Monday, October 29, 2007

The hunter became the hunted...

A cookie to those who can spot why I took this screenshot :P


Sunday, October 28, 2007

The A"MAiZE"ing Race

Since Dragon and I've been stuck in our offices doing work for most of last week, we decided to take a day to go out and get some fresh air down in Lebanon, Ohio to see a corn maize.  I personally had never been to one before, but now I can say I've been to the 2nd largest maize in the United States :P  The setup of the maize is in the form of an eagle as you can see here, and if you can see it on the picture, it starts and ends near the top right where you can see a blue roof.  I asked one of the guys working there how long it took to set up the entire maize, and he said it only took a day (from 6 am till midnight), which was pretty impressive I thought given the shear magnitude of the maize.  To help visitors through, each visitor can choose a "passport" that contains 10 questions corresponding to 10 waypoints in the maize, and depending on the answer you choose, you could either go on the path to the left or to the right of the waypoint.  There were a bunch of different passport themes, and Dragon chose the Halloween theme passport while I chose the sports one.

As for getting through the maize, Dragon and I employed the strategy of going left whenever the path would split into two or more paths.  This strategy proved to work well as we somehow managed to skip waypoints 8 and 9 on our way to the exit in 1.5 hours!

The Amaizeing sign Field view

Headless Bunny Mini-Maize Map

Mini-Maize Maize Entrance

Hai!  I can haz directions?! Stalky

Long Path So...which way?

Lonely cob Corn on the cob on the stalk

Almost to the exit! Hay worm

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Madness @ the Apple Store

Today was the release of Apple's new operating system, OS X.5, aka Leopard.  Since Dragon has a Macbook and is uber enthusiastic about his mac, we took a trip over to Easton where the Apple Store would open at 6 pm to start selling the new operating system.  We got there at around 5:55 pm, parked at the Macy's parking lot, and started walking over when we saw the line...

Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 001 Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 005

The Apple store is down and to the right...

Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 009 Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 011

Almost there!  At around 6:30 pm, we got to the last turn.

Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 013 Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 014

Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 018



There was an Apple store employee handing out version 10.5 water.



Apple Store - Leopard Release Day 025



Madness in the Apple Store!





Apple Store - Leopard T-shirt 2


Though I didn't buy any Mac products, I did get this free T-shirt :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Image Capture: Update 1

David and I were eating at Penn Station at lunch today, and David was browsing though a newsletter called U Weekly that was sitting on the rack near the entrance. Inside, there was an article talking about the OSU Marching Band, and I did a double take on the picture that was included in the article because it looked suspiciously like the picture that I had taken of the band doing Script Ohio.

So I made a mental note that there was a guy standing by himself near the lower left of the "O" in Script Ohio, and after lunch I took a look at the picture that I had taken.

Sure enough, there was a guy was standing there alone on the lower left of the "O". So I went back to Penn Station and got the paper to take another look. The newsletter has a website, so I went to see if they had the same article posted on the website, and sure enough they did here. Although the photo was touched up a bit, I think I wouldn't be crazy to say that this is my picture that the newsletter is using. It's not that hard to find since if you look up "ohio state marching band" in Google Images search bar, my picture will be the first one to come up.

I'm gonna write an email to them and see where they got this image from...

Update 1: The editor sent an apology.

Yikes, thanks for bringing this to my attention Kungfucius. I'm not sure what happened here because the photo that is supposed to have run with the article was also of Script Ohio (provided by the band), but at a head-on angle. I'm not sure how your photo ran instead and I'm very sorry about that. I'll make a note on the website immediately that it's your photo and run a correction in the next issue.

Thanks so much!

The things people do for $$$$ (or charity for that matter)

Joe Buck was on Conan where Conan brought up a story where Joe would get text messages from his friends while Joe was calling a game, and his friends would wager whether he could incorporate a word or phrase of their choice into the broadcast. So Conan puts up some charity money to see whether Joe could put in a phrase that took him a while to get into the Simpsons.

And here's Joe using the game in last night's World Series game 1.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

They don't make them like they use to...

I was moving some data around today from my external hard drive and my desktop hard drive when Windows flags me that one of the files was corrupted.  I didn't think much of it so I told Windows to skip the file, which was an old episode from the ROD TV series.  It started flagging the next 10 episode files, but even then, I didn't think much about it since I figured there must have been something random that's causing it.  Long story short, I turn off the external drive and connect it to test on my laptop, and when I turned it on for Windows to detect the drive, it didn't come up with the usual auto-detect selection window.  So I try to open the drive up with Explorer, and Windows comes back saying the data on the drive is corrupt >.< -_- T_T  Bye bye anime library :(

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Inspirational Video of the Day

Check out how Ben lives his daily life :)

Best Video Of The Year - Amazing videos are here

Sunday, October 14, 2007

College Football Chaos still has 2 and a half more months to go...

So with this latest shakeup in college football (former #1 LSU and #2 Cal losing), the new polls just came out with my Ohio State Buckeyes as the new #1.  Though I'm pretty happy to see them up there, I hope the team uses this as a motivating tool for the rest of the season because most of the nation (including me) are not quite ready to anoint them as the best team.  The Buck have pretty much taken care of business against the opposition so far this season, but given all the upsets so far, every single team the Bucks play from now on will believe that this will be their day to pull the upset.

