Monday, March 3, 2014

Yearly, almost

Hello there Internet-world! It's been just under a year since I re-re-restarted a blog and posted.... well... anything at all. It's been a busy year and a mostly good one at that! So, to get myself started, let's rewind back to last year...


I'm still at the Rochester Institute of Technology and at some point I had an interview for an internship position for Summer 2013 with Microsoft. All signs point to a successful interview but maybe not so successful in classes. I got the news that I would not be getting an internship for the Summer, but it came with much better news that completely nullified that part: I was being considered for a full-time position for when I graduated the following year! I attended a couple of Microsoft-sponsored events before the end of the school year. The beginning of May marks 4 entire years of dating Amber, and it's been a wonderful 4 years at that. At the end of May, it is decided that I will not be returning to RIT in the Autumn, and I started looking at more local graduate institutions. Partway into the Summer, I'm contacted by Microsoft saying that my interview will be in Redmond, WA at some point in the Autumn and I will be contacted closer to the date to set a day. Exciting news indeed. I end up getting accepted at SUNY IT in Utica, NY with the Computer Science M.S. program. I'm happy that my loans won't be skyrocketing too much and I'll be relatively close to home. Much rejoicing is had, but the extremely tight schedule after acceptance gives me only a couple weeks notice. All in all, not too bad. As promised, I was contacted by Microsoft in September, asking me for preferred interview dates and early October is chosen. I was then flown out to Seattle, interviewed, and then just under a week later extended an offer for a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) position in Redmond, WA! (Further details are pretty much under wraps because of contractual stuff, but believe me, it's quite a good first job!) It's one of the scariest and most exciting moments of my life, giving me all the more reason to get done with college once and for all. School goes well overall, with some repeated classes but teachers that know what they're doing. The semester ends, and Winter follows... the next year.


(Since we're only a couple months into 2014, this section will be notably shorter... I hope.) I'm in a few classes again this semester but I'm also doing my Master's project on top of that. All of February was dedicated to research into my project, and all of March will be dedicated to the fine art of modelling the project completely. The future is going to hold a couple of exciting things (stay tuned at one of my fine social media outlets for more news when the time comes), including some life advancement. But that's all that's happened this year on my behalf, actually...

Now, for the completely random assortment of things that I want to post about but didn't and don't like using things like Twitter and Facebook for because... I'm not actually sure why, I just don't like doing it:

This past year, I've become more involved in following a project called MAME, more specifically the variant called UME (perpetuated by David 'Haze' Haywood). It has the capability and the potential to emulate near-perfectly a few thousand systems, including pinball machines, old arcade cabinets, pocket calculators, and obscure Russian homebuilt computers. It's an amazing project that deserves a ton of support for how much effort goes into preserving so many systems in a single package (proprietary parts notwithstanding due to legal reasons). I'd contribute if I could, but then I'd have to brush up a LOT on my C programming skills, which might come hard after spending a lot of time doing C# and Java. Give their project a gander, and enjoy and/or contribute if you can!

Next up comes my own personal archiving project, where I'm going to be putting the archive of family pictures into my personal cloud space (currently Google Drive, but most likely Microsoft OneDrive when the time comes to switch over...). I currently hold the vast majority of historical family pictures and I want to be able to share them with the whole family, and, in turn, allow them to share them with whomever they want. This is going to entail uploading about 160 GB of pictures and video (including VHS rips that my dad did) to the service of my choice and then making sure that there aren't duplicates, etc. It's going to be a lot of work, and it probably won't get started until the summer because of my workload. All in all, it should be fun.

Thirdly, I've been adding to my already impressive repertoire of PortableApps, giving me 40+ projects being packaged unofficially, 2 being packaged officially, and about 20 or so that either haven't been released yet or can't be released due to legal issues that I haven't been able to address quite yet. It's quite a fun community to be a part of, but my slow on-campus connection prohibits uploading large projects the majority of the time (such as my versions of QMC2 and LyX). I still love doing this as a hobby, and I'm pleasantly surprised that I was able to continue making stuff since I first released my version of BlueJ Portable into the wild. Take a look over here for my full list of released stuff. Remember: test and feedback!

Finally, I'd like to mention that I have pretty much been the worst possible friend to most of the people I know because I rarely reach out and contact anyone from... well anywhere. I have quite a few friends from Saratoga, Brockport, and a handful from RIT that I really haven't reached out to. Unfortunately, I'm not exactly a social person, and reaching out to people is awkward to me on multiple levels still. So, if any friends read this: I still hope we're friends, and as such, I hope that if we could chat again, it'd be swell.

This section is for the stuff that doesn't fit into the other two sections, because why would those two sections even dare to come close to covering everything...

I'm not quite sure why this wouldn't belong in the section above, but I've been closely eyeing the Google Nexus 7, Chromecast, and Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with hungry eyes for quite a while now, if only because I think those three would be absolutely awesome to own and use routinely. I won't be able to concentrate on buying frivilous things for a while, so all I get to do is stare at those (and quite a few other tech gadgets) from a distance until I can get them.

