Monthly Archives: July 2013


Working on narrative evaluations for class. It’s kind of torture for me. I much prefer the lesson-planning, teaching aspects of the job.

This is the last bit before all my ATDP work is done, and then it’s officially new job search time. I’m looking to get back into web development.

Oh and I’m looking to re-organize all the binder stuff and make the course material available online, but that’s nothing official.

Cleaning Up

One of my students used audio in his project. And I fucking hate audio. (This will in no way affect the grade.) For some reason, the volume control on the mac wasn’t working, so I had to search for the remote to mute the sound on the monitor. I couldn’t find the fucking remote. My desk is a mess, and I assumed it was somewhere there. So, I started cleaning up. While shuffling around papers, I discovered some glue sticks that I didn’t even know were there. I put them away, but one slipped out of the container, and bounced… off the remote face-down on the floor. Whatever works.


I find lecturing more difficult for AIC than my writing classes. I don’t feel as if they are retaining as much information as I’d like. (Luckily, the class is mostly exercised-based, which means they are still doing the learning even if everything didn’t stick from lecture.)

One of my CS professors did lecture by hacking away at code in class and narrating as he went along. I liked the professor. Plus, TIC had that giant projector screen in TMF too. Since I haven’t taught a CS class before, I kind of follow that model.

I think one problem is the room configuration. We have a projector set up. I sit at a computer and type away, or comment on code that has already been typed. All the seats are arranged along the walls, and the projector screen is at the front. My computer is in the middle, facing the projector screen. They’re all facing the projector screen, so I can’t really see their faces. I could see a few faces if I turned around. I’m used to lecturing at the front and seeing everyone. In fact, I can’t even see most of them at all since I’m too short to look over the computer that I’m using. It makes it difficult to gauge engagement. I’m sitting down too, so I’m less energetic. I’d prefer a chalkboard.

The room configuration isn’t the only factor. I started providing code samples for them to use for their exercises. This makes it less important to listen to lecture, I think. So that might affect engagement. That’s only a gut feeling, though, and not really based on data. However, I feel like the code samples are really helpful (based on the way I learn, and based on how I see them building on it for their own code).

One change I might make is providing code samples before lecture. That way, they can look at it and play with it. Kind of get an idea of what it does. Then, I can explain more about how it works in class. I think that would provide better scaffolding for the lecture. Otherwise, I sometimes think it’s hard to figure out what’s going on during lecture.

As the class has progressed, I’ve started to feel more useless. Which is actually a good thing. It means they’re becoming more self-sufficient. I’m still busy, but I’m not getting tugged in a million directions at once, and the questions they do have are more interesting and not trivial.

Canvas… what next

Yesterday, I was just going to do animation with canvas, and then handle events today with a game loop. Instead, I jumped straight ahead so that the assignment was more fun. They made it so they could fly a UFO around the screen. This leaves me unsure of what to do tomorrow. Particle generation, as I had once planned for Wednesday? Sprites? I guess this wouldn’t be an issue if I was planning to have them work on the exercise for the entire class. These topics are complex. But I want to leave enough time to work on projects. So, I somehow have to simplify things without making it too simple. I wish I could just skip to a game framework. I am stress-eating candy.


I get more excited about JavaScript as a language the more I learn about it. I’m really intrigued by the way it treats objects. I’ll probably buy a few books on it soon.

Remember the old days when JavaScript was mostly used to do annoying things?


Percival did his job last Friday. I sat out the game, and the spies failed to assassinate Merlin, picking Percival instead.

Friday was also Alumni Day at TIC. We lunched, and several people hung out at AIC afterwards.

The topic for AIC was Ajax. It’s shockingly easy with jQuery. I made a point to make the assignment shorter (since the last ones have been so long), and everyone finished early. Wednesday was passwords and PHP sessions. Monday was database design. Next week will be all Canvas stuff. One student worked on the bonus portion for Friday’s exercise and seemed excited, and I got excited in turn. This stuff is really cool.

After AIC, there was more hanging out (and games) and a movie. Some of us saw Monsters U. Fun movie.

Revolutionizing Everything

I looked up Yelp’s mission statement and was surprised to see a simple “Our purpose: To connect people with great local businesses.” Every tech company these days has to revolutionize the way we do X, or disrupt such and such marketplace. I imagine if Yelp was a startup now, their goal might be to revolutionize the way people connect with local businesses. And with its success, we wouldn’t be surprised to see tech media reprinted PR releases about how the revolution is happening.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, Yelp is something some people use sometimes, a few people use a lot, and a lot of people don’t use at all. It’s another option that I appreciate, but it hasn’t radically altered the way I shop and eat.

I dislike the arrogance and neomania. It feels false. (Or maybe it’s merely a distaste for revolutions coming from the Burkean in me, haha.)

Well, that’s all the time I have for now. I could go on and on. Instead, I’ll stop here. Time to eat breakfast and visit TIC. Good-bye.


The spies keep winning at Resistance. I’m not sure why. I was almost always a spy, so that probably helped the spy side. I also think certain students are just naturally better at being spies than Resistance. Generally, I think my students are too quick to vote up missions and not doing enough talking and logicking as non-spies. Or maybe the bigger groups favor spies a bit more? It’s harder to figure out who the spy is when the first mission starts as 3.

In an attempt to tip the balance a bit more towards good, I brought in Avalon. The Merlin knows who everyone is, and even though the spies can assassinate him, I feel like it should help good. Unfortunately, the first time we played, the Merlin thought someone was a spy who wasn’t because of how the thumb was positioned. In attempt to change the balance more, I added Oberon. He’s basically a spy cut off from the rest of the spies. They don’t know who he is; he doesn’t know who they are; but the Merlin knows who he is. I think I may even try to add Percival. Percival knows who the Merlin is, which should tilt it towards good even more. Or maybe I should add the Lady of the Lake. I just worry that will take too long since we only have 30 minutes for break.

Many to many

It’s strange what sticks when you teach. Dev used a Reading List (books for each class) from the ATDP database as an example when explaining a many-to-many relationship. Now they all think of that kind of table as a reading list; I can use “reading list” as a shorthand. What the heck is the formal name for it?

BART Strike

This BART strike is annoying. Luckily, I still have the option of taking the bus to campus or walking there if I really have to. I have no idea what I’d do if I had to commute to SF. Usually, during labor disputes, I default to rooting for the workers over the ownership. For this scenario, I’ve adhered to the default, not having done much research. I don’t know what to think about the people who default to rooting for the other side. I remember looking at comments at ESPN during the NFL lockout, and people were blaming the rich players, even though the owners made way more and it was a lockout, not a strike. Of course, regardless of who’s right or wrong with the BART strike, I’m annoyed at how it affects me personally because I’m not a saint and I still think about myself.

AIC continues its fast pace. We focused on jQuery for Monday and Wednesday, going over DOM manipulation and then event handlers. On Friday, we started to ease back into PHP, going over front-end and back-end validation. This week we’re doing databases. Monday was SQL and the next two days will be PDO. Tomorrow we’ll focus on read operations, where they’ll get to display my comics. Friday will be designing a database and writing to it. I’m worried that may be too complicated.

I wanted to write an essay that would encompass the evolution of my current philosophies. I keep getting bogged down because there’s so much to cover and I don’t know what’s the best order. This seems like something I should try to break down into parts.