"...and the rest of them are commode-scum!!" -Robert Blake.

Now, what could possible drive somebody to say something like that? I think he was talking about reporters. lol.

In any event, I've been spending increasingly more and more time rigging up various services and "things" on the iBook, making use of the UNIX core. The other day, I set up the Tomcat servlet and JSP container. Mac OS X comes packaged with Apache that works right out of the box. I was so amazed by that. lol.

I've also been toying more and more with entrepreneurship. It's a bug that's been itching at me. We'll see what happens with it, though. I'll keep reading, however. Recently, I came across this site: SmallbizGeeks and it looks to be a very promising online community to be a part of. Interestingly, it's not a blog, so it's a full-featured online community. A lot of people thought message boards were a dying breed, but ha, no no no. lol. Go visit.


And now for a few reminders from the back section...

Sometimes, you really need to be uplifted, and other times, uplift people. A lot of the time we all need a little bit of encouragement. Where you find it doesn't matter. On another blog I kept during high school, I posted these:

1. How you think is everything: Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.

2. Decide upon your true dreams and goals: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.

3. Take action: Goals are nothing without action. Don't be afraid to get started. Just do it.

4. Never stop learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.

5. Be persistent and work hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.

6. Learn to analyze details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.

7. Focus your time and money: Don't let other people or things distract you.

8. Don't be afraid to innovate; be different: Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.

9. Deal and communicate with people effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.

10. Be honest and dependable; take responsibility: Otherwise, Nos. 1-9 won't matter.

No, this isn't just some drivel I got out of a newspaper to sound all philosophical. I used to go by this. Occasionally, I'll get into a slump where I need to be slapped up and reminded of what I used to believe in. I took this from the financial newspaper Investor's Business Daily, by way of an October 7, 2003 post on a blog that I've been keeping since high school. (I started keeping a new one since space on the server I originally used totally ran out. Blah! That sucks so badly! lol.)

Besides the momentary flash of motivation for certain friends, I've just been sitting on my ass during spring break reading (things beside mathematical textbooks) and enjoying fresh air (i.e. anything that isn't DC pollution and emotional horror--you know, the smell of urine, bums, farting city buses, the sound of campus shuttles that pull off as soon as you get a good rhythm in your running speed as you burst out the architecture building dropping papers and screaming for your life...etc.) and the slower non-metropolitan area life. People don't drive as violently here, so I haven't had to flick any other drivers off.

I spent a lot of time today reading about money and investing, so that with this internship, I can invest the money instead of wasting it on clothes. lol. Hmm. Or maybe more Apple stuff. Yeah, my biggest purchase ever has been this iBook and I'm enjoying every moment of it. I think my carpal tunnel syndrome is acting up again. lol. Gimp.



This group is just hott. Check out their sound. Go here.


Bandwidth. Pure and simple.

Yes. After toiling since like 10pm to get Road Runner to cooperate with my iBook, here at my house in North Carolina, I finally got the connection operational about 10 minutes ago. Road Runner is just so damn fast. And it really seems all the more faster on a fast computer. The Compaq here needs some work, and I figure I'll go out and do some upgrades one day next week when I get the car. The first order of business, however, is doing the usual virus taming and destroying. lol.

Actually, I'm pretty certain that the computer needs a processor update. Or there just might need to be a new computer, also. It's running a 500Mhz AMD something or another that was halfway popular back when I was leaving 8th grade. I'm a sophomore in college now. Yeah, you catch my drift.

So, we finally got home around 8pm, after stopping by Pizza Hut to pick up dinner. lol. It's amazing how quality pizza looks. Crust wasn't burnt to a crisp, cinnamon sticks weren't drenched in cinnamon (and they were hotter than hott), and the topping weren't burnt to high hell. I think I had about 5 slices...only limited to that amount because the rest of the family had to eat also. Otherwise, I would have gone for my usual 9 slices with a glass or three of water and 4 cinnamon sticks. Don't worry, I'll pay for it when I'm 30. ;)


My plans tomorrow are to do some cleaning around the house, read a bit for some classes that I know I could be doing much better in, and continue my excessive and suddenly overzealous reading of venture capital blogs and similar things. Basically, it all amounts to enjoying this ridiculously fast Internet connection. My family absolutely must get up to speed literally. I believe, that, on Wednesday I'm going to make a trip over to Best Buy and make use of that plastic--again. The computer here just really needs some upgrading. Most interestingly, my mom is starting to use the computer a lot more, and overall, it needs to be a more robust, powerful system to handle the demands of the different users. My mom and her use of memory-hogging Office 2003, my dad and his constant Internet usage (must kill spyware), and my brother and his constant installation of games.

