Sensation Seeking

Today in my Entertainment Engineering class we discussed why people chose whatever types in entertainment they prefer. We took a little quiz to find out where we fell on the sensation seeking scale. My score was 19 out of 40. While that is in the middle numerically, I feel like it is still low as if the scale isn't normalized. We saw a bunch of slides about the results of the studies done on sensation seeking. Someone asked the question about the person who may classify as a low sensation seeker, who would never want to do something like ride a rollercoaster, but then when forced on it ends up loving it. The question in my mind about the whole thing was, "What can be said about someone who is a low sensation seeker but wishes he were high (and blames his parents for this)?" That is how I feel.

The statistics said that only or first-born children tend to be the most high sensation seeking. Although I am the oldest I'm also the most conservative. They attribute that statistic to parental attention which actually lends credibility to my belief that it is partially my parents' fault that I am the way I am. I feel that they have gotten more adventurous as time has gone on and by being the oldest I had more of their attention in my young, formitable years when we were less sensation seeking. My mom never used to like rollercoasters but for some reason now she does. She teases me about not wanting to go on them but she's the reason I don't like them. I never learned to like them when I was a kid.

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Keywords:Quirks | Classes
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Trouble with group work

Well, the Music Video Saga continued. Ben and I did the initial edits like we were supposed to. Kyle wanted to help tweak the editing at the end. He has a better sense of rhythm for syncing to the music as well as it being a good idea to get more opinions now that we're doing the creative part, unlike the American Beauty scene. I was totally find with that. I thought we needed some other input and I know that Kyle would be able to match the sound better than I could anyway. I thought that the best way to do this, though, would be for him to direct and me to drive. That way I could work within the framework of what had already been done so that I wouldn't ruin anything Ben and I had spent a long time on that didn't need to change. I would have done everything he wanted making our video a combination of his tweaks and ours. However, I found him editing it himself. I suggested that I do it, but he claimed that he knew what our video was supposed to be. I guess I probably just didn't get the point across clearly of why I thought I should do it. I think one editor is more the standard of the way these things are done. I got really upset and felt as if I had lost my identification with the work. It came out pretty good, most of the stuff Kyle put in was important stuff that should have been done, but I still felt kind of pushed aside.

Perhaps I should have said something earlier instead of getting mad and blowing up later. I hold my tongue no not be difficult. I don't want to be hard to work with or to cause group arguments. I put the cohesiveness of the group before myself. I'd rather be angry than difficult. I'd rather exclude myself than giving my team a change to overrule me. But maybe if I'd be able to state things correctly they'd have listened, I'd have been happy, and we'd have had a better product. I'm not sure when I should question our process and when I shouldn't. When is it helpful and when is it being difficult?
Keywords:Classes | Depression
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This Week

Plenty of interesting stuff has happened this week. For starters, I've been running. I actually was able to get up and run 4 miles Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which was my goal. Today my time really impressed me. I ran it in aproximately 32:30 which is a better than 8:30/mi pace. If 3 times is a tradition then hopefully I'll be able to continue doing this every week. It is tough but enjoyable.

I had some late nights but we're moving forward on the AIBO. Some BVW groups are working with it this week and I've been helping. It is tough work but rewarding. I really like helping out. Maybe that's why I also agreed to help another group with an input device issue. I'm probably spreading myself too think. After all I have my classes and projects to do also. Perhaps the reason I want to be so involved with BVW now is because I never really liked any of my worlds all that much.

On Wednesday we went to see the Pirates lose to the Cubs. I don't mind losing, but the game was really boring. Not much happened. I feel bad for people who wouldn't normally go to a game who came with us. They didn't have a good opinion of watching the sport before and this didn't help, I'm sure. When in fact a baseball game can be very exciting. I'm sure I'll put that in my write-up.

