Archive for January, 2007

Volunteering for MESA

January 31, 2007

Thanks to Glenn Jahnke, the Vice President of the Computer Science Club, I’ll be volunteering this Saturday to help some youths learn html and css. MESA is an organization that tries to promote math and science to educationally disadvantaged students. I think math and science are really cool so I’m glad there is an organization trying to bring opportunities to people who have less access to it. MESA will be having a competition, amongst their students, to see who can make the best math/science related web page, and we will be helping them with the how to make a web page part. I don’t often get a chance to use my programming background to help people so this will be very worthwhile for me.

Video Blogs Not Accessible

January 29, 2007

More and more I am finding that there are tons of great online content being produced on video. This is all very cool because it is kind of like having my own personal TV channel. The problem I have is that I never have the time to sit in front of my computer and watch these things. Actually its not that I don’t have the time, but for some reason, I just don’t like to watch them on my laptop, I’d much rather watch them on my iPod. Maybe it’s because whenever I’m using my laptop, I’m usually multitasking, reading some blogs while I respond to an email. Video blogs demand too much of my attention to do that. But there are lots of times when I have my iPod that I am doing nothing else and would love to watch the latest news from the Scoble Show or maybe a video taken at SJSU such as those on the Soapbox Prophet. What I’ve found though is that it’s not as easy as it should be to get those videos on my iPod in a timely manner. The coolest thing I’ve seen so far is the podcast/vodcast support built in to iTunes, but that’s not cutting it for me because I don’t want to have to subscribe to a feed to easily get a video onto my iPod. I use Google Reader and it would be nice if I saw a video linked to there to be able to just click a button and have it uploaded to whatever type of portable music/video player I have. I’ll be looking around for better ways to manage video blogs, if anyone has suggestions let me know.

UPDATE: Andrew Venegas pointed out to me that, even as I wrote this post, Google was improving the way its Reader handles video. I can’t wait to see more of this, so that watching news online become as easy as watching it on tv.

Visiting Calaveras County

January 29, 2007

My dad called me up this weekend and asked me to come visit my cousin Rich who I haven’t seen in a while. My cousin has a winery, Lavender Ridge, and a tasting room in Murphys. We stopped by and sampled some wines, and we saw his wife and his two daughters. It was a lot more fun than I expected. Murphys is a fun little town and might be a good place to go wine tasting if you are in the area. Its probably close to three hours from San Jose though.

Lavender Ridge

We actually rented a very nice house up the road in Arnold to stay the night in. I google mapped Murphy and Arnold in case anyone is interested in where they are (in the Sierra Mountains). The best part about the place we stayed was the beautiful view from the back deck, as you can see below. If you like the view you can see more about it or other rentals in the area at the Cedar Creek Realty Page.

Arnold Cabin View

All and all it was a pretty restful trip, which I needed after the Philippines, and I’m on my way back to San Jose on the train right now.

Spartan Daily Blogs

January 25, 2007

I just today discovered the Spartan Daily Blog page after reading this post from Invisible Inkling. It’s the type of page that I would normally see a company like Microsoft use to allow its employees to blog in one central place. Compare MSDN Blogs to Spartan Daily Blogs and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

After seeing the last two entries were from December 23 and Nov 6, it’s obvious to me that the Spartan Daily Blogs site hasn’t exactly been flourishing. I also noticed none of the bloggers that I read from San Jose State have posted to the site. Also the site is actually somewhat confusing. There are two tabs at the top, guest bloggers, and staff bloggers. This is nice because it has a picture of the blogger and a description of who they are and what they will be blogging about. But only 3 people are listed under those tabs and none of the other bloggers on the site are listed in a consistent way.

The main problem with the Spartan Daily Blog site is that I read what journalists have to say all the time in the newspaper already. I’m not trying to go to a newspaper blog site to see all of the news that wasn’t important enough to print. I’m not against journalists blogs if they have something good to say. You can see from my blogroll that I read from them all of the time. I’m just against a newspaper controlled blog site. Newspapers should be doing more to empower user generated content, not control it. I’m starting to see where Daniel Sato was going with his idea of using a digg.com user interface where students could submit and vote up stories they find interesting. I think his idea would be great for replacing the Spartan Daily Blog page.

Back from the Philippines

January 25, 2007

I’m back from the Philippines and boy am I glad. Visiting a foreign country is always fun, but it’s nice having every thing back to normal. If anyone is thinking about visiting the Manila area in the future, its cool in that it is different and not just a tourist spot. I also visited Boracay, with its white sand beaches, which was nice but more touristy. But I spent most of my time with Tamara, visiting her family, so it was more of a family reunion than a vacation. Hopefully I’ll have some time to create a couple of pages relating information and pictures of some of the places we visited. I’ll also post my pictures on my flickr page soon.

Going to the Philippines

January 5, 2007

I’m leaving to the Philippines on Saturday. I’ll be in the Manila area mostly, hoping to get a chance to go to Boracay though. My girlfriend still has family over there and we will be staying with them. I like traveling so its pretty exciting. I’m open to any ideas for cool places to visit in the Manila area if anyone has any.

My Appearance in Spartan Daily

January 4, 2007

I was in the Spartan Daily and didn’t even realize it. I went to this little group called the Socrates Cafe that my Philosophy teacher told me to check out. I’m not sure if they are doing it next semester but there schedule is here so you can check it out.

There weren’t many people attending when I was there, which was cool in a way because it allowed each person to engage in the conversation.

Chess Tournament

January 3, 2007

Flickr Page

Woops, I forgot to write about this. About a month before finals there was a really cool Chess Tournament at SJSU. It was held in the CS Club room which is on the second floor on MacQuarrie Hall. I’m not sure if it part of the official SJSU chess club whose contact information is here on the List of student Organization. I found out about it through the SJSU CS Club bulleting. But everyone was welcome and there were plenty of people from all skill levels. I love chess so I thought it was great, but I had to leave early seeing as it was a Friday night and I had plans with my girlfriend.

The coolest thing about the tournament is that Digesh Malla came and played with us. I read about him beforehand on this article from the Spartan Daily. Playing with someone that good was very cool, and it was also interesting when he would analyze games out loud for us. Check out my Flickr pictures of the event here.

Blogging in Word

January 3, 2007

I just found out the hard way why you shouldn’t use Microsoft Word to create blog entries.  When you copy and paste from Word it adds in extra html that you don’t need in the background.  I had been blogging in Word for the past couple of weeks until I realized that the posts created in Word were the wrong font.  The only way to fix it was to go back in html view and remove all of the extra html tags that weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.

There is a more in depth article about the problems that blogging using Word creates on Content Robot.  I would prefer to create my blog posts in word though.  Luckily I can look forward to that in the next version, Word 2007, which will include the ability to create “clean html” blog posts according to Joe Friend, a Microsoft Office Project Manager.

Blogging on Soapbox

January 3, 2007

I’ve been reading about proposed changes to the online Spartan Daily recently.  Its a pretty interesting topic.  Some opinions I’ve read are here, here, here, and here.  I gave my two cents about changes I think should be made on The Soapbox Prophet.  You can read my first collaborative bloge entry here.