Last week I had some successes and failures.
Since my grandma is leaving this week, I wanted to engrave something for her before she left. I go into LA to volunteer on Fridays, so I needed to pick up some wooden blanks on Thursday. The Michael's craft store near my house was being remodeled and their inventory did not include the exact size piece I wanted. So I left early for my Thursday night class so I could pick up some wood pieces from another Michael's. The store was relatively close to Long Beach, I just had to go up the 605, stop at the shopping center, and take the 605 back down to hop on the 405 or 22. They had the wooden pieces I wanted, so I bought them and headed out. It was a quick trip in and out.
When I got to class, I was a few minutes late (the first time this semester or last I can remember being late to class). However, it was just late enough so my lab was considered late.
While it was a success I picked up the wooden blanks, it was a failure my lab was late. Now I have a couple of asides.
Aside #1 - Class Times
In Berkeley they had something called Berkeley Time. It was an official policy that said all classes started 10 minutes after their published start time. This way, a class that went from 7-8 actually lasted from 7:10-8. Most other schools will say that same class goes from 7-7:50.
Berkeley Time is great for a few reasons. First, it is a better reflection of what times classes actually start. In the several classes I have taken at Long Beach and UCI, not one of them has ever started at the exact start time. They are usually 5 minutes late, but still end at their scheduled time. In contrast, my Berkeley classes almost always started on time or were 1 minute late in starting. Second, it is so much easier for a published class schedule and talking to people to say 3-4 PM instead of 3-3:50 PM.
Aside #2 - Bad Professors
I do not like the way my professor for the above microcontrollers class does things. He cares more about the format we use to turn things in than how much we learn and understand. While how submitted work looks is very important, taking off points for trivial reasons is shallow and pedantic.
The material the labs cover is not that hard or extensive. For example, I accidentally did the work for lab 2 and submitted it as lab 1. This can only happen if the labs make such small progress from one to the next they are nearly indistinguishable.
In his defense, the professor has an interesting teaching idea. He knows some people in the class want to work hard and get an A, while others only want to do the minimum to pass. On the lab assignments, he has an optional section at the end. If you chose to do the rest of the lab and not the extra part, you can only get an 85% on the lab. However, if you chose to do the last section, it is worth the last 15% of your lab grade. This way students can put in the extra work only if they want the higher grade.
More Success and Failure
The next day I went in for my volunteering in LA. I brought along a circuit board and the parts I had to assemble for the aforementioned class so I could work on it in the evening. I had to solder 192 connections to prepare the board. I also had to be careful, because I knew the senior electrical supervisor would inspect my work when I was done. After a soldering iron that stopped working after a few connections, burning my finger, and directions that had a couple of lapses, I finished the board in a few hours. However, while I was doing this in the late afternoon, the laser lab was locked up before I could engrave something for my grandma.
While it was a success I completed my board, it was a failure I could not get the item engraved for my grandma. This negated my success of the earlier day.
Yesterday I was testing the board. The only problems I found included one LED that was not working and another LED that worked 75% of the time. I will have to fix them somehow.