Thursday, June 29, 2006

IQ Test

Today, I purchased the O'Reilly book "Statistics Hacks", by Bruce Frey. It seems like a decent book, although I have only read the first few chapters so far. In one of the sections the author talks about using statistics to determine if a group of people is below average intellegence or not.

I had no idea what an IQ test is like. I had never taken one before. I was kind of interested to see what I would score one, and what kind of questions are asked. I was hoping I would be above average on an IQ test. I found a test to take on a web site that consists of about 40 or 50 questions. I ended up scoring a 124 on the test. According to another site that I read, a 124 is around the 90th percentile. I could kind of see how some people say that the test is unfair. It seems like a person score would be influenced by their eduaction and the type of classes they have taken. Many of the questions seemed to focus on patterns, permutations, and series of letters or numbers. I'm a computer science student, so it is probably easier for me to determine the answers for that type of question. Also, I think more than 40 or 50 questions should be used to determine a person's IQ.

I think I may try to find a few more of IQ tests to take. I think I could probably score better on one when I am not tired (i.e., if I didn't take the test at 3:00 AM). I should have also read the rules for the test. I'm not sure how much time I had to answer the questions. I tried to answer the questions as fast as I could. If thought some of the questions out better I could have maybe received a higher score. Although, I took a personality test about a week ago and I found two other test to take after that and I always received the same results.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hackers and Painters

A few weeks I ago I read Paul Graham's essay "How to Be Silicon Valley" that describes what it would take to recreate Silicon Valley in another part of the United States. Graham basically concludes that you need a lot of nerds, people with money to invest, a top University and the right type of city (e.g., good weather) to create an area where technological innovation will thrive. One thing I found compelling is Graham mentions that one city he would avoid is Detroit because of the people and the negative direction of the city, if he was going to start a startup company. From living in Detroit area my whole life, I agree with Graham, this area of the country is mainly focused on manufacturing jobs instead of training people for jobs that would help the city and the state in the future.

After reading Graham's essay, I decided to order the book Hackers and Painters from Amazon a few days ago. I wanted to read this book for the past few years, but I never got around to purchasing it. Hackers and Painter is one of the best book I have read recently. Overall the whole book is very good although it focuses on programming, much of the material can be applied to life in general. The only drawback of the book is that Graham talks about ViaWeb a little too much, which is a company he created that was eventually sold to Yahoo.

My favorite chapters of the book are "Why Nerds Are Unpopular", "Hackers and Painters", and "How to Make Wealth". To begin, "Why Nerds Are Unpopular" talks about the problem of the high school system in the United States. I have to agree with Graham, I don't think I learned much of anything useful while I was in high school. I think that most high school teachers do a poor job of teaching or else they focus their energy on selected students. He also explains how the nerds in school were more interested in solving problem that really matter instead of being concerned with their social status in the school and how they dressed. One funny point in the book is Graham's explanation, that many house wives haven't matured passed the high school stage of life and they are wrapped up in an unimportant life that has no real bearing on the outside world except to their small circle of friends. Next, in the chapter "Hackers and Painters" Graham compares programming to art. Last, "How to Make Wealth" talks about how create wealth for society. Graham concludes that almost all wealth comes from technological innovations. These are my favorite essays in the book.

After reading this book, one thing is for certain, I want to learn to program in Lisp. I have always heard from other people that Lisp is a good language to learn, but I have never taken the time to learn it. I am going to attempt learn Lisp over the next month.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nostalgic Computer Networks Video

This is a computer networks video, I found a while back that I wanted to post. It is kind of interesting to see what the people's thoughts were of networks in those days. Today, networks are so common place, but at the time that this film was made it was an entirely different story. The concepts they talk about in the film are still the same as they are today. If had to guess, I would say that this film was made sometime during the 70's. It is nice to see all of the old computers in it. I just wanted to shared this video to anyone interested. I hope that this video isn't currently under any copyright.

Another set of videos I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the nostalgic aspect of computing is Jason Scotts BBS documentary. The documentary is published under Creative Commons, so if you search around you should able to find them to download. The BBS documentary gives the whole history of the BSS. When I watched the BBS documentary it made me wish that I had a modem during the glory days of bulletin boards. I had a computer back then but no modem. I kind of feel left out, by not experiencing a BBS.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

I was looking around online and I happen to come across a web page explaining the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is used to determine a person's personality. I think I remember reading about this personality test in a psychology class I took in college. It seemed interesting to have a matrix, containing 16 unique personalities, to classify a person.

After seeing page, I was interested in determining my personality. I was pretty sure I would be considered introverted, intuitive, and thinking. I wasn't so sure about the final category, which is either judging or perceiving. I then searched for more sites on the topic to try to determine my personality. I read over a few more descriptions but I was still somewhat unsure. I then decided to look for any available tests that I could take that would help me determine my personality. Many of the test online you have to pay to take. For example, you can pay $150, and then someone will explain the results to you. I don't think I need someone to explain the significance of the test. I would assume these test give a more accurate result, at least you would so for $150. I did come across one site containing a free personality test, which I took. The results of the test categorized me as INTJ. I tend to think that this is accurate, that is one of the categories I was leaning towards before taking the test.

