Monthly Archives: January 2012

Castle crashing…

I like, possibly (probably) even love, video games.  It’s been this way ever since I played my uncle’s Nintendo Entertainment System, then his Sega Genesis, then my Nintendo 64, then my PlayStation 2, to my PC desktop, all the way to my current PlayStation 3 and Windows laptop.

Sav, on the other had, does not love video games.  She has fond memories of just a few, and loathes a few others.  She likes when I play with headphones, especially if I’m killing necromorphs or anything with repetitive gun sounds.  She did watch me play Bioshock 2 and thought the story was awesome.  And it was.  (Bioshock 1 has an even better story.)  Dead Space is another great game, great atmosphere, but not the kind of game she’d care to watch.

But recently, I got her to play a simple smash-em-up game called Castle Crashers, and it’s been fun.  I also got her to play some LittleBigPlanet, and I should probably get the second one too.  The games she’ll play with me may not be my favorites if I’m playing alone, but playing together is tons of fun.  Some day, I’ll get her to play Minecraft and Portal 2 too.  (And hey, some day, far, far away, maybe someone will play Left 4 Dead (2) with me.)  We’re working up to it.

Currently listening to “If This Was a Movie” by Taylor Swift

I love Amazon…

We needed a humidifier.  We had a few different choices.  We could go to a local medical supply store and probably pay too much.  We could go to Walmart, get a cheap one, and wait in a line for 30 minutes to buy it.  Then I remembered: I have Amazon Prime.

So we bought this little guy.  Just $3.99 for one-day shipping?  Yes mam!  Totally worth saving me an hour-long trip to Wally World.  Plus, it’s super quiet, works great, and is kind of cool looking.

In other news, I have been told to challenge Sav to have a blogging resolution.  A resolution to blog.  A blogolution.  Dearest Sav, this is your challenge: blog more (every day!).

In other news, I didn’t pack a lunch today because I was late to meet a coworker to help him with an inportant task.  When I arrived, he wasn’t there.  An hour later, my boss emailed him.  Guess what?  He’d been told not to do said task by the client, and hadn’t thought to fill tell our boss (who the client should be talking to instead) or me (who was going to meet him).  In the end, this coworker is only hurting himself.  He’s not exactly winning brownie points.  (And all I’ll say is that he could use them.)

Well, good night blogosphere.  It’s getting late, and I do have an eventual goal of getting up at 7 (eventually 6 or 6:30) every day (except weekends, duh).  Let’s just say, it hasn’t happened in a while.

P.S. Did anyone else hear this song on the New Year’s celebration program on TV?  They didn’t have Adam, and it was awful.

Currently listening to: “Stereo Hearts (feat. Adam Levine)” by Gym Class Heroes


So…aparently if you go back and edit a bunch of your old post titles, WordPress sends out pingbacks again.  I’m not sure what that would have resulted in when my blog was at, but being self-hosted now, poor Sav was flooded with pingback messages.

I’m not a big linker, but if you were affected by my renaming spree (I didn’t realize that this would happen (or that it’s kind of like cheating) until I was halfway through, and by then I decided I needed to be committed).

In other, completely unrelated news, it took me one hour at work today to fix a problem that had been known for at least a month.  By my calculations, that makes me 74,400% more efficient than anyone who knew about this.  Of course, now that our server is successfully sending email messages, BYU thinks that it’s got a virus.  I told them it was just Brigham Awards, but maybe that’s the same thing.

Currently listening to: “Piano Concerto in A” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

New neighbors…

You see, it’s almost 11 pm, and I’ve been hearing a powered screwdriver on the other side of these walls.  I can tell you this much, if they wake up our sick baby with what they’re doing, Sav is going to rip them a new one.

I planned on blogging about my experience with Hotwire today, but I’ve got to get to bed early tonight because I need to get in to work tomorrow morning and fix our servers.  Apparently they send out emails when people nominate others for “Brigham Awards”.  The site was recently moved to a new server, and it must not be configured correctly.  My boss has gotten over 500 messages saying that some mail couldn’t be delivered, and my guess is that he’s only going to get more throughout the night.  Oops.  (Not my oops, thankfully.)

Time travel…

I had a resolution to blog every day.  (I’m sorry that they’re not more interesting–the life of a grad student is not very exciting, but I’ll try and remember the more blog-worthy parts.)

