Missing March

Happy April everyone, (and happy daylight saving time). It is now officially too late for me to post anything in March making it the first month I've missed entirely in two years. I thought I'd fill people in on what I've been up to.

Picking up from where I left off last time, the rest of my Florida State Fair trip was just as crazy as it began. 12 hours or more a day, outside, when it's in the 30's in Tampa, FL, babysitting a robot. The state fair was even more like the stereotype than I expected with all the animals and hicks and carnies. All the food was either deep fried or on a stick or both. I had a great idea for a fair stand, called "Deep Fried on a Stick" where you could have anything you bought anywhere else deep-fried and put on a stick. We didn't get a lot of sleep getting up in the morning to shoot spots for local news and various other things. We had a lot of fun though playing with the kids, renaming people, Quasi amassing his staff to take over the world. A trip I won't soon forget. I took a lot of pictures.

Since then I have been working full force on the fountain project for Atlantic City. I can't officially say too much about it now, but there's nothing else like it you've ever seen, it's fun to work on, and it will be really cool. Because the place won't be ready to open by the time out semester is over it is likely that Lenny and I will get hired for the first month of the summer to finish the test and adjust.

I've also been working on my resume and portfolio for getting a job. Anyone need a freelance technology developement coordinator?
Keywords:Worlds Fair For Kids | ETC | Jobs
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IAAPA: Atlanta

Got back from my second IAAPA expo. It's a big expo for the themed entertainment industry. Last year I went to the expo in Orlando with the ETC and we exhibited. This year a bunch of us went again, this time just to see what was around. PlayMotion! was exhibiting so I helped them out as well. It was in Atlanta this year, my summer home. It was kind of neat and weird to be back. I got to see my old friends, and be the one in my ETC group who knew what was going on. We talked to a lot of companies. Well, some of us did. Several of us were from the World's Fair for Kids project group, and since we were meeting with our clients while at the show, we had a production design document printed up. Besides showing it to our clients, it turned out to be a great way to start a conversation with companies and to get them to take us seriously. We talked to some big important people and did some great networking. The ETC is getting really respectable. I wish I could say I was part of all the networking. I had some issues, but I think I'll write about that seperately. While there we got to see the new GA Aquarium by talking to someone on the show floor and getting VIP passes to a special preview. It was really neat. I got lots of pictures. PlayMotion has a project in there that was good to see.
Keywords:ETC | Travel
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Quasi Takes Manhattan

This weeking the entire Worlds Fair for Kids team had to go with Quasi to NY. The WFK had schedule for Quasi to be meeting guests and promoting the event this April in the NY Hall of Science in Queens. In addition they had scheduled for us to show Quasi on the local WB11 morning news on Friday and Fox & Friends, Fox's national morning show, on Saturday. Fox ended up cancelling however, due to hurricane Rita. It was an exciting trip, here are the highlights.

Thursday we drove down in a truck and suburban. When we got there a closed road and one way streets made it quite a puzzle to find a semi-legal way to get to our hotel (once we figured out where it was in the first place). We were staying right at 40th St and 5th Ave. After I solved that puzzle, it was 1:30am and we had to be at the news station at 4:45am so 2 hours later I was awake again.

In the morning we loaded Quasi off the truck and into the TV studio. As soon as we got in there they asked us if we could film a teaser in 5 minutes, so that was one rushed Quasi setup. Originally they had wanted to cancel when they found out that Quasi was an animatronic figure whose character is a robot and not an actual robot, but we convinced that that this was worthwhile as well, and if we show the pupeteer people wouldn't be misled. Andy taked about Quasi while Lenny operated him, and then they let the newsgirl try it out. They called us all on, but then they nevered showed up. I can't wait to see the footage. Supposedly they got a lot of calls about it.

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Keywords:Worlds Fair For Kids | ETC | Travel
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Worlds Fair for Kids

I haven't written in a while because there hasn't been much to report so now I'll fill it all it. This semester I'm working on a project for the Worlds Fair for Kids. This is an event this April that is meant as a sort of "family spring break". Last semester a group of 10 students build an animatronic character, Quasi the Robot. The WFK came to them and wanted Quasi to be their official mascot. So this semester we are both supporting Quasi and getting him ready for the fair in April and also developing some other exhibits for the WFK.

