Archive for category Offtopic / Real Life
And it’s awesome.
I know, I know, I’m like 5 years behind the curve. I’ve been wanting to get one for a while and last weekend I was anticipating a long bus journey, so in order to give myself something to do so I bit the bullet and bought a DS.
And it’s awesome.
I probably wouldn’t have got one if I hadn’t seen “My Japanese Coach” on the store shelves. Which is essentially what you think it is – A Japanese language tutor.
Having a touch screen and memory games and being able to hear the words when you touch them with the stylus makes it much more fun than sitting in a classroom and feeling dumb because the other kids seem to get it much quicker than you do.
It also has a dictionary, phrase book and other more advanced stuff that I’m just not up to yet (I’m only on lesson 5)
Brain Training came free with the DS which is also fun. And although it took a couple of days for the game to recognise my handwriting (or was it me who started to recognise how the game interpreted my handwriting?) It’s really neat to see little graphs about how much quicker you get at being able to do 20 quick fire arithmetic questions.
Also has lots of Sudoku puzzles which entertained me on the bus.
Playing the DS has rekindled a sort of passing interest in games as educational tools. Thinking back at all the parser driven and point and click adventure games as a kid I probably learnt alot simply through osmosis. And educational titles such as Carmen Sandiego where, you know, actually fun. Unfortunately a cursary look at all the educational titles for the DS makes it hard to gauge the titles worth – It’s hard to tell if a product is simply trying to appeal to parents by using familar licenses. (Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob etc..) And thus sell more copies, or whether they are actually worth what they are pedaling.
I think these heldheld devices are more suited to these educational titles than larger PCs as they don’t require alot of space, bulky input devices, keys that do the wrong thing if you hit them (the dreaded windows key for example) and there’s something about the stylus and touch screen that just feels right.
I can see why the DS has sold 75 million units worldwide – It’s more than just a toy, its a useful and entertaining tool.
A) I bought a DS lite, I would have liked a DSi but didn’t think that paying twice the price was worth a 0.3 megapixel camera that I would never use.
B) I also bought Sonic Rush which is a decent old school Sonic game.
C) The iPhone is probably another good medium for educational software due to its touch screen but the problem with it is that 1) It’s a phone and 2) No one is going to buy one for their nine year old.
D) The DS is region free, so when I feel my Japanese is good enough, I can play actual Japanese games.
Well I’ve been on it a while, but if you would like to see what I’m up to outside of my (rather) infrequent blog posts you can follow me at http://twitter.com/joshuasmyth
That is if you are not bored by tech stuff, video games, going for runs or my latest drumkit addition.
About 2 weeks ago I finished my final exams ever! I just got the results in and it looks like I’ll be graduating with a BA/BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science come autumn.
I’ve also accepted an offer as a .net developer, I’ve only been there two days but they seem like a good bunch and I already have a lot on my to-do lists. As the work largely revolves around business logic which often lives on top of databases, and I’ve not had that much experience in that area, I’ve had to learn alot and read up on all that kind of stuff – Which will probably take me some time to fully grok.
Which means that I’m not going to have too much time over the next few months for my pet project – My employer is paying me for my full attention after all.
But it does mean that I can put some money away to pay contractors to work on various parts of the game, expect some nice art and music when my new roguelike is ready.
As an aside – Last week I started adding some code to the SFML library sf::String class that would allow more flexibility with text rendering such as centering, horizontal and vertical alignment as well as wordwrapping, and subrect rendering. All of which will be very handy for any project that needs to manage text, but seeing as I’m making changes to the SFML code I may as well submit the new features I’m writting to be released in a future version.
To think, I’m probably almost a grown-up. I’m pretty tired after having my last three exams over three consecutive days. If anyone has any leads for a new graduate with a BA/BSc in Math and Compsci who would like to work in the .Net space, let me know
On a side note, I’ve realised that I’ve got quite a few games on my shelf that I haven’t got around to playing and/or finishing yet including – Civ IV, Curse of Monkey Island, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Baulders Gate I and II and Medieval Total War. As I am now officially a no-jobber, I think I have enough distractions to help pass the time.
One week til my first exam!
Heads down, Tails up.
See you on the flipside
Today I had my last lecture and handed in my last assignment ever.
Tonight I will kick back and relax – Go see my old band, catch up with friends and unwind.
Tomorrow, I will start studying for my final exams.
In less than three weeks, it’ll all be over.
I got myself a new laptop last week. I’ve never owned a laptop before and it’s taken a little getting used to (I refuse to use that silly mouse pad thingy and instead plug an external USB mouse in.) But at least now I have something to use between my (sometimes very large) gaps between classes.
I’ve also been in bed tied up with the flu, which means that I have a whole week worth of uni to catch up on. Its mid-semester break at the moment, so I at least have the opportunity, It just means that my Silverlight project has to be delayed
My laptop is an Acer Aspire 5520 which has an AMD Turion 2.0 ghz 64×2 cpu with 2GB of RAM a 160GB Harddrive and a Geforce 7000M videocard and Windows Vista Home Premium.
First of all Windows Vista is really cool. I don’t understand why people have been dissing it. (Actually I do, its more than likely the high system requirements) But it runs like a dream with 2GB of ram, multi-tasks extremely well and it looks really pretty.
Secondly the word laptop is a bit of a misnomer, while you can sit in bed and type with it on your lap – It’s just not that comfortable, a desk is still recommended. Also, the thing eats through its battery life faster than cookie monster in a biscuit factory – esp when trying to play games. I try to keep it plugged in as much as possible.
Thirdly, the Geforce 7000M supports graphics shader 3 – Which means that I can play some of the newer games that I’ve missed out on. Being a laptop graphics card its no where near as powerful as its desktop counterpart, but it does the job. I bought a copy of Civ IV Completete Edition to go with my laptop. Hey, theres no point in buying a new toy if you don’t get to see what it can do. Unfortunately theres that whole catching up on missed uni lectures thing that I have to do…
If you know me in Real Life you probably know that I only buy and wear black socks. This seems strange to some people at first, but I would like to take the time to say why it is actually a very elegant solution.
I few years ago I got feed up with trying to find matching socks – And instead of solving the problem as it stands, I decided to reduce it into a smaller, but similar problem space. This is called reducing the complexity – In computer science we do this by solving many problems through recursion, when making webpages we use style sheets and instead of visiting hundreds of websites everyday, we use an RSS aggregator.
Buying only black socks is a prime example of reducing complexity.
You might remember the following typical question from High School. Jane has 7 black socks, 4 blue socks and 10 green socks. The room is dark, if Jane pulls out two socks at random what is the probability of Jane getting a pair of black socks?
Can’t do it? What if Jane only owned black socks? What would the answer be then?
This is a slightly off-topic post and probably belongs more on live-journal than on a site that’s supposed to be about programming computer games, but it’s my blog and I do what I like
In a little over a month I start uni again – I only have one semester before I graduate and these are like, my final classes at uni, ever.
- MATHS 328 – Algebra and Applications
- COMPSCI 350 – Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
- COMPSCI 369 – Computational Biology
- COMPSCI 375 – Picture Processing and Analysis
And no, I don’t have a clue as to what Computational Biology is supposed to be about.
Here is the text from the course catalogue:
This course provides an overview of algorithms and scientific computing techniques in computational biology and bioinformatics. It provides a hands-on Introduction to topics including dynamic programming and string algorithms, Markov models, heuristic search algorithms, tree algorithms and modeling techniques with a focus on problems in biology including DNA sequence alignment and phylogenetic reconstruction.