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Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?

Posted by Bob the Builder 
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Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
January 30, 2008 01:06PM
I am struggling the determine what is important and what is not in the textbook sad smiley

I've read the book over and over again and made endless summaries, but it all seems to boil down to endless nit-picking and jargon, can't say i've picked up any outstandingly new, interesting or important (although the mobile agents stuff is quite cool, admittedly).

As far as I can see, caching either happens or it doesn't and it's either terribly consistent (but eats into your performance) or inconsistent (and uses less resources). groundbreaking stuff. Ditto for communication, it's either reliable (and you have to spend a lot of resources tracking/saving the comms) or it's not reliable. And RPC vs ROI vs MOM is like, you either call a procedure or a method on an object or you dump a message somewhere. and?

i've probably just been studying for too long and now my brain is turning to mush - I just can't seem to dredge up any excitement around the topics covered in this subject sad smiley

I would appreciate any comments on what you consider to be important, interesting, relevant etc?
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 01, 2008 10:20AM
do you at least have v1 of the textbook? only reason I know about mobile agents is because my project was about them - they feature in about half a page in 2nd edition of the textbook sad smiley
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 03, 2008 03:38PM
ya, i am lucky enough to have v1 of the book thank goodness! I bought it on amazon second hand, only way i could get it!
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 04, 2008 08:58AM
then you have a better chance of passing than the rest of us - even if you can't squash everything into your head winking smiley
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 04, 2008 10:32AM
Most of the questions for the exam will come from the questions at the end of the respective chapters. So the best preparation would be trying out those questions.
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 04, 2008 10:54AM
except if you don't have the same textbook he lecturer bases the exam on winking smiley anyhow, I made a 60 odd page summary of the book and I will just go over the assignment model answers... ie, gonna bs my way through the exam
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 04, 2008 04:59PM
did anyone else find that the assignment questions asked minute details for things but that the textbook covers stuff in a broader sense? Or is this just v2 of the texbook?
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 07:59AM
Bear in mind that about 4 or 5 questions from the assignments do get repeated for the exam.
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 08:09AM
did you do this subject before?
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 10:39AM
Yes I did it last year and some questions from the assignments were repeated and some of the exam questions came from the end of chapter exercises. The exam paper format was: 15 questions - 10 questions each worth 5 marks, and 5 questions each worth 10 marks. Is it the same format this year? And one more thing, we had quite a few diagrams to draw. So it would be a good idea to practice drawing!!!
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 11:51AM
they said there were 15 questions. I have not even looked at any of the drawings sad smiley can you give me an idea of what kind of drawings?
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 01:34PM
I don't have it in mind at the moment. I'll check it out from the book and let u know. When is the exam?
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 01:49PM
tomorrow
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 01:54PM
Since I cannot access the forums from my PC at home, I shall email you this evening. Is the exam in the morning or afternoon?
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 01:59PM
its in the morning, don't worry - I am leaving work at 3 and then I won't be near the interen t until after my exam. thanks though!
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 02:15PM
I should be home in 30 minutes. Do check ur email at around 2:45 PM (It will be 4:45PM in my country!) Hopefully I shall have something for you.

All the best for tomorrow.
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 05, 2008 07:03PM
i've also made chunks of summaries, but haven't practised any diagrams? what kind of diagrams are we talking about here, stuff like the iso networking model etc?

i am just trying my best to understand all the minute detail, because even tho the textbook gives a very broad overview, the assignment questions all seem to expect you to have memorised every last fact in the book.

5 ten point questions - yukko, can't imagine what hellishly complicated hoops i am going to have to jump through tomorrow.
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 06, 2008 12:23PM
it wasn't that bad. did I read /understand correctly when they said that you could talk the biggest lot of hooha and you would still get 1 (or 2) marks?

the DCOM 10 mark question ticked me off because I don't recall it being mentioned in 2nd ed of the book.
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 06, 2008 07:25PM
Yes, I agree, the exam wasn't as bad as I imagined. I had no idea what weighted reference counting was though tongue sticking out smiley

> the DCOM 10 mark question ticked me off because I
> don't recall it being mentioned in 2nd ed of the
> book.

Yes, they removed the detailed DCOM case study from the second edition (good riddance!) and seemed to have used CORBA to illustrate the concepts instead.

Anyway, to make sure about the textbook editions thing, I sent the lecturer an email:

>In your email to me dated 09/03/2007, you said:
>
>"If you use the second edition, it is your responsibility to make all the
>subsequent arrangements for consistency and compatibility whenever and
>wherever necessary."
>
>However, in tutorial letter 201 you stated:
>
>"The final exam will accommodate for those using either the first edition or
>the second edition of the prescribed textbook."
>
>Some of the prescribed material from the first edition is not covered in the
>second edition.
>
>Could you please clarify this position? If the exam will cater for either
>edition, does this mean we specifically DO NOT have to make arrangements for
>compatibility?

To which he replied:

>Hi the exam is based on the first edition. However, for those having only the second edition, I've
>made sure that the material covered there is compatible with that of the first edition. Meaning
>that, any question from the exam caters for both 1st and second edition. If there is a chapter in
>the second edition that is not in the first....I disregard it for exam purpose. If there is chapter
>in the first edition that is not in the second edition, I disregard it for exam purpose.

