Thursday, July 31, 2008

Work, work, work

My first week of my new job is going by pretty quickly. Commuting from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica everyday takes about an hour and a half out of each of my days. Add in the core work hours of 10am to 7pm everyday and I've basically got 11 hours of each day spent commuting or at work.

My actual work days have been pretty decent. Apparently my first task will be to do some work on the sound system, which has suffered from lack of serious work for quite some time. The two people that are actually my supervisors have been out this week, so my schedule has been a bit up in the air for the time being. I've been working with the sound guy, though, to try to get in some quick fixes for long standing problems with the sound system before this week is over. However, the features I've added have revealed some issues with the underlying architecture that I now need to fix. It's pretty tricky sometimes to fix subtle bugs in a complex system that someone else created.

Ah well. I'm not in too big of a rush to move closer to Santa Monica, but I can already tell that I would rather have back an extra hour each day to do other things. It's just so hard to find a good roommate. I miss my old roommate.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Google Indexes A Trillion Websites

It's kind of mind boggling how much information Google handles nowadays. Their search apparently covers one trillion websites now.... As a programmer, I find their service to be all that much more amazing. A decade ago, indexing a trillion websites would have been completely unreasonable. Even today, that's quite an incredible computational feat and it's become pretty much a daily part of our lives (for most internet users, I'd imagine).

In other news, I'm now at my buddy's place and my setup is fairly livable. My move in yesterday was not too bad aside from me suffering from pretty strong allergies. I spent some time cleaning the room a bit, and my allergies have abated. I also ended up driving up to Santa Monica to test out the commute today and the results weren't too encouraging. The drive took roughly 50 minutes each way in moderate traffic (not peak commuter hours). I have a feeling I'm going to hate the commute.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Hate Moving

Tomorrow, I'm gonna start the gradual move to my friend's apartment in Redondo Beach to shorten my commute to my new job in Santa Monica. Change will be good for me.

Hopefully, Luxoflux (part of Activision) will be a good place to work and traffic will not be as brutal as I've heard. My current plan is to at least partially move to my friend's place so I can stay there for a while and then if the commute is not too bad, I can stay there for the longer term. If the commute is too painful, then I will just move somewhere closer to Santa Monica and pay a lot more. I'll try to make the final decision quickly so I can just move furniture straight from my old place down here in Orange County straight to the right place with less wasted moving.

I'm gonna miss my roommate from down here (and her kitty of course).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lack Of Science Education In The U.S.

I had no idea science education in the United States was this bad. I was lucky enough to have a very good science education. The quality varies greatly, apparently:

Dr. Miller's data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

If you're a fan of Joss Whedon's work, you'll be happy to know that his latest work is available for viewing on the internet until midnight tomorrow. So hurry to go see "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" for some brief entertainment. It features Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion as the stars.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Google Maps Can Be Awesome... But Scary

Some folks put together this funny video of Google maps going wrong:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Once again, I've been introduced to good music from a band that I did not expect: Flyleaf. Their music is strongly Christian although they do not pigeonhole themselves into being a "Christian band" per se. Their music stands on its own merits so it doesn't particularly matter if they are a "Christian band" or not. In the past, my exposure to "Christian bands" led me to believe that at least some of the artists were more focused on conveying a Christian message than they were on making good music.

Here's a YouTube video of them performing one of their rather clearly Christian themed songs live. I chose this one because I like hearing how bands sound outside a studio before making a final opinion of them.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Intelligent Design As Science

Apparently Ben Stein has a movie coming out discussing the persecution of intelligent design by scientists. There really shouldn't be such a huge fuss over intelligent design.

1. Should intelligent design be taught in basic science classrooms? No. The theory of evolution is the theory that is generally accepted by the scientific community. There is no more room for intelligent design in classrooms than the theory I just made up about how people are on earth because we were painted into existence in a giant piece of canvas by a crazy artist in another dimension.

2. Should scientists be permitted to write papers that consider intelligent design? Sure. They better have good scientific evidence supporting their theories. There was a time when evolution was the minority opinion and was greeted with hostility as well. Scientific progress comes from people coming up with new ideas and testing them.

3. Is evolution "just a theory?" Yes. However, theories studied through the scientific process carry a lot more weight when they have a huge body of evidence backing it from the work of countless scientists working to find the truth. Evolution has a lot of scientific research supporting it. Intelligent design is also "just a theory." However, the very nature of this theory is nearly impossible to support scientifically, so it will likely not be a seriously considered scientific theory in the foreseeable future.

4. Why is everyone so upset? A lot of the bad taste in people's mouths about this issue come from the notion that some religious people may be using intelligent design as a way to sneak religion into science classrooms. Religion should not be a part of public school education since our country grants religious freedom. Religious people need to clear their heads and accept this.

5. Is there room for religion to peacefully coexist with science? Sure. It is pretty much impossible for science to ever answer all our questions because every question that is answered inevitably leads to more questions. Furthermore, religion gives people answers to questions beyond science, like morality.