January 2004

December 2003 -- 2004 -- February 2004

January 2, 2004

Happy Belated New Year!

I've been incredibly busy the last week seeing friends and family, and I still haven't even done half the things I had hoped to do over the break. Two weeks just isn't enough! In that time though I've gone to Pleasure Island twice, went to the beach for New Years, became a redneck for a night at a country bar, and then went on a shopping spree then today (new shoes woo!). I'm going back up to Gainesville then tomorrow morning for the FSU basketball game, and then my wonderful friend Heather is letting me crash at her place since dorms don't open up till Sunday for some odd reason. Speaking of which, my laptop was shipped about 10 days early, so it's been hanging out at my dorm since Tuesday, but I won't be able to get to it until it opens Sunday. I do wish Dell could get their shipping dates right so I could have planned it on shipping to my Tampa address instead. I also bought the USB floppy drive and a new backpack to put it all in.

If you haven't seen Return of the King or you want to go see it again, here is a short list of things not to say during the movie. I've seen it twice so far, and absolutly love it. Best one of the three.

Be wary of people with almanacs, they might be terrorists. What crazy kind of thing will the government think of next?

And while on the subject of terror, here's a handy guide to see how far away you'd have to be from a nuclear blast site to survive or not have your house completely blown away. Essentially if you're anywhere even remotely close to where a bomb went off, you're not going to have a very good day.

January 6, 2004

After a very busy and good weekend, it's back to the dorm life. I actually travelled up to Gainesville yesterday to catch the FSU basketball game, but someone didn't plan things out so well, and dorms didn't open until today. Luckly my friend offered her couch, so I crashed at her place last night, and got yet another person hooked on Amelie.

Moved in this afternoon then, and finally got my laptop. And I love it! It doesn't feel heavy at all in my backpack, and the screen is awesome. I've been messing around with it all afternoon and trying out the wireless internet around campus. This evening then I've been fighting with it to format everything and start from scratch, as I had to create some Linux partitions, and I don't want all those crazy programs that OEM's like Dell always put on their computers. So I got WinXP Pro from school for free (the perks of being an engineer) and so I'm currently working on getting all that up and running.

This amuses me to no end, a 7 year old boy got caught in a stuffed animal game machine, and had to be rescued by a locksmith. I hope they let him keep at least one of the animals, as that would definitely work as a great story.

Classes start today, and it looks like I'll be having a fun semester. I'm taking two graduate courses for the first time, one where I build my own autonomous robot, and the other is advanced data structures (programming). And then I'm taking electronic circuits, and computer networking (TCP/IP fun!). I'm really looking foward to the robotics class, so hopefully mine will work by the end of the semester. And then I can complete my plans for taking over the world with my army of robot slaves*. Muhahaha!

*just kidding, I think

January 16, 2004

Well that was a little bit longer of a break from updating than I thought it would be. Rest assured your great wonderful really hot webmaster is still alive and kicking, but as usual the start of the semester becomes incredibly busy. I haven't even been updating the webcam, so you know I've been busy.

This semester I'm taking:
EEL 5666: Intelligent Machine Design Lab
COP 5536: Advanced Data Structures
CEN 4500: Computer Networking
EEL 3304: Electronic Circuits
The coolest of those by far is IMDL, as it's the robot course. Over the semester I'll be building an autonomous robot from scratch, and then demoing it as our final in there. It's got a reputation as a very hard and demanding course, but also one of the best courses you could ever take since you gain an incredible amount of real world knowledge. After a long deliberation, I finally settled on a BullBot which will try to ram red things and see how good of a matador you are. Don't worry, there'll be lots of pictures as I slowly build and program the robot. The interesting thing about these robots is that the simplest tasks are often incredibly hard. If you can draw a perfect square or circle, it's an automatic A and you'll have the professors great respect, since even though two motors may say they're the same strength and rotate at the same speed, that never happens. So just telling it to make 4 left turns will not get you anywhere close to where you started. My other classes seem like they'll be pretty cool, but IMDL is definitely going to be my favorite.

I've also really been enjoying my laptop. As I said in the last updated, I reformated everything and created some Linux partitions, so I basically started out from scratch. I have Windows working great on it, but I'm still fighting with Linux to get X (the graphical part) to work. So I can get to the console just fine and even connect to the internet, but because I have such a new videocard and something's just not working right with the config file, I can't get graphics to come up. I'm sure I'll get it working eventually, but in the meantime I've been busy using the wireless in Windows. Now if only we could get wireless in the dorms. I've also got pictures of it now up:
Next to my desktop monitor
What it looks like closed
The back
Closeup of the keyboard and mousepad

Bored with your digital camera? Try making it into a Gigapixel camera by meshing together over a hundred pictures into one huge 40,784x26,800 picture. An impressive project to say the least. Unfortunately since the image size is over 2 GB, you can't download it, but the comparisons should do it justice.

And finally the coolest pictures you will see this week. A combination of incredible sidewalk artristry and the right camera angle can create some absolutly mindblowing images. Remeber, these are all on flat concrete.
Sidewalk Art #1
Sidewalk Art #2
Sidewalk Art #3
Sidewalk Art #4
Sidewalk Art #5
Sidewalk Art #6
Notice in the last picture how it looks like they're really standing on stones. To get an idea of how they do this, look at this picture and you'll see how the camera has to be at the right angle to give the right 3D perspective. For a Q&A about the artist of some of these, check out this interview with Kurt Wenner.

January 27, 2004

Wow, for the first time in over a week I actully have some free time to do a long delayed update. The bad thing about having such long lags is that I completely forget what I was going to write about days before or cool sites that I found along the way.

For a quick rundown of the things I've been up to, Friday night was gymnastics where UF did awesome as usual. Saturday was the Auburn basketball game where I got this great picture with Albert and the crazy wigs they handed out to everyone. Then it was off to a very fun evening of swing dancing with my friend Sarah, and then it was my friend Heather's 21st birthday so I went out with her and a bunch of her friends late into the night. Needless to say Sunday was full of procrastinated homework, and Monday I finally got the final part of my board in and managed to get power working, so it flashed some LED's. Today then I hooked up an LCD, and will be writing code to write to it the rest of the week and to be completed by Monday. And the rest of the time was filled with applying to jobs and internships and fellowships, which involved lots and lots of writing. Coupled with all the robot reports I have to write, I literally felt like I was an English major these past few days. The UF Career Fair runs then today and tomorrow, so I got all dressed up for that and will start an entirely new round of applications. The fun just never stops does it?

Today is the New Hampshire primary, and to celebrate the occasion, why not listen to some remixes of Howard Dean's infamous speech/yell after the Iowa caucus. I happened to be watching that speech live on CNN, and when he did that, me and my roommate just looked at each other and both wondered what the heck just happened. I think I'd go temporarily insane as well though if I had to stay up all the time trying to get people to vote for me.

I never try to surf and talk on the phone at the same time. Oh of course not ever. Nope.

December 2003 -- 2004 -- February 2004