Happily, I proceed to study the second edition (which in itself is sub-optimal, because of the extra new stuff you're studying... but that is another matter), and then SO-WAAR, HE GOES AND DOES THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD!

I wrote a "Note to the marker" saying that this question is not in the exam scope and drew a big frame around it. After which I drew a vague diagram for which I might, or might not get marks. I guess the marker (which I imagine is also the lecturer) is going to do whatever he wants, but I just had to get this off of my chest:

This subject has been self-study, not distance-learning, and the value for money is TERRIBLE!

Seriously, if you pay the same tuition fees as another university, but they DON'T present lectures, tutorial sessions, practicals, semester tests, class tests, etc, then you would AT LEAST expect that the little that they do offer is done properly. This business of you getting a mark equal to the number of assignment questions attempted, with no feedback, is BULL. The textbook issue has another dimension - why is outdated material prescribed when distributed systems courses at other universities, like Judith Bishop's course at UP (next door), is using the new edition?

I complained about this right at the beginning of the year, to which he patronizingly replied "Thanks for the Lecture". Since we're not exactly friends anyway, I might as well just go on to answer the question above:

I suspect that Bob Jolliffe (who, by the way, is brilliant: I had him for one of my undergrad courses at UP) originally set the course up, but then left to go work at Meraka. So when the course was given to Ngassam (who I met some years back and didn't like then either) simply took everything Jolliffe did (without updating it), and sent it out to the students.

There you have it, the COS419-G lecturer can be replaced with a small shell script. Ah, it's good to be an Academic...
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 07, 2008 07:36AM
I also had some "friendly" words with the lecturer at the beginning oif the year about the textbook (I was told that I was a postgrad student and should be able to figure things out for myself) - thats why when it got to the exam I also didn't know the dcom stuff and I didn't know what the heck a weighted reference was. I am now waiting for my reslts. If I pass, cool, good riddance to his subject, but if I fail, I am going to a higher level to complain. I know people who wrote the exam last year also complained - and they were using the same textbook as the lecturer.
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 07, 2008 04:57PM
Hmmmm.

Guys, this is scary sh*t! I would like to take this subject this year (2008), but it seems that you all are having problems.

What I dont understand is that the prescribed book for 2008 is:

TANENBAUM, A S and VAN STEEN, M. Distributed Systems: Principles and Paradigms. Second Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. ISBN 0-13-239227-5.


now, from what I gather, this lecturer is asking questions from the first edition? was your prescribed book for 2007 1st or 2nd ed?

Would anyone advise on this please - NOT in the mood for drama with a subject I dont really need.

Thanks

Francois
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 07, 2008 05:31PM
I am really...really confused by all this chaos. Read this thread over and over. Can the lecturer please reply or shall I enquire to the head of department on what is what?

thank you!
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 07, 2008 07:53PM
Hi franxan

The prescribed textbook for 2007 was the first edition, but since all the bookshops only had the second edition (and consequently lots of people bought the wrong edition), the lecturer said that he'll set the exam so that you could use either edition, but then it turned out he lied.

If the 2008 prescribed book is the second edition, then that is the one you should probably buy, but nothing prevents the lecturer from making that choice meaningless (he could still ask questions from the first edition, or any other bloody textbook for that matter).

So if you want to be certain to avoid drama, then you should avoid the subject on the basis of the lecturer being unreliable, never mind confusion about the textbook.

Important note: Regardless of what you hear/read about which book to buy anywhere else, only trust what you receive in your first paper tutorial letter.

Good luck!

Simeon.
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 08, 2008 09:00AM
I think you should be okay with the 2nd editionof the book for 2008. its only us poor clods who did the subject in 2007 and wrote exams now who got the short end of the stick.
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 08, 2008 09:24AM
It's not a subject I would advise anyone to register for!
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 08, 2008 09:50AM
its not thaaaaat bad... i agree the lecturer is sarcastic and unhelpful but at least the work is all theory and if you have the same/right textbook as the lecturer it should be arelatively easy credit.

if you want evil subjects that are difficult and hardly any lecturer response then do cos405 or cos460 - well, luckily cos460 has changed this year smiling smiley
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 08, 2008 11:00AM
Yeah indeed COS405-A was a unique unforgettable experience.
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 08, 2008 11:06AM
just like having a knife repeatedly jabbed into your eye winking smiley
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 08, 2008 11:11AM
Thanks for all the advice guys!

I am finishing up this year, and drum roll....my COS selections are:

COS416/COS430 and......419 (gulp :|)

I hope that this selection will be stimulating and challenging, but really, I truly hope that I will experience the same fustration as you guys regarding COS419. Sorry, last question. Anyone enjoy/dislike COS430 in 2007?

Thank again all and have a great day!.

Francois!
Anonymous User
Re: Anybody else having problems trying to digest the huge volume of work?
February 08, 2008 11:14AM
All I know is that the COS430 exam is usually open book - 6 questions each worth 10 marks!
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