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C'est la Z

Do you need to know assembly to be a computer scientist?

Another recent discussion online asked "do you need to know assembly language to be a computer scientist?" Sides quickly formed. On one side, it was a strict requirement. Some going so far as saying you had to start with it or at worst a language like C. On the other side you had people claiming that it's wholly unnecessary for most CS graduates like many of the classes we require of a CS major (I'm looking at you Calc II and beyond).
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Pension Consultations

Devorah and I just got off a Zoom pension consultation. Very enlightening. I'm 54 so regardless, can't retire for another year but Devorah hit 55 last November and the DOE can really kill ones spirit and grind you down. Overall I've been pretty happy at Hunter but I've written before about the fact that I've been feeling some burn out and have been basically doing 2+ full time jobs myself at Hunter for the past few years and that's just not sustainable.
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What is a Syllabus and why does it matter?

Over in the Facebook CS Ed groups there was a discussion of the forthcoming code.org APCS-A curriculum. As far as I can tell, the curriculum isn't actually available yet so I can't really comment on it but the discussion started with a concern about some of the announcement. It made me think of what a curriculum was when I started teaching, what it is now, and the ramifications of the change.
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How Will Online Influence Teaching

I always enjoy Fred Wilson's predictions for the new year over on his blog and this year was no exception. I was inspired to think a bit on his education prediction: K12 systems around the US (and around the world) faced with teacher shortages and desperate to erase several years of learning shortfalls, will increasingly adopt online learning services in the school building in lieu of and in addition to in-class learning.
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Exit 2021

So, 2021's gone and 2022 just starting. In a lot of ways, I don't really see this as a new year. Maybe after I retire but for me and I'm guessing other working teachers the year really starts in early September. Still, the calendar changed over so even if it feels like midyear to me, it's still worth a quick look back. Obviously, a trying year for all of us so I won't dwell to much on that.
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Transparent Origami - Advent 2021 Day 13

No post so far on day 12. I finished part 1 but my code was pretty messy which turned part 2 into a mess. I still have to go back to get that second star so just like day 10, my day 12 write up is on hold. That said, I really enjoyed [[https://adventofcode.com/2021/day/13 ][today's]] challenge. Paper foldind. You're given transparent paper with a bunch of marks on it.
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Dumbo Octopus and the Game of Life - AOC 2011 Day 11

I wasn't particularly motivated to start day 11 but took a look over coffee. A grid of points where on each turn or step the points are modified by some rule. Hey, this sounds familiar - cellular automata like Conway's Game of Life. You set up your grid and then on each turn just follow the rules. In a traditional Cellular Automaton like Conway's Game of Life, on each turn each cell looks at its six neighbors and makes a decision as to its next state based on the neighbors and a rule.
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Bracket Bonanza (AOC 2021 day 10)

I know, where's day 9? Thursdays (and Mondays) are already tight for me - I teach all morning and it's been a rough week. I just had very little energy and focus all day yesterday. I snuck some time in to finish part 1 but couldn't focus on part 2. Today, however, my body gave me an extra half hour of sleep (til 4:30am) so I had extra time and energy.
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Seven Segment Silliness - Advent 2021 Day08

Day 8 took a lot longer than the other days. Not all that much code and not too complex, at least after getting through a scary sounding lead up but going from problem statement to solution took both time and thought. As I started to read the problem, I wasn't sure I'd finish it let alone have time to write it up. Take a minute to read over the problem.
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How you look at a problem can make it easier - AOC 2021 Day 7

Today's problem was similar to yesterday's in that it's ease or difficulty really depended on how you looked at the question. For yesterday, the problem was hard if you approached it by modeling each and every lanternfish but it was much easier if you modeled the 8 days of the reproduction cycle. Sure, there was still work to be done but looking at the problem the right way made things much easier.
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