Lately

Hello all, lately I’ve been a bit delinquent about updating this blog. That is for a few different reasons;

  • First, My idea to take Math 333 (Differential Equations) over the summer, has turned into a lesson patience. Way too much homework for one class, and then the teacher won’t even grade the entire assignment 🙁 after turning it in.
  • Second, I have been working ~full-time at Sybase iAnywhere as the Advantage Database Server R&D Intern expert. I have been writing code in C++ and Delphi (Object Oriented Pascal), making friends with co-workers, and getting my feet wet in the complete corporate structure. I’ve only worked there since February and we already got acquired by a larger German company (shout for joy here about the German part) SAP. A leading provider of business software and database solutions.

As far as at home goes, I’ve been trying to relax as much as possible around my homework schedule, and I’ve been trying to get my hands in some low-level recreational coding with microprocessors to keep my basics (byte alignment, bit manipulation, I/O runtime issues, etc.) in tune as much as possible. Nothing fancy but I do have some neat plans in the work, they include some serial LCD manipulation, some blinking LED’s and maybe some input sensors to start. This is all in an effort to get my C language skills up to par. There has also been a little bit of mountain biking mixed in there as well, which Boise is known for.
Last month was my birthday so I’m now officially 22 years young 🙂 glad to be done with the 21-year-old stigma, and having everyone give me crap about being so young. Special thanks to my family again for the wonderful computer that I got for my 22nd birthday. I’m actually blogging on it right now :), and it has allowed me to take my home network to new limits, including remote access to my old computer globally via. a remote desktop session. My long-term goal is to be able to set up a full streaming server, where I could be able to dial into from anywhere and stream my content, via RTP multicast, UPD unicast, HTTP, or TCP. This has yet to be ironed out but I’m sure I’ll have more information as I become more educated on internet protocols and how to access data in better ways.
Little P-Nut has started to venture into the outdoors and she cannot get enough of it, I’ve never experienced with letting a cat outdoors and she has taken to it extremely well, she stays close, checks in often, and stays out of harms way from what I can tell so far. The only issue is she might be a little too brave. She has enjoyed the rain, the sun, and the wind we so often see in Boise.
Well anyways, enough about me, my job, and my cat. I have included some pictures for your enjoyment.

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Birthday Computer Parts!

Well as most of the readers of this blog know, my birthday is June 21. My lovely family decided to buy me a bunch of computer parts for my new PC!!! So stoked that I get to build this one from scratch exactly like I want. Thanks goes to my mom, grandparents, sister, and dad, who unknowingly contributed too :). So see the pictures below for all the newest swag, I will be assembling this system and getting Windows 7 on it asap. With summer school though this could be a few weeks :(, oh well all in time I say. Besides I got my new monitor already hooked up to my old system (grad present from sister) 🙂

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P’Nut sure likes the parts too!

Settling In

So the site has so far been a success, not sure if anyone has been keeping up on the updates and whatnot. But if you access the main site fosteri.zone then you can click around and see the new code examples that I have posted, even with syntax highlighting via HTML and JavaScript. Thanks to Alex Gorbatchev and his SyntaxHighlighter code project.
Other than that there is a new about me section and the menu structure has been changed a bit. I’m proud to say that I have wrapped my head around the concept of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) so this weekend I worked a bit on converting all the code to run with these specifications. This has definitely made the process of coding the html for the site much easier. I now see the wisdom in this system.
Personally I have just finished my Spring semester at BSU and am currently working full-time at Sybase. My grades are holding and my GPA is still right where I’m desiring it to be for graduate school applications. Wish me luck 🙂

Programs

Here are some of the more visually appealing programming assignments I’ve been working on this semester.
Traveling Salesman Problem – 15k Points in Germany
In so many words, these two programs attempt to find a smaller path between a group of points, the one on the right uses the Smallest Insertion Heuristic and the left used the Nearest Insertion Heuristic. These maps represent the distance traveled and the route taken between ~15k points in Germany!
NBody Simulation – Shown here with a universe of 1000 Asteroids
From Princeton’s assignments, my professor likes to use Princeton’s assignment. Lucky me right! This simulation uses the improved Barnes-Hut algorithm to improve the run time efficiency of this program from O(N^2) down to the amazing O(NLogN)! The left is a simulation that is animated, hard to show here, but the one of the right shows the correct construction of a Barnes-Hut quad tree with the internal nodes being represented by larger green dots in this 2-dimensional universe.

