Monday, September 27, 2004

Golf balls and football

It's been quite a sports filled menu for me this past weekend. On Saturday, my friends Yan and David (pronounced da-VEED) and I went to Dublin to hit some golf balls at the driving range. Now, for those of you who think that golf is easy, you probably only ever played mini golf, because being able to hit a golf ball consistently straight is probably one of the hardest things in life :P I didn't start off too hot either as most of my shots just slid along the grass in front of me instead of travelling through the air. Fortunately, David was explaining the mechanics of the swing to Yan since Yan had never been to the driving range before, and I began trying some of David's tips to try and get some better shots going. Fortunately, I found out that I was muscling the ball rather than leading with my hands in the swing and generating club head speed, which is apparently very important in getting the ball to travel in the air. Fixing that, I finally got some good shots going in the air, albeit they were slicing (meaning going to the right) :P

Sunday is always time for FOOTBALL, and the Green Bay/Indianapolis game turned out to be almost like a video game played on Tecmo Super Bowl :P The game was chalk full of crazy offensive numbers as the score was 21-14 at the end of the FIRST QUARTER o_O. But reality set in from the 2nd quarter on, but that didn't stop Payton Manning from throwing 5 td passes and 393 yards. Brett Favre didn't do too shabby either, going for 4 tds and 360 yards. Jevon Walker for GB likely had a career day with 3 td catches and 200 yrds receiving, but he had a critical fumble late in the 4th quarter that led Indy to take the lead for good. This game was built up on the qb matchups, and both Manning and Favre didn't fail to disappoint ^_^ As for my fantasy football team, I'm just barely ahead right now according to my pal Tony who's keeping score with Yahoo stat-tracker, but I still have players to go on Monday night. Hopefully, my team'll hold on for the win and sole possession of 1st place ^_^

Friday, September 24, 2004

Warning to all cats out there...

Do not be tempted by flying toys, or this is what will happen....

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Greetings from the Apple store in Easton...

I'm posting now from one of the new 20" iMacs. And i must say, Apple did a pretty nifty job of integrating the entire computer behind the LCD screen in a very clean manner. In terms of speed, it definately runs circles around my 2 year old iBook :P One interesting design decision was the idea of putting the speakers to reflect the sound out the bottom of the "screen" and off whatever surface you have your iMac sitting on. It doesn't seem to detract from the sound too much, but I'm guessing if you have your iMac sitting on some furry surface, you definately won't be getting good sound quality. One of the big complains of the new design was the fact that the iMac now has a prevailing "chin", which is the white block under the LCD display. On the 20" version, the "chin" didn't seem too bothersome since you're focused on the screen all the time. However, on the 17" iMac, the "chin" seemed to be more annoying due to the smaller screenspace. But overall, not a bad job by Apple d_(^.^)

First day of classes...

With classes now officially started, the streets of OSU are as crowded as ever as students both new and old start up their educational lives once again. The buses seemed to have a bunch of new drivers this year as I saw four buses stopped at one parking lot bus stop today when I was walking to the bus stop o_O The professor teaching my one class this quarter also taught EE 813, which is a similar class I took last year at this time. In fact, the stuff that he went through today was so similar that I went back to my old EE 813 notes, and lo and behold, it's almost an exact replica! Hopefully, since we're only going through an introduction right now, the material later on will be more interesting.

For some reason, i felt kind of sick to my stomach and weak during the afternoon, so I took off from my office after class and went home to take a nap to refresh myself a bit. But even now, the stomach pains still linger a little bit >.< Maybe I shouldn't have chomped down on that Chipotle burrito so fast...

Today's link of the day takes a look at some bad Cosplaying (and I can see Kabitzin already rolling his eyes :P). However, I really got a good laugh out on the expression from the black Gai-sensei :D

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Back on Campus!

Phew, I had a pretty rough drive going back from PA to Columbus. I left PA at around 10 pm, thinking that since I had took a nap in the afternoon that it would be enough to carry me the entire way. Well, the first 4 hours of driving weren't too bad, but the last 2 hours were killer >.< After stopping a couple of times at the rest stop to take a nap, I finally arrived at Columbus at around 5 am >.< On top of that, I had a dentist appointment in 3 and a half hours to get to, so I got in about 2 hours of sleep >.< Luckily, the dentist checkup went well, so I had the remainder of the day to rest up.

