failing like never before


Weekly Biking

Numbers from my bike computer for this past week of riding to class.

Distance Traveled: 9.313 miles

Average Speed: 13.5 MPH

Max Speed: 31.5 MPH

Time Traveled: 41 minutes and 22 seconds

So pretty average stats.

I want a real road bike. I'm not saying my bike is bad (beause its not, I like my antique KHS), I just want a bike that doesn't weigh 32 pounds and have a knocking headset. Sometimes when I have some extra time between classes I like to check out the bikes locked up at a nearby bike rack. Generally, the only bikes I see are antique Schwinn road bikes, shiny Huffy mountain bikes with crap-tastic components, and a few home-made fixies (some of them quite nice) that seem to be all the rage these days. But every now and then I'll see a good road bike thats worth admiring: a Trek 1000 or 1.2,  Giant OCR3, Jamis Ventura Sport, or a Fuji Newest 2.0. On a few occasions, I might see something really expensive, like a full carbon fiber Fuji, or a fancy Scattante racing bike. And seeing a nice road bike just makes me want to get a road bike even more. Unfortunately, I'm not winning to fork over the several hundreds of dollars that I would need to make such a purchase. Still, I like to dream.

Anyways, back to studying. At least my head doesn't feel like its going to explode, like it did last night.

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Run Run Run

This past quarter, I've been trying to go to the track at least a few times a week and run at least two miles. Up until last week, I didn't bother to time myself, figuring that I was running "fast enough." I was surprised to find out after a two mile run on the track, that I was averaging almost eight minutes a mile. Not good. Not good at all.

So the next night that I went running, I pushed myself a little harder and managed to average about seven minutes and thirty seconds per mile (for three miles) which is significantly better, but still not as good as I would have liked; I could manage six minutes and fifteen seconds fairly regularly when I was in high school.

Now today (the day of my two killer finals) I wasn't planning on doing any running, and was hoping instead that after my two finals over, I could just grab something quick to eat and then be able to go to sleep early. And after my last final of the day got out, this seemed like a great idea, as my head was pounding and I was having trouble focusing and keeping my eyes open. But the line for food was ridiculously long and my lack of recent physical activities was starting to make me feel like a fatty, so I dropped my notes in my room and ran to the track, where I proceeded to run a mile at high speed (or at least my highest speed) and then do twenty minutes or so of stairs. My mile time for today was six minutes and forty seconds, significantly faster then last weeks, but still on the slow side. Lets hope it gets better.

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That Time Again

I have the lucky privillege of having five finals this week. Here's my schedule:

- Saturday: digital logic lab (which I already took and pwned)

- Tuesday: solid state physics, and differential equations (my two hardest classses)

- Thursday: software design lab (Linux stuff, BASH, Linux C programming, etc...)

- Friday: oceanography (pretty easy)

So today is Monday, which means I have two of my hardest finals tomorrow and I'm totally exhausted (even though its only 5pm) because I didn't sleep very well last night. Add to that the fact that I'm not even close to being prepared for tomorrow, and its pretty obvious that I won't be grabbing any naps today or sleeping early. And to just make my life even better, I've been gaining a lot of weight this past week. Woot.

I feel fat, but not very sassy... (Don Hertzfeldt)


Muxing the Clock

My final lab project for my digital design class is basically a free-for-all, design your own project. The project that my lab partner and I have chosen includes displaying a countdown timer on four seven-segment displays. We wanted to have the displayed value decrementing once every second, and we also wanted to make it so that the user could pause the counter and change the displayed value with push-buttons. The only problem with this scenario is that since the counters are connected to a 1Hz clock, the speed at which a user can set the displayed values is also 1Hz. This is bad, as we quickly found out, because it is unbearably slow, especially when you want to set a value of 100. So I came up with what I thought was a great idea: mux the clock input on the counters and then use the "set" button as the mux selector. If one of the mux inputs was then a 1Hz signal and the other a 4Hz clock, we'd be able to switch back and forth between the clock signals at will. Like most things I come up with, I thought it was a brilliant idea. And like most of my ideas, it died in the implementation phase.

The results of muxing the clock signal resulted in a buggy counter that would often spaz out whenever the "set" button was pressed. The clock would settle back into a regular pattern after one or two cycles, but the damage would have already been done: nobody wants to have a clock timer that explodes in a mad counting rush every time you press a button. I believe the reason for the bugginess is due to the fact that the rising and falling edges of the 1Hz and 4Hz clock do not coincide in time perfectly, and so when the mux switches clocks the counters see a clock signal that fluctuates at a weird rate for a brief interval.

And one more thing that I've learned in digital design lab: Xilinx software is total crap. Project files get regularly corrupted, the program crashes at odd times, compiling takes so long that I could probably wire the design by hand faster, and the auto-wirer was designed by a disgruntled employee on crack. The quiet murmuring that fills the digital design lab room is frequently broken by loud exclaimations of "I hate this software," "I will find the engineer that designed this auto-wirer and kill him,"  "#$(@*$&(@!***#&!!" and other such phrases (generally not by me). I could maybe understand the total crappiness if Xilinx's ISE was a beta version and avaliable for free, but its not. We're running version 9.2 (somewhere around there) and the school paid buttloads for Xilinx's POS software. Please don't even bother with Xilinx.


Weekly Biking

And then this past week's numbers:
Average Speed: 13.4 MPH

Elapsed Time: 52 minutes and 19 seconds

Distance Traveled: 11.643 miles

Max Speed: 32.0 MPH (!!!!)

Thats a new record high max speed for comuting to class (I can and have gone faster before, but this is for going to class)! Although in retrospect, I shouldn't be going that fast when the speed limit is 25 MPH.

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Weekly Biking

I'm a week behind on these numbers. As though anyone actually cares.

Distance Traveled: 12.202 miles

Elapsed Time: 55 minutes and ten seconds

Average Speed: 13.3 MPH

Max Speed: 29.2

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Goo on Linux

Several weeks ago, I saw an article on digg about World of  Goo being ported to Linux. My roommate happened to see it too, and knowing that I was a Linux user, told me that I should download it and give it a try since it apparently gained a good reputation on the Wii. I have to admit, I was a little excited to give it a try, especially because the Linux world isn't exactly overflowing with a wealth of good games (seriously, Sudoku and Mahjong don't really count).

I'm not exactly sure why 2D Boy, the makers of World of Goo, decided to port their funky game to Linux, but I'm not complaining. One thing that people should note however, is that although Goo is DRM free (yeah!!) it is not totally free, getting it legally will cost $20 (US). I know that there are a few Linux users that turned to Linux specifically because it is free, and they expect that all their software should be totally free and open source. Unfortunately, the two guys at 2D Boy have to make a living, and since they've managed to make a good product I have no qualms forking over a small fee to play the whole game.

If you're not quite ready to put some money down (like me), you can of course download the trial version (like I did), which will allow you to play through the first level (which I did). The Linux version comes available as debs, RPMs, or just good-old tarballs (and Arch user that I am, I went with the tarballs). I was expecting that Goo wouldn't work right out of the box and would require some tweaking to get it to work, but surprisingly all I had to do was untar and run the binary inside, and Goo was up in an instant. So props to the developers and testers for a job well done. And of course, the game was actually surprisingly fun, despite the fact that on first impressions it looks like a cheesy, kiddy game. I'd highly advise that Linux users give World of Goo a shot.


Wrong Way

I just got stopped by a bike cop because I was riding my bike going the wrong way on a one-way street. A very long, straight, double-lane, one-way street. The same one-way street that a lot of cars go the wrong way on.


Oh well...

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