Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam is Dead



They hanged him today. I feel mixed emotions. I have no doubts he did messed up things. Crimes against humanity and what not. I just have this thing in my gut that tells me this is barbaric. Why not life in prison? Or something like that? Did he get a fair trial? Oh well. Better people have been executed before.

J.V.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

WTF, Chavez Person of the Year?????




Jon, you must be behind this.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hello Bloggers Everywhere!



Like 99.999995% of the time, I have nothing insightful to add to the blogger world, but, out of habit, I am updating you with information about my somewhat-boring-sometimes-crazy life.

As you may know, I now have a bachelors degree, I just took a badly needed vacation to the left Coast, I mean, West Coast. And I am sitting at home without a job until January, something that I must admit, enjoy very much, not that IBM was a bad place, but it is nice to sit around and just...relax.

Relaxing


Which I am doing in my own way. If you know me in person you know that I can't just sit still. So I've been staying at home cleaning, fixing and organizing stuff. I have cleaned and organized most of the house, and it's going to take a little bit before I can say that I am "done" and there's nothing else to do around the house. It's quite therapeutic to take a chaotic closet and turn it into a Marine Corps regulation wall-locker. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means a neat freak, but I don't like messy rooms, they bother me a little bit.

Announcement from both of us


Martha and I have a reason to be happy these days, we are expecting a baby girl in May. We have told everyone NOT to give us anything until Martha is at least 7 months along. I have so many things to look forward to. Basically I have gone from being a college student to being a Family Guy.

Grad School


I promised Martha that I would wait a year before going back to school, but, I feel a great desire to keep going and getting my Masters ASAP. But, I will remain true to my word and I will give it a rest. I will try to never stop learning new things though, I am studying for the GRE, and I am trying to review the things I am going to need for my new job.

I am thinking about either doing long-distance internet degrees with The University of Florida or Georgia Tech, or doing it locally either back at the Alma Mater or the University of Miami. I don't know, it depends on what is more convenient.

Reading an awesome book



Kamran, thank you for recommending The Brothers Karamazov, it is one of the best books I have read, I am still at page 76, but each chapter is filled with magnificent thought-provoking narrative. I like that.

I've been Thinking about God



And the Bible and the Virgin Mary, and all the Saints including Santa Claus and other Superstitions, why are we so credulous? Because we want to believe in something.

I'm looking into all that.

Merry Christmas, Hannukah, Kwuanza, Winter-Solice, and Holidays in General



Hope ya'll have a good one. I have to vacuum the bedroom.

J.V.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

99% of the people you will meet in college




Oh this is so accurate is funny. I must admit (with some embarrassment) that I was a "Major Elitist".

Monday, December 11, 2006

West Side!



I really like Portland. It has been raining everyday, but still. I have fallen in love with this city.

It is the opposite of Florida in almost every aspect. Yet I feel like I could live here. Of course, I would stand out as an outsider, there aren't that many Venezuelans here. But, with all the coffee shops and all the cool little neighborhoods. Who wouldn't like to live here?

I am staying at a Place called Ladd's addition, in Hawthorne, and it's just so nice. The people, the architecture, the culture. It's amazing.

We go back to FL tomorrow.

J.V.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oregon





That's where I'm sitting right now. We did a surprise visit to Joel, a friend of mine from Iraq, he is a photojournalist that just published a book, A night of a thousand stars and other portraits of Iraq.

We flew to New York right after the graduation ceremony. Then we caught a plane to Portland Oregon, where it has been raining on and off.

It's nice, yesterday we saw a bit of snow in the Coastal Range mountains, and we saw the Pacific Ocean (first time for me), we had salt water taffes and a taste of Oregonian food.

Today I plan on going to some big bookstore, supposedly the biggest technical bookstore in the country. I'll try not to go wild in there.

So, life is good right now. I have to find a part time job when I get back, since it's going to be three more weeks before I start my job, I would like to catch up with my reading. I plan on finally reading the brothers karamazov, and I,Robot. Besides the latest book by Richard Dawkins and Carl Hiaasen. On the plane I finished reading Iwoz, the story of the founder of Apple Co.


Ok, that is all for now.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I finally graduated



I finally finished. I am at the FLL Airport, Flying to New York.

I can't believe it. I am DONE!

Such a great feeling.

Next Stop. Corporate America.

See you soon.

J.V.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iraq Study Group report (full text PDF) is here.

Speaking of being a Geek



I think this is hilarious, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer's music video. He is very passionate about developers.

developers developers developers developers
developers developers developers developers
developers developers developers developers
developers developers developers developers

It does not feel so bad to study for a class that I actually like.

The final for Data Communication is tomorrow, I never thought that network theory could be interesting. But, I am geek like that.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stressed



I didn't think this week was going to be stressing, but it is. It's not the finals, it's when all kinds of small things pile up at the same time that I get like this.

One thing I hate about myself is that I became an asshole when I am stressed out. There is no excuse for acting like that and I know that is something to watch out for. When I am stressed out, I get mad easier, and I say mean things to people that are close to me.

Admitting that is hard for me.

I am trying to be nice.

I am sad that Venezuela will have Chavez as president. I get mad at people that think it is a conspiracy, I don't know, they might be right, but they don't have proof. I truly believe that if the majority of Venezuelans wanted him out he would have been out by now.

Of course, the theory that the elections were rigged and that there's no way that he could have won by 61% makes perfect sense. I admit it is naive to think that the current government would not cheat on the elections. But, face it, we lost. Chavez is staying. Let's get over it.

Also, I did not vote, I could have voted, but I didn't. My fault.

My car would not start, the cat got sick, my wife is not feeling well, the chemistry final was a tough mother, I had a huge headache yesterday, today, I don't have a headache but it has been a hectic day. I have to cram for my Data Communications final on Thursday, it will be a hard test, but at least it will be on a subject that I enjoy, plus, I am sure it won't have a bunch of unfair trick questions like the chemistry final, that pisses me off so bad. I mean, one thing is to test if you know the material, another thing is to ask ambiguous bogus crap on a multiple choice test. Crap that wasn't on the book and that was never covered. Or subtle word play, that type of thing pisses me off so much because it's not fair. Of course complaining about it to the prof only makes you seem immature or lazy..oh well. I guess I am done ranting.

J.V.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Holy Cow!



Last college lecture as an undergrad...today!

That's it. Next week finals and next Friday, graduation.

Good times, good times.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Wii vs PS3



When it comes to how I feel about these two. This article hit the nail right in the head.

J.V.

Monday, November 20, 2006

FAU STUDENT DIED OF OVERDOSE



Last night at the dorms. So sad.


J.V.


The link for the story is here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Authority



I was taught to follow authority at home. It was reinforced later in the military.

I learned to question authority at College. Many of my personal heroes are people that went against the crowd and against the authority figures of their day.

There is a time when it's ok to question authority, like when people abuse their power to benefit themselves and to harm others, or when the government is not acting in the best interest of the nation, when an elected official is incompetent or corrupt.

When police officers abuse their power, the citizens must put them in check, that type of abuse should not be tolerated.

But when a guy is trying to instigate a riot and gets tasered for acting up, it's hard for me to sympathize, especially when he should know better.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wii



A friend of mine somehow someway managed to get a wii before its release date, I just got back from playing raving rabbits. Oh man, it was good. Sorry Froyd.

The same friend, also has a PS3 but he got it just to get it, he was debating on selling it on ebay or playing it, I talked him into playing, I must say, I am disappointed in the lack of user-friendliness, the GUI is counter-intuitive and the thing was taking forever to load.

