Monday, February 28, 2005

Ironies of life

I referred my friend Tom Nourse to an internship at Google. We both interviewed recently (him last week, me the week before). Apparently it was for the same position and he got it.

It's great for him - don't get me wrong. Just wholely ironic.

Still interviewing. It's almost bad I'm leaving the country next week - but not really.


Snag in research?

When the random algorithm beats your algorithm sometimes, you get concerned.

IBM Extreme Blue Interview round 3

I was not expecting a 4 way conference call (3 IBMers and me) for today's interview. It was definitely less exhausting than a 2 hour interview, but the 4 way was a lot more confusing.

Next time, I'm not giving a free time before 10 am :) One of the IBMers was based on the West Coast, so I definitely can't complain about early interviews, but next time I should jog to wake up.



Friday, February 25, 2005

Where my friends are going for spring break

I don't know what's so different about this spring break from last one, but so many of my friends are going cool places this year

Meghan L: Chennai, India
H: London, England
Aileen & Caroline: Spain
Justin: Weimar, Germany
Mel, Jim, Jon, and HueiHuei: The Carribean
Kacy: Acapulco, Mexico
Latika: Paris, Amsterdam, and London
Katy: Qatar (with me!)
Erika: Italy
Stu: Crested Butte, Colorado
Did I miss any CMUers?

Peace out, buggy in the AM !(?)


Break Plans

Found out a little bit more about the Qatar itinerary (I now have a Qatari Visa and I have the tickets)

Basically, fly Pit->Philadephia->Heathrow->Doha, Qatar (via Bahrain, but we don't deplane in Bahrain); the return is the same, in reverse.

Heading out, 4 hour layover in Philly, 3.5 in Heathrow. Coming back 4 hour 40 minute layover in Heathrow, 4 hour 20 minute layover in Philly (some of that is important to clear customs). Total travelling time there is 24 hours, and back is about 28 hours (not including early check in or getting bags or driving to/from airports).

But hey, it sounds really amazing. I'm not sure what we'll do with a whole day there on a holy day (Friday) before our return flight. I'm trying to see if I can experience a religious service - I hear most things will be closed on that Friday so I'm not sure what else to do.



Thursday, February 24, 2005


(yes, I'm really early on the Friday dog blogging thing. But I tried it on Thursday thinking it was Friday... and now this makes a tad more sense)



BIW may face all-or-nothing bid

From linked article:

A single-source move by the Navy is unlikely to favor BIW, said Loren B. Thompson, industry analyst for the Lexington Institute, a public-policy research group based in Arlington, Va.

"The most likely outcome of the Navy's scheme is that Bath will lose its role in building the DD(X) destroyer," said Thompson. "The Navy, for some time, has been trying to find a politically acceptable way of sending the production of warships to the (Gulf of Mexico) shipyards, and I think that's really what this competition is all about.

"If this all unfolds the way I fear it will, there's going to be hundreds of heartbreaking stories around Bath," he said.

And mine will be one of the hearts breaking


Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I'm having an interesting time adjusting to the trackpad on the PowerBook. It does some cool things; if you put two fingers on the trackpad you can scroll up and down. If you drag them left or right FireFox goes forward and back. It's a little twitchy (ie: you move back more quickly than expected) but it's a good reason to use a trackpad instead of a mouse. I really appreciate how Apple puts so much thought into everything. Well done.

Sasha's song Baja off of the Expander EP is really fun - slow, but it has several minutes of the badass music that one might play while the main character of an action movie is walking towards the camera in slow motion. That song is in the "Long dark car ride of the soul" playlist.



Tuesday, February 22, 2005

My desk space now

Laptop... finally

Through a lengthy series of bank visits (4, one to deposit bonds, one to get the card the teller failed to return, one to get a cashiers' check, and one to cash said cashier's check for cash because Apple doesn't take them), delays with the computer store (they said I wouldn't have the laptop until after I left for Qatar), and other fun ... I now have my laptop courtesy of the Apple Store in Shadyside.

The Apple Store in Shadyside had the laptop for $100 less than the CMU computer store, and also $100 less than the Apple Store Online.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

More notes

Man lesson 2 (lesson 1 was about melting-salt): When you buy a suit, they don't help you find a shirt, tie, belt/suspenders, garment bag, tie holder, and hanger for your benefit. They're selling you them. They're not including them in the suit price.

