Tolerance will not be tolerated.

5hr

Five hour energy is great in bouts, but don’t count on it for daily use. The more of this stuff that I downed during the year, the less it impacted me. I only took it when needed, but I guess during finals I needed quite a bit of it. Caffeine tolerance isn’t good, friends! Sleep is truly the ultimate energy drink! We’re in the process of packing up everything in the house and moving to North Carolina. I’ll be only an hour from school! Zach’s Computer Service is also going to relocate so I’ll be able to make some money. I’d take a computer science class next semester but I can’t because my calculus II class conflicts with everything offered.

 

20 pages of comments on seemslegit! It’s fun to read all of the comments, but even with spam protection and reCAPTCHA checking everyone, I can’t tell if some of the comments are spam or not. Some of the comments I’ve gotten from anonymous authors make me glad that I’ve disabled anonymous uploading and tagging :D

 

>300 communication majors, <10 professors. No wonder I can’t take communication studies classes without being a major.

 

My summers tend not to be as exciting as some people’s summers. I’ve been packing every day, playing games, reading my Kindle, and exercising. As I’ve alluded to before, I’m not much of a party person, and as much as I love working and buying new stuff, the stuff is piling up and I’m getting bored. This is not a sustainable economic model.

 

I went to San Francisco with a good friend the other day and found that the arcade in the Metreon has closed down and is going to be replaced by a Target. Too bad, really… arcades are hard enough to come by these days, and I’m guessing they’re quickly on the way out, especially because their copy of Street Fighter IV was an Xbox 360 connected to an arcade stick that would work for a few minutes as long as you kept feeding in quarters.

 

So, the Wii… U? Another blogger said once that Nintendo’s strategy is to create a console with a funky new control scheme and give it a weird name, then watch as it outsells everyone else. I’m super psyched for the new 3DS titles though. Starfox, remade. Zelda, remade. Virtual console emulation, 3D classics, remade. So many remakes, rereleases, and reiterations of the same stuff. Mario Kart 3D, Super Mario 3D, etc. are new titles just for 3DS though and I’m looking forward to all of it. I’m really just looking forward to the point at which my 3DS stops being so useless when compared to my DS Lite. The L and R buttons on the 3DS work, at least, but the D pad is squeaky at times.

 

 

Oh, and I’ll never be the best at Tetris.

Perhaps I’m immune to it

I should really post sometime in my serious blog about this issue. Perhaps gather some expert opinions before putting pen to paper. Make it an essay-quality post with facts to back it up. But that’s not what I do here on this blog; this is simply my opinion.

I have rarely been in a situation wherein I am peer pressured to do something, and of the times that I have been, I’ve never been successfully pressured into doing anything. In fact, if there’s something I’d rather not do, I’d say that there’s no possible way of getting me to do it short of physically forcing me to do whatever it may be. My stubbornness is a good quality in that I am easily able to avoid potentially bad situations, but it comes at a cost: if you go against the group, you alienate yourself from the group.

The drinking problem is one that faces all universities; safety, education, well-being, student retention, atmosphere, etc. In the beginning, the US government withheld highway funds from states that refused to raise their state drinking age from 18 to 21, and eventually it became almost unanimous: technicalities aside, the age is 21. Does turning 21 give you some sort of knowledge that the 20-and-under crowd just can’t understand? Some scientists say (weasel words, too tired to look up the facts) that the brain isn’t fully developed until age 21, but by observing all the stories of people turning 21 and spending the day binge drinking, I’m not sure that it changes anything for some people.

I would argue that under-21′s are treated as second-class citizens in a sense; banned from a major, major part of world culture. Heck, even most of the world would agree with that, as the US is one of the only countries that has a drinking age that’s set so high. I would also agree that, for our safety, these laws should remain in place (though does it really stop people?)

As for me, I’m part of the 28% who don’t drink in this country. (at least, according to that survey) I guess I’ve just never been interested in alcohol, never curious, never even once. Growing up, I neither saw nor heard too much about drinking except in those education classes that said that it’d kill you no matter what. To quote one of my substitute teachers from middle school, “this stuff is boring, so to make you interested in learning about it they have to scare you to get you to pay attention.” Starting with the very day I was born it feels like I was given an eternal clipboard and pen and quizzed about my use of alcohol, drugs*, and tobacco (*No shoplifting, murder, or skateboarding, kids. Alcohol and tobacco aren’t drugs, they’re their own separate category). I cannot go one semester without getting an email about some drinking survey, and it seems like every quarter I get an email about a drug survey. I’ve never used any illegal drugs (or legal prescription ones that aren’t prescribed to me) and I’ve already discussed my stance on alcohol and my upbringing, so these surveys are as alien to me as is any certain particle of snow in Antarctica. In other words, I do not know alcohol.