Something You didn't know Venezuela and the U.S. had in common



According to Euromonitor International Venezuelans and Americans drank 83.3 and 82.8 liters of beer per capita respectively in 2005. No other Latin American country comes even close. Yeah! Go Venezuela!

Venezuela is ranked 9th among the biggest Beer Drinkers in the world, now, that's something to be proud of. The US comes close with 10th place, but no one can touch the Czech Republic with 160.5 l/c, wow that's impressive.


*******EDIT********
I don't know if you noticed, but I was being very sarcastic.
It's sad that Venezuela is in the news when our lunatic president speaks or when the amount of beer we drink is calculated.

Happiness is..



...Sitting at a little coffee shop on campus, with a good cop of Joe, superfast wireless, listening to good music, and watching people walk by.

Life is good.

J.V.

Book I'm reading



I used to doubt the Theory of Evolution, but I realized that I never thought about it from a scientific point of view. That's why I am reading the Blind Watchmaker.

The big misconception about evolution is that things just happened by random chance. That is not the case. It's true, Science does not have all the answers to the origin of life. In fact, scientist don't agree on one Theory, but that is the beauty of science, in its purest form it is honest and testable. You can't just make up theories out of thin air and publish them, in order for them to be taken seriously they have to be tested.The theory has to explain and predict physical phenomena.

There is power in that. You and I trust science when we ride a plane. When we make a phone call and when we send an email. When we go to the doctor and take an aspirin. So, why not give evolution a chance?

J.V.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hotmail sucks





Can't check my email, don't know why I still use hotmail.

Uhg

J.V.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Must.Study.Now



Homeworks and Lab reports. Final Exams. All coming up, I have to start preparing. I have to read hundreds of pages, solve and work out dozens of problems. Learn and Understand a bunch of concepts, some I will see and use again, others forgotten until I take the GRE or Graduate school. Go to class. Commute to Boca. Find Parking. Deal with Glades Road. All of that is going to end soon.


Four More Weeks.

J.V.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT



I am proud to announce that Martha and I are expecting one more member in the family.
Yes, she is pregnant. Due around May.

I've been holding back, I know, but, we wanted to wait before we announced it to the whole world.

We are very excited, and no, contrary to public belief this is the last one, I swear.

She is starting to show, this pregnancy is nothing like Anthony's, he sort of snuck in, unnoticed until it was imminent, we found out about it when he kicked Martha, but this one, she knew from the start. She has all the symptoms of a pregnancy and it is not pretty.

Overall, I can't complain. I was very scared the first time, and I was ok, this time I feel ready, like a battle hardened leatherneck ready for his next conflict, I say to the next baby: Bring it on!

(hope I don't eat my words later)

New Looks



Nothing too fancy, my dream is one day to completely customize my page, but I have no artistic creativity...I kind of like this setting.

J.V.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A decision has been made



My life is freaking crazy.

Let me explain,

A year and a half ago I started interning at IBM in Rochester MN. I fell in love with the company and the area. The job was amazing, challenging, great co-workers, the whole nine yards.

Then, last summer, a problem came up, there were no positions available in my department, I waited and waited, but no offer, so I applied for jobs at other companies.

Let's see, I applied to a bunch of companies all over the place, I tried Intel, AMD, Google and they ignored me.

Then I spread my resume in a couple of career fairs, and I ended up getting calls from some companies, I flew to New York city for Morgan Stanley, to Owego for Lockheed Martin, I also had an interview with NAVAIR and Raytheon in a career fair in Philadelphia and on campus. I also got offers from places I really didn't want to work for, out of professionalism I won't name them, but they were, how do I put it...not too realistic in their company sales pitch. But that's ok.

I also had technical interviews where they moped the floor with my ego, that includes Citrix and Hitachi, where I got stumped, and made me realize that I am not the hot stuff I thought I was.

Even though I don't believe in Karma, it keeps happening to me. When I was in high school I swore loudly that I would never date anyone from Peru...and then I dated a Peruvian girl for three years, I also said that I would never date any girl from our church, then I dated and Married a girl from our church, Last year I said I'll never work for Motorola, and yesterday at 5:40 pm ET I accepted a position with them.

The crazy thing is, IBM Rochester was my first choice, but it didn't look like they had openings for me, but, yesterday at 5:57 I got an email from them...offering me the position I had been waiting for.

A couple of months ago I would have taken the offer anyway, but now, I don't want to move away from Florida, it would actually cost me money, and I don't want to deal with that, unfortunately that's a factor that had to be considered, I would have moved and made the sacrifice back then, but not now when I have the chance to stay.

So I am happy to say that I will become a Motorolan, I think it's so crazy that I turned down an offer from IBM and Lockheed Martin, those were great jobs, but I am happy and I don't regret it now, hopefuly I won't regret it later.

By the way, My Boss in IBM, Gene, was the best Manager in the world, I have never worked with a better boss before, it makes me sad that I won't be working for him, but I look forward to my new job.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps





My Beloved Corps turns 231 today.

Semper Fidelis.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Decision


My mom likes to tell a little story about me:

When I was a little boy, we used to live in a house that had two bathrooms, one had a shower only and the other one had a bathtub only. One day she asked me which one I wanted to use, I hesitated, then replied “I want a shower”, so she takes me to the shower bathroom, then, after a couple of minutes of being in the shower I kept thinking about how nice a bath would be, so I said “I want a bath” Mom took me to the other bathroom, after that I changed my mind and asked her to take me to the shower again, at which point my Mother proceeded to whoop my ass in a very Latin fashion, the point of the story is, I am indecisive, specially when it comes to big decisions, this can be a character flaw. I never suffered from it in the Service because I knew that I had to make decisions in a timely manner, but when it comes to things in which I am allowed to ponder, I am bad, really bad.

Which takes me to today’s post, I want to take some time to discuss my decision making process. In which you will learn a few things about me.

It comes down to two choices, I have not heard back from the a couple of other companies; since I have to make a decision by next Monday, for all practical purposes they don’t count.

I have one offer from Motorola, in Ft. Lauderdale FL (my hometown) and an offer from Lockheed Martin in Owego NY.

It is not simple, it is not a trivial decision, and it’s killing me. So I will attempt to point what I like and what I don’t like about the offer, maybe that will help.

Why I like Lockheed Martin

  1. I love what they do

Since I was a little kid, I had a fascination with aircraft, especially warplanes, I just loved it, I used to draw little diagrams of plane bisections, I was in love with those things, Dad used to tell me that I was going to be an aeronautical engineer, I love airplanes as much as I love computers, here, they want to use my computer knowledge to do neat things in the leading edge of technology, I always wanted to work on something like this, since I started college I wanted to work for a company that did the sort of thing Lockheed Martin does. I feel so psyched just thinking about it.

  1. Owego NY is a good place to raise a family

Good education system,

Lower cost of living

I like the Northeastern part of the country.

I think that it’s good place to live.

Quality of life will be higher for us there

3. A chance to go to Cornell University

It’s not guaranteed, but I qualify to compete for a slot to go to the DLP program or something like that. The basic thing is that they would send me to Cornell University to get an MBA and a Masters of engineering simultaneously all paid for by the Company, but even if I don’t get that, they will pay for my Master’s degree at any University. I like that.

