Archives: 'School'

Spring 2010 Schedule

Monday, November 16th, 2009

I just finished the registration process for Spring 2010. Five of the classes I was interested in taking were full, but I still ended up with a schedule I’m satisfied with.

I have absolutely no idea what “E-COMM, SOC. NETS, COLL INTEL” is, as it’s not in the course catalog. I assume it stands for something like “E-Commerce, Social Networks, and Collective Intelligence”, which sounds like something quite interesting. I’m worried though, as Das is teaching it, and Das was the culprit in my DSA shenanigans last Spring.

EDIT: Found the description for CSCI 4963, sounds awesome!

CSCI-4963/01 / 6963/01 E-Commerce, Social Networks, and Collective Intelligence CRNs 53143/53144
The internet has transformed how people interact with each other, lowering the cost of communication, and enabling us to rapidly both discover and pass on new information. This transformation has had major impacts in how we conduct market transactions (think of eBay, Orbitz, or Amazon), how we maintain our social personae (Facebook, Twitter), and how we accumulate and produce knowledge for consumption (Wikipedia, Yelp). This course will cover theoretical foundations of e-commerce and social networks, as well as focusing on practical aspects of understanding how the design of online venues affects the interactions of participants and the success of the venue.

Dorm Decorations

Monday, October 12th, 2009

On Friday, somehow Peter, Fernie, Kevin, Jinzhen, and I decided to plot a 5′ by 2.5′ poster of Dr. Carothers, our CompOrg professor. The printing stemmed from the fact that Dr. Carothers has a 4k by 3k resolution .jpg image of himself on his teacher website. The size is supposedly the largest the plotter in the VCC will print.

Jinzhen presents the results:

Another view of the finished product, including various other things in my dorm/apartment’s common area:

(Note that the image on the projector is the picture of Jinzhen with the poster on Facebook)

We’re unsure as to who our next plotting victim may be, but there has been the suggestion of Dr. Cutler.

Signage Win in the Polytech Elevator

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Upon returning from Blitman tonight, I rode the elevator up with our group and noticed this wonderfully descriptive sign.

Yeah, sure, I had noticed the elevator smelled like Urine for a couple weeks now, but it didn’t really click that it could actually be urine.

There was something about the sign that I found intriguing. Perhaps it was the dubious grammar and basic formatting. It screamed parody. And parody it did receive. The first installment was as follows:

It reads, “Attention: For every time someone posts signs in this elevator, it will be urinated in for the following 48 hours. -Thank you”. Note that the size, formatting, and line returns mimic the original piece. The sign didn’t last very long though, I called the elevator back about 5 minutes later to show someone, and it was already gone… I posted another, which vanished quickly too. A 3rd sign was later found crumpled on the floor when I returned to post my magnum opus.

The third sign, suggested by Jeff and completing the trifecta, reads “Attention: For every time someone shuts down this elevator, it will be posted in for the following 48 hours. -Thank you”.

While the grammar may be the most dubious yet, it was necessary to ensure the text fit on the appropriate lines.

Arrows were added to ensure that the viewer understands the infinite loop created by the signs. I’m sure my masterpiece is long gone by now. But it is immortalized in .jpg form here.


Saturday, September 19th, 2009

It’s official, Swine Flu has been confirmed at RPI. The mass paranoia and rumors are already spreading. I’ve read that Blitman Hall (probably just certain floors/wings) is being transformed into a quarantine zone, as Tiffany indicated she was forced out of her room to make way. Orian and I discussed the symptoms of what we’ve now determined are most likely colds. I’ve been sick since last Saturday, when I had an extremely dry/sore throat, runny nose, and tons of sneezing. The sore throat subsided earlier this week, as has the sneezing. The runny nose persists. I had a terrible sinus pressure yesterday; it hurt ridiculously when I tilted my head. Things seem better today, as my nose is now walking rather than running, and the head pain has subsided. If the Institute bought all students thermometers, I’d tell you my temperature, but evidently they don’t care.

What’s new since yesterday? Well, this afternoon I finished up some homework for the evening and played a bunch of DDR. I played 15 songs from Extreme, and 5 more from Extreme 2. I’m going to make sure to play more Extreme 2, as it has possibly the best setlist ever for a PS2 DDR game (topping even my favorite, Max 2). Harris stopped by, but we bored him so he left.

