Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Incoming post, it is about the goodness video games, music in video games, and games as escapist fun as contrasted to games as art.

Just FYI.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

End of Line... Carriage Return

Or at least the term. Just finished last final. It was statistics and I'm pretty much convinced although it is an important branch of science, it isn't sciencey enough. I did a whole class and didn't do a single Taylor expansion; I don't think that has ever happened to me in any class since my first-first year. Definitely not in a non-100 level 'science' course. It shows that too many things are calculable without the need for approximation, which means your not doing hard enough stuff.

Insert thought break so this next section looks less jarring.

.. just for a laugh, I thought I'd look and see how many classes I've taken at UBC:
ASTR: 201, 202, 303, 304, 402, 403, 404, 405, 449*
BIOL: 111
COGS: 200
EOSC: 114
MATH: 200, 215, 221, 300, 307, 316, 317, 318, 342, 345
PHIL: 220
PHYS: 200, 203, 206, 209, 301, 304, 308, 309, 314, 400, 402, 403, 407
STAT: 200

Not the most well rounded education... I would describe it as 'trimodal'. Couple that too 40ish transfer credits as well.

But I've realized I've accumulated a lot of knowledge, but never really applied except through regular application of smartassery. Coupled with unnecessary vocabulary. At least in a year or two it'll be describable as... quadramodal?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Life Reordered All is Well

So I'm back at school, so naturally it is time to blog again. This time about the most amazing thing I just realized, and it was given to me by the easiest class I've ever actually done the homework in: Stat200.

So I did a homework assignment, not so crazy in this day in age. It is due Tuesday at 5 pm, so this isn't exactly 'late' at all, I'd still have time to go talk to a TA, check it over, yadayadayada.

Except I get it done after 3 hours of fooling about in Excel, very, VERY bored and annoyed with stat200 and I read something on the "coversheet" I printed off the website (apparently this is something TAs like, when there are 400 students spread across 4 sections). Due date, Tuesday 5pm (This is where I stopped reading and started doing assignment) September 30th, 2008.

Holy shit, I just did an assignment a WEEK AND A BIT EARLY.

My whole world just changed, like, paradigm shift man, whoa. Whoa, WHOA.

Shit, I have homework due Wednesday I could of been doing.

Just to clarify, this isn't just the earliest I've ever finished an assignment in university, this isn't just the earliest I've ever finished an assignment in my whole educational career.

This could be, seriously now, the earliest I've ever completed a task before the required date/time, EVER for EVERYTHING. Nothing in my life has been 'done and ready' a WEEK early.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Work Boring Need Things to Think About

So my loyal readers who diligently read my drivel regardless of their care for the topic or any interest at all in me or anything I have to say; I have a real job. It involves sitting in an office, in a cubicle, doing a repetitive task for approximately 9 hours a day with around 30 minutes of lunch to break up the monotony. What I do and who I do it for are entirely unimportant and as such will not be published here, but what this has given me is an appreciation for a few things such as going to bed early, internet radio, and statutory holidays. Over all of these things though it has given me an appreciation for lunch.

This appreciation had led to an (over-) analysis of my lunch habits in order to optimize said habits. If it weren't for my scientific background and love of needless use of big math words this analysis might of been along the lines of a ranking or other ordering of the restaurants around my office, possibly in some sort of deliciousness per cost per unit distance metric.

Now one could do this and it would be needlessly mathematical, subjective, and most likely entertaining only to me while writing it and other people who are in the exact same situation as me in both locality and mentality (a few) who read this blog (none).

In my situation, I purchase a lot of lunches. This is mostly due to my own laziness for not packing my lunch because I certainly don't make enough money to justify the purchase of everything I eat downtown. I average roughly one brought-from-home leftover dinner style lunch every week. Also every second week my office does, 'pizza Friday' as part of the standard high-tech company fare of giving perks to employees to keep morale up. (I think I like my brother's company which on important dates, will bring in enough beer to run Granville Island Breweries OUT OF BEER.)

This leaves an average of 3.5 days per week in which I will purchase a lunch. For the sake of round numbers, we'll double this to 7 lunches in 2 weeks. The number disparity is because I only work 4 days a week (4 lunches - 1 lunch from home - 0.5 pizza Friday = 3.5).

Optimization of these 7 lunches is the key because I've ran out of entertaining internet. So there needs to be a ranking of restaurants, but because I'm cheap we need to scale it might their cost.

If we want to score (S) restaurants into a ranking, we should compare all their traits. Fundamentally there are only two units though, desirability (D) as a omni unit that encompasses everything about a restaurant BESIDES Cost (C). You can feel free to break D up into parts, but fundamentally there is a measure of how satisfied you are by your luncheon experience BEFORE the bill arrives (metaphorically speaking, where I usually eat, you pay first THEN eat, because I'm poor, so before the bill arrives/neglecting consideration of the cost of said luncheon/whatever.

Clearly this gives us a system for scoring/ranking restaurants using the handy formula, S = D/C

Given that desirability is a hand-wavy non-rigorous quality and most likely extremely challenging to quantify into a simple number, we have to confront of the challenge of establishing baseline scales. Arbitrarily defining a McDonald's combo as say, D[McD] == 1, and something else like, the Keg as,

D[Keg] == 30. We could then simply say, "I desire going to the Keg (on Thurlow) for lunch thirty times more as a lunch then McDonald's."

