Tim's Personal Blog

Christmas Highlights
December 25, 2013

I was out of town for a few days during Christmas this year, visiting Walnut Creek and San Luis Obispo. Definitely good to have some family time. Below are a few highlights.

Christmas Highlights
This house on Candleberry always goes big on the decorations and lights

Christmas Highlights
Eating the Veggie Whale at Pepe Del Gatos

Christmas Highlights
Job site visit with dad

Christmas Highlights
Micah driving around his new yellow truck

Christmas Highlights
Brought back the spoils from the family cribbage tournament



Option Ranker
December 16, 2013

Today I launched OptionRanker.com, which is a free online calculator tool to help people make decisions. The calculated score for each option is a sumproduct calculation. There is a tutorial video on the site right now, and I wrote a blog entry about it on my optimal graphics website, here.

Below is an image showing the results of an example decision 'What to do for a summer vacation?' And apparently the 'Bike Trip' option ranked the highest so I guess that's what I'm doing again next summer.

Option Ranker



Christmas Tree
December 13, 2013

Got myself a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree this year. It just needs a little love! That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown!

Christmas Tree



AngelHack
November 30, 2013

I found out about AngelHack Sacramento 2013 a little too late to attend, but that didn't stop me from crashing the party. At AngelHack, groups of programmers (and a few other people, like designers) spend a set amount of time working as a team and creating something awesome. I think this hack event lasted for 24 hours, and was limited to phone and tablet apps.

I watched the final presentations at the end and was slightly underwhelmed. However the groups were only given 3 minutes to present, which I thought was unfair. There were judges and winners and food. Listening to the presentation I got a new idea for a web application. So stay tuned!

AngelHack



Thanksgiving
November 28, 2013

I spent this year's Thanksgiving with my parents.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving



NCAA Cross Country
November 15, 2013

Today I went and watched the NCAA Division 1 Cross Country Regional Meet. I'm not sure why my image is upside-down, I thought phones these days were better than that haha.

NCAA Cross Country

NCAA Cross Country



DWR Photo Request
November 14, 2013

I'm volunteering at DWR to do some web development work right now. My first project was to create a photo request page. My local version is here. Now, when someone wants photos taken they can use this page to make a request. The record gets stored in the database and an email is sent. Before this page, requests were printed out, completed by hand, scanned and emailed.

DWR Photo Request

DWR Photo Request



Tim and Musty
November 9, 2013

Went to the Cal Poly football game with brother Tom, and guess who happened to be sitting nearby! Musty the Mustang! :)

Tim and Musty



Light Snail
November 7, 2013

Today I took the light rail to downtown Sacramento. It was pretty slow.

Light Snail



Price Lookup
October 30, 2013

I finally got around to adding Amazon's price lookup to my Civil PE Exam Website, in the 'books' section. Now, instead of having to routinely update the price of each book, the prices always stay current because they check the Amazon price the moment the page loads!

Price Lookup



EV Blog
October 19, 2013

I started a blog over at Engineering Videos. I'm keeping to a specific format which (some people say) is a successful blog apporach. This involves including pictures, dividing the content up in to bullet points, and keeping the word count between 300 and 500 for each blog.

EV Blog



ASCE SF
October 3, 2013

Featured in the October 2013 issue of the ASCE SF Newsletter, I submitted an ad for my books and videos. It's at the bottom of page 10, and it's hard to miss because it stands out like a sore thumb. :) I'm sort of surprised they didn't have any formatting requirements because it really ruins the flow of the newsletter, from a graphics design perspective, which I have not. Just giving this a try!

ASCE SF



Operation Palatino
September 28, 2013

Over the past half year I've been changing the font of my books from Comic Sans to Palatino. A number of people have commented the font needed changing and I've been stuborn about actually doing it. Well, it took a long time, but I finally got it done. Below I show a sample of the new Palatino font in all its glory.

Operation Palatino



Civil Engineering Practice Examination 2
September 22, 2013

With a little extra time in the past month I managed to complete another practice examination for Engineering Videos. More details about the book are right here on the Amazon sales page.

Civil Engineering Practice Examination 2



10x10 Movie Competition
September 15, 2013

This evening I went to the 10x10 Movie Competition as part of the Sac Film Festival. The 10x10 is a showing of movies created in less than 10 days, and are no longer than 10 minutes long.