  1. I really liked the Managers I met.

For all that it’s worth, my first impression of the people I’d be working with was very good. They were very nice to me, and they sold me the company really well, Lockheed spared no expense to make me feel comfortable, they paid for a rental car, two nights at a nice hotel and all the meals, not only that, but, they were so damn nice.

Why I want to go to Motorola.

  1. It’s in South Florida

South Florida has been my home for 14 years, Most of my family lives here, most of my friends are here. And I know the area. Also, South Florida is paradise on earth, yeah, it’s overcrowded, yes, it’s expensive, but Ft. Lauderdale is one of the most beautiful cities in the US. Everyone wants to live here. All it takes is one visit, and you are hooked.

  1. My Mother

My Mother lives here, I don’t want to break her heart. I know she doesn’t want me to move far away. I love the way her face lights up when she sees Anthony, she is never going to tell me not to follow my dreams, but it is hard for me to leave her knowing that I had the chance to stay.

  1. My Sister

If I leave, I will miss my sister a lot. I want to see her get through college just like I did, I am very proud of her. I don’t want to leave her.

  1. The Rest of my Family

My Mother in Law helps us out, my family on both sides always help us out with big or little things. Our Hispanic culture is very family oriented. Leaving my Family and my in Laws will be hard.

  1. Motorola is not a bad job

To be honest, I never thought I would get an offer from them, most of the Electrical and Computer Engineers from the University of Miami, Florida International, Nova and FAU want to work there. Many apply, few are chosen, I applied there because I wanted to give Florida a chance, thinking that I was going to be ignored like most of my classmates, instead, they gave me a call, asked me to go interview the next day, and gave me a full day of technical interviews in which I happened to know all the answers to. If it wasn’t for Lockheed I would be happy to be there, hell, I consider myself honored that they made me an offer, they made their decision rather quickly, three days after the interview they called to offer me the job.

  1. I have friend and family that work in Motorola

One of my closest friends in college works there, my cousin works there. Many classmates are there, many of my professors do research from them.

  1. Motorola is the best engineering company in the area.

They have a good reputation here. Big company with good benefits, they offered me a salary that is about 5% higher than Lockheed. They will pay for my Masters degree, which I am want to get it from the University of Florida, one of the best schools in the country, it is not Ivy League but it’s surely the best engineering school in the state…besides FAU of course.

  1. Moving will be a big hassle

If I sell the house I will lose money, it’s a buyers market and I doubt I will be able to rent it to cover the mortgage payments, so it’s a problem that I’d rather not deal with.

Overall, I would be very happy to accept the Motorola offer if it weren’t for the fact that I had my dream job offered to me at a different place. The bigger things stopping me from jumping to Lockheed Martin are my family and the hassle of moving there which I can avoid by just staying here, but it seems to me that those are not good reasons to say no to a great job. But I can have a good job that I sort of like, and stay here all the same, but my mind does not let me turn away from a job like Lockheed.

I want to thank Martha my wife for being so supportive.

For those of you that don’t know me, you should know that Martha and I fight, we get into arguments and stuff like that, I am telling you this because I don’t want you to get the impression that we are the perfect couple, however, she has been great in giving me all the support that I need and she basically says that she will go with me wherever I decide to go.

So that is my dilemma, writing this helps me understand well the issue, and it’s back to square one. I can accept the Motorola one because it seems like it’s a win-win, I mean, great company with a good reputation, great benefits and I can stay at home and avoid all the hassle, but, on the other hand, it’s my dream job…in NY, with a chance to get my Masters degree at an Ivy league school living like kings. So, what do I do?

I. don’t. know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oh my God! Rumsfield Resigned!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

One more interview



Today I am flying to Minnesota for another software Engineering position, on my way there I have a layover in Chicago, hopefully I will see my old friend from the Marines Kamran...but he might be too busy planning an invasion.

Anyway, I got to go to class...Just thought I'd post something today.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ok, here they come!



So, after more than 10 interviews with about 7 companies, I now have two good job offers, I still have one more interview next week and that should wrap it up. I have to make a tough decision, probably one of the most influential in my life. Joining the Marines was an easy choice for me because I did not think there were other options for me, ditto with joining the reserves, I got rejected to my first school of choice so choosing FAU was a no-brainer since it's the closest one to home. But this is a bit different, I want to make the best decision possible, but at the end I know that no matter where I choose to go I am going to regret not choosing the other ones.

It comes down to a Big Aerospace and Defense company in the Northeast, with a great benefits package in a low cost of living area and the biggest engineering company here is South Florida, they are both good jobs, they pay pretty good, they have good packages, in the Aerospace job I would be doing something extremely cool, interesting, challenging and classified. The job here is just as challenging but I don't see it as interesting as the other one, but it's here, I wouldn't have to move and deal with all the stress and I get to stay with my family. The job here pays a bit more but the cost of living here is higher.

At the end I know I can do well in either one, but I hate to say no to good job.

Ok, enough about that, I am here at home, I got to study for a test on Monday, other than that, life is good.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Phily



I'm sitting in a hotel room in the middle of Downtown Philadelphia, I have a nice view of tall building and I am doing my best to get some studying done. I have just attended ETCC for my school chapter of SHPE.


So anyway, I still don't know where I am going. But I have a feeling I am about to find out pretty soon. The job offers should come in anytime now.

I wait.


***********UPDATE*****************


Our Chapter, has just won the Chapter of the Year Award!

Go FAU!!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Error-Free Software



Exciting stuff. This is the reason I studied computer Engineering. This article explains it.

Software is Everything

Monday, October 23, 2006

Senioritis



Help! 7 weeks left and I feel no desire whatsoever to do any course work. All I can think about is how wonderful life is going to be once I don't have to take classes anymore. What's wrong with me? I have a case of the senioritis chronica.

Please do not worry about me. I will get over this.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday Morning



I love Saturday Mornings. I like it when I can just relax for a while. Dear readers I have to confess I am one of the weirdest people in the world. I am strange indeed, I could blame it on the Marines, Iraq, or my engineering education. But it would be a lie, I am just different. Why am I warning you? Because I am about to make a statement that will make you go huh?

I love to clean up.

I know, I know, but it's so relaxing and I like to sit back after the house it's picked up and enjoy how it looks. I am not a neat freak, like anyone that was my roomate in the Marines can atest. But, I don't like messyness. As you can imagine our house it's not always in the best state of cleaningness. We get up early to go to work and school and when we get back Martha is too tired to do anything and I have too much homework to do anything else. But on the weekend I try to pick up a bit.
So there, I said it. So what.

Yesterday my sister gave me a great gift. Kurt Vonnegut's A Man without a country. I read most of it last night and the last few pages just now. I don't agree 100% with him but it's awesome to read his stuff, I would love to have a converstation with that man. I can tell that WWII affected him a lot, I can relate, in a smaller scale. I wish I can just write why I liked it. But is the feeling I get that we all ask ourselves the same questions, some people act like they have it figured out, some do not. But at the end. None of us know a damn thing. We just got here. "Life is no way to treat an animal". "Do you think arabs are dumb? they gave us our numbers, try doing long division with roman numerals". Great quotes from the book.


My first Wikipedia edit



I added a pic and a paragraph to the entry on Ramadi. It's not much, but it gave me some satisfaction that I made some contribution to the World's Free Encyclopedia.

Thursday was a very long day



So Thursday Morning I woke up at 3:30 AM to get ready for a big day. I left home at 4:15, drove myself to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport, caugth the 6:00AM flight to JFK airport in NYC, on the plane I tried reviewing everything I was taught about software engineering at FAU, I tried to memorize pieces of code and concepts, I was very scared. I arrived at 8:40, at 8:45 I was outside the airport trying to catch a cab. the line was extremely long. Then I met Juan.