You can then consider then rank things in comparison to these two points, then use points to move them around, only these two are set in stone though, all others are merely in comparison to them.

Cost is easier since you can just use dollars as the unit of it and divide as appropriately. Although some scaling might be good. I think SUBTRACTING the minimum price (M) of a lunch you might expect, since it'll push the scoring up of places that are cheap significantly. While moderately good places that are expensive will fall. The more you subtract, the more you favor the more expensive restaurants. You can just neglect any scores that come out as negative as "below" your level of consideration. This updates our score formula to, S = D/(C - M)

Then you can use the scoring to choose which restaurant you should go to! But clearly you shouldn't just go to your highest scored restaurant on the list every day! That would probably be both unhealthy and (unless you're my brother) drop the desirability considerably! I know I couldn't eat Butter Chicken every day regardless of how delicious it is. Anything you eat repeatedly gets boring after awhile (again, unless you're my brother).

So using some math, you can translates scores into a frequency space representation of how often you should go to each restaurant! If you update the desirability of each eatery you visit every time, your scoring system will more and more accurately represent how often you'd 'like' going to a particular place.

So yah, evidence suggests that workers on salary or hourly wages with mostly unsupervised access to a computer with internet access will waste on average 5 minutes of every hour fooling around on the internets. I'm glad I could share mine with you.

Anyone have any ideas for things for me to think about that aren't discriminatory tesla coils? I mean, just things for me to consider at work. Men-in-Hats problems. Math problems. The feasibility of turning my room into a ballpen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Yes, it's time for Yet Another Video Game Post

This time up? The Console Wars! Or possibly more objectively but taking far longer to absorb, the Console War.

So what's new that I want to talk about? The fundamental victory of the Playstation 3 regardless of what sales figures say. What victory? Didn't you hear the OTHER war ended. The war of formats obviously!

In case you've been living under a metaphorical rock (at least with respect to mainstream electronics), all you early adopters of the HD-DVD format declaring that the extra numerous gigabytes on the Blu-ray discs didn't interest you since you had your slightly more-like alphabet soup format(s, it was actually a slew of them that were similar yet slightly different, well I assume they were, they had different 3-letter abbreviations at least) already supported a whopping 4 months earlier.

As of a month and a week ago, Toshiba pulled out of the format war with a slight bow scuttling off to have "collaborative relations" with the companies it had begged and pleaded with to sign onto HD-DVD but probably secretly hates many of the movie studios for fobbing off and making both Blu-ray and HD-DVD copies of their movies when Toshiba failed to nail the Blu-ray's coffin shut sufficiently.

Mainly because their initial offering of a standalone HD-DVD player at release was $700 and a very hard sell (regardless of the perfect backwards compatibility to regular DVD) due to an almost criminal lack of HD television products anywhere near the realm of affordable or useful given the selection of television programming being broadcast in high definition. Even now there is the Discovery Channel, HBO and what? Nobody wants MTV in high definition. Ever.

Then came along the Playstation 3 at an initial price of some $600 USD which was not only a video game console, it was ALSO a Blu-ray DVD player, so you got a video game system and $100 in your pocket for the price of the HD-DVD player is now. The PS3 is STILL one of the cheapest Blu-ray players out there because the blu-ray players are trying to keep a jump on technology by having all sorts of backwards compatibility with older formats, as well as sideways, forwards and vertical compatibility with the upcoming consumer level burnable Blu-ray DVDs. Can you imagine how many DivX movies you'll be able to put on one of those bad boys? Like SIXTY.

So in summary because it is dinner time and I want to eat. PS3 gets a gold star, for winning Sony the format war. Although I think it will still lose the format war in the end. There might be enough market share, if split well, for everyone to reach a level of financial success in their consoles. But I have severe doubts that there will ever be a Playstation 4.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mastermind Making

Is anyone else concerned with the ability of criminals to evade police increasing due to the numerous crime dramas on television? I think we all know that CSI is a fanciful representation of crime scene processing. If you scan in a photo, and you have a blurry spot, you can yell "Enhance!" at your computer guy all day and it'll just get bigger and more blurry. You can't turn a 3x3 pixel square into 300x300 pixels. Ever.

But I mean, now that people know all about DNA, microscopes, tire treads, and security cameras. This won't help murderers who are ladies holding shotguns standing over dead husbands shouting "He shouldn't of said that about our Ted!", those were a bit of a pain for the writers to spin past the first commercial break anyway. It is the serial killers I'm worried about. Serial killers who've seen, and then bought on DVD, every episode of Crossing Jordan, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, and CSI: Fargo.

And THEN they watched the special features!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Geekathon Details

Where: My house.
When: Tomorrow, the 16th of February (Saturday)
What: The Matrix trilogy on the 'small' tv. (The Guitar Hero/front room tv because there is actually sitting room for a reasonable number of people in there).
What else: Nachos (Jamieson is kindly donating cheese and chips to make them as well as sour cream, in return I'm donating free of charge the use of my oven. I'm such a nice guy), other food? Maybe. I could make some sort of pasta dinner or something if I feel inclined or we can order something in.

I have some drinks but not extensive in selection nor quantity. I will be happily making coffee (and anyone who tries to stop me will pay dearly...), you can also expect a minimal selection of soft drinks, orange juice, water, and milk to be available.

How: With... a TV?
Why: Because... I can and haven't seen you in awhile?

See you tomorrow if you decide to come, yo.