The sun never sets

I am beginning to appreciate the true spirit of PIP.

Oct 22, 3am, UBC electronics lab.

Except for our fallen comrade sleeping on a table at the back, the lab looks just as busy and lively as it did 12 hrs ago, at 3pm (we had been there since then). Soldering smoke everywhere, occasional smashing of the tables and loud profanities, and busy keyboard typing sound. Only the increased number of coffees and redbulls gave it away (“no food and [non-alcoholic] beverages allowed in the lab”).

This has got to be one of the busiest weeks of my life. We were in the lab at least 8 hrs every day for a week, including Saturday and Sunday. Everything else in my life was paused. Social life was canceled indefinitely until further notice.

Our first project, a computer-controlled battery charger, was due the morning after, with an hour-long demo to a few profs. We didn’t even have the prototype for some of the boards =P. Talk about procrastination skills and pressure management.

We spent the first half of the night designing, simulating, and prototyping the boards, and the next few hours soldering with heavy eyelids. Some people used coffee, some used redbull, some relied on the cold wind blowing through the open window, some gave up and went to sleep in the lounge, and I believed in will power. It has never failed me.

And we went to McDonalds at 2am! It was pretty much the only place that was open, and there was a long lineup… with very drunk people. The campus looked and felt very different at night. No one on the streets, and the cold wind was refreshing. It felt almost like we were walking through a necropolis.

A few hours and a sunrise later…IMAG0014
Charging circuit and monitoring circuit! 17 transistors (51 pins!), 5 op amps, and a few dozen wires.

The aftermath –

Then we raced against time to put everything together and test it before the 9am presentation. Unfortunately, while we DID manage to put everything together 5 minutes before the demo, we didn’t have time to test it at all. And expectedly, it didn’t work =(. It’s no fairy tale, there isn’t always a happy ending (actually, most fairy tales don’t either, but more on that later). The demo went well otherwise, though. They like our designs, we answered the questions well, etc. Except it didn’t work.

I’m guessing the other groups’ stories are equally exciting, too, judging by all the prayers and Jesus appreciation =P.

I slept a total of 2 hours in the 48 hours leading up to the presentation (and a technical communications midterm later in that day, that I totally didn’t study for. I didn’t even know what’s on the test until 15 minutes before the test). So glad it was over. I would probably need a few ambulances if it lasted a bit longer.

Life goes on. To the second project. I’m so excited to see what’s up ahead for us.

The immense pressure and feeling of accomplishment. It’s addictive.

Tomorrow will be 3m 30s shorter


Tomorrow will be 3m 30s shorter. I never knew iGoogle Weather can be so depressing =P.

As if the the week-long rain isn’t bad enough =(.

Can’t wait till summer to re-start my morning runs.

On a brighter note, I just kicked my way through my first math midterm like a big head smashing into a huge tofu!

Leaving me with JUST another diff eq midterm, Co-op workshops, a project demonstration, and a “technical communications” midterm for next week.

Fast forward into the past & Nobel Peace Prize

I found this very interesting site a few months ago, and was playing with it just now. Too much fun!

Internet Archive – Wayback Machine

They have been trying to keep an archive of THE WHOLE INTERNET since ~1996.

Just type the URL of the website you want to see, and click “Take Me Back”.

Of course, only static content is archived (you can’t do a Google search using 1996 Google =P that would be so much fun, though).

Google Beta, circa 1998

Facebook, 2000
Yes, it was called “AboutFace” back then.

Or perhaps you fancy some high end computer parts?

Oct 23, 2001, introducing… the iPod! “1,000 songs in your pocket.”, Sept 11, 2001
“FAA grounds all U.S. flights until noon Wednesday”
“U.S. military on ‘high alert'”
“President Bush: U.S. will “punish those responsible””

Fun to see history as if it’s happening right now, in present tense.

As of 2009, the Wayback Machine contained about 3 petabytes of data and was growing at a rate of 100 terabytes per month, as compared with the 12 terabytes/month growth rate reported in 2003.

– Wikipedia

It’s saddening to see how Nobel Peace Prize has become such a joke now.

First Al Gore the hypocrite, “for [his] efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change,” even though he did no original research and many before him had been quite vocal about this issue already.

Then Barack Obama?! “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples … [and his] vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons”.

This one is classic. Awarding the Nobel Prize for what he is PLANNING to do.

I plan to make the next huge breakthrough in theoretical physics, too, would you give me the award first? I’ll even take it as a “call to action”.

He seriously should have considered rejecting the award. That would’ve won him a lot of respect.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. If they are really going to give me a Nobel Prize, I probably won’t reject it, too. But he is a political figure, and should show some true dignity.