Happenings

Just got back from finding a VeloCache with my buddy Codizzle and I got to thinking…Should I change the name of my blog now that I am done with my treatments? Let me know what you all think by voting on the right side of my page (you should find a poll). I am also thinking of updating the look/feel of my blog to be brighter, more…summerlike seeing as how we are getting closer and closer to such a seasonal shift.
My sister started a new blog, and she is an excellent writer so her posts are not nearly as…barbaric as my own. But if your interested in her studies/happenings/rants, feel free to check it out. She will be attending the University College London getting her masters in Gender Studies (proud brother right here).
Today I’ve been working on getting the kinks/final touches worked out of my latest CS project. It is just a simple contact sorter/generator/editor. However it is the most advanced graphical program I have done so far so I am pretty excited about it!
Anyways, remember to vote and let me know how you feel about the name change, maybe 20yearskickedthehodge, or 20yearsoverthehodge, or many many others.

Workplace Revival

Found this while browsing today. We are always talking about this very subject at work so I thought I would provide a little professional insight to the topic. I have no doubt my opinion is irrelevant but nonetheless…the article is interesting.
Pulled from CNET.com news.

Here’s some good news that you should forward to your boss. A study conducted in Australia found that people who engage in “Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing” (WILB) are more productive than those who don’t. Workers who “surf the Internet for fun at work–within a reasonable limit of less than 20 percent of their total time in the office–are more productive by about 9 percent,” according to the study’s author, Professor Brent Coker, from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Management and Marketing.
Professor Brent Coker
(Credit: University of Melbourne)
The reason that “WILB” increases productivity, he said, is that “people need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration. Think back to when you were in class listening to a lecture–after about 20 minutes your concentration probably went right down, yet after a break your concentration was restored.”
A short break, such as surfing the Internet, “enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a day’s work, and as a result, increased productivity.”
But this doesn’t apply to everyone. Approximately 14 percent of the sample showed signs of Internet addiction and, for them, Web surfing can decrease productivity. The more they surfed at work, the less productive they were. The reason for this, he said, “is because of an ‘urge’ to search the Internet. “Those that aren’t addicted, don’t have this urge and they surf the Internet as a reward.”
The study found that 70% of the 300 workers surveyed engage in “WILB.” The report was released in Melbourne on April 2nd when it was still April 1st in the United States. In an email, Dr. Coker assured me that it’s not an April fools joke.
I’m not sure whether the result of this Australian study applies to workers in the U.S. and other countries, but I for one have a vested interest in believing what he says. If nothing else, it’s a great excuse, especially if your boss is giving you a hard time for “WILB.”

Food for thought at least, also only 15 more radiations left!!!!

New Program

I made this little ditty for Computer Science class homework, just a simple window that opens up and then lets you click the button to change the phase of the light (i.e. Red, Green, Yellow).
Here’s a picture. (UPDATE: lost somewhere on the internet between 20yearsandthehodge.blogspot.com, williamgfoster.com, willfoster.doesntexist.org, and fosteri.zone)

Friday Night LaTex

So I’m sitting here gloating over my recent score, a 93% on my Physics test! This is a drastic improvement from my earlier quiz score, as I regrettably remember.
This week has been … busy. I got chemo on Monday, which didn’t set me back much. Felt lively and ready for action pretty much all week, days #3 and #4 being the worst two as usual (slight nausea and shaking galore). But other than that, I’m looking forward to a three-day weekend and some time to relax for a day or so.
I wont let the nice weather fool me though, it will be back to business as soon as Monday rolls around. It will be my good week and it will be a great opportunity to get some things all lined up.
Registration for summer semester, for example, starts fairly soon. So getting that to go through will be a task in its own.
Tonight, I got exceedingly bored and finally worked out this LaTex (math typesetting) stuff from my math class that allows me to insert correct mathematical symbols in a command line type of format.
This involved, downloading the LaTex required kits, and then WinEdt which is turning out to be a great choice in a text editor, it has great features that work flawlessly and seamlessly to convert my .tex files to .dvi and then to .pdf I really couldn’t ask for much better.
For more info on LaTex read this.
So that’s what my Friday night ended up with … math computing, but hey, I’m not hating the extra study hours to review my notes and work with LaTex. For which the learning curve is very steep, but I think I’m well on my way up it.

COMPSCI 125-002

For everyone who is interested in what I do in class all day long.
Here is an example, a little program we made in class today.
It asks the user for an input of a length and height of a 90 degree triangle. It then returns the value of the hypotenuse.
First you can see the source code (images lost somewhere on the internet between 20yearsandthehodge.blogspot.com, williamgfoster.com, willfoster.doesntexist.org, and fosteri.zone)
The output of the program (images lost somewhere on the internet between 20yearsandthehodge.blogspot.com, williamgfoster.com, willfoster.doesntexist.org, and fosteri.zone)