Yet another client

No Comments »

Here I am with another client: for now I will say credit card company in Wilmington, Delaware. So far I’m being treated well for a contractor. It took a while to get used to the area, but it’s not bad and I met some great people.

The city doesn’t have a lot of exciting things going on, however, I will say that there’s a lot of good food here. Oh man, I found about 2 good pizza places and the restaurants at the Riverfront Market are all well-priced for the taste.

Posted on February 17th 2012 in Uncategorized

Site went down

No Comments »

Nobody told me, but my website went down. As you can see, the old theme was gone. For whatever reason, looks like my wp-content directory went bye-bye, which killed the website. Luckily, all of the posts were intact, as with the hosted content

Posted on February 17th 2012 in Uncategorized

Wow. I never knew it could get this far

No Comments »

Wow. I’m surprised that my PC got this far. I never expected to use this many drive letters. Okay, 3 of them are due to an external hard drive and 2 of them are my MP3 player, but I’m almost out on Windows!

Running out of drive letters!

So, how did this happen, you may ask? Simple. Some of those partitions are ancient. My PC still has Windows 2000 on it! Two of the partitions are taken up Windows XP x64 and a 2nd copy of Windows 7. So, I guess if it gets bad enough, I could hide the extra Windows 7 copy when running off the SSD.

I originally partitioned my drive to organize things. What I found is that it’s easier to upgrade the hard drive, then clone the partition to the new one while expanding it at the same time. As you can see, it worked really well. However, I ended up with a lot of extra space, so I used that space to make a general-purpose partition. And here I am, just today I ordered another hard drive. I do only plan on creating only 1 extra partition.

Now, on one fine day, I pushed my luck. I created 26 partitions, from A: to Z:. What happened is that I just ran out. I couldn’t create any more. The legendary AA: didn’t exist, which I kind of wish did because it would make organizing things a little easier.

Anyways, they say the solution is that you can mount the drive as a directory on another drive if you run out, kind-of like they do on Linux (/etc/opt2, for example). So, you can have C:\I_filled_all_26\ as your new drive.

Update: I found out that it’s possible, at least in the command-line, to assign 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 0: !: @: ): (: -: +:

The ): (: might be fun for scripting purposes

Posted on November 6th 2011 in Uncategorized

Researcher suggests video games may not boost cognition

No Comments »

An FSU researcher came to the conclusion of “Play games because you enjoy them, not because they could boost your brain power.” I’ll let you read the rest of the article

I feel that for most games, it’s true. The trickiest part, I feel, is that a Video Game, for some reason, has a tendency to take on the form of a game. You do get challenged and you can develop skills from a lot of games. However, the skills you get from a lot of games won’t help you in the real world. There are definite exceptions, and they should be studied.

There are two games where I feel that they can teach you something. The first case is the game of Civilization. Ask a hardcore Civ player about technology and military units, and that player will have a good overview. Now, the Civ games don’t go too in-depth about the unit, but on average, the person will know more. Also, if you base history just on the Civ series, you’ll get the wrong idea about Ghandi.

I feel that the Civilization case can be used to spark an interest in history, like the Indiana Jones movies sparked interest in archaeology. Civilization is a strategy game, and while you can’t be a military strategical master from playing the game, it can plant the seed.

The second one is definitely Flight Simulator. This isn’t about Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, since I haven’t played that in a long time and can’t comment on whether or not I can fly an airplane from that game,  but flight simulators. They are definitely used to train pilots before they get into the cockpit of an airplane, and airplanes are expensive.

Now, those flight simulators probably won’t 100% teach you about airplanes, but it’s my 40-95% complete rule. If you can get something to the 40-95% level at something and there’s an overall benefit to it, then it’s worth doing. In an airplane’s case, while it may take more time to train a pilot using a flight simulator, you take a lot less of a risk crashing into the ground the first time you get into a real airplane.

What I feel that it comes down to is not making video games as educational tools, but games as educational tools. That’s tricky.

