Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Secrets Are So Much Fun

So I've been diligently working on a secret project for some secret family and it's going to be a pretty big surprise, unless the secret gets out.  It's been fairly time consuming however I've been having an absolute blast at it.  Some of my family know about it and others don't, but it's been a great project to work on and things are coming together quite nicely.  However, if I keep writing about it I'll probably end up spilling the beans and I don't want my parents Christmas present ruined early (oops, did I say that?)

Aside from the project, I've been jumping through hoops left and right to get ready for the imminent arrival of the eighth of September, which happens to be the first day of classes at DePaul.  I really regret to inform everybody of some sad news.  Due to multiple circumstances involving time, transfer credits, money and work I will not be able to attend DePaul University to complete my undergraduate degree in Chemistry in preparation for optometry school.  Not enough credits transferred from BYU to DePaul so I would need to be in school for more than 2 years in order to finish, which means if Anna matches in California (fingers are crossed that she will) then I would have to leave school again just before I would graduate.  So I'll wait until we know where we're going to be for the next set amount of time before attempting to finish school.

It's a nice weight off my chest, to have made a decision about what I'm going to be spending my time doing for the next couple years.  I wouldn't be a very nice person to be around if I was back in school full time and had a part time job to help pay the bills (which is why I did so poorly while I was at BYU, too much on my plate).

It's getting late again, and I just finished with another one of the project sections, I'm going to bed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I haven't given up yet

Don't worry all you fans (and all of the imaginary people I like to think are reading this) I didn't forget about my blogging like I did last year after the few posts I put up... I'm still here.  I just like being distracted by the random things of the world, like this great little gem:

I've also been very distracted with the important things in life, like getting ready for school.  The two placement tests went well, I'm happy with my score on the math test even though it took quite the brain racking to remember the rules of logarithms and some of the trig rules.  The writing assignment involved an article written by the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and why that article would be beneficial in a college course entitled Arts and Memorials.  It wasn't very hard, but it took some patience and focus, two things I generally run short on (for example, half way through this paragraph I took a break to watch an old episode of Get Smart... ADD sucks).

AutoHotKey and other hotkey shortcuts
I don't know if I've mentioned before that I've been a complete Gizmodo.com, Lifehacker.com, Wired.com and TomsHardware.com addict, but I am.  I've been keeping up fairly well with all the new little gadgets coming out in the world as well as little tips and tricks to be more efficient (which just lets me more effectively peruse more random sites faster).  Just last night I spent some time reading about coding AutoHotKeys, one in particular that interested me was the "email myself a reminder" code.  I've set it up so if I hit the Windows key and "G" then a small window pops up that says "Reminder: What do I need to remember?" with a space to type whatever I'd like, then it sends that to my email with my message in the subject line.  Very useful because many times I'll come across something while at work that I'd like to read but don't have the time right then to make any sense of it, so I'll copy the link of the website and paste it in the message section of that email function and later I'll be able to go back to finish catching up on that topic.  The program that runs this is called AutoHotKey and I'm really looking forward to seeing what other handy things can be done with it.  I've been tempted to look into this before but haven't ever spent the time to figure it out.

I know it'll take me a bit of time to create and remember these shortcuts, but once I do I know it'll be a great time saver while I'm at work on my obnoxiously slow laptop.  One of the programs I know to use a huge array of shortcuts and hotkeys is photoshop, which I was doing a great job learning and becoming proficient in (CS2) and hotkeys were essential to getting work done with any kind of speed, especially when working with photoshop on my old small dying underpowered laptop.  The real credit should go when commenting about my desire to utilize shortcut keys more, is to the books for dummies that I used in learning photoshop.  Prior to that I would only use copy, paste and on occasion select all.


My acting career

Apparently I'm also an actor.  This past week Dad texted me asking if I had started doing commercials and specifically if I did a commercial in a hammock.  I don't.  But there is somebody on an eHarmony commercial that some people think looks like me.  Check around the 12 second mark, he even has eyes that don't look like they go together perfectly!

Sorry Dad, I'm not an actor and I don't think I really ever want to be (but if there's some high paying job out there that wants me, I'd probably still do it).

School Computers

So you all should know by now that I'm a bit of a geek and a gadget freak.  This makes me really excited to go back to school because it gives me legitimate reasons to scout out some new things I might need!  I know I'm not going to be able to lug around my old laptop (may it rest in peace) anymore.  This last year I knew I wasn't going to be able to use it much longer so I built myself a sexy new computer (photos).  With this powerhouse I can do almost anything when it comes to computers... except take it with me.  For this reason I've been reading up on some of the planned tablets and netbook computers that are out there.  I really don't know how useful an iPad would be to me at school (not to mention those are pretty expensive) and I'm a little afraid of the soon to come tablets being comparable to it in the same ways Android phones are comparable to iPhones.  I'm really scared that if I dive in to one of those that I'll need a keyboard and more functionality than what those will offer.  A laptop would be great but I don't know if I want something that big... maybe a netbook?  I've been doing some research on them and they seem to be pretty mobile and agile little guys, but they've got some ridiculously little screens as opposed to regular laptops.  They're also getting very inexpensive, trying to keep their bit of the market share when they're competing against the upcoming horde of tablets that should be coming out soon.  With these teeny little screens it was suggested on one website that the user become friendly with hotkey functions (which is what really lit the fire that got me to install some last night).  The touchpads on them are so small they're almost useless, but with the use of these function keys, most work on a netbook can almost be done solely on the keyboard! There's some other benefits and some disadvantages, but I'll figure those out if I ever get serious about one of these little guys (because right now it's just another thing I'd have piled up on my desk, it will get use if I go full time in school).

