It's like being dead

I was looking at the webcam that is set up in the library at CMU. You can move it around and zoom in over the web. You can see the whole cut and most importantly for me, AEPi. It's good for seeing how things are going in Pittsburgh. Today, I was using it to spy on how the boys are doing on booth this year. Maybe it is making me over excited before I really aught to be, but I like it. I was talking to Alex at lunch about what I had seen. He remarked that being able to look down on people and comment on what they do without them knowing about it is kind of like being dead.
Keywords:Carnegie Mellon
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This weekend I flew to Pittsburgh to compete in the second annual Puzzlestorm. For those of you who don't know, Puzzlestorm is a day long puzzle solving competition. Teams of four are given a stack of puzzles in the morning. They can solve them in any order they want and work however they want except that they can't ask for help from other people or use more than one computer. The solution to each puzzle is a single word or short phrase. One of the puzzles is a meta puzzle, that when applied to the solutions of the others, give clues to the location of a "treasure" that is the goal of the contest. There are points for solving puzzles depending on how soon you solve them, but the winners are the ones who find the treasure first. The idea is based on the Microsoft Intern Puzzle Day and is sponsored by Microsoft. Therefor the prize is four X-boxes.

A couple years ago I heard about this type of thing from a friend of mine who worked at Microsoft. I like solving puzzle and thought it would be fun. Last year when I first heard about it, I put together a team (and facilitated a second team since I found more than three people interested). My team consisted of two co-workers, Desney Tan and Jason Pratt, and my friend Linda Wu. Ironically, I was planning on starting a house team but house friends joined to form the "We're just here for the Halo Machines" team.

Last week Linda called me and told me that puzzlestorm was going to be this weekend and that she had formed a team with Dave Mason and Joe Liu and they had saved a place for me.

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Keywords:Carnegie Mellon | Puzzles
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Reapplying to the ETC

I'm back at school now. Have been for a week. Every other year I have been dying to get back to school. I would make my break at short as I could. Not that I don't love my family and enjoy being home, but it is crowded and crazy especially compared to the calm of school during the break and there are always project I want to get back to. This year it was not so. My time at home, by neccessity this time and not choice, was about as long as it ever is but it felt longer. Maybe that was because I cherished every moment. Last semester was tough and I wasn't enjoying myself very much. Most of my problem revolved around finding a project that interested me. I wasn't looking forward to going back, though I do have to be here for IAP.

I thought a lot about the possibility of leaving the Media Lab. Often last semester I had wished I had gotten a job. I've been talking to a lot of people about it lately. Upon reflection, I've done well so far, but haven't really gotten into it. Reexamining the choice I had to make last year, the more the ETC seems like the place that I belong.

Now that I've spent a semster at MIT the differences between the two programs are really clear. I think I based my decision to go to grad school based the ETC as my idea of grad school. Since my freshman year, when I heard about the ETC, I knew it was what I wanted to do when I graduated. If it hadn't been for that, would I even have considered grad school? I don't know that really expected the Media Lab to be like that, but I think I seriously discounted the difference in subject material and methodology.

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Keywords:ETC | Media Lab | MIT | Carnegie Mellon | Grad School
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The last two weeks have been really tough. So much happened but I haven't had a moment to relax, well, not exactly. Here's the recap.

Going Home

I don't mean home in the literal sense, but mentally. Last monday classes were cancelled so I decided to take an esaver and visit Pittsburgh for the weekend. I had to fly out of Providence which meant I was dependant on the train schedule which doesn't always go all the way to Providence. Therefore, I ended up spending the night with Jackie at Brown. It was nice to see and spend some time with her, since we can't do that often.

It was really great to be back at CMU. Possibly it was just because I was on a trip and there wasn't anything I had to do, but the whole time I was there was very relaxing. Just sitting in these familiar rooms on familiar couches with my best friends was really comforting.

Mike Weiss was also in that weekend. He flew in to take his stuff from storage and drive it back to New York in a U-Haul. Nate and I helped him load things up. The U-Haul he was given, old-faithful we called it, seemed a bit beat up, but we didn't quite know how bad it was when we first set up. When we got to the storage facility we noticed that the radiator was leaking. Instead of packing up storage we just had to wait around for a while. After U-Haul determined they weren't going to do anything for us, we had to walk and take two busses home. Then we had to return the next day with a better truck and do the actual packing.

Except the amount of time spent on that ordeal, instead of seeing people, the weekend was good.

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Keywords:Carnegie Mellon | TV | Classes | Media Lab
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as it really been another month? The time flies and I've been really busy. Well, that just means there is more to talk about and I should've been getting it out in small bits, but here goes....

The Big Decision and The Future

I decided to go to MIT. I didn't get the deal I talked about last time, but I was about ready to decide MIT anyway. So I'm very excited for my move. I'll mist things there. The most recent one that I remembered is the spring afternoons as the sun is setting and bagpipe music drifting over the hills.

I've applied to live in MIT graduate student housing. My top choice was some unfurnished apartments. It will be good because we have plenty of furniture at home for me to get, and that'll be nicer than dorm crap, and more mine. I don't find out what I get until May 19, that's the day after graduation, this Sunday, but I'll get to that.

Carly also decided to go to MIT, so that will be cool, being able to hang with my sister. I think we get along pretty well. The 4 years has been a big deal so we've never really been at the same place. I'm excited, because she can give me the low down on the stuff the undergrads learn that they don't tell me.

As far as the summer goes, I've got either this ILM internship or just chilling in Pittsburgh. I won't know until the same day, May 19, about that. I don't know whether I want it or not. On the one hand, ILM would be awesome and it is a great opportunity. Experiencing San Fransisco would be cool. On the other hand, it wouldn't be as a relaxing break as just staying here would be.

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Keywords:Grad School | Carnegie Mellon | Projects
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The daily nothing

Well, I don't have much to say today. I felt I should be writing more often, perhaps daily so this is a start. I had an Alice meeting. It was sort of sad to be thinking about handing off my code and stuff. I don't know what they are going to do with BVW next year. Randy's plan to move it all to the PTC sounds like it will kill it for the undergrads, a shame, but at least I made it. A girl emailed me about finding my website and the set game. It think it is cool that people like what I do. If you read this, hi, Kimberly. Anyway, I went and picked up my graduation tickets and signed the new card for Mark. As an advisor I didn't need much help from him because I had Randy, but I still needed to thank him for me getting it. It is true I wouldn't be here if not for Mark. Then I picked up my cap and gown. Finally my out of order story comes together as I went home and played some set with my new friend. She schooled me. It was pretty embarassing. I should practice. Got some grub, watched some West Wing, watched Memento, and then it was time to do "Senior stuff". By the way it was funny today when Dennis suggested his title should be "Señor research programner" instead of "Senior research programmer". Somewhere in the middle I was setting up my MIT computing account. There are some things they don't do really well. I like the system we have here. I'll call that the sucessful ramblings of a first daily entry. Let's see if this keeps on working. Prediction: no.
Keywords:Stage3 | Carnegie Mellon
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Sign Hack

Approximately three weeks before the end of the school year 2000, the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama put up a large LED sign underneath the arch of Purnell Center for the Arts, which faces Forbes Ave. and everyone walks under on the way to class. This sign is used to advertise event for the School of Drama and the Miller Art Gallery. Since its appearence, many factions sought after its control, to be know as the first people to hack the sign. Two weeks later someone did. This is that story.
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Keywords:Hacks | Carnegie Mellon
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