In related news, I now own a suit.

Danielle (oldest sister) is visiting April 4-6! Woot!

Long dark car ride of the soul

I'm working on a new playlist, called "Long Dark Car Ride of the Soul."

Inspiration comes from Sean Higgins (Cheverus '03), who described Underworld's dubnobasswithmyheadman as a perfect cd for those car rides at night, when the world is still and sleeping, when everything feels a little bit off but a little bit right too.

I'm trying to get a playlist together for such rides, or evoking the same feelings in me. I'm trying to avoid anything too vocal, anything too fast, anything too swinging.

So far, I have:
"Everything in Its Right Place", Radiohead, from Kid A
"At the River", Groove Armada, Best of Groove Armada
"Be Quiet and Drive {Far Away)" (acoustic), Deftones, Little Nicky Soundtrack
"Tongue", Underworld, dubnobasswithmyheadman (Possibly include "Dark & Long" from same CD, but would like to avoid Underworld overload)
"Precession", Jaya, Essential Selection Volume One (disc 2), mixed by Paul Oakenfold
"PVC IV", Blue Man Group, Audio
"Lethal Industry", DJ Tiesto, In My Memory

Friday, February 18, 2005

My research

My research this semester, under Prof. Christopher Olston is on search engine index freshness - particularly the discovery of new pages on the web, using the Web Information Collector (WIC) algorithm.

The general idea is that there is a fixed resource limitation while trying to index the web. For example, bandwidth is limited so you can only download 3 pages per site per week.

What would be the best algorithm to find all of these pages given a certain set of requirements? Timeliness and completeness are at odds, so you must optimize for one over the other.

The WIC algorithm is a greedy algorithm that improves on the naive algorithm - instead of only downloading the same best 3 pages per week, it balances what it has recently viewed to balance completeness and timliness and rotates which page it downloads.

I got results today on WIC vs the naive algorithm, and WIC kicks its ass for small resource limitation. It's about 70% better when the resource limitation is 1 page, and it's always at least 15% better from my estimation.




Ordered: Powerbook G4 12 inch laptop, with 512 megs of ram, and a ComboDrive (CDRW + DVD-ROM).

I really need to get working.

(edit: I also bought a new Nokia 6820 to replace my old 6800 that got washed. Mostly because it has bluetooth and my new laptop does too. And because I wanted to migrate to Cingular)


My dog, Tobi

(edit: Helen has referred to my dog's eye color)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

G interview

I'd rank my G interview at 7/10. Not exactly thinking I rocked it.

Notes for you all:
Take a db course. Excellent for interview thinking.
OS also helps a lot.

I'm also an IBM Extreme Blue finalist.

Let's see how this goes... (the waiting game begins now)


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Qatar images and links of western stuff

(I better not go to any of these)

Pizza Inn, fine proprietor of pizza in the middle east.

The Sheraton Doha



Doha Itinerary

I learned a lot more about about my Qatari spring break plans. There's about 80 people heading over, including the administration, professors, students, etc.
Sunday, March 6
* Mid afternoon: go to airport, fly out of PGH. Flight details to follow. (The students, however, are not going on the charter jet. Which is too bad.)

Monday, March 7
* Arrive. Check in at Doha Sheraton. It's right on the Corniche so it will be convenient to spend free time.

Tuesday, March 8
* Tour of Doha, including souks (local markets)
* Pizza lunch (pizza in the middle east? boo.) at Carnegie Mellon-Qatar
* Class participation
* Dinner with Qatar campus students, Dhow (boat) ride

Wedensday, March 9
* Tour of Doha/free time
* Panel discussion for BA & CA students hosted by PGH visitors (me)
* Class participation
* Dinner with Carnegie Mellon delegation at the Doha Ritz. (The rest of the delegation is staying at the Ritz, but apparently the Sheraton is better because it's more in town)

Thursday, March 10
* Tour of Education City
* Panel discussion with Qatar campus faculty, students, & Student Affairs
* Community lunch with students, faculty, staff & PGH delegation
* Free time
* Inaugural gala (attended by the Emir, and 800 of everyone's closest friends)(for this I need to buy a suit)

Friday, March 11
* Depart Doha

I'm really excited to go; this sounds like an amazing experience.

The amount of free time is large; I am not sure what to do with all of it, but they're letting us roam the city alone.

