The End Of Times

We are now in the end of times. The end of classes, the end of a term, the end of a year. In 12 hours I will be in the air traveling to Ontario to spend Christmas with my family. 10 days of health appointments, visiting people I haven’t seen in 2 years, and of course, sleeping in.

It will also be a time of reflection. I personally feel that I have done a lot this year, whether it be all the work I did community wise (Society, TigerEvents), bringing up my GPA (almost where I want it to be. We’ll see what this term does to it), job wise (Satlantic = best job I ever had), and social wise (too many examples to count, but most importantly, all the cool people I now consider friends).

It has been a busy, yet fulfilling year. Let’s see if we can top things in the new one.

Catch you all on the flip side.

Oh, Right

So today I celebrated my birthday. And by celebrated, I mean, kinda woke up, said ‘oh, right, it’s my birthday’ and then kinda went on as normal.

So here is to 23 successful years of my one year plan. May the upcoming year be just as successful.

There Is A Time For Work And A Time For Play

There are some periods where a guy just has to have some fun. This weekend was one of those times.

While the weekend did start off with a 7-10pm Networking final worth a third of my mark, I believe (as I always do) that I did pretty well overall. We’ll see when the marks finally come in, but that is neither here nor there.

So anyway, fun. After Networking, a group of us got together for what has become more or less a weekly poker game. Texas Hold-em with a $5 buy in. We usually play at least 3 games, which usually prove to be entertaining. While I don’t win every round (if I did, I would lose my invite. No one likes to lose all the time after all), I have been doing well enough over the times I have played to not be in debt, and to continue playing. Add in the fact that there is usually a bunch of alcohol around, and you have yourself a good evening. This Friday was also the night of the first snowstorm of the winter. Which resulted in no cabs for me and eventually playing video games until the wee hours of the morn until I could get a lift. What happens when a person’s internal alarm clock wakes them up between 7 and 8 and they don’t get home until after 6am? Not very much in the way of sleep. Worth it? You betcha.

Saturday. A friend of mine was hosting a LAN party. Ergo, I went to a LAN party. While I was not stupid enough to drag my computer/monitor through the snow, I did take over my recently purchased Nintendo DS and played a few rounds of Mario Kart (as some of my friends there also had this). Fast and furious, my friend and I kept going back and forth between first and second. At the end, Counterstrike called him away, leaving our battle to be formally resolved at a later date. Saw some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, swapped some stories, had a few drinks, another fun night.

Sunday, my last day as CS Social Rep. The venue: The CSB (of course). The event: the annual Children’s Christmas Party. Orchestrated by several staff members of the CSB, I was originally contacted to provide sound equipment and help with set up. In the end, however, I also juggled, hula hooped (Michelle Mahoney from the front desk is a hula hooping champion btw), talked with various staff members, watched 45-50 kids run around having fun, sat on Santa’s lap, and generally had a blast. Who says you can’t relive (parts) of your childhood?

Visual Studio 2005 Advertising

Say what you want about Microsoft, but the following Visual Studio 2005 advertising is HILARIOUS.

Ready2005.Com

Home For This Site

As time goes on, I feel that I should give this, my little piece of the internet, a real home with a real domain name. A place where I don’t have to worry too much about anything. A place where I can actually see my own log files. A place where I can actually have more than one mysql account that has my name. But, honestly, I have no clue on a) what hosting services are good (though I could get this baby hosted on the Dal-ACM production server and get all of the above). b) What domain name to get. Since I want it to be somewhat professional, and my name is already gone six ways from Sunday, I am aimlessly kicking ideas around.

Anyone have any thoughts/comments either way?

Dal Gazette Article – The Real Deal

Last week, Oliver and I were interviewed by the Dalhouse Gazette regarding TigerEvents, my.dsu.ca and Dal-ACM related items. The original plan, at least to my understanding, was that there would be a small blurb this week, with a larger article in the new year. I was not, however, expecting the article that actually was produced. Unfortunatly, I have to agree with several individuals that felt that it was poorly written and misleading. I don’t have any explanations, but thought that I would try to rewrite things so that they were clearer.

Local Students’ Software More Popular Than Expected

The “extracurricular hobby�? of two of Dalhousie Universities’ Computer Science students, Sean Smith and Oliver Baltzer, has taken off on both Sourceforge and Rubyforge, which contain thousands of open source projects. TigerEvents, the software powering the my.dsu.ca website, has achived a small measure of success over the past three months since its public debut, being downloaded roughly 150 times, and being propelled into the top five percent of active projects on both sites.

“It was a little unexpected,�? says undergrad student Sean Smith.

Smith and PhD candidate Oliver Baltzer released the program as open source software in September after spending the summer developing it with several other computer science students at the request of the DSU. However, after its public release, other users started looking at it for real world usage, including individuals as far away as the Netherlands.

Open source, for those who don’t know, is free software that can be downloaded not only for free use, but for modification as well. “Think of it as software made by the community for the community. It’s all about giving something back to the community,” explains Oliver Baltzer.

Baltzer and Smith say the feedback they receive from users also helps them improve the program. They expect the number of people downloading and using the program will increase over the next few months as they continue to make improvements. “We have a lot of ideas,” states Smith, “and if we are lucky, not only will we get people using the software, but actively helping with improvements as well.” They try to make new releases and updates to the program, as well as the my.dsu.ca site, every few weeks.

Smith and Baltzer are members of a society called the Dal-ACM, which is a student chapter of the worldwide Association for Computing Machinery. The Dal-ACM, in conjunction with the DSU, is currently discussing a number of online programs, including online society ratification, grants applications and an improved version of Tiger Books, the DSU’s online textbook exchange.

All the software for those projects would be released as an open source software package called Tiger Suite, says Baltzer, which could be used by other universities for their own purposes.