Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Day's Thoughts

On campus, there are many signs indicating "No Skateboards/Bikes Allowed", fine print beneath noting "Except on Weekends/Holidays." I have never seen anyone obey these signs. The really funny thing, though, is that even the architecture of campus seems to flout the signs' edicts; though "architecture" might not be the correct word. Passing one "No Skateboards/Bicycles" sign earlier today, I noticed a bike rack about fifty feet ahead of me. Turning around, I noted another fifty feet behind. Logically, biking must be forbidden on at least one side of this sign - yet there are bike racks on both sides.

Perhaps there's a traffic spike on weekends.

It amused me, anyway.

Moving on. Later, I noticed that a bike rack had been removed from an already busy spot, forcing me to follow the lead of another and lock my bike to a lamp-post. This is a transition to my next anecdote, about an excellent lecture I recieved today. It was for the introductory, mandatory CSE 91 class, which has a rotating set of professors talking about various CS topics. It's occasionally interesting, more often not, but today was excellent. The professor discussed graduate school, and, as I noted in another context, he was totally "real" and "hip" to the "streets". His name... was Professor Savage.

Surprisingly, I knew him! I had emailed him roughly a week ago, gaining an interview for that very same class, CSE 91. I talked to him after class - didn't have much to say, just felt I should say hello, having never before met him in meatspace - and it transpired that he'd forgotten about the lecture at the time I emailed him for an interview. Quoting from memory (very poorly), "they emailed me a reminder about my lecture in two days, and my response was, 'Great. Remind me what the lecture is about, again?'"

He's pretty nifty. Wonder if any vanity searches he does will pick this up? I've not said anything rude about him, so it's no skin off my back either way. (Weird expression, that.)

Shifting to another thought, CSE 91 is the class which had, as a slide in an early lecture, a graph showing enrollment in undergraduate CS programs, both in UCSD and nationwide. Both were in a decline for the last several years, especially severe immediately after the dot-com bust; the CS Department is something like 60% of its older size, I think. (Don't trust me on the numbers.) It's almost lonely, in a way - being in a major in decline. Hopefully I'm not the bright young lad going to college to learn how to design buggy-whips. (In 1908.) (Metaphorically.)

Happier and less-confused anecdote to wrap things up: Earlier in the day, but after the bike sign anecdote, I was in one of UCSD's many computer labs, preparing to be instructed on scholarly research by a librarian. I noticed the computers were using IE; this was a tragedy, and I decided to try to install Firefox. Didn't expect it to work - most sysadmins are wise enough to disable install privileges for users... but for whatever reason, theirs wasn't. Within a minute of sitting down at the computer, I was happily browsing in Firefox.

(A certain Eastern friend notes that Dartmouth's computers have Firefox preinstalled as the default. Lucky!)

No comments: