Notes on the ensuing year

Uni goes back next week, and after a long, and mostly uninteresting holidays, I’ll be quite glad to go back. Not that my holidays were awful (NCSS and LCA made sure that they weren’t), but it’ll definitely be good to go back to some form of long-term regularity, which has been missing for the past few months. This semester I’ll be studying three maths units (Algebra, Calculus and Operations Research, all at 2nd-year level) and the third year Concurrent Programming unit, which should be interesting (and hopefully difficult, challenging, and all of those other adjectives which acadmically-oriented people like to hear).

One thing that I thought might be worthwhile this year is to set some goals that fall outside the usual inevitabilities of an academic year, mostly because all these years that I don’t, I tend to somehow let the uni/school-related ones take hold (and that normally makes the following December a lot more depressing than it needs to be), and in order to hold myself to this, I’m posting them here for the world to see:

  1. Use LaTeX more. Using LaTeX to write up my Calculus 1B assignments last year seemed to coincide with a marked increase in marks for that subject (in comparison with the previous semester, in which I didn’t) — in fact, the only >90%-achieving subjects I’ve undertaken were the ones where I used LaTeX to write up my asssignments. Coincidence? I think not! Of course, the reasons I’ve just given aren’t probably very sound, and there were probably better reasons for my doing well in those units, but there’s still good reason for me to learn it better. So I will.
  2. Improve my placing in the Programming Competition. Last year, my team achieved 16th (equal 11th according to the official standings). I want my team this year to achieve 12th or better. I’ll figure out how to do this later on.
  3. Better promote Free and Open Source Software at Uni. This one is important: UTas is hosting Linux.conf.au next year, and in my opinion, the cause of Free Software is not very well-known within the student body. Therefore, I’m going to try and hold as many events as possible (probably through the Computing society, whatever it may be called this year), including one just before Software Freedom Day in September (Since this is the big FLOSS advocacy day, it would be silly not to do something then). I’ll also try to promote LCA2009 amongst the staff and students.
  4. Get more involved with TasLUG. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I was shocked to find out that TasLUG still exists, let alone that they were considering a bid for LCA2009. Now that I know that they do indeed exist, I’ll be doing my best to become an active member of the local FLOSS community.
  5. Organise a Python MiniConf for LCA next year. This one’s really a no-brainer. I like Python, and from what I could gauge at LCA this year, there’s a big Python community within Australia. Therefore, I think it’s worthwhile that we have an organised conference at LCA, so I’ll be trying my hardest to make that happen (if you think you can help here, send a mail to any_name_at_all at this domain).
  6. Make a concerted effort to get involved with a Free Software project. Unfortunately, this goal seems to show up every year. I’m definitely going to make a concerted effort on this one, and I’ll aim to participate in the Australian Summer of Code next summer (since I know that that’s going to happen). Currently Python looks good, but we’ll see how that progresses through the year.
  7. Better promote NCSS within Tasmania. Another obvious one — Attending NCSS as a student was a great opportunity for me, and going back as a tutor was wonderful. I want to make sure that more people get that opportunity.

And there you have it. I’ll make periodic posts this year as I work on achieving these.

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