Besides that, I'm still working part time for PlayMotion!, where I was this summer. I'm taking welding as an elective. I'm helping out with PlayMotion! and audience interaction in Building Virtual Worlds (but not oficially TAing). That's pretty much my world right now.
Keywords:ETC | Worlds Fair For Kids
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The Fate Of the Semester

Next hard decision. What to do next semester. Greg has asked me stay at PlayMotion! for a co-op. He wants me to decide by the 15th. I'm having a hard time.

On the one hand, I could use the money. I didn't really make any this summer, so my savings is going to go bye-bye this year if I go back.

On the other hand, the logistics of either still paying for my room at school or finding another person that will be OK with Adam and getting my stuff out of there and either in storage or down here and also finding a place to live down here that I can get for only a couple months (that aren't summer) and then having to find a different place back in Pittsburgh for the Spring, seems like it might invalidate the money savings. Plus I just don't really want to do all this.

Pety issues aside, I'm not sure which I want to do more. On the one hand I really would like to see some of these projects though. PlayMotion! is doing well, and I really like being part of it. We have some stuff coming up and I don't want to be left out.

On the other hand, I'd be leaving in the Spring anyway so I'm going to miss out some either way. I can always decide to go back for the Spring if they'll let me, or when I graduate.

Since I'd be paying for school anyway, I feel that perhaps I should go back there. I've gotten the PlayMotion! experience and if I want more I can do that later. At the ETC I can do some new things. I can also take some classes I really want. I can TA BVW for the last time that I'll have at that experience that I like.

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Keywords:ETC | Jobs | PlayMotion!
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Project Jealousy

Today was the last day of final project presentations at the ETC, and my group presented. That should make me done with school for the semester, and you'd think I'd be happy, but that's not quite how it went. Oh our presentation went well. I think people were pretty impressed with how much we accomplished this semester. The dome, our project, was something that people at the ETC didn't have real confidance in, and as was our goal, I believe we restored faith in the dome as a viable platform. Although why we had to work on a clearly second class project in the first place is unknown.

And that's just the beginning of the problem. We went third today, right after the two largest and most successful projects. I don't think it would have really been fair to put anyone after them. Compared to what they achieved, our work looked pathetic, even though that was really only due to difference of objectives. Our goal was, without a client that actually wanted our games, to make many prototypes to test features of the dome. So not only does work that is intended for the dome have to some strict limitations that make it hard to achieve a high quality look, and not only is work built for the dome almost impossible to show outside the dome without another reduction in quality, but our goal was explicitly not to pollish our experiences. In contrast, the Give Kids the World movie, along with Animateering, and the Interbots Initiative had client with a definitive idea of a deliverable on a close deadline for a very finished product capable of being played with by kids.

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Keywords:ETC | Depression
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Follow Ups

I need to follow up on a few previous entries. A couple weeks ago I wrote about my hearing loss. Well, after a follow up appointment with a different doctor it turned out not to be as serious as previously thought. There was a bunch of wax and junk that was stuck to the front of my ear drum. She peeled it off and suddenly I could hear again. It hurt a little, and at first hearing again was weird, but now everything is normal again.

A week ago I wrote about the upcoming game competition between the ETC and USC. The competition was this past Friday. We won 4 out of the 5 events. We swept them, 2 games to 0 in Carcassonne, Literati, and Set (played after we knew we had won). There was fierce competition in the Burnout game that we won 5 races to 3 out of 9. The only event we lost, Halo 2, where they swept us, was a bit of controversy as they had changed the rules after the original challenge and we didn't get informed of that. In an unofficial game played later by the original rules, we swept them.

Oh, and the Pats won the superbowl again today. Sweet.
Keywords:ETC | Games | Injury
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Games Competition

Last week a graduate program at USC challenged the ETC to a games competition. When I saw the subject of the email, I thought it was a neat idea but I assumed it would be all video games that I don't play. When I actually read the email, I was pleased that they selected a variety of games to challenge different aspects of gaming. Other people in the ETC weren't as happy that USC had selected all the events or that they hadn't even heard of some of the games. While it is troublesome that they alone have probably selected their strengths, I'm sure we will be able to select the games for a later match. On the other hand, I am very familiar with the games that many people were not, so I am glad I will get this chance to represent the ETC. The five games were Halo 2, an FPS; Burnout 3, a driving game; Literati, a word game that is essentially scrabble; and two of my favorite games, Set and Carcassonne.