For dinner, I decided to prepare a meal I’m well used to at home. Atleast once a week, my family does Taco/Burrito/Tostada night. My dad prepares a variety of ingredients, typically consisting of Refried/Pinto Beans, a couple varieties of meat, mexican rice, ample cheese, lettuce, cucumber, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. With my limited resources, I was able to prepare a similar meal consisting of Black and Refried beans, cheese, sour cream, and salsa! Gorgeous presentation follows.

After dinner, it was time to see Up! on UPAC Cinema’s big screen. RA Corey Stalls had purcashed 15 tickets using his residence hall budget, so our group got in for free. DCC 308 was completely packed. I think every single seat was taken. I haven’t seen it that full since orientation last year. Unbelievable. Onto to the movie itself… I won’t say it was a bad movie; I’d recommend it to my mom for sure; but it could have been so much more. The first 30 minutes are solid gold. Pixar draws upon its Wall-E experience to create a plot where dialog is not important. The beginning introduces the adorably lovable main characters, utilizing comedy to aide in characterization. It seemed to me like it was going to end up being a deep story rich with important themes and lessons. But things devolved quickly into a slapstick comedy-fest lacking in any greater meaning. I found the rest of the movie to be completely unfulfilling. Obvious plot twist after obvious plot twist, coated in ridiculous comedy catered to crazed ADD kids. Some incidences and scenarios seemed to be straight out of a Family Guy script. These events really killed the flow. I guess I’m rather disappointed (seems to be a running theme lately) about what could have been compared to what was. Regardless, it was a couple well-spent hours.

After the movie, Kevin challenged me to another game of hall chess. Hall chess is normal chess on a grand scale! The hallway near the elevator expands out into sort of a small common area. Most of this area has a tiled linoleum floor with alternating dark/white tiles, perfect for playing chess. The dimensions of the area are 9 x 18, just enough for two games with a bit of buffer room (and an extra unused row). One of the most exciting elements about hall chess is the ability to draft your own team! My team is constructed out of emptied drinking containers, mainly Vitamin Water. Other teams consist of various containers, cans, and bottles. My bowling pins often make an appearance as bishops. I carried out my big box of pieces (enough for two complete sets), and exuberantly emptied in front of me from a height well above my head. The sound was thunderous as around 30 plastic bottles tumbled to the floor. However, I had forgotten that my normal bishops were ex-Shirley Temple bottles, which happen to be glass. One shattered. Glass went everywhere. Heads stuck out all the way down the hall, just like they do in the movies. The RD came out, wondering what the commotion was. She didn’t care though (thanks Alli!) and we cleaned up the mess pretty quickly.

I ended up losing the chess game to Kevin (as usual). I’m certainly not good at chess, but I understand the game pretty well, and I understand basic strategies. I have a very outside-the-box mentality when it comes to chess; I try to look for unpredictably good moves more than simply great moves. I generally stand my own and put up a fight, though. The loss marked my fourth in a row against Kevin, dropping me to 3-4 in our hall chess league.

Tomorrow (err, later today) contains an RPI TV production of the football game against Utica. The titles aren’t ready (situation normal), but I should have plenty of time before the game to figure something out. Orian found this cool picture of me at the Activities Fair holding a Z5U behind our video switcher:

That’s it for tonight, gotta get some rest for tomorrow!

Back in School

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Tomorrow ends my fourth week back in school (3rd week of classes). Things are a lot different from last year, which is good because I don’t like it when things get boring. There’s certainly always something going on, some new exciting activity to partake in.

Already I’m extremely busy. RPI TV is quickly ratcheting up its productions, soon we’ll be hitting 3 a week with hockey and football. Last night was the first Wednesday Night Live of the season. The band sounded great (from what I’ve heard), but the camera work may not be so great. I delegated an entirely rookie crew to man the cameras. I sat in the studio with them and supervised, helping them move around tripods, get some cool shots, and change tapes. I believe this was the first WNL where I wasn’t behind a camera. I’m looking forward to editing the production, but I’m not sure when I’m going to have the time.

