Saturday, April 26, 2008

Why engineering students can't write good...

Last wednesday was the due date for my latest assignment: writing a 1-page critical review on a journal article "Output Resistance of the Common-Emitter Amplifier" by Rode. I thought that this must be a good assignment to give, for several reasons:
1. the paper talks about the exact same topic we're discussing
2. i was curious about student's writing skills
3. i wanted to know how good the students are in understanding english language text...

I had just finished marking the whole class's work, and... phuff why am i not surprised to the fact that engineering students aren't good at writing??

Most of the students showed lack of Indonesian written language skills... (is 12 years of bahasa indonesia education still not enough??). On average, they also showed poor technical style writing skills.

When i told them to include their own opinions and critique of the original paper, i did not mean they could put in words like these:
- "menurut saya"
- "jujur saya tidak bisa paham"
- "Komentar: ..."

Some of my students must have not been paying attention as well: several papers that i read were more like TRANSLATIONS with HEAPS OF PAGES instead of a summary plus critique that i wanted.

But i don't blame them. As a matter of fact, I never got this sort of assignment before when i was still in undergrad. Apparently, my senior lecturers had barely ever teached good writing skills to the students. The only chance students can practice writing is during their thesis. And this might be a bit too late!

Let's hope we can all fix this up.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ada yang pernah memprogram PLD?

Dua minggu belakangan ini cukup banyak waktu + Rp yg kuhabiskan untuk "nyoba" pemrograman PLD (programmable logic device), yg pertama dari Atmel (ATF16F8B) seharga Rp10ribu di Audio (jogja), dan yang kedua = GAL22v10 seharga Rp18ribu dari (surabaya).

Yang jadi masalah,

sampai sekarang belum berhasil. Programmer "minimum-effort GAL programming" dengan program GALBlast, sudah kucoba, dan gagal... :-(

Sebenarnya gak terlalu besar manfaat menggunakan dua chip PLD itu, karena kemampuannya sangat terbatas dan "gak worth it" (dibandingkan dgn FPGA dan CPLD). Tapi terpaksa belajar menggunakan PLD "murah" itu karena dua hal:
1. murah dan mudah didapatkan
2. bisa digunakan untuk pengenalan VHDL!!!

Yup. VHDL. Bahasa pemrograman untuk mendeskripsikan hardware... :-D
(untuk bahan kuliah Elektronika Digital rencana nya...)

Belajar VHDL biasanya kan dengan FPGA development board. Nah, kenapa aku ga pakai FPGA saja?

Uhm. Harganya e. Mahal. Di atas 2.5 juta rupiah... per modul. Toh niatnya cuma ingin mengenalkan VHDL. Bukan ingin penelitian pembuatan mikroprosesor baru misalnya... ^_^

Ada gak ya yg punya pengalaman ttg VHDL atau FPGA atau CPLD atau PLD sederhana ini?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My government made me did something stupid

A couple of days ago I had some trouble logging in to my commonwealth netbanking account because apparently the bank blocked access to it. This led me to think at least two (make it three) possible reasons:
(1) i might have tried to login with the wrong password three times in a row. <-- impossible because i didnt do it.
(2) somebody else might have did it.
(3) somebody else might have illegaly gained access to my netbanking account, and withdrew all the money in it!!! <-- though less likely, it did worry me a lot!

On the same day, the bank sent me an email requesting me to call them by phone. They wanted me to confirm my recent transactions,

which i did on the next day. I called them using an XL bebas sim card and costed me only Rp5000 for a 10-minutes call! (so cheap ^_^).

After confirming my identity (through a long list of identification questions: name, dob, phone number, keycard number, last transaction dates), they told me that they blocked access to my account because the last login attempt was done through an unsecured bypass proxy.


I would never have used a bypass proxy if the government didn't block access to youtube and multiply in the first place!!! :-(
(the reason why they did this has something to do with the fitna movie. the fact that the government did block access to youtube & multiply shocks me more than the fitna movie itself!)

Yup. I was stupid. I should never ever again use any unsecured proxies to access vital and important websites potentially revealing my private informations.

note: access to youtube and multiply was restored yesterday. thanks, pak menkominfo...