• Celebrating End of Exams

    Jun 7, 2010

    Well exams are over now. Noise has resumed in halls. Celebration has officially begun. Drinking, music and fire alarms (at 2am no less).

    My future house mates asked me to name them on my blog so here goes:
    Stephanie Webber, Tom Wilson, Alex Gunyon, Alex Hepburn.

    Steph organised a meal out for a group of us at Glo in Reading; at a time when everyone had finished exams so it was a true celebration for all. It was a really hot day and we all decided it would be best to walk down. As ever a little late. But because of the heat it meant rushing to get there on time would have been foolish.

    Arriving there we were met with a nice cool restaurant, great food and of course amazing signature cocktails, which I could've done with more despite Pete giving me most of his.

    Managed to get an invite to become a VIP there too. Up to 25% off drinks/food. I wonder how soon the card will arrive.

  • Android Development

    May 22, 2010

    After hearing and reading of how easy and simple android development was I decided to try it out for myself. First things first I thought I would try the good old "Hello World".

    Before I start a rant I would like to day that it isn't a fault on Google or any other company's part. Just a bundle of problems that I had experienced during my attempt at Hello World.

    First things first I had to download the SDK and set it up, this worked nicely, though at University I used up all the available down-speed in downloading this, which meant I was unable to do anything in the meanwhile for around 20 minutes. Next I downloaded Eclipse, a program I have barely touched in the past, I copied it to the Program Files Folder in Windows 7, which seemed to work fine until I tried to link it to the Android SDK, where I received numerous errors overcoming none. So I moved the Eclipse folder onto the desktop in case it was a permissions issue, which it turned out to be. So next I found myself able to link it to the SDK using the plugin provided by Google.

    I then started to follow the online guide for how to create and load the program. This went well, I managed to build the application with no compilation errors, however it did not appear on my virtual device. After taking a break from my increasingly frustrating experience; I spoke to Dan, a fellow student, who I knew had experience in Android development, so asked his advice on the situation. He pointed me in the direction of a webpage describing the situation and a solution, however I was still unable to rectify it. Having had a previous experience where simply starting a new project would somehow fix an issue I tried this. With that I had managed to make Hello World on android. But due to the length of time from start to finish I lost the enthusiasm I had in the beginning. After exams I hope to begin a project of my own and see how that comes along.

    Word is also in the air regarding a possible workshop, which I hope to be able to attend and I think will prove very useful.

  • 1 Exam Down 5 to Go

    May 18, 2010

    Well my first exam is over. As it was my first uni exam I didn't particularly know what to expect from invigilation and equipment needs. The issues I had were:
    • An answer sheet was missing for around 45 minutes of the exam, which resulted in me just sitting there twiddling my thumbs until it arrived.
    • The answer booklets have a number of boxes to write the numbers of the questions answered, for me, the number of questions exceeded the number of boxes available. It didn't feel great to ask the invigilator about this, however I felt it necessary considering it was the first exam. I found the solution to write multiple numbers in the boxes, whereas asking another student afterwards I found he had been told to write the section. Hopefully it will be ok.
    Altogether I thought it was as pleasant experience as I could expect from an exam. For the first time it was actually possible to leave the exam before the time was up. Such a luxury in comparison to previous exams, however it does pose the question; "Why didn't I use all of the time?".

    I think that the future exams will require the remaining time and, at present, I don't know whether leaving the exams early is an option.

  • Exam time

    May 11, 2010

    With exams coming up very shortly I have decided to take a different, hopefully more successful, approach to revision. In the past I have merely read my notes and completed practice/past papers, however at university this is very different. No longer being spoon fed the keywords and model answers means that, for the first time, education is placed in the students hands. The lectures are extremely useful and interesting, however without self study the fresh knowledge remains just that; until forgotten. I have learnt that merely attending the lectures is not enough for me; unlike at School and College where I found everything was constantly being reinforced until it became second nature.

    My method so far has been to list the topics in each module and then review the lecture slides on each of those topics and try to compress the information to a more manageable, less daunting, amount. It has saved me from sifting through a large volume of slides to locate one piece of information. During the process of compressing the lecture notes I have tried to think of connections between the sub topics with some association or in some topics a real world example. I have found the SE1SA5 (Programming) project and my previous A' Level project to be very linked with Software engineering. Chiefly the System Life-cycle. I also feel that my approach to the SE1SA5 was more 'agile' than the A' Level project which again helps the link and association with Software Engineering.

    One lecturer gave his own advice on revision techniques, which I have taken on board and will try out. Précis each lecture for each subject. Attempting to halve the volume each time. Until the amount written is roughly that which you expect to write in the exam. This would mean that you have every topic covered within the exam time.

    A few other facts have really stuck in my mind too. The lecturer stated that during a study period of 1 hour 30 minutes the ability for the brain to retain information related to that subject drops to 10%. In order to revert to full capacity a 20 minute break should be taken after this. Or in case of a rush a different subject could be beneficial, though not as beneficial as a 20 minute break it would maximise revision during a small time frame.

    The last piece of revision advice that he gave was the memorising of facts. In order to recall facts, such as numbers, in an exam it is best to begin memorising 3 days prior to the exam in order for a better recall and retention.

    I intend to use all of this advice as previous revision advice has been very vague and with little justification, which I found frustrating and much advice just did not work for me. So far I have noticed a promising improvement on the précis stage alone and intend to keep this up. However, next year I intend to do a lot more weekly study in my own time than I have this year. To truly retain the information rather then learn it in time for an exam.