Saturday marks the second football game of the season for us. Hopefully it will commence a bit more smoothly than last week’s production. I still have a lot of titles to finish up before then, but that’s what classes are for tomorrow. Our freshman crew is rapidly gaining experience and becoming more confident behind the cameras, which is definitely a key to a successful production. I’d really like to arrange some sort of NFL broadcast viewing, but I’m unsure how to best implement it. Maybe I’ll DVR something on my desktop and show it to the camerafolk before the game.

Classes seem to be mostly “hits” for me. Robotics entails far more Math than I’d like, but it’ll help me keep my brain sharp while learning some practical knowledge. Models of Computation is extremely abstract, yet bearable. Dr. Moorthy certainly helps make it interesting. Economics remains full of action and excitement. The professor is quite conservative, and he makes sure that his viewpoints are known. I feel like he’s spewing propoganda, but at least it makes the class interesting, especially considering I already know all the concepts from IB Econ three years ago. Operating Systems should be the most valuable class this semester in terms of my major. As long as we move at a decent enough pace, I expect to enjoy it the most. Computer Organization is quite different from last semester; it feels like an entirely different class. The professor isn’t as much of an asshole, but he’s quite… thorough.

I finally got my Desktop up and running (with the help of Fernie’s keyboard). It’s not really serving me much use, though, as almost everything it can do my Laptop can do better. It has helped bring some much needed variety into my music collection; the tracks on my Zune were starting to get a bit repetitive. It’s main purpose should be to act as a DVR, however its efforts were hamstrung tonight when campus cable randomly decided not to broadcast NBC HD. The niggling bugs it’s had for a while now, including some sort of storage device driver bug causing a variety of annoying symptoms, are starting to creep up on me. Windows seems to be rotting away. I’m planning on installing 7 as soon as I can acquire a keyboard for it.

Fathers finally had Vitamin Water 10 Energys in stock today, so I cleaned out all the ones they had on the shelf. I’m not sure when I plan on drinking them, as I’ve been heading to bed at a reasonable time lately to allow ample time to prepare for my 8:00 classes in the morning. I’ve managed to already spend $100 at Fathers, 1/4 of my semesterly allotment.

Haris wrote an awesome article for the Poly.

Muse’s new album, The Resistance, came out on Tuesday, prompting me to make an adventure to Walmart armed with some temporary checks from HSBC. The drop went well; apparently Walmart didn’t care at all that the checks lacked my name and address. I also ended up with The Beatles: Rock Band and Need for Speed: Shift (I have a thing for games with colons in their names) as part of the same purchase. A stop at Price Chopper yielded more salsa, corn chips, sourcream, applesauce, lemonade, Smart Balance, and Wheat Thins. Since then, I’ve ran out of soft cheddar cheese and waffles, a problem I need to correct soon.

Back the the new Muse album. I initially raged on Facebook and on the Rock Band forums that I was displeased with the album. The more I play it, the more its growing on me. There are still some huge disappointments on the album, namely tracks 9-11, which contain a 3 part “symphony”. Muse is an altrock band, not a classical orchestra; this stuff has no place on the album. Excerpts from my pseudo-review I wrote for the Rock Band forums:

Let me preface this by saying I had HUGE expectations for this album and for Exogenesis. Let me also explain that I’m an extremely hard person to please (I’ve gotten into some arguments already earlier in this thread over BH&R). And now I begin:

Exogenesis is the biggest waste of 12 minutes and 51 seconds I’ve heard in a while. It takes up almost a quarter of the album. For no good reason. If it wasn’t Muse, I’d have switched to another track. I’ve listened to it half a dozen times since yesterday, still trying to find some redeeming qualities. And I can’t find anything. It comes off to me as overwhelmingly pretentious. It goes, and goes, and goes, nowhere. Exogenesis… I can’t find the Muse in it. It has Matt’s vocals… and… one short anti-climax in Cross Pollination? The more I think about it, the more I seem to discover my problem with this song, and certain elements of this album. It seems to push Chris and Dom into the background to allow more room for Matt to play with his ego (which has apparently escaped from a pink box). Exogenesis seems like a solo project gone wrong. It’s not “Muse”, it’s “Matt Bellamy”. I won’t argue that it’s bad music, I will argue that it’s not the Muse I love.