Today my animateering group had its quarter presentation. It went really well. Now we seem to know exactly what we need to do. The faculty mostly thought we were on the right track. The tough part is how busy our group is with other things and now it looks like one of us may be leaving.
Keywords:ETC | Classes | BVW
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One down, One to go

I just finished my project for my Sensors class. It is due tomorrow morning. Most people might not consider this finishing especially early, but for me it's pretty good not to be stessing about it late the night before or even the morning of. Unfortunately, the one thing that got me to start early, the other impending project due only a day later, is also the reason why finishing this soon isn't soon enough. I really meant to get this done saturday night or maybe finishing the paper sunday morning. I was planning to be done a day or a day and a half sooner, and that lost time will really make the next day and a half hell, in terms of my other project.

This project is a device that measures the latency of a tracking system. It works really well. I'm pretty proud of it. I'm sure I'll have more details on (my project portfolio) when I get around to updating it.

The project that I should be working on right now is my Ambient Intelligence project. The idea is a person-to-person respect system. People can give other people a thumbs up or thumbs down, and also see a qualitative rating of others. I don't care about it very much but I just have to get it done. I'm working with Alex so that should help get it done, but it also means that what I do affects him; even if I don't care, he does.
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Media Lab Woofie

At work on Wednesday, Alex and I settled on an idea for a joint project for our Ambient Intelligence class. This was a load off my mind. First of all, the toughest part of a project is getting the idea. Being able to brainstorm with someone else was only the beginning of what make me prefer not working alone. Having an idea is a big load off my mind. Also, knowing that I'm not going to have to do it alone, but will have someone to help me get over the obstacles, makes it feel much more bearable. I'm glad to be working with Alex both to be working on any sort of group project and because we are good friends and it will be good finally to be able to discuss a project we have a shared investment in. Finally, I think our different skills and preferences will complement each other well.

The idea is one based on a concept we frequently talk about so it is good to have something that already interested us to work on. The project is basically implementing the woofie system from the book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. He shared this book with me and I loved it. We frequently talk about their respect based economy, woofie being the name of the "currency". While I don't particually care for that name, the idea of respect rating systems is a good one. It's not original, but whether you call it karma, kudos, plusplus, props, or woofie, there is no existing electronic system that is ambient and pervasive like described in Cory Doctorow's book and like we want to build. Most are restricted to a single website or IRC channel for a limited domain of people. Although for our project and demo it will probably still only cover the media lab, it won't be intrisically tied to this population. Not that I expect our idea to take off, but it's fun to think about.
Keywords:Classes | Media Lab | Projects
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The Last Few Days

My first semester at MIT is finally over, but it didn't end easily. Never before have I wanted so much to go home, but never before have I had such trouble doing it. I didn't finally get home until two days ago, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Our story begins two and half weeks ago...

The weekend of the 6th and 7th I visited Pittsburgh. As soon as I returned on Monday the 8th, it was all fab class (How to Make Almost Anything), all the time. Really it had begun before the weekend. I had been up all night before my flight in the lab. All the week of the 8th students from the class invaded and took over the Physics and Media lab. The weekend just got even more intense. We were there 24 hours a day. That whole time was great, working on really cool electronics projects and bonding with my classmates. Monday the 15th was the class open house where we presented our projects. My project turned out great. Miraculously every part of it came together just like I wanted it at the last minute. Neil really enjoyed point out my project as the kind of thing you could really build in 2-3 days. I had written the software ahead of time and experimented with sensor circuits on a breadboard most of that week, but all the components of the final object, the schematic, the layout, the board, and the package, were build and put together that weekend. You might want to check out my fab class project page or some pictures from that week.

Once that project was over it was time to focus on my project for Context Aware Computing.

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Keywords:Classes | Projects | Family
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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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Teacher's Pet

I've never thought of myself as an especially good student, but I feel like I'm doing pretty good now. It is a high pressure environment because we are expected to get all A's in our Media Lab classes. Also, having only two classes, albait hard ones, to split my time between, and no social life, makes it easy to work hard and get a lot done.

Although last minute my analysis for the first paper we had to read for Context Aware Computing got me an A+.

