ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 1

First full week is well underway. Been working hard this week trying to keep up.

EEE230 – Computer Organization and Assembly Language focused this week on Operators and Operands, in particular:

  • Introduction to MIPS
  • Using MARS
  • Using Registers
  • Using Constants
  • Using Memory
  • Syscalls

The lectures have been interesting and each lecture has a nice set of review activities to practice. Monday a weekly quiz and weekly homework assignment are due. I have a bit of work to do yet this weekend to get the homework wrapped up.

EEE241 Fundamentals of Electromagnetics is continuing work on Vector Calculus. Some challenging stuff, but I’ve been going through some of the book problems and hopefully with a bit more practice, I can make it through.

EEE334 Circuits II is focusing on op-amps and the homework is a bit tougher than I anticipated. I don’t think I’m alone after chatting online with a few other students, but the TAs have been really helpful this week. Definitely a lot of work and tough problems right now. Monday we have our first homework assignment due.

EEE350 Random Signal Analysis has been interesting with a review of Set Theory and Probability. I haven’t been as focused on this course yet as I should be, but hopefully I can get EEE334 and EEE230 under control this weekend and do a better job next week.

Not too much else to report this week, just busy and next week hope to have some more exciting news to report.



ASU Fall Semester 2017 Week 0.5

Year 3 kicked off officially on 8/17 for me. Two out of three classes came online Monday, with one online Tuesday. My fourth class is online, but the due dates are all off and conflicting professors are reported so not sure what is going on there. This semester I’ve got a mix of session A and session C courses. Session A runs for 7.5 weeks and I’ve got EEE 230 – Computer Organization and Assembly Language. Session C is a full 15 weeks so at about the midpoint of the semester, I’ll just have three courses to focus on. Hopefully this will be the only semester where I have a mix of 7.5 and 15 week courses. My session C courses are EEE 241 – Fundamentals of Electromagnetics, EEE 334 – Circuits II and EEE 350 – Random Signal Analysis.

EEE 230 – Computer Organization & Assembly Language starts off with only two topics this short week covering some background information and decimal, hexadecimal, and binary conversions. No labs, but a quiz due Monday. Looks like we get multiple attempts for the quizzes and highest score is counted. In addition to weekly quizzes there will be labs/homework assignments and a final exam. Hopefully won’t be too bad. I took a course similar to this at UCR so hopefully it will come back to me.

EEE 241 – Fundamentals of Electromagnetics is supposed to be wickedly challenging. Numerous EE’s I’ve spoken with have told me its the toughest course. Advice from a friend was to start praying. This first week we’ve been looking at a review of vector calculus and Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical coordinate systems. A lot of review from MAT267 which is welcomed. I fear I’ve forgotten too much, but hopefully after running through the homework assignments it will all come back to me. There will be weekly homework assignments, 2 midterms and a final exam.

EEE 334 – Circuits II is hard to say too much about since the blackboard site has a few missing details, but looks like six long labs, homework, quizzes, probably a midterm or two and a final, but not 100% sure. Hopefully by end of day Friday everything will be updated, but definitely most unusual for a course to be late and no communications from the professor at the time of this post. The topics for the first two weeks though are all on op-amps which look really neat. I’ve never messed with them so really looking forward to learning more about them.

EEE 350 – Random Signal Analysis starts off with discussions on Set Theory and Probability which I’ve seen a bit of, but its been a long time. I’m not sure what to make of this course yet, but curious to learn more. Looks like 7 homework assignments, 2 midterms and a final exam.

From what I can tell of the session C courses, they are a 7.5 week course stretch out so topics seem to be discussed for around 2 weeks instead of the usual 1 week. I really hope this is a bit more manageable and allows me more time to really work with a topic. Sometimes I have to go through things a couple of times, reflect on it and come back before it clicks and I’ve felt so rush lately. Keeping my fingers crossed I can make it through!

Lastly, I’m also an undergrad teaching assistant for EEE 202 Circuits I session A and session B this semester. I had EEE 202 last spring and really liked the course, but definitely felt I could have used a bit more time and practice so hopefully by helping others, I’ll get a bit more confidence and be much better at analyzing circuits.

