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Does this make me multilingual? July 16, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers, electromagnetics, engineering, grad school, math, physics, research.
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I began my programming education quite young and have maintained my skills over the years.  I have recently been thinking of documenting some of the various languages and software programs I’ve learned to use, so here is as good a place as any.

  • 4th grade – TI Basic
  • 8th grade – Logo
  • 10th grade – BasicA and Apple Basic (pretty close to the same thing)
  • 12th grade – Fortran and QBasic (these were at the college)

In college:

  • took a class on C and had to learn unix, too
  • learned Maple in a calc course
  • learned matlab for a research project and used it extensively in a numerical analysis course
  • learned mathcad for a physics lab course
  • learned mathematica for intro to differential equations and used that for many other classes

During my MS, I was exposed to half a dozen software packages for computational electromagnetics modeling (half of which are trademarked, so I’m not going to bother listing them).

In the past couple years at work, I’ve gotten pretty handy with Scilab.

After all of this, you would think that I have a pretty complete toolkit.  I should be able to do pretty much whatever I need with what I’ve already learned.  I find it ironic, therefore, that I am back to using Fortran (one of the first things I learned).  I also have been spending the past month trying to learn IDL (which, if you don’t mind me saying, seems like a less friendly version of matlab), so there is something new, again.  Also, I have people pestering me to learn python.

Looking at this list, I’m starting to think I’m learning things so that I can simply forget them again later.  I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten more than I remember.

Lost in translation March 18, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers, research.
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I took my first class in Fortran in the fall semester of 1992, while I was still in high school.  I was taking some classes at the university as an early entry student, and the teacher of the course was a grad student.  He was trying to explain something and kept getting the syntax wrong.  I was getting horribly frustrated, as were the rest of us.  He probably noticed as his response was to say, “I know three operating systems, which means I’ve become completely useless in all of them.”

I didn’t understand how he could confuse things like that as I was taking German and Spanish simultaneously and never seemed to have a problem with mixing things.  I had no idea how different it was to learn spoken language versus coding language.  That was before I’d learned to use a handful of programming languages and started using matlab commands in my fortran code.  Debugging is even more of a pain because it looks right…and it is, but for another language.

The Program Prayer February 9, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers.
Tags: , , program prayer

A few of you know that I’m having to relearn Fortran.  It was the first college class I took (while still in high school), and the version I’m learning now is considerably newer.

As I’m going through this, I’m remembering why I like Matlab.  The one thing that bothers me about Fortran is that it will deal with integers and reals in different ways, and that can be problematic if you have a mixed-type operation.  My main irritation with Matlab is that I will use i as a counter and later try to use it as an imaginary value.  (Of course, I always forget I can use j because that’s just not proper…I still have difficulties adjusting to that usage in certain contexts.)

I’ll bet I’m not the only one who gets annoyed at various language quirks.

Anyway, while digging through some files, I came across something from the same time period I took Fortran.  In fact, the printing on the paper is from a dot-matrix printer. If there is one thing I am thankful for, it is that technology has created quieter printers.

The Program Prayer

Our program, which art in memory,
“Hello” be thy name.
Thy operating system come,
Thy commands be done,
On the printer as it is on the screen.
Give us this day, our daily data,
And forgive us our I/O errors
As we forgive those whose logic circuits are faulty.
Lead us not into frustration,
But deliver us from power surges,
For thine is the algorithm, the application, and the solution,
Looping forever and ever.

Crazy busy weekend… February 6, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, older son, personal, younger son.
Tags: , , fingernail polish, ,

Okay…totally a fluff post.  But you need those sometimes, eh?

• Finally realized one thing that has been making the homeschooling part of things hard on the older boy: he likes to work to a ‘good stopping point’.  Telling him to work on something ‘for two hours’ is just too vague.  So I’ve been sitting down and coming up with how much he should do.  Things like, ‘work to the end of this chapter.’  This seems to be working worlds better, and his pace has been picking up a lot.

• Younger boy likes finger nail polish.  So much so that I had to paint his toenails with some holographic stuff I got.  I didn’t paint his fingernails because I know there are boys at school who would pick on him.  He did, however, have to take off socks at gymnastics.  I was very nervous about it, but no one said a thing.  He did ask one of his teachers what she thought, and she said his nails were beautiful.  Huge relief: boys get judged so harshly for being different, and I’m so glad people didn’t get judgmental.  I did warn him, however, that it might happen.

• Honestly, I used to get nervous about wearing nail polish to work.  No one has said anything over the past couple months when I have worn it, so I’ve been indulging a lot more often in one of my few very girly interests.  Even been wearing sparkly stuff.

• Younger boy also strongly associates girls things with pink.  We went to buy some dog supplies yesterday, and anything that came in pink was what he chose to buy.  No one will ever question whether our dog is a boy or girl.

• My house is clean.  It’s always good motivation when you have guests staying with you.  Also discovered the teenager is getting amazingly good at cleaning.

• I’m relearning Fortran.  It’s been a while…a very long while.

• I’m getting braces tomorrow.  Not. Looking. Forward. To. That.


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