Week Four - Discovering the Lab

What did you do this past week?

I found the CS lab. I had always shied away from that place. All the stories of people who stay there so long, that they end up seeing the sun set at night, and seeing the sun rise in the morning. It seemed like a stress factory with everyone crammed into a computer lab on the 3rd floor of the Computer Science Building (GDC); eating delivery Dominoes at 2 in the morning, sleeping only 2 hours a night, and finishing projects several minutes before the deadline. I didn’t want to get sucked into that ‘nightmarish’ environment, where like a horror story, once you go in, you never get out.

But it was completely different than I expected.

The lab was like a tight-knit, fun, relatable community. Not only were there so many people from my Operating System and OOP class, but there were CS majors that I always saw but never met, and somehow being in the lab got to meet them! Additionally, I found that everyone in the lab relates to the fact that the project they are working on is bringing about the same struggle with everyone else. And when someone finishes their project, or gets something to work (sometimes now knowing why for both), there’s this sheer happiness that everyone can identify with. It’s almost like seeing mini eureka moments happening every couple of hours (except unlike a scientist who throws their scientific papers over a balcony, you see a CS student jumping up and yelling “It worked! Woooooooo!” to no one in particular).

Anyways, on the technical side of my life, I got to finish my first Operating Systems project! I spent days coding, hours in the lab in confusion, and minutes before the deadline finalizing the style and documentation of the shell project. It’s always amazing to see all the time and effort spent in a task or project that may not make sense initially end up being right or working in the end (Story of my life).

Besides that, I also started the Netflix project with Jialin (who goes to my church and is my TA in Operating systems O.O). We spent several hours setting up tools (Github and Travis CI), designing the structure of the code (C++ documentation, pls), and making tests that would pass when run. We ended up making a customer avg. rating cache with a Python script we worked on (my original Python script would’ve worked, except I didn’t implement a dictionary unlike Jialin… curse you Python data structures that I don’t know are so useful!).

We also found a supposedly cool communication tool called TeamViewer, which I would link, except there are huge vulnerabilities behind it that involve ransomware infections (so those of you who have it, beware). You can either google about it, or read main posts here: Teamviewer’s press release, Infosecurity Article, Bleeping Computer post.

On the non-technical side, I discovered how to make quick, delicious burritos. Tortillas, eggs, some veggies, and easily cooked meat. If you ever want some from yours truly, well… you’d better know me personally, cause I don’t cook for free. (But I do if you do my CS projects for me).

What’s in your way?

Time management and understanding concepts fast and translating it into code. Many times I miss out on full or filling meals because I end up staying in my room or the lab coding.

Also Boost-serialization and reading documentation. Apparently that will make the Netflix project easier in reading cache, but learning new things always takes a lot of time, which can be annoying with bad time management.

OOP Class Impressions

I really liked how we got to hear an info session about Bloomberg by an engineer (from Bloomberg of course) in class. After taking OOP, it was cool being able to understand the tools he mentioned, such as CI with Jenkins. Also, it really pumped me up for the career fair, and pushed me to do more prep so I don’t utterly bomb the interviews I might get (technical interviews ftw).

What will you do next week?

I plan to code a lot in the lab, read pages after pages of Pinto documentation, and finish the Netflix project.

For Netflix, our plan design-wise is to make a map within a map in order to store data from the solution cache and create two arrays for the movie avg. rating and customer avg. rating each. Hopefully we can understand Boost-Serialization for C++ so we can easily integrate it with our design, saving precious hours that would’ve been spent solving what Boost-Serialization easily provides.

Additionally, I’m going to HackGT (Hack Georgia Tech) next weekend, so it’ll be cool to experience my 2nd hackathon by flying out (thank goodness for generous travel reimbursements). That also means I have to step up my game this week and finish as much Operating Systems code as possible so my partner doesn’t end up getting hurt by the amount of work needed to be finished when I come back (gg Operating Systems). And of course, because it’s out of town, I need to a find a team this week so I don’t end up going Han Solo.

Tip of the Week

This week’s tip would’ve been Teamviewer, but ransomware issues…

So with the incoming UT CNS career fair, here’s a couple last minute links I want to suggest to you all:

Enjoy, and I wish you all luck on the most pivotal event of this recruiting season! (in other words, get all that company swag) salutes

Written on September 17, 2016