Posted on September 17th 2011 in Ramblings

Found an incredible laundromat in Elgin, Il: Mi Lavanderia(My Laundromat)

No Comments »

Well, I tried to add this store to Yelp and Google Places, but Yelp needs the guy to have a website and Google Places only lets me add reviews to others. So, I’ll help put this guy on the map. I love honest people, and I know that my website ends up on Bing and Google.

Mi Lavanderia (My Laundromat)
830 Summit St, Elgin, IL 60120

I signed up to Yelp to give this guy a review, but yeah, since he doesn’t have a website, you can’t add it to Yelp. Anyways, the dude bought the place 2 years ago and man, he knows how to serve customers. He also really easy to become friends with.

This Laundromat just feels like its run the old-fashioned way, but in the best ways. The owner is incredibly nice and helpful. Despite its outwards appearance, I felt pretty safe inside the place.

And man, the owner is incredibly helpful. He’ll get you to the best machines in the place, and he even helped me get my laundry out of the car. There’s a fridge with lot of different drinks, including Mexican soda.

However, the following things he said to me got my attention:

“Hey man, your car trunk got open!” “Want to watch a particular TV channel, just let me know” “Wait man. Are you putting quarters in? Drying is free with a wash here. Did you put two in? Here’s your money back!” “Hey, you can take a cart to get your clothes.”

As of today, they are running a $1.50 special on mid-sized washers on Wednesdays.

I’m not sure if the place is the cheapest around. However, the customer service the owner provided was simply some of the best I ever got. I’ll be coming back next time I need to use a laundromat.

Posted on September 14th 2011 in Uncategorized

Tips for consultants / single people

No Comments »

As a contractor, I’m learning some good life lessons. Some of them deal with working with well-known companies. Others deal with living single

I had to break a lease not too long ago, and the fines are painful. Some renter’s insurance companies offer unintentional unemployment plans

Lots of hotels are willing to make a deal with you on long-term stays. I found the manager at Candlewood Suites to be a very good negotiator. One heck of a woman.

The Dollar Tree is nice for a single cup or bowl. Most places have plastic bowls for $1-2. The Dollar Tree has ceramic and glass ones for that price. In fact, some of The Dollar Tree’s glass cups and bowls are made in the USA.

The Dollar Tree is a very good chain. Everything in the store is $1 or less, and they don’t pull BS on you. The Dollar Tree Deals, even though isn’t “everything’s $1 or less”, overall has enough $1 items

If you have any doubts if you should buy a plunger, buy a plunger. I find buying them at hardware stores like the Home Depot will get you a better plunger. Someone at a hardware store will more than likely know which plunger is a good one compared to a lot of other stores.

Accordion-like plungers are awesome for toilets

I just found out that some consulting companies will advance you money if you need to. A wise coworker said that you might be able to spread the advance over x paychecks.

Ethnic food stores sometimes are good places for spices. Places that sell spices in bulk also have a good deal. You’ll be surprised how much 0.5 oz of spice costs, and how long it can last

It seems like if I don’t buy toilet paper when it’s on sale when I have a good amount, when I get close to running out, it won’t be on sale anymore. So, if I have no more than 1.5 weeks worth, I buy.

Coupons are nice. However, if you get a lot of them, consider a small organizer.

There exist toilets in this world that will clog with only 12 sheets of TP. While it’s flattering that you can take a dump large enough to clog it, when that Swirl of Doom starts rising, that flattery becomes fear.

Dry Ice is pretty awesome, but be aware that it’s sold by the pound.

If the bottom of your shirt is curled up, an iron will fix it

If you use the dishwasher a lot and are buying pots, it’s worth paying a little extra for dishwasher-safe pots

If you can’t afford a pot set at once and want to buy pieces one at a time, try TJ Maxx or Mashalls. T-Fal pots are alright on a budget

Bed, Bath, and Beyond sometimes has 10-20% coupons for in-store purchases. You can get some pretty high-end stuff with it for a discount.

