Category Archives: Personal

Biphasic sleeping

For the past month, I’ve been following a biphasic sleep schedule. This basically means that I’m sleeping in two chunks throughout the day, every day. I started off sleeping 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM and 2:00 AM to 7:00 AM, for a total of six and a half hours. I’ve since changed to sleeping from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM and 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM because I tend to get pretty drowsy after lunch.

I’m finding that biphasic sleeping is working pretty well; I certainly appreciate the extra time it gives me every day. Unfortunately, I have been nodding off in classes more often than I normally do, but that’s probably because my classes are more boring this semester.

Overall, I’d recommend biphasic sleeping to anyone with a schedule that can accommodate it. Just keep in mind that the first week of adjusting will be tough!

Philosophy of higher education

For one of my classes today we came up with our “purpose statement” for our being at college. It’s quite enlightening to sit down and actually think about the reasons why you’re actually spending all this time and money when the only direct, physical result is a piece of paper. Here’s my philosophy:

Higher education primarily ensures that graduates have the tools and knowledge they need for the career field they want to go into. The time spent learning while earning the degree is invested into research in the field and honing professional and interpersonal skills. Studying at an academic institution is often necessary to make certain that topics are fully understood, that any questions are answers, and that the new knowledge can be easily referenced if needed in the future.

Attending a higher learning facility and living in school’s dormitory has extra added benefits. Living with other people that you don’t initially know helps immensely in helping students learn to empathize with those around them as well as help the students realize what kind of person they are versus what kind of person they’d like to be. This social experience is every bit just as important as the traditional academic learning that the school provides and needs to be treated as such when students are considering college options.

Korea, Iowa, and Delta

Long time no post! Since my last post, it seemed I was lucky if I had enough time to breathe, let alone write a blog entry. But now I’m in Korea and should start having some more time on my hands.

I closed up shop with Rockwell Collins in Iowa, it was a summer well spent. I even got to shake hands with the CEO on the last day! That was pretty neat.

My flight to Korea had a connection in San Fransisco. Unfortunately, my Delta flight to SFO was an hour and a half late to the gate because they couldn’t get an open gate to dock with. It was a terrible feeling, sitting in the plane knowing that if I could get out of the plane and simply walk to the international terminal, I could make it on time. Instead, I missed the flight out and got delayed an entire day at SFO. They wouldn’t even pay for food or a hotel. Argh.

Korea’s pretty fascinating. They have a lot higher quality roads here than in the US. The town I’m nearby is huge in US standards, but small in Asian standards. I’ve been into town a couple times to go shopping or play games; I like visiting just to see how friendly and honest the people there are. Korea definitely has some big advantages compared to the states.

Everyone kept telling me that I’d hate the food here, and while I didn’t love it at first, I’ve found that I really like it now. It’s got a lot of flavor and it’s really healthy for you too. The kimchi is usually the spiciest thing they give you, but as long as you mix it with some rice it’s okay.

In other news, the website is back up after what’s probably been at least a month. Sorry about that. I’ll try posting some pictures from Korea soon as well.

If a monkey can row with a ladle

Work has been interesting. We’ve been trying to make an editor to visualize some massive data lying around in databases. Our solution to this problem until yesterday afternoon was to use GMF, but for the past two weeks we’ve been bogged down with the seemingly simple but important task of how to place a label.

So yesterday afternoon, with a mere month left before we have to present our project to the CEO of Rockwell Collins, we decided to scrap the GMF idea and go with yEd. This may sound like a risky business move at first… but by 10 AM this morning we had replicated all functionality we had with GMF plus a little bit more. Wow! It’s another open vs closed source argument, but in this case closed source is not only champion, but king.

