I'm now four weeks into the MITx electronics course and it has been great fun.
Or at least up until now it had been.
Back when I went to Imperial College for my undergraduate degree my course — nominally in "Computing Science" — we had to do more maths in our first year than the folks taking a maths degree, and one of the courses I hated most in that area was on numerical analysis. The prof was a bloke named Kenny Pitman iirc, who could never stick to the allocated time for his lectures but would always, without fail, massively overrun, indeed various classes had tried alarm clocks, big arrows taped to the wall clocks, even just verbally reminding him, but there was always "... and one more thing …" with him.
So, I still have the course book for that class: "Elementary Numberical Analysis" by Conte & de Boor. It struck fear into me then, and because the MITx course has now descended into deep maths of the same type, I got it out of storage to try and get me back into the maths the course is now demanding.
And demanding it is. Very. I had difficulty coping with this level of stuff at Uni when I was 20, and all these years later I'm not so sure that the ancient braincells are going to be able to keep up. I don't want to entirely give up the course, especially as I've got 100% on the first three lab works and home works, but …
This week I finally got around to visiting the London Hackspace . "Finally" because I joined the online group looking to set up the hackspace some two years ago, before it even had its first premises, let alone the current place! I was pleased I managed it though, as walking in to the double-unit space I immediately saw a couple of people I know amongst the thirty-plus men and women there.
The place roughly splits into a 'physical' room — with wood- and metal-working tools and a decent-sized laser cutting machine — and the 'hacking' spaces with people either hunched over laptops or soldering irons and bits of kit plugged into arduinos and similar. And very busy it all was too.
In part, my reasons for never getting around to visiting LHS have been that I have most of the tools I need already available to me. Plus reading the updates online I am regularly struck by how often something is reported as broken or in need of attention before use, and I'm often only in London about half the month anyway. But they do have some facilities I'd love to have access to occasionally (ooh! milling machine! lathe!) so I may well return at some point when I get nearer to needing such facilities in my current series of projects and have exceeded the capabilities of my own kit.
In other news, I've signed up for the MITx course 6.002x on Circuits and Electronics. I shall try and give occasional updates...
For the next two days I shall be at the 2nd Citizen Cyberscience Summit . Looking at the schedule for the Friday talks especially it looks like I will be having a lot of very interesting conversations — many of which might find their way on to here.
The hashtag for the event is #lccs2 .