I guess I was expecting Exogenesis to be an epic, progressive voyage through piano and rock supplemented by symphonic climaxes and powerful vocals. Butterflies and Hurricanes + Citizen Erased + Knights of Cydonia + Space Dementia, or something. Instead, I find it to be a slow, plodding, ride through ambient strings with sleepy vocals punctuated by some sounds from an electric guitar and some toms, sprinkled with slow piano. Ruled by Secrecy + Megalomania + Hoodoo, all terrible songs in my opinion.

Unnatural Selection
MK Ultra

I Belong To You

Guiding Light
Undisclosed Desires

I don’t understand how Muse is going to perform half of these live. Actually, I wouldn’t pay to see half of these live. I’ve previously raged in this thread about BH&R being too “raw” for me. Well I want raw Muse back. Stop the drum samples and electronic basslines. Bring some character back into the music. More distortion, more power.

If Muse/Matt came out with an entirely symphonic album and labeled it a concept album or a side project, I’d accept it for what it was. But I feel extremely disappointed that only 3 of these tracks are half-decent. Another 2 years or so of waiting for something.

Maybe the B-sides will be good. Maybe the next live album will cut out the crap and deliver the classics. I can only hope. I’m debating with myself, thinking about demoting Muse to my #2 favorite band behind SSPU. I’m really that disappointed.

My album ranking:

1. Origin of Symmetry
2. Showbiz
3. Absolution
4. (tie) The Resistance
4. (tie) BH&R

I’ve made a couple edits to the post; namely, I decided I now like MK Ultra, and that the album is now tied with BH&R rather than being much lower (as it was previously). I’ve been thinking about wrapping up my thoughts into an article for the Poly (perhaps inspired by Haris’ escapade), however I feel that as an avid Muse fan my view on the album is distorted compared to the average listener.

As noted earlier, I also purchased NFS: Shift for PS3. I’ve played it for around 4 hours now, and I absolutely love it. It’s a wonderful racing sim. The physics feel miles better than Gran Turismo 4, yet the game is just as fun as GRID. It’s got a good mix of real and fantasy of tracks, plenty of cars with multiple tiers of upgrades, and just enough extra modes and gimmicks to keep me entertained for some time. The physics model delivers a similar feel to GTR/GTR2/GTR:E in that its extremely loose and unforgiving. Stamp on the throttle and you will spin out. Slam on the brakes and they will lock. Yank on the steering and you’ll feel its effects immediately.

TB:RB remains unopened pending a new set of Rock Band drums to serve as replacement parts for my ailing RB2 set. I purchased new MetalWorkz heads for the set, however I broke several of the rubber pegs that hold the pads in place, and at $25 a whole new RB1 set proved to be the best solution. Once my drums are up and running, I look forward to jamming to classic Beatles tunes.

Well, that about encompasses my current status. Good thing too, because I’ve written an essay and a half!

Finals Week, aka Fun with Sleep Schedules

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

I woke up Sunday evening at around 9:00 PM after spending around 16 hours “frontloading” sleep. Amusingly the first thing I did was to check to see what finals I had on Monday. Probably should’ve checked earlier. After determining I had Biology at 8:00 AM and CompOrg at 3:00 PM, I ate dinner, put on a suit with a red tie, and headed off to my lair for Finals week, the RPI TV closet. I wasn’t very worried about either Biology or CompOrg; the Biology final would be inconsequential to my final grade and the CompOrg tests thus far have been extremely easy. I allotted four hours of studying to each final, giving me plenty of time to pursue other ventures.

I spent a bit of time working on the RPI TV DVDs for the PakSA show (which I had edited Friday), and in no time at all I had 10 freshly burned DVDs in cases with Marc Ebuna designed, Kyle Mackenize printed labels. Next up, the Dance Club Recital. We had shot this production on Saturday in the EMPAC theater using a completely digital 1080p workflow. After coaxing Final Cut into accepting the video in ProRes format, I quickly touched up a couple live-editing mistakes with the stationary wide shot, and called it good. 85 GB file for 90 minutes of video! Once the recital was exported, I went to work on its DVDs. The Dance Club had ordered 30 (!) DVDs. While the DVD was building (took a bit for it to downscale from 1080p), I began work on Biology.