The most exciting part of all was that their rules dictated competing in Set via my website. I'm not sure if they realized what they had done, but if they had visited any other part of the website they could have easily seen that I'm a member of the ETC. On the other hand, it isn't really like they'd have a choice. I did a search and it seems that my website is the only place on the web to play Set. I've taken this opportunity to improve Set, even though I thought it was done. Things have been so busy that I've spent more than a week now on changes that I thought were only worth one evening.

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Keywords:ETC | Games | Website Projects
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West Coast

This past week I was with the ETC first year on the west coast. We visited LA and San Francisco to see some entertainment companies to learn a bit about what they do. The places I saw include Thinkwell Design, BRC, Walt Disney Imagineering R&D, IWerks, Rhythm and Hues, Pandemic Studios, Pixar, ILM, Electronic Arts, and Reactrix. A few places I didn't see include Rockstar Games, Naughty Dog, Disney VR Studio, and Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Seeing these companies was a lot of fun. Some of them were really cool and we saw some neat stuff, most of which I'm not allowed to talk about. Seeing how cool places like Rhythm and Hues, Pixar, and ILM are makes me questions if I wouldn't want to do movies after all, like I believe I did when I was younger. On the other hand I don't think I'm well trained enough. Computer graphics hasn't exactly been my focus. I don't know DirectX really, I haven't written my own renderer, or anything. I've not graduated from baby game engines like Alice or Panda. I took Graphics I but I don't even remember that much. I like to say that I know enough to know what kind of questions they'd ask me in the interview and I know that I don't know the answers. The more I think about it, if I try to answer what my specialty is, I don't think I have one. What have I been doing for the past 4-5 year? And how am I ever going to get a job with such a mediocre skill set? So although the trip was fun, it does leave me a bit diappointed about my chances of getting a job at any top tier place in any business.

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Keywords:ETC | Travel | Jobs
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IAAPA Wrapup

This past week I went with 14 other people from the ETC to the IAAPA convention in Orlando. IAAPA is the international association for amusement parks and attractions. The show floor was absolutely enormous. They had everything from the tickets and tokens, prizes, arcade machines, roller coasters, 4D theaters, animatronics, consessions, and everything else you could imagine. One of the most interesting things we saw was a live lobster tank crane game. Another excellent idea was the ice-cream hotdog. Take a stick of ice-cream, wrap it in a shortcake bun, and top it with chocolate sauce or caramel and wipped cream. Yum. Also up there were the Mini Melts (a competitor of Dippin' Dots) with Pop Rocks in them.

The ETC was exibiting the Jam-O-Drum there. We had a small little booth where we showed people a little taste of what our program does. We were well received. The Jam-O-Drum was fairly unique among things there. People actually wanted to buy it and they were impressed that it was just one of the things done by the students in this program.

A big part of the show for me at least was going around trying to figure out where I'd like to work and get an internship. I didn't do all that well of being able to talk to the companies. Later in the week, I got better at it and had a few good conversations. I got some business cards that I have to follow up on.

While we were there we did more than just the show. We had dinner with several Disney Imagineers and ETC alumni. It was good talking to them even if I might not get to work there.

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Keywords:ETC | Travel
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After your bedtime

Tonight I attended the After Your Bedtime party. It was a opening party for the new wing of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. At $50 a person it didn't quite match the $250 black tie dinner preceding it, but it was still one of the more expensive/fancier affairs I've been to. I got to go the ETC dime as part of the Animateering group since the fruit of the previous Animateering project was installed as part of the new exibits. It was good to see the museum but the whole party experience was something else.

I thought, through my mom, that I knew was wealth and class was, to some degree, but our upper middle class coming from below does not compare to the true upper class who would spend the kind of money on tonight's events. As fun as it was, I don't think I took full advantage of it.

I'm speaking of meeting girls. I don't know how to talk about it even, really. I'm always on the lookout for girls. I'm really at the point in my life that it is all I need, but I do need it badly after 23 years or so of waiting.

Today was a long day, after class, and work, and a party with another masters program that was also supposed to introduce us to women, and The Incredibles which was a great movie where Pixar has outdone themselves again, I went to this party, and now I have to go to bed but be ready for an early and long day of Puzzle Royale puzzle solving tomorrow.