Any system that has to support multiple users must be robust. It can't crash as soon as you tell it to close a window. lmao. That's what happens to this computer at home. But, I seriously know that the biggest issues with the machine are that it's old, loaded with software that makes much more intense demands than the software that came out when the computer was manufactured (1999), and it's worse than a level four CDC virus lab when it comes to harboring lethal viruses. At one point in time, I pulled 47 different viruses off that computer. Is that atrocious or what?! lol. For some reason, Symantec's Anti-Virus software can't be fully trusted to automatically update itself when you originally told it to. Maybe I'm not 100% familiar with the software, but there definitely needs to be some sort of redundancy built into it. Sheesh.

But, alas, I have a whole week to enjoy being at home. It's not like I have to leave in the morning. ::Gasps::


WiFi all up and down the highway.

Yeah, so on my way out of DC today with my mom and bro, I had the iBook on my lap driving away from campus, and wow. I was so amazed as we drove through downtown and right outside the Washington Convention Center, the Airport signal from the convention center reached my iBook. Too bad this network was one you had to pay for and I only picked up on it at the light. We weren't staying there forever. Moving right along...

As we got further downtown, more wifi connections started popping up. I mean, at one point, I had a choice of 8 or 9 networks to attempt to connect to. Some of them weren't exactly public (required a password or a fee), but it was so amazing. I've used wifi all along, but remember, my Thinkpad broke down and thus, I never got to use the wireless outside of my room. ...Always anchored to that desk! But, driving down the street in DC and picking up on so many networks was just the best.

What was even more amazing was the idea of driving down 395 South and picking up on the wireless signals from routers in the apartments along the highway. That was soooo smooth. Only problem here was that we were travelling too fast to check out if I could connect to any of them. And even if I could, we were still moving, so I couldn't sustain a connection. The sheer idea, though...was great.

So, did I finall get a connection? Yeah. When we pulled up in the hotel parking lot that I'm in now, another connection popped up. It was the hotel's network. Free! lol. It's fast as crap. And crap is fast. I'm trying to think of things to download on this absolutely clean and fast network. You know, big files to download to really see how fast it can get. lol. Bandwidth tests!!

::Runs a test on cnet.com::

This Wayport Access connection is running me about 1304 Kbps. That's not bad at all. Certainly faster than what I get in my dorm. I believe the connection at my house on RoadRunner, however, is faster.

More reading...more snaps from the entrepreneurship bug.

So, I did more reading tonight, and I even went so far as to write out a generic plan for a software suite that deals with information management in business. No, it's not your usual Excel spreadsheet-type stuff. More details on it later, when I get more details on it myself. lol.

I remember Yadav commenting that the best way to learn is to read. He's so right! I don't care too much to read my textbooks, lol, but I love read blogs online and digging for info on every topic that I can think of. We don't need paper books anymore. We just don't.

A site I discovered some time ago, that I really think everybody should be allover, is ChangeThis. All the information that you'll ever get from this site is organized into "manifestos" and they're just great.
A list of my favorites is coming later. I'll bet I should be in the bed...so I can stay awake in the car tomorrow. Gahh...



So, in a fit of phone calls and activating little plastic objects and walking with the utmost in purpose, I hoped on the metro this morning and took the orange line to Clarendon. What's so special about Clarendon? The Apple Store. That's what!

After walking around like a fat kid in amazement in a candy store, I told one of the Apple folks that I wanted an iBook. I was trying my hardest to supress a smile of the brightest kind, but it just wasn't working. After five minutes or so, the man at the register came back with a big white box and a grey handle with this nice little face posted on the outside of it...the face of the iBook. I pulled out all the plastic I had to identify myself, and quickly made the purchase!

Folks, I have an iBook!

Okay, so the activity that's been occupying most of my time since getting it back to my dorm has been transferring all my files from my Thinkpad. That mostly consists of music. I set up file sharing with a Windows PC on the Mac and then started posting all the music from the Thinkpad to the Mac via the Thinkpad. So, actually, anybody on the school's network can have access to this computer. I'm almost done transferring everything.

The only thing left to do is install a few more applications like all the Microsoft Office 2003 stuff, and I have to find a Fortran compiler for the Mac. I know they're out there...just gotta find 'em!

But, I finally got the Mac. Now, I have to deal with the credit card bill. lol. Yeah, I made a pact with myself that a computer would be the other thing to go on that credit card and anything else would be paid for in cash. Charging little things like clothes, etc. is just so pointless--although I suspect I might be doing that a small period of time from now so that I can have some decent clothing for IBM. But, even then, there's a better way...just save money that isn't used for food and bills to buy clothes. With that in mind, that's a plan.

