Monday, December 31, 2007

Blogs and Langauges and (half) a Resolution

I've recently started to read blogs written in French and Japanese. Or at least, I'm trying to read. While I don't understand every thing, I try to get as much as I can, playing attention to how the words are used. So far, I've found some interesting stuff. For one, many of them are from people trying to learn English, so its cool to see how it is on the other side of the fence. There are even a few that I've read across which are people's attempts to practice their skills in English. Even though there are some mistakes, the thing is that they're not afraid make them. It makes me wonder why can't I put aside any pride I may be feeling and go for it. Which leads me to part one* of my first ever actual New Year Resolution. And that will be to read, write, and listen to my target languages.

*The second part is of no real relevance to this post.

A bit of new motivation

After checking the MOUSE news wire, I now know that they have a planed appearance at this year's NECC. NECC stands for National Education and Computing Conference. I had went last year to present my last project with the OPLC and it was astonishing. It was held in Atlanta and it was so much fun. A whole bunch of name brand companies were there (names such as Apple and Mircosoft) and lots of freebies were given out. Also just being able to meet tons of like minded people to discussion technology and education with was simply a nice relaxing experience.

Now after reading about what MOUSE has planned this year, I definitely want to be able to participate. In addition to presenting the projects, we also get to lead a panel discussion. Because of this, I have new found motivation to get my project up and running to what i wish for it to be come.

Yesterday's ball game

Today me along with a few fellow MOUSECORPS students went to a basketball game at the garden. The game was the Knicks vs. The Bulls. As we arrived there, I believe we all knew who was going to win, but it really was not about the game at all. You see, MOUSE had gotten box seat tickets and invited any MC(MOUSECORPS - I'm becoming to lazy to write out the whole term nowadays) member who wanted to go. I basically went because I've never been to a basketball game, let alone sat in any special seating. So there we were in our little - but very nice and cozy - box looking out upon creation. And it was amazing. Being at the top of the garden, being able to see almost everything that went on below, was at first simply awe-inspiring. And a bit off balancing. Everyone who took the little stairs down to where my friends and I sat felt their surrounds go for a little spin. And having such a miniature looking glass (or maybe plastic?) guard did not help the situation any, but we all managed to make it back and forth in one piece so no harm done.

At that game, I came to understand two things. One, most people in the box seating don't seem to really care about the game going on below. Of course the other possible explication is that it was the Knicks playing and as i said we all knew who was going to win. Everyone I could see seemed more interested in hanging out and talking to those around them. Two, people flip-fop teams. When the Knicks were winning at the beginning, everyone was all happy and rooting for them. But as soon as it became apparent they had no hope some just went quiet, muttering about them behind their backs. Others even went as far as starting to root for the other team. One final thing, while I disregard the fact that I said only two, is that all of the little entertaining stunts that were put on during the breaks occurred to me to be ploys to distract us from the home team getting their behinds kicked. As I said during the game, they are getting paid so they don't have to win; they just have to play.

Yet still, all in all, I did enjoy myself today. I must thank MOUSE for the invite. It was a good way to spend the afternoon

Monday, December 17, 2007

PSAT 2007

Last week I got my PSAT score back. Overall I did not do too I'm told. My scores are all over the place, although I did do better on this one as a whole when compared to my score last year. I got a 65 in reading, 52 in math, and 46 in writing. While I was happy with my math and writing, I got ticked off when I saw my reading dropped 2 points. But now that I know where I stand, I can edit my study plan for this bloody test.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why I have an intense dislike of the 9th and 10th graders in my school

I hate - no wait, lets use a weaker word shall we? - dislike them as a whole. They're quite frankly out of control. Never before in my life have I seen such a disorderly group of people. Loudness in the halls I'm ok with - its just something that happens, but when you in a group of your little friends decide to lie down or block up the only passage ways on the floor as if its your own bloody living room, I have a problem. Every morning I have to tiptoe my way past the little bastards inorder not to step on one of them and I'm sick of it. And so is everyone else. So now, I have a proposal to all of my fellow 11th and 12th graders. From now on, whenever those little snot-nosed brats get in your way, you push, kick, step on, yell, or whatever it is you have to do to get past. No more of our patience shall be wasted upon them. They need to understand this one fact - we are the ones who have the most power here. 
Anyways moving on from that cocky comment of mine, myself along with a few others have noticed that a lot of the younger grades have become monsters. Its disconcerting. Makes me wonder what future lies ahead if these are the bunches of fools we're raising.

New plan for language study

I've reached a mental plateau. In my French and Japanese studies, I've noticed that I've just leveled out. I don't feel like I'm learning anything new and because of this I need to shake up how I'm doing things. I decided to go back to Pimsleur and the FSI for one. Also I want to make time to start using the Rosetta Stone more often. Finally, I'm looking to take more opportunities to use them in. Because of that on Monday I'm going to a group meet-up in which I have to speak Japanese. There are no if and buts. I've also got into a French language class at Hunter College starting in January. At this point, if I truly wish to keep going in these languages I have to expose myself more to them more often. I can't be as shy as I once use to.

What is so wrong with not liking MySpace/Facebook?