And so I get to the part of this story that is important after 4 paragraphs. There was a girl there. Well, there were lots of girls there, and several that seemed around my age or so.

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Keywords:Animateering | ETC | Girls | Depression
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I'm just a kid

My group's latest visual story project was to shoot a music video. Our last project was to reshoot a specific scene from American Beauty. We ended shooting it with sock puppets for actors. It was kind of tricky but it came out pretty well. Mike and Kyle did the editing for that one, but Ben and I were doing the editing for this music video.

We chose the song, "I'm just a kid" by Simple Plan. It was really Mike's suggestion, I know he likes them, but I also like that song. I really identify with it because it is about a kid feeling lonely and left out. I have felt that way much of my life. I often spend a lot of time with myself and find myself excluding from doing things with others, even those I consider my friends.

The plot of our video shows him committing suicide which turns out to be a dream. The video is suppsed to be a journey. The rest of the video shows his loneliness and his journey. At first you might not know where he is going, and it isn't clear if he does. He ends up back at the Cathedral of Learning (where he had jumped in the video) and he climbs out to the same ledge. In the end we have someone stop him just in time, because we didn't actually want him to die.

I really wanted to play the part, because of how I identify (except of the suicide). My group complained that my hair was too bright to be depressed and we wanted someone a little younger (i.e. no facial hair). Mike also wanted to play the role. I went out of my way to shave and dye my hair black.

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Keywords:ETC | Depression
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This weekend the whole ETC went on a field trip. The main part of it was a "Cruise to Nowhere". It was a two day cruise with no stops, departing from and returning to Norfolk, VA. We also saw Gettysburgh, Noah at the Sight and Sound (religion) theater in Strasburg, PA, and Colonial Williamsburg.

At first I was a little upset about losing my weekend. As you can probably tell by my previous post, my first ETC all-nighter was this week. My weekends are my times to relax and catch up. It's what I look forward to that makes my weeks bearable.

The trip turned out to be a lot of fun though. The cruise was less boring that I thought it might be, and just hanging out with ETCer, chilling on the bus, and stuff was really fun. I got to play some shuffleboard. I played some blackjack and lost some money, I could have done without that.
Keywords:ETC | Travel
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May the force be with me

Today Anthony Daniels, the actor who plays C3PO in Star Wars, came to visit the ETC. He had just been inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame. As cool as it was to meet him, the exciting part of the day was only leading up to that.

Yesterday I got CCed on an email from Steve to Dave giving him some old lightsaber demo files. I was clearly coming in in the middle of something that I didn't understand. I wasn't sure why Dave wanted the lightsaber demo, but I volunteered that I had the latest copy since I was the last to update it. I also boasted that I could probably rewrite the code in Panda in 3 hours now that I had an Alice to Panda model converter. Only then did I find out that they wanted the demo to show C3PO today. So I got stuck with the job of either rewriting it in Panda or at least making sure the Alice one would run.

I chose the tougher path. Before I could start, I had lot of BVW stuff I needed to do to get ready for the next day. At 2am I started working on the lightsaber. Converting the models ended up taking me 3 1/2 hours. I thought it would be quick but because the demo was in an old version of Alice, I had a few problems. First was fixing it just to run in the old version. Then I had to solve a problem with a function I was calling being wrong in the old version. Finally, I had to handle scaled models which I hadn't had to do before. Writing the code in Panda was really easy and fun. It was very quick, 6 hours plus 1 for tweaking. I finished just in time for our visitor. Randy and others in the ETC seemed really appreciative and impressed by this task in this time. "Miracle-worker" was a term I heard used to describe me. I love stuff like this.

As far as the demo itself, Anthony Daniels liked it. It was really cool seeing him turn to the R2D2 model and talk to him like C3PO. After playing the game he told us some stories about filming that scene and other things about Star Wars. It was a great day.
Keywords:ETC | Busyness
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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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This titles had a two-fold meaning: literal and figurative. Today, after Visual Story, Jesse held a juggling workshop at the ETC and taught all the first years how to juggle. I thought it was impossible for me to learn, but I am starting to getting. I was very surprised that in a hour and a half I could consistantly throw and catch 3 balls. I have started working on the forth throw (4th throw is the first ball again, still only 3 balls). Once I get that I think continuous juggling will be the next step (since 4 returns me to the initial position) and won't be too hard.

