11 May 2009

Bi-weekly Reflections 2009 - Week 16 & 17

"Bi-Weekly Reflections" is my small journal of events that have gone on throughout the last 2 weeks that I've decided to keep. New updates to this will (hopefully) be posted as soon as possible.
The week between the 26th and the 31st began and continued to be quite stressful and busy. I had a lot of homework to accomplish, a lot of work to finish up, and overall just a period of time where everything just seemed to never end. Every day that week I woke up early for school, and later work (except on Friday, where I just went to work), but I ended up going to bed quite late after staying up to work on my homework assignments. In particular, a ray-tracing program for my Intro to Graphics class has been giving me a number of headaches and has been stressing me out to no end trying to get it working.
Of course, it was working when it was given to me (the professor provided starter code), but I didn't like the functionally-driven style of the code and decided to try to port it to some OO code in C++. The port wasn't too bad, albeit time consuming, but nothing would show up on the screen for some unknown reason. After spending some time trying to comb through the code, I found my mistake on Thursday morning where I had added 2 numbers together instead of multiplying them, which was why my program was producing erroneous results. Thankfully that problem was sorted out and I could move on to adding other pieces and fixing other issues.
Friday (5/1/2009) was a little more relaxed than the rest of the week, but because I'd been out of the office most of the week, it was still quite busy as I had to complete a todo list that had everything that I couldn't do earlier in the week due to me working remotely. Fortunately I got through almost all of it. It was also the night when I was finally able to see Ashley's new car, which she got on Thursday. I have to say it looks incredible - magnitudes better than it did when she first got it! I'm very happy that she's got her car, and I hope that it treats her very well.
Saturday and Sunday (5/2-3) were absolute nightmares. I spent literally all day both days working on my raytracer code and ended up restarting the project again on Sunday afternoon and managed to move on a little bit farther in the project. Unfortunately, things are still not working well and I've been having nothing but problems.
Monday and Tuesday (5/4-5) were spent stressing out about the raytracer, but in the afternoon on Tuesday I managed to get some more working on the raytracer and with the help of a classmate of mine, managed to get the last bits working properly. It works fantastically, although the images are still kind of strange. Its all about the functionality though. I'll probably be posting the code for it and writing a little something about it later (and posting the other code that I've not had enough time to post lately). Now to survive finishing the other homework for all my other classes that is due the same day...
Wednesday (5/6) was a pretty normal day and came and went without much ado - except that I worked pretty hard trying to finish all the homework, staying up till 12:15am Thursday morning to finish it.
Thursday (5/7) was the day when everything was due, and the final day of regular lecture in 3 of 4 of my classes (Wednesday was the last day for my other class). During my math class, I found that I was not required to turn in the homework that I stayed up so late trying to work on, which was pretty upsetting. However, one funny thing that happened during that session.
When the professor of the class prior to mine left, he had turned off a number of pieces of video equipment after his class had watched a video. The classroom has speakers throughout it in the ceiling, so that everybody could hear what was being shown. Well, shortly after he left, there was a buzzing in the speakers that was fairly loud. Seeing as how the classroom was full of Computer Science and Computer Information Systems students, one tried to see about fixing the system so that it didn't drive us crazy. Unable to fix it, he called IITS, the campus IT department, where they sent an individual to take a look and help out. A few minutes into the regular lecture, the noise blaring and making things difficult, the technician entered the room, promptly walked to the podium (which housed the equipment), and slammed his hand flat-palmed against the top of the podium. The noise stopped. The entire class broke into laughter at the action and its incredible effectiveness for such a simplistic solution.
Later Thursday, I also received an email on my phone letting me know that I had, indeed, succeeded in passing the Spanish proficiency test, clearning my path now for graduation after finals week next week. It definitely heightened my spirits and I was incredibly releaved after having worried about it since I took it on the 9th of April.
Friday (5/8) also started off fairly well, but quickly turned sour before I even arrived at work. Still riding on the positive energy from having succeeded in the proficiency test, I drove to work through the Ortega Highway but was slowed due to a big rig that did not pull over at a few turn outs to allow the 6+ cars behind him go past and continue on the road at a speed of more than 25MPH. He finally took the hint after about 15 minutes of moving painfully slow up the mountside and pulled into a fairly lengthy turnout, allowing the mass of cars behind him to pass. Seeing as this was an opportunity to make up lost time, I started to push the speed limit until I was behind pick up truck that decided it was going to traverse the windy road at 10MPH below the speed limit. After finally getting a chance to pass him, I continued on, eventually reaching speeds just over the speed-limit, but not on purpose - the area was slightly downhill and controlling speed was a little difficult since I'd have to continually check it to ensure I was still moving at the speed limit. Rounding a corner, that's when I got stopped by a CHP officer, who clocked me going 67MPH on a 55MPH road. Talk about totally blowing the wind out of my sails. Now I've gotta take care of that problem. Ugh.
Saturday (5/9) was certainly an enjoyable day, as I spent working on some homework before heading out with Ashley to go to dinner at Souplantation, then we went over to the theater and saw the new Star Trek movie. We both agreed that the movie was amazing and, though I myself am not a huge Star Trek geek, I do believe that it fit well into the previous movies' timeline. One thing that I had to giggle about the movie, however, is how much Kirk was a punching bag through the movie. If you haven't seen it, go see it and you'll understand what I'm saying...

