First day of class! (January 15th, 2014)

Hello everyone! This is my first programming class! I’m so happy about this and the best part is we get to blog about it! Yes! Sadly the first day was a bit chaotic because I take a class from 9:30 to 10:20 and this class, comp 3010 starts at 10:30 so I was a bit late and therefore had to sit on the back of the class where I could neither see or hear very well… However I was still able to learn a few very interesting things, even things that I had always wondered about so let’s get started:

 

I think it was very interesting how we did a small analysis on what the book says vs reality. The book says the most common types of computers are mainframe, workstation and PC. But nowadays these are not the most popular ones (in fact although I had heard of mainframes I didn’t even know what they looked like or was even sure what they are… If someone out there is just like me then here, an example of a mainframe:http://www.bubblews.com/news/532697-mainframe-computer) The main kinds of computers today are laptops, tablets, cellphones and embedded systems! Oh this last one! I’m so glad the professor mentioned this one because I didn’t those were called that! So what is an embedded system? Well according to what I heard in class and what I just read online an embedded system is a computer system that is part of a larger system like cars, etc.

We also established in class that a computer program is NOT a set of instructions but a SEQUENCE, isn’t that nice?!

 

Aside this we expanded our knowledge on some basic definitions such as what a network is (many computers and printers, etc connected together) and its main perpose, sharing. Other definitions were input and out put. What you put in the computer and what you take out of the computer respectively. It’s funny because when I heard this in class I only thought of jump drives but when I read the book I learned that the screen is also an output device, it hadn’t cross my mind before but now I think about it and it feels so obvious! Another output device is the printer! Input devices are the keyboard and mouse. Hmph, funny right now I lack an input device and an output device, because I don’t own a printer or a mouse!  

Now let’s get down to the confusing part, shall we? Well the class was just fine and until we got to the bits and bytes. O.k, I understand a bit is a thing? or binary digit with only two possible values or options like the examples we had in class: Sun vs rain, clear square vs shaded square or True vs False. A byte has eight bits so it’s like a byte is a group of bits and only eight members are allowed. These eight bits form a byte that holds information like a letter or a number and this then becomes a memory location with a number that will be its address. So I guess we could see it as a house number or something like that. The book has a very nice picture that explains this, it was also shown in class if I remeber correctly. You can find the image or Display in page 5. So where was all this confusing? Well it got very confusing when the professor said something like sometimes we want to represent a lot more than just one option. Then he moved on to talk about four wheels. At that point I was completely lost so I wasn’t able to write much, but hey wait I think I get it now. He asked us how many bits are needed for 4 wheels, apparently the answer was 2 because one bit = 2 options. Then I remember he drew an axis on the board and I think what this meant was that one bit can represent left-front/left-back and that the other bit can represent right-front/right-back! Was that it or am I wrong? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. But then it got even MORE confusing because it just so happens that bits grow exponentially! But hmmm… I know what exponents are but I think I still don’t understand how to apply it to the next example he gave. I know one of the questions he asked was “how many bits if we want to represent 30 students?” I didn’t write any of that because I was lost, was the answer 5? And why? I still don’t get that. Hmph. Maybe a trip to the office is in order??? Another question was how many bits if we want to represent 10, 000 students? Apparently the answer was 14, by now I was taking class notes again. But I’m not sure why. My theory is the following; we want bits for 10,000 students, bits grow exponentially and 2^14 equals the number closest to the number we want. 2^14 = 16,384 meanwhile 2^13 = 8,192. Thirteen is too small so we need to use fourteen because it goes beyond 10,000 and we have some bits to spare, it can’t be 13 because then we wouldn’t be able to cover all the studens. I think that’s what we were going for in class but I still have to make sure. So let’s go back to the example with 30 students and see if we can solve it. I think we can! Yes. The answer was 5 afterall! How silly of me! Because 2^5 = 32! It has to be 5 because of the exponential growth and because it’s the number closest to what we were looking for!

 

O.k friends! That’s it for today! I gotta say blogging about a class is great! It’s like a big review that forces you to think and do some extra work and investigate a little! I hope I have the time to make a blog about every single class and some extra blogs about fun programming stuff and personal investigation or something like that!

Also sorry this blog is just words and words, I tried to insert a picture and it was taking WAAAY too long and I’m new to wordpress but I hope next time I can include some pictures and spice things up a little!

 

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