by Sean Silva
Me: Albert, you’re the head of the coding club at Saint Francis, right?
Albert: Yes I am, along with Arthur Ter-Zakarian.
Me: Why did you decide to make a programming club?
Albert: Well it came about as a whimsical thought. I practiced programming on my own and Arthur saw that and came up with the idea of a club. From there, we thought it would be great to make a friendly place in which people interested in programming could learn from more experienced people. Through a team we thought perhaps programing would be more productive.
Me: What are some of the goals of the club, in terms of programming?
Albert: We hope throughout the first semester that we finalize on learning one programming language and if we're feeling adventurous even two. So far in our few meetings, the consensus has been to learn programming languages geared more towards the web. We plan to have many more meetings in the future in which more people are likely to join due to scheduling to achieve this. When we do and head on over to second semester, we plan to create a respectable project.
Me: How has the general interest level in the club been?
Albert: To be honest it hasn't been as high as we would have liked. I think it's mainly due to the fact that we haven't been exactly very clear in our meetings dates. Also we know that not everyone on campus is entirely aware of our club's existence. Towards the end of October, we will strive to do a better job and hopefully set our work in motion. Next week our meetings resume and we will have an announcement on KNIT.
Me: Hopefully this interview will help out with that. Tell me about the benefits of knowing how to program and why you think it's important.
Albert: Programming is highly important today. It's very applicable as a part of nearly any field particularly in science and entertainment. It's one of those underlying technologies that we don't ever see but we certainly do experience. It really covers everything from a computer's OS or really any devices' OS, to applications we use daily such as Office, the Adobe Suite, and of course hundreds of games. Every page on the web has been coded or at least created using an application that was coded. As you can see programming is truly diverse and it's now extremely important even in fields such as medical science where stem cells maybe actually programmed to perform a certain function. Programmers usually find jobs quickly particularly in entertainment industries where good programming is essential. If you don't necessarily want these jobs, you'll certainly learn a new way of thinking. Programming is very logically based and it's certainly fascinating to learn what's under the hood in technology you experience daily.
Me: Thank you, Albert and good luck!
Posted in Technology
By Robert Farewell
Dependency on our latest technological devices comes with a huge sacrifice. With the growing need to stay connected, we seldom find ourselves separated from our computers or phones. We are increasingly interacting in this very impersonal and virtual world. Change will always be a constant. Just as the generations before us, we will adapt accordingly. Yet the problem lies in what progress removes from our daily lives. What we are sacrificing is the quiet time for reverie and critical thinking, the necessary cornerstone to personal fulfillment. Technology yields little time for beneficial isolation and self-rumination. There is always an email, a text message, or a picture to comment on. It is rare to able to reflect, to think seriously about something other than school or the next witty post on Facebook. People lose sight of their own personalities because of the feigned intimacy of social media. Facades have never been so easy to manifest. Other people can write one’s posts to make them seem smarter, or one can embellish one’s picture in order to appear more attractive.
Coming from an all-boys school, I can vouch for the importance of social media. At same-sex schools, a major part of social life takes place on Facebook. In this new social climate where friends rarely interact face to face, people will represent themselves in the most appealing way possible, in a way that is far from genuine. Personalities become convoluted with this need to appeal to others. We live in a world that is more superficial and insecure than ever. People are afraid of revealing the truth, out fear of rejection. Oscar Wilde said it best: “those who go beneath the surface do so at their own peril.” It is a time of life where most thought is consumed in the realm of high school and the Web. Serious thinking and reflection are becoming almost non-existent; we need to find ways to overcome these barriers to personal space.. We can embrace these changes, but at the same time we need to be cognizant of the challenges they pose to our personal growth.
By Matt Ramirez
In recent years, the audio quality of music has grown progressively worse. In the age of MP3’s and digital downloads, the quality of music of today compared to the quality of music of the past has greatly diminished.
In the early 1900s, vinyl records had replaced the old phonographs as the alternative for listening to music. At the time, the records were as close to live sound quality that a listener could get. Unfortunately, these records were big, bulky, and breakable. One had to worry about the needle which allowed people to play vinyl records on their turntables whether it was too sharp or too dusty. One also had to worry about heat and dust because it affected the pitch and even the stereo balance on the records which resulted in hissing sounds and sudden pops. Though it was the best quality of its time, it did have its many shortcomings.
In the 1930s, the cassette tape made its debut. The great thing about cassettes was that you could record pretty much anything, even live radio. However, as great as the cassettes were for recording, they were terrible in quality. The film would sometimes have to be detangled with a paper clip or could be damaged by heat, which resulted in degraded sounds.
CD’s hit the market in the late 1970’s and would soon replace the old vinyl records and the cassette tapes. As opposed to the needle or spool, CD’s use laser technology in order to play any audio files that are on it. The quality has far surpassed that of its successors. A disk is much smaller than a vinyl record and has better sound and recording ability than the cassette. CD’s did, however, prove to be fragile to heat, dust, and scratch marks.
In the late 1990s, the Internet allowed for the MP3 to rise in music. This has probably been the worst mistake in the history of music listening. The way an MP3 file works is that it takes a song and compresses it to make the file smaller, thus resulting in freer disk space. Compression essentially increases the volume of the quieter elements within a mix while holding steady the peaks of the louder parts. By doing so, it excludes the musical information that the human ear is less likely to notice. Much of the information left out is at the very high and low end (MP3s do not reproduce reverb well for similar reasons). So, when the CD master tape is then consumed via MP3, the flattening effect is enhanced further. The result: an unsatisfying, brittle, indistinct, hollow experience with no kick.
Just as the CD replaced vinyl, we all know that MP3 and other digital formats are quickly replacing CD’s as the most popular way to listen to music. Many have lost interest in high end stereo systems while younger listeners, most notably our generation, have grown so used to dynamically compressed music that the battle has already been lost.
So, the next time you decide to purchase a song or an entire album, ask yourself, “Do I want convenience or quality?” If you see me walking down the street with a Walk-Man in one hand, a pile of CDs in another, and my old iPod in the trash, don’t ask me why.
By Chris Keppel
Last Tuesday, Apple unveiled a new line up, or generation, of iPods. In addition to revamping the look of their most sleek products, they changed the hardware in every series of the device.
The design of the iPod shuffle returned to its previously thin and box-like form. Last year’s shuffle took the largest design deviation from its predecessor, resembling a piece of Trident gum.
The iPod Nano may be the most impressive design debuted this week. It no longer sports Apple’s signature click wheel, a feature that used to be an essential part of any iPod only a few years ago. Like its better selling sibling, it now features a touch screen and an operating system relatively similar to that of the iPod Touch and the iPhone. In addition, the new Nano is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, a significant size change from its already tiny predecessor.
Many fans of the company have been waiting for two years for Apple to release its latest version of the iPod touch. The new release has been given a higher resolution touch screen and a faster processor, meaning that games and applications will run a little more fluidly. Last year, rumors circulated that a camera would be placed on the newest version of the iPod Touch resulting from a large shipment of cameras Apple was importing from China. Fans were disappointed, however, when Apple unveiled that the cameras were to be used in the older edition of the iPod Nano. Many will be happy to discover that the new iPod Touch has been given a camera similar to that of the iPhone 4.
The new iPod is closer to the capabilities of the iPhone than its predecessors making the idea of an iPhone without the monthly phone bill enticing to fans. The new iPod is a significant improvement from a relatively disappointing generation of Apple products and a needed step with the onslaught of production from the competing Android market.