1/9/2013Blogging up a storm
I've been on a kick lately of writing to my "explain complicated junk to kids" blog. I believe kids intelligence is vastly underestimated, and adults will typically avoid explaining complicated subjects because they feel the kid will not be able to comprehend.
I enjoy explaining complicated things in laymans terms as its some what of a challenge to find analogies and methods of explaining without actually warping the underlaying concept or introducing unnecessary confusion.
I recently just added "infrared remotes" "how rain and hail stay in the sky" "how airplane wings work" and "time dilation/relativity".
I am not an expert in any of these fields so please comment and start a discussion, it only ever ends in more understanding :)
So, no updates again for a while (here at least, I post pretty frequently on facebook) Mainly due to the fact that I recently got married, and bought a house. We've been done a ton of work on the house and have started a blog to host all of that junk here
During this time a buddy at work has gotten me re-interested in electronic engineering so I've started coming up with projects/products that I'll be making/putting together during the next year. These range from things as simple as add-on fridge door alarms, to 15 mile radius dog gps collars.
If you are interested, friend me on facebook
I left Geeksquad this yesterday for the last time. They changed their policy on required hours for part timers. (I had been working on day a week for 5 hours) So I had to voluntarily "separate".
I figured I would write a longer than usual post on the fun times had at geeksquad.
It all started when I was kicked out of drexel for hacking their network (I found and reported flaws, and they freaked out) I had a year off to kill some time (the Baederwood movie theater had just closed down) so I decided to follow my childhood friend (who was already working there) and apply to BestBuy. When I started we had a terrible boss, we had to do everything manually (all our software and stuff). Then one fateful thursday night me and rob were closing together, and we decided... wouldnt it be fun if we did out job... awesomely? So we decided to start trying, and kicked ass. Over that weekend (friday-sat) we closed out EVERY computer on our bench (which never happens).
Shortly after that our manager was fired and we got Tom. Tom was an idiot with computers, but this actually worked to his advantage, because he would focus his attention on managerial things, while we kicked ass for him. Because we did so well, Tom was able to get away with much more than most other departments were allowed. I really enjoyed working for Tom, he made it a point to appreciate us, and we appreciated that... appreciation? lol.
We used to play really stupid games with tom. "The bat game" consistend of hitting each other with a yellow wiffle ball bat, for no reason. Tom eventually wrapped it in medical tape and electrical tape and called it the "bumble-bee" or the "stinger" I dont remember. I left work with many a welt in those days :) We would staple each other, and play the "nose game".
For those that have not played the nose game: The rules are simply... if you put your finger to your nose before everyone else, you do not have to do whatever needs to be done at that moment. This includes helping customers, taking out trash, picking up something someone dropped, and my favorite.... Handing Tom a stack of papers for no reason, turning around, and then slapping them all our of his hands in a shower of giant white confetti, and immediately putting your finger on your nose forcing him to pick them up himself. (This is my favorite memory from rob)
We would steal each others ties/shoes and hide them/throw them up to get stuck in the rafters (rob had a tie that was stuck in the ceiling for over a year before it came down)
One of Tom's friends stole some pictures of him as a kid, so we did what every good friend does, and photocopied them, then busted out some MAD mspaint skills and put a bonit/pacifier on him and printed out copies for everyone in the store.
