Monthly Archives: September 2004

Computer Science Class

I finally set up a web page for the class I’m teaching. If you’re curious, it’s at http://www.parisisd.net/compsci/.

It’s still kind of a work in progress at this point. Everything will hopefully be uploaded by Friday.

The Trilogy

I know some of you will be disappointed, but I bought the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD. I realize that everyone from my generation is suppossed to be furious about the changes Lucas made to the original movies, but I just couldn’t resist. The dark side truly is stronger.

After watching all three movies (Yes I’ve watched three Star Wars movies in the last two days, that’s nothing for a geek like me.) Anyway, after watching all three movies, I have to say that the changes aren’t that bad. Yes, Greedo shoots first, but only by a fraction of a second now. And the hologram of the Emperor’s face was changed in Empire. And the original Anikin spirit from the end of Jedi was replaced with a scraggly looking Hayden Christensen.

But even with all of these changes and more, I still enjoyed the trilogy on DVD. And now, they fit even better with Episodes I – III. I know a few of my friends are crying blasphemy about now, but come over some time and witness the crisp picture and awesome 5.1 sound for yourself. I promise it’ll be enough to make you forget all about those grainy old VHS tapes in the closet…

Show Your Support

I saw this over at Planet GNOME and had to share it with everybody. This was originally an e-mail:

There are less than two months until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States. The man elected will be the president of ALL Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans.

To show our solidarity as Americans, let’s all get together and show each other our support for the candidate of our choice. It’s time that we all came together, Democrats and Republicans alike.

If you support the policies of John Kerry, please drive with your headlights ‘ON’ during the day.

If you support President George W. Bush, please drive with your headlights ‘OFF’ at night.

Everyone remember to support your chosen candidate. I won’t be driving after dark around here until after election day.

Doom 3 Demo

The demo of Doom 3 is finally available. It’s a giant download at 462 MB. It is available via BitTorrent which is nice. I’m sure I helped out a lot of people today since I started the download last night and then forgot all about it and left it running until I got home from work today.

The Linux version is still not ready, but the Windows version works fine on Linux using Cedega from TransGaming. I don’t think my computer even meets the official specs, but it seemed OK to me. I have an Athlon XP 2000+ with 256 MB DDR RAM and a GeForce 3 with 64 MB. The gameplay was sometimes a little choppy and the load time between levels seemed to take forever, but otherwise it seemed fine.

As for the game itself, it’s scary. Very scary. I’m glad I didn’t go out and spend $50 on it because I probably won’t play much more of it. I’m sure the guys in my class will laugh at me, but this game is just not my idea of fun anymore. Visually it’s very impressive, but it’s just not my style.

Once the zombies come out, you’re basically walking around in the dark the whole time. You have a flashlight, but you can’t use it at the same time as your pistol. The gameplay was pretty much like this – shine the flashlight on the zombie, switch to the pistol and shoot until the groaning stops, then switch back to the flashlight.

After playing for a while, I walked out of my office to go to the living room. I actually turned around and looked down the hall to make sure nothing was sneaking up behind me. I’m definitely too old for this game. Ben, don’t even attempt this one.

Robotics

If you’re wondering why I haven’t updated this site in a while, it’s because I’ve been working on the PHS Robotics weblog. You can see it at http://www.parisisd.net/robotics/.

One of the students is updating that site now, so everything should get back to normal around here.

Kickoff

Today was “Kickoff” for the robotics competition. We made a trip to Howe this morning to check out the field and pick up our parts. Yes, that’s right, Howe High School. The kids thought it was funny, too.

The game is going to be very different this year. In the past, the students have built a robot that drives around the field, but this year the robot is going to be in a fixed position. Basically, it’s in the bottom of a very large bowl, and the task is to pick up plastic balls and set them on shelves on the walls of the bowl. I’ll post some pictures next week that should clear this up.

Labor Day

Why can’t all weekends be three day weekends? I didn’t get out of bed until around 1:30pm today and I think it was a good thing. The first few weeks of school had just about done me in, but I feel like I’m finally getting caught up a little bit.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, teaching a class is a very new experience for me. I’ve always had a certain level of flexibility at every job I’ve held. Up until this year, I’ve been able to pretty much decide when and where I was going to work everyday, as long as everything got done in a reasonable amount of time. Now, I must be at the high school every day from noon until 1:00pm.

But I have to say it’s worth it. So far the class has been a lot of fun. I have the best group of students I could possibly ask for. I just hope I can instill in them some of my feelings about creating things with a computer. The idea of starting with a blank screen then typing in the correct incantations to create something entirely new still seems a little magical to me. Hopefully it always will.

Robotics starts next week. Once that gets going I’ll also be at the high school from 3:45pm until 6:00pm on Monday through Thursday. One nice thing about the robotics program is the condensed schedule. The entire contest happens in around 6 weeks. So just when I think I can’t take another day, it’s game day and then it’s all over. Although this year is going to be a little longer since we’re definitely going to the state competition at SMU. (I had to add that just in case any students read this.)

Must… Have… iMac…

If you haven’t seen any pictures of Apple’s new iMac G5 yet, I recommend you go check it out right now: http://www.apple.com/imac/

That’s not just the display, that’s the whole computer. Very impressive.