Waterloo Magnitude 5.0 is a thirty second anime about a 5.0 earthquake that hits Waterloo originating from somewhere north of Ottawa. For the first fifteen seconds, everyone stops, wondering what the slight shaking is. Then everyone goes on Twitter to find out whether or not it was an earthquake. Life goes on.
Unlike other terrible ideas that no one liked, Waterloo decided it was probably not a good idea to press ahead with a logo that was universally loathed. In a rare moment of humility, they even decided to solicit feedback from real people. Of course, all this is for naught if the new logos are as terrible as the old ones.
AHAHAHAHAHAHA. It’s pretty terrible. （ ´_ゝ`）
Here, we have the first new one. It’s a huge improvement over the other one. The most obvious criticisms of Unlimited Laser Works were the billions of lines and the billions of colours used. The first is taken care of by focusing on black and gold, the school’s colours. The second is taken care of by the slight tilt and cutting the top a bit. That conveys the dynamism or whatever without having tons of crazy lines flying all over the place.
I wouldn’t mind this one at all, although I think some explanation of the process and what it symbolizes would help make it more interesting. Of course, I’m not going to whine and say it’s too plain, because it’s worlds better than the other extreme.
At first glance, this one is kind of unsettling because of the way the E fits in with the T and R. But if you take a look on the stationary (the letterhead and the business card), those three lines becomes a really clever little motif that is really flexible. I think it’s a lot better than the random curvy lines that they’re using now. It’s also not too hard to change for faculty use, just by swapping the gold for a faculty colour.
I think this one grew on me and became my choice. The problem with the other one is that it doesn’t have any strong elements that could be taken on its own, so the use of the giant W is forced upon you. This one also has the advantage of a fairly distinct wordmark.
Always returns true, durr.
Anyway, I realized I hadn’t put up any appraisal of what I took for the last few terms (so 2A coop, 2B, and 2B coop, hence 2B hurr hurr hurr), so instead of studying, I will do that now.
ECON 102: Introduction to Macroeconomics (Smith)
I took this during my 2A coop term. Larry Smith is super-duper entertaining. In addition to that, it was nice that he incorporated economic happenings from the real world as they happened. I regret not being in Waterloo for his commentary in Fall 2008 when the financial crisis became too big to ignore and Obama was elected. An excellent introduction to macroeconomics.
LS 101: Introduction to Legal Studies (DE)
I took this during my 2B coop term through distance education. Nothing special here, just a course that goes through the basics of law in Canada. Pretty easy, what with one paper and one final and no effort put into either netting me a very good mark. I guess if you suck at writing, you shouldn’t take it?
CS 240: Data Structures and Data Management (Chinaei)
Not a terrible prof, but I bought CLRS, so I wasn’t missing too much.
CS 246: Software Abstraction and Specification (Davis)
Again, not terrible, but the course was just C++, obscure UML details, memorizing design patterns, and long tedious assignments.
CS 251: Computer Organization and Design (Cowan)
I’m not a fan of low-level stuff and this was pretty much the lowest-level course that CS has. I already took SE 141, so that saved me for the first half of the course, but the second half seemed like obscure architecture details. It didn’t help that the prof liked to go on long tangents, both in lecture and on assignments.
STAT 230: Probability (Chisholm)
I wasn’t in her section, but I went to one class with the prof that I was supposed to have and never went back. I hate statistics, but she was a really good prof and made it bearable.
PMATH 345: Rings, Polynomials, and Finite Fields (McKinnon)
This was my favourite course of the term. Of course, this was also my hardest course, and I pretty much got destroyed. But I loved the course content. And the prof was awesome too. It might be my favourite course I’ve taken so far. Of course, it’d be my lowest mark too. Go figure.
So I mentioned before that I was worried about the inclusion of PDEng in my reasoning towards my departure from engineering. Why was this? I felt that PDEng, while a horrid abortion of a program, was not the main consideration in my decision. In fact, it had very little to do with the decision. I know that a few people have seized it and have believed to have figured me out, but I assure you, being rid of PDEng was a side benefit. So in an attempt to repair the legitimacy of my last post, I’m going to attempt to reason out my thinking behind PDEng.
And that’s why I was worried. PDEng represented a different aspect of the program than what I was considering. My decision was largely motivated by my own interests in the field of computer science and mathematics and the fact that software engineering was not where they lay. Another part of my concern was the manner in which engineering has set itself up and the way that it is contrasted to the math way of doing things, which I much prefer.
PDEng was simply brought up as an example of the engineering way. That’s all. Devoting such a large portion of my post to PDEng was probably a mistake in this sense, and I should have separated the problems of PDEng into its own post like this one.
Of course, this is not even considering the sheer stupidity one would have to be steeped in to leave software engineering because of PDEng. Let’s look at this carefully now. Essentially, if someone leaves software engineering to go to computer science because of PDEng, they are an enormous retard.
