Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I want the iTunes phone

Lots of news from Apple these days (just reposting some particularly interesting ones):
  • Out with the old Mac minis and in with the new? Hopefully, they'll have 512 MB of RAM and doubtlessly have
  • iTunes phone concept picture featured in a Motorola presentation? French say it's
  • iTunes phone references found in iTunes 4.9link
  • No more black and white iPods (just 20/60 GB colors)link
BTW, I'm prone to being optimistic because I own shares : )

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

So it's not for spying on us...

So yesterday, Google posted its improved Personalized Search by transforming Search History from a way to "remember your searches" into a way to rank the results of your queries. This makes sense, because Google already uses the number of clicks on a result in determining its placement. I guess their other personalized search didn't quite work out compared with other Personalized Search offerings.

Thanks, Google for leaving us in the dark about why we were letting you record our search habits whereever we go. If you're logged in already, you won't even notice a difference between Personalized Search and Search History.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Classes for Fall '05

I'm feeling ambitious about taking classes again... I think it's because I've been too long away from school and it's associated workloads. Don't worry, it will pass and I will settle down on a minor, either Chinese or Political Science, most likely Chinese. This past semester, I definitely did myself an injustice by taking two hard CS classes together and doing uncomfortably in both.

Just because of that, I think I'm going to delay Software Engineering until second semester. Instead, I'll take either Distributed Systems and/or Computer Graphics. One or two CS classes should do it fo me. For the last two slots, here are the classes I'm considering. Some or all may be ruled out due to the crazy scheduling contraints we now have at Rutgers.
  • Business Chinese, 29068 [W 9:50-11:10 AM SC-219 & F 2:50-4:10 PM SC-219]
  • Organizing and Developing Chinese Writing, 32917 (or is it Organization and Development of...) [Th 5:00-8:00 PM WL-A108]
  • Advanced Chinese Grammar, 27837 [TTh 2:50-4:10 PM MU-111]
  • Introduction to Computer Graphics, 31187 [TTh 3:20-4:40 PM ARC-203 & T 5:15-6:10 PM ARC-110]
  • Software Engineering, 20258 [MW 1:40-3:00 PM SEC-212 & M 3:35-4:30 SEC-212]
  • Distributed Systems, 26864 [ W 6:55-7:50 PM SEC-218 & M 6:40-9:30 PM SEC-203]
  • Sub-Sahara African Politics, 33709 [ MW 1:40-3:00 PM LSH-B267]
  • Interest Groups, 29881 [TTh 5:35-6:55 PM HCK-138]
  • Western Tradition, Plato-Machiavelli, 20609 [ TTh 2:15-3:35 PM CHM-204]
  • Democratic Political Philosophy, 32920 [MTh 9:50-11:10 AM MU-212]
  • American Constitutional Law I, 29178 [TF 10:55-12:15 PM CDL-110]
  • Religion and Politics, 33650 [ TTh 3:55-5:15 PM RAB-208]
  • Compative Public Policy, 28415 [TTh 3:55-5:15 PM HCK-202]
  • American Foreign Policy, 29177 [MW 3:55-5:15 PMARH-200]

update 7/6/05 11:49 PM EST: bolded classes I'm currently registered for

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Save Public Broadcasting

UPDATE 8:21 PM EST 6/26/05: The cut was voted down in the House.

If you've watched the PBS fundraising campaigns and felt like donating, but never did, here's your chance to do your part. Congress is ready to cut $220 million from PBS's budget, which combined with other cuts to public broadcasting cuts funding by almost a half. Go here to find your representative's homepage. Don't be so sure it's not ideological. With dimishing funding from other sources like corporations and states, a sudden cut/shift in federal funding would be detrimental in the short term.