5:00 AM rolled around, the DVD was done building, and substantial progress had been made on the Biology front. I left the closet to print some labels in the VCC. However, the VCC printers were unfriendly, so I went to the CII instead. I found some weird empty classroom with a color laser printer, and rattled off 30 covers. I then traveled to the SGS, where I had supreme fail cutting the covers out with Marc Ebuna’s package cutter. Discouraged, I returned to the closet to continue Biology.

Fueled by a pair of Red Bulls, a pair of Vitamin Water Energys, and a large amount of Tostitos Scoops (with both spicy cheese and salsa dips!), I finished covering the required Biology course matter at 7:34 AM. This meant it was time for celebration, so I fired up my Zune on RPI TV’s stupidly expensive stereo monitors (speakers) and blasted some motivational Muse.

The Biology final was taken in a manner that I was satisfied with.

Post-Biology, I returned to the RPI TV closet and set up my new base of operations. After cutting the DVD covers on the Admin Office paper cutter, it was time to start mass producing! I fired up the Mac Pro’s dual CD/DVD burners and revved them up until they were redlining. DVDs were flying all over the place. DVDs traveled from a spindle to one of two drives. After 3-4 minutes of intense burning heat, they found themselves thrust into a DVD player for quality control before being slapped down hard into a waiting case at which point they were hurtled across the room onto a bookshelf where they would await the arrival of Sara Brown.

Between DVD flights, I also started Public Relationing. I gathered three of the RPI TV bins and stacked them outside the door. Atop this pile of gray bin goodness sat one of our field monitors (this time its a TV, not speakers, stupid terminology). The DVD/HDD recorder was placed above the monitor, however it refused to output video in the requisite 16:9 format, so it was sidelined for even more impressive technology. Since Bin 1, which contains BNC, was at the bottom of the bin stack, I had to found another source of cabling. I grabbed a 25′ XLR from Bin 2 (which was not part of the stack), and after some supreme adapter fail had rigged up a video connection over XLR from the DVD player on the desk to the pile of bins outside. At some later point, I decided the stack needed another monitor, so grabbed a smaller field monitor, and after some T-junction goodness I had two functional displays. Not wanting to run additonal XLR and suffering through additional adapter fests, I resigned to just blasting audio from the stereo monitors in the room. The setup looped footage from the Dance Club Recital all day.

Once the DVD fest was over, I began work on my CompOrg crib sheet. I was helped with the advent of an additional Vitamin Water Energy and two slices of pizza. At around 2:00 PM, I received a call from Akamai Technologies about their CDN services for the RPI TV website. I didn’t like the cut of his jib, nor his accent, nor the price that he offered ($300 a month), so I refused his services. Several DVD purchases took place, and I found myself with $90 that needs depositing.

The CompOrg final went swimingly.

Post CompOrg final, I returned once again to the RPI TV closet to finalize a couple things. I also gave Limelight Networks (another CDN) a call. The representative had a very nice jib cut, and was much more interested in providing a solution for RPI TV. However, I fear that the price may still be too much for our poor Union funded club. Despues de la llama de telefono, y un conversacion con Mike DiTore sobre la futura de la sitio web de RPI TV, fue tiempo para dormir. Hoy desperte a dos en la manana, y fui al armario de RPI TV para editar “Asian Awareness Week”. Y ahora es tiempo por yo para editar mas antes de la examen final de DSA.

Also, just thought I’d throw it out there that when I returned to my room Saturday Night/Sunday Morning PETER HAJAS was in my room. He had apparently bought his netbook from an extremely sketchy Hungarian site. AMANDA GEORGE was not in the room, however.

Exam Schedule

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Biology 8:00 AM – Sage 3510
CompOrg 3:00 PM – DCC 324

DSA 11:30 AM – DCC 318

Calc II 11:30 AM – DCC 308

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while; I’ve been really quite busy.

Fall 2009 Schedule

Monday, April 13th, 2009

I registered today, after the Health Office finally decided my paperwork was legit and cleared my hold.

8:00 classes across the board, woohoo!!

On the bright side, I’m done by 12:00 every day! And, I suppose this allows for easy all-nighters.