I wasn’t a stranger to many things about first year engineering at Waterloo. I knew about the murderous PHYS 115 midterm. And I knew about PDEng. I was completely expecting the thing to be awful and it shattered my expectations and was absolutely 10/10 A+++ horrid. But seriously, if you’re hard set on becoming an engineer, PDEng should not deter you from doing so. If I really wanted to become a software engineer, I’d just suck it up and bitch about it like everyone else is doing. It really isn’t worth leaving over.
And it really isn’t worth leaving over when the brain surgeons over at CECS decide to spawn more of their hellish program over the rest of the coop program. Yes, I knew about WatPD too. I don’t just jump from program to program all willy-nilly. I do my goddamn research and know what the hell I’m getting myself into. So, I’d have to be an illiterate monkey if I were switching to CS over PDEng, because I’d be right back where the hell I started: having to take another retarded professionalism course over coop.
In conclusion, no, I did not leave engineering because of PDEng. As I’ve mentioned, I’d have to be a gigantic retard to have done so. Does this mean PDEng isn’t bad? Oh hells no. PDEng is still a gigantic pile of fecal matter and it appears that it’s not going to change very quickly. And now we have five more piles to deal with.
So I’ve noticed that I’ve neglected my posting duties on my blog. I’ve also noticed that I’ve omitted and missed many things I would have liked to talk about, but unfortunately, I haven’t had the time for it. Now then, technically, midterms are over for me now, so that means another installment of WTF do I think of my classes and profs! Elation!
Of course, things are much different this term than in my first year. This has to do with my decision to leave the world of software engineering and fly under the flag of computer science and pure mathematics. Thus far, my classes are indicating that I made a very good decision.
MATH 237 — Calculus 3 for Honours Mathematics: Wolczuk
The interesting thing about switching from engineering to math is the fact that many of the courses you need to continue on taking are in fact courses that cover material you’ve already covered, except they are rife with theorems and proofs that you’ve skimmed over or handwaved over. Such is the case in calculus.
The two course sequence for most ECEs (this includes SE, Nano, and Syde; you’re all in ECE), MATH 117 and 119 covers up to and includes multivariable calculus (partial differentiation, multiple integrals, etc). This same two course sequence is stretched out to three courses in math (MATH 137, 138, 237).
The prof for this course, Wolczuk is the happiest man on earth. No, really. No one can be that happy at 8:30 in the morning — except him. He starts off every class with a little puzzle-y thing and throws in random jokes that you groan at, but is fairly hilarious. He’s a great prof and I’m glad that I decided to not go to my assigned section and that I even took this course this term, dropping CS 251 for it.
MATH 239 — Introduction to Combinatorics: Jao
As far as I understand, combinatorics is very, very relevant to computer science. I expected the course to be fairly interesting and one of the easier courses. Of course, since I’m basically doing easier courses than I expected, this course seems to be surfacing near the top of the difficulty pile. Still, not too bad. I also enjoy this talk about graphs and stuff quite a bit too.
Our prof, Jao, is fairy mediocre. He can speak English and without an accent, which is excellent. But he seems to like explaining how he teaches more than actual teaching. He’s not horrible, but he’s not the best prof in the world either.
MATH 235 — Linear Algebra 2 for Honours Mathematics: Celmins
Linear algebra was one of the things I hoped I’d never have to take again. It seemed fairly dull, and all it was was manipulating blocks of matrices. Of course, it’s slightly more interesting in the math context, what with having to understand various theorems rather than blindly row reduce everything as in engineering. Still, not my favourite class even thought it is ridiculously easy.
Celmins is a fairly interesting prof. He likes to go on tangents and tell us interesting things that he forgets he told us. His way of teaching is very fluid and can be hard to follow at times. Still, I prefer him to mechanical, static profs, since I can extract some interesting bits once in a while.
HIST 278 — The USSR and World War II: The Great Patriotic War: Statiev
This is a class that I chose purely out of interest. It was a huge gamble, since I had no idea how the term was going to turn out or how anything worked in the History department. In the end, it paid off. Here, I got a really interesting class about an influential moment in history that I was actually interested in (no, really, Canadian history is really not the most exciting thing in the world) and one with very little work (midterm, term paper, final) and a very good prof.
Statiev is Russian. This means he has a noticeable accent, but this also means that he knows his crap. He’s pretty interesting and understandable and throws out a few bits of hilarity. He really knows his stuff about Eastern European and military history. I wouldn’t mind taking another one of his classes.
CS 241 — Foundations of Sequential Programs: Becker
CS 241 is a pretty interesting class, especially following the work that I did over the work term. Ultimately, CS 241 is a course about how programs work on the computer. We start off with hardware level programming, with machine and assembly code. We work our way up into introductions to formal languages and language theory and through basic scanning and parsing, and by the end of the course, we write our own mini compiler.
Becker is a really good prof. He teaches really well. I think that’s about it.
CS 251 — Computer Organization and Design: Madavvat
This is a course that I really wish I didn’t have to take, especially after SE 141. Unfortunately, I still have to. I was enrolled at the beginning of the term. That changed when I realized that the prof was not very good and was not relevant to the assignments. I also realized that now that I’m in math, I can take courses in what order I want, when I want. Score.
Madavvat is slow. And has a heavy accent. No, really, ridiculously slow. Slow.