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Frustrated With School

I only have a few minutes to post before I have to run into work, so I'll keep this short and to the point. I am beginning to grow tired of the Computer Science program at Weber State University. If you are a professor or faculty member of the department reading this post, I am sorry, but it's true. I am frustrated, and I am putting my frustrations out on the keyboard. Here are some of the issues that I have with the department:

  • The Windows 2003 terminal server is great, but needs a lot of work. I am talking TONS of work. Why when I login, I am told that certain software has been disabled, other software crashes, and I need priveleges to install a plugin for my Firefox browser? Please. At least this time I can launch it. Last time I visited, I couldn't even launch the browser or any software for that matter, saying I did not have admin priveleges.
  • I was removed as ACM Chair because I missed ONE meeting and ONE activity. Not several like the ACM advisor was saying. Besides, I sent out several emails about programs, ideas and activities that we could hold as a group, and NO ONE responded. Not even the advisor. Yes, I still have every email, and I plan on posting them here when I get the time. When I asked if we could reschedule the meeting, I again DID NOT receive a response. And the notice for the activity was only two weeks, and scheduled on a day that I had a Linux Install Fest that I was in charge of. Yet the advisor has the balls to remove me, because I am not complying with his schedule. Oh well, the ACM is a dying old mans club anyway. Good to be out of it.
  • I am receiving anything but cooperation with the web page that I redesigned. I will admit, that the majority of frustration here stems from miscommunication. However, it's stagnant. First off, the department doesn't even own their own cs.weber.edu subdomain. It belongs to the school. Second, it seems no one is willing to talk to the school to get them to point the subdomain to the Linux server, where the page is being hosted. C'mon people. Let's get on the ball here.
  • I am learning more at home, then I am in class. Maybe this stems from my interest in computers and programming languages, but the teaching cirriculum needs to be overhauled. Let's get half the the professors fired that are stuck in 1985 and refuse to teach anything new. I mean, for crying out loud, I am not interested in, nor do I think many of the students are either, how signals are carried through a wire, or how to allocate registers in RAM. Also, why are the networking majors taking tons of programming courses, and the software engineers taking tons of networking courses? Did I miss something here?
  • There are virtually no UNIX or Linux courses being taught at all. Yet, we have a $50,000 Sun Solaris UNIX computer lab, and half of the south lab are SuSE 9.3 Linux machines. The amazing thing, is faculty members complain that they never get used, and they should ditch it. I agree. If you aren't going to teach the students anything but Windows-only, then yeah, it's a waste of space. Frankly, I think it is sad that the department has become a Microsoft shop. The teachers treat Linux and UNIX as a hobbyist operating system, and because of that, the graduating students will never get the full education they need, and they will not get far in the computing industry.
  • Faculty involvement is a joke, to say the least. Everyone is just too busy. It's one thing or another. And I was removed from the ACM as Chair because I missed one meeting?!? When was the last time a faculty member attended, or even encouraged students to attend, a programming contest? Huh? When was the last time any faculty member used the Orangeforum (okay, one professor does, but he's it). When was the last time a faculty member told their students about some conventions or workshops being held in the area? Yeah. That's what I thought. It's work then home, right?
  • The Orangeforum and ACM site are a joke. A sad, sad joke. Yet again, no one is willing to do anything about it. The Orangeforum needs serious work. The code can't be maintained, because the students who have the only access and permissions to modify it, have graduated, and are long gone. We just need a new forum, one that isn't built on top of permissions, and that the faculty can have access and control over. I have presented such a forum, and it was shot down. Same goes with the ACM site. Only two students have access, and they both graduated a long time ago. So there they sit, seriously out of date and looking horrible, and no one is willing to do anything about it. Frankly, because they are on IIS servers, and .NET code, I look forward to somebody exploiting a hole, and defacing both sites. Maybe that will get them in gear.

There you have it. I could go on. In fact, later today, I will. I'll expand on each of these in more detail. Maybe each in their own post. However, right now, I need to get to work.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Adam using Firefox 1.5.0.1 on Windows XP | March 18, 2006 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Regarding your last bullet point - while it may be true that people that have graduated should have made sure the orange forum was left in good hands (read: left the passwords with someone responsible), saying there is a need for a new one seems extreme. And the fact that you say that because it is built with .NET, someone will deface it. Oh, all .NET sites are crap? LOL You kill me man, that forum's code base is the same code base that was once used by the forum at http://www.asp.net. The only reason it is not used any longer is because that site is a showcase site for the latest stuff, which now happens to be Community Server. It is not like some goofball wrote that code.

    As for the ACM.....yeah, it is old school and not worth anyone's time.

