Friday, December 15, 2006

Long time, no see

I have not posted on my blog for a while. The purpose of this blog is to provide a forum for me to practice my writing. In particular, I want to learn how to dump my research/technical thoughts and ideas down more quickly and coherently. With that in mind I am once again turning this into a technical blog and if I can satisfy myself that I have enough to say then I will add it to the BYU CSAA blog aggregator.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Yesterday I signed up for AdSense from Google. While, to some extent, it is a non-intrusive and free way to make money, in another sense it might just be a waste of time for me. In all honesty, I am not sure who in the near future will be looking at any of my non-school sites. Actually, I don't know who would be looking at my school sites either. Both of my sites are in the middle of being reworked. It is kind of exciting to rework the web sites. The main problem is that I never have time. I think being a website manager and blogger might be my new hobby. If I could just think of something to do . . . I have a few ideas.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What to look for in a laptop

I am currently in the market for a "new" laptop. Since I am on a budget, the price range I am going for is around $200 or less. While searching through Craig's list I have thought about my criteria. My current laptop does not work because it is too noisy and does not have a working battery. I want to be able to use the laptop discretely at conferences and seminars. Here is what I think is necessary:

  • Quiet - I have to be able to wake the thing up, use it, and shut it down without phasing whoever is speaking.
  • Cheap - I have to be able to afford it.
  • CD-drive - I am almost entirely network based, but it would still be nice to have a CD drive in case I need to do something with CDs.
  • USB (preferably 2.0) - This is necessary for thumb drives and a number of peripherals.
  • Normal casing - Specifically, one of the laptops I was looking at ended up being an Apple Clamshell. Those are cool, but definitely dated.
  • Network card - I live on the net. I can remotely log onto beefier computers if I can connect have a connection.
  • VGA port - This is so I can use it for power point presentations when I have to.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Change in direction

It appears that my idea of trying to make this a technical blog will not work. I just do not have enough to say about technical stuff. More precisely, I do not have enough intelligent things that other people could possibly want to read about technical stuff. So I will forgo the CSAA aggregator and just do miscellaneous stuff again.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Technical blog

I am going to focus my future postings to technical content. This way I can (in good conscience) add my blog to the CSAA technical blog aggregator.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Microsoft Campus Connection

Yesterday I went to Microsoft Campus Connection. I learned some interesting things about Vista and XNA.


Vista is going to be released at the end of November to OEM and other major manufacturers. It will be released generally on January 15th. The reason for the most recent delays is that they are distributing it on a DVD as an image. This meant that hardware manufacturers had to write new drivers and the new drivers had to be tested. At least, this is what the presenter claimed.

The most suprising thing was that the presenter said Vista was not aimed at those of us in the room. The demographic they are aiming at is the "mom" demographic. I thought this was REALLY weird. It seemed to be that they were really proud of their gui enhancements and features. I guess they just want all of us people who actually compute to use Linux.

The presenter also demonstrated the integrated search for Vista, which I thought was pretty cool. He also showed how there is a built in calendaring application. His point with that and their DVD software was that now we didn't have to buy a bunch of third party products. I am not really sure why that is such a big deal, because most of those third party products come on the machine for a "mom." It sounds somewhat dangerous from a monopoly point of view.


This looks kind of cool, but I do not think it will live up to the hype the presenter gave for it. In the end it is just another development platform. He suggested that everybody programming in .NET should read Framework Design Guidelines and follow it. There were a number of links he gave that I think are useful:

Monday, September 25, 2006


Nothing starts the morning like two acceptance messages about submissions to PLOS. Actually, a lot of things would start the morning like that, but it is still nice.

Over the weekend my future plans swung back from industry developer to academic/industry research. I am sure my plans will swing back and forth many more times in the future. This particular swing came from reading the transcripts of the Career Mentoring workshops by the Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research. In places the document is discouraging, but in general it seems realistically encouraging.

I might still become a professor yet!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


For those of you unfamiliar with Utah universities, there exists a significant rivalry between the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. If you did not know this rivalry existed then you might have even mistaken the two schools for being the same entity or of the same type.

That is probably one of the many things that fuels the fire. It has been my experience that the rivalry is actually one-sided. While BYU sees it as a fun (sometimes intense) competition, people at the U often let it decay into complete hatred. I am not sure why this is.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

After the PhD

John Carter led an interesting discussion about life after the PhD last week. He basically said there were four paths possible:

  • Research professor
  • Teaching professor
  • Industry research
  • Industry development

He also mentioned that a post-doc is preparation for becoming a research professor and being an instructor somewhere is preparation for becoming a teaching professor.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fantasy Sports

Both my family and my wife's family plays fantasy sports. My family just does ESPN's tournament challenge, but my wife's family does that and Yahoo fantasy baseball and Yahoo fantasy football (we might be switching to Yahoo's tournament challenge thing this year as well).

My family is fiercely competitive with the Tournament Challenge and it is a lot of fun. My wife's family is also competitive, but the dynamics are different. Some people have learned to play the games really well. Others do not really even try at all but still want to do well. Others seem to do poorly no matter what happens or who helps. The problem is that it is difficult to satisfy all three classes of people.

In other news, it looks like Google's calendar code automatically shortens the days of the week. I wonder if they just recently fixed this last week or if I just had not noticed it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Current events in my life lead me to wonder about the value of a hobby. Today I went to the state fair.

My view of the state fair is that it is a forum for people in the state to demonstrate their hobbies and even compete at some level. Not all hobbies apply. For example, I did not see some of the things I would fine at a Hobby Lobby. I think my understanding is still correct in general.

As I look at my life, I do not have many/any hobbies. I have things I like to do, but nothing I could classify as a hobby. There are many reasons for this and I will not go into them here. For now I wonder about the value of hobbies. Is having a hobby part of living a "good" life? How would my peers, family, religion, friends, etc. answer that question?

A brief search yielded this link for how to encourage ones children to develop worthwhile hobbies.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A good laugh, sort of

I found this "article" when looking for information about hard drive failures.


I am curious about the effectiveness of LinkedIn. Does anyone else out there have any comments about this? While I only link to people I actually know and could say something about, there are people with hundreds of links. How is that helpful? It means that within one or two "introductions" you are talking to people who do not even know you remotely. On the other hand, at least you are talking to them. At first I thought it was just a more professional Friendster, but it appears to have heads turning.

View Nathan Cooprider's profile on LinkedIn

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Google Calendar

I just spent too much of my precious time trying to get Google Calendar to display only the first letter of every day of the week instead of the whole name. I know it is possible, but I am not sure it is possible without fancy web programming. Does anyone know how to do this? I am less than impressed with how difficult it is to figure out this feature.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Three links

Blog of Steve Jobs' presentation yesterday.

Betty Mohler's guides for Academic (and some industry) jobs. This is for today's seminar.

The hack done at MIT on the five year anniversary of September 11th.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The new Apple announcements today were really exciting. They make so many cool toys! The new iPod stuff seemed like more of the same, but the movie deal with Disney is groundbreaking. The other movie companies are going to have their hands full trying to compete with this if they refuse to accept the flat rate. I wonder if this will make DVDs cheaper? I also think I want an iTV.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In the beginning

Here I go, starting a blog. My wife will make fun of me when/if she finds out about this, but I think Will is correct in saying that a blog will help me learn to write better. I am not sure how or how much I am going to use this blog.