Another (Short) Break

4/20/2019

On Monday, I started my new position at JDES. I have been moved from the electronic design department to the software department. From what I understand so far, I am on the team that manages the infrastructure for running tests. While it isn't really what I plan on doing for a living, it is definitely exciting to have the opportunity to learn new skills. It seems the team works primarily in Python, which I've messed around with some. From what I've seen of Python, it is quite enjoyable to use. It also is very script-esque, in the sense that it is easy to quickly throw together short bits to accomplish a task. That is one of the things which I most admire about a Bash (the default Linux shell); commands are easy to string together to get work done. The programming I've used so far at JDES is written in Python 2, which goes end-of-life in less than a year. They are currently in the process of updating the code from Python 2 to Python 3, which (from my understanding) isn't terribly difficult as far as migrations go. More information on Python can be found on the website.

In on Tuesday, we took our Signals test. It was significantly harder than I think any of us were expecting. At least we're all in the same boat, I guess. It is comforting to know I'm not the only one who found it much more difficult than what was anticipated. The test focused solely on Chapter 5, which was about discrete-time Laplace transforms. It included a question on finances, similar to the in-class demonstration and to the homework he assigned. With Chapter 5 done, we are now moving on to some linear algebra concepts and Fourier transforms. A "Fourier Transform", in short, is a way of rewriting a signal as an estimate of that signal made up of sine waves. This is advantageous because we have (in math) a well-defined set of techniques and rules for working with sine waves. Hence, rewriting an otherwise-messy signal as only sine waves allows us to work much more easily with a close approximation of that signal.

This was a short week (due to Easter being this weekend), so my sister and I drove back home on Thursday night. I have a small amount of homework to do over the weekend, including polishing up the final edited copy of our Hall Constitution (for Hall Government). We have a couple of mandatory changes that need to be implemented, and then I'll be sending the clean copy to be stored online. This Wednesday is our last meeting, so we'll be having food and a bit of a party! We'll be getting Buffalo Wild Wings. I also need to work on an Energy Conversion lab.

In Energy Conversion, we're still focusing on "rotating machines", i.e., electric motors and generators. The class has specifically been focusing on learning how to do calculations involving various properties of a motor. For example, we have learned methods that allow us to take data about the motor in various stopped and running positions, and use that to find things like the current and speed it would run with in other situations. These kinds of techniques and properties would be used in a wide variety of mechanical-related applications, such as electric vehicles, factories, and machinery. Specifically, the usage of AC induction motors has drastically increased in industry in the last ten years. The use of AC induction motors in consumer vehicles (from full-size cars to golf carts) has seen a rise as the price of battery technology and DC to AC conversion technology has gone down.

We have less than a month of school to go, so test season is upon us. I am super excited to be done with the semester. I'll then have time to do the things I enjoy, even while working 40 hours a week at JDES. I would like to work more on my plant setup. While we have aquariums functioning mostly as intended, I haven't had time to populate the grow bins with lettuce and spinach. The second unit also still needs grow lights mounted above it. While these things don't take a really long time, time is still time - and I only have so much of it. This summer, I want to continue to learn how to use Vim, a rather fancy text editor. I also really want some more time to fully fill out the "Projects" section of my website, and work on Blender art. As far as physical activity goes, I want to spend some time biking, walking, and running. I really haven't been keeping up with my physical activity lately, and it bothers me. I just don't have time for these things during the school year.

Review of Assignment

This blog was originally started as an assignment for my upper-level writing class. As a part of that assignment this (final) post is supposed to include a "review" of the assignment. To quote:

One of your postings should be an overview/analysis of the blog assignment: what you found useful, what you liked, didn't like, etc. Needs to be detailed though, not simple that you didn't like or did like writing each week. Also, try to image how useful this would be for a company. How could it be used to communicate with customers? Fellow employees? Try to visualize the purpose besides simply as an assignment.

So, what are my thoughts? I would like to start by saying that I did enjoy doing blog posts. Over the summer, I deactivated my Facebook. I had wanted to implement something like a blog feature into my already-existing website for some time, and this assignment finally gave me a reason to quit procrastinating and do it. It nicely replaces the purpose of my Facebook page, and I have several family members that regularly read my posts. In the tech industry, I regularly see "techy" people who use a personal blog as a way of documenting their tech adventures. People will sometimes combine such a personal blog with social media by posting links to their posts on their FB/Twitter/etc. I like this technique, as it gives them control of the platform (their blog on their website), but uses social media to reach a wider audience. It also allows people who don't have accounts on these various* platforms to still interact with the poster.

So, that covers personal use, but what about a company or organization? Firstly, I know many tech companies use a blog to interface with the world, and use the aforementioned combination with social media to spread news of their blog posts. For these companies, I think this format works extremely well. I have a number of organizations and companies whose blogs I sometimes check in on, usually when I'm awaiting a new piece of software. For me, it is very useful to be able to navigate to the organization's website and simply look for a blog (sometimes called "News" or "Updates") and see what's been happening recently. In this sense, a blog works well for a company to communicate with customers (or an organization to communicate with users/members). For internal company information, a blog can be used well, but the methodology is slightly different. A blog is not (in our current understanding of the term) well suited to interemployee communications, unless the company has a strong culture of "here's what's up" among coworkers (highly unusual, I would imagine). However, I have seen an internal company blog work well for a business to communicate internal-only news and reports to its employees. Information on performance, new products, and news about what other teams in the company are accomplishing are well suited to a blog format.

Well, that's all I have for this week. Sorry; no pictures - maybe next time!

*I find most of these platforms to be horrendously unethical in their business practices, and feel that they are undermining our society's ability to function and think freely. They have no regard for a person's privacy, and try to hide the fact that you, the user, are the product, not the customer - the customer is whomever they sell your data to or serve ads for!

Back to Blog