Catastrophe Rising

"I'll carry your world"

Category: Tech Talk

Tales from a stressed-out College Student

Hello Everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long…I’ll try to post on here maybe once or twice a month from now on.

I’ve you’ve kept up with my antics on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m finally done with the fall semester which was honestly one of the most challenging semesters I’ve ever had to go through. I don’t know about you but I feel like Fall semesters are always kind of a pain in the neck compared to the Spring semester.

Despite the challenges, I came away with good grades and I’m officially on track to graduate in just over 4 months. I’m so relieved. Though honestly, I feel like I would probably stop going to school after this semester anyway, degree or no degree.

I did learn a lot though so I’ll list a few things real quick.

XML and XSLT

I actually had kind of a hard time learning this but I find it really useful. XSLT is kind of like using a database and it’s kind of similar to using SQL, only you’re not really querying anything. The XSLT file has a list of things and you use XML to access certain parts of them. Here’s some pics from the homework I did.

This is part of the XSLT document, which in this case features info on movies.
This is the main XML document which is the file the user actually goes to when visiting the web. The Element tags in the header allow for extra control on content display.

I honestly hope to learn more about this and learn what else I can do.

 

Linux Penetration Testing

Even though my concentration is Web Development, I’ve also decided to obtain my school’s Cyber Security Certificate. This past semester, I took one of the security courses and while it was definitely challenging, I also learned quite a bit.

For my first project, I had to get into 3 Linux VMs at least once and I was successful! It felt really good when I was finally able to get root access, even though it was really challenging to figure out how.

This is one of the screen shots I had to send to my professor in order tp prove I got root access.

I’ll do a more detailed post about the steps I took to get root access to each of the machines but in short, I used an HTTP vulneability and used a SQL injection to exploit the vulnarability on this machine.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I hope everyone has been doing well and Happy New Year!

Cassidy Currently: 10th Edition

Holy cow, it’s mid-June already! Time really does fly by when you’re busy. My life has been super busy lately so here are the headlines.

I Started my new Internship

Last Monday (June 5) was my first official day at my internship with my county government and it was pretty eventful. It started by me going up to HR and getting my badge so I can get into the I.T. department. My supervisor then broke everything down to me as far as what I would be doing and the timing of everything for the next couple of weeks. He then showed me how to use a KVM which stands for Kernel-based Virtual Machine. The one I’m using is basically a piece of hardware that allows for multiple computers to be hooked up to one monitor,  keyboard, etc. and I can switch each machine with the push of a button. This has been an important tool for me, so far, because it’s allowed me to load multiple computers at once with the settings designated by the department.

Luckily that’s not all I’ll be doing, I’ll be driving one of the government vehicle to different offices around the county in order to replace outdated computers designated by the department. This is a huge plus because even though I love the profession I’ve chosen to go into, I don’t like the idea of being shut up in an office all day.

Since starting my position, I’ve noticed that my wardrobe was lacking a bit as far as appropriate office attire. So I had to pick up a few items to make sure I had enough clothes to last me a week.

I’m a workaholic

Between my internship and my hostess job at a restaurant, I’ve been kept really busy lately. Today is my first day off in over a week and while I’m super thrilled to have the work this summer, I find that I really need a day off just so can do household stuff, catch my breath, and recharge. And I’ve done exactly that today.

And with my schedule at the restaurant changing weekly, I have no idea when I’ll be off again.

Happy (Belated) Birthday Catastrophe Rising!

A year ago yesterday. I posted my first blog post under Catastrophe Rising’s wordpress subdomain. I can’t believe how far this blog has come in the last few and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes it.

I’m already planning what I hope to be the site’s best theme yet (If I can find the time to finish it) and I can’t wait to see what kind of positive things it does to the site.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me as I’ve made a comeback to the blogging scene. Especially my blogger buddies.

Odds & Ends

? Finished the book Sad Girls by Lang Leav (I highly recommend it!)

? I’m enjoying my summer with Spotify Premium

? I finished the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica (holy cow ?)

 

That’s all for now!

CAPWIC 2017

I’m sorry that I’ve been scarce on here lately. I’ve been having trouble balancing my two jobs, school, and extra-curricular activities and my blog has suffered as a result. I’ll try to be better at updating from now on.

Anyway, If you’ve kept up with me on twitter, you’ll know that I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. for CAPWIC 2017 which is conference that caters to women in computing from the high school level to the professional level.