But, hoo-hooo! I got a Mac. And oh, the Apple Store was so fascinating. I felt like I had stepped over to California, you know, somewhere outside of Stanford. I was uber-laidback, but at the same time giddy with excitement over all the crap that was in there. It was a Macgeek's paradise. Powerbooks everywhere, iBooks everywhere, enough iPods to fuel one helluva party...and OH! I saw the 30" screen with the DVI hookup. That thing was so fcuking huge. It was clearly not for somebody that does random stuff like typing papers and writing programs, i.e. not me. I don't need a screen that damn big--I promise I don't. I know of some folks that might (no, not personally), but I'm sure they exist. Hell, one of these days, I'm going to really get a deeply expensive Mac setup. For right now, I'll start slow, however.


I really like the feel of this keyboard. It reminds me of the Thinkpad's keyboard, but it's not exactly so slippery like that one. The keys are very responsive. The only thing I'm slightly annoyed with, however, is how loud the clicking sound on the touchpad is. I'll get over it, but Apple can stand to smooth that out. Battery life? Long. Nearly six hours. That's a car ride home from DC to NC if I don't blast music the entire way.

There's still a few features I haven't really made use of just yet. I haven't burned a CD yet, haven't checked out the Firewire and USB ports, haven't tried to hook it up to an external display, and haven't used it in complete darkness. I've been focusing more on the software side of it.

Hahaha, ooooh. Speaking of software, I wrote some on this thing in Apple's Xcode. Xcode is absolutely the best developer suite out there. I'll be using a lot more of it in years to come. I'm so happy. I can't wait to go sit somewhere in public with this. lol.

I wonder what my mom is gonna say. Hopefully nothing at all. It's my computer! I'm gonna make the payments! I promise! lol. I'm calculating that for the price I paid for this, the payments shouldn't be anything more than $50 or so a month. If they're even that much, I'm going to pay more. I said I was going to work toward actively paying down this balance. So, I'll commit at least $75 toward each month on what I'm making right now as a TA.

lol. Being a TA is one of the most hilarious jobs you can have on a university campus. I take it seriously, but you can't take it too seriously or else you won't have fun and may not be able to inspire folks who...need it. I try to be light-hearted about everything that's going on in the class--everything from the scary test scores from half the class to the folks that have only turned in one assignment the entire semester to people that I've never even seen before who somehow know exactly when to show up for tests. It's all just a huge game to some folks. I started letting folks do things over again when I realized the problem with a few of them is that they were just afraid to ask for help.

It's pretty obvious that a few people will get A's if they keep up with their current work trend and don't crap out when they come back from Spring Break. Other folks...ahh.

Speaking of Spring Break, I'm looking forward to sitting around the house, relaxing, and hopefully going to Georgia. After the Christmas Break visit down there, I'm convinced I might still need to consider going to Georgia Tech or something. lol. The hilarity of smelling weed on your aunt and uncle while the whole family bops their head to "Let's get blown" is just too much for me.

Alas, I still have class and things to do for today. With any amount of luck, some professors won't show up. Let's hope Coulomb is one of them. ;) Don't need that kind of send-off. lol.


So, I can't do physics. What else will make me a poor scientist?

It has become grossly apparent that physics is not my best sport. I'm pretty decent with knowing how gravity works, but other than that, this fundamental science does not pique my interest. I just finished this horribly long physics session with my best friend who is a physics major. We finished most of the problems, but it just serves to highlight how, as a computer scientist, I am absolutely arrogant and oblivious to physics. I don't have any interest in it. My friend is balding, sleepless, and nearly insane because of it, and I don't appreciate how much time it takes away from my other endeavours.

But, alas, I put up with it.

The concern these days is about kids not being mathematically and scientifically competitive with kids in other countries such as China, Russia, and places we haven't messed with politically recently, but are really going to be (or maybe already are) hotspots in terms of say, economic development and opportunity. There are over one billion Chinese and their educational system is comprehensive and complete. There is no room for the little folks that can't do physics...or calculus...or write computer programs. This isn't entirely true, but hey, those kids are pretty smart! They take education seriously because in some respects, it's not widely available to everybody.

Why? The issue that is important is that the system is competitive. If you're not smart enough to do better than little Mei Ling, for example, you could very well be arranging to pick up the trash of Mei Ling in Beijing one day. Mei Ling will be a white collar worker, and yours will be blue. The system makes up for the fact that over a third of the population is composed of students. Want to read more? Chinese Education

Now, there's always an American side to an international problem. No, not that we started it (lol), but that we share in it in terms of...we have a "version" of that problem here. Except, in our case, I don't believe our educational system is competitive enough, and students aren't being adequately prepared. Alas, there are solutions. We set up magnetic schools and try to homeschool kids thinking they're going to do better. A lot of the time, that all works just fine. But, sometimes, there needs to be another brand of intervention--from institutions of higher education. That's where Howard University has come in. I was intrigued to see that the University is opening a math and science middle school for students in Washington, DC entering the 6th grade.

