one reference to the same object, with all that implies, and that objects without references will be garbage-collected, etc.
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From:mrputter
Date:July 4th, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC)
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Ah, ok!!

Sorry, that's not quite what I meant.

In C++, one can create an object as the object itself of SomeClass (analogous to declaring a primitive variable x), or as a reference to an object of SomeClass (analogous to declaring a pointer to a primitive variable x).

So in the former case, if I have A:SomeClass, and I then copy it to B:SomeClass, I'm literally making a copy of A, and thus A and B are separate instances, occupying disjoint places in memory, and so on.

In the latter case, copying A:SomeClass to B:SomeClass only really creates a new pointer (reference) to A, and thus A and B now point to the same actual object. (This is simplified but gets the idea across.)

Now the second method is the way Java does everything. All (usable) Object instances in Java are references to the instance... as your post indicates you understand. However in C++, the "default" way of doing things is actually the first method. To create an object reference (à la Java), you have to do so explicitly.

However the way that objects "act" and (need to be) manipulated varies significantly between the two. There are all kinds of issues, not just WRT garbage collection, but also casting and the way they polymorph, etc. So if you just try to declare objects and use them directly, the way you would in Java, you will very quickly discover that things just "don't work." Largely attributable to the fact that you're creating and playing with static objects, not object references. Wrapping your head around the difference and how to use each type is not a skill that you will ever pick up in Java... because Java treats all objects as references. There's really no such thing as a direct object (except in a theoretical sense).

Plus there are other related concepts one has to learn, such as the Copy Constructor, etc. But whatever. That was just an example of the things that get lost in the portage, and the students I'm tutoring are having trouble with.
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From:galaxychild
Date:July 5th, 2004 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Kitty!!111!1!!!

And I know Airdrie! :DDDDDD

how long you planning on being in Calgary anyway? i might be up there uh...within a year from now...or some thing. i dunno.
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From:mrputter
Date:July 5th, 2004 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Oh, me stay here long time.

Uhh... I think.


I have "at least" a year to go before I get my BSc. And at the rate that I keep adding courses and options, probably more like 2 years.

And even then, once that's done with, my plan is to turn right around and go for a MSc. (or even a PhD... but that kinda sorta scares me right now; it is however possible).

My current plan is to continue with whatever postgrad here at UofC, although some people are advising against it (brandishing the wisdom that says that one should do undergrad and postgrad at different places). We'll see, though. I like the UofC, in general.

So yeah, at the VERY least, another year. Probably more like 2 years... with a good chance of it being 5 years or longer.
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From:galaxychild
Date:July 6th, 2004 11:23 pm (UTC)
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psh...i never heard that people should do their undergrad and postgrad at different places... @__@ sounds kinda silly to me. :/
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From:frandroid
Date:July 7th, 2004 12:30 am (UTC)
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you have to widen you academic social network, and see your discipline under new eyes. unless you're freakingly exceptional, no one will let you do a b.x, m.x and phd in the same university. even my friend who's being practically begged to do a business administration PhD so that he can teach at Laval University, will do the degree elsewhere, and LU will be paying for his tuition even though it's not taken there.
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