Thursday, May 22, 2003

This morning, someone sent a link to a NY times article on Computing's lost allure. The point of the article is that undergraduate applications to computer science have dropped dramatically, in part because entering students have realized that they might not leave school to become instant millionaires. I'm curious how this will affect mean undergraduate performance and program retention rates. When I began my undergraduate career in 1995, computer science was a popular major, but after the first few weed-out courses, most of my remaining peers in the program seemed genuinely interested in CS. Those who were not fled to a less technically demanding major: business with a concentration in IT, usually.

I know there are people who enter undergraduate programs purely for vocational training, and sneer impatiently at breadth requirements and at anything that might not be directly applicable. Then there are those who move to the opposite pole, and sneer at anything that seems like it might possibly be applicable. Unfortunately, I know more people who grow out of the latter attitude than people who grow out of the former. I prefer the middle ground of the pragmatic dreamer. From what I know of history, the division between the pure and applied is a modern conceit anyhow. It seems to me to be a useless dichotomy.

I helped Heidi carry a box to the post office this afternoon. It weighed about fifty pounds, and carrying it was enormously awkward. I ended up transporting it on my head for much of the distance; that way at least I didn't have such trouble keeping my grip.

As I headed back home after lunch, I stopped by the post office again. I now have a book of antique toy stamps and a pile of dollar coins. Hee hee! I think the dollar coins are enormously amusing, though I'd be hard pressed to say why.

And my revised block works. It's not very long, but it took much longer to get right than I expected. I was transposing something that should not have been transposed.

So far, it has been a good day.

  • Currently drinking: Bigelow vanilla hazelnut tea with a drop of honey.