10x10 Movie Competition



Airbnb
September 11, 2013

Airbnb.com is an easy way to rent our a room of your house or an entire house to a guest for a specific amount of time. I played the role of host for the first time last night for a gentleman who was here on business. The whole process was fairly quick and easy, and it's just a way to make a few bucks since I have a guest bedroom and I'm home a lot right now, why not?

Airbnb



SFO 2 SLO
September 1, 2013

Over the past week I've been out of town on a bike trip from San Francicsco to San Luis Obispo. The trip lasted 5 days and Tom and Mark biked the entire ride, I biked about half the distance and drove the support car. It was a lot of fun. I created a highlight video of our trip, available here.

SFO2SLO

SFO2SLO

SFO2SLO



Cribbage Discard
August 19, 2013

I'm putting together a 'Cribbage Discard' website so that people (myself included) can become better cribbage players!

Cribbage Discard



North Fork Dam
August 18, 2013

I went for a hike up in Auburn this evening. It wasn't too hot and I saw a tall bridge and a dam and reservoir.

North Fork Dam

North Fork Dam



Test Ride
August 2, 2013

Over the past 5 days I biked some serious miles along the American River Trail. I wanted to do a test ride, similar to the actual mileage I plan to cover on my bike trip at the end of the month. Altogether it was a success.

Test Ride  Test Ride

Test Ride  Test Ride



Pool Party
July 21, 2013

Today I went to the pool party at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln. There was a live DJ and a pool packed with people, beyond capacity, I counted. :)

Pool Party



61 on 61
July 6, 2013

Today my dad turned 61 and we celebrated by going on a 61 mile bike ride. Turns out we actually went a few miles too far, but it was a great way to spend the morning!

61 on 61

61 on 61



Avila Visit
June 29, 2013

I spent the weekend with family at Avila Beach. The weekend included biking, golfing and getting extra credit on a couple pushups.

Avila Visit

Avila Visit



DIME Visits Redding
June 25, 2013

This week me and two coworkers traveled to Eureka and Redding to demonstrate the DIME web application I'm working on at work. During our Redding stop we visited the Sundial Bridge, and at night we used the bathroom door to play Catan.

DIME Visits Redding

DIME Visits Redding



NCAA Rowing
June 2, 2013

When biking this weekend I noticed a big rowing event taking place at the Natoma Reservoir, just downstream from Folsom Lake on the American River.

NCAA Rowing



Tahoe Trip
May 25, 2013

This weekend I went up to Tahoe with a few friends. One of our activities was driving around the lake. The picture below is me standing before the lake, facing east.

Tahoe Trip



Shoaib and Farishta's Wedding
May 17, 2013

My coworker Shoaib was married to his fiancee Farishta this evening. It was an Afghan wedding and the entire event was in Farsi. The event was really fancy and there were hundreds of people. Very well done. Below is a picture of me and another coworker standing outside of Shoaib and Farishta.

Shoaib and Farishta's Wedding



ProctorU
May 11, 2013

I'm taking an online computer science course right now and we just took our midterms. ProctorU is an online proctor service which allows students to test from their own homes at a reasonable expense instead of traveling to campus. I gave this ProctorU service a try for my midterm this morning and it worked pretty well.

ProctorU

What didn't work very well was their security. I was informed by the proctor that the exam prohibited me from using notes, books, any programming tools and the internet. But the only way ProctorU checked to ensure I wasn't using any of these prohibited sources was for me to pan around my work space using my web camera. After that time I could have pulled out books and notes or another computer.

In fact, while I was panning with my web camera for my proctor, my book was sitting just to the right of my mouse! Haha, and this was while they were supposedly checking to ensure there were no books!

For the record, my book was closed and I never opened my book during the exam. But still, even if they asked me to remove my books and notes, I had about 20 minutes between the time I was asked to pan around my workspace and when the exam began. And about 10 of those minutes my webcamera was totally off due to a connection issue.

But it gets better, say your buddy forgot to study and has his exam, and he's scheduled to take his exam a day later? No problem. During my exam I took an screen shot of my entire exam, with the answers completed. What's keeping me from sending the exam to my friend or just anonymously posting it online? Nothing. Strike 2 ProctorU.

You don't have to build web pages and test them for security to notice this security glitch, but it doesn't hurt.



The Exterminator
May 5, 2013

Not everyone is welcome in my home. I'm taking care of a minor rodent issue beneath the house. I sort of wish I had a picture of me in action. The head lamp and respirator worked really well.

The Exterminator



Picnic Day
April 20, 2013

Picnic Day is the UC Davis Open House. It was okay, but not as good as the Cal Poly open house. I ended up watching parts of the track meet they had going on there.