Juan was a cab driver from the Dominican Republic driving an old Black Town car, I don't know if it was legit taxi or not, but he just asked me I was going to the city and I was in a hurry so I said sure, no problem ( you got to understand there was long line to catch a yellow cab ) So Juan and I talked about life, life in NY, the Mets, Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, how nice it is down in Florida and everything else in between, one hour and twenty minutes later I was in the southern tip of Manhattan in the Financial District walking around in a blue suit amongst a bunch of stock tradin' cowboys. I entered the tallest building in the area and I was very scared.

So I called Martha, but she was at work and could not answer. I called my sister next and she made me feel better. Finally I went up to the 3rd Floor where HR resides and I threw myself in the pool of sharks. Overall it wasn't bad, first there was an orientation, there were 20 candidates competing for I don't know how many positions they had, there were 4 kids from MIT, 5 from Cornell, One from Stevens, One from Purdue, One from the University of Florida, one dude from FAU (me) and the rest were from NYU. So after the orientation we had lunch and a discussion panel with recent hires in the firm. After which we had some sort of Logic Symbolic Processing test, it was some sort of IQ test, I only got to question 28 out of 40 when time ran out. So I don't know how well I did. After that we had a group activity where they split us in groups of 4 and put us in a room to perform a task as a team, I remember those from ROTC and the Crucible in the Marines. But never with 4 people with clipboards evaluating you. Then I had a professional interview and two technical interviews one after the other. They were not as hard as I thought they would be, but they asked me about everything. Operating System, Network, Object Oriented Programming, Computer Architecture, after that. Dinner and farewell, the day went by fast, it was 6:00pm by the time I was done. I wanted to go to a Barnes and Noble and get a good book to read on the flight back, but suddenly I felt very tired, however I didn't want to just go back to the Airport, so I decided to walk around NY for a couple of hours, I didn't know that part of Manhattan too well, so I ended up walking up to where the World Trade used to be. Ground zero they call it. Then I cought the A train to Howard Beach station and the Air train to the Airport. One the subway ride I saw New York in a different light. Too crowded, Too Dirty, people too mean. But maybe it was my tiredness. Truth is, it's an awesome job. I think I did good but I'll find out next week.


More Options



Well, I rambled long enough. It's time for me to go. I have a family function to attend. More later.

J.V.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Update



I still don't know where I am going to be working 3 months from now. My internship with IBM ends in December and I have not heard anything about an offer. So I've been looking around, and it's interesting, I've been applying to the big chip making companies but have not heard anything back from them, so I figured the next best thing is to try to stay here in FL, there aren't many choices when it comes to Computer Engineering, I heard from one of the two main software engineering companies here in Florida, I finally got through their screening process, I have a second interview with them soon. I also got a second interview with a big financial institution in New York City (to work at their IT department), their office is right in Downtown Manhattan and that's where I am going on Thursday for my interview, on one hand it would be extremely awesome to live in a city like New York, but it would be so expensive to live there, and do I really want my family to be raised in NY? We'll see how it goes, everything is up in the air, the idea of having good baseball, good restaurants and museums and being in the capital of the world does sound appealing, but staying home in FL with all my family and friends also sounds good. Plus Minnesota is still not out of the question...what would you do?

J.V.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

FAU



I've always wondered what type of training was required to be a Lab TA at the S&E building. Now, I know.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Halfway there



Yesterday I finished my last mid-term, which means that I am halfway through my last semester. I have roughly 8 weeks until graduation. I can tell you three things that are going to happen.


I am going to cry like a girl


I will be so freaking happy, I know I am going to be crying, just like I did in Parris Island when I finished that last mile out of 60 in the Crucible when they handed me the EGA and told me I was officially a Marine, I cried then. I will cry in this graduation,
7 semesters, 3 summer terms, one wedding, one war in Iraq, one internship in MN, one Son, one closing on a house, 2 cars, 4 jobs, I went through a lot while I was getting this degree.

I will have my TI-89 in my pocket


Sounds funny but, after taking Calculus I through III, Differential Equations, Statistics and Discrete Math, I still can't do a simple integral...but I know how to punch it in my trusty TI-89 calculator. Thank you Texas Instruments! My TI deserves the degree as much as I do. It was there for me when I needed it the most.

In my other pocket I will have something from Iraq


I wish our guys will come home soon. I am not into rituals and crap, but, I want to honor those of us who didn't make it back. This one is for you guys. We all embraced the suck, but you gave more. I came back, I will carry on, but I will never forget. Iraq will always be a part of me.

My wife and my family are getting the presents


I will not accept any gifts from them, I should be the one throwing them the party. If it wasn't for all that they did, all the faith they had in me, I don't think I could have made it, Thanks to my wife who thinks I am the smartest guy on earth, obviously I am not even the smartest person in my house. But thanks anyway. To Mom and Dad, Thank you. To my sister, thank you sister, I am proud of you, you will always be a Gator to me. (inside joke)

Ok, that's all I got, busy day today, it's been really busy.

J.V.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

4 year Anniversary today

Sunday, October 08, 2006

FL



Ft.Lauderdale is beautiful this time of the year.

J.V.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Go Twins!



The Minnesota Twins just clinched the AL Central title, they are going to the play offs.

I have three Midterms coming up, what do you think I did, a) Study all weekend, b) Catch up on homework c) spend the day at the park watching a ballgame.

If you answered c) Congratulations! you are correct!!!

Now, I have to spend the rest of the night doing what I should have done all weekend.


J.V.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ramadi in the News



I go on with my life as if 2003-2004 never happened, yes, I mention it here and there, mostly to people who straight up ask me about it, but most of the people that know me in my everyday routine never ask me about it, and I never talk about it. I like it that way. Then there are times when I can't help myself and I read the news about Iraq, then I get really sad about the whole thing.

What sucks is that my good 'ol Ramadi was just described as "Worst city in Anbar province Ramadi -hands down" in this letter from a Marine Intelligence officer.

I was surfing the internet minding my own business when I stumbled upon that article.
I can't explain how it feels to read about Iraq. One moment I am here, thinking about Midterms and what to have for lunch tomorrow, then the next moment I am remembering how it was to not have a flushing toilet, how it felt to be surrounded by so much dirt, this fine dust that gets inside everything. Well, I rather not remember. But I will never forget.

J.V.

I feel for those that are there, I wish they'd come home soon.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Anthony's first birthday!



We had a little get together at my place yesterday and it was awesome, good friends showed up, my family was there, and I discovered a new mission in life...The grill, I spent the whole day cooking steaks and chicken for everyone. I placed picturees here in my MSN Space. You can also check out Martha's blog.


J.V.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Open Question"




What do you think is more dangerous, a really dumb but well intentioned person with a lot of power, or a real clever person with a lot of power? This is not about politics btw. I'm just wondering.

J.V.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Yes, Anthony Walks





So, here are some recent pictures of Anthony, he is walking now.
I try to spend whatever "free" time I have to teach him how to do signs, it's supposed to help him learn better. I've heard that the first years are very important. So, it is almost not fair to him that I have to work and study so much, I really don't want to be an absent Dad. It really sucks that there are days when only see him in the morning, when I get home he's already asleep. I want to show him stuff, I know he is very curious. He loves to play and stuff, he's particulary fascinated with the cats (he chases them all over the house) and remote controls, also I have to keep him away from the laptop, I suspect that he thinks he can write better Perl code than me, and, he may be right. But whenever he sees the computer screen, he wants to pound on the keyboard.



