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Archive for February, 2010

Spam and Playing God

February 26th, 2010 No comments

Alright, so first off, if only people wouldn’t post spam to these WordPress blogs. As a lot of you know (yes, all 3 of you readers), my girlfriend is keeping a blog while she is studying abroad in China this semester. Unfortunately, China blocks blogs in general, so she just emails me the posts and I update the blog for her. This also means that I have to do all other maintenance and advertisements though through her Facebook and Twitter accounts, but that’s beside the point. The maintenance is the important, and sometimes annoying part. She gets a bunch of spam comments from all sorts of sources, and it’s funny how most of them actually read like a normal human commenting. Some have the shit grammar that would be expected, but a few read normally, and almost pertain to the post. As a rule though, I have noticed that if there is a website listed with the comment, or if the commenter makes their name something that is a product name or a site name, then I just delete them. As a result, I’ve probably deleted a few legit comments from her blog, but it is difficult at best to tell what’s legit and what’s not. I haven’t installed a captcha system (the pictures with the random characters that you have to type in so it makes sure you aren’t a robot), so I can’t eliminate the spam unfortunately.

As for the “Playing God” part of this post. This is actually an old article that I meant to write about a while back, but it reminds me of Jurassic Park… They are trying to resurrect the Galapagos Tortoises, the ones that were there before Darwin’s famed visit. You know how fruit farmers will splice together certain strains of plants to make new produce like Nectarines from Peaches and Plums? Well, that’s what they are trying to do with tortoises and breeding. At least they aren’t trying to transfuse the DNA of the ancient animals with modern embryo or whatever nonsense they had in Jurassic Park, but it’s a close second in my book! Here’s the article: Mother Nature Network.

A Late Monday Update

February 23rd, 2010 2 comments

For all 3 dedicated readers of my blog, sorry that this post is a day late. Last night was a long one that didn’t include time to take care of updating my blog. Secondly, I also noticed that I was actually, shockingly, getting some legit comments on my blog since I opened that section up and they were just going to the Spam folder for whatever reason. I will try to moderate the spam folder more to take care of these. To those 2 comments that I found to be legit, thanks for actually being legit… there’s a reason I don’t typically check spam folders anymore.

Actually covering what I wanted to discuss in this post:

You remember the movie Minority Report? You remember how cool the computer interface was in that movie and how FUTURISTIC it was? Well the guys who designed that same futuristic computer interface for the movie took the project to the next level, production. I had seen snippets and pieces of this project over the last 2 years and only just realized how far it has come in making this computer system closer to a reality. It isn’t 100% there in my opinion, but it definitely encompassed at least the video interaction and the “natural” body interaction with the computer. Yes, interacting with a computer based upon something other than a mouse, keyboard, and/or a stylus.

Of course, this article was predictably inspired by the iPad changing how we interact with computers by switching ENTIRELY to a multi-touch system. But it is of course worthy to note that this multi-touch technology is in use in other Apple products and has been incorporated into other company’s offerings as well. The interface in the Minority Report movie, and in the demo video that you can see on the article I have linked below, is something far beyond simple multi-touch tech. It is the ability to interact with a system the way you would expect to interact with the items on your physical desktop (papers, pens and the like) with the addition of a “heads up display”. There is something very different and intriguing about this, except for one aspect that is of course being ignored. What does the student, traveling business person, or entrepreneur do with this when they are not able to tie themselves to a single location? How can you incorporate this concept beyond an entire room’s dedication to this system? Once they answer that question, you can count me in the “enthusiasts” camp who wants to not only play with it, but own it ASAP.

The article of inspiration is on TechCrunch.

Verizon + Skype = ?

