John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk

MSc project - final presentation

This morning was my final presentation for the MSc project. It went ok - certainly better than last year's (I turned up early rather than late, wasn't gasping for breath, had slides prepared, and an application to demonstrate). A few minor hiccups though...

The main problem was that I couldn't actually run my application, because I needed to have the .NET framework installed (which requires admin rights). I emailed the PhD student who is administering the MSc projects on Sunday, to ask about getting this done in advance. He replied on Monday evening, and said that I'd need to contact support. So, I emailed them, but they replied yesterday saying that it's nothing to do with them either, and I should contact the school office. I assumed this meant the department office, so I emailed the postgrad secretary, but he hasn't replied at all. When I arrived today, none of the academic staff had admin access. My supervisor from last year said that I should have gone to the support staff in person rather than emailing them, but that was difficult when I was at my job (and it seems odd that they'd give different answers). In retrospect, I should have taken in my home PC, even though it's a bit more ... solid than a laptop.

Meanwhile, I've discovered some weird behaviour in the .NET framework. Basically, doing a division gives different answers, depending on whether you run the program from inside Visual Studio or by double clicking on it in Explorer. See my post for more info - I suspect a bug. In my case, that means that the compiled application I submitted last Friday has invisible bees, which is slightly frustrating, since it was working properly when I tested it.

Anyway, I gave my supervisor 3 copies of my app to take away with him: the one from Friday, the recompiled one (Debug mode) with Friday's source code, and a new one with some other bug-fixes I did over the last couple of days. I don't think that those changes are admissible as such (since they were done after the deadline), but they might serve as an illustration of "future work that could be done on the submitted project". More pragmatically, if I am borderline pass/fail, the department theoretically have the option of giving me a short period of time to make extra changes, and if they can see that I've already made some then this might tip the balance in my favour.

The other slightly off-putting thing was that one of the professor guys there seemed to be falling asleep. I don't think he was a marker for my project, so it doesn't really matter, but he was sitting there with his eyes closed, mouth hanging open, and what almost sounded like snoring noises... On the plus side, the other markers were giving him sideways glances, and looked slightly embarrassed about it, so it may wind up working in my favour.

Ah well, barring viva it's all over now, so I just need to wait for the results. (Last year they came out on October 9th.) I've got the rest of the day off, and I'll hang around to keep an eye on my email in case there are any more complications about my supervisor running the application. Aside from that, I think that an 80s film is called for...

Speaking of projects, I came across this site a few weeks ago:
The basic idea is that you pay them money, and they'll write a thesis/dissertation for you, of 2:1/1st quality. They claim that this isn't to help people cheat - the idea is that you commission a custom essay that you can then refer to, in the same way that you would read existing journal articles during your literature review. I'm not entirely convinced; that sounds much like the disclaimers used by people selling radar detectors ("it's not to help you break the speed limit, it's just for novelty value"). However, taking it at face value, it does actually sound like an interesting idea, similar to the travelling teachers in one of the Discworld novels (a lesson for an egg). I think it's legitimate to refer to unpublished work in a report, e.g. I've seen Dawkins cite "private correspondence" in his books. And for non-students, the question of cheating doesn't arise, so it's more like hiring a contractor. E.g. "We're interested in agent based modelling - do an assessment of what's available, and write up a report on it". Could even be an interesting career path.
Tags: bees, postgrad

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