School'll start back up again at OSU tomorrow, but luckily this time around I only have one class to worry about :P However, I do have research and a qualiftying exam to worry about, so I didn't want to hassle myself too much while I prepared for the qualifying exam. It's all part of the master plan d_(~.^)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Summer is almost over...

Man, it's hard to believe that summer just came and went just like that. And just right around the corner, classes will be starting up soon here at OSU next week on the 22nd. It's kind of funny looking back because I never thought that I would be pursuing a Ph.D. But I guess unexpected things in life creep up on you and send you on pathes you never thought you woud take. Although I sometimes wish I could be out in the job force working, I feel that this will be the best path for me to take, and hopefully in the long run it will be the most rewarding one as well ^_^

I was talking to my office Brian the other day, and he was telling me about how his family in Louisiana was prepping for Hurricane Ivan to head towards the shore. He said that the cities in Louisiana near the Gulf were actually under sea level, and the land is sort of shaped like a bowl with the cities sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Needless to say, if this was the case, one of the worst case scenarios for the cities of Louisiana was that they could be under 15-20 feet of water once Ivan passes by o_O Man, can you imagine that much water submering a city? It's almost unthinkable that something like that could happen, but apparently, this might be the case at Louisana. Hopefully, the citizens down there are prepared for whatever the hurricane will throw at them.

In tech news, it looks like Amazon will attempt to unseat Google as the online web searching champion as they release While Google has been known for their simplicity, A9 takes that (FYI, A9 uses Google's search technology) and tries to add on some useful features such as a list of history of things you have searched for and access to various texts in books. However, it'll be a long road for Amazon if they really want to take down the giant Google gorilla.

I'll be going home tomorrow, so don't be shocked if you don't see me update in a while!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Not much going on...

But I have this pic to show everyone :)

Click on the first link in the first post. Don't mess with this Sheriff!

Apparently, this is not a photoshop as this article shows here.

In other news, 2 games that I recently posted on Amazon were sold rather quickly. My one copy of Halo on PC was sent out this morning, and I just found out that Metroid Fusion was sold. Although I could try to eBay them, the nice thing about Amazon is the fact that Amazon doesn't charge you for listing anything, so I don't lose anything if nothing gets sold :)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Weekend of Sports

It's been quite a busy weekend of sports for a sports fan such as me. On Saturday, the college football scene is fired up, and OSU was completely swamped by people dressed in their red shirts, jerseys, shorts, almost anything possible that can be worn in red was worn. OSU had a home game versus in-state rival Marshall, and although I didn't watch the game, it came down to the wire, but OSU always seems to find a way to win close games as they pulled out this one 24-21.

The tennis fans in me enjoyed the traditional "Super Saturday" of the US Open with two men's semifinals and the women's final. Actually I only watched the men's semis since the women's final really didn't interest me that much. Both Hewitt and Federer played very well in their respective matches and won in straight sets. So the final seemed to look pretty interesting on paper where you have Federer, the current ultimate all court player versus Hewitt, who is the human backboard in men's tennis at the moment. Unfortunately, except for the 2nd set, the match was pretty boring as the Fed Express rolled through Hewitt 6-0, 7-6, 6-0.

Also, the football season started on Sunday, and so far my fantasy football team is holding up ok. As of now, I'm only 1.5 points behind, but my opponent has used all his players, and I still have Steve Smith in the Carolina/GB Monday night game, so I just need Smith to give me more than 1.5 points for the win!

Friday, September 10, 2004

It's Friday already!

Wow, I think we should have Monday's off more often, because this week just feels like it has FLOWN past. At the lab today, there was a meeting with all the graduate students and our lab director, John Volakis, to discuss student concerns and such. Most of the student's concerns seemed to be about the shuffling of offices, but Dr. Volakis reminded us that we had about 20+ new students coming in the fall, and the constant moving was necessary to accomodate the new students and squeeze as much out of our rooms. The good news is that the ESL lab will undergo an expansion in the next 3 or 4 years where a new building will be built that will connect to the old one. In addition, new renovations will also be done in the building to bring the building out of its aging World War II look.