On a completely different foot, it is a well known fact that this upcoming May is going to be momentous for quite a few reasons. There are two weddings that I'll be going to, I'll be walking across the stage (and hopefully graduating at the same time), and it'll be 5 wonderful years with Amber. The weddings will be fun, and graduating will be a high point (to finally be done with college, etc.) but the last item is the one that I'll be looking forward to the most. Since I know Amber reads this blog occasionally (and who reminded me that I haven't done anything with it in a very long time), I won't divulge any details, but sometime before we move out to Seattle, there will be a change of jewelry coming. Keep a lookout places for links, hints, and/or other news about this situation as it develops.

Now to Ollie for the weather in Seattle. Ollie?

Thanks Ollie. Have a good night everyone.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Third Time's the Charm...

So, hi. Hello. How are you doing? Good, good. Let's just pretend I know what you said somehow. Hello, and welcome to the third (fourth?) incarnation of my blog! So far I have been thwarted by, in order: database issues, account inactivity, and account deactivation. So, welcome to my humble online abode which is really just a blog where I will write in long, rambling sentences that do things with the words and stuff... where was I going with this? Oh, right. This post serves as both a hello to the new blog, and a recap of literally everything I can remember in a VERY digestible format. So, without much further ado, here... we... go!

1) In my first couple blog incarnations, I chronicled some of my life as a CS and Math undergrad student out at The College at Brockport. I mentioned some of the projects I was working on (which all got finished in some fashion) and my subsequent trip to the National Conference for Undergraduate Research out in Weber State (pronounced Wii-ber) College out in Ogden Utah back in the beginning of 2012. I also said a little about the wonderful process of graduate applications, and the roughly $1000 that I ended up spending on everything. At this point, I forgot to log into my account over the summer, and my entire blog up and dried because I was too cheap to buy a domain... moving forward:

2) My last version of the blog was the beginning of grad school here at Rochester Institute of Technology. Fortunately, there were only like... 10 posts altogether. The first was one of my trademark generic welcomes with an awesome picture. The second was a post about the most awesome piece of spam I have ever received (which I may post again...). Later posts included portable apps (which deserve their own point further down) and a trip which will be summarized in the next sentence. Along with the other 5 people who get the Science Masters Program NSF grant, I got to travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the International Conference for Crisis Mappers for about 4 days. While there, we learned a lot about the uses of mapping during crises as well as using technology and mapping to create a better world. That trip marked the beginning of actually knowing the other people in my program, and leading to the creation of the 'Sexy Six' moniker (or 'Sexy Seven' if you include the statue of Einstein) by one of our own (not me). It was fun and bonding and the first time I ever went to D.C. so I tourist-ed it up when we weren't attending informational sessions. It was fun, and I can't recap the entire blog entry, so sorry D=

3) Well.. actually. That's the complete summary of my entire first couple of blogs (which makes me a little sad inside) so I will move on to the primary thing (besides random internet things) that I will be posting: stuff. For those who don't know me, or don't want to know me, I am part of a community over at, which is dedicated to open source and freeware portable applications for Windows. It's awesome, and I'm glad to be a part of it. In fact, head over to my PA.c blog to keep up with the applications that I package in my spare time. I'm also happy that one of them got an official release (Media Player Classic Home Cinema Edition) and got me 'developer' status on the site. It was a very happy day. Check out all the awesome over there, and get back here when you want to. Also, my first, and therefore pride and joy application which I have been working on since 2010(!) is BlueJ Portable. It was my first foray into the wonderful world of portable applications, and remains my most downloaded application (hovering around 11000 at the time of writing). So, if you happen to be one of the lucky few who downloaded, thanks. If not, thanks for even reading this =D

4) I will mention from time to time that I'm in one of them long-term relationships with a rather attractive geek that goes by the name of Amber. She and I have been together for almost 4 years (at time of writing) and both of us ended up going to graduate programs on opposite ends of the state, with her ending up in SUNY Albany for awesome cancer-research stuff. If she ever gets around to blogging, I'll link to her here. Actually, speaking of Amber, I got a commission from thenextprotagonist over on DeviantArt (or I think I love a derp over on Tumblr) of a 'photoshoot' of the two of us. Below is the result, which was so worth it. So thanks to the artist for her work, Amber loved the surprise.

5) I will try to keep this blog up to date and activated for the duration of as long as I can. I think I have the whole 'don't get your blog deleted because of stupid things' process down, so hopefully it won't be as funny this time around... well, I'll try to be funny and fail, but that's besides the point. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and I'll try to to bore the crap out of you at random hours of the night next time. Cheers! And enjoy the random things I will most likely post below...
(and pretty much everything else by thelivingmachine02)
I did a fanfic for Halo when I was bored. I posted it after watching the following YouTube video. Thanks Hank Green for the inspiration to post the only part of my writing to date... Hopefully I'll be adding more of my original writings (not fanfics) to the list.
(Also, check out every other single thing the Vlogbrothers do. They are awesome.)
And finally, the picture I always use to being a blog:

Goodnight, Zimbabwe!