Friday, July 29, 2011

Emptying the stack

A few days ago I did a look through my book collection. I didn't quite finish the stacks and while it may not be the most entertaining thing I'm finishing going through. Though it did seem you guys kept a lot of your old books so I don't feel so weird with my mini library anymore.

First of the left overs: Discrete Mathematics and it's applications by Kenneth H. Rosen. Fifth edition hard cover that ran me 99.60, they love these high priced math books. This one of my more hated books. Discrete mathematics was a class all CS students had to go through. What's so important about it? Learning that big numbers are a bad thing. It also has some proofs and logic along with other staples but the real reason was to tell you about big O notation. Looking through the table of contents I see some graphs, trees, Boolean algebra, and modeling computations but none of that came up in class as far as I know. I don't even know much of what I did in this class but I passed it somehow so that's the most I'm going to do for tying to remember.

Second here is : Operating System Concepts by Silberschatz Galvin Gagne. The seventh edition of the series, a hard bound book with a picture water color disnaurs on the cover with electronics running me $93.75.
I wasn't kidding
This is a wonderful story for me to tell. Operating Systems was always considered one of the best classes for students to take. All the stories were of our teacher we all knew finally took us through the nitty gritty of an operating system and we even got to make our own based on a Linux frame. Yes it was a class where we made our own, if primitive, OS. This was a subject that fascinated me even when I got to play with old languages that had register based variables such as BX. But I didn't get him, they had switched up the program by having an old school person who was a TA teach it. This seemed fine, this was a person who was actually in the business with IBM projects and a few other companies where it seemed fine. He was in the process of being intigrated into the school as the CS department only had 3 real professors in it, the rest were math guys who taught low level classes.

It sounded good at first but this old guy effectively had us do high school reports for how some theoretical systems operated. We didn't once touch code or did anything I can remember due to not actually doing anything. It felt like one of the biggest wastes of time in that class, the work I was the worst at memorizing things that are in reality related but do to just memorizing them and throwing them down on paper I can't see for the life of me how they weren't. This was not the worst of it though, this was a very well spoken older gentleman with opinions, and a class he could give his pearls of wisdom to. One of them being to learn how to shoot a gun because the government is going the wrong direction. On top of this how people should quit eating meat, watching TV, listening to radio, or engaging in any forms of entertainment besides seemingly going out to hike, exercise, or traditional family get together around the (vegetarian)BBQ he could do it in such a way you would feel like filth and the downfall of society for not already doing it. Being such an outstanding sounding and looking guy it was hard to avoid that unless you learned to tune it out, which with a professor wasn't something you should do. Now Profs often go about things outside of class but it's usually stories, he is the only one who told us how bad it is to do things.

Rarely did anyone complain as well, he was the professor. Only one student I know of that I worked on a project actually took up to attempting to argue the "violent video games make you bad people and you should feel bad" debate which became an argument of anecdotal evidence and both of them bringing up "studies" to disprove the other. Not the best of times in that class. I had to take one more class from him where it was mostly out of class working on a team with the rest for projects for an out of school project so it wasn't bad. I do hope he tones it down for future students, he knows his stuff but he's not there to be a life coach or a lifestyle preacher.

With that we're to the last book of: Fundamentals of Statistics by Michael Sullivan, III. Soft bound first edition book, came with a CD and was only $65 even. I believe that this is the only math book that I have that doesn't' include an edition and was the cheapest to boot. This is the only field of math I like. I was honestly surprised to find out how much I like it. I may have forgotten most of the advanced things I use but a lot of the principles I use when determining if things work in a game. I may actually give this book a reread sometime.

Wait it's not over, upon looking through the books I discovered my dirty little secret. I have books that weren't class related for classes I've never even taken. Prolog Minimanual, PL/I: Structured programing and problem solving, Data Structures in Java, C++ classes and database structures, Fortran77 Language and style, Introduction to pascal, Computing concepts with java essentials, and Compilers principles, techniques, and tools. A long list but not a single cent was spent on these. The funny story was I hung around CS professors offices so much I could catch them with these stacks of manuals and such that they were throwing out, and I would gladly take them off their hands. I think it went to the point that I was pointed from one professor to another to pick up an outdated book. The worst part is I have not cracked open a single one of these, one is actually still in shipping shrink wrap with the professors address on it.

This isn't even all my books but beyond revisiting this idea with the books I don't care about I think I'll call it done for now. So on a minor related thing, do you people out there have any classes you remember fondly and/or hate?


  1. Nice book cover! As for classes I remember... well I always used to dislike science, never asked for it, but had to take it in high school.

  2. You really have a lot of books, its awesome you got them for free too lol. I liked Science, I was good at it, it was the only subject I got a B in, everything else was C's. But that was mostly down to a lack of coursework than anything. Plus I spent most of my last years at school not in classes for personal reasons. I could have gotten B's and maybe even an A or two. There weren't that many subjects I hated, there was something I kind of liked about all of them.

  3. Will they ever put that stupid and unfounded video game debate to rest?

  4. It pains me as well how much I paid for those damn college books. I believe I unloaded most of them though.