I Remember: Ed Moats

I remember Freshman year: Ed Moats. 8:15 am Advanced Algebra. What a class. Ed was a retired lawyer who thought teaching was a good idea. Not so much.

Ed Moats to Austen Holman, “Are you From Austin, Texas?”

Ed Moats to Dori Scherer, “Everything hunky-dory?”

Yup. Quite a class. Oh and Ed confronting that one kid who took/stole the Teachers Manual. that was funny. This kid makes some excuse to go use the bathroom, but he’s really going to go photocopy the answers for his friend. Ed catches him with a book and asks what he’s doing. Needless to say, this kid turned as red as a lobster realizing he’d been caught and that was the end of that.


I Remember: Sex and Beer in the Bus

I remember during the Canyonlands trip, we had stopped to eat at a BBQ restaurant just outside of Kernville, California. When we had come out, there was a big commotion by the bus. The emergency door was left unlocked and a couple had entered the bus and were found drinking and procreating. At least that’s what we thought.


I Just Can’t Stay Away

  • SAAS

I was back at SAAS today, doing some consulting for Mike Haykin. I always like going back to SAAS, I have no idea why. It’s fun to talk with the teachers and see what everyone is up to.

Mike and I talked about how SAAS prepared me for college and what could be done better. We also talked about new program ideas for SAAS. Sounds like an economics class might be in the works.


One More Thing

I’ve also talked extensively with Dad, Tom Hajduk (my English teacher/College counselor from SAAS), Dan Hough (from Mines), and others about this. One of the things that I have may not have adequately shown in my previous letter is my frustration at my ability to show that I know physics. I’m still trying to figure out an appropriate way to do that and any ideas are welcome.

I’ve been tossing around of couple ideas with them about other options and I thought I throw them out here to see what the AFdN community at large thinks:

Test out of Physics I:
I don’t know if this is a possibility, but it’s something that I plan on investigating. I know that you can test out of other classes at Mines.

Work with the Academic Accommodations Office:
I do qualify for Academic Accommodations. Typically, this has been just extra time on the test to alleviate stress.
I’ve already contacted the Academic Accommodations Office and will be talking with them more tomorrow.

Take Physics I and II at the same time:
I actually just thought of this one. I may be able to convince either the Physics department and/or the Academic Accommodations Office to allow me to take both courses at the same time. I know that’s really weird and might not be a good idea, but I think it’s worth investigating.


Time at SAAS

  • SAAS

I always like going back to SAAS, to say to my teachers, to reconnect, and to update them on my life (which often includes pluging my website). I usually also try to think back on my college experience thus far so I add something to Melinda’s “Life after SAAS” class. So I stopped by SAAS today.

SAAS is on trimesters, which means that today was the last day of finals for the fall trimester. I talked with Steve Retz breifly. He then promptly called Connor to complain about some parody website on Geocities or something. I chatted with Kathy Johnson about life at Mines. Karen Spector was in, so I talked with her and Canuche Terranella.

I also had a great discusion with Gary Anderson about calculus and physics. We also discused technology in the education field. Gary (finally) got into PHP and is now working with an open source program called Moodle. I also told him about LON-CAPA.

Then I dropped by Mark’s room and chatted with him.


Homecoming Parade

My high school never had a football team (or a baseball team for that matter, but that’s a different issue). I’m guessing this was why we never had a homecoming, even though it has little to do with football. So I like to go to homecoming every year to make up for the lack of homecoming in high school. I got up at 8:30ish and headed down for the traditional pancake breakfast, put on by Circle K. Saw Amy, Mike, Emily, Brittney, and Brittney’s little brother (who’s name I’ve already forgotten). Also saw Pete and met his Rugby coach. Then went of and and watched the parade!

So I have a short interlude until the football game starts at 1.


Why I Am The Future

To follow up on “I Wonder What It Would Take For Scoble To Read My Blog“, I did send Scoble an email shortly after I posted. I modified it a bit to make more sense (as I did not send him the full post, just my question to him). As of yet, I have not heard back.

However, TDavid did pick me up on his blog ( and provided some feedback.

I had some trouble initially emailing Scoble (he said he never received my email) so I switched to using my .Mac account and ironically enough he responded right away.