Arduino MP3 Project for Local Sacramento Artist

Local Sacramento artist Jim Piskotti reached out to me a few months back looking to add sound to his Storm kinematic painting. Mr. Piskotti had an MP3 file put together by Mark Hanzlik that include wind and rain, lightning and thunder. I had used Arduino Microcontrollers in the past and found had an MP3 shield and mono amplifier parts that neatly met Mr. Piskotti’s requirements. I was able to put together the parts with help from Sparkfun’s website guides, libraries and datasheets. The MP3 file was copied over to a microSD card and loaded into the MP3 shield. After a few hours of tinkering the Arduino MP3 player was looping through the file. Mr. Piskotti has a show coming up in Roseville in a few weeks and looking forward to seeing and hearing the completed work!

Below are a few shots of the Arduino MP3 Player solution, Sparkfun MP3 shield and Mono Amplifier solution put together for Mr. Piskotti. (Thanks to Mr. Hanzlik for sending over the photo of Jim and I!)

ASU Summer 2017 Session C Complete

Took me a bit longer to sit down and write up how this past session ended. Ended up skipping town right after my EEE 203 final and my father-in-law passed away last Sunday. Been a tough couple of days for my family, but I find myself awake early reflecting on things while the rest of the house sleeping this morning.

I did okay with CHM 114’s final, I was above the class average, but made a few too many mistakes and ended up walking away from the course with an A-. I just didn’t spend enough time on the last two chapters I fear. I’m not exactly sure which questions I missed on the final. When I last checked only the scores were showing.

I did well on the homework and the guided activities. I had a little bit of trouble with significant figures for some reason on the labs. I think I just rushed too much and didn’t pay enough attention there, but the tests made up the majority of the points for the course and I could have done better on those. I’ll take it though. CHM 114 was my last non-eee course to take so from here on out just electrical engineering courses.

EEE 203 was a bit of a surprise. This course really gave me a lot of trouble. Looking back, I should have stepped back and reviewed series and integrals a bit more from MAT 266. This class is more math and theory than some of the other electrical engineering courses and showed me I’d forgotten a few things. By the end, I think I pulled things together.

I didn’t do that great on the multiple choice portion of the final, but I did pretty good on the short answer portion. It was pretty similar to practice final that was given. A few things from the midterm showed up, but for the most part concentrated on materials from the last half of the class.

This class had a lot of extra credit opportunities and I took advantage of all of them which paid off. Maybe too much extra credit, but regardless, if its offered, I’m willing to put in extra time and effort to learn something new. The professor offered a 40 point applications extra credit assignment broken up into four parts that took a look at how signals and systems analysis applied to real applications.

The assignment looked at the differences between discrete time Fourier transform and discrete Fourier transform and its uses in MATLAB, amplitude modulation and then cruise control for a vehicle. I’ve been interested in control systems and remote control vehicles since I was in high school so it was pretty neat to get a glimpse into the amplitude modulation and cruise control. I’m looking forward to learning more about those topics.

Overall, EEE 203 was one of the more challenging courses more so because I didn’t take the time to brush up on some of my math and work through practice problems enough early on. It really pulls in math from ALL math courses. Thanks to the generous extra credit made available though, I was able to recover from a mediocre midterm and final and walk away with an A+. Not sure I should have that, but I’ll take it!

Next up for me is a few weeks off from school. So far, been spending a lot of time of in Southern California. There is a short weekend trip to Tahoe, then a trip to the beaches around Santa Cruz and Monterrey before the kids return to school.

This fall, I’ll be taking four classes! EEE 230 Computer Organization and Assembly Language is a 7.5 week session A class. My other three courses are all Session C courses which are 15 week. I’ve heard the longer duration courses aren’t as frantic as the 7.5 week ones. My other three courses are EEE 241 Fundamentals of Electromagnetics, EEE 334 Circuits II and EEE 350 Random Signal Analysis. I’ll probably not be posting much over the next few weeks, but look for my weekly updates in August once classes start back up around the 18th.

ASU Summer 2017 Session C Week 7

The last full week of summer session c is coming to  a close. This week in EEE 203 the focus has been on the Z-Transform and its uses. Homework was fairly light this week. A bit more work and time was spent on the region of convergence, but as with the Laplace Transform, the lectures followed a similar pattern of looking at the definition, a couple of examples, regions of convergence, properties and then its application to LTI systems.

