Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Swim Joey, Swim!!!

Ever since summer started, I've been eating less and exercising more. I've been trying to get my weight down to at least within the healthy range of my BMI (Body Mass Index). Right now my BMI is 26.2, which is bad, since 25.0 - 29.9 indicates an overweight condition. It's not that I'm self-conscious about myself, but considering that body weight only increases with age, I don't want to be overweight now and by the time I hit 50, being obesely overweight. So consider it as a future health investment and my target investment is a BMI of 18.5 - 24.9 which indicates a healthy weight.

So lately, to reduce weight, I've been doing cardio workouts. Nothing complex, I just run, like Forrest Gump, and you might not believe me when I say, that I can run...."like the winnndddd" (hehehehe....a phrase borrowed from the movie Forrest Gump). I ran on a threadmill at the recreational center. The recreation center here in Kent is superb and comes complete with all the facilities that students like me can use. The problem with running, and perhaps because I'm getting old, is that my knee starts to hurt if I ran everyday. So two weeks ago, when I heard my friend linuxlah worked out by swimming, I thought I would give swimming a try. So I got myself goggles and swimming trunk and went to the swimming lanes.

As I dipped into the water, the water felt nice and warm. And I submerged myself to get a good feel of the water and the water tasted a bit salty. What can you expect, people are swimming lapses here nonstop. Anyhow, I looked at the lane to my right where a fat old man was getting into the pool as well. And on my left, there was another old lady getting ready to swim. As they get themselves ready, I casually started my freestyle swim towards the other end of the pool. Being an aquarian, swimming should be natural for me. Or so I thought, never guess that I was so wrong.

Its been a while since I went swimming, and the other end of the pool seems very far away. At first I was freestyling with good considerable speed, then suddenly I felt my shoulders feel uncomfortable, and every time i raise my hand flapping, it felts heavier. Not to mention that my legs which should be paddling the water seems to be moving in an irregular motion sideways.
I then realised I was not swimming freestyle, I was just flinching in the pool. I had to stop and change styles to frog-style swimming, since I needed the time to think what the hell am I doing.

Then, as I regained my concentration, fixed my hands flapping rhythm with my paddling feet motion I continued my freestyle swimming again. I noticed then the old men on my right lane was woooshing away with considerable speed and full of vigor. Well, I thought at least its an old man, he probably have a lot of stamina for an old man. Then came woooshing on my left lane, an old lady passing me. Damn, I'm basically a lame duck who can't swim. By the time I reached the other end of the pool, I was gasping for air like there is no tomorrow. As for the old man and old lady, they have made their way finishing another lapse. Panting and breathing heavily, the life guard looked at me with extreme concern. I'm sure she is thinking that she has to keep an eye on me, since I can suddenly sink somewhere in the middle.

It's been 2 weeks now, and though I can't swim like a fish yet, I can say that I'm doing okay. At least finish a lapse or two nonstop. I try to swim as many lapse as I can for 30-50 minutes. I never remembered swimming to be this hard before, running is definitely easier than swimming.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Lately our research group submitted a demo paper to The 6th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems, 2008 (SENSYS). As one of the authors, I am very excited about it. We can't submit a full conference paper yet, since our research is far from what we are trying to do, and all we can do right now, with our preliminary data and experiments is show a demo in this respectable conference.
The reason why I am very excited about it is because SENSYS is one of the leading conferences in my area. Albeit, it is just a demo, but unlike many other conferences, SENSYS actually publishes their demo and poster papers. Furthermore, looking at papers, demo and posters being accepted in the past, much of the accepted papers comes from big named schools. Similarly, the review committee are from well respectable schools and well known individuals in our research area. I'm hoping our research holds some kind of significance to the reviewers, enough to get our demo publish in this conference.
Getting our demo publish will get us a feedback on whether my research area is something of interest to the Embedded and Networked Sensors community. It will also get us buy in on our research ideas and be a stepping stone for us to get funding as well as getting our papers publish in the future.
I'm praying hard that this paper actually gets accepted, and the wait is making me restless.
There is a possibility of being rejected due to the high volume of submissions, and this particular conference has been known to be very competitive. In the past, out of the many demo papers submitted from all around the world, only about 20+ demos gets accepted every year. I am not looking forward to be rejected, but I'm trying my best to not get overly excited to minimize the disappointment. So I'm telling myself, if we don't get accepted, at least we got rejected from well known individuals in the area, and the fact that I've tried.
If, I'm lucky, and I hope I am, we will get accepted. Which will also give me a nervous breakdown, since I will have little time to make my experiments good enough for the demo and get ready to face the public on my research work in the conference by early november this year. The good side of things, I will get to travel. This year, the Sensys Conference will be at Raleigh, NC.
So knowing that I really need it, wish me luck....:)

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Mrxvt config

I've been using mrxvt for quite a while now. And I love it, it gives me the power of a light weight terminal like rxvt and still having multiple tabs to switch between terminals. But lately, when I ran mrxvt, i get funny deprecated warnings. It seems that my config (.mrxvtrc) file is already too old to be used.
Hence, I went online looking for the latest possible config file I can plagarize. I'm too lazy to figure it out myself.
Sure enough, the open source community has been good in sharing, and there is a ready template for anyone to play with. I got myself the config file and edited a few options.
I ran mrxvt and now its exactly the way I wanted it, with pseudo tranparency (you can have full tranparency if you want, but it will be too heavy for my old machine) that gives the glassy look effect and at the same time having the background tinted just enough for me to see my fonts clearly. Anyways, if you want to download the config file, you can download it at materm sourceforge website.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The tools of the trade

