Mobile Weekend in Waterloo

You can read about the event in more detail at the Mobile Weekend website, but in short, it is a weekend for developers, business types, HR, bloggers, and legal to get together, decide on an idea for a mobile service or product, develop the idea, and end up with a working prototype at the end of the two-and-a-half day event. This is an innovation and entrepreneurial event for people all around the Waterloo region. If you’re interested, tickets to the event (which will get you access to the event itself, food and drink for the weekend, and swag) can be had here. There are also some resources to help any developers prepare for potential projects on the Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, or Google Android platforms over here.

Mobile Weekend

I heard about the event through a co-worker yesterday and was immediately interested in the idea. I visited the site, looked through some of the Innovation Toronto and Startup Weekend events that it’s based on and decided it would be a fun and exciting event to contribute to, if as nothing more than a web developer/blogger/idea generator. The first Mobile Weekend event will be held in Waterloo on the weekend of April 25-27th. A subsequent Mobile Weekend will be held in Toronto, with the date to be determined at a later time.

You may not be from Waterloo, or even the southern Ontario region, but perhaps you know someone who is and would be interested in this sort of event. Let them know! This will only be a success if lots of bright minds get together to work on all aspects of the product or service, not just the geeky, techy side of it.

What Terrible Luck

I wasn’t expecting to be heading home this weekend, but here I find myself, sitting in my habitual balcony overlooking the rest of the house. Let me tell you, it wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill drive back here either.

As is typically the case, I hitched a ride with a friend out of Waterloo. As we drove down the on-ramp to Highway 85, we noted some funny sounds coming from the car. Sensing something was amiss, we stopped on the shoulder to survey the car. Lo and behold, the left rear tire was flat. We still haven’t figured out what we ran over, but that was the least of our concerns at the time.

It was absolutely frigid. Not expecting to be out in the cold at all during the drive, I had left my gloves and scarf in my room in Waterloo. Furthermore, with the flat on the left side of the car, and thus facing the road, it put us in a dangerous position to be switching out a tire. I’ve read and heard of the countless occasions on which a stopped car gets rear-ended by another car, racing down the highway. Unfortunately, the shoulder wasn’t plowed very well, which meant that although the car was already on the snow bank, we would still be creeping onto the road, while working.

Needless to say (I seem to be alive and well), nothing did happen – we switched out the deflated tire for a half-size thing that limited our speed to around 80km/h. It was one heck of a long drive.

I guess my luck wasn’t as bad as my friend’s. After all, he’ll be the one replacing the tire.

Orchestra and a Busy Life

I’m proud to say I am now part of the University of Waterloo Orchestra, percussion section. Timpani would appear to be the most prevalent piece of percussion in orchestral music and I have the part for our major piece.

The range of music that we are able to play is far greater than in high school, thanks to the inclusion of a strings section. I was able to listen to the two pieces we have thus far and I have to say, it’s a whole new ball-game. In high school, you’ll run across a nice piece every so often. But with a full orchestra, everything from Mozart to Beethoven to Vivaldi (or even interesting modern works) is within the repertoire. I want to go to rehearsals, because I want to hear us improve, which is more than I could say for most times in high school.

But speaking of orchestra and extracurricular activities, I’m finding myself with very little time in the evenings. Mondays and Wednesdays, I’m at the gym for a couple hours. After making some food and eating, it’s just about time for bed. Tuesdays, I have class from 5:30pm to 10pm. That entire evening is written off. And now with orchestra, I have rehearsal from 6:30pm to 9:30pm, which also takes a huge chunk of time, not to mention the time required to learn the part. Add in time for PDEng 45 (shudder) and work outside class for BU121W and it’s a full schedule.

I had been planning on putting a big chunk of my evenings towards web development, but that doesn’t seem so likely now. I barely have time to keep up with posting here. I have so many topics to write about, but it’s hard to even take 30 minutes to write up something quick that doesn’t require a lot of research.

I mean I’m writing this during the idle times in my business class.

PDEng 45 – The Worst Yet

I have a prediction. PDEng 45 will be the worst PDEng course thus far – reason being that it’s group-based. That’s right, a group-based PDEng course. I can sort of understand why they decided torment us so. After all, the course is called ‘Leadership‘. It’s a little difficult to lead when you’re a team of one. Nevertheless, if most students do PDEng as I and my friends do, it’ll get shoved to the last possible minute. Have you ever tried cramming a group project just before it’s due? It’s not fun. Inevitably one or two people end up doing all the work.

And I guess that may be why this is the perfect chance to learn about leadership – how to motivate everyone to not fail miserably at PDEng. Truth be told, regardless of what the material and projects actually consist of, I have no doubt that getting the people together at the same time to work will be the most difficult part. When everyone is so unmotivated to do a PDEng assignment, it’s really like asking who wants to lead the troops down Death Row. You know the end result won’t be pleasant.

So with a grimace I face this new course. I’ve filled out the two mandatory conduct forms, which state I the requirements to pass the course and how to act in an online course. Next, I get set up with my group members. Cross your fingers.

Preempting The End of 2B

In a couple days, I’ll have finished all my final examinations and be on my way home for the winter holiday break. This 2B semester has been especially challenging, not in terms of the difficulty of concepts, but of the amount of work required to do well. One recent graduate told me that 2B really isn’t too bad as long as you can stay on top of the many labs. Unfortunately, it sounds much easier than it actually is. On the plus side, I made a small resolution before the start of the semester to keep up with lectures, instead of cramming it all into the week before midterms and finals. I was sort of able to adhere to that, although not as much as I’d like. It’s progress, and I resolve that the next study semester will be even better with regard to keeping up with the material on a daily basis.

So far, four exams are behind me, with only ECE251 – Programming Languages and Translators to come. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on this last subject with the prospect of being done so prevalent in my thoughts. Nevertheless, I’ll feel much better if I end it on a high note, so I’ll be working hard over the next day to ingrain the concepts within me. Thus far, only ECE241 Circuit Analysis and Design was a bit of a disappointment. While I think I did fine on the final, it was significantly more difficult than I had expected, so I have a feeling I’ll be disappointed in that mark.

After sort of being cheated out of the Dean’s List last semester (I won’t go into in extreme detail, but essentially one of my final exams was marked incorrectly, and my mark should have been significantly higher, but the updated mark was not submitted in time to be considered for rankings) my goal this semester was to make it back onto the List. Wish me luck.