May 2004

April 2004 -- 2004 -- June 2004

May 4, 2004

This is my first update done in Linux on my laptop. I had put Mandrake 9.2 on it back when I first got it, but I didn't have time to get around to fixing all the things that needed tweaking, so I just basically always used Windows on my laptop. Plus apparently using wireless in Linux on this laptop is still a small feat, so I figured I would try when 10.0 came out. Anyways, I have Mandrake 10 installed after some fighting with the cdrom drive, and then booting up this a horrendous screeching noise due to the speakers getting feedback from the microphone jack at full blast. Fun. Anyways, I hope to have it all up and going by the time I go to my internship, so I don't have to take my huge desktop computer with me.

And speaking of my internship, I got some more information on it today, and they're putting us in some very nice furnished apartments. I'm really looking forward to it.

And on the subject of things to "look forward" to, I signed up to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) today, to take it next Wednesday on the 12th. I got some books on the library about it, and it's essentially the SAT with harder vocabulary, a little tougher math (10th grade math instead of 9th grade) and two writing sections. I'm most worried about the vocabulary, but the writing sections should be interesting since it's been a really long time since I've written a non-technical paper that had to analyze an arguement or persuade a person. But I think I'll do ok, and I still have a full week to practice. I'm already 1/3 of the way through the 300+ "Most Frequent Words" vocab list.

As far as school goes, it was my worst semester since 7th grade. I got two B+'s and three A's. And I did bomb that circuits final, which is what dropped me down to a B+. If I had scored maybe 10 points higher I might have gotten an A, but a B+ pretty much accuarately describes how well I could implement a MOSFET as an amplifier, so I consider it a fair grade.

This is what happens when you have far too much time on your hands and you get really bored in New York: PacManhattan. I actually saw this on Headline news today while I was eating dinner (which I made btw, gotta brush up and polish my mad 133t kooking ski11z for this summer). Further proof that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame eventually.

May 9, 2004

Happy Mother's Day!

And since Mom's love flowers, here are some virtual one's of the pictures I've taken over the last year of flowers around our house for my Mom. And maybe I'll retain the second page ranking of my now semi-famous flower picture on Google's image search when you search for "flower".

Flower 1
Flower 2
Flower 3
Flower 4
Flower 5
Flower 6
Flower 7
Flower 8
Flower 9

I've been cooking up a storm lately in an effort to brush up on my skills before I go off for the summer. I don't want to have to eat fast food for every meal (never thought I'd ever say that) and I enjoy cooking, just not so much the cleanup part. The best part is you get to change the recipe to how you like it, either adding or subtracting ingredients at whim. After starting with some awesome Hamburger Helper and a peanut butter sandwhich, cause I mean you have to start out slow, I made some extremelly yummy chicken paramsan that my family loved, and then some chili hamburgers, shrimp (though just in the baking sheet kind), breakfast (sausage, eggs, muffins), and I still need to cook a roast eventually. Cooking is pretty easy, it's just a matter of taking the time to do it. has an interesting piece about being emotionally attached to machines as in the case of the Mars rovers. Which is understandable as it's their entire lives for years, and even just working on Sbob for a semester you get used to the naunces of a particular robot. It also raises the question of what happens when computers get "personalities" and then crash, will it be like a death in the family? I wonder if there was an episode in the Jetsons about Rosie dying.

If anyone wants to get me an early birthday present, a marble rollercoaster desk thingy would work quite well :) Once again ThinkGeek has the coolest stuff.

And speaking of early birthday presents, I had a very very cool one yesterday when my friends threw me a surprise dinner to celebrate my birthday (which isn't until June 3rd). But being I'll be in Alabama then, they wanted to all get together before I left to celebrate it early. So I got to see a bunch of friends I hadn't seen in far too long, and eat some really yummy Mexican food.

May 19, 2004

The delay in updating isn't my fault for once, I was busy packing and getting ready for Huntsville, and then I just got the internet hooked up here. I bought a wireless router, and while my card doesn't work in Linux yet, being wireless in XP is very very cool.

I took the GRE (essentially the SAT for grad school) last Wednesday and did pretty well on it. My persuasive essay was about saving endangered animals, and the arguement essay was full of holes so it was easy to pick apart. And ended up with a 790 on the math section but only 560 on the verbal, even though I studied a bunch of vocabulary (both are out of 800). I also took an experimental math section was was sorta hard, but it reminded me a little of Mu Alpha Theta (math team) so it was sorta fun actually. At $125 a pop though, I was really hoping I wouldn't have to take it again.

