Finals Season Stress

Finals season is in full swing currently and it’s been a particularly stressful finals season this semester. This week was my last week of instruction, and next week is full of exams, presentations, projects, and more for my peers and me. I don’t even have that particularly large of a workload, honestly – it’s just that this is a collection of stressors on top of my already stressful current state of existence.

Amelior, a mobile application that I’ve been working on with a team of other students for CSE-155 (Introduction to Human-Computer Interactions), has approached its end and we’ve delivered both a final paper and a final product. A few of us have talked about taking this app to market after the class has ended and I’m totally on board with that idea. Amelior is a health app that both passively and actively helps you track your health goals. Amelior is not a calorie counting app nor is it a weight loss app, but is instead targeted towards stressed college students such as ourselves who may have difficulty achieving simple things like remembering to eat, touch grass, or get some fresh air and meditation. It helps visualize data in ways that are meaningful to you and can help you better your lifestyle. One of the core ideas Amelior tried to explore was the usage of a digital social actor as a means of motivation. I’m exhausted with this project right now, but I love it and would absolutely love to revisit it after the class is over, just as I would with CyberTrace from last semester. All that I have left for that class now is a final exam next week to study for. The final is on Monday from 11:30-13:30 online, open book and open notes, so I’m gonna spend the weekend studying for it.

My ENGR-180 class (Spatial Analysis and Modeling) has been one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. Dr. Erin Hestir is so clearly passionate and it shows and rubs off. TA Maddie Brown has likewise been awesome. The two of them really made the class as amazing as it was and I made sure to let them know that in the course evaluation. All I have left for that class is the final module quiz I need to finish up soon and then the final project due next Tuesday in the noon. It’s been an overall fun class, and I’m grateful to have taken it! My original purpose for taking the class purely as an elective, not for any particular requirement, was in order to learn more about spatial systems, geographic information systems, and more in order to acquire skills and knowledge that I could use to better my CyberTrace project. I can’t wait to revisit CyberTrace with all of this new knowledge!

My capstone engineering team for CSE-120 (Software Engineering) has been developing an optimal production scheduler for our assigned industry partner, Sweep. Frankly, it’s been a terrible experience working with Sweep. It’s been an amazing experience working with my team, but I have serious ideological contentions with both the class and Sweep. Thankfully, the algorithm utilized was actually an implementation and exploration of something I had written over a year ago: A Resource-Dependent Job Scheduling Algorithm Based on Graph Theory, so it’s not like Sweep owns the intellectual property to the algorithm. Sure, my team had to sign our souls away to our industry partner at the start of this class (which was required for our major), but what we made for Sweep was an implementation of an algorithm I had already designed outside the context of the class over a year ago. They own the specific implementation we wrote for them for free, but the algorithm itself is my intellectual property. If someone gave you an implementation of Dijkstra’s then that doesn’t mean you own Dijkstra’s.

We didn’t even bother to give them our complete effort. The class exploits college students and their talent for free, unpaid labor under the guise that it will give them “industry experience, exposure, and connections.” Bullshit. I know exactly how much my skill is worth. I’m a goddamn 10xer and it’s a crime that I’m forced to make a product for free that someone else will commercialize and make money from. If it was for a nonprofit, environmental, or local small business then I would be more than willing to put in the maximum amount of effort to make a product fully representative of the best of my ability, but instead I got Sweep; they are a for-profit business that focuses on automating the exploitation of the proletariat working class for material and profit. Their API is broken and I could write a better goddamn product in a single night of programming. Every time I have to interact with Sweep, I’m disgusted by what a sorry excuse of a product they offer. Bad software truly makes me livid and fuming with rage and anger.

I’m considering writing another, more complete and fully-fledged implementation of my algorithm in C this summer after classes are done. Again, Sweep doesn’t own my algorithm – they own an implementation of it. The algorithm is my intellectual property, and you know what I wanna do with my intellectual property? I wanna make it ethical, free, libre, and open source. I want everyone to be able to use it. Why? Because fuck em. Sweep doesn’t deserve to make profit from the automated systematic exploitation of the working class. Sweep doesn’t deserve to exist as a company when they persist on exploitation of free naive college labor. I don’t care how much money my algorithm is worth, I just want people to have it for free. I don’t give a shit about money.

We have a final presentation on our product 13 May at UC Merced’s “Innovate to Grow” event. After that, in the summer, I’m gonna make the algorithm free for the world to use. My full programming capability, just like my full hacking capability, is unlocked not by money or notoriety or recognition, but by pure unadulterated rage, something that’s been festering in the back of my mind since day 1 of Sweep exploiting us for our free labor.

I have a lot planned this summer. Only a bit over a week left to power through, and then I’ll be free of these finals season stresses. Until then,

Happy hacking.