The American men didn't fare too well today as the US Open resumed its schedule from the near rainout from yesterday. Andre Agassi fought back in his match against Roger Federer and evened the match by taking the fourth set 6-3. But Federer regrouped and pulled out the match in the 5th set 6-3. Andy Roddick, the defending champion, almost matched Joachim Johansson serve for serve as these two big servers dualed it out into the 5th set. However, Roddick dug himself in a 0-40 hole in his service game as he was behind 4-5 in the set. He saved the first two match points, but he hit a backhand long on the 3rd match point for Johansson to lose the match. Looking at the statistics of the match, you probably would have figured that Roddick had the match won. He had more aces, won a larger percentage of his service games, and won more points overall. But tennis is kind of funny in that you don't have to be better statistically; you just have to be the better competitor in the match and win all the crucial points.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Are you up to the challenge????

My friend Scott showed me a video that he and his friends (known as the Kline Four Group) at Northwestern University made, so here it is...The ALTOIDS CHALLENGE!!!

Meanwhile, a thug gets pwned by...a karate instructor!

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Happy Belated Labor Day!

Ah...I'm back once again in my cool and cozy dorm room at Ohio State after spending the long weekend back in my real home in Pennsylvania. It was pretty fun and relaxing to stay at home for a while. Almost immediately after I got back on Friday, I went with my mom to the Scion dealership to take a look at the xB. Now, my mom had poked fun at me for a while about how boxy the xB was and such, but she was really surprised (as was I) to see how roomy it actually was despite the short length and height of the car. Even nicer I thougth was the fact that Bob, the car salesman who talked to me at the dealership, just gave me the keys and said to have fun testdriving the car (i.e. no salesman sat in the car while I was test-driving it). The xB itself was a really fun car to drive, kind of like a large go-cart :) The centrally placed odometer took a bit to getting use to, and there was no stereo installed in the model that I drove. Apparently, the dealership customizes the car to the buyer's preference, so that's why they leave it out of the car. Overall, despite my mom nagging me about the car's shape, I was very impressed with the xB as it is a very practical and reliable car. With taxes and tags, the xB costs about $16,000, and it has a very nice standard feature set that satisfies all my needs. However, I'm still kind of deciding whether to get it or not, and my parents want to see if they can sqeeze a bit more out of the Acura before I get a new car. I'm now driving a 2000 Honda Odyssey around on campus, as my parents wanted to have a mechanic that they know take a look at the Acura and evaulate whether it was worth keeping or not.

My parents held a pretty large BBQ at our house on Saturday, and I think we kind of overcooked for this occasion as I brought back about 12 or so fully-cooked hamburger patties that are now sitting in my fridge. Ah well, at least I won't have to cook for a while :)

Grr...the rains have put on hold a great matchup between current #1 player Roger Federer and the old warrior Andre Agassi as they squared off in their quarterfinal matchup. Federer got off to a pretty good start and took the first set 6-3. But Agassi , who has usually played percentage tennis late in his career, began to find the range on his groundstroke and fired back in the second set. Along with some unexpected errors from Federer, Agassi rolled off the 2nd set 6-2. The third set was played pretty closely by both players in the 3rd set, but Federer managed to sneak in a break at 5-all and served out the 3rd set at 7-5. At deuce in the first game of the 4th set, the rains suddenly came out of the sky, putting this great match on hold till some later date. Although I think Federe will likely win this match, I'm pulling for Andre as he has hinted that he might be retiring soon, and it would be great to see him go out on top at the US Open.

In sad news, as I woke up on Tuesday morning, I heard my mom talking on the phone and sounding upset and sad. After she hung up, she told me that one of her friend's daughters had been found dead at Princeton. :( The cause of death is still unknown, but hopefully the investigators will find out what happened. It's always tough to lose those who are closest to you :(

Some links to pass the time...

In my previous blog I usually posted some humorous or interesting links for my handful of fans out there, so here are a few to pass the time :P

Interesting news report from Iraq

How fast do you type? I'm rated at 98/93

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The cost of being a student...