I’ve also been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately.  Just got to season 5 of the latest series.  I’m really liking the new production team and cast.  I hope that we can finally say goodbye to a lot of the recurring characters that I couldn’t make myself care about but kept showing up over and over.

And in true Doctor Who style, this post is traveling back in time, because technically it’s past midnight, but I’m counting this as the 8th because I haven’t slept yet (and might not get much anyway–sick baby).

One hundred customers, six checkers…

This is a story about Walmart.  Our Walmart.  Now that we’re shopping for a small family, trips to Walmart never ever make the 20 or less limit for speedy checkout, and I don’t want to try self-checkout at Walmart with that much stuff.  (Although, I do it all the time at Smith’s–Walmart self-checkout has always been a gamble for me.)

So each time we’ve finished our lap of the store, we get to pick a checkout line.  It doesn’t matter which one you pick.  You’ll always pick the wrong one.  Each one is always backed up.  And although there are 20 possible lanes, only 4 are open–spaced out so that if you pass one up, there’s no use going back.  So we always end up going to either the last one or a random one.  And then we wait for 20 minutes.  Just to check out.  Every time.

This is why I hate shopping at our Walmart.

In other, less angsty news: Today I accidentally changed each and every password in my MySQL database to the root password.  Luckily, I did it a way that doesn’t automatically reload them to the server, so all the old ones still worked until I was able to get back to my home computer and fix them.  It’s not a fun feeling to realize that you possibly just broke your web server configuration.  Not at all.

Easter eggs…

I don’t know what made me do it.  I think that I just wanted to leave my mark differently than everyone else.

I recently started working at my last job, programming web applications.  Though we’re under new management.  No longer are we Health and Human Performance Services.  Now we’re Campus Life Web Consulting.  Or something like that.

Anyway, right before I left, possibly as I was cleaning my computer on my last day, I decided that I was going to change the login image on the Mac Pro that I’d been using to be something besides the boring Snow Leopard background.  A quick Google search, and I knew just how to do it.  It was extremely easy too.  Then I just had to select my image.  I left in April, and I guess I still had Easter on my mind.  So I chose a very colorful image of Easter eggs.  Then I left and forgot all about my little bit of fun…

…until last month when I started working there again.  I didn’t get my computer back.  (In fact, I’ve given up a Mac Pro in exchange for a Dell running Linux (Ubuntu 11.10)).  It was when the person using my old machine logged out.  There it was, the most colorful background you could imagine.  And I smiled.

A picture is forthcoming.  A good way to test out the new WordPress app for Android and the Quick Photo feature.

Currently listening to: “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” by Panic At The Disco

How to find the MRH in the HFAC at BYU…

Today I saw that I had visits from a Google search for “mrh hfac byu” and “where is mrh hfac”.  If you Google them, one of my previous posts shows up in the first page of results.  I’m glad I’m not the only person wondering what MRH means when you see it on your class schedule.

But I never wrote how to get to the Madsen Recital Hall.  For anyone who might someday stumble upon these pages searching for answers:

How to get to the Madsen Recital Hall (MRH) in the Harris Fine Arts Center (HFAC) at Brigham Young University (BYU):

  1. Walk into HFAC south doors (from Brigham Square) (coming from the WILK).
  2. See those stairs right in front of you?  They spiral up (and down)?  Go up them.  Not down.  Up.  Just one floor will do.  (You can go two floors up, but let’s start with just one.)
  3. The MRH is on the east side of the building.  (That’s your right when you walked in the south doors.)
  4. You’ll find doors into the MRH on the south and north end of this east side.  It’s a big recital hall.  You can’t miss it at this point.
  5. If you do miss it, and your class is Music 101, don’t worry.  Sav passed the class without going to more than twice.  True story.  Just find it by the last week of class.

Someday, I hope just one new freshman finds this post and that I save him or her from getting lost in the catacombs of the HFAC.  I’m sorry to people who follow this blog (all 2 of you), because you probably already know how to get to the MRH.

Headaches and computer science…

I don’t know what it is.  Maybe it’s that I’m not a graduate student, and I’ve outgrown my younger days of being a senior in my undergraduate program.  Maybe it’s that I didn’t notice it during my senior year.  Maybe it’s the difference between computer engineering and computer science.  Or maybe it’s this batch of  CS majors.  Whatever it is, the last couple 400 level CS classes that I’ve taken have shown the same trend:

  1. A classroom that’s too small because there are
  2. too many people in the class (and small room) which leads to
  3. too many dumb questions and comments.