I don't like MySpace. Nor do I like Facebook. However, I do find Facebook to be a lesser evil. Now I don't see what so bad about this. My logic is that, most of the time, I see the people I need to see at school. That should be more than enough. And MySpace/Facebook seems another method of continuing the crap they do in school. Which, in the end, is not a good thing. Its being posted up online where anyone can see/hear/read about it, thus leading you in trouble should enough people catch wind of it. There exists -somewhere- a MySpace account with my name on it. And this is only because one of my friends apparently saw the need in making me one. Not only that but I also have a Facebook account. A lot of people ask me why I don't use it and the plain answer is I just don't like it. But this is not to say that I don't see the potential use of it. In my eyes, Facebook has the chance to save itself from what MySpace has really become - little kids who are needy for attention of some sort and needs to be around their friends 24/7.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

So in the end yesterday, I decided on not going to the opening. Apple is known for its give-aways and also crowds. But I did end up driving past it. And the lines were just ridiculous. It simply wrapped around the building and messed with traffic. However, I do plan to go sometime within the next two weeks.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Apple's New Opening in New York

So Apple is opening up a new store in Manhattan at 9th avenue and 14th street. I have plans to try and get there tonight. Good thing its only a few blocks from my where my mom works. Apple is known for their free giveaways thus I'm aiming to get me some. Hopefully something does not pop up and sucks up all my time. Anyways if I go, I'll post about the experience here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Plan for OLPC project

So here are so basic things that we are aiming for the wikipage to have.
List of Requirements:
• Create guide for majority of programs. Includes browsers, updating laptop, word doc., news reader (RSS), developer console, chat, networking options.
• Basic computer use. Includes opening computer, setting up, computer views, keyboard layout, stylist, screen turning, mouse
• Powerpoint presentation.
• Looking over existing pages and edit.
• All pages will be in paragraph-form.
• ***Begin to translate pages into French, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish.
• ***Guide for basic rules on the games.
This plan will undoubtably change over the course of the months. But for now, this should do.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

One Laptop Per Child(OLPC) Promotion

The guys over at OLPC have extended their promotion to the 31 of December. So I thought I should pass along the news and direct people over to the website. If you have not heard already (which would be a bit of a shocker if you have not) the movement is to give developing countries computers for their children. The promotion itself is a buy two-get one-give one type deal. You buy two of the laptops and you get one and the other is sent to a kid in an other country. I think its a good idea, and that it would be a nice thing to help pitch in to the success of this program. It really does have potential to be wildly useful if it's given the proper support.

New OLPC project

So today my new project with those laptops have started (for those of you who don't know what they are please visit here). Basically what I plan to do is finalize a wiki page for new users of the laptop. It will consist of user guides, since they do have a bit of an learning curve to them. Hopefully I may be able to translate some of the pages into different languages as an excuse for practice.

Monday, October 29, 2007

MOUSE training '07 part one

Yesterday, I got to help train new incoming MOUSE students. Or maybe a better term for it was told to help train them. Basicly every year MOUSE holds a few training sessions to get students ready for the work they will need to be doing during the year. Now I've gone to a few before, maybe around 3 or 4 years ago and it was not that bad. However, I was not the one trying to teach the little donkeys. I was being taught to. And that made it so I was in for a little shock.
My job this time around was to provide support for the teachers, and this meant that I was go around and answer any questions the kids had and what-not. At the start of the I got to the school they were using at 9:10, sat down and got straight to work placing everyone into 4 rooms. Problem was that I can't spell for my life so I ended up making all the kids take out ID so I could get their names down faster. Another thing was that a lot of them refused to get into 2 lines. I did not understand what was so hard about that but since they were mostly middle schoolers I let it pass. Also you know the whole "quiet before the storm" people sometimes talk about? Its never been truer for me in my life. They would come in packs. Me and the others could hear their little footsteps climbing up the stairs and it was like "ah crap".
So after we got everyone into a room I wondered in on some of the lessons and watched. It was odd just standing there so I would walk around acting like I was doing something. I did this (along with talking with the others and watching YUI videos on youtube) until snack time came along. This was not too bad. Me and the other guys with me just picked a room, ran into it with a box of treats, gave it to the teacher, and ran out of there, leaving them to fend for themselves. Those kids were like hungry wolves. But if that was bad, it was nothing compared to when we started giving stuff away. But that shall be told in part two.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Interest in colleges

So, I'm in my 3rd year of high school. Which means "Time to shop for colleges!!!" Hopefully you all can read the sheer happiness within that statement because honestly, I'm worrying my butt off. Back in September I visited Columbia and was just in awe. There was something there that just made me feel like there is something in life that I have to aspire to and this is school that will allow you to achieve that goal the most. And now almost two months later that is my first choice school. Next month I'm planing a trip up to Fordham to see what they're all about. But in the mean time I have to focus on the SAT and not getting anything less than an A in all of my classes.

Useful online language tool

Hey, anyone into studying different languages should check out
It seems to be really promising. I'm plan to incorporate it into my own studies.

First post

So, as a first post I guess I should explain what this blog with focus on. And that would be, interestingly enough, my thoughts - be it meaningful and insightful or random and just plain stupid. Thus to anyone who just so happens to stop by, leave a comment telling me what you think.