I can't remember the last time I've seen a grade like that. Following that I spent most of my weekend working on my first project for fab class. The project was to come up with an idea for a final project and model it in 3D and then animate it doing what it is supposed to do. We could use any package we wanted, but if we didn't know any, Blender was suggested. Since I only vaguely know Max and my cracked copy seemed not to be working, I decide to learn Blender. Although I'm not sure I'll actually want to do this for my final project, I decide to render my haptic fountain idea. The idea is a fountain that is a grid of water jets. The height of the water is controlled by one of those pinart toys. When you make an impression in the pins, the water duplicates the shape. I think I worked a total of 30 hours on this project over less than 3 days. Over 12 hours two days in row. I don't know if I spent more time than most or am just a faster learner but my animation seems to be the runaway winner. When it played people were very impressed, both in general and that I was able to it with such an opaque tool (there were quite a few problems people had figuring it out) in my first week of using it.

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Keywords:Classes | Busyness
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Day Awesome

Today has been dubbed, Day Awesome, for no particular reason. In the history of following up a down entry with an upbeat one, I shall follow one of the longest with a rather short one.

For starters I got my Razor scooter today. It was incredibly hard to find but now I have it and my commute is much faster. I got a late start though my morning at home was productive. When I stopped for lunch (it was good) I bumped into Carly. That was nice and I sat with her while she ate lunch (I was already done). We talked about classes and such and then she had to go to one. I think this will be fun, both being here.

At the Media Lab, although I got in very late, I stayed somewhat late, never sitting around or being bored, but actually getting things done. Brad and I rearranged our office and I'm really happy with the new setup. The place actually feels like some place I'll be happy to live and a place where work could actually get done.

In the middle of all of that we had a recitation for fab class (how I will refer to How to Make (Almost) Anything). Being the web guru seems like it is going to be a lot of fun. Even if it will be a lot of work it shouldn't be too bad as a job. It's something to do. I'm excited to start learned Blender to do 3D modelling for this assignment. I'm still not sure what I'm going to model and animate but it should be fun once I think of something.
Keywords:Family | Media Lab | Classes
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Event Update

I signed up for three classes: Tangible Interfaces, Context Aware Computing, and How to Build (Almost) Anything. Tangible Interfaces, while interesting, was mostly a backup in case I didn't like the teaching style in Context Aware Computing or I didn't get into the very selective How to Build (Almost) Anything. There was a project in Tangible Interfaces due tomorrow, so luckily I found out that I did get into How to Build (Almost) Anything this morning, before I would have had to do the project. It still scared me that I had left it until so last minute. I had planned the time in the day today to do it, but that is assuming I wouldn't have procrastinated and not followed the plan and stayed up all night or something like that.

How to build (almost) anything seems very interesting but also very hard. We learn about all sorts of shop tools (laser cutters, water jets, 3D printers and scanners, etc). But it is a lot of material to cover in the time we have. Each requires input that neccessitates the use of many hard to learn specialty programs. This semester, unlike previous instances of this class which used powerful but hard to install and use program, we will be using weaker but simpler open source applications and modifying them ourselves, as neccessary to get the job done. We need to come up with, already, an idea for a final semester-long project using the skills we will learn. How am I suppose to do that if I don't really understand anything I'm going to learn yet? Part of the way the class works is that the students are responsible for helping each other and other people.

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Man, the weather was nice today. Today, of course, being Sunday the 16, I really have to teach my journal, just because I'm writing this at 6am it is still yesterday. Anyways, It was beautiful out. Very sunny and really warm. I'm not exactly sure the tempature, but I wore shorts and sunglasses for the first time this year, and I was still hot. Two main exciting things happened too.

First we got started on booth. I'm SOOOOOOO excited for booth, I love it. Today we went to the newly clean storage (I did that last week) and set up the platform that is the floor. It was a great day for being outside and doing that kind of work, and just hanging out outside with my brothers just made it very fun.