This problem explodes when you get to 400 level courses.  The reasons?  The professors teaching higher level courses are busy doing research and teaching 600 level courses, so there’s usually only one of each 400 level course offered per year.  This leads to a large class size that usually fills up.  And in a 400 level course, so you’ve got a few different breeds of students that annoy me to pieces:

  • The real-world worker.  He’s the guy in class who has been working outside of campus.  He can often be identified by some freebie T-shirt that he got from some campus recruiter.  But he’s most easily recognized by his distinctive call.  He can’t help but commented each lecture about something that he does for work.  Usually he relates it to the subject matter in some roundabout way, but if he can’t do that, he’ll just comment anyway.  We’re all really proud of him finding a nice job before he graduated, but we’d really like to get through a lecture.
  • The guy who just doesn’t get it.  Sometimes you get a fellow student who just doesn’t get the material, so they end up asking a lot of questions about the most basic of principles, keeping the teacher from getting to the new and interesting part of his lecture.  Sometimes this guy tries to correct the professor who has been teaching for 20 years–because 3.5 years of a general education and CS courses has taught you everything.  Probably not.  If you’re asking for clarification every 10 minutes on the first day, you’re definitely not in-the-know on the subject.
  • The lonely talker.  I’ve had a lot of classes with some student who is constantly making comments that don’t relate or add to the discussion.  Sadly, it’s often been the same student (or random shuffling of the same 3-5).  I can’t shake them.  Oh, and they’re all CS students.  These guys like to sit either at the front of the class, or right behind me (they’re drawn to me or something).  I think they don’t get much attention except what they get in class, so they strive for it.  When you try to make a “Yum!” joke about browser cookies, you’re just plain trying too hard.
  • And more…

I’m in a 400 level class this semester (if you haven’t guessed), and in that jam-packed class of 50 students, we’ve probably got 7-10 of these annoying-type people.  (I need to preface the next sentence by saying that the class is on user interfaces.)  They really showed themselves when a few of them commented about Kinect (that controller-less controller on the Xbox 360): “I’ve never played the Kinect but I have a Wii and…”  First of all, if you haven’t played a game with the Kinect, you can’t really comment about using it.  But most importantly, the Wii is not the same as Kinect.  Not even close.  The Wii doesn’t even count as a gaming system in my book.  Nintendo hasn’t made a game console since the N64.  Everything else has been a flop or a gimmick.  So please don’t compare a system that clumsily measures you clumsily swinging a “controller” to the Kinect which is able to produce a complete body skeleton of the user in real-time.  Not the same.

Of course, today, during my class, I had a pretty bad headache.  Maybe next class won’t seem so bad.

Headache or not, I still can’t understand the people who take notes on their iPads.  Every time I see someone doing it, I think, “Wow, you know, a sheet of paper would be so much easier.”  Some guy in my class today was using an app that only let him write on about a third of the screen.  He could scroll to anywhere on his imaginary sheet of paper (which he did constantly because you have to write in huge letters meaning he got about 3 words before he’d have to scroll, even when using a touch-pen), but he couldn’t use the entire screen as a writing surface.  You know what’s amazing about a paper notebook and a pen?  I can write anywhere on the sheet just by moving my arm, I can get a new blank sheet just by flicking the page, I can write as small as I want and the paper still registers my writing, and I can even just flip around my writing utensil and erase what I’ve written if I use one of those fancy pencil things.  My personal opinion?  These people taking notes on their iPads are trying to justify their $500+ purchase by trying to do everything on them.  Just because “there’s an app for that” doesn’t mean that you should use it.  You don’t see me typing up this 900+ word blog post on my Android smartphone just because I have the WordPress app.  That’d be retarded.

(I just tried to find a picture of these note-taking app that I saw someone using–I’ve seen multiple bad examples in my classes–and I found a bunch of images of note-taking apps that actually look usable.  I’m sure there must be better note-taking apps out there, so why do I see CS students using apps that look so non-user-friendly?  Especially in a user interface class!?!)

Headaches aside, I really like my classes  so far this semester.  I’m going to be super busy, but it’s going to be fun.

Currently listening to: “OMG” by Usher