Anyway, it's past my bed time, again.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Testing testing

Just testing out blogging through email. Hope it works well.

Eric Healey


Is somebody trying to tell me something?

Before I explain the title I'm going to disclose the new blogging platform I'm testing out (which loosely ties in to the title). The iPhone is a pretty great tool, let's see how it handles.

Last night I wrote about the challenges of getting my tests taken in order to proceed with my schooling situation, another hurdle decided to show it's ugly face.
Last night I opened up the writing test to begin the 48 hour countdown but tonight while trying to log on to the site to read the article again I was disconnected from the internet. Not a huge deal, but it isn't something that happens a lot. So I reset the modem and do all the regular things to get it running again. Nothing. One long phone call later and I've got an appointment with a comcast tech guy to come out to the house to fix it... The only problem is the appointment is scheduled for Thursday, about 16 hours after my essay is due.

I'm not taking the hint, I'm going to keep trying to get in to school until I get completely stopped, then I'll just start doing online courses through BYU.

Am I really not suppose to go to DePaul? Sheesh!

Oh, and blogging on the iPhone kinda sucks. Maybe there's a good app for it, but the website definitely isn't designed for the mobile poster.

DePaul Testing

Just a quick one tonight folks. I've been doing a pretty good job at getting to bed at a reasonable hour lately and I don't want to quit (even though I think I figured out why my subconscious has been telling my body to say up so late, but that's a story for another time).

The other night I wrote about my short stint on prescription drugs, I initially began the blog with a different story to write about, however, if you've been following me this far you can probably guess that I rarely stay on the subject at hand and I quickly follow tangents going into Lala Land (or Pink Fuzzy Train Land as was the case the last time around). I began with the intent to write about the struggles I was having getting myself organized enough to start at DePaul next month. One of the first requirements before orientation or registering for courses, or even before speaking with a counselor is that I have to take math and writing placement tests.

Website fail.

After reviewing a few of the necessary algebraic equations and rules about linear matrices I was ready for my big debut. I installed some calculus review programs on my iPhone, pulled out my trusty ol' HP RPN calculator, even reinstalled my old copy of Mathcad on my computer (even though I wouldn't be able to remember how to use it). Now I'm ready for the test. Last minute refresher: check. Log in to the DePaul website: check. Search the horrible website layout for the minuscule link buried deep inside the student section to take my test: check. Click the link: check. Read the rules about only clicking on the link once because the site will kick me off if I click twice: check. Click the start button once: check. Wait for it, wait for it, 5 minutes later and still waiting for it: check.

I was getting more and more nervous about taking the test. I refreshed the page only to see: Thank you, your test has been submitted. Aw crap. I guess I'll have to call tomorrow to get this straightened out.

So I decide to take the writing placement test. Same story. The link doesn't actually do anything so I can't read the article I'm suppose to write about. I try the dreaded second click on the link and get the same response as I got when I refreshed the page. Guess I'll have to call about both tests.

Today I finally got around to calling. Sue in the admissions office was nice enough to give me an external link and the required information to take the test through a site not related directly to the horrible design of the DePaul student site.

The math test has a two hour time limit, I'm definitely not taking that tonight. For the writing test I have to read an article about John Adams and write an argument as if I'm a student proposing this article be debated in a class. Why would I do that? I don't like reading articles more than three paragraphs long, much less one 8 pages long about a historical figure I don't want to debate about. I don't even like confrontations, why do I want to write an article presenting reasons TO debate when I've got the personality of a 'back of the classroom observer'? These people presume I actually want to discuss this article when in reality, I don't even want to read it! If it had something about explosions or gadgets or any myriad of other techie/geeky types of things then I could probably pin my eye open long enough to scan and comprehend the article, but it's about John Adams... I hate history, I leave that for the historians! I want to do chemistry, math, physics and/or tear apart computers. There's very few historical figures I'm interested in enough to read an article about, and even fewer characters I would be able to find reasons to debate on the greatness of the person. Nikola Tesla is one of those people I'm absolutely enthralled with. Maybe it's just because I love mad scientists, but learning about that guy could keep my attention for days.

It's getting late and I work in 6 hours.

Oh, by the way, the new Transformers is going to be awesome.