31 December 2011

Year in Review: 2011

Well, 2011 has been quite the year! I'm getting the hang of surviving at MIT, especially with my masochistic nature. Although IAP at the beginning of the year was miserable, the year progressively got better and climaxed in the summer. Sophomore year has been going well, although I didn't have much time to breathe this fall. With that said, I'd like to get a few thoughts off my head.

This summer has been incredible! If you're a seasoned reader or stalker of this blog, you probably know that I interned at Apple this summer. Initially, my primary motivation to go was to satisfy my inner Apple fangirl, but everything changed when I arrived. I thought life couldn't get any better when I got a day pass to Apple's annual developer conference. However, upon learning my boss was a car geek (and an amateur photographer), I thought I found heaven. We'd talk about all things (super)cars, computers, and cameras when we occasionally bumped into each other in the stairwell, and enjoyed thrilling rides on traffic-less highways in exotic supercars. It was an incredibly refreshing and uplifting experience coming from a year being surrounded with math nerds.

I've been increasingly going out of my comfort zone (read: my room) this semester. In particular, I've been hanging out at MITERS more than I did last year. I even attended this term's MEETERS, the semesterly project showcase, even though I had nothing to show. That concluded with a copter flying melee, comprising of a mini quadrotor, a massive quadrotor, and a unique trirotor. Speaking of that, I should upload the video in the near future.

In addition, I made an effort this semester to go out and shoot at least once a week, for about an hour. It sure is fun standing in the cold for an hour! (actually, no sarcasm intended) I've posted some shots on this blog; more can be found on my flickr

I've also decided to double major in math, rather than EECS. Watch me officially declare Mechanical Engineering next year.

Here's to hoping 2012 is even better!

29 December 2011

Fall 2011 End of Term

This term has been incredibly busy and academically rigorous! Here's a brief recap of what I've been up to:

6.01 Intro to EECS I: This introductory class is based around writing Python code and building circuits for programmable robots. It covers a potpourri of topics from object oriented programming to Bayesian updates, but none in depth. The class also has standards: if you're not careful, you just might get a lower-than-expected grade.

6.828 Operating Systems: This rigorous semi-lab class is awesome for one (and only one) reason: building your very own operating system! I was not a fan of using a toy operating system to teach operating system concepts since I had very little background prior to taking the class, but the case studies covered in the second half of the class were cool. This class easily becomes a time sink: a small bug from a previous lab can add another ten hours of debugging to your time spent on the current lab.

15.279 Managerial Communication: This class teaches strategic communication using a variety of contrived exercises. Sadly, this class does discourages an appreciation for thoroughly researching and knowing subjects of importance.

15.437 Options and Futures: This class covers futures, options, and credit derivatives. The first two topics were hot, the last one was not. I also wish this class went more into modeling, but that's what 15.450 is for.

18.440 Probability and Random Variables: This class is basically Art of Problem Solving Intermediate Probability and Combinatorics. And random variables.

25 December 2011

IAP To-Do List

Hopefully this won't sprawl into a gigantic list like last year's:
  1. SCOOTER!: I have not a clue about how long this will take. Probably will consume my life, but that's okay.
  2. Work out: I'm hoping to go at least five days a week. 5hr/wk
  3. BattleCode infrastructure: This is actually mandatory, but my health (and scooter) comes first :P ~20hr/wk
  4. Power Mac G5 case mod / Hamburger rebuild: This is going to be EPIC! It's been about four years since my last build, so it's time for an all-out upgrade! I'm going to do a very faithful G5 mod to appease my inner Apple fangirl. I need to order that hex-core engineering sample and buy a few standoffs and screws at some point. 7hr/wk
  5. Power Mac G4 Cube case mod: I've already gutted the unit and dremeled the back to make way for the ports, so all that's left is mounting the motherboard and making a carrier for the second hard disk. 3hr/wk
  6. Holy Balls: The game I've been working on with my bestest friends at MIT <3 4hr/wk
  7. Move to BigRoom: I got a bigger room, so I'll need to move. 'Nuff said.
  8. Mystery hunt: MIT's annual puzzle hunt held on a weekend, starting on Friday.

20 December 2011

Spot the Stupidity: Give me a sign

Spot the stupidity!

for (unsigned x = 0; x < GridSizeX; ++x) {
for (unsigned y = 0; y < GridSizeY; ++y) {
if ((unsigned)abs(x+y) % 2 == 1) {//modulo 2
glColor4f(1.0f,1.0f,1.0f, alpha); //white
} else {
glColor4f(0.0f,0.0f,0.0f, alpha); //black

glNormal3f(                  0,                  0, 1);
glVertex3f(    x*SizeX + world.minX,    y*SizeY + world.minY, 0);
glVertex3f((x+1)*SizeX + world.minX,    y*SizeY + world.minY, 0);
glVertex3f((x+1)*SizeX + world.minX,(y+1)*SizeY + world.minY, 0);
glVertex3f(    x*SizeX + world.minX,(y+1)*SizeY + world.minY, 0);


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should not code at 3am.