The day after I published the previous blog post I received both my New To Me calculus book and my Actually New copy of Mac:Office. It was a freakin’ geek-o-rama. (Apparently it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy, but the bit that cheers me is disturbingly specific.)
Here is someone else’s picture of the cover of Calculus by Jon Rogawski:
This is the textbook that UW-Whitewater uses for Calculus I, II, and III. So getting one for $30 via Amazon.com was a fantastic buy. And please don’t think I did anyone wrong by using Amazon.com. I bought this from a private seller, not a mindless warehouse. She got $30 she otherwise would not have — Amazon itself buys books like this back at a ridiculously low rate. They would have offered her a paltry $2 and turned around to sell it to someone else for as much as $92. It reminds me a lot of the Miami Co-Op Bookstore’s buyback program after my first semester of college the first time ’round… which is why I don’t have my original calculus book in the first place. (I wonder if I would recognize it if I ever ran across it again. It was mostly black on the outside, and filled with shadows, flagpoles, and horny hamsters on the inside.) Whitewater itself has a textbook rental program, which is a new concept to me but not as valuable as you’d think it would be for me. Yes, I could get my textbooks for free, but I’d need to return them at the end of each semester. I wouldn’t get to keep them! And that would be particularly stupid for a sequence of three courses that all use the same text on purpose. So, for $10 a semester and $0 thereafter… my calculus book.
Now I feel as if I’ll need to justify the purchase of Microsoft software as well. I have been using Macintoshes since 1987, and learned to write my first programs on the Apple ][e. (See what I did there? I could have also written Apple //e or Apple IIe, but it’s fun to be typographically correct every once in a while.) Back in those days, Microsoft was evil. Bill Gates was the Devil. Power to the underdog Apple! But now…. well, Apple has plenty of operating funds available for conquering the rest of the world, nobody really uses AppleWorks, and, let’s face it, the Office suite is so much the standard these days that you just have to have it. If I’m going to be doing technical editing, a real and current copy of Word is a must. And Excel trumps Lotus 1-2-3 (which they probably don’t make any more, and I didn’t bother checking). And I loathe working with OpenOffice. I have used at least two versions of it, and for me it’s a clunky, awkward mess. WriteNow is the best word processing software EVER, but it’s at least a decade-old orphan. As soon as I find the installation disks I will put it on one of my vintage Macs for my own use, just to remind myself that elegant Assembly code can beget an elegant piece of software. But for the Real World, I now have Word and Office and Outlook and Excel.
So. I gave $125 to the Antichrist. I think even Steve Wozniak would forgive me.
Another thing that happened just after I published the last post was that our second exam in Astronomy was handed back. I got a 95, which sits nicely with the 96 on the first exam. I wouldn’t be worried about staying above an 89 (the cutoff level for not having to take the final exam), but there’s this little matter of a group presentation that count for as many points as an exam. We handed in our paper (50 points) but haven’t received feedback yet, and supposedly our group presentation (100 points) is scheduled SOON in the next couple of weeks.
For this weekend I have just a teensy bit of work for that class, too: one packet on lunar craters that I haven’t even peeked at yet, and a two-page paper to be written on a BBC documentary of the Cassini/Huygens project. We watched most of it in class today, but I’ll watch it all again with my 13 year old tomorrow night, and take more notes. That would be another good one to knock out of the park.
Trigonometry? Do I have news from the world of trigonometry? The only news is that I should log off and study some double-angle and half-angle formulae. And maybe make some sets of flashcards to sell on the black market. I hear they’re in high demand.