Monthly Archives: January 2008

Office Snapshots: A Blog With Snapshots… of Offices…

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While looking at places to intern during the Summer, I came across this blog called Office Snapshots. You would think a blog that had nothing but pictures of tech company offices wouldn’t work, but oh, how it does!

The author gets pictures of offices through Flickr, or sometimes by actually visiting the offices himself. Then there’s a funny weird writeup about the company and their office. The blogger doesn’t take himself too seriously with quotes like this:

McAfee has been keeping our computers safe from spam, viruses, spyware, phishing, and the like since the 80s. They’re like the sheriffs of the web. Except they have less shoot-outs and more Internet (a lot more).

Overall, it’s a good read. There’s something really enjoyable at seeing how cool other people’s offices are versus your own. I mean, my office doesn’t even have windows, though I do get my own burgundy line of office equipment. Maybe I should send pictures to Office Snapshots to see if they’ll get posted…

They Might Be Giants Podcast: 31A!

For those of you keeping track, I sorta like TMBG again. They’ve gained back my trust with their newest album and powerful live show.

Anyway, today is a new podcast day! TMBG was pretty much doing podcasts before they existed (even before iPods existed!) via their dial a song service. So this is sort of an extension of that. Except the sound quality is much, much better.

Of special note are some new versions of old songs! According to the TMBG wiki, the songs were recorded at XM Studio, whatever that means. It’s pretty neat hearing new versions of Shadow Government, Withered Hope, and Mr. Me! The turtle sounds thing is pretty funny too, mentioning the Fibonacci Sequence. There’s also some songs about numbers that are no doubt directed towards turning children into fans of TMBG at an early age. Clever…

Anyway, I kind of want to split the podcast up into the individual songs and listen to them over and over and over. It’s that good!

University of Michigan Internship Fair ’08

So I headed on down to the internship fair today happening at the Union.

First thing that I noticed was that everyone was wearing suits! My opinion on suits is that I hope I’ll never work anywhere that requires one, except for maybe at a company formal party or something. I guess it’s pretty standard attire for an internship fair, but I think distinguishing yourself is important too. Everyone looks the same in a suit. Luckily, I distinguished myself as the idiot who didn’t bring a suit.

Mostly I just wandered around looking all the companies. Quite a few had really long lines just to talk to a recruiter. The place was packed, too. There were probably a few hundred people in any given room.

I talked to some people from Liberty Mutual. The guy was laid back and pretty cool. He told me to check their website for any openings, and I got a pen and a weird bendy thing (it’s like, a blue bendy stick).

I also checked out this local web development company called Enlighten. They were laid back as well. I talked to them a bit about web development and they gave me some cool magnetic thinking putty. I played with it. It’s sorta magnetic, but not highly magnetic. Like you wouldn’t replace an industrial strength electromagnet with it or anything.

Most of my social interactions went pretty smoothly, I must say. There was one that I could probably call the worst of the year so far. I went up to the Macy’s corner and some guy said something and stuck out his hand. Now, I know when a person wants to shake my hand, I’m not an idiot. But I didn’t hear what he said, and I thought he said something like, “name?” So I was like, “Hung,” and I pointed to my name tag. Then he said something else I couldn’t hear, so I said it louder and pointed more furiously, “HUNG!” I thought he wanted to take something, instead of shaking my hand. Anyway, I finally shook his hand.

Then, I asked if there were any engineering type jobs at Macy’s. He said that no, there were only management type jobs. I guess our interaction could’ve just ended there. But then I noticed something.

Standing right behind the guy was a larger version of the guy. It was him, but bigger, and printed out on a large piece of paper.

“Is… that… you?” I slowly asked with furrowed brow. “THAT’S YOU!” And indeed, it was him on the promotional banner. He said it was taken a year or so ago. Without thinking, I said something like, “Could you stand next to it and do the same pose!?” I think he was starting to get tired of my shenanigans. He actually contemplated it before not doing it. Then he suggested I leave by saying something like, “well, good luck in your internship search!” I took the hint, but not before asking for a bouncy Macy’s ball.

It glows when you bounce it.

In Soviet Russia, Ms. Pac Man Plays… Ms. Pac Man?

So some AI nerds taught a video game playing agent to play Ms. Pac man. Well, actually, they taught it how to teach itself to play Ms. Pac Man…

I didn’t know that Pac Man was deterministic, and Ms. Pac Man was random. I think this proves that the actions of women are generally more difficult to predict than of men. Wait, are the ghosts in Ms. Pac Man also women? And I thought Ms. Pac Man was married to Pac Man! Well, she still could be technically, and keep her Ms. title.

I think they have kids though, so at least they’re an item.

Wait a minute, when did I stop talking about AI and start talking about Mr. and Ms. Pac Man’s relationship? Oh well…

Pianica GET! A Stunning Rendition of Oh Susannah!

Here’s a post that, for some reason, I kept in my queued posts and never published. Until now!!! I think I did this some time during the Summer. As you can see, it takes place before I moved to Ann Arbor! And here we go:

I got a Pianica! If you’re wondering what a pianica is, it’s like a melodica, except when Yamaha makes it they call it a pianica. More specifically, it’s sort of like this cross between an accordion and a harmonica, where you just get a keyboard and you need to blow into it to get the reeds moving. It’s “famous” for being in that manga, Nodame Cantabile, which I totally like, which is mostly why I bought it.

I practiced a bit today, but I really suck at keyboard. I never really bothered learning how to play, but I do read music, so that’s how I was able to BS my way through Oh Susannah:

Not very good, but this take was funny because I put a seven chord at the end. I actually like Oh Susannah a lot. The words make no sense. The reason I didn’t play any left hand at the end is because I found some free sheet music online, but they only showed the first page! GRRRR.

I think I’ll keep practicing and become the Pianica champion of the world! Or play music on the street for money. Either way it should be interesting.