I do know that my emails get through to him because I sent him an email once before before asking for advice on blogging in a corporate environment (I was just about to start work at Nordstrom). If he doesn’t respond in a week or so, I may email him one more time from my school account….maybe. As TDavid points out, “Emailing somebody busy is something that needs to be done with great care and concern. Too many emails from the same source, especially when they are self-promotional, and one risks become annoying. Becoming noise, not signal.”

You might also want to mention that you own and use a Tablet PC. Most of the posts he has linked to of ours here were Tablet PC related.

If I do email Scoble again, I’ll be sure to note that I do use a Toshiba M200 Tablet PC for school and I love it to death.

You are the future? I like that. Expand on that. Why are you the future? What are you going to do with the future and technology? How could you make Microsoft better? These are questions I bet would at least intrigue Scoble. Especially if they take a fresh point of view on the topic.

Below is a short answer essay to why I wanted to attend Caltech:

After helping someone fix a computer glitch, I often get asked, “Why are you so smart?” It is a tricky question, I will admit that. There is no one thing or event from which I acquired my intelligence. My aptitude is likely the result of two factors: genes and opportunities.

My family has a long line of technical aptitude. My grandfather worked at the National Institute of Standards and Time in Boulder, Colorado, and introduced me to the Cesium clock that keeps America on-time. My dad works in Information Technology Manager at Nordstrom’s. Some of my earliest memories are visiting Nordstrom’s data storage facility and gazing in awe at the massive server racks.

The computer has given me the ability to exploit my natural curiosity. Just before my fourth birthday, my dad brought home a used IBM 286. Scooting along at an astounding 16MHz, I was able to perform what seemed like miracles with it. As the years progressed, we acquired faster and faster computers. I currently use a Celeron 1.8 GHz, over one-hundred times faster than my first computer. But the speed of the computer is not the important factor; it is what I am able to do with them. In my early days, I managed to crank out short homework assignments and doodle with Microsoft Paint. I later became familiar with PowerPoint, using it to develop a short animation sequence. Fifth grade was a good year, not only because it was the end of elementary school, but also because it brought forth the Internet.

With the Internet, I was able to explore places and things not otherwise accessible to a ten-year-old. I dipped my nimble hands in every pond I could reach. I created a website and began learning the intricacies of HTML. I now run my website out of my basement web server. I currently use PHP and MySQL as the primary programming language, which I taught myself. I even developed my own content management system (CMS). In essence, computers and the Internet have helped make me who I am. I see myself as a developer. I look at my website and figure out how I can make it better. What interesting feature could I program to make my site just that much more interesting? I work into the wee hours of the morning sometimes, furiously typing away, finding out why something will not work. In the end, my website is my canvas.

However, this still leaves us with the original question, why am I smart? My mother might say, “That’s who God made you to be,” and I would agree with that. My father would say, “What do you think?” at which point I would say, “I don’t know.” But I think the true answer is “It’s my nature.” I am naturally curious. Not everyone has the initiative to do what I do. Most people are content with life and what it gives them. But I can see what the future holds and I want to develop its secrets.

The point I think I am trying to push is innovation. Today, people like to assume the mantra: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Being an engineer, my adage is: If it’s not broken, it doesn’t do enough things. And my friends will attest to that! I look at the world and see things and wonder, what else could I do with that? I see things on television, usually sci-fi shows, and wonder what the plausibility of such a device is: What would it really take to design a 3D image?

Now let me extend this conceptual thinking to the Microsoft realm. If I could change how Microsoft did things, what would I change?

First off, I would make it smaller…or at least appear smaller to the public. There is a mentality that Microsoft is this huge bad giant that wants to control the world. In short, people believe that Microft sucks (and sometimes I’m tended to believe that as well, although my final paper for History defended Microsoft’s aleged antitrust actions [pdf warning]). I would first split Microsoft into Hardware, Software, and InterNetwork groups. Hardware could then be split into PC Gaming, Xbox, and Peripherals. Software would have OS and Applications. Applications could be broken down to Office, Games, and Productivity. And OS would just be Business and Personal. InterNetwork is actually a folder on my Start menu where I put things having to do with the Internet and Networking. InterNetwork would include things like MSN Messenger, Internet Explorer, MSN Virtual Earth, etc.