Speaking of work, I got asked to participate in a mock interview today. My technical lead has been disappointed with their interviewees not being able to answer their questions recently, so they wanted to interview me and my fellow interns to try and set a baseline expectation. First they asked us to explain a UML diagram. It was a simple diagram but using some conventions that you never really see in the real world which could trip you up. Then they had us write the code for that UML diagram. Next, we wrote an implementation of a doubly-linked list. I got nervous here and did rather poorly (lots of bugs), but my lead was happy and said I still did better than the others they had do it. Finally they had us identify some obfuscated C++ code. It was a template that could be used to turn any class into a singleton simply by inheriting the template. It was pretty cool, but you definitely have to be up to date on your C++.

On a completely different topic, I bought a MacBook Pro a few days ago. I want to continue to reserve judgement for a while longer, but so far two things have me really ticked.

First, the dock: While it’s ‘nicer’ than a taskbar it’s essentially useless if you’re a developer who likes to have a lot of windows open all at the same time. The dock will only take you to the most recently used window of an application. If you want the other windows you need to cmd-tab (hard with lots of windows) or use Expose (easier than cmd-tab but still more annoying than windows taskbar).

The second thing that annoys me to no end is the inability to create a file from finder. Maybe they did this because they didn’t want to be like Windows and have a big box of different types of files you can create, but Mac should at least let me create an empty plain text file!

On the positive side, I’m enjoying how nearly everything you need to do (except for creating a file) takes less mouse/keyboard navigation than on Windows. Big timesaver there! Also I’ve become a big fan of the multi touch trackpad. I’m finding that between the two finger scroll and the two finger right click, I have no need for an external mouse at all.

Still thinking about what to do for my hosting. Don’t think I’ll keep my current one while in Korea, but I also hate to lose ’em (I’d never get something this nice at this price ever again).

EDIT: Slashdot had an article relevant to my interview discussion. Thought you might be interested.


I’m starting to get myself mentally prepared for spending four months living in another country. It’s quite frightening! I have no idea how many of the comforts that are just common place to me here in the US will not be there in Korea. I will only be able to take two small suitcases with me, so I’m beginning to make lists of what I absolutely need during my stay. Also, I got to see a picture of one of the typical dorm rooms in Handong. All the rooms sleep four people.

Typical dorm at Handong -- Sleeps four!

Yes, this room sleeps four. And yes, that is a clothes line you see in the back. Apparently they don’t use dryers in Korea. Also I hear the mattresses are very slim and hard. Still, part of the reason why I want to go to Handong in the first place is to get out of my comfort zone, so I chalk this up as a win.

In other news, I’m living in a disaster area. No, really! Cedar Rapids, IA has been declared to be a federal disaster area. Lovely, isn’t it? The downtown is pretty much gone from flooding. Here’s some pictures for your enjoyment. Click a picture to see my commentary.

<lost the pictures due to technical issues, will try to put them back up at some point>

I’m thinking about switching my hosting services around. The host I have right now is *okay*, but not great. They no longer respond to anything but reset tickets. They never answer the phone and never reply to emails. Given that it’s a small company, I worry that they’ll go under any day now…

Anyways, I took a look at what kind of things I run on my server on a daily basis in order to compare alternatives. I’m paying $55/mo right now for a full dedicated on a gigabit link, 160 GB HDD, 2 TB bandwidth, P4 3.0 Ghz, 2 GB RAM. I use the server for the following:

  • Garrysmod server
  • Natural Selection server (probably not going to bother setting up another)
  • TeamSpeak (doesn’t see much use though)
  • Subversion repositories
  • LAMP
  • SSH server for secure proxies
  • I want to have an online backup

Alternative option #1 — Specialized hosting:

  • Go with DreamHost at $11/mo to take care of LAMP and SVN. Since it has SSH access, I assume it could do a SOCKS proxy, but I’d have to check on this. DreamHost, with 4 TB of traffic and 500 GB of storage, would make a good online backup.
  • I probably wouldn’t bother with a garrysmod server until I got back from Korea, but once I did I could go with a service like this one. Considering that they’re advertising ULX (my software!), I might even be able to get them to give me a discounted or free server. Assuming I couldn’t get a discount through them, it would be about $24/mo for 8 public slots.
  • The site above also has a somewhat good-looking teamspeak service, but otherwise I could go with this sort of service for $2.50/mo (5 slots, but that would probably be enough anyways).

