Despite some early attempts, I have never found micro-blogging to be my "style." Possibly because I lack the ability to come up with short, pithy statements on the fly, or simply because I never had enough friends on Twitter to make it worth my while. But on occassion, I've seen or thought of something that would have made a great Twitter post. Such as:
- the old Asian man I see in the mornings wearing a faded, neon t-shirt with the words "Super Fresh" on it
- a guy rubbing deoderent on his groin in the gym locker room
- Charles Xavier works at my company (his legal name is literally, Charles Xavier)
- while driving home, a truck tailgated me on an empty 4 lane freeway at 5:30 AM
- a lady shopping at Walmart wearing bright pink fluffy slippers
- apparently a lot of people think it's OK to clip their fingernails on the train
When I was thinking about writing this post, I thought I would have a much longer and more interesting list. Sorry guys.
We all know the career fair drill, you push your way through a mass of humanity to stand in line for a company that you hope will offer you a job. After five or ten minutes of waiting, you finally get to yell at an engineer over the din of hundreds for a few minutes, barely enough time to introduce yourself, get asked a few questions, and maybe even ask a few questions yourself. Hardly enough time to make a lasting impression. I attended a few college career fairs earlier this year while recruiting for my company, and throughout the process I realized that a vast number of students were completely misusing their oppertunities at the fairs.
Now, college career fairs present a fantastic opportunity for students. Whereas applying to a job online simply places your name into a bucket with dozens, if not hundreds, or even thousands of faceless applicants, a career fair allows students to cut through the HR and automated resume screener bullsh*t and immediately talk directly with a real life engineer, thereby allowing the student to show off their skills and express their interests. The importance of this opportunity cannot be overstated.
When I was a student, I had a few companies start scheduling me for interviews on the spot when I impressed their engineers at the fair. Now this isn't my company's style, but for a few people, I've scribbled on the back of their resumes phrases such as, "AWESOME, HIRE HIM NOW," and "AMAZING!!." I can assure you those resumes went to the top of the list.
Lately, I've started to realize that my vocabulary is shrinking and that my ability to succinctly express my thoughts is diminishing with it. It's the weirdest thing, to find yourself reaching for a word, to know the meaning of said word, to have some weird visceral muscle memory of what that word should feel like rolling of your tongue, but then find yourself completely at a loss. I think part of the reason behind this is that I don't read as much anymore. The only books that I read last month, were comic books and young adult fiction (which strangely, was a genre of books that I almost entirely skipped over in my youth). Most of the things that I read at work are the poor, misshapen productions of foreign born engineers, that require several minutes of mental gymnastics per sentence to be properly understood.
But I think at least some part of my language woes stems from my lack of frequent, lengthy writing, with which most of my life was marked by until I graduated college. The solution then, I think, is to reinvest my time into blogging. I know that I was never the most regular of bloggers. Throughout college and high school, I often bemoaned my dearth of free time and attributed my infrequent blogging to it, and sadly, now that I actually have free time after work or on the weekends, I choose to waste much of my free time reading reddit. But a return to even my pre-real-world blogging regularity would be an improvement over my annual posts (it's been exactly one year to the day since I last posted). And let's face it, reddit is a horrendous waste of time.
So we'll call this fifth of May my return to blogging. (Hopefully)
Also, on another note, I have a project in the works to make a simple, static HTML blogging platform, and then ultimately move my own blog off of wordpress.
I wrote this article about three years ago, but never posted it. So finally, here it is... (I should point out this Thinkpad has since expired in a fire.)
I was procrastinating on studying a few weeks ago (as usual) and decided to look at the going prices for refurbished laptops, and most especially refurbished IBM Thinkpads. I stumbled across cedarpc.com and noticed that they had refurbished x60 Thinkpads for around $350, and then a few days later, a x60s (sans battery) showed up Cedar PC for only $240. I thought about it for a while and decided to pull the trigger on it. Now lets follow the logic that allowed me to justify spending $240 on a refurbished piece of 4 year old technology...
I have a perfectly functional HP dv2910us laptop right now that I carry to campus almost every day now and despite the fact that it only weighs in at around 5lbs, I've found it to be rather tiresome to carry constantly. The problem is mostly that not only do I have to carry the laptop, I also have to carry the AC charger, a binder, one or two textbooks, and my lunch, and the weight adds up quite quickly. So I've been thinking about getting a lighter machine for a while now. A netbook would be a perfectly logical choice, but after spending an extended period of time trying to type on a 10 inch netbook, I found the miniature keyboard to be absolutely unbearable to use. Of course, I considered getting a new 12 inch light weight laptop, but discarded the idea quickly because I really can't justify spending more then $800 on a device right now.
Obviously, the ipad or any kind of keyboard-less tablet was out of the question (not just because I dislike Apple) but because I can't develop software on the ipad.
The x60s I purchased is by no means expensive, and at 3lbs its quite light.
Shiny Shiny Shiny
I hate glossy screens. Glossy screens are the devil. The glossy screen on my HP bothered me a bit when I first got it, but I was willing to put up with it since the price was so low. Unfortunately, over the past 18 months that I've had my HP laptop, I've discovered that unless I keep the backlight cranked up to over 95%, the glare off the screen under normal lighting is atrocious. And of course, with the backlight up so high, my battery life went from 2.5 hours to about 1 hour.
I'm sitting in a dimly lit corner of the library right now with my backlight set to 90% and I can still see annoying little glare spots from the ceiling lamp twenty feet away, and even more annoyingly, I can see the reflection of my moving fingers at the base of the screen. If I switch to my black background terminal, I can see my entire reflection in all its glory. The only time that this screen doesn't have glare or reflect back everything behind it, is when there are no other ambient light sources in the same room. With the smallest amount of ambient sunlight, my shiny screen turns into a 14 inch mirror, and if I happen to sit next to a window on a sunny day, my screen becomes completely unusable.
Yet for some reasons, glossy screens are the only option for most laptops sold today. Only the high end business laptops and expensive Macbook pros offer matte screens at a premium, which infuriates me to no end.
My HP has a bit of a problem. When its CPU temperature drops below 118 F, the BIOS decides to go nutty, and it revs the system fans all the way up for a split second, shuts them them down for about a second, and then repeats ad nauseum. This generates what is hands down the most infuriating noise ever.
Imagine if you will, you're sitting in the nice quiet library studying for your big test tomorrow when some guy sits down next to you and pulls out his laptop. He flips it open and immediately the following noise starts emanating from his machine:
wwwhhhhRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRhhhh wwwhhhhRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRhhhh wwwhhhhRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRhhhh wwwhhhhRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRhhhh...
Oh, by the way, that guy with the annoying laptop is me...