  2. Aaron using Firefox 1.5.0.1 on Windows XP | March 19, 2006 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I never said because it was built with .NET that it is crap. Find anywhere in my post where I said that. Please. I'd like to find out. The reason it will get defaced, is because the code is old, and only two people have the ability to update it. Also, it is hosted on an IIS server, and IIS has known holes, bugs and security issues. There is a reason less than 20% of all servers are IIS. As such, it is only time before a hole is exposed, and the site compromised. I think you should put down the gloves, and take a humble stance before swinging away.

  3. Matthew Kimber using Firefox 1.0.7 on Windows XP | March 23, 2006 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    It is unfortunate that the ACM is in the state that it is. It would really be great to have an active club where we could collaborate in projects, talk about geeky stuff, and just hang out to feed off of one another. Who's in charge of it anyways? Is it Dr. Peterson still?

    I'm a little surprised that you are unsatisfied with the Orange Forum. If you ask me, everything is up to par as far as how a public forum should perform. Like Adam said the code base is from what was once hosted at asp.net developed by professional programmers (Rob Howard...CEO of Telligent...as well as former Microsoft employee). In reality access to the code is really not necessary. What changes should be made? I'm just curious as to what you want to change there. Now the ACM site is definitely out of date and completely useless.

    As for your bashing (you may not see it as that, but your comment about a buggy IIS and the possibility of exploiting .NET is clearly that) I will disagree. Apache has had it's fair share of bugs as well as any other software package has.

  4. Aaron using Firefox 1.5.0.1 on GNU/Linux | March 24, 2006 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Apache has definitely had it's fair share of bugs. In fact, that is where the name came from. Originally known as NCSA, it lost support, and various devs began making patches for the web server. It became a patchy server. Thus the name.

    The fact of the matter is, bashing or not, developed professionaly or not, whether it is .NET or PHP or ASP or JSP or any other server side code, if it is not updated, it _will_ be exploited sooner or later. That is the nature of script kiddies. They have the uncanny ability to sniff out security holes, exploit them, and deface the site.

    I have my reservations against .NET, and really, any proprietary software at all. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't seem to care much about it, and it has a history, as well as IIS, to be insecure. Worst, it has the reputation for waiting on patching the holes. Not until just recently has Microsoft really ever gotten serious about security.

    What would I like to see with the Orange Forum? First off, control over the code. The fact that two studends who have graduated are the only ones that can update the code shows a lack in supervision and structure.

    The second thing I would like to see implemented is editing posts. We're not in the second grade. We're adults here. Just because _one_ person changed his post in a negative manner, does not mean it needs to be shut off. The forums I visit, such as http://www.ubuntuforums.org, are very high traffic with hundreds if not thousands of posts per day, and editing is enabled. It is rarely, if ever, abused. The fact that editing posts are not enabled on the Orangeforum, shows immaturity and lack of trust.

    The third thing I would like to see implemented, is a complete rewrite of the forum, whether it remains .NET or not. Trying to add features to the current API is like trying to encourage a turtle to turn over off of its back. Even if we upgraded to Community Server, that would be a world of difference, compared to what is in place now.

    The fourth thing I would like to see is file uploads. Again, the lack of trust, and/or implementation, is just silly. Why can't we upload screenshots of code, for example? Or maybe the code itself? If the reason is the same as editing posts, then we need to grow up. Again, we're not in the 2nd grade. If the reason is the code doesn't currently support it, then all the more reason to make the upgrade.
    The fifth thing that should be implemented, but isn't code related, is either the faculty or students take control, not an organization. As is shown, organizations fluctuate with membership and activity at colleges and universities. Frankly, there needs to be a seperate server that just students have control over. Living in Logan and visiting USU, the CS Dept is very liberal in this area, and as such, a lot of great things come from the CS department. Lots of student activity and involvement.

    I could go on and on, but I think this brings accross the point I want to make. The Orangeforum needs a serious upgrade. The CS department does too.

  5. Glen using Firefox 1.0.7 on Windows XP | March 28, 2006 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    For those above saying the orangeforum is great and/or up to par, it's not. I don't care who used the code before. It lacks many features that should be in any up to date forum like post editing as already mentioned by Aaron and also private messaging. Even the horrendously crappy EZ Boards have both these features. And while it may not matter since the OF is hardly used, the search function is severely lacking as well. Buttons to perform common tagging functions such as bold, quote, image, url, etc would aslo be helpful. I don't care if you know how to do it already cause you RTFM, many new people don't know how use those features and like those options there. PHPBB boards have them, Web Wiz Forums have them, and almost any other up to date forums do as well.

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