Archive for the 'personal' Category

Calculating PI

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

In honor of PI day, I thought I would recall a story of my wayward youth.  =P

In middle school (at JDMS), I was becoming decently proficient at everything BASIC.  (Apple II, TRS-80 and DOS 3.3)  One of my math teachers mentioned to me that you could approximate PI by filling one quarter of a circle with an ever increasing number of rectangles of smaller and smaller widths.  And so I wrote a program to do just that.  Spent weeks running and rerunning it with different numbers of slices (and different methods of calculating the heights) and comparing the outputs to official known good values.  (and charting my accuracy)

I don’t remember exactly how accurate I finally got before they told me to stop running multi-day processes on the lab computers…  But suffice it to say: I was VERY nerdy.  =P


Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I was originally quite sceptical about the value of the Palm Pre’s Touchstone wireless charger accessory, esp. at its ridiculously high advertised price. However, now that I’ve had it for a week, I’m a total convert. It’s so nice to be able to just plunk the thing down at night and pick it up again in the morning without having to fumble with cords or those crappy plastic covers every cell phone manufacturer seems to love these days. Thanks Palm for coming back from the dead and giving Apple a good run for their money. :)

Don't Register at Target

Friday, December 19th, 2008

My fiancée and I registered at Target a few days ago, and after spending more than a little time wandering the store with the special scanner gun they give you, we handed it back to them and they said “Thank you very much! Your items will be viewable online within 1-2 hours.” We said great, went home, and went to bed.

The next day I tried to look it up online, and low and behold we have an empty registry. I call up the local store, and they explain the syncing happens automatically, wirelessly through the unit. They assured me it wasn’t sitting around unsynced somewhere, forgotten. They then transfer me to some regional office, they transfer me to general customer support, who transfers me to the bridal registry, who assures me (quite curtly) it’s in the system, just that it takes up to two days to display on the website. She said there was nothing to do but to wait another day, and call back if it didn’t appear.

Well, today, it’s still an empty registry. I go through the same series of phone calls again, and I’m told there are no items registered in either system, and that we need to return to the store to select the items again. Or, “we have convenient registry access online! You can pick out what you want there without having to go back again!” Gee, thanks lady. I’m astonished by the ease and convenience of the options you have presented me, and and eternally thankful for the care and level of professional support Target has provided me so far. Would you please delete my registry from your system?

Grrr. Argh.

gPapers in Nature

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Check it out… I was mentioned in a recent Nature article about research paper management tools: (doi:10.1038/453012b)

Cool, eh? :-)

NSF GK-12 Fellowship

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Dear Students,

Congratulations. You have been selected for the NSF GK-12 fellowship. This fellowship as you recalled I mentioned pays XX,000 a year, starting with this Summer, plus an extra stipend for tuition.

If you recall, it involves setting up an after-school program for middle-schools to motivate students to choose computer science (or a STEM) for their future careers.

We will come up with the official letter (the one you have to sign) soon (probably next week), but I just wanted to inform you that you have been selected.

If you are still with us on this project, please reply to me acknowledging your acceptance. We had more candidates than positions, so I have to make sure you are all on board before I notify those who were not selected.

Best wishes, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Jorge A. Cobb

w00t! =P


Monday, April 21st, 2008

I just want to mention that I am madly in love. Yay to me, and how wonderfully amazing my sweet, smart, nerdy, independent, and incredibly gorgeous girlfriend is. I love you babydoll. :)


Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Sometimes they’re really weird. Night before last, I was dreaming, and woke up. Looked around, realized I had been dreaming, plopped my head back down and fell right back asleep. Although instead of going into another dream, a message popped up (almost as if I was using a computer) saying (via white text on a black background):

If you would like to continue this dream, a charge of $19.95 will be applied to your credit card. Do you want to proceed?

[Yes] [No]

But my brain knew it was dreaming, and the absurdity of it made me laugh hard enough to wake me up again. So +1 for “weird dreams”. :)

P.S. Oddly enough, usually I can’t read in my dreams. The words are almost always confusingly jumbled, not just in word/letter transposition but in physical orientation and alignment. Sometimes if I focus I can pull them together (literally: they move about in what I can only describe as brownian motion) and make sense of them, but not often. It’s an interesting enough phenomenon that I often try to look for newspapers or books in my dreams when I realize I’m dreaming, and it’s a great litmus test for when I’m not sure.

Boob Tube

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

So in my oh-so-finite free time, I’ve discovered two new TV shows that are both unique and well written, and I thought I’d share…

Dexter is about a serial killer (protagonist) who graciously kills only other murderers. Sounds cliche when I put it like that, but it’s the best saga-drama I’ve seen since BSG. My sister-in-law introduced me to it, oddly enough. Curiously (in the sense of the writer’s take) he’s not motivated by humanitarian concerns, simply survival by staying under the radar. Lots of dry sarcasm, which if you know me you know is the cornerstone of my sense of humor. :-P

The second is Breaking Bad, where a chem teacher decides to go into the meth business to pay for the chemo for his stage-3 lung cancer. I was literally tearing up watching the last episode. (I’m a sucker for drama involving family/marriage problems, what can I say)

“But Derek, you’re a poor college student…and you buy Showtime?” Hardly. I’ve abandoned Tivo, even my Myth box, for Miro. It auto-downloads new TV shows as they come out for you. Read about how to set it up.

Let me know what you think. :)


Monday, March 10th, 2008

My mother sent me a link to my cousin’s blog yesterday… Reading it (and contrasting it with my own) I feel so dorky and boring! Note to self: cook more. You enjoy it, you’re not bad at it, and no one will ever love you for who you are, so bribe them with food. :-P

Never Buy a Nice Car

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Ok, so in the 2.5 years I’ve owned my little toy, I’ve been keyed no less than 3 times, had my front AND rear emblems stolen, and now my window smashed and my radar detector stolen. This just isn’t worth the hassle.

poor z4

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