The other thing that happened was an anti-war protest. We were working on the porch, and being that we have the best location on campus we were in just the right place to see hundreds of people protesting war block traffic crossing Forbes in front of our house. It seems it started at CMU and I did know a few of the people. I'm pretty against that sort of thing. First and foremost I'm against protests. I don't see that they accomplish except to strengthen the resolve of those involved, but I don't think it gets them any more support or credibility. Media coverage of protests usually make the protestors look like quacks, or at least to me. Maybe I can't be convinced since I always come up with a strong position on an issue even if I don't actually care that much. In this case, I'm not going to say that I think we should

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Keywords:Booth | Politics | Anecdotes | Classes
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Ghost of XMas Past

A picture of the snow fence was used on the CMU winter break resources website. Too bad it didn't make the Tartan, but this is still cool.

The BVW show went very well. First year that there was no worlds that crashed. Only took 6 years to get here. Making tapes this time was much worse than the past 2 times. This time, because the show was after classes, we had to make special arrangements to have the class meet to get the tapes and do the end of semester wrap up stuff. Unfortunately it was on Wednesday, the next day. I barely had enough tapes made, which involved me going back to Stage3 during the meeting to get the last batch for the class minus 2. This was after staying at Stage3 all night to make them and missing a party (which I didn't even know about). Things eventually turned out ok and I was able to have fun the following day.


Finals went pretty well. I must have done pretty well on all of them based on the grades I got. B in OS, A in Intro to Intelligence, and the highest grade in the class in Computer Engineering, pretty sweet. I also think I was the first one to leave that final. Makes me wish that I'd worked a little harder in OS, because I don't think it would have been that much harder for me to get an A, giving me the 4.0 I've never had, and this would have been an impressive semester to get it in, what with BVW and all. It was funny, on the last day of class, when we were filling out faculty/course evaluations, Kesden mentioned how they like getting feedback because OS was probably one of the most time consuming classes for both students and staff, besides BVW.

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Keywords:Classes | Family
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1 More Day, Enjoy Break

Preamble )It snowed a lot Wednesday night and we had about 6 inches on the ground. Last night, at 12:30 my friend Jessica and I went out onto the cut and built a fence out of snow. If you are familiar with CMU then you know what the cut is and the fence that is at one end of it. Our snow fence was a smaller model of that one. We built it at the other end of the cut, near the street. We painted both sides. For the people coming to campus the front said "1 MORE DAY", because today was the last day of classes, and for the people leaving the back said "ENJOY BREAK". It took us about 4 hours to do, but it was well worth the effort. I said I would be happy if it stayed intact until 3pm, and it lasted til at least some time after 4:30. At some point some assholes came and knocked it down. That sucks. I did get pictures.

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Keywords:Hacks | Athletics | Classes
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To start off, skating didn't happen. :-( The rink was closed due to a technical problem with their new refrigeration system. That was kind of dissappointing, but hopefully they will open so and we will be able to reschedule. I hope everyone who was planning on coming this week will be able to come when we really go. It was really sounding like it was going to be a lot of fun, with all the people I got to go. It really surprised me how many friends I have, and how many of them are girls. I never realized that before, and it really drives home the point that I need to find myself a girlfriend. Obviously there can't be anything that wrong with me, because it isn't like I'm some total social outcast, but still I have been single all my life. Speaking of which, I saw this magazine article about nerds actually being mildly autistic in a friend's IM profile. Scary.

Speaking of IM profiles, and the real title of this entry, I wrote a little web application this week that allows you to include a link in your IM profile that will show a personalized message, in the profile, to different people on your buddy list. It also tracks who clicks the link. It was Sabrina's suggestion, but I can't believe I really did it. If you want to use it, it is designed to be not just for me so check it out. Yeah, that's what life has been like for me the past week. I have been working on these silly little projects instead of the work I have to do. Besides AIM Personal Away Messages, I did the website and bbGallery updates I mentioned last week, and I have 2 more things that I might end up doing soon.