We packing-taped each other to chairs and pushed them around the store, we had competitive dance off's to terrible indian pop music, we tried to fit into the baby seats in shopping carts, we had ice-cream parties while working, we pretend hunted store managers
we all played video games together (even tamara who was terrible, but we played with her anyway
It was because of this appreciate I had for Tom that I started coding an automated version of our toolset (it basically did everything we did, but automatically, so all you needed to do was put in the disc, and walk away untill you hear "the final countdown" being played over the internal speaker. This part was Tom's idea)
Everyone loved it. We used to get so excited when we heard the song playing. Other managers would even play the song over our store intercom speaker by holding a phone to the computer that was done. Our numbers really started to rock. Our district was averaging almost 2 weeks for a computer to fixed (just due to backlog and lack of employees working) Our store had less than a day turn time. (this means that on average a computer was done by the end of the day) To this day, this is still unheard of for precincts (without manipulating the numbers by closing tags before they are actually done)
Tom and I were so happy/proud of our automated toolset that we decided to share it with the rest of geeksquad. Tom started contacting up through the power chain of geeksquad. Eventually Geeksquad HQ sent someone to come and take all of our cd's. (you are not allowed to use custom, or non-authorized code) which I understand. We were hoping to get them to authorise this, or at least take the idea and re-implement it. We eventually got a conference call with Michael Sherwood (lead something of stuff at Geeksquad HQ) He basically told us that full automation is never a good idea. That the 1% of the time that the software breaks, it wouldnt be worth it. I adamantly told him that was ludicrous and that automations is what computers are made for.
I had then code named our software "ZEBRA" (zero effort backup and recovery automation) I had hidden the automation so that if corperate people came in, it looked like we were using the normal software, but if you hit a secret key combination, it would show the automation. I also started making other tools to make our lives easier "Robs-mom-is-hot.exe" and "RachelsHerePartiesOver.msi" were tools to take large amounts of data, and split them up to most efficiantly fill backup cd's or dvd's.
Time passed, we kept kicking ass. but soon Sherwood announced on the forums that they were making a new MRI called FACE. (Facilitates Accuracy, Consistency & Efficiency) Man.. they love their acronyms... Sherwood had hinted that this would be fully automated... I obviously called him out previously stating that "full automation is bad". He deleted my post, and called me on my personal cellphone at 2am. He lectured me and accused me of "stirring up trouble" lol which of course I was... and love doing :)
Time came to re-paint our geeksquad precinct (It was getting very dirty looking) So Tom decided it would be awesome to paint zebra stripes in honor of our awesome tool and teamwork. Another aspect of the zebra... was that I incorperated everyone's ideas... so everyone felt they had contributed... We all loved using it, and were proud of our work. . Im pretty positive no other geeksquad looks like this.
Some of our agents moved to other stores, but they took our zebra with them... Every so often I would release a new version and add new features, fix bugs in the geeksquad software itself (I wrote a proof of concept virus that would infect the operating system, and completely prevent geeksquads tools for working) I fixed this bug so that it would not affect MY version of their software.
I had to reverse engineer their software to fix these flaws, and patch their assembly (because I didnt have the source). So that was another nerdy draw for me to continue coding.
Once Face came out, I felt it wasnt really necessary to keep making new software, as their code did almost everything mine did (They did not get windows updates and/or run registry cleaners) This was around the time I moved to princeton and started working full time. I could only keep working on sundays. I would come in every-so-often if they needed me on a weekday. Up untill yesterday.
Twitter recently changed to Oauth, and I needed to update my script (twitter.com/dailytix). I found an oauth python twitter client but it required a number of libraries to be installed. My shared host does not allow this, so I ripped apart the libraries and crammed them all into one gigantic python script. I'm posting the script in case anyone else runs into this and this could help. :)
5/24/2011Protein vs LeanMuscle weight
I've been noting every nutrient and measurment I could possible take for the past 5 months in the hope to find what makes the biggest difference in building muscle... surprise surprise the biggest correlation I could find was protein intake (specifically making sure I had 1g protein:1lb lean muscle weight)
I started strapping my EEG to myself while lifting weights in an attempt at discovering which weight lifting motions work the targeted muscles best.
An old hacker buddy of mine recently inspired me to get back in the weight room, but with a little help from science this time. I had lifted religiously in Highschool but never got very big (was 160lbs and 6'5 at one point). So now, with access to bodybuilding forums, and princeton's access to science journals I've compiled a list of supplements that are both scientifically proven effective, and safe. I Will be bulking untill June/July and then cutting untill November.
Ill post back with progress after the cut over.