It seems ironic that the ETC would want to teach me to juggle since it is also what they require me to do with all the work I have. In fact I'm not sure which is harder and which is easier. I've been ok keeping up with my 3 classes so far (although I'm worried about where improv and particularly visual story is going). The tough part is TAing BVW, being on an ETC, and balancing the rest of my life.

BVW has been going ok. The struggle for me is to manage all the VR equipment. This are kind of crappy and I don't have a lot of time to invest the hard work to make stuff good. Also I don't really have the tools and equipment at the ETC. At Stage3 at least everything was there and semi organized (or at least in a small space). In addition, I'm supposed to prepare the AIBO and I'm not sure what I should be doing.

On Animateering, the project I was assigned, we only recently decided what we wanted to do. We have a quarter presentation due in a week (has it really been a quarter of the semester?).

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Keywords:ETC | Busyness | Worries
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No, not the Continental Sports Channel, the Carnegie Science Center. Yesterday the ETC first years took a field trip there. We spend the better part of the day and saw a lot of stuff. First we toured the USS Requin, a historical US Navy submarine. We had some time to look at the giant model railroad they have. Much more intense than the cheesy one in my old room. Then we visited the Works Theater for a show called Frankenscience, based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. The theater was neat but the show wasn't very good. It seems the story got in the way of the storytelling and the science. After dinner we went to the planetarium, which we had all to ourselves, to see what sort of things they could do both as a planetarium and a laser light show. There was a lot of interesting technology in there with a lot of potential. The laser show was really spectacular. Then we watched Spiderman 2 in the Omnimax. This was unfortunate because you don't really feel the true power of an Omnimax if it wasn't a film specifically shot for it.
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Graduate Studies

Orientation happened. It was fun. Both for the freshmen and for me, a new grad student. The ETC is definately intimidating but exciting also. There are a lot of cool first years so hopefully we'll have some fun.

Classes. The first day of improv didn't really amount to much. Brenda Harger was out of town so we just watched some movies. Today was the first Visual Story class. I'm a little worried that it's going to be tough. We had to fill out these sheets that asked us some things about ourselves, I think just so they can get to know us. It probably wasn't supposed to be hard, but one of the questions was "What are the 3 best movies you've seen in the last year or so and what makes them good?" I hate answering questions that ask me to list something. In fact it was the only OkCupid profile question I refused to answer. And it made me realize that I haven't seen any really good movies this year, that I can remember.

I got assigned to a ETC project. I'm on Animateering. I think my first choice would have been Panda since I actually use it and I'm teaching it so I'd like the chance to make it better. All things considered Animateering is a pretty good place to be. Today we had our first meeting. It sounds like our goal is to take the simple puppeteering interface that was developed before and turn it into a mega narative storytelling and movie recording station for kids, to be installed at a bunch of different children's museums around Pennsylvania. That could be really cool.

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Keywords:ETC | BVW | Animateering | Sick
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Clearing the Stack

This entry is sort of about everything. I don't write often enough, but the reason I write at all is to release all the things I don't say that get stuck inside my head. If I've got an idea I haven't shared with anything, it is just going to stay there until I do. This can be bad in conversations where I can't keep up because I really want to bring up a subject long past to add something I felt I wanted to say. But my rambling point is that I'm going to clean up my brain from the summer so that I can move on with this new year. (chronological)

I didn't talk at all about my job this summer. I had lots to say. So much that I'm not going to. I came back to Pittsburgh to finish a Stage3 DARPA project just before Stage3 was dissolved. The project was an experiment whose goal was to use people's brain activity to predict when they are busy and use that to mitigate when information is presented to them in order to improve their performance. We were testing for a soldier in VR. It was tough but interesting. The experiment itself wasn't so great and didn't work all that well, but it was a good experience. It's over now. The rememants of Stage3 moved to the ETC and left the name behind.

I've also been preparing for BVW that I'll be TAing this fall. I've been learning Panda, building VR demos, and working with the ETC's new AIBO. His name is Peanut. Unfortunately I did not get a full-time staff position in the fall, so I'll be in serious debt, but I'll live. I did write a whole entry about this.

