Category: IST Interest House

New year, new room

It’s good to be back on campus. Here’s some shots of what the new room looks like (mostly for Dobbs’ benefit), and a picture for Juli to show Mr. Rubins:

[EDIT]: Updated with better pictures


This entire last week I’ve been trying to learn ASP so i can build a frontend to the database that the call center guys at work use to answer questions. Right now, they’re working directly from the console of what appears to be an old mainframe computer, and I can’t make heads or tails from the display. So I’ve come up with a better way of doing it, started coding in PHP, then realized that I’m in a Windows shop, and started learning ASP. The syntax is similar to PHP, but the finer details are annoying. Like how an ODBC connection has to exist on the server for the page to be able to access the SQL database. Also, as a long-time PHP lover, the lack of a character to note the end of a line is slightly disturbing.

I’ve been rescued from banging my head against the wall a couple times this week. Yesterday, I went out to Woodside to help train the drivers for the accessible dispatch system. The idea is that people in wheelchairs can call 311, then have a yellow taxi dispatched to their location and capable of handling their needs. TLC is using Blackberries with a special Java app to handle the dispatching, and we spent about 4 of the 6 hours of class teaching the cabbies how to use it. Some of the guys got the idea immediately, others took some hand-holding to get the concept, but eventually everyone understood. And while the slower of the group were recieving extra instruction, the others decided it was a good time to vent their frustration with TLC’s rules and taxis in general, complaining about everything from the lack of weight restrictions to the dispatchers at JFK. We told them we’d look into it, but I’m not sure there’s much we can do.

The other interesting thing going on is that the PR department at Penn State has gotten wind of my upcoming HOPE presentation and wants to advertise it on the website and elsewhere. Heung Xu and Gerry Santoro also expressed interest in booking me to do the presentation in their classes this Fall. I’m doing a phone interview with someone on Wednesday, and I sincerely hope I can get the presentation cleared by the end of next week. One week after that I’ll be on stage, and I can’t wait.

Cat and I have reservations at Virgil’s BBQ at 6:30, but otherwise no plans for the 4th.

Holy crap I’m 20

It’s 2 weeks since my last post, mostly because I’ve been way, way too busy to do much else.

My birthday weekend was fantastic, as usual.  Spamalot was as good as the first time, dinner at Sushant’s place (Rangoli), and Junior’s strawberry cheesecake was perfect. Popped a tire on the way there, but other than that, nothing interesting. The highlight presents were a DS from Cat, Ken et al, and a throttle/joystick from Dobbs. here I go back into flight simulator…

This past week I watched the Democratic debates. IMO, Obama completely obliterated Clinton. It was beautiful. And prompted me to switch my registration to PA. It feels weird, like I’m no longer a true New Yorker.

Anyway, back to the IST SG meeting. It’s boring as all hell, but I suppose I should pay attention.

A little joy, a little sorrow

I guess I’ll start with the fun part of my week, then move on to the more tragic (read: e/n) side.

We passed the new IST House constitution last week, and the changes went into effect this past Monday. Here’s a copy of it from my server. Most of it is the same as the last rev, but a lot of the roles and committees have subtle changes. We’re already starting to see progress. The new Events Advising Committee (I wanted YAC, but EAC is the closest I could get) is already planning a weekly poker night and a social/dance thing. The WHRA reps are a force to be reckoned with at their weekly meetings. The website has spontaneously generated from nothingness into something that, with a bit of polish, I’d be proud to show off to the world. And we have 2 events coming up this week alone. So, things are running well on the IST House side.

As you one reader (actually, Google puts it around 20, suck it Sell) knows, I bought a PSP with my Christmas money. It finally arrived on Wednesday, and I spent the remainder of the day slowly cutting through the battery casing, disconnecting the proper lead, and hacking the daylights out of it. It’s been “pimped out” with a custom firmware, UMD emulator (heh, no more buying games), video player that uses something other than mp4, ebook reader, overclocked MIPS processor, and a slew of other rather nifty yet insanely boring doodads. I’m almost 10% through the first GTA game for the PSP, and having never played one before, it’s actually pretty fun.

We did have one misfortune this week.  One of our residents went missing Thursday night. He had gone out on a date, so we all assumed that the date went better than expected when he didn’t arrive home on time. He and his car were found Saturday in Mifflin County, as my mother always fears I’ll end up, dead in a proverbial ditch. We had a meeting last night to talk about the tragedy and let people know that there’s counseling available, but not that many people actually knew him. He had only been at UP for a month before this happened. Makes me wish I had planned more events at the beginning of the semester. There’s going to be a card pinned up in the Fairy Hallway, anyone on the floor please feel free to sign your name. We’ll send it to the family later this week.

IST SG meeting on Monday, work all week, then off to NYC for my birthday on Friday.

Bear Stearns, then back to school

 I sent in my resume to Bear Stearns early in the week, was asked in for an interview the next day, and by Wednesday I heard those beautiful words: “when can you start?” They want me to do some on-demand programming, so it sounds like it’s going to be pretty fun.
School started up on the 11th, and I signed up for the first few shifts back at ResCom. Saturday night was a completely East dominated shift, the lazy Pollock workers not even bothering to show up. Tom is back, which was a surprise, but it’s good to see him again.

I confirmed that my server at home is functioning perfectly, I’m able to restart it without any issues remotely, and data flows through the proxy at about 300 kb/s, which isn’t great, but it’s better than nothing at all.

Classes are starting up too, nothing terribly interesting though. It’s been a slow first week, but it’ll pick up. It always does.