I don’t know what people see in it or why they act the way they do while under its influence, and from what I’ve seen (which isn’t a whole lot), it isn’t a lifestyle choice I’m very eager to make. Perhaps when I’m 21, but by then I’ll of course be able to make a more rational, informed decision with my fully developed brain. Others, however, and the vast majority of others that I’ve encountered in my proximity, do see something in drinking, and partake of it quite often. I’m not going to go into the whole debate about legality, as that old horse has been beaten to death too many times (and will receive another round sometime soon if I ever get to posting about this on my serious blog) but tonight, I was around a group in which everyone except a significantly small number of others (who had all drank before) and myself. I believe that they’re still out there somewhere, conversing and laughing, engaging in their hijinks. Perhaps I’m no fun, but I fail to see the fun in sitting around for hours and just talking about nothing. (I also fail to see the point of going to parties, but that’s another story.) Perhaps I simply can’t relate to these people, perhaps I don’t share the same common experiences. Perhaps I don’t share the same interests. Perhaps it’s because I’m sober. Whatever the reason, an invitation was presented to me to partake in their illicit activities. (Wow, that sentence was all Joseph Ducreux up in here) Now, I have a great deal of respect for the people who I was with, because from the second that I said “No,” that was the end of it. No peer pressuring tactics were used. No sense of shame in going against the group was created. No hard feelings were had. In fact, the whole situation played out in opposition to the many situations that I’ve seen in all those pointless education classes. Despite this fact, unspoken pressure still existed, which I’ll attribute to the atmosphere. The groupthink of which everyone was doing it. Solomon Asch would agree with me on this one: had I had any doubt in my mind about my disposition, I may well have given in.

The fact that I didn’t, however, isolated me from the group, and while I remained steadfast in my actions and beliefs and never gave into any type of pressure, nothing was lost nor gained by my actions. Had I chosen to drink, I would say I’d have all to lose and nothing to gain, but I don’t know; I’ve never tried it.

In conclusion, this is exactly 1,000 words I wrote. Why can’t I write like this on important stuff, like my essays?

Outside-type moves have been weakened!

The library is closed today. The library will be closed tomorrow. The library will remain closed during Sunday.

The dining hall is opening in 22 minutes. The dining hall will stay open for 60 minutes. The dining hall will not re-open for another 5 hours.

Easter break is trolling me right now; we weren’t really supposed to stay at school, but many people did.

I found one of my old blogs from middle school on the web today. It was marked as “Private.” I thought that I might want to archive all of the old content from it onto my main blog, but after reading just one post, I quickly realized why I had taken it down from pubic view. In middle school, I must not have been a very good writer (and some of you probably think I still have a long way to go) as all I talk about in my old blog is how much homework I had to do, or the absence of homework. I have about 50 posts in this old blog, and after reading through all of them, I must have really hated my homework. Doing a ctrl+F to search for “work” matched 114 results on the first page. Of course, I had set it up so that all my posts were on a single page to make it seem like I had more content than I did. (Come to think of it, I still do that on my main blog.) Either way, I was apparently a very boring person back in middle school.

Twitter: when you’re too lazy to blog.

Blogging: when you’re too lazy to work.

WordPress is at version 3.1.1 now. Hm…

Anyway, the dining hall is open now. Gotta get over there quick or I’ll starve for the day!

Computers and School: An unhappy relationship.

I’ve never been a great transcriber, and from middle school through my first semester at college, I’ve needed to do a lot of note-taking. This trend doesn’t show signs of stopping, and I’ve always longed for an easier way to express my ideas, or more likely, the ideas of my professor.

Back in my freshman year of high school I bought an HP iPAQ Pocket PC (no relation to the iPod) which for those who don’t know is a Palm Pilot style device that ran Windows Mobile 5, a dialect of Windows CE optimized for such devices. Before the smartphone revolution, Pocket PCs were all the rage, and they came with cool little accessories such as a folding keyboard and a stylus. Seeing as the keyboard was full-size, the iPAQ seemed an ideal device to take into class and use to help me jot down the multitude of notes that were thrown at me each day.

As soon as I unfolded the keyboard and turned on the screen during my English class, all my classmates descended upon me with over-the-top enthusiasm. “What’s that?! A computer in class! What’s its processing power? I bet it has a whole giga-byte of storage. You using it to play GAMES?! I tried to dissolve the imminent fiasco by downplaying the machine’s capabilities; by telling my friends that it was simply a note-taking machine. I couldn’t hold, however, and the next thing I knew the teacher was asking me to put away the “distraction.” Fair enough.