Picnic Day



Honda Mower
April 7, 2013

I bought a lawn mower today. Decided to go with a Honda since my dad said he's had good luck with them. Mowed the lawn and it looks good.

Honda Mower



Donut Vista Solutions
April 4, 2013

Thursday afternoons at work a few of us created a club which meets for an hour with a focus to improve speaking skills and related interpersonal "soft" skills. At today's meeting everyone thought up and presented their idea for what we should call the club. My idea was 'Donut Vista Solutions.' I even designed the logo and brought donut holes, but after the voting turns out my name wasn't very popular. Haha, oh well.

Donut Vista Solutions



If I Build It
April 2, 2013

Over the past few months I've created/developed tools and features to compliment my websites and to help generate traffic. Below are three examples, each of which only took a small amount of time to create, and very little time to maintain and monitor. Over time, I hope people will participate/contribute enough for each project to take off on it's own without a huge amount of time invested by me. Rather than put all my eggs in one basket (spend a lot of time on one specific project or product), I'm trying a few small scale projects and evaluating their progress. "If I build it they will come."

1. Facebook Fan Page for 'Civil Engineering PE Exam' (February 2013)
My idea is that 'everyone already has a Facebook account' so it's easy to 'like' this page without having to set up a user account and password. Facebook users already know how Facebook works. I can advertise and post whatever I want on this page. After 2 months I'm up to 35 Likes, but that includes my 4 accounts.

If I Build It


2. Civil PE Exam Resources Buy/Sell Page (March 2013)
This page allows users to post study materials for sale and browse to find materials they want to buy. For the Civil Engineering crowd trying to find cheap study materials this page could become really popular. I've seen 'yardsale' posting in a forum/bulletin board before, but my buy/sell page allows the users to filter by subject and sort by cost, which I think will be more helpful.

If I Build It


3. Engineering Videos Forum (April 2013)
I've resisted starting a forum for a long time and for good reason. I read a site needs at least 2,000 visitors per day before they can expect to have a successful forum. I don't expect much from this forum, but it was free and only too a few hours to install. One of my collegues who has a similar website started a forum and has some decent traffic which was enough encouragement for me to give it a shot.

If I Build It




Tree Trim
April 1, 2013

I had a few trees cut back and a few others removed entirely. Now the back yard looks really good and really green!

Tree Trim

Tree Trim

Tree Trim



Water Resources Practice Problems
March 13, 2013

I just finished my latest book Water Resources Practice Problems.This book includes practice problems for those studying for their Civil PE examination. The book is available through Amazon.

Water Resources Practice Problems



Home Projects
March 2, 2013

Been busy with a few projects around the house. Since moving in last month I've sealed the grout/tile in the kitchen, stapled down parts of the backyard sod, had my furnace looked at and settings adjusted and soon I plan to have a few trees cutback or removed.

Home Projects

Home Projects

Home Projects

Home Projects



Snow Band
February 16, 2013

Quite the plesant surprise today up on the slopes ... a band playing music amidst the skiers and snowboarders in the snow! :)

Snow Band



The Big 30
February 14, 2013

I turn 30 today!



Moving out of Ashgrove
February 10, 2013

Lots of cleaning today as I finally moved out of my apartment at Ashgrove Place. It was a good place to live for the past 27 months.

Moving out of Ashgrove



Homeowner
February 2, 2013

Just bought a house!

Homeowner



Home and Landscape Expo
January 27, 2013

This afternoon I went the Home and Landscape Expo. A few 2012 projects I'm thinking about involve: new window blinds, artificial turf, and a point of use water filter in the kitchen.

Home and Landscape Expo



Model Trains
January 19, 2013

I visted a model trains exhitib in Sacramento today. I like the smaller trains the best because the artwork around the models are the most detailed.

Model Trains

Model Trains

Model Trains

Model Trains



AIRobics
January 17, 2013

I went to my first aerobics class this evening. However the class was at a trampoline park, which means the aerobics involves jumping on trampolines and doing fun exercises the whole time.

This place also has games like dodgeball on trampolines, which is what's happening in the image below.

AIRobics

AIRobics



Sierra At Tahoe
January 5, 2013

Today I went snowboarding at Sierra At Tahoe. It has been a long time since I snowboarded last and I was just as good as I remember being last time I went. It's nice being so close to the snow. I plan to go up again later this season.

Sierra At Tahoe

Sierra At Tahoe



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