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Keywords:Summer | ETC | Family
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Transportation Part 2

A month ago I wrote about Transportation. I wanted to follow up. I mentioned that I was thinking about getting some HypnoSkates, rollerblades where the bottoms come off. I got them as a birthday gift from my dad. I am pretty happy with them, but they definately have their disadvantages and limitations. They work very nicely as rollerblades. I haven't been on rollerblades in a long time and it is much better than the shoes with wheels I had a couple of years ago. They are very easy to use and it is much more natural than the scooter, especially for uphill. My biggest problem is stopping, or slowing down. It's not easy to control my speed which is really annoying. Going downhill should be fun on wheels. it is the best part of the scooter. It is the worst part of the rollerblades. I can use the break, but it seems to wear down really fast. The other disadvantage is, while taking the blades off is very easy, it isn't as easy as just stepping off the scooter for things like stairs, hills, or when going indoors. Also, I feel less inclined to ride indoors than I do on the scooter, which is part of what makes it great. Wearing the helmet also makes them less appealing. And finally, as shoes, they aren't the most comfortable. They are tight and hot, and even if I'm ok walking around in them, I am definately limited in what else I'd do. I'm sure occasionally they will be fun or usefull. They are no worse than regular rollerblades which is worthwhile to have, even if it isn't my primary transportation.

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Keywords:Quirks | ETC
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I'm sure you've all been waiting anxiously for a new entry. It's been a really busy time since I moved, and I just haven't had the time. I'm all moved in. The house is pretty nice. Not enough people have come by to see me here, but I don't spend much time at home anyway. I spend a lot of time at AEPi just because it is on my way home and my friends are there to get food or play video games or talk.

I've been working really hard. I may have mentioned it before, but basically my goal this summer is to top every expectation Randy could have for me so that he'll have no choice but to hire me for the year. That's pretty hard to do since Randy's expectations of people aren't based on thinking they are people with human limitations but tools to accomplish what he wants done right now. I suppose having people work for you like me, who you don't have to manage too much, is a good thing, but it can cause you to underestimate the difficultly and effort involved and thus underappreciate the good deal you have.

As part of the DARPA project I'm working on, I'm running an experiment. This is an extremely difficult experiment to run. I have to make the code changes, find the subjects, run the subject, crunch the numbers, and if they are bad decided how to fix it. Running the subject alone take me 1 1/2 to 2 hours and requires a process with about a billion steps. This week is the CVE (context validation experiment) where our collaborators from Honeywell are visiting. Basically that means that I was up running subjects until 1am, I worked (mostly running subjects) continuously today from 9 to 9, and I'll probably do the same thing tomorrow.

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Keywords:Stage3 | ETC | Busyness | Nostalgia
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ETC Acceptance

I found out on Monday that I got into the ETC, again. Pattie had asked me if I had made a decision because she needed to know whether or not to accept another student. I emailed the admissions coordinator and found out that they too were mailing letters on Monday and that I had gotten in. So now I'm back the big decision again.

I've talked with many people about it. Alex, Steve, Sabrina, Pattie, and Dad so far. Originally, I was wondering if it was still worth it. I have been feeling a little better here. Although, the more I think about it, I realize I've been feeling better as in I don't feel as strongly about wanting to leave, but I don't really feel much more excited by the stuff I'm doing than I did before. The past few days were sponsor meetings and I wasn't very enthusiastic about my demo. What's more next year the group is really going to be focusing on ambient intelligence. I'm pretty convinced that the ETC is entertainment and that's what I want to be doing and MIT is not. My talk with Sabrina was probably the most helpful. Not so much because of anything she said, but I think I just started really seeing what I wanted to do. Also because I was able to ask her some questions and alleviate some concerns and uncertainties about the ETC. I'm not 100% but at least 80% I think. I still have to talk to Mom at least.

This may be a good time to mention the email I got from someone at Sun. Seems he is an MIT alumnus and that he is looking to fill some openings on the Java team. Pattie and Bruce had both recommended me. I was flattered that they thought of me, especially Bruce, who I don't feel I know that well. Still, I think I should at least finish some grad school. Plus, while I may be right for the job, I don't know if it is something I want to be doing, at least not long term. Maybe a summer internship. Something to consider.
Keywords:ETC | Grad School
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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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