Tim's Personal Blog

Geotech Video
December 27, 2009

This weekend I managed to post a flash video on my other website. It took a long time to get the correct player in the correct place with the correct code with the correct file type, and so on and so on. But I finally got it done.

In case you're wondering, the content of the video is a generic civil engineering problem in the field of "geotechnical" engineering, and it's about 4 minutes long. It's a multiple choice problem, so you've got a 25% chance of getting it right just by guessing!

Below is a screen shot of the video. It will link through if you click it. This is a project I've been brainstorming for about a year now, but not until recently have I got semi-serious about it. If I don't post another blog entry for a while it's probably because I'm busy making another video. :)

Geotechnical Video

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone! I'm spending Christmast with my parents in Walnut Creek this year. After learning some JavaScript I attempted to create an online cribbage game. The game isn't perfect, but I'm actually pleased with how it finally turned out, since it turned out to be much more complicated and challenging than I initially intended.

Below is a screen shot of the game. You can enter the introduction page here and then watch a turotial video or enter the game. The game may take a while to load, and the graphics may be a bit strange, depending on your browser.

Albiet rittled with errors, the cribbage game is my best example of JS to date. So, have fun!


Tim with computer

All Nighter & Christmas Gifts
December 18, 2009

Well I pulled an all nighter last night. I sort of lost track of time and next thing I know, it's 4 a.m. So I decided to just stay up. I was quite preoccupied with a Christmas gift I'm making this year. It's fun to make gifts. Last year TimFun! struck gold with VeggieLand (see pictures below). What will TF! deliver this year? We shall see. One more week 'till Christmas!

Broccoli Forest Stuffed Sonic Bloom Two Tomatoes

CSUMB Capstone Projects
December 17, 2009

I've been to 3 capstone presentations so far this week and might attend one more this evening. The capstone project is the CSUMB version of a senior project for graduating students. During finals week students present thier projects.

CSUMB Capstone

Battery Change
December 10, 2009

My car's battery finally died at the laundromat this morning. It's only the second battery my Jetta has ever had. So I made the light walk to the auto parts store and the heavy walk back, with a brand new car battery, and 6-year prorated warranty to boot! This was my first time changing a car's battery.

Then I got to thinking, should I do the job myself or should I pay someone else to do it. As far as car maintenance and repair go, certain tasks clearly fall into one category or the other. For example I'll always pump my own gas and clean my own windows, but at the same time, I'll never order and try to install an oxygen censor - whatever that is! But for other tasks, either doing it myself or paying someone else to do it are both reasonable options. For example, changing the oil, or changing the battery.

I used to take my car in for an oil changes, but over the past few years I've changed the oil myself. Similarly, I paid a garage to change the battery the first time, back April 2006, but today I chose to do it myself. Changing the battery is not a big deal; it's less of a hassle than changing the oil and filter.

Back to the story Changing the battery took me longer than expected. On my first trip I forgot to bring my socket wrench. On my second trip I forgot my socket wrench extension. On my third trip I finally had all the proper tools and got the job done. Keep in mind I was walking and biking around town all morning, which was also slow. Changing my car's battery won't take as long again, because I'll never be so unprepared or so inexperienced.

In the long run, changing the battery myself was probably the right thing to do - even if I never do it again. It was something new and difficult, but not overwhelmingly difficult. It also served a purpose and provided a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once complete. These are all characteristics of experiences I seek in life. Some things turn out better or worse than expected, but I rarely ever regret trying something new if I know I will grow and improve as part of the undertaking.

Tim with battery
Here I am with the old battery before I returned it to the auto parts store for my refund. Perhaps my face says it - I was in a "don't mess with me" mode, by the end of it all. :P

December 6, 2009

One reason why I started using Firefox as my primary web browser is because of the far superior debugging capabilities built directly into the browser itself. Introducing ... Firebug! I'm learning some JavaScript right now and I really like the book I'm using, but it would have saved me some grief if the authors had mentioned Firebug before page 490!


December 1, 2009

I don't see the point in retirement.

If I love what I do for a living I'll never want stop. If I don't love what I do, I'll try new things until I find what I love. Then I'll make it work as an occupation. Perhaps it's easier said than done, but life's an adventure, right?


Walnut Creek Turkey Trot!
November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I ran in the Walnut Creek Turkey Trot with my parents. My mom completed the 5k and my dad and I completed the 10k. I ran a personal best of 35:29 on a flat course. Tom and Nicole took pictures and video taped the event. I ended up finishing 6th overall for the 10k. Results

Tim and Turkey

Tim running

When Ninjas Attack!
November 21, 2009

Tom and Nicole visited me at "The Ocho" in Marina this weekend. We toured town, went out to eat, played games and had a sleepover. Below, Tom and I are seen in Pacific Grove - I'm on the left executing a jump kick!

Tim and Tom

Dvorak Keyboard!
November 20, 2009

Yesterday I met a stenographer (in training) and she inspired me. Can you say "220 words per minute?" Wow! I sometimes listen to speakers talk that fast. Stenographers use a special keyboard, not the standard "QWERTY" keyboard. Anyway, back in college. My cousin showed me how to switch my computer over to the "DVORAK" setting, as shown below.

Dvorak Keyboard

You can make the same change to your computer by following these instructions.

A few observations include
  • All 5 vowels are on the home row for the left hand.
  • The least common letters are on the bottom row.
  • Consecutive letters are more likely to be typed with the opposite hand.

  • The advantages of the Dvorak keyboard include faster typing speeds and less muscle fatigue. After just a couple hours using the DVORAK keyboard I already feel much improved. Right now I'm much slower typing on the DVORAK than the QWERTY, but with a little practice I plan to improve quickly. In the image below I show how I keep a sketch of the DVORAK key alignment taped beneath my monitor.

    Typing Using Dvorak

    Big Sur Half Marathon
    November 15, 2009

    This morning I ran the Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey. It was a perfect day to have the event and I had a great race. I finished in a time of 1:19:24 for 30th place overall. Results.

    My parents came to watch and support me. Below is a picture of the three of us after the race.

    Tim, Mom and Dad after BS Half Marathon

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