One of the cemeteries on the campus

Day 1

I woke up at 6 am with the intention of leaving at around 7:30. I left myself that amount of time because I was driving two of my friends up as well. Although we got a bit of a later start (and the drive was over 4 hours), we made it in into Georgetown just in time. As we emerged from the dark parking garage, we were totally awed at our surroundings. Not only was the campus beautiful but it was also warm (around 75°F or 24°C) and I was surprised to find that a couple of trees on the campus had bloomed, despite the fact that it’s late February and it’s supposed to be freezing.

One of the first views we saw as we exited the parking garage

After the initial keynote, we had a snack (where I found out that coconut isn’t as evil as I thought it was) and proceeded to some talks.

The first talk was about resume and I got some helpful tips (and later implemented them). The second talk was done by some representatives at APT who gave us some tips on technical interviews and even walked through one with us. I definitely feel better prepared for that aspect of getting a job.

The third talk was about juggling work life and maintaining your sanity. I really liked this one because the women was someone who highly involved in the political aspect of Computer and Information Science, having worked with Obama Administration and (to her dismay) the Trump Administration. She reminded us that we don’t have to be Superwomen and do everything.

After that there was the career fair where I met some great recruiters from different companies. When they mentioned web development, I freaked out a bit and I told them about my experience and that I was looking for an internship. Although I got a lot of free stuff from the companies, my most valuable items are the business cards because those are the keys to contacting the recruiters for follow ups and further information.

When we had our fill of the career fair, my companions and I went outside and enjoyed the afternoon. We marveled at the scenery and architecture of the campus. I couldn’t have been more grateful to be there.

One of the classroom buildings

 

Me…it was late afternoon and I was exhausted

Soon it was time for dinner where I had a little something but I ended up ordering pizza to the hotel we stayed at.

Speaking of which, the hotel we stayed was really nice. I remember feeling extremely out of place was pulled my little Nissan up to the main entrance and behind a nice expensive car. But it was all good. I checked in and sent my companions up ahead of me while I parked my car.

We spent the remainder of the evening working on homework, talking, and listening to homework. I crashed at around midnight but my friends crashed later than that.

My iPhone doesn’t do this view justice but looking across the Potomac and into Arlington

Day 2

After waking up a full hour before my friends, we caught an Uber back to Georgetown. One of my friends was doing a flash talk so I attended the event in order to show my support. She did hers on firewalls and security and I really enjoyed it. Some other talks included data exploration, artificial intelligence, and other topics.

After that, we proceed to lunch and we were given the opportunity to relax for a bit. After that, my companions and I split up as I wanted to listen to a presentation on how to get involved in undergrad research. I then proceed to attend a workshop on Git/Git hub which was very informative.

After that, we attended a short closing ceremony before wrapping up our little adventure and heading home.

 

Overall…

I really enjoyed the experience! I got to meet a bunch of different people and learn a bunch of different things. It was also really cool that I had my friends with to share the experience. I will definitely try and attend the conference next year.

Also, I saw DC in a new light. Growing up, I’ve always lived near the city and most of my grade school field trips involved visiting the city. But I think this trip made me see it like someone without that background.

Until next time, stay awesome.

 

Stray Dogs and False Alarms

I’m back in my college town and I have been loving it so far. My first two days of classes are over and I think it’s going to be a great semester.

As I suspected, I hated getting up for my 8 am. When my alarm went off, I let off an audible groan before realizing that it was the start of a new semester and that I would also be starting my new tutoring job. My first class was Database 1 and I learned that the class will involve learning SQL which is pretty exciting. I know basically nothing at this point and I’m excited to learn about it.

After the class let out, I saw that I had a couple of minutes before I had to go to my job (which was right downstairs), so I stopped by my former Web Programming professor’s office and said hello. I told him about Sass/SCSS and he was really impressed and excited. Hopefully he finds it easier to deal with than regular CSS.

My first day on the job went really well. I was really nervous at first but once I was able to successfully help out some students, I felt a lot better. I don’t know why I was nervous in the first place since the material was so basic (they were writing a Hello World program in Java). I’m looking forward to working tomorrow.

This morning I was startled when my Marketing professor asked me about my Mac in the middle of the lecture. He revealed himself to be a technology geek and I could see why two of my fraternity brothers recommended that take the course with him.

The rest of my classes were business as usual. This week is what we call “Syllabus week” so we’re not getting too heavily into things at the moment.

A Wayward Border Collie

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr day, so my school didn’t have classes. I used that day to run a few errands, meet up with friends, and start work for my classes.

