September 7, 2008
Orientation was only a couple of days, but there sure was a lot going on. I spent a good amount of time helping out the club I’m in, the Cornell Japanese Animation Society (CJAS). We’re known around campus for our impressive chalkings. Chalkings in case you don’t know are a common form of advertising at Cornell and many other Schools. Students write down events and such in chalk on walkways in hope that people will read them while walking around. Ithaca isn’t perhaps the best place in the world to do chalkings as it rains so often, but the weather has been nice lately and getting fresh blood is crucial for organizations.
Different groups have there own signature chalkings. The Hangovers have their many smiley faces, The Cordials have their colorful martini glasses, and CJAS has their anime characters. Competition over chalking area is fierce especially during orientation. Also, it’s important for organizations to follow SAO guidelines. For the most part these rules are followed, but not always. Also, writing over another clubs advertisements is a big no no, just wait for rain and then there will be lots more room to use.
CJAS really only has two skilled artists but lots of people can help out with the tedious parts of chalking like filling in colors thoroughly and doing lettering for information (if they can spell). So I don’t have much drawing skill, but I am an expert at filling in the colors. I remember all those long grueling hours of training as a child for this. This orientation we did three chalkings around campus. My fingers hurt after a while, and my pants turned strange colors, but I did discover the answer to a long pondered question. Can you get sunburned in Ithaca? The answer is yes.
I also went to ClubFest last Sunday. I helped out with the table for CJAS and wondered around. As usual there was a lot of enthusiasm from clubs and a big turnout. My only complaint is that they had really loud music. I hurt my voice trying to talk to people. It seems silly to have ClubFest when people have trouble talking to each other.
Right now it has been only two weeks since I got back to Ithaca. Classes have started and I’ve already had problem sets due. So many things are going on that it already feels like I’ve never left.
August 22, 2008
Greetings Class of 2012 and transfers; welcome to Cornell! Today all new students arrive to Cornell and orientation begins. I remember those exciting and nervous times being a freshman two years ago, waiting anxiously for my parents to leave and throwing something together last minute for the “required” reading project essay. Well I hope everyone has fun before the crunch of classes begins.
The orientation guide this year is called “The Orientation Files” and labeled “TOP SECRET”, but you can access it at the orientation website. It’s pretty silly, filled with comics that have tips for students. I’m not sure if it really works, but I give Cornell credit for trying something different. The reading project book this year is Lincoln at Gettysburg. Eek, it’s only a stub on Wikipedia, you Cornell Wikipedians really need to work on that one (I know your out there). I would, but I haven’t read it and I’m lazy ; ).
As usual, the Cornell website looks all jazzed up with their two moving in headers. You should be able to still see them at http://www.cornell.edu/img/home/main/backtoschool/2006/bts-1-movingin.jpg and http://www.cornell.edu/img/home/main/orientation05/orient05-road.jpg after today. As you can see from their URLs, they are from 2005 and 2006. It’s slightly deceiving as it looks like that this is from moving in today. I think these are the same images used last year, not sure.
I’m not in Ithaca yet, but I can’t wait.
Update: You can find photos of this years Move-in day on the Cornell Chronicle
April 1, 2008
This morning there was a great archaeological discovery here on Libe Slope. Professor Rumbaugh of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department spoke earlier today,
Every year Libe Slope thaws out a little, revealing different things that were once buried deep in snow and ice. Because of todays extremely hot high of 61°F, [the ruins] were discovered.
In light of the discovery archaeologists are scrambling to figure out who these people were and how they survived Ithaca. According to professor Armitage in anthropology,
We believe that these ancient Ithacans lived very difficult lives thwarting hills, prelims, and the bitter cold in order to survive. We take pride in their resilience.