I have to have "business" attire (shirt and tie) and "semi-formal" attire (a suit). So this weekend I'm buying a suit.



Sunday, February 13, 2005

Ben Folds, Landed, lyrics

(only part of the song)
Til I opened my eyes and walked out the door
And the clouds came tumbling down
And it's bye-bye, goodbye I tried
And I twisted it wrong
Just to make it right
Had to leave myself behind
And I've been flying high all night
So come pick me up
I've landed

The daily dramas
She made from nothing
So nothing ever made them right
She liked to push me
And talk me back down
Til I believed I was the crazy one
And in a way
I guess I was

When I opened my eyes and walked out the door
And the clouds came tumbling down
And it's bye-bye, goodbye I tried
Treading the sea of her troubled mind
Had to leave myself behind
Singing bye-bye, goodbye I tried

If you wrote me off
I'd understand it
Cause I've been on
Some other planet
So come pick me up
I've landed

Dinner tonight was a success. I love the eggplant lasagna. The spinach was a little dry, and I put too many meatballs in the sauce for the amount of sauce we had, but lessons learned. The chicken was tender - surprising for doing two 20 minute sessions of cooking (try baking 2 large casseroles, 2 pans of chicken, and heating 2 loaves of bread in a standard oven sometime. I miss quad double-wide ovens.).

From talking to Helen lately, I've remembered a lot of my good memories. Cooking all my favorites from The Colony was really good too.

Life is good.


Second Singleton Dinner

So freshman year, I cooked a Valentine's dinner for my single friends/friends whose significant others were at another college. I'm doing it again this year, just with a slightly extended menu.

* Spaghetti and sauce (and possibly sausage)
* Chicken Parmasean
* Eggplant lasagna
* Spinach Ricotta Casserole
* Garlic Bread
* Cheesecake

(Helen was a really good sous chef, and the Eggplant Parm will be awesome. As will the spinach ricotta casserole. I haven't cooked anything else, but other than the chicken parm it's all easy)

If you're reading this and single then ask me about it. It's tonight, here, at 7.

(By the way, Dan and Amy are an old married couple)


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Last night

I had a good time last night... Steph wanted to get off campus, and Margot came with us. We went to the Waterfront with no purpose in mind, but we ended up at the pet shop, checking out the reptiles, funny looking acquatic animals, Nemo, and then rodents.

We also went to Old Navy, Target, and Steak & Shake. It was a lot of fun, just to be random...

Later we went to a housefellow's house, to take care of her dog because she's out of town. It was fun, the dog's a giant furball. It brought its food from the kitchen to the living room, where Steph, Margot, and I were sitting on the floor/couches just talking. The dog couldn't stand not being in on the conversation.

Helen and I went to National Treasure in McConomy later; cheesy movie. It deserved all its awful reviews, but it was still fun. The pundits in the 10 o'clock movie add so much to the enjoyment.

Today: Constructive Logic, research programming, installing MySQL on this computer, and... probably something with Helen this evening. Saw?

(And yes, I posted 2 posts within 15 minutes. But I wanted to keep subjects to their own posts)


I am eating my hat

When I was younger, Patt Finn and I used to argue Mac vs PC. We were really young, and we were both just doing the argument for fun.

I'm buying a 12" G4 laptop soon. I never thought, 10 years ago, I'd say this. But their stance of moving towards Unix, adding a command line when Microsoft is trying to distance themselves from having one, their innovative UI features, and their amazing dedication to laptop design are all causing me to go back on my word.

The goal is to get it before Spring break, but it might not happen. It all depends how quickly the government gives me back my tax money.



Friday, February 11, 2005

The Wisdom of Chris

Chris: the lesson I've learned in life is this... this is the only one:
Chris: there are two kinds of women, and it's so simple, and it's not a joke
Chris: difficult
Chris: and not difficult
Chris: period
Chris: you can find ones you'll like in either category
Chris: you can find smart ones in either category
Chris: you can find ones in the difficult category that will seem "worth it", and maybe they are
Chris: but you'll find those same girls in the not difficult category, and eventually you ask yourself, why am I getting tied up in all this when 80% of my effort is trying to get to a point where I can enjoy myself with this? what would it be like if 100% of my effort was just enjoying myself?
Chris: difficult girls serve two potential purposes
Chris: one is destroying men, because men ask for it and let it happen
Chris: two is the preferred option, and that's teach men how to appreciate the not-difficult girls
Chris: it's really a choice, it's either worth spending your life trying to fix someone, or it's not, and it's better to instead devote the short-term energy to finding the one you won't have to fix in the first place


It's Friday, so say hi to Taffy



Pittsburgh at night


The Duquesne Incline

Bright skyline



Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Another reason to dislike GW

Warship reductions likely to hurt BIW.