While I was on the way to the grocery to pick up some much needed food items, I saw an unsupervised Border Collie on the side of the road. The road was a busy one and a main artery in and out of town so I decided to turn back and try to see if I could coax the dog to my car. I ended up parking in a church parking lot by a yellow curve (which is off limits to parking). I started running down the street so I could catch up with it.

Unfortunately, it ran into the woods before I could get within 5 feet of it. I figured that it would be ok and that it would find its way home because of the breed’s reputation for being smart.

The next day, someone posted on my university’s Facebook page, saying their Lab had run off with it and that it was believed that the dog is a stray.

I really wish I could have taken that dog off the streets and I don’t regret going after it (even though I probably embarrassed myself ?). If one of my dogs had been that situation, I would’ve wanted someone to take action, especially since the dog could’ve been hit by a car.

Campus Shooting….or not

Yesterday afternoon, as I was doing school work in my apartment, I received an email from the university alert system, saying that shots had been fired on campus and the suspect was in custody. The email was followed by text messages and phone calls with the same message. I was shocked. I was also thankful the police had acted quickly and I was hoping that everyone was ok.

Though the subject of the email said the that shooting had occurred on campus, the contents said that shooting took place off campus. So that left me feeling confused.

I turned on the news and the anchors relayed the information that the shooting, thankfully, took place off campus in the area on the opposite side from where I live. And subject had only shot himself. So that was great news that no one was hurt and that police were taking care of everything.

Anyway, I still have lots of things I need to do so that’s it for now. Hope everyone enjoys their week!

Cassidy Currently: 7th Edition

I haven’t done one of these in a while and so I’ve decided to go ahead and do my first one of 2017. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

Prepping for the Spring Semester

My winter break is winding down and I’ll be heading back to school the day after tomorrow (Sunday). Classes don’t start until Tuesday but I’d rather get the 4 hour drive over with so that way I’ll have some free time to catch up with my friends, making sure my Mac is able to connect to the university WiFi, etc.

I’ve really enjoyed being at home and all but I haven’t had much to do and it’s been driving me nuts. I’ll be really glad to finally get on a fixed schedule again.

I’m not looking forward to having an 8 am class on Tuesdays and Thursdays (especially with it being winter). I guess I’ll have to start back with developing a taste for coffee again. ☕️

I don’t know how it is for universities that aren’t in the United States but for most of the schools I know, we have a site extension (usually developed by a third-party) where we can access material for our classes, turn in assignments, see our grades, etc. I’ve been checking the site every day this week to see if my Spring Semester classes will come up so that way I can try to get a feel for my classes. That and one of them is online so I’d love to be able to do some work for it.

CAPWiC Plans

I’m involved with a couple of organizations at my school, one which is the Women in Computing club. My friend (and the club President) got me into it last semester since she knew I was an I.T. major and we’re both in the same fraternity. It’s been really cool to branch out and get to know more girls in similar majors and it’s really given me a sense of community as far as being part of the I.T. Department.

Well, before we left for break, my friend brought it to the club’s attention about an upcoming conference in February called CAPWiC. It’s a conference that happens each year that brings together all the women and girls in computing from around Virginia and Maryland. This year, it’s meeting in Washington, D.C. and after thinking it over, I’ve decided to go!

This will be my first time going to a computing conference and I’m very excited to meet other people and go to workshops and make connections.

Learning Sass/SCSS

It’s not secret that I want to learn as much about web development as possible, and after looking through job listings, I found that a lot of employers (at least in the U.S.) prefer that web developers have skills involving Sass/SCSS. So of course, I decided to watch some tutorials and learn about it.

And after spending some time coding with it, I really like it. I find it makes CSS a lot easier to deal with and saves a lot aggravation. I don’t like that it requires a compiler but a lot of good IDE’s (WebStorm, etc.) have one built in.

I’ll definitely use it for future CSS endeavors.

Effective Time Wasting

So what I have been doing with all of the free time, besides learning new coding languages? Well I’ve been Redditing, watching anime, etc.

I recently discovered how awesome Reddit is. It’s really cool how you can chime in with your opinion and have no one know who you are (except for a user name). I’ve mainly been lurking on Ask Reddit but I’m branching out to other sections as well.

As for anime, lately I’ve been watching Naruto and Death Note, both of which I’ve started and stopped over the past six months. Naruto has been better for days when I’ve head enough of the gloominess that comes with Death Note.

 

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I hope you guys had a good week!