Lottery Results (Live Updates)

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Meta Stats
Currently Serving: All Numbers
Last Update Time: 6:14 PM

Poly Stats
Polytechs Still Available: 6 suites
Polytechs Taken (today only): 22
Rate of Polytechs/lottery number: 1 per 29.5
Estimated Exhaustion: 827

Other Stats:
Stackwycks Available: 3 suites
RAHPs Available: 0
New: 20 female doubles
Colonie D: 13 singles
Colonie C: 30 singles
Colonie B: 15 singles
Colonie A: 8 singles
Nugent: 0
Davison: 0
Warren: 1 double
Sharp: 0
E-Complex: 2 of various sizes
North: 10 of various sizes
BARH: 12 of various sizes
Quad: 21, mostly singles

Our Stats:
Successful numbers: #122 chose Poly 304, #225 chose Poly 310, #231 chose Poly 316
Also, Lara is living in Poly 111, and the Crock 3 girls are living in Poly 319.

Floor Plan of Polytech:
Polytech Floor Plan

Results of Last Night’s Crock 3 Housing Meeting

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Ok, so, there were three things we need to work out before sunday:
1. 12th Roommate
2. Do we go as a group, or do Victor and co. go first?
3. Roommates for each room.

Overview of Discussion:

1. I suggested not filling the 12th slot and hoping no one fills it, as there is a glut of available rooms on campus (perhaps 150 open extra rooms), and it seems unlikely that someone would join a suite with 3 people. The group agreed with my sentiment.

2. Options are as follows. A: Victor goes at 12:00, Orian and Jinzhen go at 1:30. We risk getting split up, either among different halls (very bad), or different floors (still bad), but this guarantees Victor and his 3 roommates gets in Polytech. Option B: Everyone goes at 1:30. We get to strategize as a group to figure out our backup plan should Poly be full. If Poly is not full, we get to choose our 3 rooms to be as close as possible together. Option C: Victor goes at 12:00, but doesn’t necessarily get his room immediately. Victor stays in Sage until 1:30, but if he feels that he wants to secure a Polytech room for himself and his Roommates, he can butt in at any time and get his room. General consensus was that option B is best for the group, but option C is a good compromise. Victor initially favored option A to avoid “wasting” his number, however I believe he now accepts option C.

3. No roommate groupings were discussed. General thought right now is that roommate selection doesn’t really matter, as if we all get into Polytech, we’ll be able to swap as much as we want once the school year starts. However, should we not end up all in Polytech, or should the group be split, inter-hall roommate swaps are not allowed. We didn’t discuss this, however, I do believe we should take another look at this before Sunday.

On the news front, I brought several items to the table:

1. After talking with one of the Reslife directors, I now believe our chances are much better. The director stated that there hasn’t been much interest in Polytech, and he was very, and I mean very excited that a group of 11 of us were signing up. I asked about how lotterys have gone in the past, and he explained that singles always go really fast. Since there are 226 singles on campus next year, and our numbers are low 200s, we’re looking pretty good.

2. He also mentioned that the Polytech dining plan has received an adjustment. The plan now costs $3200 for 200 meals and $800 bonus bucks. This makes the plan much more competitive when compared to other plans. See the appropriate table below.

3. On a last note, I intend on showing up at Sage at 10:00, and either live-blogging, twittering, or doing something else cool so that others can keep up to date on the lottery. Graphs and graphics are abound!

Table 1: Everyone’s Numbers. The Perfect Distribution shows the numbers we would’ve gotten if our random assortment went according to math. The next column shows the +/- of our numbers from the perfect numbers. Red column means we did statistically worse, green columns mean we beat the average.
Lottery Numbers

Table 2: All of the available rooms on campus. The top section showcases the apartment style housing options. Only completely empty rooms/suites are counted in this table. There are many rooms in Sharp, Stackwyck, and RAHPs that are partially filled with 2 or 3 people. Also included is the number of available singles and doubles/triples. Again, there are some doubles/triples that are only partially full with 1 person. Again, these aren’t included. As can be seen, there are 788 completely open rooms. There are probably 100-150 more rooms than this. Since there are 767 people in the lottery, there will be a lot of empty rooms.
Rooms Available

Table 3: Meal Plans and their value. These numbers assume that you eat twice a day on weekdays. To view specific meal plan details (hours of availability), check out The Hospitality Services website.
Meal Plans