Next Week

Samstag, 16. Mai 2009, 09:02 Uhr von Felix

It is that time of the year again: examinations. My timetable is not much better than last semester’s. I’ve got five exams in one week.

Exam Timetable

The examinations in Distributed and Mobile Computing make up 50% of the final grade, the ones in International Business and Advanced Databases 60% and the Management and Organisational Behaviour 2 and Economics 2 exams 70%. I asked for permission not to split myself into two on Thursday and take the exams one after another. Fortunately, the examination office decided in favour of my request. Thank you so much.

Spring Semester CAs

Donnerstag, 07. Mai 2009, 23:15 Uhr von Felix

While this entry might be a rather boring for the average reader, it might be of value for future or potential ITT Dublin students. You have been warned.

In Advanced Databases there was one practical CA in one of the labs and one theory test in class. In the former we had to create DDL and DQL statements using Oracle’s object-relational features. The in-class test was about indexes (including some calculations) and the architecture of Oracle instances. Both CAs were not too hard if you had put in some work before and I am contended with my results.

USB Key

Wow, 64MB of flash storage! The three best students in this semester’s first CA in Economics were rewarded with an unbelievably huge flash drive. I achieved 100%, so I got one. If anyone has a creative idea what to do with merely 64MB, tell me via the comments.
Needless to say that I did not really make friends in class with that result. “Does lightning strike twice?” they asked me cheeky before the second CA. Well, I did not crack the 100% again, but still, I had a very good result and was the best in class. I’m somewhat proud of that (would I tell you otherwise?), because I was able to answer macroeconomic questions that are rather heavy on theory, despite the fact that my command of the English language is far from perfect. I’m confident and don’t have a reason to be afraid of the upcoming exam.

For International Business I had to research the reasons for Ireland’s success in attracting Foreign Direct Investment and argue what should be done in order to maintain the current level of FDI or at least minimise reductions. I had a bit of a hard time to finish it, because of all the travelling during the Easter break. Actually, I wrote some bits of it while waiting for my flights at the airports of Dublin and Frankfurt. All in all a very interesting assignment; I am not too happy with the result, though.

This semester’s Management and Organisational Behaviour CA was very different from last semester’s, in which I had worked together with Immanuel. The two Irish girls that had joined us disappeared even before our first meeting. So I was prepared to do it all on my own this time. However, three Irish lads invited me to join their group. I happily accepted as they seemed to be nice and, in comparison to others in the class, showed some motivation. What a misconception!
The assignment was to carry out a literature review on one of three proposed topics. We had all the time in the world for that: from the beginning of the semester until the first week after the Easter break. When after some weeks the others still had not done the necessary readings in order to get into the topic, we had some kind of “crisis meeting”. It turned out, they did not even know what we were working on:
“Aren’t we working on Corporate Culture?” one guy asked.
“No!? Organisation Development. We decided that ages ago.” I replied and could not believe what I had heard.
That was the moment I should have pulled out and do it all myself. I did not; I was too nice, too patient. Instead, I worked and send them updates about my progress via mail including the latest version and some ideas what they could work on. No reply. In the end, after a lot of to and fro the inevitable came: I “fired” my team after the Easter break, because they hadn’t done anything at all. I then completed everything including their parts in the remaining days: 21 pages. It was the right decision and absolutely worth it: I got a really good mark that I probably would not have gotten if I had stayed with a dysfunctional team. However, I was a bit angry at myself, because I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I had trusted my feelings earlier. A lesson learned.

For Distributed and Mobile Computing we had to analyse an interactive, secure website of our choice from an HTTP perspective. I decided to work on Bank of Ireland’s 365 online and found out that they should work on their use of Caching-related headers.
The other assignment was to develop a simple inter-active website targeted at low-end mobile devices and defend all the design decisions made in a separate document. Using very basic php5 and SQLite I built “PubTracker”, a web app that facilitates spontaneous meetings while you’re out, in one evening and wrote the document in another afternoon. The reason for all these short times? The above outlined MOB project. However, sometimes constraints can be a very positive thing: although the application is really not special at all, I’m a bit proud of it as I believe that the code is clean, concise and very elegant. Maybe, I am going to publish it for others to poke around with it if I find the time and quiet.
I had my presentation this Tuesday and the results are not yet published, but Jeremy said that the lecturer seemed impressed. Let’s see.

Words of Wisdom?

Mittwoch, 15. April 2009, 16:54 Uhr von Felix

Some lecturers seem to have a never-ending supply of wit and banter. Luckily, I’ve got one of them in economics. Here are some examples:

“Global heating is not a problem, it’s the symptom of a problem: overpopulation. We’re not killing each other quick enough. There’s no politician, who says vote me and I’ll kill half your family. Casual drive-by shootings are not enough. Aids was great, but didn’t work.”
Live misanthropy.

“Inflation brings nasty people into power. Will we have hyperinflation in Europe again? Not if the Germans have a say.”
A little history lecture.

“Maastricht is not in Belgium, it’s in Holland. Germans tend to know it, because they keep invading that place”
A lesson in geography.

“What’s $750bn? You work a couple of weeks in Dunnes Stores and have that amount.”
Work for Dunnes, Mr Obama.

“More stuff around, you’re better off. Less stuff around, you’re worse off. Money terms just don’t matter.”
By the way, this is a good example of one of the most extensively used words in Ireland.