I think coach Jim Tressel knew that he would have a totally new team at the start of this year given all the players from the 2006 team that went to the NFL draft, so he scheduled 2007 accordingly so that the team could ramp itself up to take on the tougher schedule later, and so far, it's been working.  Like most analysts I think the most troublesome games will be at Penn State and at Michigan, but as this college season has shown, you have to take each game one at a time and not look ahead.  Let the college football chaos continue!

Friday, October 12, 2007

=VGI= Accessories

I was looking around on Amazon for some ski googles when I stumbled upon these Bolle Shark Ski Goggles. Pretty appropriate don't you think? :P

Too bad they don't come in any other =VGI= flavors.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Asian parents are watching you....

It's sometimes scary how much M and her friends gossip about each other's kids. Like this conversation I had with M on Friday.

M: (M's friend) said that little B has a girlfriend again.
Me: Oh?
M: Yeah, she saw it on little B's Facebook page.
Me: ....
M: Can you log on to Facebook and see?
Me: Uhhhh...sure...

Sure enough, under the relationship status, it says that he "is in a relationship."

M: Why wouldn't he say anything to me about it?
Me: *Shrugs*
M: I'll have to ask him about it when we go to NJ.

Guess I'll have to be careful of what I put on Facebook next time...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Home Sweet Home...

Since the expiration date for my driver's license was coming up soon, I decided to take the opportunity to head back home to Mechanicsburg, PA visit M,D, and eventually little B in NJ. Since I'm a lot further away and as a result come home a lot less often, both M and D are always excited to see me back at the house, and I get to enjoy M's cooking :)

Since I wasn't overly familiar of where the PennDOT/licensing office was, D drove me over there to get my license renewed. I was expecting this to maybe take an hour or so, but D told me that there was a separate part of the building dedicated to picture taking and renewals, so I figured ok, maybe I can get this over in half an hour. After D dropped me off, I walked into the PennDOT building, found the renewal room, and took a number expecting something outrageously high. Out popped the number 013, so I figured hmm...I can't be this lucky getting the number 13, so maybe they're rotating back their numbers because their counters only go up to 999. I looked up at the current number on the electronic counter, and it read 009. Woot! 10 minutes later, I walked out with a new license.

Coming home also means I get to play the resident IT troubleshooter. M just got a new Toshiba laptop, and she called me from work while I was driving home and wanted me to take a look at it to make sure everything was ok. When I finally got around to looking at it and turned it on, I was greeted with literally 20 things appearing in the taskbar next to the clock. Even though the laptop had a dual-core cpu, it was bogging down pretty badly having so many things loaded up (80+ processes in the task manager chewing up 90% of the gig of memory!), and it didn't help that the laptop had 2 virus scanning software running too. So I rolled up my sleeves and started nuking some programs and eventually got the laptop back to running more responsively.

Since one of her co-workers had recently gotten a digital camera, M also began asking me about digital cameras as well, and we eventually settled at first on the Canon SD1000 since it was small and relatively simple to use. I took her to Circuit City so she could play around with the display models of all the digital cameras they had, and M then decided to switch to the Canon A560 since the feature set was approximately the same and the price was about $50 cheaper. So we walked out of Circuit City with a shiny new A560. She was also quite impressed at how automated Vista was at being able to pull the pictures off her camera simply by plugging it in without having to install any software.

All in all, it felt good to go home :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Grad student life...

This past month or so has been relatively uneventful in the research front for me. I've been trying to get this paper written, and my advisor wanted one more example to demonstrate that the method I've developed is working correctly. The example we decided on was to simulate a magnetic photonic crystal (MPC) that has a peculiar property in being able to "freeze" waves that run into it. The difficult is that the computational resources needed to simulate this is rather high since the MPC structure is electrically large, so I've been using the supercomputers here at OSC to run my sims. OSC had just brought online a new Opteron supercomputer, which is rough 3 times faster than their P4 system before with my code. However, there's a lot of contention to use these resources, so any large jobs that you need done need to be sent through their job request software, and depending on the number of processors you allocate and the estimated time you think it'll take to run your job, their scheduler software optimizes it such that the jobs get done within a reasonable amount of time. At first when the system got online, I almost had all my jobs done quickly, but I guess the word's been getting out, and unfortunately right now for me, the wait can be up to 3 or more days, so it's been sort of frustrating watching my job request sit idly in the queue. It's even worse when you discover AFTER the simulation is done that you made a mistake -_- The good news is that once I get this all done and finish my paper, I can do my candidacy exam, which is second of three big step you need to hurdle before graduating (the Ph.D. Thesis defense being the last).

In other EM news, some US physicist have created an invisibility cloak, but unfortunately, you have to be pretty small to use it. What's sort of cool is that in the field I'm in, I could sort of see something like this coming since there're other computational groups here OSU that have simulated such materials to do these cloaking devices. Most of these effects can be achieved by using metamaterials, which can have goofy properties such as a negative index of refraction. But I guess we still have a ways to go before someone creates an invisibility cloak of useful size.