These are the results of my personality profile:

Strength of the preferences %

I am:
  • distinctively expressed introvert
  • distinctively expressed intuitive personality
  • very expressed thinking personality
  • very expressed judging personality

I'm not sure if this is good or bad. But I guess it is kind of hard to change your personality. This page gives a better description of INTJ and Wanye State has a description also. I think I am going to try to find a few other tests, to see if get the same results. It seems like the main use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is to determine if a potential employee is a good fit for an organization.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

DRM Cartoon

EFF Cartoon

This is a short cartoon The Corruptibles created by the EFF to explain the dangers of DRM. I wanted to post this to help spread the EFF's message.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Emachines Laptop Class Action Lawsuit

Most of the computers I have owned in the past are from parts I have thrown together. Today, it is more expensive for one to build their own computer, but I always prefer to build my own system because I can to choose the components. When it comes to a laptop on the other hand, the consumer doesn't really have the same option of building their own system.

About three years ago, I purchased a laptop, the eMachines M5305. I decided to get the emachine because it was reasonalby priced. It wasn't the top of the line laptop, but I figure with Moore's law it isn't really worth purchasing a top of the line computer. I never owned an emachine before that time, but other people I know who owned emachines were satisfied with them. I know that emachines are a lower-end computer but I would at least expect them to work.

The emachine M5305 has too be the worst computer I have ever owned. Since I purchased the computer, I have had nothing but problems with it. The major problem with the laptop is it overheats. The laptop maybe alright for someone who uses it for a short period of time or for someone who uses applications that aren't CPU intensive. If any application is used that heavily uses the processor the computer will overheat and shuts off. I can't go a day of using the laptop without it shutting off. For example, I was working on some network simulations for school with ns2 and it was impossible to complete the simulations on the laptop. So, for three years I have been using a defective computer. I once sent it to emachines to have them fix it, but all they did is replace the fan and the problem continued. The computer is very poorly engineered. It seems like who ever designed the computer did a very poor job. What good is a computer that can only run certain tasks?

I received some good news today. A class action lawsuit was filed against emachines and they either have to fix the computer or else the consumer can take a payment of around $300 but they would have to return their machine. To me it doesn't really seem like a good deal to only get $300, you cannot purchase a new laptop for that price. Plus the consumer had to put up with 3 years of using a computer that constantly shuts off. The other option offered in the lawsuit is to let emachines attempt to fix the problem. If the computer fails within 6 months from emachines servicing the computer, the consumer will receive a check for $800. I am going to go with they second option. I am sure that emachine will not be able to fix the problem. They already attempted to fix the problem once and failed I don't think they will be able to do it this time. So in a few months from now I should be getting a check for a new laptop. One thing I am sure of, this time I will not purchase one from emachines.

One of the shocking things in the lawsuit is it says that emachine knew there was a problem with their computers, but they brought them to the market anyway. I guess that emachines doesn't care about having returning customers. I would highly recommend that if anyone is considering purchasing a computer they stay away from emachines. I wouldn't purchase a product from a company that I know deceives its customers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Initial Project Paper

Since Mid-January I have been working on a master's project on VANETs. This is my initial paper on the project. There are still a few things that I would like to test before my final presentation on the project. I am hoping within the next few weeks I will wrap it up.


The last few weeks, I have been working on a chapter on the topic of vehicular ad hoc networks to submit for a book on mobile ad hoc network, with my advisor for my master's project. The authors of the book wanted the chapter submitted using LaTex. At first, I was kind of reluctant to try LaTex. I have never used LaTex before, so I thought it would take a long time to get familiar with. All I knew about LaTex was it was used for professional publishing.

I read over a few tutorials to get the basics of LaTex. In the end, I learned that LaTex is very easy to use. I wish I would have learned about it sooner. I could have made the documents I created over the years look so much better, if I had used LaTex. All I had to do is learn a few macro tags. Basically, it only takes a few days to learn, which isn't bad when you consider there are semester long classes in college on how to use MS Word.

To create a LaTex document, you can use either a text editor such as vi or else there are some nice LaTex editors for Linux. One program I tried is Kile, which is set up like an IDE. The nice thing about Kile is if you forget a tag you can look it up quickly. But for the most part, a text editor is just as good.

The nice thing about LaTex is instead of having to worry about how the document looks, Latex takes care of almost all the formatting for the author. For example, it generates the headings, table of contents, bibliography, etc. The only thing the writer has to worry about is the content of the document. The author inserts the tags for the LaTex macros and when the document is compiled the formatting is applied. For instance, if you want to create a new section the tag, /section{section name} is inserted and when the document is generated LaTex will correctly number all of the sections.

It seems a lot easier to create a document using LaTex than with a word processor. I am not really sure why more people do not use this tool. Most of what I read about other people learning LaTex is they picked it up on their own as a graduate student. This is a good introduction to LaTex for anyone interested in learning more.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Couple Tech Comics

These are a few comics that I found funny.

thesis comic
vi comic

These came from and, check out these sites if you like these, they also have some other good comics.

Ubuntu Upgrade

I updated from Ubuntu 5.10 to 6.06 today. Usually when I do an upgrade I download the ISO image, burn the image to a cd, and then do the install. I decided to try apt-get this time for the install. The upgrade went very smooth for the most part. All I had to do edit /etc/apt/sources.lst by searching for all occurrence s of "breezy" and then replace them with "dapper". Then run "sudo apt-get update" followed by "sudo apt-get dist-upgrade". The only thing that went wrong was I had edit /etc/fstab, because some of the drive letters changed.

The minor modification to the gnome desktop are nice, although I don't usually use gnome. The upgrade also fixed some minor problems I was having with some software. The only thing I don't like about Ubuntu as a distro is the default colors it ships with.