FAU



So, this Semester I am taking Data Comunication, Intro to VLSI, General Chemistry and Senior Seminar.
I am also auditing Structured VLSI, which is the same thing as Intro to VLSI, plus Verilog and it's a graduate course, those of you at IBM know exactly what that means.
I am doing that because my job is CAD VLSI, so everything helps.

(IBM parenthesis)
What I do, (for those of you who care to know) is that I am in a Chip Design Team, they think of the computer chip, design it, write the model in VHDL or Verilog, Verify it, Test it, Verify it again, Fabricate it, Test it some more and TADA! we have a chip for sale. My Department has made some neat stuff, like the chip for the Xbox 360 and the Blue Gene SuperComputer, I don't do any of the glamourous stuff, I work on a memory I/O controller for servers (yawn), but, if you are a geek like me, that stuff is truly fascinating. I love it.

So my Network class is good, interesting but it takes some work, a bit more than I am used to, but that's a good thing, the more I learn about this profession the more I want to learn more, I really wish I could do my Masters right after my bachelors, but I have to get on the workforce, being a student and a Dad is not fun. But the Master's is coming, I promise. (Martha, Dad, take note)

Senior Seminar is very laid back, and interesting, we just talk, we talk about ethics and computers, The Constitution of the U.S. and everything in between, the students give discussions on various topics relating to computing and society. My assigned lectures are going to be on "Computers and work" and "The Software Engineering code of Ethics" Which should be good. I guess I am supposed to have morals or something.

Chemistry is just the opposite, a lot of material, a lot of homework, labs, and a lot of freshmen, but, I was surprised, apparantly the school is getting pickier with admissions, these freshmen seem very prepared. Some know way, way more stuff than me when it comes to the physical sciences, hurt my pride a bit. But that's ok. Because I graudate December! What was that? you have 4 more years? Oops! sucks to be you!

Anyway. I really should be doing homework, which I have plenty of, I just wanted to give an update since I care about you, my constant readers, whoever you are. I know you are lurking in there, not leaving comments, but that's ok, I still love you.

Take Care

J.V.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Top Ten No Sympathy Lines



I thought this was good.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ernesto who?




Tropical storm Ernesto puzzled the forecasters who predicted a Cat 1 Hurricane in South Florida, the storm never gained strenght after going through Cuba, so now I hear people complaining because the state goverment "overreacted", anyway, I am glad things turned out the way they did. Better to be safe than sorry.

So we just got a bit of rain, we didn't even lose power at our house. It kind of worked out because I have some time to catch up with school work that I missed from last week.

Anyway, life is good, more later.

J.V.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ernesto







So we have a new storm folks, All of South Florida is under Hurricane watch, the keys are evacuating again, so this is my welcome home thing. I apreciate that Florida!

J.V.

Things I’ve been thinking about.

So right now I am in a plane, flying from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale, this probably won’t make it to the blog until Monday or Sunday, (busy with family)

Anyway, the thing is, I am having one of those moments when I learn something new, or when I read something that gets my wheels spinning, I am really bad at presenting my ideas clearly, the problem is that I don’t think I ever write anything new, that I don’t have any ideas of my own, it seems like all I do is merely repeat what someone else has said before me. This bothers me because I don’t want to give the appearance that I am so clever or what not, since I am not, I am not intelligent at all. I get very self-conscious when I write my thoughts, since I believe my thoughts are plagiarizing other thinkers before me.

I know nothing about computers, or better said, I only know a few basic principles about computers, but I am straying from the subject, the real thing I want to say is how much I appreciate other people who do not worry about what others think, people like Richard Feynman, Copernicus, people who doubt, and ask, scientists who know what it means to know something. It makes me understand that I don’t know much of anything, I feel humbled in comparison, I only wish to understand what they are talking about.

But the thing that bothers me is that I am supposed to be an educated person, (somewhat) I am about to graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering and I barely understand what my field is supposed to be about, not that I did not study, is just that I realize that I have only scratched the surface of what there is to know. I know that I don’t understand math that well, I must admit with a great deal of shame that I cannot do an integral without a calculator. I have forgotten most of what I’ve been taught about physics, so what do I know? Not much really.

Mysticism in our world

People seem to turn to mystic things to explain the world that we don’t understand, I can understand how we can have faith in the things that we cannot know, for example, science cannot prove that there isn’t a God out there.

I wonder

Just because somebody believes in evolution does not mean that they are against religion, why is that we think that?

Or why is it that we seem to associate atheism with immorality? How is atheism unmoral?

Why do we still believe in palm readers, astrology, superstitions and silly things like that? All these things that we know have to be fake, but we still believe it.

Humans are lazy

People seem to be very lazy when it comes to believing what they are told, it is easier to accept things and move on rather than to think and analyze what is going on. I think is great when we question things, like when we make our leaders accountable for their actions. I think that is a good thing, I think that’s what democracy is supposed to be about

I just want to write that like Feynman, I am not afraid of not knowing the answers to all the questions that haunt us, like what is the meaning of life and all of that, I may think about it for a second, but I am going to dedicate my life to continue to learn, but only learn those things that I can know for sure, things that I can prove with experiments, theories that have results and number that agree with it, not just some mumbo-jumbo that anyone with a typewriter can make up.

Maybe something good will come out of it, maybe I’ll work on a chip that will change the world, who knows? But that’s not what I am after, it’d be nice if it happens, but I just want to learn for the pleasure of finding things out.

Like the other day, they called me from work to see if I wanted to put in some extra hours going to the lab on a Saturday, so I had nothing to do that day anyway.

We had these medical machines that measure the performance of pacemakers, some expensive pieces of equipment that IBM makes for medical institutions, so anyhow, some of them had bugs in it so we were to take a look at them and if they had this error we were supposed to go in there and copy the log files and the software version for the engineers in Texas to figure out what was wrong, so it was a very basic thing, all we did was to look for this logs, compress them and copy them to a USB drive and then upload them to the web, the trick was, these machines run a version of Linux a bit different from what we normally use, our manager did not know Linux and this guy and I decided that we were going to figure out how to make the USB drive work. So we figured it out, well he did the USB part, I just figured out what order to do things in order for it to go faster.

So we didn’t accomplish anything significant, but the mere feeling of figuring out a puzzle, not knowing anything before, thinking about the problem and then finding a solution gives such a great satisfaction, it is great. I want to do these types of things. I like to solve problems. I don’t want to say that I am good at solving problems; I just want to say that I like doing that.

I am still a rookie, a newbie, I have ways to go. I am glad that I now know what I like to do. Let’s see how things turn out.

So this is what’s I’ve been thinking about as a cruise south across the country at forty thousand feet. It is 11:00 PM and I have one more hour before I get home to Florida.

Family

Tomorrow I am going to see my family. I want to see how Anthony has changed, he is growing up so fast, it is crazy, wow, and time doesn’t stop. My son is going to grow up and be and adult someday, isn’t that something? I mean, from a few cells to a full person.

Ok folks, that’s all I have.