Well, the compiling problems are slowly going away. My friend Ryan, who is also my officemate, helped me get going with compiling the Taucs code on my office PC using Cygwin, which sort of emulates Unix. Ryan already had Taucs running on his machine, so he showed me two libraries I had to download to get it working. Unforunately, one of the libraries called Altas has a very involved installation process that optimizes the code when you compile it, and from 1 pm till around 4 pm when I left the office, Atlas will still compiling on my office pc -.- Hopefully, it'll be done by the time I come to the office tomorrow.

My credit card also got a pretty good workout today as I paid ~$150 for some new disposable contact lense after my morning eye check up to make sure the trial lenses were working ok. Also, I got to the parking office today to get myself one of the new parking passes, which set me back $68. Man, everything is so expensive these days -.- And to think that I'm maybe looking to get a new car to replace my Acura. I've been reading up on the xB, which has kind of grown on me the more that I see it. For around $15k, you get a very spacious car with a good selection of standard features, and it's not boring like a Camry or Accord :P When I go back home this weekend, I'm gonna drop by the local Scion dealership to give the xB a test drive.

There was a good US Open match this evening featuring Roger Federer, the current number 1 tennis player in the world, and Marcos Baghdatis, a qualifier from Cyprus, an island off the coast of Greece. Although Baghdatis got off to kind of a nervous start, he showed some good fight and gave Federer all he could handle as he run down balls and hit some blistering forehands. Baghdatis even managed to take the 2nd set in a tiebreaker! However, Baghdatis showed that he wasn't quite fit enough to compete with the top tier players just yet as he began to show signs of cramping at the end of the 3rd set and start of the fourth set, and Federer basically rolled through the match from there. However, big props to Baghdatis for giving the NY crowd and tennis watchers a great performance (^_^)b

Taucs and Tennis

I resumed my battle with the compilers today, but the errors continue to plague me. I'm trying to compile a set of codes called Taucs that solve matrices, and althought the website mentions that there should not be too many problems compiling the code on OS X, I have found otherwise. However, I had thought of an idea just after I left the office, so I'm going to see if I can expand on that idea tomorrow when I go back to the office.

The US Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, NY started this week, and I managed to catch some of the live evening matches on USA network. Juan Carlos Ferrero, last year's finalist, had a very difficult time in his matchup before finally pulling it together in the last set against Tomas Zib. Ferrero still seems to be finding his range after missing a good part of the beginning of 2004 with chicken pox. Maria Sharapova, this year's woman's winner at Wimbledon, got all that she could against American Laura Grandville before winning the last 3 games in the third set to take it 7-5. After winning Wimbledon, the expectations on her get higher and higher, so it'll be interesting to see how she handles it. Andy Roddick had the easiest day as he only lost 4 games against Scoville Jenkins and packed some major heat in his serve, clocking it at 152 mph in the beginning of the match. Scoville Jenkins was the winner of the Boy's 18 and under US National tournament at Kalamazoo, and the winner of that tournament always gets a wild card into the US Open. Unforunately, the wild card gets you bracketed with the defending US Open champ, and Roddick was the defending champion. However, the crowd got Jenkins going for a bit, and he managed to play a bit better in the 2nd and 3rd sets as his nerves calmed down, but Roddick was serving too good and kept his errors to a minimum to comfortably get through the match.

It's hard to pick a winner because the depth of the men's and women's game have risen dramatically, and having to win 7 matches over a span of 2 weeks is a daunting task for any player. I'm just hoping that there will be some memorable matches to see in the next 2 weeks, and with roudy and energetic NY crowd, there's bound to be some ^_^

In tech news, Apple publically announced the new iMac, and it now looks like one of their new digital displays except it's thicker and made out of plastic. Apparently, the designers of the iPod were given a chance to express how they would design the iMac, and if you look at it from the side it does kind of remind you of an iPod. After watching the Mac Expo keynote speech introducing the new iMac, I was thinking "eh, it looks kind of cool, but not overly groundbreaking..." Then again, I guess these iMacs will find a home for the non-power user that don't demand for 1 GB of ram and the fast graphics cards like me :P