Ceramics, Code & Macs

Ceramics has been a blast for the last several weeks. Learning how to use the kick wheel and centering a ball of clay was a difficult at first. A different instructor passing through the class showed me how to “shove” the clay to center with one hand instead of “pulling” the clay to center with two hands. Small people use to two hands and big people use one hand to do the same thing. I’ve been shoving clay ever since then.

Our first project is creating six bowls for the midterm that’s a few weeks away. I made eight bowls that impressed my instructor so much that she praised me in front of the class for being quite advance for a beginner. The hollowed egg and pinch bowl that I made from the first week is ready to glaze this week. The next project is creating a sculptured piece for the raku glazing method. I’m thinking of doing a candle holder with a low bowl done on the pottery wheel, dragon or lion heads on two sides, handles on the other sides, and four dragon or lion feet on the bottom.

As for my programming classes, I’ve been enjoying the C++ computer language. Last night’s class was quite interesting in a painful way. Our second assignment was to convert the code for a bag container into a set container. The difference between the two containers is that a set cannot have any duplicated values. A simple code modification became a frustrating exercise in getting the Microsoft Visual Studio editor to run the original code as downloaded from the textbook’s website. The instructor spent an hour implementing a massive kludge to get the code to work correctly before he could demonstrate the modifications that the assignment required. I didn’t have any problem completing the assignment since I used my Mac with the Xcode editor. Everything works on the Mac, as I keep telling my instructor.

I’ve been burnishing my Mac guru credentials at work. I had to install Windows XP and Microsoft Office in a Parallels virtual machine on a MacBook Pro laptop last week. This wasn’t easy since we didn’t have an install disc or even an ISO image file of the install disc on hand. I had to use a BartPE disc to start the network install. This shouldn’t have been a big deal except that the Windows installer couldn’t find the virtual hard disk. It’s been years since I had to use diskpart to manually format a hard disk. After installing Windows XP, applying all the service packs and patches, installing Office 2003, and applying all the service packs and patches for that, the user at work walked away as a happy Mac user. I’m trying to get a Mac at work so I don’t have to use my MacBook to troubleshoot these infrequent help desk tickets.