Thought Repository

Teacher's Pet

I've never thought of myself as an especially good student, but I feel like I'm doing pretty good now. It is a high pressure environment because we are expected to get all A's in our Media Lab classes. Also, having only two classes, albait hard ones, to split my time between, and no social life, makes it easy to work hard and get a lot done.

Although last minute my analysis for the first paper we had to read for Context Aware Computing got me an A+.

I can't remember the last time I've seen a grade like that. Following that I spent most of my weekend working on my first project for fab class. The project was to come up with an idea for a final project and model it in 3D and then animate it doing what it is supposed to do. We could use any package we wanted, but if we didn't know any, Blender was suggested. Since I only vaguely know Max and my cracked copy seemed not to be working, I decide to learn Blender. Although I'm not sure I'll actually want to do this for my final project, I decide to render my haptic fountain idea. The idea is a fountain that is a grid of water jets. The height of the water is controlled by one of those pinart toys. When you make an impression in the pins, the water duplicates the shape. I think I worked a total of 30 hours on this project over less than 3 days. Over 12 hours two days in row. I don't know if I spent more time than most or am just a faster learner but my animation seems to be the runaway winner. When it played people were very impressed, both in general and that I was able to it with such an opaque tool (there were quite a few problems people had figuring it out) in my first week of using it. The professor even asked me after class if I knew how to do a certain thing that he couldn't figure out. I didn't really know but this afternoon I did some tests and made him a sample. I rendered a nice movie and gave him the sample, the movie, and good explaination of the theory behind what I did (it had to do with the issue of color space which is an area I've previously researched a bit).

The next topic in the class is cutting. Today we learned about the vinyl cutter, laser cutter, and water jet cutter. People think lasers are so amazing, but the laser cutter can do pretty stuff but is limited in the material, sizes, and thicknesses it can cut into. The water jet is bigger and more powerful. It won't etch, only cut, but it will blast through anything. It was very cool to see these machines in action and will be fun to get to make something with them.

At first I had free time and nothing to do, no friends or social life. Now there are people I'd want to get together with and hang out, or I bought some games, Set and Carcassone, but no free time. I've never had as little free time as this. I don't know how this work manages to consume me as much as it does. It is weird to not have any free time. In the past I filled my free time, often with things that became required so that it was all scheduled, but it was never this heavy a percentage school. There are so many things I want to do. The way I am, I can't have fun while I have work hanging over my head. I feel like I can dig out of this pile of work and have some free time, but it doesn't seem to happen. Something that always annoys me though is other people. I can always make some free time for fun, I think you just have to. Unfortunately, when you want to do things with other people, they aren't always the same way. My friends in the media lab are also really busy and aren't willing to set aside time like I am.