CS373 Fall 2018: Regina Chen

September 2nd, 2018

What did you do this past week?

Classes started this past Wednesday, but I spent the few days before then moving into my apartment and cleaning everything. Since there have only been two classes this week, I haven't done any real work on projects yet, but I did read the syllabus, listen to Downing's enthusiastic pitch about competitive programming, participate in a deep psychological experiment, and learn about Docker. I've used Docker before, but my learning stemmed more from trial and error and information my mentor fed me. I was also deciding between taking this class or Object-Oriented Programming, but after attending both classes and listening to the course objectives, I felt that this class was more suited to my interests.

What's in your way?

Guadalupe Street. It's my first time living in a West Campus apartment during the school year. Waking up in the mornings and having to walk 20-25 minutes in 100ºF weather to this class makes me just want to hide under my blankets and enjoy my comfy memory foam mattress topper. I've been waking up with sore legs from walking miles every day (I know, I'm not athletic). Hopefully, living in West Campus will make me more fit.

I also have a round 2 interview coming up next week, so I have been trying to prepare, but as classes begin to ramp up, I hope that I can find enough time to practice.

What will you do next week?

I'll be preparing for this class's quizzes, playing League of Legends, and whatever other work comes my way. I also need to read the readings for this upcoming week's classes and look through the code samples we received just to make sure I'm following everything so far. Since this class's workload hasn't started yet, I think I'll try to work on my two personal projects in the meantime. The first is a search engine for medical terminology, which will be an improvement to something I wrote last semester to make doing homework less of a pain. The second is a project management tool revolving around a food theme. It has been a while since I had a fun idea for a personal project, so I'm looking forward to working on these two projects and learning some new technologies simultaneously.

What are your expectations of the class?

I don't have any outstanding expectations of the class, but at the very least, I am hoping to gain experience in using new technologies. The concept of the group project sounds intriguing, so I'd like to find a team that will be as intrigued by it as I am. However, I am expecting a workload on the heavier side, and the cold-calling class style is a little bit daunting to me. I guess I'll see how this class goes.

What's your pick-of-the-week or tip-of-the-week?

firecode.io. Since Downing has been so supportive of competitive programming, I thought I'd choose Firecode for this week. I discovered this two weeks ago and felt it was a fantastic tool for studying for my upcoming interview. Firecode offers hints to help you get close to the solution, because sometimes, you just need a small push to get you going. It also uses an algorithm to choose problems for you to do, which varies by level. This algorithm will also repeat problems you have already completed to ensure that you remember how to tackle them. Unfortunately, the one flaw that I've noticed is that the test cases are not as comprehensive as they can be on Leetcode. Firecode doesn't seem to test many edge and corner cases, but because of that, I've taught myself to still be aware of these cases.