Thursday, 24 July 2008

M255 TMA03 Results and response from OU

These came through yesterday and I scored 97%! which I am more than happy with! I dropped 3 marks in total which wasn't that bad, still, there is room for improvement though.

I received a reply from the powers at be over at the OU computing help desk (particularly Sue) regarding my query about syncing the OU personal calendar with Outlook or iCal. Apparently there is a small icon at the bottom of the personal calendar that allows you to sync it with iCal (I haven't checked yet) which is great news! Sue also said that they are working on getting all the course teams to have there TMA and Tutorial dates up on the personal calendar asap, although this may take a while, so keep your eyes peeled!! Hopefully by next year all our course info will be on there and we will get those prompts in student home reminding us a deadline or a tutorial is approaching for all of our courses.

I'm off to the continent for 3 weeks by car on 1st August but I will get on top of the blog as soon as I get back. I had an e-mail from a fellow M255 Student, Tim, who made some suggestions about possible useful things to have on the blog and I am going to try and incorporate them. I was also thinking of putting some of my past TMA's up for previous courses but I am not sure if this will annoy the OU?? Anyone know their stance on this?? I assume they change the questions each year, and I figure it might be a useful way for prospective students to get an idea of the work involved. I'll stew on that one over the summer break and decide when I get back.

Enjoy your summer!

P.S I'll be chucking a mint condition Ti-83 Calculator on eBay in the next few days which is required for MU120 so keep a look out!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

M255 TMA03 and iPhone3G

I spent today out of the office working on TMA03 for M255. I got through the 3 questions in around 6 hours, I really shouldn't have left it so late before the deadline but at least it is done and submitted.

The first question was worth 40 marks saw me coding up a soundex class using arrays, which is a form of algorithm dreamt up during the late 19th century to help account for all the different spellings of names during the censuses. A soundex basically generates a code which begins with a letter followed by 3 numbers, and words which sound similar have soundex's which are very similar. E.g. Robert and roburt would have the same soundex R163. A web implementation of a soundex can be found here and more information can be found here.

The second question was worth 25 marks and revolved around building an implementation of a coin game called Nim, this was fairly straight forward and took the least amount of time.

The third question was worth 30 marks and required me to work on a fanbase using Sets and Maps to group information and determine the most popular bands. This was definitely the hardest to get my head around although found that if I took 10 minutes to think through the problems I could structure the solution in my head and get it down in BlueJ, but it took longer than I would have liked.

Hopefully I have done enough to keep the marks up!

I went into Carphone Warehouse on Friday 11th July (iPhone 3G launch day) and bought an iPhone 3G, unfortunately they were out of stock but I was assured it would be delivered Monday as they reserved one from the warehouse. Well Its getting onto Thursday and still no news, hopefully they get some customer service together and sort this out, I know I'm not the only one waiting.

I didn't post this as a moan though.... I posted because I am interested to see if there is anyway I can get the OU to sync all the course calendars with outlook or iCal so I can sync them with my iPhone without having to manually write them all in. It can't be that hard to put a file on the course website and let the students download it to there PC/mac/mobile so it can sync up with their calendars, I know it would help me out a lot. Does anyone know if this is possible? I don't even know who in the OU to pitch this too but I will send an e-mail off shortly and see what they come back with.

I'm also looking forward to blogger releasing an iPhone app so I can update the blog on the move!