Thursday, March 30, 2006


"Play Beautiful", the nike commercials featuring Ronaldinho and his team-mates, these videos really impressed me. I am loving this stuff. Enjoy this and this are my favorite ones.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Some thoughts on Thinking

I've decided to share some of the things that I have learned from 9 months of experience as an IBM intern, I hope this is helpful.

Make sure you are solving the right problem

Whenever I find myself stuck, I realise that I am not sure what the problem is, sure, I may have a vague definition in my head, but to get ahead I have to know exactly what the problem is, from there I can take it to make sure I fix the problem, not the blame.

85% of my job is finding problems, the rest is a combination of either fixing it, or reporting it.

Never ask the same question more than once

It annoys people to repeat themselves, and it gives a bad impression when you come back time after time with the same question. This is experience talking.

Ask yourself: What have I learned today?

Strive to learn something new everyday, When you stop learning, you stop adding value to the team. No one can say they know everything about a field, when you do is time to move on or up.

Ask yourself: What have I accomplished today?

I don't really get paid to only learn, Spending the day trying to help the team is essential when you are the new guy. Specially when you don't know much. Like myself.

Managers don't want to hear excuses

Nothing is worse than a person that does not take responsability, I get a slack because I am "just an intern" but only if I am honest about my shortcomings.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes

It is better to make mistakes, this is how you learn. Own up to them though.

Honesty is always the best policy

'nuff said.

Is what you say and the way you say it

Communication skills are as important (if not more) than coding skills, you have to be able to voice your thougts. At some point I will even have to learn how to write.

Ok everybody, I am done preaching, back to reality.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Why Math blows my Mind

Suppose you are at room with 60 people chosen at random, what do you think the odds are that 2 of those will have the same birthday? If you think about it, there are 365 days in a year. 60 << 365 so, maybe 30% ? right? RIGHT?

Wrong, odds are there's a 99% chance that two people will have the same birthday.

Don't believe me? Read the Wikipedia Article, This blog post, or this Article by Math World

Those who study cryptography are too familiar with this problem known as the birthday paradox which is what the birthday attack is based off.

I am amazed, one day I may be able to understand Math better. I feel that after 5 years of school I have barely skimmed the surface. In order to be a decent Computer Engineer I need to be able to at least be confortable with Math, but to be honest, the more I learn, the more discouraged I get. It seems like there's so much out there. I could spend the rest of my life crunching numbers and memorizing formulas and theorems and yet, I would not be able to make the statement: I KNOW MATH.

That will not stop my from trying though. It is never too late. Besides, is there a better way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon? Wait, there is?


I have been so caught up with my things that I forgot to celebrate an important Anyversary for me.

March 19 2004 marks the date when I returned home from my Operation Iraqi Freedom Deployment. These are some dates:

January 11, 2003 Got Activation Orders
January 19, 2003 Left Florida for Ft. Stewart GA
March 11, 2003 Flew out of the United States to the big Sand Box.
May 8, 2003 Landed in Baghdad International aboard a C-130
June 2, 2003 First time I was shot at..and first time I fired my weapon.
July 4, 2003 First time I see a US casualty.
August 31, 2003 First IED to hit my Hummvee
September 11, 2003 After getting hit by 3 IEDs in a week, the Captain gives my 6-man section R&R (Rest and recreation) in AL Assad Air base.
October 30, 2003. Our Unit gets attached to the 1st Infantry Division to do raids in the outskirts of Fallujah. We took no casualties.
December 10, 2003 Got 15 days of leave. I go home, see my family, took Martha to NYC
December 25, 2003 Flew back to Iraq on Christmas day.
February 28, 2004 Handed our sector to the 82nd Airborne who in turn gave it to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines.
March 1st, 2004 Drove from Ramadi, Anbar providence to Camp Victory Kuwait, 35 mph all the way across the desert.
March 11, 2004 Flew out of Kuwait to Frankfurt Germany, found out about the attacks in Madrid at the Airport. Got stucked there for 8 hours. Later landed at JFK international and I saw the big city, My face hurt for smiling so much.
March 13, 2004 Started the process of de-Activation.
March 19, 2004 Drove back to Florida, arrived at the Miami Armory where a band was playing, the Fire Department showered our buses and what it seemed like the whole Miami-Dade police department escorted us all the way there. I saw my Mother who was crying and my wife who was smiling. broadly.