Being a computer scientist is not all about doing programming, staring at the computer screen, with an inch thick glasses, while eating junk food. There are a lot of tools, that the academic community and especially the scientific community use. Particularly, all of the research work needs to be published. And publishing a research work can be competitive, and you will have to write nicely formatted papers. The problem of publishing papers is making sure that all the formatting are pretty and the formula and graphs gets displayed nicely. Apparently, despite the amazing tool that Microsoft create, called the "Microsoft Word/MsWord", it is rather inferior when it comes to publishing good scientific papers. Formatting on word is incredibly difficult. For example, putting complex formulas would be difficult in MsWord. There is just not suitable math symbols to help you write the formula. Furthermore, divisions doesn't really work well. Other symbols like delta, omega, phi,psi, lamda, summation and all of the greek symbols are sometimes not exactly how you want it to look like. For example, trying to write the formula below on MsWord would hardly be possibly, I have not tried doing it on MsWord, but I would say it would be a challenge to write the formula below on MsWord.

Hence, the academic community, particularly scientist, use Latex. Latex is an amazing tool, it's not really user friendly, but it create documents beautifully, format it like a professional, and help you display graphs and formula just like how you would like to see it on scientific journal papers. There are not much of a choice, and I too am force to use Latex, learn how to use it, to help me write papers.

The other thing that I need to learn and use as a scientist is gnuplot. Now gnuplot as the name implies, is a plotting application. Gnuplot are particularly a command line application to generate beautiful graphs. The flexibility on gnuplot surely beats MsExcel anytime. There are still a lot of functions on gnuplot that I need to learn, but I'm getting a hang of it. Of course you can use excel to make plots and graphs, but there are some things that MsExcel is just inferior in trying to make graphs for scientific research.

To the left is a graph generated by gnuplot. This is also part of the data of my research.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Under Where?

Where is the post? Under there? Under here? Nope, not there? Then wear....over mean...underwear?
:) hehehe

Yes, underwear. This post is about underwear. Nope, not Victoria Secret underwear, but Boxer Briefs. Today I had a little time to go shopping at an outlet nearby. Particularly, I was looking for a swimming trunk. I had to go swimming and rotate from jogging to swimming. I just can't jog everyday since its making my knee hurt. Anyway, I walked into Banana Republic and noticed really nice boxer briefs. I just had to get a pair of it. Cause it really looks comfy, not to mention sexy.

Why do I need sexy briefs. Well, I don't need one, but it can be convenient to wear one at certain times. Here is an explanation why...
Imagine after working out, running or swimming at the gym and then you go ahead and take a shower. After the shower, you will take a towel, wrap it around your waist and walk towards your locker. As you walk towards your locker, you noticed the weighing scale. Of course, after burning some fat, you really are curious about whether you have lost some weight, right? But if you take your weight while you are wearing towel, the wet towel will add a few pounds, about 1 or 2. Most Americans here, are comfortable enough to just drop the towel and measure their weight naked. I however, am a bit uncomfortable of being naked in front of people I don't know. So what I would do is, get myself dried with a towel, put on my brief and then walk back towards the weighing scale to measure my weight. Now standing almost naked with a brief in front of people is not less uncomfortable, but surely better than standing naked as your ding dong hangs clear for people's viewing. Hence, the boxer brief is really a convenient thing to wear while taking your weight. Also, while you are at it, you might as well look stylist walking in the changing room, why not get a nice one to show it off.

Continue with my story.....Then I walked into the Calvin Klein outlet, where i saw another nice sexy brief. When it comes to brief, nothing beats Calvin Klein. Hence, I got myself a Calvin Klein underwear, but this one is not to show off, but for me to go jogging. Supposedly, this particular boxer brief that I bought is for active wear. The material is of a special kind, that would help evaporate your sweat quickly. It has ergonomic design with a breathable mesh to control moisture, tagless CoolMax waistband for extra comfort, particularly ideal for men with active lifestyle. So this avoid the wet pants look when you sweat like a dog. And in the gym, where there are a lot of people, you just don't want to make the person waiting to sit on the equipment you are using feel uncomfortable, especially when he sees your butt is sweating wet.

I thought about putting a picture of the model using the brief here, but I think some of you might feel uncomfortable. Though, I doubt most woman would complain, a men like me would naturally feel a bit yuck about it. But I can't deny the level of comfort it provides, of course i mean wearing one and not about looking at a model wearing one. I must warn you before opening the link below, it is a bit gay.
Here is a link of the Calvin Klein tech active trunk.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Work in Progress

Dear Readers,

I don't have a lot of readers, but I believe I have some family and friends who are wondering why I'm not writing. I'm sorry for being busy lately but I am in good health though mostly sleep deprive. I must say that I have been taking a sabbatical leave on blogging for maybe a month. Particularly, I'm busy trying to finish the requirements necessary to convince funding for my 2 research projects as well as another project I'm working on my own. So a lot of work is in progress. Will update soon. Have much to say, just no time to put it down.