Well, it’s been quite the semester. All those checkmarks are so gratifying to see. For those of you who fed, worked with, or otherwise entertained me during my crazy weeks of 2 or 3 due dates, thank you.
I’m (kind of) famous!
I haven’t posted much this semester, but now that Spring Break has started and all my projects / midterms / problem sets are finally done, here’s a story. I suppose in a lot of ways this story is a good representative summary of my semester so far:
Two days ago, I was debugging an operating systems project with my project team in the Soda Hall underground computer labs (also known as the “dungeon”). While we were there, a random girl came by and took some pictures of the lab. We asked what she was up to, and she said the Daily Cal (UC Berkeley student newspaper) was doing an article on computer science education at Cal. I referred her to another computer lab that was way nicer than the one we were in, and she left. We continued to work on our project (and would do so until 4am).
The next day on group chat with my project team, one of our team members points out to the rest of us that our pictures are on the front page of the Daily Cal! Our pictures are in this featured article: UC Berkeley Aims to Stay Ahead of the Curve in Age of Tech (I’m in the back). Of course, the one time we’re ever on the front page feature of the Daily Cal, we would be sleep-deprived, stressed out, and coding underground.
Around lunchtime, I go to Stuffed Inn to grab a sandwich and the cashier (who recognizes me and most of my EECS friends because we go there so much) says, “Oh, you’re on the Daily Cal!” and goes to the back to grab his copy of the newspaper to point it out to me. (Sidenote: I had been so sleep-deprived that I just threw on the first random Cal sweatshirt that I saw in the morning, but it’s great because that got me a free soup and drink because it was “Blue and Gold Friday!” Win.)
So yeah, I say this is representative because Spring 2013 so far has been a lot of late nights of debugging, coding/hanging out with my OS project team, and going to Stuffed Inn.>
Rest in Peace, Hansoo Lee
In the summer of 2011, between my freshman and sophomore years, I spent an awesome three months as a user experience and design intern at Magoosh Test Prep. The incredible people at Magoosh introduced me to the world of educational technology and social entrepreneurship. It was there that I first saw how my passion for user experience design fits into the bigger picture of creating technology for social impact.
It’s hard to believe that Hansoo Lee, one of the founders of Magoosh, who was CEO when I worked there, passed away of lung cancer before I’ve even graduated. I don’t really have the right words to say, so I’ll let Bhavin, my former boss and Hansoo’s co-founder, do the talking: Farewell Hansoo, We’ll Miss You>
Pixar’s new film, Monsters University, has a new trailer. A lot of the shots of the school look a lot like UC Berkeley! There’s also some shots that look like Harvard and Stanford, too.
Thought-provoking presentation by Joe Kraus on “SlowTech.” Key Thoughts:
- We are creating and encouraging a culture of distraction where we are increasingly disconnected from the people and events around us and increasingly unable to engage in long-form thinking. People now feel anxious when their brains are unstimulated.
- We are losing some very important things by doing this. We threaten the key ingredients behind creativity and insight by filling up all our “gap” time with stimulation. And we inhibit real human connection when we prioritize our phones over our the people right in front of us.
- What can we do about it? Is this path inevitable or can balance be restored?
This is what happens when two incredibly stubborn people (me and Krista Chan) play Letterpress during Winter Break. The game took forever and I lost. :(
My first attempt at a typographic map. Don’t be content with the shrunken version up there: this thing is pretty dang sprawling: I’ve prepped a mind-boggling 12,500 pixel wide version you can enjoy exploring:
This map was produced by running all the various countries’ “History of _____” Wikipedia article through a word cloud, then writing out the most common word to fit into the country’s boundary. The result is thousands of years of human history oversimplified into 100-some words.
I’ve also prepared a reader’s companion to highlight a few of the more interesting findings. Read it here.
99% Invisible podcast on the UC branding project.
This is the kind of stuff that gets forwarded to me through the Robot Learning Lab mailing list at Berkeley… Merry Christmas from the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich!