Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My brain, ftw.

I have been struggling mightily in my current class, which talks about systems analysis and project something or another...I don't know. I just know you go through many steps before they approve and complete a project and it just makes no sense to me. It's like they handed it to me in hiragana. I can pick out words, but the overall gist of it escapes me.

Until today.
See, today in desperation I began clawing my way back through the material because the entire concept is lost on me and I am very unusued to not grasping something, at least slightly. Football and Nascar? I can grasp. Balloon antics on youTube? I can grasp. Systems analysis? Snowball, it's been nice to know you, enjoy your short visit to hell.
I stared at the words on the screen at length, willing them to become something that made sense. Then I tore the sentences apart and defined the words one at a time, trying to moosh those definitions together in to some sort of picture in my head. None of it worked.
Until I realized something.
The SETI @ home project. I was a fan of it. We talked often of getting it on the computers in the library area and letting it run along merrily. For some reason my brain ticked over to that while reading.
And suddenly it allll became clear.
The SETI@home project has multicomputer architecture. Different home-based end users are using their machines to process the data. In addition, it has distributed architecture, because it sends the data back and forth to the thousands of end users via interwebs.
And suddenly when I realized that it was a physical thing, that architecture and systems analysis was just putting in words and pictures how something as ephemeral as "data" travels around to various machines and systems...
That lightbulb went on so fast I fell backwards out of my chair, blinded. Well, not really. But I did have one of those moments of stunned silence, followed by many moments of kicking myself for not seeing the simplicity of it until now.
I think I may yet "get" this class. I know it's important, as I'm headed in to an arena where systems analysis will be a part of every day life. And now there can be some relaxing since I proved I don't completely suck at comprehension now that I've hit the 3rd decade.
No more alien feelings of a total lack of comprehension. I enjoy that.
Oh, and this is the 51st post. Just thought I would note that. :)

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