J.V.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back to School






Not quite, I'll be back monday. Anyway, University Press the school newspaper did something creative for a change. I thought this was cool.
Thanks to Oge's blog. (that's Dr. Marques for the rest of us)


J.V.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Going back to Florida earlier than planned



I was planning on staying in Rochester until labor day weekend, but since class started this week I have been missing out, one of my teachers highly recomended that I drop his course because two weeks is just too long to miss, we went back and forth on email and I agreed to come back early. So I will be leaving the land of corn for the land of..uh, Sun? Anyway, It's good because I do miss my family. But I have enjoyed Minnesota, not because of all the great things to do here (see corn grow, cow tipping, work) but because of its people. I seems like I have more, better quality friends here than out there in Florida. Don't know why, but I turn into a different person when I am here, is like I am more relaxed or something. Maybe Florida stresses me out too much.

I am anxious to see my Son, and my wife. Mom and Dad and my sister, and my brother in law, my good friends there. I am also ready for that last semester at FAU. Whoooohhoooooo! Yeah baby!

Tonight I saw the new Will Ferrell movie Tollega nights, it was hilarious. Classic Will Ferrell, if you liked old school, you will probably like this one. I was laughing the whole time. Don't get me wrong, I like good thoughtful movies, but sometimes you just need to have a good belly laugh.

Ok Folks, that is all.

J.V.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer Reading




So this week I finished reading another book, The Pentium Chronicles, is about how this dude managed a big, complex project, being in charge of P6, aka Pentium Pro, a landmark chip. I was curious about how they make chips at Intel, it was an interesting book, I was able to relate some of the things from my limited experience in a Design Team in IBM, but for the most part I learned a few things, like, I didn't know Intel did not trust their employees, they used to check their bags before they left work, afraid that they will steal their stuff, I could not stand that, they don't do that anymore.

I also read this book about the Ebola virus, The Hot Zone, I scared me, at the beginning I was terrified, nature is a mean bitch. At the end of the book the author hints at the idea that these new viruses are the earth's way of defending itself from their parasites, the human disease that's trying to kill the planet. I don't think I agree with that. I think those viruses have been there all along, living on some bug or something, but since humans are expanding their foothold, they catch diseases that are not meant for them, the jungles have nasty stuff, that's that.

I read Uncle Tungsten. A book about Chemistry. Wow, some people love science, but none like the author of this book, there is no way anyone can write about chemistry with so much passion.
Obrigado Arthur.

But the book I liked the most (this summer) was Life of Pi.
Thank you Sean.


Why I liked Life of Pi



Warning: Plot Spoiler.....


So, this 16 year old from India ends up in a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal Tiger, A Zebra, An Orangutan and a Hyena.

The Tiger eats the Zebra, Hyena and Orangutan, the rest of the way is the boy and the tiger, Alone for 277 days.

The way the book is written, you know that the boy survived the voyage, you are told that this story has a "happy ending".

There's also these curious things, in the beginning the author hears this story that's supposed to make you "believe in God". There's also this idea about how is better to live in a made up bliss instead of a dry reality.

When the boy gets to land, we find out that what really happened was something horrible, the story about the Tiger was a way for the boy to cope with reality.

The thing that impacted me was at the end, the boy tells both stories to the authorities and he asks them, when it comes down to it, it does not make a difference which story is true, which is the best story?

My wheels were spinning, It all made sense.

Ok, I am tired. I have to go to bed. I could go on. But, what else can I say? Think about what we believe, (God, Karma, luck, etc) why do we believe in it? For what purpose? Does it make our lives better?


Allright, that is all for now

J.V.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Good Friends Good times






It was a nice summer in Rochester, I missed most of it. But I got to see some friends from last year and I got the chance to meet new ones.







These are some pictures of us going rock-climbing.





I put more pictures here

J.V.

Update




I have been a bad, bad, bloggger, I hate to write excuses for not posting, "I am too busy" is a sucky reason, but it inconvinently happens to be the truth, I have been doing a bunch of "stuff".

This has been quite a summer for me. Let's review all of the things I had to do.

Take two classes in Summer A and the Senior Project in Summer C.
Summer A is Six weeks long, week 3 and 4 were spent in Camp Blanding Florida doing my National Guard Training, I had to catch up when I returned, not pretty.

That was in May and early Jume, whe I finished Summer A I had to concentrate on finishing the Senior Project early enough so I could have time to go up to Rochester for my internship.

After being here two weeks, I flew down to do the presentation, did that last week.
This week I had a few permanent job interviews. Thanks to Project View, IBM flew me down to Raleigh NC to meet managers that were looking for a few good engineers.

I got back to Rochester Wedndsday night. Things are still moving, I plan to get to Chicago somehow, someway to visit my old friend Kamran, Then, I get back to school, in true hispanic fashion..two weeks late. Yep, School starts Monday, but I am staying here until Labor Day, why? I am trying my best to learn as much as posible before heading back to Fl to work, also, no point in hiding it, I am trying to get noticed so that I get a permanent job offer. I hope it all goes well. I have a feeling that it will.

So, the summer is almost done, as a result, I feel a little closer to calling myself a Computer Engineer. Finishing the project did that.

Also, I am proud to announce that I am a civilian once again!

Finally, after all these years. I no longer owe Uncle Sam any more time of my life. I am out. I really cannot believe it. I almost forgot. Really.

But I am happy that is behind me now. No more deployments, no more weekend drills, but, in retrospect, I am glad I did it, I wish I would have gone to college first, but I would do it over. Even the Iraq part. No regrets.

Sometimes I think about how far I would have gone if I had known in 8th Grade that I wanted to be an engineer and I had set my goal to get in a good school. Then I try to shake that thought away, since dweling in the past is counter-productive, besides, I would be a different person. I would not have met my wife, or none of my friends.

I am the person that I am because of all the people I have met along the way. The Marines thought me a lot more than I give them credit for.

Sometimes people ask me if I would let my son Join the Marines, the answer depends on how I feel that day. I would like my son to be a college graduate, I wouldn't want me son to be a trained killer. But, there's more to it than that. I guess I would let him make his own decision, but I am not going to make the military seem glamorous for him.

I know how my Dad feels about me going to the Marines, he thinks that it was a waste of my time, because I should have gone to school first. I see the merit in that argument, but it misses the point, I joined the marines to develop myself, I thought I needed a chanllenge and guidance, it was an educational experience for me, I learned a lot about myself and about people in general, also, I never thought about college when I was in high school, I wonder why? I don't know, the marines were in my mind for a while, since, like 10th grade. I read a bunch of books about the Marines and I was determined to be a General someday, I did not go to College first because I was not an U.S. citizen at the time, so I did not qualify for any officer programs in college, so I enlisted instead.

Plans change, people change. It happens. I went from being a military minded person to an engineer wannabe. Now I am transitioning from broke college student with a family to an older-than-average-recent-college-graduate-professional.

I am not ungrateful, after all, the U.S. Military gave me money for school, but I had to go to Iraq, I had to study while working, I was older than the most kids, which sometimes made me feel out of place, but for the most part gave me an edge.

So that sums it up. Summer is almost done, and I am heading towards my last semester in my Bachelors degree.

Family is doing good. I miss them. In fact, I'll give them a call.

J.V.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Life of Pi




So here I am, sitting in front of my laptop. Next Week Thursday I have to be in Boca to do the final Project presentation. This weekend we have to finish the final report and the final presentation slides. We are actually going to show our project in action after a 10 minute slide show. So, all I have to do is write this report, the thing is, I don't feel like doing it. I am staring at the screen, looking at it, I know that once I get going I will be fine, the problem is getting into "the zone" maybe I need a little bit more pressure, like if it was the day before the presentation was due, I'd be sweating it. But since this thing is due next Thursday...But some part of me knows better.