So, ignoring setup fees (which you can usually talk them out of anyways) and the dumb discounts for contracts (Advertising $6/mo with a 10 year contract? Bad DreamHost!), this comes to a total of $37.50/mo. Which is still a whole lot better than what I’m paying now and I’d get better quality of service this way. Still, it’s a lot more inflexible.

Alternative option #2: VPS

  • Go with a VPS host like this one. This would host a TeamSpeak server, possibly a Natural Selection server, Subversion, LAMP, and SSH. $15/mo for ~300 MB RAM, 13 GB storage, and 500 GB bandwidth. No mention of CPU time though which is disconcerting.
  • The lack of storage above means I’d have to go with something like Amazing S3 for backups. I figure S3 would cost me about $5/mo.
  • I’ll use the $24/mo figure above for a Garrysmod server.

Ignoring setup fees, this comes to $44/mo. About $7/mo more than the first option, but gives me more power at the cost of having to manage everything myself. Plus the VPS kinda sucks to be honest. Touch choice!


I’m currently at an internship, living away from home, and enjoying it! It’s an interesting experience to be completely self-supported for a change. There’s no going back now, so I better enjoy it. 🙂

Unfortunately, I’m back in Windows right now. For whatever reason, I felt that I wasn’t able to do the work I needed to do in Linux. Probably my fault, I know. I wasn’t a big fan of KDE4 in Kubuntu 8.04. Just felt incomplete. Last, Linux desperately needs good Windows Mobile support; I tried using the app that’s available (forget what it was called now), and it was extremely difficult to setup and not very easy to use.

I’m in the market for a laptop right now, I’ll need to get a fairly powerful one to replace my desktop while I’m in Korea next semester. People keep recommending that I get a MacBook Pro, but it would pain me to buy the hardware from Apple that I can buy from Dell for $600 less. Even if you claim that the $600 gets “the best OS out there”, $600 is a whole lot of money for an OS.

I stumbled across ASciencePad today. Amazing application! I’ll definitely want to use it from school.

As far as my car in my last post, I got the window and the taillight fixed. The rest of the damage will just have to stay. I’ll be in Tornado alley in three years anyways for the foreseeable future, so probably best I don’t have a perfect car to get ruined there. 😛

Hail of DOOM!

I was minding my own business, studying in my dorm room when it suddenly decided to rain pool-ball sized hail. My car was out in the parking lot of course, suffering the thrashing from the hail. My car survived the battle, but suffers from a broken rear windshield, a broken taillight, and sizable dents.

Pictures of the battlefield:


Ever feel like you’re being crushed by everything that needs to be done? I procrastinate, my tasks stack up, I procrastinate even more because just thinking about everything I should be doing makes me nauseous. In the end, I get things done only moments before they’re due and with half the effort I was hoping to put into them. It’s as if I make time my personal idol, craving more of it but always burning it away faster than I can receive it; “I don’t have enough time,” becomes not only a top excuse but a way of life, eating away my identity more and more.

If only I had more time.

College life

Someone please save us, us college kids!
What my parents told me is what I did
They said go to school and be a college kid
But in the end i question why I did

I’m poor, I’m starving, I’m flat broke, I’ve got no cash to spend
Sell all my books for front row tickets to Dave Matthews band
My girlfriend’s at another school, I know this year will test her
I called, found out she had three other boyfriends last semester

And that’s why I say
Oh no! not for me, not for me
Call it torture, call it university
No! arts and crafts is all I need
I’ll take calligraphy and then I’ll make a fake degree

80 grand later I found out that all that I had learned
Is that you should show up to take your finals and your midterms
The party scene is kinda mean, I think it’s sick and twisted
The navy showed up at my dorm and claimed that I enlisted..

