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Almost time for school.

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Next week I go back to class [sad]. I rather enjoy sleeping in until late afternoon and staying up until the sun breaks, but I suppose i'll be doing a bit less of that now. My courses:

Electronics I
Programming Languages
Software Design
Operating Systems I

Electronics I goes towards my Physics minor hopefully. It will probably be my hardest class but hopefully we'll get to do some cool projects.

Programming languages from what I gather is just surveying several different languages throughout the semester, comparing how they do things differently. I doubt each language will be covered very in-depth so it shouldn't really be too bad.

In Operating Systems we'll learn about things such as process management, scheduling, synchronization, deadlock, memory management, and virtual memory. I've had this teacher for a networking class and it was quite boring. I hope this class is better.

Software Design is where we learn things such as software engineering, structured design, object oriented design and life cycle management. I don't know what the significance of all of those terms are yet exactly, but that's why I'm taking the course I suppose [smile].

I don't think that the semester will be too bad, at least I hope not. There should be some fun stuff thrown in though. In October I plan to go to Phreaknic with a friend from school, a concert (Buckethead - awesome!), and a programming contest in Atlanta. A second contest is scheduled for November in Tennessee which I hope to make as well.

In development related rambling I've continued a bit of work on my friend's engine as he needs it, but there's nothing appreciable to show since the last screenshot. We did some work on normal calculation and smoothing, but it doesn't look terribly different than the last shot.

I decided today (I suppose yesterday, haven't really made it to bed yet) to work a bit in .NET using C++. I've had some experience with VB.NET and didn't care for it too much, but with C++ it seems slightly more tolerable.

I'm curious to know why more support wasn't written in for things like std::strings though. I've used them for several years now and they seem very natural to use. They're workable with .NET's voodoo, but more code than it's worth since there are easier solutions.

As a test project for dabbling with .NET I decided to make a gradebook type program for my mom who teaches third grade and still averages grades by hand. As a first small task I decided to create a student file (the file name coming from form input) just to get my feet wet. My first inclination, having used C++ and its accompanying functionality for so long, was to use fstream and std::strings. This was not as elegant and clean as I would have liked, with ugly conversions between System::String and std::string, but it worked.

After this little experiment I went the way of .NET and tried using their types and methods. This of course was cleaner and easier, but I'm having a hard time figuring out why they didn't provide more support for the types we were already familiar with. It was my understanding when reading about .NET that the framework and all it had to offer would extend what we already did, but it seems there's more to change over than I originally thought. I suppose their reasoning on doing it this way is irrrelevant now though since it has already been done.
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