Not a lot of nonstick pots can handle high heat that well

Hard water can be nasty. I had to use Lemi-shine and high-end dishwasher detergent to minimize it in San Antonio. I think I was getting rashes from it

It might be worth it to pay a little extra to go to a grocery store than can divide your meat up in packets. Consider the overhead cost of reclosable storage bags, Saran wrap, or aluminum foil

That’s all for now

Posted on September 6th 2011 in Uncategorized

Woo. Another setback conquered

No Comments »

I had this one issue that plagued me for a while. I even used some of it in my own code before getting into the company. Unfortunately, the work is now in some software that’s considered unreleased, so I can’t really talk about it. However, it’s just amazing that this problem that has plagued me for maybe 4-5 months is solved, and the missing piece of the puzzle was amazingly weird.

It feels so good that I solved it. Not only that, it’s a really handy technique that I had in my arsenal and my recent discovery I even have some versions of it in The Princess Blade.

Posted on September 6th 2011 in Uncategorized

Math and programming

No Comments »

Oh man. I did some work today and it made me realize how much I like mixing math and programming. There’s something about getting a result that requires me to get away from the computer and stand at a whiteboard. I’ll be doing diagrams and start coming up with equations on how to get a result. There’s just something about that particular process that stands out for me over others

Posted on September 6th 2011 in Uncategorized

Mmm… PHP

No Comments »

WordPress is making me think a little because it runs on PHP, and I do know and really like PHP. The webhost I have for this website isn’t anything special, but I really can’t complain because, well, let’s just say I pay less than $75/yr for it. Of course, I have a backlog of personal projects going on, but it’ll be a fun experiment.

Posted on September 1st 2011 in Uncategorized

Oh yeah, got a client

No Comments »

Whew. I finally got a client. As people at last client’s campus could tell, I had mixed emotions about being let go. I pretty much knew that I’ll probably make more money after I land another client, and it turned out I did.

The new company is actually pretty awesome. I’ll have to ask around there if I can reveal the name of the client. The people there seem to have a pretty easy-going attitude, and there’s very good indications that the client has been managing their money very well. The desktop they assigned me is pretty insane in the specs department. It’s one of the few times where I work with a PC that’s faster than my home system, which itself is pretty high-end (Home system being a Phenom II X6 with an SSD and 8 gigs of RAM).

It was much rougher finding a place here than it was in San Antonio. I stayed at the Candlewood Suites, and man, that was nice. I saw the price of staying there vs a motel (btw, I have nothing against a motel), and it was something like $10 more/night. It was one of the nicest rooms I have ever stayed at, if not the nicest. There was a small kitchen and the bathroom was quite spacious even for house standards.

I expected an apartment on that Saturday and someone got it before I could. However, they agreed to show me one on the following Tuesday. So, when I got back to the Candlewood, I talked with the manager to get my stay extended and wow, what a shrewd negotiator, the good kind. She was offering me a deal to stay there for a few months and if I wasn’t kind-of locked into the apartment, I might have taken her up on her offer. I will tell you one thing: if I’m still a contractor at the next client in another city, I’ll definitely consider an Ichigo Hotels group suite. The price was very comparable to the apartment I’m staying at now, considering at the apartment, I have to deal with the cost of laundry (free there), Internet, electricity, gas, and the small stuff.

I also wished that either the guy at the apartment complex or the manager at the Candlewood was a jackass, and that would have made my decision of where to stay far easier, but they both to me came off as good, honest people. I am glad that I mentioned the Candlewood to the three other guys that started when I did, and one coworker ended up staying there. I do not blame him one bit.

I’ve been feeling like that one Jeff Foxworthy joke about a Dad being on vacation. This is where he goes into the wallet and just starts throwing cash everywhere. However, in this case it’s been things like “I’ll need soap, trash cans, trash bags, a chair, etc”. I should have remembered in San Antonio not to underestimate the price of trash bags.

It seems like every time I try to start making this game again, something happens. I was about to start on it in San Antonio, and the unfortunate happened. I lived with my folks until something better came along. So, tokeep my skills in check, I started this game and then *whoosh*. Off to Illinois.

So, here I am and waiting for a few paychecks. I do hope within a month or two when the finances settle, to explore Chicago a little. I need to make sure I update this blog more often as well.

Posted on September 1st 2011 in Uncategorized