Montag, 4. Oktober 2004

The Vienna University of Technology has some very enjoyable computer rooms; the systems are based on RedHat Linux with KDE and Mozilla. Its handling is more comfortable than MSIE under Windows XP.

Today I had my first lecture from 9:00 to 10:00, Mathematics for Computer Scientists. I was already there an hour before that, which was good because this way I could reserve a seat for me. It was just an introductionary lesson, Prof. Gerd Baron explained what he would be going to lecture about and how the system of the practical course and exams would be organized. I consider Prof. Baron a likeable person (although I'm aware that he has the image of being very severe and strict) and am curiously awaiting his real lectures.

Then there was some time for me to drive to Währinger Street in order to buy some new books for Medicine at the Facultas store: very thin books on pathology and pharmacology, each just a little more than 300 pages. They're compressed, yet well layouted and cover all the subjects; I wonder whether it will be enough to learn them in order to pass the exams - it would speed things up quite much. Another student to whom I showed that new patho book said it lacked Latin expressions, which the professor he chose for his exam (who is currently also the professor of my preference) demands. Well, I can learn the missing things from the big book I'm using now, "Bankl"; and the good thing about the "Bankl" is that it contains questions relevant for our exam in Vienna - its author is a former professor of the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna - so I can check if I lack some knowledge myself.

I was also in the Institute of Anatomy, where a political students' organization I belong to had a stand in front of their new pre-clinical headquarters, the former secretariate of Prof. Firbas', and answered freshmen's questions.

On 12:30 pm, the next lecture would be starting. From 12:00 on, it would be possible to sign up for the practical mathematics course (also called "exercises", "Übungen", at the University of Technology). As I managed to get to a free PC in the computer room near the "auditorium maximum" lecture hall, I was one of the first to sign up, but it wouldn't have been necessary to hurry up so much because the group I chose (Thursday 2:15 pm to 3:00 pm) was one of the least popular ones anyway. It was good for me because I would have a course on Technical English, an elective subject, in the same building where the maths exercises would be right after 3:00 pm.

The lecture that was supposed to begin at 12:30 was called "Computer Science and Society". Some rather young men appeared on stage and gave the introduction. They said that this lecture was hosted by some institutes of bidirectional programming and neural programming for redundant systems. This puzzled me as I remembered the list of institutes of the Department of Computer Science, and they hadn't been among them; moreover, these things sounded very strange and so I had doubts that this was real. I was right; suddenly some weird messages began to appear on the projection, and a man dressed like a white rabbit entered the stage. Then people dressed like the "Men in Black" (tm) appeared and dragged the speaker off. The solution: It was a joke by the computer science students' organization. The real lecture was going to start in a week, but this hadn't been announced anywhere. So they used this opportunity to speak in front of a lecture room full of freshmen in order to present them their "tutorial" programmes for first-year students. These programmes seem pretty cool, it's not only about university but also about sci-fi, fantasy, other literature, movies, cyberculture, games etc., so maybe I'll join one of them.

I went to the curriculum director's place in order to get my credits from my medical studies and met one of my fellow medical students who had also been studying medical informatics in parallel for two years; he was on the same way as I. However, the curriculum director was ill, and his secretary rejected processing anybody's credits application forms unless it was for five courses or less. So I had no chance and went away.

From 4:00 pm to about 5:45 pm, I listened to a lecture about Project Management. This was regularly for the second semester, but I had decided I would already take it in the first semester. This lecture will also involve a practical course in which we have to form groups and plan projects of our own. The lecture was well organized, interesting, and it was easy to write everything down that was projected by the wall. The teacher was a female computer scientist who had also some experience running at running her own IT company.

So I am satisfied by the day. Now I'll go to a discussion round about capital punishment organized by the Austrian high intelligence society; let's hope I won't be too late. (This is asynchronous: I'm writing this in the university's PC room, but I'm unable to upload this to the page, so when you're reading this, the discussion will already be over.)

I've been an "amateur" computer scientist for years and it would have only been logical to start studying computer science right after completing high school. But some events made me change my plans and start Medicine instead. In the three years since that day, I haven't fully adapted to Medicine. It seems that my personality structure has been too much like the one of a computer scientist for too long a time already. I'm happy to be able to study both subjects in parallel because I've wide interests and am for this reason also keen about what you may call interdisciplinary stuff. Computer science is a very practical science, and it's hardly ever an end to itself. Usually Computer Science knowledge is applied in order to solve problems of other branches. Therefore it's not good to be just good at Computer Science, but it's great to be good at something important and big such as Medicine and have excellent knowledge of Computer Science at the same time. Let's see what I'll be able to do with this combination.

It's probably better that I have started studying Computer Science now than if I had done it three years ago because I've matured, which is important. My attitude is different, I'm calmer and more relaxed.

The other thing I'd like to post is something posting which will break yesterday's announcement: It's an explanation from Wikipedia about the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. (Click this link for the original document.)
David Keirsey proposed a system of sorting the 16 Myers-Briggs types into four more general categories, or temperaments. This is based on the common pattern across cultures and through the ages of sorting people into four different categories.
Keirsey names the four temperaments Guardian, Artisan, Rational, and Idealist. Guardians prefer Sensing and Judging, Artisans prefer Sensing and Perceiving, Rationals prefer Intuition and Thinking, and Idealists prefer Intuition and Feeling.
Guardians (SJs) seek membership or belonging and are concerned with responsibility and duty. Their greatest strength is logistical intelligence, which means that they excel at organizing, facilitating, checking, and supporting.
Artisans (SPs) seek freedom to act and are concerned with their ability to make an impact on people or situations. Their greatest strength is tactical intelligence, which means that they excel at acting, composing, producing, and motivating.
Rationals (NTs) seek mastery and self-control and are concerned with their own knowledge and competence. Their greatest strength is strategic intelligence, which means that they excel at engineering, conceptualizing, theorizing, and coordinating.
Idealists (NFs) seek meaning and significance and are concerned with finding their own unique identity. Their greatest strength is diplomatic intelligence, which means that they excel at clarifying, unifying, individualizing, and inspiring.

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