Monday, March 14, 2011

A Terrible Mistake

A few weeks ago, when I started to study vocabularies as a regular exercise,  I made a computer program to help me memorize these words.

This program reads a list of words from a text file, then randomly rearranges this list and tests me on it. There are several different modes and parameters that I can set it to. For example, in the screenshot below, the program is set to spelling mode, in which it displays the definitions of words and I would have to be able to recognize and spell the words.

Anyway, today I was altering the program so that it can display my scores using a line graph, and during this process I made a logic error. A logic error is an error that does not make a program crash, but makes the program run in an undesirable way. And guess what was the logic error that I made? I made the program delete the whole word list! My 420 words along with their definitions and scores, all gone. 

Luckily I have also written these words down on paper. However, having to retype all these words is still a tedious job, especially when I have to search up their definitions again because the definitions written on paper were sort of simplified.

I think I only decided to talk about this event here because I was very depressed, and in a way writing about it was sort of like a catharsis which helped me feel better. Thank you Blog, for letting me get rid of unhappy feelings.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

This book is written by Jeanne DuPrau and is the sequel to her first novel, The City of Ember. I first read The City of Ember when I was in grade eight (2 years ago), and just a few weeks ago I heard about this book and decided to read it.

"What did you do during the holidays?"

 "What did you do during the holidays?" I have always been asked this question after holidays or longer breaks from school, by almost everyone— teachers, relatives, classmates, etc. To be honest, this is one of my most-feared questions in the world.

Every time someone asks me this question, I will pause for a while and respond reluctantly with boring answers such as "I  read some books" or "I travelled to Ottawa." To me it is always awkward to answer this question because I feel ashamed of the things that I actually spend the most time on—playing computer games and video games. It seems that people—especially adults—judge you by the kind of things you do during non-school days, and by telling them about the unproductive activities that you do, your status in their minds would drop. For example, what would you think of a person who only "slept and ate" during the holidays?

Somehow my holidays always seem to be less meaningful than others', where they do volunteer work and go to camps. I usually just stay at home and do what I want (games+reading). Because of my lack of activities, once I had to awkwardly say "I did... nothing..." when my dad's friend asked me this question. That friend must have thought "what a boring teenager he is!"

Perhaps this is a disincentive for us to do unproductive things during holidays. Under the scrutiny of other people, one must not waste their whole holiday doing nothing. Instead, one must do at least one productive thing so that one can impress the others when being asked the question "What did you do during the holidays?"

This time, I am hoping that I will be able to say, confidently, that "I read five books and did 30 computer practice problems during March Break."

March Break!

I did not have a tremendous amount of homework during the past few weeks. However, I found it hard to allocate that thirty minutes to one hour of time to write a blog post because time seemed to progress extremely fast at home, and in a split second a day would have been gone. 

Now that it is March Break, I will definitely have a lot more time as I do not have to go to school and I do not have much homework. So I am hoping to write a few more blog posts during this time. :)