The Last Lecture Thoughts

The main things I got out of The Last Lecture were what Randy Paush said about brick walls being a test to see how much you really want to something, and that those walls are just to keep everyone else out. Be aggressive and push hard to try to accomplish things.

I also was impressed by his optimism and constant complimenting others. This man had accomplished so much but always went out of his way to point out others’ accomplishments.


Privacy Policy reviews

In class we each went over a privacy policy from a website we used and discussed it in class.

It’s surprising how much is stored in privacy policies that we never think about; I wonder if some of the points were put right up front (such as how much data they sell to advertisers) on the website, would people still use them? I feel like some sites try to make their privacy policy difficult to use or understand because of this.

But other sites try to make it as easy as possible for users to understand. Such as how LinkedIn provides a video version for people. Maybe it’s because their users are smarter when it comes to legal things since it is a business platform.

We hear  a lot how websites track everything we do and that so much of our data is available online to advertisers, but it feels different to actually see it yourself by actually reading the privacy policy.


Hive Tracks and Bee Informed Partnership case study reflections

The last time my senior seminar class met, we discussed the Hive Tracks and Bee Informed Partnership. The main topic of discussion was data ownership: Who owns the data that volunteers give to these organizations? Also, does that change depending on if the data is from businesses or from individuals?

An interesting point brought up was what happens to data if one of the companies is sold. Someone may be okay with giving their data to these organizations, but not to another one that may end up buying them in the future.

Questions like these always need to be addressed right at the start.

It’s especially relevant to beekeepers though, since bees are so vulnerable. And giving out the data can be dangerous, as it would allow others to figure out beekeepers’ locations. It would be easy for competitors to damage each other’s production if data were to leak.


Career Development

I attended a career development workshop for class recently. The focus was on networking, interviewing, and following up. Since everyone in the class is a senior, it’s all very relevant to us.

For networking, it’s very important to use LinkedIn somewhat actively. Every time you meet someone, add them as a connection, and if you’ve worked with them, ask for a recommendation.

For interviewing, the speaker said it helps to do practice interviews, which my school offers. I don’t think this is that important though, as most interviewers would know they were speaking to college students with little experience of interviews and would let small mistakes slide. And, in my experience, it only takes one actual interview to become confident and  familiar with the process. My second interview ever went great (much better than my first), and I didn’t read any tips or get advice on what to do. It’s pretty intuitive.

As part of networking, the speaker said it’s very important to follow up with an email or LinkedIn message later on. LinkedIn messages are better, because they won’t get lost in the ’email abyss’ most people have. Just a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘it was great speaking to you’ can have a great impact. This is something I struggle with, but I know the power of it; people respond very favorably to it.


Personal Ethics

When making decisions on how to spend my time, I try to balance three things: health, experiences, and career.

I try to do everything with the long term in mind; what will make me the most happy when I’m 80? Obviously I don’t want to be wheelchair-bound and on a bunch of medication so I prioritize health first. Get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise regularly. I find this also makes it a lot easier to study and enjoy myself. My remaining time I budget between experiences and career. When I’m old, I don’t want to remember my youth being spent studying and working, but I also don’t want to be working a dead end job. I’d like to be comfortably retired. I make sure I go out and have fun, but also I work hard and keep grades up. Of course, it’s not necessary at all to have perfect grades; both a 90 and a 100 are A’s, getting those extra 10 points does nothing to improve your grade, so why try for it? Better to spend that time on gaining new experiences.

With careful management and good work ethic it’s possible to have high standards of work while also having time to enjoy yourself.


Best Computing Experiences

I’ve just started my final year as a CS student undergrad and it’s time to reflect back on my time here.

My best computing experience ‘in class’ would have to be when I participated in my university’s hackathon AppHack and my entry was disqualified because none of the judges believed my entry was made from scratch (of course I didn’t find out until a week later when one of them was nice enough to tell me that’s why I didn’t place). On one hand it’s a pretty big compliment, but on the other I am annoyed because I worked hard on it and wouldn’t mind having won some of the prizes.

My best outside class computing experience would be this summer during my internship at Avast when I wrote a signature for a family of malware and found nearly 1000 samples. The signature is now part of Avast’s malware recognition database. I also built an extractor that could decrypt the payload packaged in each sample to be further analyzed. It was a great real world experience and it felt good to actually objectively contribute to improving the world.


Begin LD37!

just finished finals and it’s time to get back into gamedev!

Ludum Dare 37 just started (theme: One Room), which is great, haven’t been able to participate in the last couple.

I want to go more cinematic and visual with this entry, so I started with the intro:

Let’s get this party started!


Fractals in Unity

Lately I’ve been experimenting with Mandelbrot fractals in Unity.

Here’s the basic script I used, It has some basic controls for navigating and exploring the fractal. Just attach to a quad and it works.

You can play with resolution and iterations amount as well.

It’s basic and unoptimized, so not the best for real-time. I’d recommend checking out the Mandelbrot Wikipedia page for info on optimizations: link