Research Design

Shortly after the Lit review I had the second assignment for Research Methods to do. It sort of crept up on me, and I wound up doing most of it the weekend before it was due. It's probably not as academic as it was supposed to be. It was supposed to detail research paradigms and methodologies and make references and all of that stuff that I suppose academic institutions expect. I gave a brief mention to that and talked about the things I hoped to achieve over the next few months. We were supposed to talk about that too. While I can understand how research paradigms are applicable to academic study, especially more stablished fields, I find a lot of that stuff highly distracting and much of it pointless. I really don't care if that's not the view I'm supposed to hold. I could have chosen from a bunch of vague and overlapping-but-for-some-mild-distinction methodologies and shoehorned my research in. Categorising my methods, instead of just doing. Yes it's great that you can categorise what you are doing and analyse it and work out if it's valid and how it fits into some overall epistemology blah blah blah... But it stops me from just doing. It's a distraction. I will of course have to give it more attention in the final exegesis and I better start that now really. But I was knee-deep in learning the fundamentals of JavaScript and Python when once again I had to drop it for an essay. I got thoroughly sick of that in the undergraduate years. I received the advice from a research supervisor (who wont be there next semester anyway, I have to find a new one) when speaking of how I had to go back and learn some stuff before I could build an app, the advice was just produce something. I've always been a bit annoyed by that ethos in some sectors of the BCT. Just make something. Don't learn how to do anything properly first, a bit of cardboard and tape and a nice conceptual statement to justify the useless crap you've made will suffice. Not for me. If I want to make a thing that actually works I'll need to learn some skills first.

A classmate in research methods who is actually a tutor of web development in Media Design School has lent me a couple of books, one a reference book on Javascript and another on JQuery. I've done the complete Code Academy course on Javascript under his advice and have started the Python one too. The JavaScript one did fill in a few gaps in knowledge that I had. I had either forgotten something, never learnt it or it didn't exist when I first learnt Javascript. Literal notation and some stuff around it - including stuff about objects mainly. Of course I better get to and use this knowledge in practice outside of the tutorials.

Python though... I'm not far into it because Code Academy seems to be having server issues. It times out every single time I submit my code, and now I have to copy and paste it a second time. this has slowed my progress and made me do anything but use the site. To make it worse, I don't think I like Python much. It uses white space as part of it's syntax. What the hell. How was that ever thought to be a good idea. It has a reserved word called elif as if there was something wrong with every other language's elseif. It insists Boolean's be capitalised. There were a couple of other things, I'm only on the basics atm but the white space thing bothers me. I guess in some ways it forces the programmer to write neat readable code, and that might be the motivation. But it seems wrong to me to put meaning into spaces. Code Academy's timeouts with that though make it unbearable to learn.

I started tonight to look into CakePHP, a MVC framework that uses PHP (obviously). I'm more familiar with PHP though there are small things about that language that also irk me, namely that it seems to have an unending number of functions and some of them seem too similar to be worth their own existence. But I will muck around with that too a little bit.

Fed up with Python and being a bit skittish at the moment I decided to look at Ruby too. It's always been a mystery but it suddenly looks enticing. It seems to share an equal footing with the much acclaimed python, has a highly regarded framework called rails, and the very first thing I've read about it is that it's very "nice". Also it would demystify Jeff Atwood's latest project, Discourse, which is written in Ruby. I'm interested to see how that will work out. Also the server doesn't appear to time out on the Ruby lessons.

So I'm mucking around with lots of things to see what gets traction the fastest. According to the timetable that I submitted as part of my Research Design project I should now be working on developing that first app that I started a few weeks ago and then dropped in order to learn the basics again. I really just want to learn frameworks etc but I will adhere to my timetable I suppose. I will also squeeze in the learning.

I really wish I didn't have to work, it doesn't just suck the time that I'm actually at work it just kind of sucks all the tim around it too because it's kind of taxing. And my body decided a couple of months ago that it will not cooperate with me on sleeping at the right time.

My literature review got me a B+ which I was happy with considering that I had miscalculated how much time I had for it (due to the way iCal displays a week that is intersected by 2 adjacent months, making it appear as 2 weeks) and wound up rushing it in the last week. I don't believe I will do so well this time but I simply don't care. I doubt I'll fail so a pass will carry me over acceptably.

Oh yes, and now it turns out that my elective for next semester has been cancelled. There was a dearth of acceptable/interesting electives in the first place so I don't know what I'll do there.