Friday 16 October 2009

Updates galore!

This post, in essence, is a being of two halves. Two halves not unrelated, but mutually hateful of one other and perpetually at war. And as such, I think it best to keep them discrete lest they destroy each other in a fiery rain of textual combat. So, here we go:

The ExeSketch half

B├ęziers are finally implemented! Well, if I'm honest, they've been implemented for about a week now. But, as you will discover if you refer to the other half of this post (make sure you shut the adjoining gate on your way), I've been left staggeringly short of time during which to report said development. Hence this update. Here's a video!

ExeSketch Demo 4 from Animatinator on Vimeo.

Next up, I believe, is regular polygons. Should be... fiddly. I tried to make a demo once, and the results were an insult to geometry. However, I believe I might know why that happened, and so I might be able to sort it. As usual, I'll end up not-getting-around-to-it for weeks before I get the time to actually do it, at which point I'll implement it in under an hour.

The Everything Else (Excuses) half

So, what horrific debilitating illness have I contracted that's made my post so heavily delayed this time? UCAS.

In case you're not of the British persuasion, UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is the bane of every applicant's life. Well, mainly the personal statement part of it. The aim is to condense the relevant parts of one's entire existence into a mere 4000 characters, a limit which this blog post alone has exceeded. For some reason (not of my own design), mine ended up being *exactly* 4000 characters. Thankfully all that is done now, so all that needs to be done at the moment is a round of the Waiting Game. And the SAQ, but I'll speak more about that in a minute.

Being as I am something of a compulsive programmer and general computer-tinkerer, I'm in the process of applying for Computer Science. The universities? Cambridge ('Bridge), Edinburgh ('Burgh), St Andrews (Drew's) and Glasgow (chav centra- um, Glasgae). I might add in Imperial College London (Imp 'Ledge-don) later on, but those are the initial ones which I sent off on Wednesday.

So, picture the scene: I'm busy doing a week-long victory dance to celebrate having finished the Bloody UCAS Thingy, as one does, and I'm about to go into the 'break-it-down-now' section when suddenly Cambridge are all like 'email!'. And upon opening their email I discover (to my utmost horror) that I'm still not done ( :-( ). As well as the Bloody UCAS Thingy, I also have to fill in a Supplementary Application Questionnaire - the aforementioned SAQ.
This throws up many complications.

Firstly, they want to know what bands I got in my exams - that is, how good an 'A' each subject was. And only the teachers know that. And today was the last day before our school goes on holiday. And they want the questionnaire completed by Thursday, which is during said holiday. So up to school I did dash, with all the grace of a murderous lunatic, and still afflicted with the illness which had me stuck in bed for the entirety of yesterday. Thankfully I made it there before the teachers had left, and was able to discover that I got three band 1s (Maths, Physics, Chemistry) and two band 2s (English, Music - the latter being the result of several transient teachers). So thankfully that issue is resolved.

However, as well as this they are also asking for the number of people who were in each of my classes last year and are in my classes this year (not entirely sure why). Although I may be very much a man of numbers, I've never really felt the urge to count and commit to memory the number of people in my class at any given moment - not even during the most boring of pre-school-level music theory lessons. And so I've spent the past hour or so trying to visualise what the classrooms looked like last year, and counting the people present. It's proved surprisingly effective, but it's probably not all that accurate, so hopefully it's not a vitally important part of the application.

However, the worst part is yet to come: they ask for an additional personal statement. This time it's supposed to explain the writer's reasoning in choosing Cambridge (and no, "because it's Cambridge" doesn't count, unfortunately). The bright side is that it's only 1200 characters maximum, 30% of the main UCAS one.

They also ask about how the applicant explores their subject outwith school, but that's only supposed to be up to 300 characters - literally a couple of sentences. The challenge there is compressing a salient obsession with the subject and a passionate eagerness to learn into a concise and presumably stylish set of sentences.

These last two fiddlies are the only things I have left to do before it's sendable, so with any luck I should be finished miles before the deadline. And then I can go back to ExeSketch!