BIW = Bath Iron Works. My dad's employer. Bath is my hometown.

They're likely going to have only one shipbuilder for the DDX program. The DDX program lead contract went to Ingalls in Mississippi a few years ago due to Congress choosing a shipbuilder with a lesser design, a lesser program, against the Navy's recommendations, due to political pressure. So due to political pressure, and the reduction of the budget for warships, my home town may die.

If BIW closes, Bath is dead. Most of my classmates had at least one parent working at BIW.

I want to launch into some kind of rant against Bush and his tax cuts and the current weakness of the economy, and some kind of "well Clinton pulled off the balanced budget while having a growing economy and building destroyers" but ... I see my hometown dying.


Monday, February 07, 2005

The weekend

The weekend was really strange. But I am really content right now.
  • The fact the Patriots won the superbowl but kept it interesting.
  • Pink Panther, Mayur, and dinner with Helen
  • Tika singing at Mayur
  • My research coding went really well, and I have some snags, but it has come along
  • Passed my second round IBM Extreme Blue interview
  • Dinner with Jay and Stephanie (Google college programs people on Friday at Union Grill

  • Can't find slip on sneakers that fit
  • Couldn't figure out what to buy to wear in Qatar (need the people organizing it need to tell me what to get)
  • Don't have the right data for research
  • Lost 25$ on the Superbowl party (bought food, not betting)
Peace (next 3 day weekend I promise to be a lot more productive)


Friday, February 04, 2005


I went to DSW and Old Navy tonight for new slip on sneakers and some other clothing. I couldn't find any slip on sneakers that fit and that I liked (odd shaped foot, long and narrow). So bummer. And I didn't like the new style of pants at Old Navy, so I'm waiting to find out what they want us to wear in Qatar to go shopping again.

(so excited still)

Go Patriots!

Suggest books, please. Please?

My parents are sad I'm not going home over spring break, so they want to visit me here this spring. They talked about me flying home for a weekend, but with Buggy that can't really happen.

I'm going to start the Friday Dog-Blogging thing, by the way. Say hi to Cassie


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Fair trade

I'll offer you all a fair trade.

If you suggest a book for me to read while travelling to and from Qatar (on flights), I'll get you a little souveneir there (if they let us go shopping that is).

Other suggestions are, of course, welcome.



Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Tree puns

Katie (9:39:19 PM): he's still pining for a dog
me (9:39:27 PM): I'm still pining for... umm...
me (9:39:32 PM): yeah, that's a good question
Katie (9:39:46 PM): pine trees are nice
me (9:39:55 PM): you sap!
me (9:40:17 PM): I think I may get pitched from the conversation for this
me (9:40:22 PM): Or tarred and feathered
me (9:40:28 PM): My jokes seem syrupy sweet
Katie (9:40:48 PM): maybe you needle little help with your puns
Katie (9:40:56 PM): or perhaps you're just barking up the wrong tree
me (9:40:57 PM): I think you're barking up the wrong tree
me (9:41:08 PM): Though same time thoughts
Katie (9:41:10 PM): victory!
me (9:41:23 PM): Your jokes are deciduously better than mine
Katie (9:41:40 PM): what you need to do is get to the root of the problem
Katie (9:41:45 PM): maybe branch out a little
me (9:41:51 PM): Leaf me alone
me (9:42:00 PM): You're running rings around me
Katie (9:42:19 PM): nah, you're definitely limbering up now
me (9:42:39 PM): I think I'm getting board of these jokes
me (9:42:49 PM): yours seem old, like dead wood
Katie (9:42:52 PM): why do you always try to go against the grain?
me (9:43:05 PM): I get my jokes from splinter cells
Katie (9:43:12 PM): that's knot funny.
me (9:43:19 PM): wood you give me a break?
me (9:43:26 PM): I think these jokes are going to make me twig out
me (9:43:29 PM): maybe snap a little
Katie (9:43:56 PM): oakay
me (9:44:01 PM): you nut.