Washington, DC public schools are bad from what I'm hearing and occasionally seeing as a student myself in DC. This is a great step forward in working to brighten the educational opportunities in DC. One step at a time, folks. One step at a time...


What used to be.

Tonight, I was reading through this old Power Macintosh 7200 user's guide and I came across various ways of updating the system software for the computer. The most detailed method, first and foremost, was the use of "online services", such as AppleLink, eWorld, CompuServe, and hahaha, gopher. It's funny, considering all the things that used to be.

I sometimes wonder where my first book on the Internet is. Did I throw it away? Or did I let somebody borrow it and they didn't return it (which is often the case...)? Either way, it's got some important history in it. For example, it highlights how Yahoo! was basically the best search engine out there at the time (circa 1995 or so) and also spoke of other search engines, such as AltaVista, Excite, etc. More interestingly, there was no mention of Google, because haha, they didn't exist. Or at least, they were still just an experiment at Stanford. I wonder what it is, though. Two of the most prominent search engines ever were products of Stanford University. Stanford is a huge incubator for high-tech talent, and it'd be interesting to see what folks here at Howard could come up with. I say that in the Department of Engineering, we hold an entrepreneurship fair, along with the usual career fairs.

I was going on about this earlier to somebody. I think to some extent, too much emphasis here is put on building a career with somebody else rather than building your own enterprise. My goal is to build up all the experience I can muster during my internships and co-ops, and then use that knowledge to build up my own company. As I mentioned before, I've cultivated a small circle of successful entrepreneurs as friends (not just because they run businesses...lol...no gold-digging here) who have been able to provide great insights and know-how. It's always great to build yourself up by standing on the shoulders of giants. Plus, my reading over the last couple of months has gotten nearly violently out of control. I've all of a sudden been transformed into one of those people that "read voraciously." Yeah, I've been reading through so many venture capitalist blogs and through so many books, etc. that my eyesight is going bad. Yes. I figure when I come back for the 2005-2006 school year, I'm going to have glasses.

With the amount of work that I do on computers these days, it's almost inevitable that I'll need glasses. Maybe in a cheeky little way, I'm happy about it. lol.

Either way, I believe I'll be getting my iBook sometime this week, just in time to do some serious coding over spring break. I hear from my mom that we might be still going to Georgia, so to have some coding to do on the road trip will be absolutely great. Maybe I can clear that IB off my transcript and convert it to an A with a bit of ingenuity and determination over spring break. My final project for Large Scale Programming never reached the professor and thus he gave me an incomplete for the class. When I get it to him, I figure he'll change it to an A.

Decisions, decisions...

I wasn't originally going to buy an iBook over spring break, seeing as how I'd probably catch hell from my mom about buying a computer knowing that I'm about to be out of school for the next nine months, and thus have no academic need for one. What's even more intriguing is that I'll be doing a co-op at IBM, and I could get a computer from them on employee discount. But, for some reason, I don't want to do that. I'm going to buy the iBook on probably Tuesday, if my credit card gets here in time. I suppose it might even be here tomorrow. Either way, I'll wait until I have the time to go get it: Tuesday. Whooo! I'm excited.

I was campaigning for a job on campus working at an Apple lab somewhere in the graduate school. With the IBM co-op popping up, I declined to even interview for it. The lady was pretty surprised when I told her what had transpired--that I basically accepted a position at IBM and wouldn't be around for the Fall 2005 semester. She was surprised because I'm also such a Mac person (see above, lol).

Platform independence is actually my thing. I'm also learning to work successfully in UNIX, so wherever I go, I can cope. I'm getting so proficient at what I do these days that to some extent I don't even need a GUI anymore, even though they're very nice to have on certain platforms. In the CLDC, some old hands came back and complained that there was no UNIX system running. I figure after spring break, I will come back and set up one. For right now, I borrowed an old O'Reilly book from the lab, Essential System Administration and it's actually been useful.

I was messing around with some Perl scripts on my system earlier and I decided to make the scripts themselves executables. This didn't require much, but I had never messed around with file permissions, so I went to the book and read up on how to do it. It's interesting how you really do learn something new everyday.

It really goes back to what I talked about in my interview. I'm a person who relishes learning new things all the damn time and generally, a lot of the hobbies I engage in require that. Good stuff.

So what's doing for today? I know that I need to wash clothes. But, I'm also contemplating going out into the city and rounding up a couple of pairs of pants. I bought some shirts on Friday, but I know that won't amount to much if I have no decent pants to wear with them! Grrr...


$theName =~ s/\bt(i|y)(f+|ph)(a|i)n(e+|y)?\b/Tiffani/i

Regular expressions are always so appealing. But, I'm off to physics now, and to deal with everything else for the rest of the day. Ciao.