2 years later. One six month old baby, one more semester to graduate. I love you Martha for being there for me. Mom thanks for your faith. To all my friends thanks for writing me. You kept me going. I never had any doubts that I would come back. Thank you Carola, Thank you all who prayed for me.

This is the past. It is gone, it happened, it is a memory. I am concerned with the future, my goals, my Dreams.

The thing is, I still have more dreams than memories. I dream that one day my Son will tell me that I am a good Dad. I dream that Anthony will not go through the hardships that I have gone through. My Dad comes from a humble place, but he worked hard for my sister and I. Anthony has many more opportunities than Dad and I combined. I hope that I can be enough inspiration for him. I want him to grow up out of trouble, I hope and dream of a Son who will be better than me, smarter, happier, richer and better looking.

Enough rambling. I have to go now.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Light transmitting concrete

This is so cool. It's almost see through, this will beautify a lot of buildings. And the concept is not so makes you think: Why didn't I think of that?


The Test

I did good, Cramming worked this time, When I first saw the test I saw that I knew everything but for a minute my mind was completely blank, I took a deep breath and let it all flow. It's hard to believe how fast time is going. But this week actually went kind of slow, I want the semester to be over already.


Thursday, March 23, 2006


Stochastic models homework due in 9 hours. Anthony is 6 months old today!
I have to go home. Tired, mind not working right, how do people cram? My brain has effectively clocked out for the day. Running on auto-pilot. Must turn laptop off and stay off the blog.

I Got out of Jury duty

But it was not easy, at first they didn't care to hear that I had a baby, but luckily I came armed with my fat ol' Computer Archtecture textbook under my arm, my pocket protector and my FAU student ID..I was excused.

But, as I left the courtroom, I was thinking, are there good and bad people? I don't know, I don't think that the jails are filled with people that one day decided that they were going to kill somebody or that they were going to drive home drunk, there are people that make wrong choices...I don't know, it's late, I am still studying for that test tomorrow, note to self: "never wait until the day before the test to start studying...wait until the day of the test so then I realise that it's hopeless to even try and then I stress less. It's 12:20 and I have been studying 10 hours straight with a break to drink Mountain Dew, We just got kicked out of the library, so we are in the All Night study area, it's sad that I know everyone here. Where are all the communication Majors? Not here. Ok, back to Dynamic branch prediction and Speculative Execution.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


It's 10:45 pm and I am still at the office. I made a promise to finish something, but it is not fixed. Tomorrow morning I have to report to Jury duty. Will write more later.





Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I added some pics.

Warning: Todo el contenido esta en Español.



Sunday, March 19, 2006

Is there something wrong with Patent Laws?

Patents are getting ridiculous, Something needs to be done about it.
This essay by Michael Crichton published in the New York Times brings light to that issue.
I love reading material written by this guy. He brings entertainment to science. How can anyone resist? Be warned, it breaks the law.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Math for Programmers

Best blog post I've read in a while.

This post is full of great links, like this one (Math Every Day)

It gives math a new perpective.


Foul Move

Yesterday was a crazy day, a new nephew in Venezuela, my little sister at the hospital sick here, A test in the afternoon that I studied for that morning, (did good there though) a big day in the Senior project, a SHPE meeting, a date with my the end of the day I was drained.

But the crazy thing was what happened yesterday at my Senior Project class, today was going to be the day were we finalized how the groups were going to be arranged, from day one we were told that we would be able to choose our own groups as long as there was one member from each discipline represented. For the mini-project we were randombly arranged, as a result nobody in our group had known each other previously, but we had so much fun we agreed on staying together. We made plans for the summer and we got to know each other in the proccess.

Yesterday the teachers threw a curve ball at us, they told us that for the actual project we could choose our own long as every member in your team is not an old member from the mini-project. In other words, I can be on a team with anyone but David, Hammed or Shereece, my old team-mates.

