Just wrapped up exams for the 3A semester and the final exam, ECE 332 Microelectronic Circuits, went much, much better than I could have hoped. There was a point earlier in the week where I was breaking down, fearing a fail in the exam, but after pulling a near all-nighter, I flew through the exam. It also helped that the midterm questions made an appearance on the final. Clearly the professor wasn’t too pleased with our midterm (of which only one person passed…)
Midway through exams, my Dell XPS M1330 (which was my sole computer in Waterloo after taking my desktop home) decided to up and give out, with the video card dieing. The initial indication was some weird artifacting on the external Westinghouse 24″ LCD I use, but I thought it was the fault of the LCD’s since it also exhibited the same sort of issue with my desktop (which in retrospect has a GeForce 8800GT equipped with the G92 chip, which may also be plagued with the weak die-packing issue). However, after unplugging the LCD, the problem persisted and worsened to the point that the display now shows nothing but weird discolorations when I turn on the laptop. I’ve been in contact with Dell regarding the issue, but I imagine I might have to pull some teeth to get it fixed since the problems started a whole 2 days after my warranty expired.
I’m now in relax mode, trying to catch up on sleep, although driving back and forth to Toronto today certainly didn’t help. I’m not having too much luck with finding a temporary place in Toronto for the upcoming work semester. It’s this terrible combination of not wanting to spend too much money and not wanting to live in some ghetto place. I don’t like the big city as it is – I hardly want to sully that feeling further by living in an area where I constantly feel like I’m going to be stabbed. Oh, there’s no need to tell me that it’s blowing things out of proportion; I know it is, yet the feeling remains. At this point, I’m actually considering commuting. Yep, about 4 hours on the road (or rail as it were) each day, but with this 6GB data plan, I could easily spend that time connected to the internet or doing some other bit of work on a laptop.
Also, as a reward for wrapping up the semester, I went and picked up a Sony Alpha A200 DSLR last night from Future Shop. Despite confirming with the sales rep that the camera was indeed new, I came home to find the shot counter at over 1400. The camera quickly went back and with it being the only one in stock, I walked out empty handed. It wasn’t a complete loss – I discovered the image quality to not be significantly better than the Sony F717 that I currently use and the I’m sure the A200’s kit lens is a big factor in that (f3.5 at wide angle compared to the f2.0 Carl Zeiss on the F717). I’ll probably wait until after Photokina to see if anything changes in the entry-level DSLR market before taking another dip in the SLR pool.