February 19th, 2010 No comments

I have been waiting for this to happen on one of the carriers and it has finally come about. Verizon is now willing to support Skype as a mobile app! Of course, after further reading, it looks like it won’t behave properly over wi-fi and will exclusively use Verizon’s network, but still this is great news for either mobile companies to lower their prices to compete with Skype’s low per minute costs, or just switch everyone to a data plan. We shall see which happens, but most notable is the fact that this reduces, nay, basically eliminates long distance and international calling charges that we would normally incur as long as the person we are calling has their own Skype account and is online. Also, it is worthy to note that when you are without wireless signal but have wi-fi, can always just hop on the laptop to make these phone calls at pennies to the dollar.

What I’m waiting for now is Skype to have an enterprise solution that will switch entire businesses to Skype… course that probably will require Skype to get a bit larger.

Categories: Intuition Tags: , ,

Another Day

February 15th, 2010 No comments

So I am mildly surprised that I am finding the time to write a post today considering my work load. It isn’t even really a matter of a huge homework load as it is that I have been pretty busy from when I woke up this morning till now when I am taking a break from doing my algorithms homework. Had 2 group meetings, attended my professor’s office hours, attended my classes today, and did homework for the rest of it. Overall, I’m impressed that I can say I am feeling comfortable about where my work is at.

In other news, I am thinking about looking into the described “waiting to happen” disasters here for a future blog post. Possibly for Friday? I was thinking about writing instead about one of my other planned posts like college student finances and my opinion on how it is done (and how well it has worked for me).

Lastly, this weekend was Valentine’s Day as so many of you got to enjoy. Unfortunately, I was unable to spend the “holiday” with my own girlfriend since she is 14,000 miles away and all. It was actually really depressing this weekend with my lack of motivation to do my homework and my desire to procrastinate leading to me reading about how great everyone else’s V-Day had gone with their significant other or as “Singles Awareness Day” for them. Overall, Sunday was not the greatest, that is until I got a phone call from my girlfriend wishing me a happy Valentine’s Day, which brightened my entire day. Moral of the story? It is amazing what a simple phone call can do for someone’s mood, especially when all they want is to hear from that certain someone.

Snow, Surprises and Blegh

February 12th, 2010 4 comments

So I realize it has been a little while since I have blogged and that is a direct result of the title (not really the snow part because that is giving me time to post this) and a few other things that have been going on in my life.

First, snow! It’s actually snowing in Atlanta… I am shocked! I don’t think we have gotten this kind of snow in a good long while, especially not in February (at least not close to the start of the month). I always remember it actually getting around to snowing in Georgia about when you would least expect it (start of March for example). It is really pretty outside, and there is actually enough for Tech to call school for the rest of today and for a group of people to be working on building an igloo outside. So that would make it like 2-3 inches, right? Well, that’s what they have predicted at least. We’ll see how accurate that is. Either way, landscaping/groundskeeping is going to be mad about this because snow always means that the quad gets WRECKED between the frequent sledding (attempts) and generally trying to scoop up the snow which results in grabbing lots of grass usually.

Snow also seems to bring out the WORST in Georgia drivers. I swear, they are absolutely terrible when it snows because they have no experience with it for one thing. It degrades to people trying to drive like they would normally (way too aggressively) and ending up wrecking or just in general panicking in some manner, causing Georgia roads to look like this:

In other areas, since I have been slacking on my blog, I was wrong about my Super Bowl predictions. The Colts and Peyton Manning never really looked quite as sharp as they have the rest of the season, especially towards the end of the game. Just goes to prove the statement “any given Sunday.”

Following the Super Bowl, I unfortunately ended up getting VERY sick. Between the hours of 1 AM and 9:30 AM on Monday, I was either barfing into a toilet or waiting for the next round to start while lying in bed clutching my stomach. It was extremely NOT fun! To boot, I caught whatever it was from my grandmother (grandparents were supposed to be over for the end of last week and ended up being over for the majority of the weekend) and then my mom caught it from me. Whatever it was, it is no fun to have nothing left in your body to throw up and still be leaning over a toilet.

So that explains the absence on Monday, and Friday was spent going from school to home with the family and grandparents. Overall, I have been pretty busy. I do however have some future blog posts planned, so expect to see me return to my original timeframe for posting.