Later in the year, I actually found one class which I could use the iPAQ in without drawing so much of a distraction. Our world history teacher left in search of a better job in the beginning of 9th grade, and thus we were without an actual teacher until the next semester. The interim teacher we got for the first semester had never taught before, and knew entirely zilch about world history. His tests were entirely book-based to the point of which he’d open to a random page, copy a sentence from the book, delete some words, and have us fill in the blanks. His “lectures” were open readings of the text, and thus I could sit in the back of the class where the sound of the keyboard wouldn’t distract anyone. I built a 50 page study guide (single spaced!) of every definition and random fact in our textbook, and proceeded to achieve high marks in a class most people couldn’t manage a C in. (Of course I can’t remember anything except that the guy who was murdered in his bathtub in France was none other than Jean-Paul Marat.)

That year in 9th grade was the last time I used that Pocket PC to any advantage, though. Every year after, tech was banned in class or severely discouraged in school. Even during my first semester in college and the first few weeks of the second semester, it seems that the only place I can use my laptop to take notes is in my computer classes. Although it wouldn’t do me any good to type up notes in a seminar, regular non-computer class professors don’t like students bringing laptops to class either, in the name of “class participation” and “avoiding distractions.” Of course, I am at a smaller University with smaller class sizes, but it’s the volume of notes that would make me prefer typing instead of handwriting!

With new tech being released such as the Android tablets and the iPad 2, not to mention the predictions that e-readers will be huge this year, I feel that professors should realize the advantages these devices give to students and not assume they’ll simply be another distraction.

Testing Windows 7′s Voice Dictation

Hello everybody!  This is going to be a different type of blog post, as it’s going to be entirely based on the input of my voice.  You see, I am using Microsoft Windows 7′s voice recognition technology to write the entire thing.  I’m thinking about getting dragon naturally speaking 11, but since this is free, I might as well test it out.  Perhaps I’m not speaking very clearly, as it’s taken about 5 minutes to write these few sentences.  In the next paragraph, I’m going to be reading Lincoln’s famous speech without editing anything.  Let’s give it a go.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, we’re a nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.  We are met on a great battlefield of that war.  We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that the nation might live.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate -we cannot consecrate -we cannot hello -this ground.  The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, a far above our poor power to add or detract.  The world a little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forgot what they did here.  It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they’ll find your having thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead retake increase devotion to that cause for which they gave the last measure of devotion -that we here are highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -that this nation, under god, show of a new birth of freedom of -and the governments of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from your.

That took about 10 minutes to read.  Overall I’d say the qualities pretty good, but it’s not without its flaws.  (I’m still recording, by the way, and I’m still not editing.)
I feel if somebody was just talking into the computer, and pouring all their thoughts into a pool which they could search later, this might be a very valuable tool for them.  When cool thing about it is that you can start a program just by using your voice.  For somebody like me who is not used to dictation, however, dictating everything makes me think more about the dictation part of what I’m writing than actually writing it.
Let’s try something else in terms of testing this out.  I’m going to read the beginning of the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.
Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted – one moment
Would you capture it were just let it slip?

His poems are sweaty, Newsweek, arms are heavy
There’s a madonna sweater already, ma’am spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface it looks Colman ready to drop bombs,
But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down,
The hope road crew was so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words will come out
He’s joking now everybody’s joking now
The clocks run out, time is up over, well!
Snap back to reality, though there’s a goes gravity
O, there goes rabbit, he’s choked
The so mad, but he won’t give up that
Easy, no
He won’t have it, he knows that his goal backs to these ropes
It don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, bodies broke
The so stagnant body knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab and inyo
This this whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it doesn’t pass and

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You want it, I you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

In conclusion, except for the fact that this post took about 30 minutes to right, I would say that dictating documents as a lot more difficult than typing, especially because you need to think about what you’re saying so much, as opposed two typing and then deleting and then typing some more or typing and then editing later.  You kinda get the feeling that what you’re doing is timed and cinder pressure and it needs to be right in the first tape.  As for the accuracy I was fairly impressed considering that Microsoft gives this out for free.  Programs like dragon costs 99 U.S. dollars, and while the accuracy appears to be better, I would expect it out of $100 product.  If you just want to start a few programs by your voice, take a serious look at windows 7′s offering.  If you want to do any serious dictation, I doubt that windows seven’s built in dictation will get the job done.