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Keywords:Procrastination | Website Projects | Classes | Nostalgia
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Scheduling time for madness

For those of you who haven't seen my schedule... So I'm officially insane I think. I do too much. I wish I could deal with classes. I really envy people who can. I should be writing a paper now, but no, no I'm not. I wish I could be a good student, because I always had friends that were and I never felt good enough for them. But I just can't get into my classes. I don't really care about them. Everything else I do is just so much more enriching and rewarding. Why do I even have to take classes? Somes I wish my teachers would realize that the other stuff that I do is actually much more important than their class and cut me some slack, but that won't happen.

Speaking not being able to get into my classes, I finally got into my computer engineering class. Funny story. I got 101 on the first exam. It was supposed to be out of 100 but problem 1, which was supposed to be out of 35 points, if you added up the parts, was actually worth 36. Apparently the TA's noticed it when grading but thought it wouldn't matter because no one would get 101. I did and apparently there was some pressure on the grader of the last problem to take off points so I wouldn't. Anyways, in class all the TA's are giving me shit about it, and the professor decides to announce to the class that someone got 101 and then look around the room for me. Luckily he didn't see me, even though I was right in front of him in the second row where I always sit. So after the class I go up to him and ask him, "So can I be the class now?" He laughed and told me that there must be an open spot in some other section and go talk to Dean Kale and get in but still go to my lab section with my partner.

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Keywords:Classes | Procrastination | Busyness | BVW | Injury
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Meltdown and Reboot

I haven't written in a while. It was because I had a really rough emotional rollercoaster ride that left me unable to care about anything as trivial as my website. Oh, and I had a lot of class work. So the situation, for the curious, was this thing with this girl, and it sucked and wasted my time, but I'm over it now and ready to move on.

So back on the update scene here's what's been going on. Class are keeping me busy. Got my first OS assignment back. I wasn't too pleased with the grade despite the fact that ours was the most efficient shell our grader had seen. Efficiency, that is definately one of my things. Still waiting to get into 240 but I figure that if it makes it to the end of the semester I can just say, "Hey, I did all the work, I got an A on the final, now give me my credit and let me go on my way."

TAing is a lot of work. More than I expected but the pay and helping people make it worth it. Today I did 4 hours worth of motion capture, but it came out surprisingly well for my first time. I can't wait to see how it turns out in the worlds. Mocap makes me really feel important. Like I have something special going for me. Let's hope that carries though.

Speaking of things going for me, GRE's went well, so now it must be time to apply to grad schools. This is going to be a tough choice to make if I have to. Free and in Boston, or with my friend where I think would be more my style?

But what do I really want to say today. I feel on top of the world. I used to hit pits and stay down.

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Keywords:Depression | Classes | Grad School | Website Projects | TV
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Week One

The first week of school has come and passed. So far my classes haven't really given me any hard work to do. I have to start the shell for my OS for ... OS. It actually bothers me that everyone has to write Yalnix -- I think you should get to name your own OS. I'm not in 18-240 yet, which I really need to figure out this morning because I need to be in the class and not screw over my lab partner and the first lab would be on tuesday for me. Definately one of the funnier class related moments this week was when I was trying to get to 85-100 and the stairs in Doherty were clogged with people trying to get into 2210 and I said loudly, "Intro to Intelligence? How about starting with 'Don't block the halls!'" Ha Ha. Anyways... BVW has been a lot more work so far than I expected, but this first week is the hard one and I enjoy helping people. Randy still spells my name wrong. If he plans to fix my grammar I'll teach him to spell my name.

Outside class things are going well. I ran 2wice this week. Rush has been going well, and our events have been fun. Monday we went to Gullifties for dessert. Tuesday we went to the Pirates/Braves game. It was a good game. The Braves were up but in the bottom of the 9th there looked like a chance that the Pirates could pull it off (Go Buccs!) but it didn't happen. I missed laser tag, and ultimate frisbee yesterday was a lot of exercise.

It's tough to keep the personal stuff out of this journal when it is the only one I have and there are things I have to say.

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Keywords:Classes | Athletics | AEPi
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Thought Repository » Classes