Monthly Archives: October 2007

Facebook Internship Interview Result: Rejection! And Why I Like It…

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So I got a polite (aren’t they always?) email from a recruiter at Facebook about my interview. Rejection. I guess I’m not too surprised since Facebook is everyone’s favorite company right now. Apparently there are billions of people who want to get a job/internship there, and currently, there’s like ~300 employees. So I didn’t have a very good chance from the start.

Of course, my thought process immediately after reading the message went something like this:

Stage 1: Retaliatory. “I’m going to create the next Facebook-killer and they’ll all regret the day they rejected me!”

Stage 2: Somewhat more realistic, optimistic. “I’m going to create something they can’t help but acquire, which will be my ‘in!'”

Stage 3: Realistic: “Okay, I guess I’ll just improve and maybe try again next year.”

People might wonder why I’m so open to listing my rejections publicly. I think the reason is that I’m not ashamed by them; I actually tend to get motivated instead. For example, when I was rejected by Berkeley, Georgia Tech, UC Irvine and Iowa State, I decided that I’d work extra hard when I finally did begin grad school at Michigan. And I think I’ve been doing a job of getting involved academically.

When I was rejected by Google, I decided I’d become a better programmer (in addition to becoming more interested in real research with stuff like social networks, etc). Plus I made MapsKrieg shortly after the rejection (mostly because I needed to find an apartment, but if I had given up on Google, I might’ve used the Yahoo Maps API instead…).

Apparently I still need to work on this aspect a bit since the Facebook interview was basically a programming/algorithmic question. The “interview” was so short that I doubt anything meaningful about my abilities could have been evaluated. Sure, I didn’t prove P=NP, but I thought I did okay… I think it was a matter of the process being way too competitive (or at least, that’s how I’ll rationalize it to make myself feel better).

So what does this latest rejection mean for me? It means I’ll be working a lot harder in my networks class, for one. I’m working on a fairly interesting project, so hopefully that’ll buff my otherwise slim portfolio. Facebook is the only (should I say first?) company to reject me so far for Summer internships. So I still have a few other good companies to try.

In two years (more like one and a half, now), there might be a better company I’d like to work for. I still have a lot of time before I graduate, so hopefully I can become “acceptance worthy” material by then.

An Uninvited Dream

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So, about two nights ago I had a pair of unsettling dreams. They weren’t nightmares, but I guess they were scary enough to make me wake up. Well, one of them.

First, some background. There’s this old NES game called Uninvited that was ported from a mac game (I totally didn’t know this until I just looked it up). It’s a pretty simple point and click game where you’ve happened upon a strange mansion and spooky things pop up everywhere. It’s actually kind of scary, especially the part where the ghost that looks like Scarlet o’ Hara rips you to shreds if you talk to her.

My dream was that I was sort of in this world. I dunno if I was playing the game, or actually in it. The point and click interface was there, regardless. I was walking around the house, and I knew that there was some kind of monster on top of the stairs. The plan would be that I’d go up the stairs, see the monster, run down and then spray it with some sleep spray or something. But the first time I just used the spray without going up the stairs and I think it killed me.

So the second time (I guess I was playing the game), I went up the stairs and I don’t really remember what happened next. I remember the whole experience of playing Uninvited to be quite freaky, so this translated into the dream as well. At the time the game did have a pretty strong effect on my mental state. While it wasn’t a full blown nightmare, it did wake me up and I had to assure myself I wasn’t being eaten by a ghost or something.

Oh, and the other dream I had the same night was that the old Lobos runningback, Dontrell Moore, had some kind of genetic disease and was going to die. I have no idea why I dreamed about that…

Yay, Libraries! + Stumbling on Happiness – Book Review Sorta

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One of the things I’ve rediscovered in Ann Arbor is a place from my childhood. A place where you’d go in elementary school to go look up facts, and perhaps even borrow a book. And you didn’t even have to return it! Ever! That’s right, in my short time here, I’ve already rediscovered libraries.

I dunno why I forgot about them. Probably because the libraries in New Mexico aren’t as good as the ones in Michigan? My local library of choice here is the Ann Arbor District Library.

This library has like everything. Books, CDs, DVDs, Books on CDs. Soon they might have DVDs on Books… I found that the library had a lot of things that were on my Amazon.com wishlist, too.

And Stumbling on Happiness is the book I’m going to attempt to review.

Despite the title, Stumbling on Happiness is not written by Dr. Phil, as my friend Adam Torres presumed. It’s written by some psychology professor from Harvard. And it doesn’t explain how to become happy either! It sort of explains why people think they’re doing things that will make them happy, but end up not being happy.

“So why did you read this, Hung!?” You might ask. Because knowing what makes people unable to become happy might provide a clue on how to actually become happy. And plus I already checked out the book, and it’s due on Tuesday, so…

The general style of the book is fairly analytical, but also sort of explained in terms that normal people can understand. There’s also quite a bit of humor involved, which makes the seemingly dry task of figuring out the definition of “happiness” a bit more gratifying. One chapter starts off, “The last decade has seen an explosion of books about poop.” This is my kind of writer.

While I don’t agree with everything the author says, he does use lots of real case studies and examples. Some of which seem cooked. But the main point is quite clear. People can’t predict what will make them happy because their brains aren’t really equipped to make such a prediction accurately. It’s sort of this fight against your brain’s natural reasoning capacity, and you’ll always lose.

At the very end, Daniel Gilbert offers a way to escape this mental trap: phone a friend. It only works if the person is presently in the exact situation you want to be in, however, since human memory is really messed up. So really the solution is more of a cop-out. Even though I do ask people for advise a lot, I still get the feeling they are far too removed from my personal context to be accurate forecasters of my future self’s happiness.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, thanks in part to the wacky humor. Though it could’ve contained a lot more. Stumbling on Happiness shouldn’t be taken as pure fact. In healthy doses, however, I think the ideas and advice within might actually prove useful to those in search of happiness. Which is like, everyone?

And So Ends the Great Experiment…

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That’s right, after about two months of doing the quarter scavenging thing, I’ve caved in. I got $20 worth of quarters from the bank.

For the past three weeks or so, I’ve been short on quarters, which is really inconvenient when I need to do laundry in a hurry. I had this ideal image in my head of me getting just enough quarters to do laundry per week. And I coveted quarters. I searched far and wide for quarters. I dreamt of quarters.

Keeping them in my special Mario Bros. ? bank, I waited until laundry day, then punched the bottom of the bank until the quartery goodness came out. Or not.

Anyway, I’m really just stalling so I don’t have to do my homework for Networks, but I guess I better. So let’s publish this post, shall we?

Blue Moon, I Saw You Standing In The Ice Cream Aisle…

I was at Meijer today doing some grocery shopping. Because that’s what adults do, apparently. Anyway, I’m almost out of ice cream, so I thought I’d buy some more. I picked up a flavor called “Blue Moon” that I thought I’ve had before, but maybe not.

Wikipedia says it’s a flavor that’s particular to the Michiganish area. Apparently it doesn’t have a concrete flavor, with different brands flavoring the ice cream in different ways. I think it tastes sorta vanilla-ish, and after I read that it’s sorta “fruit loop-ish” I believe that, too.

What’s the point of this post? I dunno. I do know one thing: Meijer uses Garfield as some kind of brand mascot, and Garfield is the least funny comic I have ever read in my entire life.