Also… hooray for April fools day. In my math class we all put on masks of our professor in the middle of class. He laughed a little and then went on teaching undisturbed. Other stuff on the internets:
March 5, 2008
Bear Access is going to be replaced with PeopleSoft (owned by Oracle) during break. It is cool that Bear Access is created by Cornell, but it is always a pain getting it to work, especially for pre-enrollment, which was all I ever really used it for. From the main page on the Cornell University Registrar site:
We are implementing a new student system that brings admissions, student records, bursar & financial aid together into one system. We started several months ago with admissions & financial aid & this March, bursar & student records go live.
When you return from Spring Break you’ll see the reincarnation of Just the Facts/CoursEnroll with a different interface and new features. There will be some new terminology & we’ll be making the transition from 3 to 4-digit course numbers. The 4-digit numbers are in the current Courses of Study in parenthesis after the Department and 3-digit number, i.e., ASIAN 219(2219).
I hope this new system is easy to use, but there are always problems with such large changes. Cornell has been using Bear Access for a long time and this seems like a sudden switchover. The Sun talked to David Yeh, vice president of Student and Academic Services, about the change:
Yeh confirmed that in the upcoming pre-enrollment, students will be able to make use of five new features — a course-specific waitlist, auto mated section enrollment, swap, reserve capacity and dynamic dates … The new system has gone through “extensive testing,” but Yeh warned that issues could still occur when it is implemented because the system is “very complicated.”
The new system is be able to handle more simultaneous users, a big issue since most everyone accesses it right when it opens. It is will also now be through a browser (yay!) and have new features that will make pre-enrollment and managing classes easier. I’m pretty excited about the switch and think it is a good move given that pre-enrollment has been an unnecessary pain every semester; I just hope it transitions well.
March 5, 2008
Cornell has been pushing Ruckus, a company that provides free music downloads for students. According to this article in the Sun, almost 6 thousand people have registered for Ruckus at Cornell so far and “over 750,000 songs have been downloaded.” Now what exactly these numbers mean I wonder. I do know a lot of people who have signed up for Ruckus, but I don’t actually know anyone who liked it and still uses it. Also, how do number of songs downloaded relate to number of songs listened? In any event it is clear that some people actually do use Ruckus. I’m not a heavy music downloader, but what is important to me is that I can get what it is I’m looking for and that it is not DRM. Ruckus does not do this. The Sun goes on to say:
Cornell’s agreement with Ruckus is one of many initiatives to decrease illegal downloading and educate students about its consequences … Beginning this coming school year, the University will take further steps to educate new students in an effort to prevent illegal downloading.
Of course if Ruckus really does decrease illegal downloading, it can only relate to music. This does nothing to illegal video and software downloading, which bandwidth-wise take up the bulk of pirating. I personally think that groups like the RIAA and MPAA are fighting a losing battle to control media as it becomes more and more user controlled. Ruckus is a nice compromise for music, but what happens when the user can’t find what they want?
See also Matt Hintsa on Ruckus, Wikipedia on Ruckus, Defective by Design
September 11, 2007
I woke up this morning to this view out my window:
This is the construction site on one of the new west campus dorms.
August 23, 2007
My name is Joe McCourt, I am a sophomore in Engineering. I enjoy playing with legos and watching anime. That was my short bio, for the long version read my about page.
There are some cool new changes this year. I am taking some very difficult courses. The Thurston Avenue Bridge is open (pictured); too bad I am no longer living on North Campus, but now I’m living on West Campus in Carl Becker House. I look forward to a new exciting and productive year.
I’m very excited to be a part of Life on the Hill even though I’m surprised that I was chosen. Unlike many of the other bloggers on Life on the Hill, I do not have impressive extracurriculars. It helped that I am in Engineering since no one else on the blogging project is and now only the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning is unrepresented. Engineering does have its own Engineering Admissions Blogs, although it is less well known. Being familiar with blogging and wordpress probably also helped me get in.
This is the first time using my real name online. I also have a lot of personal information up; I hope no one will abuse it. I plan on making frequent high quality posts so please yell at me if I don’t or if I digress too much into legos and anime. I want to be part of a discussion, please feel free to leave comments or email me. I hope my blogging is to your liking!