Final Blog Post by Chase Costner

One of the greatest things I learned this semester is that it’s important to build relationships with people even if they aren't in your direct field. You never know who you’re going to meet or who they could introduce you to, so it helps to get out there and share what you’re working on.

Another important thing, from the ethical discussions, is that you should never use someone as a means to an end. Building relationships with others should be authentic and beneficial for both parties - that’s what life’s all about.

The last thing is that no online services are truly free. You always have to give something up, whether it’s money for a subscription or personal data that could be sold for marketing purposes. There’s always a cost.

I would advise future students to stay on top of assignments, even if they don’t have due dates. I kept a pretty good schedule, and things go much more smoothly if you’re not scrambling to finish everything at the end of the semester.

Career Development Presentation by Chase Costner

The resume workshop was helpful in fine-tuning my existing resume. They suggested a few visual things like removing the photo of myself, elaborating on some of my achievements, adding dates, and widening the margins. They also suggested that I remove the references section and some older jobs so that I can keep the whole thing on one page.

As far as interviews, the most helpful advice for me was to ask about company culture/expectations in order to learn more about the environment. These suggestions are better than technical advice about how to answer programming questions.

Reflections on CitizenFour by Chase Costner

I really enjoyed the CitizenFour documentary because I had no idea this footage existed, and it was a fascinating look into how the events actually unfolded. Journalism interests me, so I liked the parts where they discuss what/when/how to release each story. I knew about the articles before watching the documentary, so that was nothing new, but I wasn’t aware of Snowden’s relationship to the reporters or the events that unfolded once he left Hong Kong. I’m glad they had discussions around journalistic integrity and about how they went about minimizing harm to individuals like Snowden’s family or undercover agents.

When the events initially happened, I had a relatively negative view of Snowden because he was branded as a “traitor.” This documentary humanizes him, though, and I think he makes his case pretty well. He took a delicate and thought-out approach to the situation, which is better than someone haphazardly leaking everything for malicious purposes. Everything he did started a discussion that needed to take place, and I have a more positive view of him after watching this documentary.

Reflection on "What Did You Find?" Assignment by Chase Costner

I was a little surprised with how easy it was to find personal information about Austin. Of course, I expected to find things like hobbies/interests/activities on social media, or possibly through local newspaper articles, but I wasn’t expecting to find things like addresses, phone numbers, height/weight, and contact info. A simple google search of his full name revealed his voter registration, which is where I found his address. I figured I’d have to pay through a service to access this info, which is something several classmates mentioned facing.

Austin found most data on me that I expected, since I’m pretty open with my online presence. I go by my middle name, though, which made it take a little more digging to find my full name and access my voter registration to get my address. I’d be interested in finding a way to hide this. Overall, it’s surprising what a simple google search can reveal.

Reflections on The Last Lecture by Chase Costner

The Last Lecture was charming and inspiring, and I enjoyed every minute of it. My greatest takeaways were the things he said that involved relationships with other people and handling criticism. I’ve had opportunities over the last few years that I never dreamed would happen so soon thanks to my mentors and peers. This talk really resonated with me because I see some parallels between Randy’s experiences and my own.

One of the quotes I found most helpful was the part about how “only one person is touching the football.” I often forget to focus on the fundamentals of whatever field I’m working in, and I should start focusing on every step of the process because they’re all important in different ways. I also appreciate his stance on brick walls and how they exist to prove someone’s dedication, because I think that’s true. While watching, I made a list of some of my favorite quotes and pieces of advices that I’m sure I’ll be revisiting often.

Reflections on Privacy discussions: TED Talk and/or Privacy Policies by Chase Costner

The TED talk was fascinating, especially the part about creating dynamic ads that mimic the faces of people you know. It was a little dated, but I think that made it more alarming because now we can see that we’re actually headed in that direction. Personally, I’m okay with targeted ads because I would prefer to see things that are at least relevant to me, and every now and then I’m served something of interest. I do think there should be a limit, though, because the data could likely be used for wrongdoing in the event that it’s compromised.

I’m not surprised that most of the privacy policies we looked at were similar, especially for the social networks. I’m able to use Instagram and Twitter for free and I enjoy them, so I’m not against letting them make a little money off of their users. Also, most of the policies seemed easy to understand. As privacy becomes more and more of a concern, I’m glad that tech companies are starting to open up about their practices, but I think there’s still a lot of room to grow - especially when it comes to sharing data with 3rd parties.

Reflections on Hive Tracks and Bee Informed Partnership ethics case study by Chase Costner

I thought the HiveTracks presentation was pretty interesting. I’m familiar with the software and have been to several talks on beekeeping over the years, but I’d never thought about the intricacies of how user data is handled. The privacy policy is easy to understand, and it’s good to know that location information isn’t shared by default - in fact, that’s one of the main points on the home page, so I’m glad there’s been some attention to privacy. I wasn't aware that HiveTracks works with the Bee Informed Partnership, but I think it’s pretty awesome to use the data for good instead of just for marketing purposes.

The discussion on intellectual property was also interesting. Since most code I write is for academic purposes, I rarely think about the business and legal aspects of creating software with a partner in a corporate setting. Overall, it was cool to get some insight into the thoughts behind a software company.

Reflections on Ethics Discussion by Chase Costner

I enjoyed getting to know a bit more about the backgrounds of my classmates through their ethics discussions. I've had classes with many of them over the years, but never had a chance to get to know all of them. My favorite part, though, was the conversations that came from the questions asked at the end of every presentation. It was pretty neat that we didn't have a format, yet one arose naturally, and everyone made great arguments/counterarguments.

I'm looking forward to future debates around computer science because there's a lot happening in the news surrounding cybersecurity and the handling of user data, and I'm curious to learn more.

Also, here's a link to the podcast episode I mentioned:

Introduction by Chase Costner

My best in-class computing experience was probably in Systems 2, when we did the "hacking" labs. A lot of concepts around data security and code optimization started to make a lot more sense, and the problems were satisfying puzzles to solve. I was also fascinated by the idea of injecting code through a text box, and gained more appreciation for cybersecurity.

My favorite outside-of-class computing experience was when I figured out a way to make non-euclidean spaces in Unity 3D. There wasn't a whole lot of documentation on this around the time, so I had to figure everything out from scratch. Basically, I wanted to make a Tardis (from Dr. Who) that was bigger on the inside, and allow the played to seamlessly enter/exit the space. I learned a lot about how spaces are rendered, and the project was a success!


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