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Robotics is coming along pretty well. Our robot Gamblore is back in one piece after swapping out the motors for newer, more powerful ones. The path planning is progressing smoothly, I have A* and Potential Fields both coded up and working pretty well in the little simulation I’m using. The one thing we are still waiting on is the compass, which should be arriving any day now (or any month now, knowing how the ordering system works at IST). All in all, things are looking pretty good. Nice cool Florida winter weather doesn’t hurt either 🙂
Hurrah! My backup safety school UCF has accepted me into their Computer Engineering PhD program. Now I don’t have to be a bum under the 417 bridge. They said they would let me know if I got any financial aid later in March. I’m still waiting to hear back on all my other fellowships, etc, etc.
Tonight I went to Winter Jam with a few friends (OK, if I want to be completely honest about it, my friend Enrique dragged me to it). We went downtown Orlando to the TDWaterhouse (or whatever it is now called). It was really really loud 🙂 It was 4 hours, but it seemed like half of it some sort of plug for homeless kids, various movies, etc, etc. But I think it was worth it for Steven Curtis Chapman and Jeremy Camp (the other people weren’t that great….Newsong was OK). I would recommend showing up 2 hours into it if you don’t care about Britt Nicole (pretty bad), Hawk Nelson (blast you away hard rock), Newsong (decent), or Sanctus Real (one good song), homeless kids, the new Amazing Grace movie, or the preaching. But it was worth the $10 for Steven Curtis Chapman’s Dive and Magnificent Obsession. I thought it funny that Winter Jam’s sponsor is a giant sweet potato and they show a clip of how you can use sweet potatoes as like “God’s food to man” in just about any recipe, including sweet potato pancakes. Ick!
Today began my last semester as an undergraduate (I hope!). I did not get off to a good start. I was fifteen minutes late to my first class because I thought it started at 12:30. That’s actually when it got out…I think I was remembering that because I was more focused on getting lunch after the class than remembering when to show up. Oh well…the good thing is it’s group project based and a bunch of us in there know each other and formed a group. That’s usually much better than being randomly paired. One of the guys is a real perfectionist too, much worse than I am. Enrique is also in it, so I know he knows how to program from robotics. I’ve also worked with Christina before and she’s an absolute knock down, drag out superstar at making any mumbo jumbo sound good and be grammatically correct. Newegg also replied to me saying I could still do an RMA on my RAM (hey, just noticed it’s the same letters, just jumbled up :). I also got two pages done on my thesis! OK, so they are the first two pages of my introduction, but still! Finally, I got an email from CMU saying they couldn’t view my uploaded essays I wrote for my application. I emailed PDFs and DOCS to them, but that means they are actually looking at them! Whahoo! Now if they would just let me in and give me money….oh, and move to Florida or California or somewhere where there aren’t 145 days where the temperature is below 32 degrees. 🙁
Welcome to the new year everybody. I’ve had a very enjoyable time the past few weeks watching movies, reading books, generally doing nothing, and regaining the ability to eat normal food after having my wisdom teeth extracted. Alas, the semester is almost upon me. However, my computer is not doing so well. My DVD/CD drive is failing I think. It ejects randomly, and I can no longer burn at full speed; it starts making this terrible burnt rubber smell before aborting. Also, Friday night I backed up my stuff (I use SyncBack freeware, highly recommended) before leaving the ISL lab to go to Robotics @ UCF. Good for me, because my computer promptly bluescreened when I got to robotics and then Windows wouldn’t boot (error in ntfs.sys). Oh well, no biggie. I’d just boot off a Windows CD and copy the file over. Except it kept giving me errors booting off the CD. Blast! I had forgotten my CD drive was on the fritz. Hmm…So I have Ubuntu Linux installed on my computer, but not GRUB, so I can’t boot into it (thank you Windows XP for overwriting GRUB the last time you installed). Aha! Maybe I can boot from USB? I have my 512 CF card from my camera and a Sandisk card reader. With some hellp from Pen Drive Linux, I was up and running DSL Linux in no time (btw, if you give a shot, you need to download the latest syslinux if you plan on running it under Windows XP). I was back in business! I mounted my Windows partition and then tried to copy over the ntfs.sys file. Arg! DSL linux doesn’t support writing to NTFS partitions. So close yet so far. Hmm….How about grub? Yes, I can restore grub! Great, now my Ubuntu boot menu is back. Kernel Panic! No, it can’t be! Arg! Maybe one of the other Ubuntu entries? A previous kernel version? No, still kernel panic. Hmm…Ubuntu memtest86+, sure why not – can hurt. What!?! My RAM is bad. Oh please let it be my 256 stick, and not my gig stick. Bother, it’s my gig stick. Well that explains a lot, including why Ubuntu wouldn’t load either. So that’s all fine and dandy. I bought my computer about a little over a year ago and then the gig stick a few months later. Maybe it’s still under warranty and I can return it for a replacement. Newegg here I come. You have GOT to be kidding me. I bought it on 1/4/2006 and today is 1/5/2007 – one year and ONE day later. You know, I’ve heard of all the horror stories about products that fail right after the warranty is up and I’ve even heard the conspiracies that companies design products to fail after the warranty is up. But hearing about it and then experiencing it are completely different. Even more interesting is the RAM stick I bought a year ago is no longer being sold by Newegg…something smells fishy here. So I dropped Newegg an email to see if I can still return it. In the mean time, I had to take the gig stick out and put in my old 256 MB RAM stick. 512 MB of RAM is sooooo painful! It’s like I can’t do anything without waiting 5-10 seconds for memory to be swapped to/from my slow harddisk. Oh well, maybe Newegg will replace my stick. And if they don’t, maybe tomorrow will bring something cheery my way. Oh wait, I have to write an essay for a fellowship. Sigh…..
Wow, a lot has happened in the past few months. But related to this site, I got a new webhost called Bluehost and just swapped this site over. It seems to be pretty good so far. I was getting cramped on my old server and this one has plenty of space for me to put up files and photo galleries if I want. Also, it has newer software such as the latest version of cpanel and file managers and such. The other new change is I ditched my old PHP content management system and am now using a new system based off the Google Web Toolkit (GWT). GWT is really nice, but it still has some weird issues. I’m still getting used to it and my CMS app is still really ghetto, but I’ve jury rigged it to work. Anyhow, I hope everybody has been having a great holiday!