Wednesday, January 31, 2007

And a Bottle of Rum...

I am currently reading the book, "And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails." As it turns out, the history of rum and the new world are intimately tied, and each one reveals a lot about the other.

Because of my newfound interest, a rum-tasting party is in the works. You've been warned.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Unit Testing

As some of you may know, I am TAing a class this semester. It is called "Analysis of Software Artifacts" and it covers many different forms of analysis from static and dynamic analysis to things like testing and formal inspections. It's taught by my advisor.

This week, as it turns out, my advisor is out of town, and I will be giving the lecture in his place. As it turns out, I actually volunteered to do this. Each of the TAs has to give a lecture this semester, but since I am really interested in the subject of unit testing, I chose to do this week's lecture. The lecture is going to be on a combination of unit testing philosophy and unit testing tools. I'll post the slides whenever I actually get them done. The lecture will also include some neat demos, for which I will post the source code as well.

The neatest tool I am demo-ing is a framework called EasyMock, which allows you to easily create and use mock objects in your JUnit test suites. It was (I think) developed at MIT, and it's an amazingly powerful tool. I subscribe to the Pragmatic Programmers' philosophy that unit tests should be by and for programmers, I definitely recommend you take a look at it.

In other news, this is a crazy busy time right now! This lecture and another big presentation are coming up. I feel like I am not getting any research done...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Today's XKCD sums up my feelings towards Wikipedia pretty well.  Two things I've decided in the recent past. One is that I would like to start making more edits to Wikipedia. It's not that hard, especially for copy-editing things, but also since I'm supposedly learning all this stuff in grad school, I can help make sure all their articles are good and correct etc.

Secondly, many of you have heard of my idea about Wikipedia Bar Edition (TM), formerly known as Wikipedia Pants Edition (TM), but it bears repeating. I think that those bar-top machines that they have at many bars nowadays, usually used for games like "Erotic Photo Hunt" would be a perfect delivery mechanism for Wikipedia.  A quarter gets you three entries or something like that.  I see people using it to verify the bold statements that people often make at bars, and then calling BS when it can't be supported.

The idea that people might edit the entries just to back up there claims (possibly because they brought their laptop to a bar!) has been brought up though (by !). I don't really have a good solution for that...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hermit Crabs!

My household now has some new, permanent residents! Tuesday night, Suz and Z-Dub came over to my apartment, promising delayed holiday gifts. I was full of anticipation, especially since they implied earlier that this gift might be alive. Plant? Goldfish? I had no idea what was in store for me.

Turns out, they were Hermit Crabs! Stella, Stanley and Blanche are all new residents, and we are getting along splendidly. Suz and Z-Dub brought all of the accoutrement (fake trees, a fake log, sand, mulch, etc.) necessary for happy hermit crabs. It turns out, though, that hermit crabs kind of enjoy dark damp places and don't come out too much during the day. Hopefully, they're just getting to know me, and will be more playful once they are a little bit more comfortable.

Pictures coming soon!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Same Old Saints?

Benson BoogieWell I guess it is about time I talk about the Saints' victory on Monday night.  I am still a little bit shell-shocked about the entire thing, but it was definitely the highlight of the weekend. I went to Cappy's, where a bunch of school, work, and other friends joined me for the excitement. It was good, because otherwise it would have been me and a bunch of Eagles fans.

The Saints played a strong game, leaning heavily on super-stud Deuce McAllister. He was amazing, and acted like the kind of running presence that the Saints haven't had in, well, forever. Very nice. Being a Saints fan means being a pessimist though; I always think one game at a time, and never think the game is over until there are three zeros on the clock. This game was no exception with roughly four minutes left in the game, up by only three points, the Saints were driving when Reggie Bush bobbled a backwards toss. The Eagles recovered, and nightmare scenarios began to flash through my head. Amazingly (and this is something the old Saints never could have pulled off) the Saints defense stepped it up. The Eagles went three-and-out, and bafflingly decided to punt with 3:30 or so left in the game. With Deuce in the backfield, the game was over from that point.

Next week, it's the Bears. It should be a blast, and I am hoping for another shakey Rex performance. Wish us luck. And to Mr. Benson; boogie down!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh Language!

From a casual conversation last night:
"You know how in casual conversation, someone might ask a rhetorical question as a way of leading into an more detailed explanation?"
This was followed by detailed explanation.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

On Movies

"Children of Men" - I just saw this movie last night, and I highly recommend it. In fact, when I get back to Pittsburgh I would be willing to go see it with anyone who is interested. It is hard to describe why I enjoy this movie so much. One of the reasons is that it is realistic. As realistic as a science fiction movie set in 2027 can be. I think (and I have not had this confirmed by any other source) that the cinematography is highly inspired by the Iraqi war. There is humor, love, action, etc. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

"Epic Movie" - Please, do not see this movie. I have not seen it. It hasn't even come out yet. But I am getting more and more fed up with this upcoming genre of film. Do your part. Stamp out movies that simply reenact scenes from popular movies but with a fart joke thrown in. If a movie is bad, mocking it is unnecessary. If a movie is good, what is the purpose of redoing it? As I write this, I am drunk and yet more than willing to endlessly debate the problems that this movie poses to our society.


Saturday, January 6, 2007

Viva la Resolution!

I only have one New Year's resolution, but it's a doozy.

For the year 2007, I want to be just as nice to my friends as I am to people that I have just met.

It sounds a little strange, I know. But hear me out. I find that sometimes I spend more time trying to meet new people and make new friends that I spend trying to be good friends to the friends I already have. It's always easy to be nice to someone at a bar (or wherever) when you have just met and have nothing but pleasantries to talk about. I have a habit of being annoying or dismissive or combative or whatever to the people that I really get along with. It's one of the things I dislike the most about my own personality. But I feel like it doesn't have to be that way.

So there you have it! 2006 actually ruled, mostly because of the good times I had in Pittsburgh (this summer especially). Let's hope 2007 is as gnarly as possible (AGAP).

Oh Where Have I Been?

For those of you intimately familiar with Pittsburgh, you may have been wondering about my extended absence.

For those of you intimately familiar with this Blog, you may have been wondering about my extended absence.

Well I have an answer for both these inquiries. I have been in New Orleans for oh oh oh, oh the longest time. Last year around this time, I only came back to New Orleans for about five days. I didn't even stay for New Year's eve. This year, I kind of went the opposite route, opting to stay in New Orleans for about three weeks, almost the maximum possible time. I'm thinking that next year I'm going to find some reasonable time in between. You see the thing is, staying in New Orleans is always fun, but the extended breaks just don't work. My friends here go back to wherever there from. I get bored from not having anything to do (not having a car during the day doesn't help). I always kinda feel like a guest even though it's my own house. And of course, I miss my Pittsburgh friends!

The lack of blog posts can also be explained. For some reason that I just can't figure out, I never really have the motivation to post updates when I'm in New Orleans. It just doesn't happen... It's not like I don't have good things to talk about; I do, I swear! But for some reason, I just never really feel like it. I guess I don't live on my computer here like I do when I'm back in the Burgh. All this leaves me thinking, but not about anything in particular...

New Orleans has been great, but it's time to get back to the Burgh!