I wanted to share with the world how much I liked the book Life of Pi, I was not expecting the book to impact me the way it did. It took me for a great ride and then it touched me in such a manner that I felt like I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone that wants to read it. But let's just say that it made me think. I like that in a book.


J.V.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My sunshine state




John Stewart takes time out to honor my Florida, our Florida. Thanks John!


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Castro drives Florida Crazy



The after only 48 years! Castro is in his final throes...and I am sick of it!
Don't get me wrong, it is not that I want Castro to stay in Power, of course not. But, the reaction in South Florida is so strong that I think that things are going to get messy down there, people are literally losing their mind, or at least that's what it seems from the phone calls I've been getting. I knew things were going crazy when my own mother "knows for sure" that Castro is dead.

We'll see.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Interesting Article about Wikipedia




Here.

Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?

Here in Rochester




So I am here in Rochester MN again. I flew in on Monday, Tuesday I went back to the good ol' Blue Zoo to do some work with my Design Team as opposed to working remotely like I have in the past 7 months. Being here with them makes a huge difference. I am glad to see a lot of other interns I met last summer are still here either as regular employees or interning again. I would like to stay here as a full timer but I still don't know if that's going to happen. I really hope so, and I think I will get an offer. Only time will tell.

J.V.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

One more day at home



It does not feel like I am going to be gone, this morning has been a quiet day at home, a perfect day to be home and just chill. Tomorrow I am taking off for MN, I am glad that I am going back, but it sucks that I am going by myself. Things are different when I don't have my family around me.

When I am up there I wil try to concentrate on learning about my craft as much as possible. Being a student has been great. College opened up my mind to new perspectives, it changed my life, it has been a good experience, but I feel is time to become an exercising professional engineer. I want to design things, I want to be productive...and I want to get paid!!

Anyway, must go now, more later.

J.V.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Latest Anthony Pics













What I've been up to



Most of you have noticed the fact that I am not publishing that often anymore. The truth is that I have a new Nintendo DS, yes I know, that's for kids, but, I really like it. I've always liked Mario Bros and I have this game called Brain age that lets me exercise my brain and what not.

Anyway, when I finished up those two classes that I barely passed (God knows how I did it) I got a lot more free time. Most of the Month of July I have been working from home and taking care of Anthony in the Mornings and working on the senior Project in the afternoon, then, whatever time we have remaining I spend it with my family. Life is good. I hope that when I get a real job I get to spend time with the family like that.
To me, teaching my son how to be a decent person is very important, I only have one shot of getting it right and I don't want to screw up my son's life by not giving him the proper guidence. I don't want to be overbearing but I don't want him to be spoiled either. I want to show him everything I know about life. Does not sum up to much. But I guess here it goes:

-Self Control is key.
Got to have that self discipline. A lot of people out there want instant gratification, but things are so much sweeter when you work a little bit harder for it.

-Honesty and Honor
I would like to implement that without being too strict. I want him not to lie, cheat or steal. I would like him to be a trustworthy person.

-Education.
Go to college. Any Major. Does not matter. Do what you like. But don't worry if you don't know what you want yet. Go to school.

-Learn to question Authority.
Learn to think. Find out the reason. Question everything. Learn what it means to know something. Don't just believe something because someone told you so, find out on your own.

Ok, I think I've written enough. I have to get to work. But It's good to put my thoughts on my blog. This is what I've been doing.

Oh, another thing I wanted to mention. I have found some Computer Science and Engineering video lectures from some elite schools. I think it is awesome to see how they teach programming at MIT, I am listening to the lectures and actually following two courses, one in graduate level Computer Architecture and another first-year undergraduate introduction to Programming, the first year course is fascinating, I would be a much better programmer now If I would have taken that course my freshman year. The name of the class Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. Anyway, here's the link to all the videos if anyone is interested.

Link to MIT's OpenCourseware, I love them with all of my heart for this. Thank you MIT.

J.V.

MINNESOTA





So I am going up to Rochester next Monday. I will be working at the IBM plant for five to six weeks. I hope my car makes the 1700 mile trip. I also hope I get to see some of my fellow bloggers and friends that live in the area.

Crazy enough, I have been busy but not that much. I am just having some sort of blogger writing block. Not surprisingly, I found this article that explains that 1% of internet users are responsible for more than 80% of the content in the user-based sites like youtube. For most people is easier to read and watch than to write and produce.

Even if it is a couple of paragraphs, it is hard to be a good blog writer. Take me for example, I meant to write about my trip to MN and my plans to see some friends up there, but instead I end up explaining my lack of publishing. Oh Well.

J.V.

Monday, July 10, 2006

YES!



I think I may have finished doing all of the programming needed for my Senior Project.
We'll see. I am extremely happy right now, I known there's a lot of testing left, but Jaime and I have solved a problem that 48 hours ago looked as if it had no solution, I may have written the program but if it wasn't for Jaime I would be still be stuck. A couple of presentations left, the final report and ED2 may be behind me. I can't believe it.

Wow, I have been on my laptop almost 16 hours straight. It is time for a break.

YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Good Job Jaime, Majid, Chris, We're not done yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

England earns the world's respect



After this article was published.

Interensting video



And pretty funny too, it puts our existence in perspective.


The Senior Project



So today I am working from home again, Babysitting Anthony and trying to get things done around here. Basically, the next milestones to get through this summer are My Senior Project and the Internship in Minnesota. I plan on going up North as soon as I am done with my school work here in FAU. I still don't know if I passed my summer classes, it is going to be close. Which stinks, I don't like doing things this way but I had no choice this summer, I HAD to go to Military Annual Training, and I HAD to take these classes now in order to graduate in the FALL.

So, a little about the project, earlier this year I set up another blog to describe the development of the project, I was really enthusiastic, this being the rite of passage for Computer, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers here at Florida Atlantic University. Things started out good enough, the first of the two course series we are tasked with a mini-project in which your group members are chosen at random, and the project is supposed to be the implementation of a simple, straight forward solution to a simple problem. We were supposed to design a gadget that could shoot water to pre-determined grid block coordinates. We were given four coordinates a week before and an extra one the day of the competition. We were told that for the final Project we could choose our Teamates as long as there was at least one member from each discipline represented (one Comp.Eng., Electrical, etc)

Our Randombly chosen group got along so well, that we decided to stay together, but, the day we were supposed to turn in the list, the teachers threw a curve ball at us, we could chose anyone, as long as no-one in the group had worked together in the first project. We were mad! The least they could have done was warn us in advance. But, we moved on.

So we formed the new group. Majid, Chris, Jaime and myself. We are building a smart car seat. The idea behind it is to prevent negligent injuries caused by parents leaving their children unattended in their car, it happens all the time, a parent is having a bad day, leaves the kid in the car, it's 80 degrees outside, withing minutes the temperature inside the car is 110, and the kid just...well, it's not pretty.

So what we have is a regular car seat with some sensors hooked up, that will text message you if it detects that the vehicle is turned off and that there's a child in the vehicle at the same time. It will send the parent a couple of warning text messages, then if nothing happens it will call the authorities.

There are a lot of details left out, but this is the basic idea. We also have added a camera and an LCD screen so that the driver can see the child without turning her head around. A feature which my wife has "encouraged" me to add. Needless to say, I already have my first customer for this car seat.

