Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Chapters 1 & 2


Overall, there wasn't anything in these two chapters that I had not already learned before.   I've been in the programming, hardware, and system administration areas as both a hobbyist and a professional so long, that all of this stuff has been hammered into my skull on multiple occasions.

Our first two programming assignments seem good for the novice to gain familiarity with moving between design and code views of a project, as well as creating event handlers for objects on the form.  Again, something I already knew, but I can see how this can help new programmers learn more about what event handlers can do, without having to create them by hand (as in other languages).  I remember my first experience with them in Visual Basic 6: forcing the user to use the "exit" button by having the event handler for the program close by clicking the "x" in the corner of the window, or any other reason, not work.  It would throw a Messagebox.Show("Please use the Exit button to close this program.") instead.

When I read our first assignments, anticipation sparked when reading the title of "Latin Translator" and "Orion Constellation", as I love languages, and am an amateur astronomer.  Ideas went floating through my head about possibly using the Google API to gain access to http://www.google.com/translate in order to create an application that would translate and display phrases...and then I realized that it was only three words that needed translation.  Maybe later, eh?

The "Orion Constellation" program piqued my interest, however there was a mistake made with the star names, so I made the necessary correction and went back to doing math homework ;-)  The star labeled "Meissa" is actually the star "Bellatrix".  Meissa is the "head" of Orion, and if you draw a line from Betelgeuse to Bellatrix, and then intersect that (forming a cross) by drawing a line up from Alnilam, Meissa would be an arcsecond or two (about 1/6 of an inch on our image) above that Betelgeuse/Bellatrix line, sitting on the Alnilam line.  Hope that makes sense ;-)  Ha!


  1. Well that is great to hear that you have already done this kind of stuff. I am just learning but I am proud at the pace that I am learning. Also, just the fact that I am picking up how to use this program. A comment towards your observation of the start names, I took Astronomy and did not even notice that! Good Job!

  2. I took AST 180 with Natasha Nichols last semester, but I had to take a trip to Japan, and she refused to let me take the first test early or make it up. So I swapped to the online class (diff. teacher).

    I was impressed with what they covered in there - prereq. math was just Algebra, yet they did do some trig/calculus (easy - just plug in stats to the calculator and it was done)

    Yet the most disappointing thing in the course was that, even with all of the math and science, it never went into any of the beauty about the Universe. It discussed scientific facts...but covered nothing of the beauty that makes hope swell in humandkind. Sure, it explained how stars, nebulae, and other objects of interest formed - but it didn't go into star names (one chapter combining constellations/asterisms), or even famous objects seen with the naked eye.

    For instance, you can see the Andromeda galaxy with the naked eye, and even the Orion Nebula. Just look at the middle of the three stars below Orion's Belt. It's barely even a smudge, but on a clear night in AZ when the moon isn't bright (or even if it's full, if it's below the horizon), I can get some nice views with my telescope.