Friday, January 30, 2009

How to stop procrastinating for tests??????

On Yahoo Answers (Y!A) the questioner asks for Real world, tried and true solutions please!!! My answer follows.

I was going to join the Entire World Procrastinator's Society (EWPS - pronounced "oops"), but haven't gotten around to it.

About studying and homework. Convince yourself that it's stuff you like, and it's exciting, and you can't wait to do it. Lie if you have to. Humans have amazing powers of self deception. After no time at all, you'll believe it. You can do this socially too. Get a bunch of your friends, as a running joke, or whatever, to talk about your classes and exams especially as being so much fun. Rowlings has some great ideas that she uses with Hermione in her books, if you need them.

I find that it's not the work, which i enjoy, but starting it that's painful. Once i get going, i don't want to stop. Part of that is fear of not finishing. So again, you can lie to yourself. In homework you can tell yourself that "I'll just do one problem". Or, "There's lots to study for this test, but just now, I'll tackle orbital mechanics in two dimensions". Then add scope (more stuff) as you get into it. Do one more thing.

A spoon full of sugar doesn't seem to work for me. It just makes me fatter. Julie Andrews is clearly responsible for the fattening of America, herself being so thin and all, could afford it. And i don't recall her taking any herself, now that i think of it. Evil, evil, evil.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What part of computer science is easiest?

Some of computer science is pure math. I took a masters level operating systems course from a prominent professor. He'd done some great theoretical work involving page replacement, and gained a great reputation. But it wasn't at all obvious that he'd ever written anything, much less an operating system. The course was a disaster. But my point is that there are many things that are sort of part of computer science that have little to do with computers, and you can make a living at the highest levels of computer science without knowing a heck of a lot about computers.

I'd say of the bits of computer science i've done for a living, like building computers from parts, hardware troubleshooting, programming, requirements gathering, estimating, software architecture, software maintenance, testing, documentation, systems administration, teaching, database administration, network administration, web server administration, posting web content, and software repository administration that building computers from parts is easiest. Software maintenance is probably hardest, especially if you didn't write it.

I'm often asked what i do for a living. I answer "something with computers". I get blank stares. I like to be understood, and don't care for blank stares. But sometimes, i get the followup question: "What, specifically, do you do?". And i answer "Something. Anything. I do whatever they want me to do." If they continue again, i spit out a dozen unrelated industry keywords and ask if they know what they mean. If the answer is "yes", then i say that i do those things. My motto seems to be that my job is so secret, not even i know what i'm doing.