Archive for November, 2009

Stranger than fiction

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Nerd help: computer hardware!

We found my dad a cheap 28″ monitor, but as a Black Friday sale, it sold out before he could order it. The best alternative is probably two normal-sized monitors.

However, I’m confused by the “maximum resolution” of the video card. It claims the max resolution is 2560×1600. The card has two outputs. Is that the max resolution per output, or the max resolution total? If it’s the total resolution, that’s pretty restrictive–he couldn’t combine two 1900×1200 monitors.

The internet suggests it’s the total resolution. My reason to doubt that is my own laptop. It has a 2.5-year-old Nvidia card, and it regularly drives a total resolution width of more than 3000. There’s no way my old laptop card is better than his brand-new state-of-the-art card.

Can someone help clear this up for me?


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new roommate

I may have found a new roommate. Special bonus: she attended WashU. Strangely, I didn’t get any male applicants–two couples were somewhat interested, but no lone guys. What does that mean?


Job hunting

I have a scheduled on-site job interviews with [X] in early December, and I’ve got interest from [Y] and [Z], though visiting details with them need to be finalized.

The opportunities look pretty good, but I have two caveats. First, I’d still like to hear from [W], since working with robots would be pretty awesome. Second, it feels weird to have the limitless potential I’ve had ahead of me my whole life finally collapse.

It used to be I could do anything: be president, cure cancer, whatever. But now that I’ve arrived at the part of my life where I actually go do the things I’d planned to do, I have to pick only a single thing. Oh, sure, I’ve been narrowing down the possibilities for a decade, but it’s never come down to picking exactly 1 thing to do. It’s starting to look like I won’t be the amazing cancer-curing president, but instead a guy with a job. Now the trick is to see the potential growing out of that one choice, passing through that needle’s eye and expanding again.

[Edit: redacted company names]


A few interesting events

In no particular order:

ICSI, the lab where my office is, is located in a city building. There was a police practice in the building last week, and when I left, I ran into a robot in the lobby. It was a bomb robot, and even though it wasn’t doing anything, it was *awesome*.

I had a Google phone interview. They didn’t ask me any really hard questions; I suppose that means it went well enough, though I’ve heard much harder Google questions secondhand. Maybe they save the big guns for later in the process? Working for them would be good, I think, though I’d still prefer Willow Garage. (Robots!)

My car window was smashed so someone could steal the $3 I had sitting on the console. Awesome. Repairs weren’t too bad, though 2 orders of magnitude bigger than $3, and I’ve learned a lesson about leaving valuables visible in the car. I was surprised they didn’t steal my gum when they went through the glove compartment–it’d’ve added a solid $1 of value to their take.

It was rainy the (second) night of the Leonid meteor shower, so the big outing was canceled. After I’d dropped off my last dancer/passenger, I noticed the sky was clearing, so I went up to the Lawrence Hall of Science to look for a bit. (1) The parking lot lights were too bright, making it sucky. (2) It was cold and there weren’t many meteors. I saw one out of the corner of my eye during several minutes of watching.

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Berkeley weather

Last Thursday there was a beautiful sunset, and as I admired it from my tall building in downtown Berkeley, I noticed there was a light drizzle in the sun’s glow. I dashed to the roof, and indeed I was correct to expect something pretty. I didn’t, however, expect anything quite so good as this:

double rainbow in Berkeley

A perfect double rainbow, the first rainbow I’ve ever seen in Berkeley. And just inside the inner rainbow, without any space, there was the hint of a third rainbow. I’m not sure what would cause that, but I’m pretty sure it was really there.



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Happy, from Emerald City

I’m as happy as I can remember being lately, as happy as I’ve been since the last time I began dating. On the one hand, it’s a momentary thing brought on by a good meal and some mango nectar, but on the other hand it’s been a good weekend.

Sure, there were some people who were annoying–I was amazed to rediscover my ability to really be irked by a person’s tone of voice. But still, the lessons were good, and last night’s astounding dances were worth the entire cost of the workshop. I’ve only ever been quite so on once before. I was on fire! I was amazing! The people who walked away from me unimpressed were the easily-dismissed exceptions.

My favorite quote was from an instructor named Ogden. He and Amanda were teaching us about leading from non-traditional body parts, like by touching our partner’s shoulders or wrists. But he cautioned us about not getting too focused on using wrists: “Wrists are good as friends. But hands…!” It was the funniest moment of the weekend, which was hard after Topher and Mike’s class.

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A wise choice

I just got my bike serviced at The Missing Link, Berkeley’s co-op run bike shop. It was one of the wisest decisions I’ve made in recent history.  My bike is easier to pedal, though that wasn’t terribly obvious on the 5 blocks I rode it so far. What was most striking was the way it shifts perfectly now. It used to click a bit, and have trouble getting into certain gears. Now it changes gears like a dream! I’m delighted.

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Hooray for polarizing filters!

sailboat on the sunlit water

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It’s a common subject of discussion this time of year–how the tendency is for costume shops to sell “sexy” women’s costumes. Not “nurse” but “sexy nurse”, not “cat” but “sexy cat”.

I dressed up not as a mad scientist, but as a sexy mad scientist.

lounging mad scientist

Elena did my amazing tattoos.

flask & explosion tattoo

ray gun & DNA tattoo