Friday, May 20, 2005

Goodbye Freshman Year

I decided a while back that I wanted to write a post on my last day in Austin for the school year to reflect on it all. I spent all of today packing, and now my life is in a corner of my apartment except for this computer and my bed. I don't think I'll ever forget the first few days I came here because it was so exhilirating. Coming to UT is a dream come true for me because it's away from Houston and it has one of the top CS departments in the nation. Plus, Austin is such a beautiful place. I was almost overwhelmed with the ability to schedule going out with my friends at all hours of the day to catch up from the summer and not having to answer to anyone. Strangely I became a bit homesick, but not for long once I got caught up in it all. There's so much to love about being here. The air I taste when I walk home from the gym every day is unlike the air anywhere else, or the kids playing at the turtle pond, or the hot girls crossing the street (there are a lot of those here). I think I also achieved a lot of my goals. I feel blessed to have earned a 4.0 GPA and I'm an officer of two huge clubs (NSC and ACM). I've met a number of new people here and my only regret is that I don't think I've gotten as close to any of them as I would've liked, but freshman year of high school was awkward like that as well. Though I've had many good times in this apartment with my room mates I'm definitely ready to move out of West Campus and into Far West in the fall. I don't think I could've imagined going to college anywhere else and having as much fun as I have here at the most random times, and I don't think I would've done much of it differently. Thank you to everyone who directly or indirectly made this year work for me (especially my parents for financial support and my brother for moral support) because I'm eternally grateful as being on my own has been quite a challenge. Now it's time to press forward, and I'll soon see what the summer holds for me.

There's a bit of technology news today. Chase is the first major credit card company to issues credit cards that use "blink" technology, which means that transactions would be verified with an encrypted chip rather than by your signature. They're aiming to speed up transactions, but I doubt the safety since if someone had your credit card for a while and you didn't know it they could make tons of payments off of it. According to IBM, there's an impending shortage of computer programmers, which is really sweet news for me because that means more recruiters will come here for internships and jobs and since supply is low it means that salaries could go up as well. We experienced an extreme form of this in the late 90s, but I wonder if it's exaggerated like it was then (in order to import labor from abroad at a cheaper price). Enhancements in BitTorrent may give way to trackerless torrents, which would make them easier to make but harder for copyright activists to find the sources of the piracy since it could become quite decentralized. I'm sure they'll find ways around it though rather than sue Spanish professors. I'm refering to the lecturer at UPV who was censored for defending P2P. That is so freaking despicable because universities are the most important places to maintain freedom of speech and it's really important to share these kinds of ideas in computing. You may soon see ads on RSS feeds thanks to new developments with Google's AdSense program. While this could mean more revenue for publishers it could also mean more clutter in the feeds, but I guess we'll have to wait and see how that develops. Lastly, the FAA is clearly bored because it has decided that there will be no billboards in space. I don't understand why people should care about this.

The movie news today is a little sparse, but there are a few gems. Revenge of the Sith, which has gotten rather favorable reviews, has broken all kinds of records by making over $50 million in its opening day. It made more than a fifth of that from midnight shows! That blows away its predecessors' opening days (and the sum of the top movies' sales from the past couple of weekends) and from what I've heard it's with good reason. IGN managed to get a 360 degree view of the Batcave from Batman Begins, which looks a lot like it did during Wednesday night's preview. Keep in mind that it's at an early point in Batman's career. AICN has another early review of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from another round of test screenings, and it sounds just as good as the previous one. It looks like Tim Burton is focusing less on the musical elements of the original movie, which I think is a nice change of pace. The official movie site has gotten a makeover for those who are interested. Lastly, there's a lackluster clip of Madagascar over here, and I really wish something would pop up to give me some confidence in this movie.

Since there's not much exciting stuff from the E3 floor today I thought I'd leave you with a new promotional shot from Devil May Cry 4, which is sure to be sweet on the new PS3 hardware since I know that the PS2 specs have been holding back the series.

That's a true badass

Now for another yummy Friday's Feast:

Approximately how many hours per day do you spend watching television?

During the semester I usually only spend an hour or maybe an hour and a half. On weekends it would usually be two hours, maybe three sometimes. Nowadays, it's about two but I'll likely keep the tv on in the background more when I go home since I have cable there.

Which colors decorate your kitchen?

The walls are white and the cabinets are white! =) The countertop is brown though, the stove top is white, and the sink is silver. My current kitchen is pretty small so I didn't bother to decorate it much. My mom's decoration of our kitchen at home is pretty haphazard.

Name 2 brand names you buy on a regular basis, and what do you like about them?

Brand names with regard to what? For food I always get Mrs. Baird's bread because it's so tasty and I guess I also enjoy Wheatables a lot. I don't have a whole lot of brand loyalties. For electronics I like Altec Lansing for speakers and Dell for computers because I don't usually feel inclined to build my own computer.

Main Course
What is your biggest fear?

Dying alone. I know that was pretty blunt but it's the truth. It's not that I'm a horrible person or anything, but I'm too good at making friends with girls rather than making moves. Having friends is nice and all, but they're not with you up until you die. Your family is there yeah, but it's not the same as companionship. I'm just worried that I'll die as the loser I've been up until now, but I'm definitely optimistic about escaping that.

If you could wake up tomorrow and find yourself in another location, where would you want to be?

New York City! That place is so awesome. Of course I'd need a sweet job so that I have enough money to subsist there, but I just love that place and how easy it is to get where you need to go without a car.

Bonus Birthday Question
What's your favorite flavor of birthday cake?

That's pretty hard, but I guess I'd have to say German Chocolate. It's not too sweet or rich but its taste is mindblowing when baked just right.

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