“The big players decide on the interest rates. What if the Irish would run the European Central Bank? Haha. Can we run a bank!?”
More on this topic here and here.

“All the world’s legally sold Viagra is produced in one Pfizer factory in Cork. Just imagine they would shut down that factory. Now that’s what I would call a depression.”
Things could be worse.

“My name is Bond, Government Bond.”
Nothing is holy.

“Every year on Paddy’s Day the Taoiseach get to meet the US President and says ‘Here’s a bowl of green stuff I grew in my backyard’ and Mr President says ‘Great, thank you very much’ and we’re worried about the costs!? That’s a privilege. How much time and effort do you think does it take other nations to meet him?
Questionable Irish-American traditions.

“Will we have more green taxes with the upcoming budget? We’re gonna get all the colours of the rainbow…”
Irish tax regime in a nutshell.

“Don’t drink and drive. You’re gonna spill it.”
Experience of life?

Disclaimer: my memory is certainly not perfect.

More on Snow. And my Timetable.

Dienstag, 03. Februar 2009, 22:26 Uhr von Felix

Shepherd Michi did not have any lectures today because of snow in Swansea. Although neither roads, nor walkways or the campus are free from snow and there’s traffic chaos everywhere, it’s all business as usual at the ITT Dublin.

This morning I had to walk through piles of thawed snow and got wet feet. It took me ages to get to the college. Usually most of the drivers on Belgard Road can be described as reckless, but today everyone drove really slow and careful. Nobody has winter tires and most people just don’t know how to drive under these weather conditions. Thus, you can see spinning wheels everywhere and all the wannabes in their low-slung cars have a real hard time trying to appear cool. Schadenfreude olé.
The Irish are neither used to snowfall, nor prepared for it. According to some Irish friends, the last time that they had snow like this was about ten years ago. Many people’s eyes are sparkling with joy. Just like those of little children who see snow for the first time in there lives.

I currently spend my time checking out lectures and working on my timetable. It’s not too easy this semester as everything either clashes or is spread over the whole day. I don’t want to waste half a day with dead time in between lectures.
I’ll definitely take another lecture in Economics (this time macroeconomics) as well as another one in Management and Organisational Behaviour. Then maybe a class in Advanced Databases (lots of Oracle) and another one in Distributed and Mobile Computing. Especially the latter one sounds promising (HTTP, SSL, J2ME), but due to the fact that I did not do any Networking stuff so far in college I’ll probably have to catch up a bit on my own. Moreover, I’ll probably attend another business class. International Business sounds interesting, but it’s a fourth year business class, i.e. I could lack some of the prerequisites.
I still have to figure out a way to do all the subjects that I want to do and have to check back with my home university on some, but I’m sure that I’ll work it out.

Marathon

Samstag, 10. Januar 2009, 16:40 Uhr von Felix

Last weekend was great! Yoann asked everyone to come to the Metro on Saturday, his birthday. Although one could already hear the bad 90s music from hundreds of metres distance, it was pretty cool. Almost everyone, who was already back in Tallaght, showed up and we really had a great time together. I haven’t had so much fun while going out in months.
The day after, Thomas, Chris and I were invited to come to Anna for dinner (yummi wraps!) and I helped her migrating all her data from her old laptop to her red, new Dell. Did I already mention that I could possibly start working right away as a customer service representative for them right away? I already helped and gave advice to so many people that configured and ordered Dell laptops over here that I would like to ask: “Where is my bonus, Mister Dell?”

Enter Examinations:
Wed, 12:30-14:30 Corporate Social Responsibility
Thu, 15:30-17:30 Management and Organisational Behaviour
Fri, 09:30-11:30 Human Resource Management
Fri, 12:30-14:30 Economics 1
Fri, 15:30-17:30 Software Development 5

“O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
Cannot conceive nor name thee!”

Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3

Fortunately, this is last week’s exam time-table and not this week’s. This means: it’s already part of the past. Yay! Despite the circumstances, the exams went pretty well. Of course, I was not able to learn and prepare everything to the extent that I originally wanted to, but my instincts did not let me down and I correctly identified the most important aspects and learned them.

However, I am not very happy with the exam as well as my performance in Software Development. I do not know if it was just me, but there were way to many small syntax questions, where you could write everything in between two short sentences and a full-fledged thesis. Thus, time became an issue.
In my opinion, some of the questions were a bit stupid. If there are more searches than inserts, why would you keep things sorted by regularly sorting them instead of inserting at the right spot in the first place? And why the hell would you want to use a Bubblesort? Moreover, as often in class, there was a lack of sound object-orientation in the interfaces that had to be implemented as specified.
Of course, fatigue reared its ugly head after all these hours of examination and my performance (as well as my handwriting) went dooown. But I am not too worried: the examination only makes about half of the grade and the CAs and lab work hand-ups that make up the other one were almost perfect. More than 95% I think.

After this examination marathon, there is one more exam next Friday: Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I thought I deserve one or two days off now to recharge my batteries. So yesterday evening, Herr Doktor and I went to meet Tom at his place, where we chilled and played some games on the Xbox 360. Boy, it was good to see him again and I’m looking forward to tonight, because we’ll probably go out with some other guys that I haven’t really seen in a while (Chris!).