Articles and Links
  • Okay, I know that news about catching a suspected terrorist before anything bad happens shouldn't be ridiculed, but the headline for this one just made me cringe: "Document: 9/11 planner used Hotmail". The first thing that came to mind before even opening the article was that there are problem alarmists out there who seized the opportunity to take the article's headline and claim that Hotmail is a terrorist weapon and should be monitored (read: that would be an invasion of privacy). Next, they'll claim that email is a tool that allows terrorists to collaborate (uh, here's a new one for you: email was always a tool for anybody to collaborate!), and next they'll say that the Internet should be banned because it allows the flow of terrorist ideas... yes, its an extreme scenario, but it seems that there are a lot more outspoken individuals now who secretly are trying to get us to become Amish or something. I'm sorry, but I'm not giving up my phone, Internet, and email. No way, no how.
  • Found this article that had an interesting look into the origins of the "Swine Flu" and also explains how people (namely, Egypt) took extreme measures that don't do anything useful in combating the virus. Also, it talks about how Americans are pointing the blame at Mexico when, from what the article explains, is not really the case and that us Americans had the very first case anyways, although it was never really known that it was the H1N1 virus.
  • Ran across this pretty interesting article from the LA Times (at least for Computer Science majors like myself who are interested in mobile technologies) talking about why cellphone text messages are limited to 160 characters.
  • In strange, but seemingly-true news, Google hired out 200 goats to mow the grass around their headquarters here in California, seeing as it was a more environmentally-friendly way to clear the overgrowth as required by code. However, PETA is apparently upset, for God-knows-what-reason. They're citing that they were "inadequately watered," among other mundane reasons. Funnily though, Google retorted, stating that the goats "are entitled to a free organic lunch." I always loved how Google thinks outside the box!
  • I read this interesting article on MSNBC on how today's kids (the progeny of Generation Xers) seem to be quite rude and exhibit characteristically unsocial behavior and that the early belief is that it is actually the fault of the parents and their focus on the child's emotions. It actually is an interesting read, although they still take a nice swipe on Gen Yers like myself, in being self-centered and overly-questioning. Still a good read and makes quite a bit of sense, even the explainations they give seem a little too superficial still.
  • Megan Fox, the actress most popularly seen in the Transformers movie and who had a brief stint on 2 & a Half Men, has been become the talk of the town on the Interwebz lately, especially since she was named as FHM's Number 2 Sexiest Woman in the World for 2009. Apparently the spotlight is on her and she doesn't quite like it (no celebrity would, I hope), but then again, when you do stuff like this, what kind of reaction do you think you're going to get? Of course, then again, leave it to TMZ to try to tear her down with some old high school photos... I have nothing against her and I admire her for her insistance that she is confident in her own sexuality (as most women should be) and understand her appeal, but she just doesn't do it for me I guess - not my type. Ashley, well, she's a hottie <3>
  • A friend of mine linked an old 2006 article on a parasite that lives with cats that, they believe, may affect human feelings and emotions. Maybe that's why we find things like this so cute... They're trying to take over the world! I knew they couldn't be trusted... :D

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