As you can imagine, this did not go over too well, people had gotten used to their respective teams. For the next ten minutes we were an angry bunch, after realizing that fighting it was futile, we gave up and found new teams.

My new team looks promising, but I feel like high school, you know, when you break up with your girlfriend to go out with her best friend? You still look at your ex accross the classroom and feel a little guilty. What? You don't know that feeling? Nevermind.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

I am an uncle!

My new Nephew was born today in Caracas, Venezuela. Can't wait to meet him.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Student made up story of rape on FAU's Boca campus, police say: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

So she made it up. After the big scare this caused I am relieved and annoyed, many students were looking at FAU with a different point of view. When the news of the rape was first reported I thought it was weird that the "victim" showed up at Broward General Hospital (in Ft. Lauderdale, 20 miles away) when there are a lot of different places (hospitals, clinics and police stations) she could have gone to that are closer to the Boca campus.

The other thing is the description of the suspect, "a black male with short hair" Ok, that narrows it down.

Come'on people, please Think.

This is J.V. reporting from South Florida.
Good day and good luck.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Life, the Universe, and Everything

This MIT professor has an intersting theory. According to him, the Universe is a big computer, We are just bits of information, zeros and ones, It seems plausible, atoms are bits, the laws of physics are opcodes. Let's just hope is not running windows.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Sexual Frustration in Asia

China has too many boys. Female fetuses often get aborted because parents prefer to have male babies. This is an thought-provoking article about that. I don't know if it's going to go as far as to cause the next war, but it is something to think about.

I would hate to be a single dude out there. I really feel for them.It would be like living in Camp Lejeune all over again.

Seriously, isn't this like, a crime or something? I wonder what's being done about that. How can you solve this problem? This will have to involve changing the mentality of a culture that is millenia older than ours.



Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is how you play soccer

It's almost time for the World Cup, and since Venezuela is not going, (yes, I know) I root for Brasil. As long as Argentina does not win, I am happy.

The World Cup is one of those thing that I look forward to, every four years the whole world watches as 24 teams compete for it. I still remember Mexico '86 back in the day, I recall getting to Europe just days after France '98 and I cannot forget USA '94.

Americans could not care less about soccer (the real name is football), which is sad, I am a big baseball fan myself, as those of you who know me can attest, but I think it is messed up that we call the baseball finals the "World Series" when it actually involves at the most two countries. One day that will change.

Ok, I'll stop rambling now.Enjoy the video.


Gmail has been hurting lately

I recently switched to gmail the email service from google. I have heard all kinds of good things about it, overall it has lots of perks, I think it has better features than the account I've had for years, namely, hotmail. But these days it has been acting strangely, when trying to get to my account I get these "temporarily unavailable" messages.

Last friday before my Statistics midterm a fellow student was freaking out because he could not get his formula sheet for the test, he had saved it in his gmail account and could not log in to get it. That's scary, it could have happened to me.

I am glad I am not the only one noticing this. This guy has noticed it too. But that does not compare to this guy's story. Damn, sucks to be that dude.

I think that the problems have something to do with this story, apparently there is vulnerability in Gmail that was exposed a couple of weeks ago, it turns out that if the preview lines of an email has javascript in it, it will execute, this guy even shows you how to do it. So every script kiddie wannabe hacker has started messing with the server, I can speculate that google is bent over backwards trying to fix this problem, it is not hard to imagine some hackers being mad at Google for being evil, as in Microsoft evil. I am not saying they are, but that's just the word on the street, or, shall we say, the word on the net.

Ok people, that's all I have, be good to each other.



Random notes about nothing in particular

About a friend

I've got a friend that applied to 7 great universities and got rejected by all of them. I am not going to say his name, but he goes to school with me and I think he is the best hacker I know. This dude breathes code, he can program better in his sleep that I can after ten cups of coffee. Yet, Cornell, MIT, Caltech, Urbana-Champaing, Berkely and all those other schools said, "No Thanks, have a nice day" He is trying to get in the PhD program and if he can't make it, what about me? I have dreams of someday getting a Masters or Phd from MIT, I don't think this going to discourage me not to try it, but it certainly brings my hopes down.