I spent a bit of time the past weekend working on the 40 point extra credit assignment. There are four parts to it looking at different applications of some of the concepts learned. Part 1 looks at the Discrete Fourier Transform, Part 2 Computation of DTFT using MATLAB, Part 3 Application of Communication System and Part 4 Application of Control System. I hope to spend a little more time over the next few days to look at these topics in a bit more detail.

In CHM 114, lots of work as usual. I took the third exam Tuesday night and did pretty well considering. Well above the average so was good enough for me given everything else on my plate this week.

Lectures and homework this week were on Chapter 19 – Thermodynamics and Chapter 20 – Electrochemistry. Chapter 20’s homework had 2 extra credit points. In addition to the homework, two guided activities and Lab 7 which was the Analysis of Ethanol.

Next week, Wednesday I’ll have my CHM 114 final and I plan to take my EEE 203 final on Friday 7/7. After that I’ll be on break for  about five and a half weeks and plan to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation.

ASU Summer 2017 Session C Week 6

Another busy week. Getting close to completion of Summer Session C. EEE 203 this week has been focusing on the Laplace Transform. Lectures included a look at:

  • Definitions
  • Examples
  • Inverse Transforms
  • Properties
  • LTI Systems
  • LTI System Examples

I had a little bit of trouble sorting out the region of convergence, but I found a slide deck that had some nice worked out examples.

This week the instructor provided two MATLAB examples. One on an RLC Band-pass Filter and a Cruise Control example. I haven’t had a chance to look much into these yet.

With the exception of one of the homework problem, most this week were pretty straight forward which was a nice change.

I was able to get the 20 pt midterm reflection wrapped up and submitted. After the midterm, definitely trying to get all the extra credit possible.

CHM 114 continues to consume almost all of my time. This week 3 chapters were covered, Chapter 14 – Kinetics, Chapter 15 – Equilibrium, Chapter 16 – Acids and Bases.

Last week’s material and this week’s material will all be on Exam 3 which opens up next week. I plan to spend a good part of this week reviewing the practice exam and trying to keep all this stuff straight.

The lab this week was a titration tutorial, again using the late night labs. The guided inquiry activities covered Reaction Rates and Introduction to Equilibrium.


ASU Summer 2017 Session C Week 5

Are we done yet? I don’t think I have ever been so tired. This past week I had a midterm on Monday in EEE 203 and a CHM 114 exam. Toss in the usual EEE homework and quiz, and in CHM 114 only 3 chapters, Mastering Chemistry homework, a lab, a discussion board post and two interactive guided activities.

I thought for sure I was done for on the EEE 203 midterm. I did horribly on the multiple choice portion of the exam. I was really nervous and made some really dumb mistakes. 4 is not the same thing as -4. I did slightly better on the short answer portion, but the midterm showed me a few areas I really need to pay better attention to.

CHM 114 I passed and did slightly better than the average. I didn’t spend much time preparing for this test and it really showed. but still doing okay in there. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. There wasn’t a lot of math problems, mostly conceptual questions and some were really tricky. At least it is done.

This week in EEE 203 we’re turning our attention to Discrete Time Fourier Transform and Sampling. I’m a bit behind and haven’t gotten through the sampling lectures, but there are some things that are pretty similar to discrete time, but you’ve got a few differences that you need to be aware of. So far it seems slightly more straight forward than the first few weeks, but occasionally you’ve got a partial fraction to deal with.

The professor added a midterm reflection assignment which will give 20 points following reviewing all problems missed and reflecting on ways to improve. I plan to work on that this weekend.

In CHM 114 this week the three chapters covered

  • Ch 10 – Gases
  • Ch 11 – Liquids and Intermolecular Forces
  • Ch 13 – Solutions

The lab this week again used the Late Nite Lab site and covered Molar Volume of a Gas. It wasn’t too bad. Hopefully I answered the questions correctly and reported my values properly . I’ve had a few points marked off for significant figure issues the last few times. Nothing major but irritating. I never had that problem in the physics labs. Probably just being careless but when you’re up at 7 and working until 11:30 with breaks for meals just trying to stay slight ahead, not sure what more can be done.

Is this session over yet??!?