PBS has a number of talking points on their page, but the one that hit home asides from the size of the cut is that slated for cancellation is the Ready to Learn program- out of which came Arthur, Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow. Considering that PBS was pretty much the only TV station my mom approved of her children watching, this is a big deal. Please act before this Thursday, June 23, 2005. If you missed that, talk to your senators as they will also debate the issue.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

More pics from the USMA

Photo credit: David Daro

Here's a picture of my roommate Roy, our dormmate Dave, and me in front of base of Battle Monument, the largest piece of turned granite in the Western Hemisphere. It's a civil war monument honoring 2230 soldiers and officers who fought for the Union army. Our tour guide said it was also called a tribute to Southern marksmenship.

Photo credit: David Daro

West Point Museum

Photo credit: David Daro

This is a shot from the West Point Museum. Believe me, the guns looked much bigger in person. Sorry this isn't a very flattering picture of either of us, Roy, but I had to post it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tallest water sphere in the world

I'm so proud. This is in my town. Google Sightseeing was mentioned in a Slashdot post on the recent voluntary take down of Google Wallpapers. Sightseeing posts intereing satellite images (military bases, anomolies, famous landmarks, fighter jets in mid flight, and even sunken ships).

The point is, they featured the tallest water sphere in the world, which is in my town and proudly bears the UNION name in bright white capitals. You can see it here. Make sure you check for its shadow : )

Picture credit: Dan Becker

SOURCE: Google Sightseeing via Slashdot

Monday, June 06, 2005

You may have noticed a change

I can't promise not trying again in the future, but that the adsense box is now gone. Well, what can I say, the cost was too high to have them up and the benefit was next to nothing. They're gone, and in place of them, my recent posts have been upgraded. Just remember that they never got higher placement than my blogroll.

I think I just wanted to try them out as you usually need to own a domain to put up Google Ads, but Google made the allowance for blogspot users. Too bad they rejected my highly qualified Adsense for Feeds beta application.

While I'm at it, I might as well explain the brief stint of my Archives list at trying to be cool in the form of a drop-down menu. What I didn't realize was that those archive links were the only thing linking to my old posts. Changing it into a script driven navigation menu made them invisible to Google and depriving me of the little search traffic that I got. Seeing as that would deprive the world access to my bonsai kittens post, I remedied the situation.

SOURCE: Adsense

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A new job, computer, and even a new processor

First update in a while so sorry about the length.

I moved up to my job on Sunday, but of all the things I could've forgotten, I forget my passport. Federal regulations gave me three days to bring it in so thankfully, my parents came back up and dropped it off for me along with a ton of supplies.

Despite my missing papers, my first two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) netted me lunch with my manager and co/op coordinator, a nice ThinkPad T30 (for work, of course), my first meeting, badge reels, t-shirts, notepad, a message board, and my first assignment. Oh, and lots of donuts. Our co/op coordinator put lots of donuts in the office to give me a chance to meet people in our department.

Getting free stuff is nice but meeting smart people is a privilege. In some ways it feels like taking a summer class at an elite private institution that draws students from all over the country. Not that there aren't smart people at Rutgers, but you don't usually meet people from Texas (like my roommate Roy) around Rutgers. The full-timers are also pretty friendly and I don't want to disappoint them. Unfortunately, that's not going to be easy given my current track record.

I stayed late on Thursday (day 3) I was trying to boost my productivity by extending my desktop to an external CRT monitor, but it taxed the video card to the point where my displays eventually blinked out. After several restarts, it stopped booting up so I went home hoping it would get better the next day. Friday came and the situation didn't improve, but the workstation guy brought me a replacement laptop using the same hard drive so my productivity went back up. I was able to end the week on a positive note, for which I'm tremendously grateful. Of course, I'm so happy that I forget to save the last couple of donuts from getting stale over the weekend in the office.

Friday also brought a CNET report of the upcoming WWDC announcement that Apple will phase IntelX86 chips in to replace IBM PowerPC chips. The initial rumors supposedly brought Apple's stock up 5% but it seems people are afraid of backwards compatibility issues, the difficulty for developers to adapt so soon after going to OS X, and a gap in sales as people stop buying the old Macs.

The bottom line is that I'll need to work harder and be more focused than ever before. I feel that dedication is my strength and I'm motivated by the people I work with to do my best work (or something approaching it). Of course, I also need to try my best to have fun. [-]