Then Thursday was a good friend of mine's 21st birthday so that was a lot of fun, and then Friday I went up to Gainesville to see some friends up there one last time (and see two friends who both had jobs last semester so I hadn't seen them in months). Spent the night up there, and then drove the 11 hours to Huntsville. It was only supposed to be 9 hours, but I got stuck in traffic in Atlanta, and spent 2 hours going about 7 miles.

Met my roommate then when I got here, and started setting up the apartment. It's pretty nice, and comes fully furnished except that it doesn't have desks and there are no ceiling lights. So a quick trip to Wally World to buy a lamp and some food fixed that. And of course I took pictures, so here's Huntsville:
Notice the lack of desk
A cheap lamp
The living room furniture
The bedroom
My roommate crawling behind the washer to hook it up
The TV, wireless router, PS2, DDR Pads, etc (aka the Essentials)
Dressed up for work (no ties required)

One of NASA's main branches is here, so there's a visitor center which I'll hopefully visit soon, and then there's a ton of tech companies all around here, so it really is like a city of engineers. It's pretty cool.

Work then seems like it'll be really fun. I finally figured out what I was working on, basically emulating an embedded device (a computer that is always on and consists basically only of a CPU and memory) so that the full time people can test out their code on that without having to mess with the complicated and expensive debugging on the actual device. So none of my stuff ever gets used outside the company, but it's still a very important part of the development process. I also recieved a "Secret" level of classification clearance (there are three levels: Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret), which is cool, though I don't work on any classified things (all the code has "unclassified" at the top to make sure) so not sure why I got it. On the other hand since I'm an agent of the company, then it's like I'm a Secret Agent. *bada-bing*

And just to bring in a random link from the internet, here's a website that has voice samples from all over the world which can be used to practice your fake accents.

May 29, 2004

Yet another long delay in updating, but as busy as I am, I haven't really had a chance to. Not to mention wireless doesn't work in Linux yet (which is where I type all this stuff up), so I'm always in Windows so I don't have to be teathered to my ethernet cable.

It's been interesting getting used to the corporate world. It really does feel like I'm an "adult" now since I have my 8 to 5 job that I have to wake up early for, then go home and make supper, and then hang out with some of the other interns for the 2 or 3 hours until it's time to go to bed to wake up early once again. But you really don't have that much free time since work and travel and meals take up so much of it. It's nice to be making a big paycheck (which I didn't relieze how much taxes take out now that I'm making enough where I'd have to pay them, holy moley). The whole code development process is also an entirely different mindset, so with school it's just "It compilies and it works, it's good to go" while in the work world it has to be maintanable, extendable, and just well engineered on a much more massive scale. Huntsville is a pretty nice city though, I can see why people like to live here. Not much in the way of student things though, but since there isn't a huge local college, it's to be expected. And I'm sure after some more exploring I can find things like the Hipp here in Huntsville.

I also went to play golf for the first time in about 3 years today. My department manager asked me on a whim, and so me and some other coworkers went out and played a round. It was a lot of fun, and while I'm still not great, I was at least consistant most of the time. And except for the last 3 or 4 holes where I just got really hungry and tired, I was doing fairly well. My putting was REALLY bad though, which since that takes the most "feel", that's what suffered the most from lack of practice. I did make it in the cup from about 65 yards out though on one hole which was probably one of my best shots ever.

Thursday is my 21st birthday, so I'm looking forward to a)getting into the clubs that require you to be over 21 and b)free cokes for the designated driver! I think there's about 50 people who's goal is for me to get compeltely plastered on my 21st, but I've always joked I have no problem being the DD for my 21st. I don't really like alcohol or it's effect on me, but drunken (within moderation, ie not throwing up) people are great fun. I'm still not sure what I'll be doing for my birthday, though that weekend I'd like to go visit the NASA space center here in Huntsville because I'm a giant nerd like that. I also bought some strawberry cake mix to make me a cake since most people don't like plain no icing strawberry cake.

No links this time, I can't remember the address of anything cool or interesting at the moment. So just type your favorite thing into Google and have fun.

April 2004 -- 2004 -- June 2004