Tuesday, February 01, 2005


    (Yet Another List)

  1. This morning on NPR I heard a bit about how someone thought that iPod's random function wasn't very random and how some experts determined that it is, in fact, pretty random. I've always contended that my old CD player's random was more random than my current CD player's random. I'm still pretty sure that I'm right. But it's entirely possible that the clumpiness that I dislike is random clumpiness.

  2. This university's registration process seems to be pretty awful. There has got to be a better method for matching students with courses. The key question is the order in which you deal with oversubscribed courses. If you have a university-wide system saying that seniors in the honors program get first choice for all courses and freshmen on academic probation get last choice, then it's not that hard to implement. But wouldn't it be nice for departments to be able to set the priority on a course-by-course basis -- like being sure that freshmen have a chance to enroll in a really popular course that might serve to recruit new majors? In that case, you'd have to populate the courses first and then deal with the courses one at a time. But each time you move students out of a first choice class to a second choice class, there's the potential for creating a cascade of problems. How to deal with this fairly? Yet another case of "that is not my job but I could probably do it better than the person doing it now."

  3. What is the most efficient way to alphabetize a stack of homework papers? There isn't enough room on my desk for all the piles I would need for merge sort.