– Relient K — College Kids

This song has been the theme of the past month for me. But don’t worry, I haven’t failed my midterms. In fact, I’m not quite sure of what my grades are at this point…

The floor hasn’t been nearly as exciting as the first week during initiation, but there’s still at least one random SOMETHING per week. For example, a guy on the floor (Paco) decided I needed a shower. He grabbed my roommate and together they tackled me and started dragging me to the bathroom. It was an epic struggle against good and evil. The fight went on for about ten minutes, two minutes of which I had managed to escape with my only exit being locking myself in the bathroom. They quickly undid the lock, but I still managed to crawl away for a distance before they managed to shove me in. It’s all in good fun of course, and it’s a story that will undoubtedly get more and more epic with each retelling.

Pictured below is another random floor doing. Center is Anvil, who decided to slide up and down the hall while sitting in a box. The box broke, but he didn’t give up there! He had us duct tape the box to his arms. I’m sure you can guess how that turned out…


If I haven’t made it clear enough… I really, really like this floor and campus. Somehow I don’t think that any other campus would be quite like this. Mixing a floor of Christian guys who are all engineers is just bound to have interesting results I suppose. I even made this nifty 41 logo when I was bored one day. It’s probably my first photoshop work with an actual, real-life picture (even though it doesn’t look like a real-life photo anymore). This is actually a picture of the symbol off the wall in the floor lobby. I really like how it turned out to look like an egg with the symbol imprinted on it.

41 Symbol

We’ve had a couple birthday pondings since my last bloggery as well. Picture below is Copper, our first ponding. We really overwhelmed the poor guy, he didn’t even bother putting up a fight.

Copper’s ponding

Of course, I should mention that I have actually been getting some work done here. For my fundamentals of engineering class (aka fundamentals of wasting time), we had to build a “cool” robot. Our team of three decided to do a maze solver. Unfortunately, LabVIEW is a truly awful platform to develop the NXT from, so we ended up doing a simpler line-branch follower. It would always follow branches in the line to the right, and would keep doing so forever. Pictured below is an early phase of the robot in which it could only follow linear paths (it did that figure eight just fine too though!). Our next project is a window washer. Mmm, fun.

Our “cool” NXT robot

I’ve also had some time to pursue some personal interests. ULX got a much needed update. I’m really proud with this update; we had our largest-ever changelog, we squashed ~99% of the bugs in the code, and we added some key things that makes ULX more user-friendly than ever before. Truly we have come closer than ever before in realizing the perfect balance of what an admin mod should be.

Shameless plugging aside, check out this gecko! He was chilling outside my window and just sat there while I took quite a few pictures. I love getting nature pictures like this, and this is probably the coolest set I’ve had to date.

Mr. Window Gecko

I have some more to talk about, but it’s getting late. Hopefully I’ll get to it next time!

All hail the chicken that was!

This post is written in loving memory of Chicken. He had a short life, but it was well lived!

Chicken was adopted by Zoot from General Mills on Wednesday while they were visiting LeTourneau’s cafeteria, handing out various products to sample. Chicken was given up under the condition the he be thrown at someone.

In order to honor and exceed the terms of the contract, it was decided that Chicken would be thrown at anyone attempting to walk through Zoot’s dorm room door, yelling “CHICKEN!” while he zipped through the air. This led to great unhappiness of one of Zoot’s suite mate, Synk. Synk testified to wearing a baseball mitt all day Thursday in preparation of random Chicken attacks.

Unfortunately, when one 41er who will go unnamed got hit with Chicken, he threw Chicken into the first toilet he came to and flushed, thinking that it would be too big to fit down the hole but forgetting that the toilets here are high-powered flesh eating machines.

Chicken’s final act in this world was to clog the toilet for a good while before the unhappy residents could fetch maintenance. Forever shall you be loved, Chicken. ALL HAIL CHICKEN!

Crunchy showing off our beloved Chicken.