This Summer

I will be back in Minnesota in about 3 months, roughly the same amount of time it has been since I left it. I can't say this doesn't get me excited. Working is so much better at that office and some good friends of mine are in that area. I can't wait to be back out there. Plus the summers are much nicer in Minnesota, aka God's fridge.

I can't believe how quickly time seems to pass.

England this Summer

This summer I am also supposed to go to England with the Military, I don't know the details yet, but it's going to be some secret mission, oops! Was I not supposed to say that? Damn!
Well, since the cover has bee blown, I will spill the beans: Exchange program, British dudes come over, train with our equipment, drink our beer, meet the locals, we do the same out there. And to think that they pay us for that. Well, I am making it sound too good. I have no idea if we are supposed to go to some SAS survival schools or some messed up crazy thing like that. For all I know I could be going to British boot camp and don't even know it. We'll see.

Some other crazy friend

I've got another friend that many of us care about. I love this guy like a fat kid loves cake. But sometimes I don't understand him. I've been known to piss him off, so I am just going to say this. Dude, I wish you the best. Embrace your pain and live the best way that you know. You've got a lot of people that care about you, myself included.

What is it about this blog?

Whenever I write on this blog I try to think about what would happen if some company that I am trying to get a job from read this, what would they think?
And I try to make sure that anything I write does not get back to haunt me. But sometimes I can't help myself and I write something dumb or too personal, or just plain pointless. That's just me. I say screw that. This is my personal space, where I write down my personal thoughts, this has nothing to do with my professional life. I write this because pretty soon I am going to go job hunting and I have been warned by my friends about this. Personally I am not too worried. I don't think there's anything here that can prevent me from looking too unprofesional, and the thing is, does this ever happen? I hear about a person that got fired from an airline for posting pictures of herself in her uniform, not nudity, nothing obscene, just pictures of herself dressed like a flight attendant. But, I don't know, sometime I worry too much I guess.

Time to go to work!

Ok, it is almost 7:00 AM so I am going to start my working day. 8 hours of perl coding, after that, study for my electronics lab test next week, followed by some Computer Architecture Homework. Carpe diem et pecuniam!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Giving the lie to five Oscar pics - Los Angeles Times

It's no secret Hollywood does not let the truth get in the way of a good movie. Here's an interesting article to ponder upon.


How would the Simpsons look with real actors?

Thanks to Dr. Marques

Monday, March 06, 2006

What could this mean?

I just got a missed call from a number I did not recognize, when I called back I got an answering machine from the University of Florida's office of Graduate Students, I remember filling out a form to request more info, I don't recall giving them my number, or applying for a Graduate Program...yet.

Strange indeed.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Martha and I are going to Orlando today. this, like last year's trip to Chicago, was a spur of the moment thing, we got reservations for one night in the Magic City, we will have lots of fun, I still have no idea wich park we are going to, we have not gotten that far yet. We left Anthony at his gradma last night and we are packing our stuff right now. A break after three hard months, this is life.

Life is good.



Thursday, March 02, 2006


Today we had our Senior Project presentation, not the big one, this is just the "mini-project" to get us warmed up. We had to make a device to shoot an specified amount of water into cups laid in a 3 by 3 meter grid. We were given 4 coordinates a week ago and a 5th coordinate today. The challenge was to hit all 5 targets from outside the grid area. In these pictures the closer target is shown.

Our Team hit all 5 targets, we will get a good grade, but, we were not the team with the best performance. Out of 12 Teams, 3 Teams did better than us, 4th out of 12 is not that bad, but we wanted to be the best team.

That's ok, it's our own fault we did not pay too much attention to measuring the amount of water that got in the cups, we were more concerned with hitting the cup.
So this is the end of the beginning of the end, if that makes sense.

I plan on writing a full report with photos and videos in my other blog.


Overthrowing Darwin's Number Two Theory

This is interesting, a team of researchers are using John Nash's Game theory to explain the mating behavior of species. If they are right, then it means Darwin was wrong, which will make some scientists upset.

I wonder what my friend Kamran from the University of Chicago has to say about this.


Wikipedia, the widely successful on-line encyclopedia, has crossed the 1,000,000 article mark.