Second, I would begin to identify with the customers. Scoble has introduced a very novel way to interact with customers/developers and Microsoft needs to capitalize on that idea. Actively go out and see what people are complaining about and FIX IT! On that note, realize that not all publicity is good publicity. I did audio mixing of live events for 3 years while I was in high school and I for the most part, I only received two kinds of recognition: people complaining when something wasn’t working or people not complaining at all. After a while, I realized that I was doing my job right when no one knew I was there.

After everything is to customer satisfaction. Innovate. Microsoft isn’t innovating like they did in the beginning. The last innovation from Microsoft was the Xbox, and that really wasn’t something that innovative as much as it was breaking into an existing market. Innovation involves risks, and risking big. I would invest heavily in Web 2.0 right now. But I see W2 having two phases. The first phase is going to focus on companies (like Microsoft) developing “systems” and “applications” and hosting them on their servers. The second phase will see the the servers migrate back towards the home and will come when connectivity is available in more homes, at faster speeds, for cheaper cost.

Collaboration will also be key. Open your code to others and they will flock to it and make it better. Also keep in mind that the bigger the come, the harder they fall. Collaboration does not equal domination. Focus your resources on developing a few good pieces of software, not many shitty pieces that everyone hates (even if they do still buy it).

The final change I would make is change itself. Allow Microsoft to grow and adapt as a company to needs of not only the consumer, but also the employee. Google’s 20% rule is freaking genius! So is the incredibly casual workplace at Microsoft. What else can you do?
So quick recap: Become smaller in the eyes of the public (think of how many things GE owns that you may not know about); Identify with your users (and developers, too!); Hire Andrew; Innovate and take risks, Microsoft needs to be the next big thing; Collaborate with others to develop a superior product, but don’t dominate!

Also, what’s up with the dot NET thing but no .NET code? Is that just a reference to the domain? I would think something with dot NET in the title would be about the .NET framework. I wonder if other readers would assume the same thing?

As for the “dot NET” moniker. It’s the culmination of many things. I did want the .com domain, but it was already taken. I actually contacted the fellow, James, and talked to him about it. He’s saving it for his son, Andrew, who’s just a baby now (talk about thinking about the future!). So I picked the .net domain, and sort of copied Wil Wheaton‘s naming scheme. There might have been some parody thought of Microsoft .NET going on in the back of my mind, but I honestly can’t remember.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I finished reading “The Perks of Being a Wallflower“. I like that book a lot. I read it my junior year at SAAS. Jeff Hanway listed as one of his favorite books on his Facebook profile. So I read it and finally finished it today. It’s really a great book and an awesome coming-of-age story that everyone should read. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

“Charlie, I told you not to think of me that way nine months ago because of what I’m saying now. Not because of Craig. Not because I didn’t that you were great. It’s just that I don’t want to be somebody’s crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it, too. I want them to be able to do whatever they want around me. And if they do something I don’t like, I’ll tell them.”

Yea. Such a great book. It makes me nostalgic for the old high school days. Sigh.


SAAS Alumni Reunion

SAAS had an all alumni reunion earlier tonight. I didn’t get there until 6:30 because A) I forgot about it; and B) I had work until 5 and then took the bus home. In any event, it was very fun. I had the chance to finally talk to Canuche. I also was able to finally talk with Jean Orvis, Head of SAAS (think Principal). I saw Jim Rupp who congratulated me on my Frank Sinatra performance on Tuesday (I sang My Kind of Town over a year ago at Vocal Review). I also talked with Mark about some major overhauls to a program I wrote for him. All in all, a good time.


And So They Walked

It’s really hard to believe that only one year ago, I was a participant on that stage and not a spectator. ’04 had some good representation, I saw Alec, Morgan, Paige, Celeste, Jeff, Amy, Anne, Emma, Brent, Ashley, Britney, Trevor, Nate, Freddy, am I forgetting anyone? About 20% of our class in all. Got some good photos on my new camera as well, check out SAAS Graduation 2005.