I'm in Mountain View for another summer of working on Mozilla, this time as an intern at the Mozilla Foundation. Thanks to Ishani for helping me move into my new apartment.
Archive for the 'Me' Category
Thoughts/reflections on your time at Harvey Mudd, perhaps?
The best thing about Harvey Mudd for me was that it is small (about 700 students) yet connected to the other Claremont Colleges. I have a hard time recognizing people until I've seen them many times, so I would not have a chance to make as many friends at a large college. I made some great friends at Mudd. At the same time, I was able to take a wide range of classes at Pomona, Claremont McKenna, and Scripps. Having a women's college (Scripps) across the street helped balance the 2.5:1 gender ratio at Mudd.
I didn't realize it while I was at Mudd, but the computer science profs and classes were great. The profs at UCSD don't seem as interested in the material.
One of the reasons I decided to attend grad school was that I had such a great time in college, and assumed grad school would be similar.
I'm the TA for a discrete mathematics class. My responsibilities include running a Monday discussion, holding an office hour, and grading tests. I've led one discussion so far, and it wasn't as hard as I expected. One student even commented that I seemed to be prepared (hah!). In addition to TAing, I'm taking an undergrad class in cryptography and a graduate class in computability and complexity.
Overall, I'm not enjoying graduate school. I don't have many friends here, classes aren't particularly interesting, and I don't know what I'm going to research. I enjoy thinking about the computational complexity of puzzles and games, but that doesn't mean computational complexity research is for me. I'm interested in what it takes to write secure software and design secure user interfaces, but I don't know if those are real research areas.
I'm no longer listening to Claremont Shades, USC Sirens, Blackmore's Night, Sting, Sixpence, Alanis, No Doubt, Vienna Teng, or Máire Brennan continuously. Instead, I'm listening to Evanescence - Fallen (mostly Bring me to Life, Whisper, and Imaginary), Joan Baez - Play Me Backwards (especially Stones in the Road and Through Your Hands), Strunz and Farah - Americas, and James Taylor - Greatest Hits continuously. I discovered Evanescence after hearing three college a cappella groups perform versions of Bring me to Life at two concerts in one weekend.
I found out that the song from Final Fantasy 6 that I feel like I've known forever is called "Terra's theme" or "Tina's theme".
I'm addicted to a puzzle game by Pāvils Jurjāns called Net. I discovered it by reading Selene's game notes, which mostly covers RPGs. I think it is NP-complete, but I haven't thought about it carefully. I haven't played much Minesweeper (NP-complete) or Marble (I don't even know if it's decidable) lately.
I've also been playing RPGs. I played Wild Arms (ok) and Chrono Cross (good) over Christmas break. I tried Vagrant Story but didn't like it. Now I'm playing Xenogears. I like it so far, but it's very easy to get lost in 3D areas such as cities and forests. I will probably play Final Fantasy 9 next.
All of the RPGs are for the Playstation, so I've been them using an emulator called epsxe along with Pete Bernert's graphics plugins, some of which are open source. Playing games using an emulator has several advantages over using a console system: I can change the game's speed on the fly, save or load at any time, and play at the same time as my brother. It also has several disadvantages: I have to tweak the emulator settings for each game to keep it from freezing, and I have to choose between pirating the games and Playstation BIOS (illegal) or buying a Playstation and the games and then downloading them anyway (ridiculous).
I loved Kinsey. My favorite scene was the one with the lesbian woman (not a sex scene). The religious right's response to the movie made it even better (more Kinsey-related links). I liked The Incredibles and Garden State. I didn't like Team America, and I found Mean Creek confusing.
I contributed high-scoring items to Signs You Are Not Drunk Enough, Reasons To Move To Canada, and Signs You Should Stop Writing Items For Keepers. I contributed more items to Signs You May Be A Terrorist than the person who started the list. Over half of my items have been getting getting positive scores recently, which is a welcome change. I submitted five new lists, which will be accepted or rejected for publication over the next few months.
Existing personal projects
Pornzilla and Thumbs have been getting a lot of hits, even though I have not put much effort into them lately. The top five search phrases that bring people to squarefree.com are "porn" (150/day), "pornzilla", "thumbs", "best porn", and "free porn". (The next two are not porn-related: "bookmarklets" (25/day) and "burning edge".) I've only been updating The Burning Edge once a week, in part because the Firefox trunk isn't very exciting right now.
I'm way behind with incorporating feedback and submissions for bookmarklets and Thumbs.
My family's house lost power for 6 hours last night during a windstorm. The power went off and came on about 6 times throughout the evening and night.
Candles rock. Not only do they last longer than flashlight batteries, but they also light rooms better than flashlights. We played card games by candlelight: Munchkin, Hoopla, and Magic. Munchkin was my gift to Drew, and Hoopla was one of Mom and Dad's gifts to Drew and me.
By the end of the night, the only flashlight still working was a tiny LED flashlight with a button that is very hard to press. Brushing my teeth in complete darkness was an interesting experience.
This morning, my entire family spent several hours sweeping up the mess outside.