Well, the holidays are officially over and I have no excuse to avoid writing here. This term I’m taking three courses at the University of Waterloo, two of them being distance education and one of them requiring me to make the trip to campus. The three courses that I’ve enrolled in this term are:
- ENGL 109: Introduction to Academic Writing (Online)
- PHIL 215: Professional and Business Ethics (Online)
- CS 447: Software Testing, Quality Assurance and Maintenance
It may seem like an odd course selection for a 4B Computer Science student, but I haven’t taken an English course in a long time and it’s never a bad time to improve one’s communication skills. I’m really hoping that the philosophy course will tie in nicely with the software engineering content that I’ve been learning over the past few terms. From what I understand, the typical software engineer is responsible for not only designing software, but designing good software (as in, software that makes sense from a design and usability perspective). PHIL 215 is also one of the courses recommended by the degree requirements checklist for my year.
CS447 is the final course in a series of three software engineering-related courses (the first two being CS445: Software Requirements and CS446: Software Architecture). I’ve found myself being extremely interested in the design philosophies of software from the software engineering perspective. This is kind of surprising, given the attitudes of many of my classmates towards these three courses (generally not positive). The courses have also been some of the highest marks I’ve received at the University of Waterloo, and their content has been extremely useful in some of the side projects that I’ve been working on lately (more on this later).
On the lighter side of life, I have been playing BioWare’s new Star Wars game with a few of my friends and have been thoroughly enjoying it. As a former World of Warcraft player (clean and sober for 2 years now, thankfully) it’s fairly easy for me to nitpick the small flaws with SW:TOR, but I have to admit that the holiday launch was one of the smoothest I have seen from the MMO genre. One of the major ideas that the player community is missing is that many of the features that they take for granted in mature games like World of Warcraft were not present at launch, and time will only improve the technical quality of the game.
I also recently upgraded my computer’s graphics hardware by installing two XFX HD6950 cards in a CrossFireX configuration. This is my first multi-card installation and from what I have seen so far, it works pretty well. I did have some minor issues with screen tearing (even after enabling vertical sync) which I will attribute to the 3D engine not working well with multiple graphics cards, but installing Catalyst Application Profiles seems to have fixed the problem. Additionally, I did have to install an additional 120mm fan on the side of my case (which is obnoxiously loud) in order to regulate the temperature of the cards under load. Because of the layout of my motherboard, the video cards sit right next to each other, causing the top one to suck in hot air from the bottom one. Before the fan was added, the temperatures of the top and bottom cards were 95C and 80C, respectively (a little too hot for me). Adding the fan reduced the temperatures to 75C and 65C; these are well within acceptable bounds given that they’re powering a 1440p display.
That about wraps it up for my life right now. I’m still planning on writing about (potentially) interesting facts on a daily to weekly basis. Once I determine the load that classes and work are placing on me this term, I will decide how much time I can devote to this blog. Until then, I’ll be posting here whenever I have something to say.
Well, it’s true. I’ve been kind of lazy lately with the posts, but better late than never. So, without further adieu, I present the first Cocktail of the Week:
Directions: Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well, strain into glass.
Vodka, Triple Sec and Grenadine are all fairly cheap ingredients. You can find the Grenadine in most grocery stores because it’s non-alcoholic. Frangelico is not an expensive liqueur, but it’s not among the cheapest ones either. A 750mL bottle will set you back $27.95 at the LCBO.
There’s no layering or otherwise fancy mixing involved; you pretty much just pour the ingredients into the shaker and mix them.
Here’s the big one. Now, I personally would not recommend this cocktail, but I don’t like fruitcake much. The drink has a fruity flavour, courtesy of the Grenadine and Triple sec, and it’s also got hints of hazelnut from the Frangelico. The Vodka doesn’t add any flavour, but adds a bit of a kick to the cocktail (although it’s not really noticeable). I didn’t really like the way the drink went together. Frangelico is a kind of thick liqueur, so it adds a lot of “weight” to the drink (kind of like a syrup). Overall not terrible, just not great.
Live Twice is a fairly standard cocktail. Other than the Vodka, there’s nothing in it to give it an exceptional punch. Depending on what type of Triple Sec you buy, the alcohol content will vary slightly. I would compare the effect after consumption to that of one or two beers.
In summary, this particular cocktail is probably worth trying once if you like the combination of fruit and nuts, but I wouldn’t serve it at parties. It’s also not the cheapest cocktail you can make, so the value here is not terribly high.
I’ve decided that I’d like to have at least once post per week on this site so that it encourages me not to forget about it (also so that my Google results stay fresh). To this end, I’d like to introduce a new category: Cocktail of the Week.
As a university student, I know what it’s like to have a hard week and I also know how nice it is to sit back and enjoy a drink after you’ve made a significant dent in your work. One thing that I’ve observed is that the majority of my friends have little to no knowledge when it comes to mixing drinks (although a couple of my friends do know how to appreciate wine). It can also be hard to buy the materials for mixing anything beyond drinks like rum and Coke. I have decided to be a guinea pig and experiment with some new and exciting cocktails.
Here’s how it’s going to work. Once per week, I will randomly select a cocktail to try based on the ingredients I currently have in my house. I’ll provide the recipe for how I made the drink along with any tips I discovered and (hopefully) a photo. Cocktails will be rated on from 1 – 5 (one being the worst, five being the best) in the following categories: Cost (cost of materials required to make the cocktail), Difficulty (skill required to mix said ingredients), Flavour (how well the concoction actually tastes) and finally Strength (how fast and how hard you’ll feel the effects, if at all).
I’m thinking that Saturday is probably the best day to make these posts, given that Friday night is probably the best time to mix drinks, so keep an eye out for the first one coming this week. Oh, and if you have a cocktail or shooter you’d like me to review, shoot me an email or leave it in the comments.