The only other new thing that has been going on as of late is that I am “officially” not returning to GTRI this summer and hence will definitely be in the DC area. I have completed my application for Neustar per their HR department’s needs and my resum? has been entered into MITRE’s system for a potential job with them in information security. Also, I found out GTRI has an office in the DC area, so I have enquired as to what it does, but haven’t heard back yet. I also, just last night, applied to a job that I most likely won’t be getting out in California. It is a PHP/Rails Hacker full-time position. I read through the desired work experience and expertise information and couldn’t keep myself from applying to a job that seemed to describe me and my own professional experiences. If it weren’t a full-time position, I would likely be more serious about considering it. We’ll see what happens, I figured it was worth a shot to just send my application and see what happens. The company is TechCrunch, who is essentially a start-up news site that’s still a start-up themselves. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a listing that I saw for information security, so that isn’t really a consideration there anyways.

My Opinion on the Teaching Process

February 1st, 2010 No comments

Firstly, I really have to figure out a better way to remind myself to do blog posts than my present system. Working on it so I don’t miss days like I did with last Friday.

So, why do I even have an opinion on what the teaching process should be? The answer is simple (-edit: the answer turned out to not be simple at all, but rather long winded and possibly off point-), I have been exposed to a large number of different teaching styles and techniques over the course of my life because of the diverse schools I have attended so far in my life. Personally, I love the Montessori technique and entire methodology and will, to this day, claim that it is a HUGE contributor to my present level of academic success (we won’t discuss how hypocritical it is to try to measure your own academic success in any manner other than GPA, and even that is flawed). For those people who don’t know, Montessori focuses on teaching the student at the student’s pace and giving the student tangible ways to see how intangible, and sometimes convoluted, concepts work. I may have missed some other principles of the Montessori technique, but those are what I got out of my own Montessori education.

Unfortunately, my Montessori education only lasted through 6th grade and from there I went to a more traditional school setting that included desks in rows and a teacher lecturing at the front of the classroom. This of course was simply a precursor to college, but it was on a small enough scale that I was able to continue to learn at “my pace” simply by having the opportunity to easily learn 1 on 1 with the teacher if I so needed. I did learn that I suck at receiving things in an auditory only format and I am STILL a slow writer (by hand that is, computers have really changed that).

My college education is now upon me (and somehow is only a year from finishing already…), and I am seeing that not all teachers picked up or experienced the better teaching practices along the way to becoming a teacher themselves. I have experienced some of the best and some of the worst teachers at Tech in 2009. The two professors that I consider the best that I have had while at Tech were good because of similar, but not exactly the same reason. The first, during the spring semester of 2009, was quite simply engaging and knew all of the students who attended class by their first names. The second one was a little less engaging (a much larger class), but the subject was one that I have a great amount of interest in (Information Security).

In the fall, I also had the incredible misfortune of taking a course from the worst teacher in my educational career (i.e. my entire life so far). The professor was unprepared for class, couldn’t answer questions in class without lots of thought, and would usually opt for answering a question in a later class. Overall, I learned nothing from this professor in a subject I had hoped to learn quite a bit from (Computer Networking 1) and am now unable to take the follow-up to this course because I don’t feel that I have the knowledge required.

So that whole long introduction brings me around to why I am even writing this blog post in the first place. It is my belief that the teacher should understand a subject better than his or her own students and that the teacher should come with the expectation that he or she are going to teach the students something new during the next class period. Instead, I have lately been confronted with a teacher that expects us to learn the entire concept BEFORE class on our own and then come to class so she can tell us that we are either wrong about what we learned, unguided, or that we should have learned the information already so that she can ask rhetorical questions of the classroom at large and not give anyone the time to answer. Overall, while the course is VERY structured with in class assignments every time we meet for class, so it is pretty easy to keep up, the professor’s style and attitude towards us as students completely turns me off to the course as a whole. I will of course finish out the semester with this class, but I do not find her teaching style to my own benefit. For all future students, it is her last year teaching this course, so don’t worry about it.