Sunday, September 24, 2006

Week Wrap-up

    Music that must be heard:
  • E' Tão Gostoso Seu Moço, by Tania Maria

  • Bach: The Cello Suites, performed by Yo Yo Ma

  • Shostakovich: Symphony Nos. 5 & 9, performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic

  • Stars I Shall Find arr. David Dickau – good luck finding a recording, I heard it live at a university choral concert, but if you find it let me know.

With the music out of the way, I should say that the weekend was quite nice. I didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped to on the college reading front, or the recreational reading front, but it was restful and that should count for something. I went to see a cousin sing with her choir at the university, it was really great. I left the concert feeling better about a lot of things. It brings out the chorus geek in me. It is really cool to see a group of people working together in such a way as to make beautiful music.

Last week I finished a P2P file sharing program for my networking class. Not feeling up to the battle of C or C++ I wrote it in Java, and found that socket programming in Java really is a dream. If you thought that it was easy in C#, you aint seen nothing yet. I am pleased with my program even if it is just a toy. One of the things that professional coding has taught me is that there can be a pretty significant difference between the sorts of things that one is asked to make for a school project and what one must do for a truly viable commercial application. So, I look at my toy P2P program and look at all of the things that I would have to change to make it “real” and feel that in some ways the students are getting blinded to what the application would have to do in the real world. On the positive side, at least it was something that one could program in a few evenings rather than weeks of meticulous labor.

I am feeling somewhat guilty about some of the side projects I have had to back burner in the last couple of weeks to make room for school and work, hopefully those people involved with me on those projects won’t feel too badly. Next weekend I may have a bit of time to look at some of that stuff.

The days are long, but the weeks seem to just fly by. Can you believe we are at the end of September?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Day in the Life - Saturday Edition

My flickr photo set for today. A very good day if you ask me. A great way to start a new season.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Must Hear Music

I think that there are some songs that every person should hear at least once in their lives. Last year I had the opportunity to go to hear the Utah Symphony play Mahler’s fifth symphony in C Sharp Minor. The fourth movement of said symphony is one of the most powerful themes I have ever heard. A little bit of classical music does everyone some good.

Last weekend on public television there was a documentary on about Leonard Bernstein. Throughout his life, he really had a love for Mahler, and they showed him conducting the Adagietto(fourth movement) from the fifth symphony. I was reminded of how powerful the piece really was. I already had a recording, but tonight I had to go and get the one with Bernstein as the maestro.

Take a moment for yourself, visit iTunes, buy the track, and give it a careful listen.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'd Like to Get Back

CodeFin. Get yours at

I'd really like to get back to taking photos. Maybe I need to start carrying my camera with me again. I spent all of that money on the blessed DSLR, I really should put it to use. At the end of the Summer, I got to do my sister's bridals, it was really quite a bit of fun, even if it was expensive and somewhat stressful. I learned quite a bit and they came out ok. If I tried to take at least a photo a day, I bet that I'd find some interesting stuff at the end of the week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Life Update (mostly school and work)

Tomorrow marks the fourth week of fall semester. For some reason that I have yet to understand fall is always harder for me than spring. Maybe it has to do with the changing weather from warm to cold, or that somehow over the summer I forget how much work school is, or maybe it is just that I psych myself out. Regardless of the cause, it is just hard. I don’t think that the homework burden is any different, but it just seems like it is a real challenge. Four weeks ago I wrote that I would talk about my classes.

I am enrolled in three classes Operating Systems, Networking, and Database Systems. All of the classes are on the 5000 level, taught concurrently as a 6000 level course for first year graduate students. So far, the homework load hasn’t been too heavy, just two written assignments, but that promises to remedy its self this coming week. One thing I have noticed about these quasi-graduate courses is that many more assumptions are made about the base knowledge of the student. Also, there seems to me much more reading to do than what I’ve seen in the CS program over the past three years. Operating Systems and Database Systems both have term projects. The latter is a web-based application that uses a database; the requirements were left vague on purpose. In that class I’ll be working with friends that I have done projects with before. We haven’t solidified our project idea yet, but that will probably happen in the next week or so. The term project in the OS class is to write a simple kernel. It sounds simple, but I don’t think that it will be so in practice.

Work continues to stretch and challenge me. I am learning a lot, and getting more and more comfortable with the J2EE way of writing web applications. I got to work some AJAX into an app that I have been working on. It was pretty exciting as I was the first person on our team to get AJAX code out and running in the live environment. As one would expect, projects in the “real world” are much more complex and time consuming than those found in the classroom. I am having a good time, and that should count for something.

Schooling and working full time has put a real crunch on my free time. Most days, I am up by 5:30 AM, and am at work by 6. From that point on, I could either be at work, or at school depending on the day. It is usually a mix of the two, and results in me getting home somewhere between 6 and 8 PM. The paychecks are nice and the experience I am gaining is too. It does however mean that I have to be quite diligent about using what free time I do have to do my homework.

I have some other projects brewing along on the side, but I am finding that giving them the time that they deserve is really challenging. I may need to cut them out entirely, or just realize that they might not get done on the timeframe that I had expected. When these things frustrate me, I have to remind myself that there are lots of things that are going well. I’ll graduate in the spring. I won’t have any debt. I am having good experiences at school and work. I get to do what I love. There may be stresses there, but there’s a lot to be grateful for too.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Double Yellow

One of these are mine the rest belong to photographers far more talented than me. I was going through some of my flickr favorites in this afternoon and noticed that within two pages, I had selected this theme three times as a favorite photo. I am not sure why I find the road with double yellow lines painted in the middle so pleasing, but I do. Maybe it has to do with the thrill of the journey, or the mystique of not knowing what comes next. Maybe it is just a thing that I have for contrast and that for some wierd reason I really like gray/black with yellow. I couldn't really stick my finger on it. But this is Sunday's post. Some roads with lines on them. Thanks to the great photographers who made it possible.

by jstar

by darkmatter

by LeggNet

by me