Right now we have the car seat, we have the program that can send a text message, we have the camera and screen. All we have to do is put the whole thing together. I still have to work on the software that controls all of this. But I don't think it will take me that long. I wouldn't be surprised if we finish this week, wich will be sweet since the sooner I can finish this the sooner I can head up North and the sooner I get to come back and finish this long summer.

The one thing I look forward to the most right now is getting that College Degree, that's all I want, well, that and to keep my family of course.

Anthony is being the perfect kid this morning, no fuzz, he ate his morning bottle, took a nap, woke up in a good mood and he is sitting quietly in his high chair watching Baby Eistein, I hope it stays that way.

Ok Ya'll that was my morning report. Now back to your usual programming.

J.V.

Monday, June 26, 2006

World Cup Crazinnes



I have placed a bet among my friends from school, if Argentina wins the world cup, I will shave off all of my hair, and come to class wearing make up and earrings. Needless to say, I don't want them to win, in fact, I wish that Germany beats them 5-0 in the Quarter finals game coming up. If Brasil wins the World Cup, this Argentinan dude will do the same, a lot of South Americans like me are going for Brasil instead of Argentina because the Argentinans are, how should I write it? Well, they are nice people as long as you are not talking about futbol (soccer). Anyway, Just one thing I wanted to share.

J.V.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wow!



So, it's been a rough ride. I am still here, busy as usual, I always think of things to write in here, and when I finally get a chance to write down my thoughts, I blank out.

I have been blogging for more than a year now, I started this to describe what it was like to be an intern at IBM Rochester/MN but, it turns out, there are a lot of things I can get in trouble for disclosing, and whatever I can talk about, it is immensely boring. Then, I started placing links to interesting things that pop up in the net every once in a while, I also wrote down my thoughts about the war in Iraq, since I was there and all, but this is not a war blog, lately it has been sort of a dairy, which is something I didn't really want, I don't want to be write too much about me, because, frankly, who wants to read about someone else's personal issues? Well, I do, if it's well written, but I admit, I am not a good writer. Anyway, my point is, this blog lacks direction, and consistency, there are many directions in which this blog can go, and I am not sure which one it will take.

Option one:
This is one that I hate and like the most at the same time. The Iraq Blog. I hate this idea because I hate to think about Iraq. I really do. When I came back from there I was wresteling with a lot of demons, When I went I felt that I was supposed to go to war, that it was my duty, and that I was going there for a just cause, I came back with my own doubts indenpendant of what the media was portraying, but I felt that it was not in a position to question, I still feel the same, but I have come in terms with myself for the most part. The more I think about it the more I am sure of it. The thing is, I really want to move on with my life, I hate being stuck in a period of my life which is over for me. I don't think that as one person I can make much of a difference in the public's mind. But on the other hand, if I had the talent to be an excellent writer, if I could write a story the way Stephen King does it, I could write a hell of a war book, I feel is a shame because my war memoirs would be an interesting read at worst, howevere, I know my limits.

Option two:
The internet is a vast sea of information, I can write about a story or website that catches my attention, and start a discussion, this has happened a few times, but I don't have enough readers to start a debate, and, well, I don't have that many readers. This is like a lazy option.

Option Three:
The Dairy, I don't like this one too much, because I don't want to write about mundane things that nobody cares about.

Option Four:

The technical blog. I would like to write about my profession, Computer Engineering, explain IEEE articles, comment on new trends and stuff, but this would actually take a lot of work, plus, none of my readers (or at least the one that leave commments) are Engineers, so, who wants to know about engineering?

Option Five:
A combination of all the above.

Oh well, usually I just write whatever comes to mind whenever I sit in front of the screen, this is my usual strategy, but as this blog enters it's second year I thought it would be nice to have a goal and some organization for this blog. My personal goal from this blog is to be able to improve my writing skills, one day I will write and publish my own book, the other thing is, I like to get comments and meet other bloggers. I think is cool that I know so many bloggers that are a lot better at this than I am, I learn from all of you, and I enjoy reading. I like blogging so much it makes my wife jealous. How can you be jealous of a blog? Those of you who blog understand.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Next week



This week is going to be a bit tough, I need to get paid, since the army's E5 pay is peanuts, so I need to work some hours, besides that, I have a Midterm I am making up Tuesday, A Final Wedsnday and Thursday a Presentation on Wedsnday and a Research paper due on Friday. But after that, all I have left is my Senior Project and that's the summer. I don't know why I am not freaking out, but today I had to spend time with the family, it is my first Father's day.

Being a Dad is awesome, but it is tough, it is defenetly hard to raise a family while trying to get trough school, I don't know why I am not somewhere having a nervous breakdown or a heart attack. Instead I am sitting here quietly in my computer, with let's see...1,2...9 different windows, I am going to finish writing that research paper tonight...or else. I don't know how I am going to cram up everyday for these tests while getting work done, but it's going to happen, i swear!

Ok People, Take Care, be good to each other.

J.V.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Back for the first time





After two weeks, I am back in the real world.


Too tired to write right now. It's been a long brake. I am posting a picture of my "office", all I can say that it was about 1000000000000 degrees hot, in the shade. The humidity made it feel ten times worse.

My wife bought me the new Nintendo DS lite, which is not really a wise thing. We are both addicted. Next week I have a A Midterm, Two Finals, a Presentation, and a paper due, Yet, I am not sweating it, I don't know why, I am numb I guess, I took my books with me, and studied almost everyday whenever I had some spare time. But I know I am way behind. Today I realized that I have not changed the oil in my car since January, I am surprised the thing still runs. My Son Anthony grew up so much in two short weeks, I am glad to be back, it felt like a vacation almost, but it made me want to be back here toughing it out everyday at school and work.

So, for the last two weeks I have been embracing the suck. I tried not to fight it, I just let it happen. However, It is getting harder and harder to keep my mouth shut, this is why the military is not for me anymore, I used to be a lot better about just doing what i am told, The way I am now there's no way I could last one day in the Marines. The thing is, I like to speak my mind, and people can usually tell what i am thinking by just reading my facial expression, this is not a good thing in the military, in there you just do what you are told, period, end of story.

So, It is good to be back, I missed you all, Thank you for waiting. I have so many things to write about. And so little time. Till the next one.

J.V.

Friday, June 02, 2006

OFF To Annual Training



I'm leaving today, just went to the office to tie off a few loose ends, I am taking my books with me, and my laptop, I don't suppose there is wireless in the middle of the woods in North Florida, but you'll never know.

So long everyone, I will miss you, I will return to the real world in two weeks.

I usually hate car commercials, for the most part they are dull and lack inmagination, unlike Bud commericals, but I thought this one was good.


J.V.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pictures from two weeks ago











This are the some of the few pics we took when we went to Naples on our break. The weekend before the Summer term started, good thing we have this Monday off, next Friday I am off for my yearly Reserve Training, Two fun-filled weeks.. NOT!

Today some friends are supposed to come over to work on our HW, but so far they are all sleeping, I feel bad waking them up, but time is running.

Anyway, here are the pics, hope you like them.

Loralee, thanks for the comments, you didn't have to. But Thanks.

Ok Everyone, take care, be good to each other.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Is going to be a while before I post again



I know you understand, I barely have time, when the first half of this semester ends it may free me up a bit more, I was a little stunned with a comment an annonymous reader made in my post about Joel P Smith, could it be the guy that article is about? If I had more time I could get into that, but Joel does not need anyone to defend him, it comes with being a journalist I guess.


J.V.