Thursday, March 17, 2005

Spring Break Hell

I'm a little freaked out by wireless digital communications right now. Supposed to be preparing for lab 5 and am still trying to do a post-mortem on lab 3. I realized I was in over my head and found a lab partner last week, but it feels like it is too late. He seems brilliant but was almost brought to tears when his LabView model of a QPSK system wouldn't run. I sat like a vegetable trying to deduce what was going wrong within his large flowchart. As it turned out, he (we) did not physically connect the transmitter to the receiver with a cable. The TA who never helps me understand anything (not to be confused with my helpful 345L TA) tried to joke that first rule of debugging is to make sure it's plugged in. We knew he was scoring easy points. The professor in this course looks like one of the Irish thugs in "Mystic River." I need to see him in office hours next week and ask him if I need to drop.

This is pathetic, I can't express in words how hard I have been trying. The thing is I am not connecting. It seems like sitting around the house all day sitting here staring at notes and books is not really "trying." I suppose I could sit in a library. There is no tutor who can teach this stuff. I attend all the lectures. What more can I do?

By Tuesday, I am supposed to prove the complex least-squares solution to Ax-b. I took a course in linear algebra two years ago that required no proofs and treated complex numbers as "beyond the scope." I flattered myself by looking through the online course notes provided by MIT. For the last few days I have been wondering what a "Lemma" is. At MIT they talk in "lemmas." I had to review the derivation of a proj b! I'll never get it at this rate. It's as though I need to go back to school so that I can finish going back to school.

I figured out the concept of interpolation yesterday. The chip we are using in 345L has a special command calld ETBL that fills in the gaps between entries in a lookup table. A lookup table is 256 straight line segments approximating some sort of nonlinear curve. It is probably how robotic hands are able to grasp things without breaking them. A few days ago I came up with a method for debouncing pushbutton switch inputs using another freescale feature called "interrupt capture." Satisfying, you press the button, setting a latch, and then check the status of that latch a few times to make sure that the button has in fact settled on a 1 or 0. We use this everytime we type a character.

Relax and let the sheer hell of the next two months just hit. I saw "Constantine" a few nights ago with Julie, and am thinking that the question will not be "will i go to hell" but "how" and "when."

Readers, I do understand the importance of remaining positive. However, I suppose it is just that, a logical conclusion that "it is important to remain positive." I want the thrill of getting it, that's all. But that's quite a lot.