Sunday, 17 August 2014

[W1] A Saturday Date

So, I was in school on a Saturday on the first week of school. This has never happened in my past 3 years of education. Walking down the empty canteen, staircase, and corridors only reinforces that fact. Nonetheless, it was a fruitful day, especially for someone without a programming background such as me.

There were 3 main takeaways from the lessons, and I am going to list what I liked and disliked about each lesson. I know the tutors would be reading this, but I thought you might appreciate some honest feedback from your audience. :P

IMO, this is the most interesting part of the day. It may have to do with it being the first class in the morning but I think Su Yuen did a good job with it. She only focused on the essentials, which is very helpful. I found the class very easy to follow. It is a little slow when it comes to debugging though. Understand there will be unseen technical difficulties here and there but with only her answering the questions, the waiting time for the rest gets a little long. I thought it may be more efficient to have the neighbours of the affected students to help as well. Since probably at least half the class are pretty proficient in AWS, that should speed up the lesson a lot (especially at the last part).

Got a web server up and running, and I had a personal space for about half an hour online. (Yay) Too bad AWS microinstances is only free for a year... The search for a free web server continues... I miss the days of GeoCities where I first set up my own web presence more than a decade back.

After lunch (Pizza yum yum), it was Git by Minqi. The pace of this lesson was a lot faster, because only 1 or 2 of us have not used it before. Hearing its functionality, I got to agree it is a really powerful collaboration service. No more manual consolidation! It's like Dropbox supercharged for developers. My only pet peeve is that now, my laptop's right click is sooo long now.

This is also the part where I spend the most time setting up, and rightly so, given the need for integration with my local folders. I still don't know what some of the programs do though, TortoiseHg for example. I guess I have to figure it out on-the-job or when I manage to catch a breather.

I was barely able to follow the lesson (but I did) throughout. Upon introspection, I think my learning pace was hampered because I could not follow what Minqi has entered into the console. It was mostly covered by the output, and even if it wasn't, I still have a hard time trying to see what exactly he has entered. It would be perfect if the presentation was split screen (one for the console, one for the deck).

Just a side comment, Minqi has an accent every now and then (I don't know, British?) during the presentation, and it would amuse me every time it happened. Hahaha.

Now we enter a language where I've been focusing most of my self-learning effort on. I was expecting a re-cap on the basics of PHP but Joel went straight into the caveats of PHP. I think the assumption was that the concepts underlying the languages are very similar anyway, and can be picked up on the fly, and what's important is knowing what mistakes to avoid. That's very valid IMO and he covered many flaws that I never knew existed (probably because my level of programming is probably that of a Novice and never got complicated enough to realise it)

He has a lot of energy during his presentation, which is very appropriate for the last lesson. Although I can't say I understand some of what he is saying, I feel that it will be useful if I were to become a PhP programmer somewhere this semester. When that time comes, I will refer back to the slides and perhaps all will make perfect sense to me.

I wonder if he used any programs to assist with "slides" creation though. Given I have some webpage design experience, I know that formatting it from scratch is not easy and will definitely take significantly more time than just doing it in Powerpoint. If he used some programs to create his presentation, they will be very useful for the HTML5 project later on...

I don't know why I am writing a conclusion but maybe because of the number of reports I have written, any posts just doesn't feel right without it. I wrote this over National Day rally and the good initiatives are pretty good. /offtopic. Yes, Nala has 1 owner and 276,496 followers. Cardinality. #nonsenseconclusion

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