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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Z-Alarm 1.0 Released

Recently I have been dabbling into the world of programming, and now I have finished my first program - an alarm clock. I know it doesn't sound too glamorous, but the need for such a program surely exists - the existing apps are either too outdated or not free. Z-Alarm should solve this problem - it is written in Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET).


Z-Alarm can play a music file (thanks to the Windows Media Player control), or continuously beep if no music file is selected. Usage is simple - use the date/time box to set the desired alarm time, then hit "Set Alarm". To turn off the alarm and reset the alarm time and music settings, hit "Reset Alarm".

Since this is a .NET program, you will need the .NET Framework 2.0.

Z-Alarm is now available through my SkyDrive account:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On Campus @ Univ of Chicago - Food and More Dorm Life


No discussion of college residential life is complete without mentioning the dorm food. Amazingly, it isn't that bad. Food is served for all three meals, and it seems that it gets better in that order. Breakfast food sucks - today there were scrambled eggs, some sort of potatoes in the form of hash browns or tater tots, french toast, and sausage patties with dots of red blood on them. The only fruit available are oranges, bananas, and canned fruit. The pop machine, thankfully, is available in the morning.

Lunch is much more diverse with pasta, pizza, fast food in the form of burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets, and fresh fruit in the form melon and strawberries. Dinner is more or less the same.

Dorm Life

There's a lot of amenities in our dorms. In the lobby there is a printing station connectable from any PC. On every floor there are lounges, with assorted equipment (TVs and pool/air hockey tables). The 1st-floor lounge has a Steinway grand, which sounds nice but a runthrough of some Chopin revealed it hadn't been tuned in quite a while. In the basement, thoughtfully, is the laundry and music practice rooms.

We are given a lot of freedom to do whatever we want after class. Curfew is at 10:00 pm on weekdays and 12:00pm on weekends. We can go anywhere we want, provided we sign in for curfew. A trip to the Magnificent Mile and/or Second City is in the works...

Meanwhile, we have been stealing all the door decorations from the girls across the hall...wonder how long it will be before they find out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On Campus @ the University of Chicago

Well, this is my first post from the campus of the University of Chicago. I'm in a pretty new dorm (Max Palevsky is actually the newest residential building here) and the living conditions are SO much better than, say, Northwestern. The rooms are laid out in a suite arrangement - each door in the hall actually leads to two rooms A and B, 2x2 so 4 people in one "room". Each suite has bathrooms on both sides (one w/ shower and sink, the other w/ toilet and sink). There is central air, nice big closets and a nightstand, and more desk space for the two of us than we will possibly be using.

Now for the technical amenities. The entire dorm is wireless-equipped, but it's only 802.11b so it tops out at 11 Mbps. Being a speed freak I dug behind the desk and found the ethernet hardwire (only 10 MBps?!) I was required to get an ID and password (called the CNetID) which you need to use your computers on campus and get a email address; they appear to be using MAC filtering to do the dirty work of authentication.

Here's a speed test:

It'll do, but I was kinda expecting more from a private univ. By contrast, I can get 70 MBps downloads over at the U of Michigan...

P2P appz were explicitly forbidden, they read out loud some clause of the DMCA - that blows, but well, we'll see what happens with that. Not too surprising - it's a campus net, after all.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two New WH Portable Apps Available

I have created and made public two new portable apps - Firefox 3.0 final and Xming
Firefox 3.0 is the third generation of the popular web browser, while Xming is an excellent free X-server implementation that is useful for setting up graphical sessions to a UNIX box (not for the faint of heart!)

Also, this will be my last post before I leave for RIBS at the University of Chicago. I'll be providing full coverage about my experiences as time comes.

In the meantime, enjoy - the new apps are available, as always, in Whitehat's Portableapps folder.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Firefox 3, Download Day 2008

Spread Firefox | Download Day 2008

Firefox 3 RC3 was just released today, and is planned to be the last pre-release before the big kahuna comes out on Tuesday, June 17.

But this isn't your typical software release. The Mozilla guys have announced that they are trying to set a Guinness World Record for most software downloads in 24 hours. There is an official pledge page set up where you can click to pledge your FF3 loyalty (see link at beginning of post as well as the huge honkin' button at right). As of now there are 1,121,949 pledges:

"All you have to do is get Firefox 3 during Download Day to help set the record for most software downloads in 24 hours - it’s that easy. We're not asking you to swallow a sword or to balance 30 spoons on your face, although that would be kind of awesome."

So continue to support FF3 - pledge today!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

English Video Project - Supreme Court and Gratz v. Bollinger

My group's video for the English class project is now up on YouTube...check it out! Inspired by The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Valedictorian's academic plans threatened by deportation -

Valedictorian's academic plans threatened by deportation -

This. is. ABSOLUTELY FUCKING RIDICULOUS. Arthur Mkoyan, a 17-year old in Arizona, has a >4.0 GPA, numerous AP classes under his belt, and is the valedictorian of his high school and plans to study medicine. Unfortunately, his ambitions have been shattered to those big-government shitbags known as the ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mkoyan's family came to escape persecution from their native Armenia. Their 6-month tourist visas expired months ago, so technically they would be illegal immigrants. Mkoyan has never even been to Armenia, save a few glimpses from Internet videos.

ICE plans to deport him and his family after graduation. WTF? True, they are illegal immigrants, but the kid's exceptional achievements in America should be a testament to his future life in the U.S. It is a moral sin to send him back to a land, that, ironically, he has never known. Clearly, he would be much better off in the U.S. Perhaps there is a legitimate reason for deporting stupid, unqualified immigrants, but for extraordinary people like Arthur who haved live almost their entire life in the U.S., it is their only home.

Furthermore, with the U.S. slipping behind in academic performance relative to the rest of the world, we need all the brainpower we can get - foreign or not. This kid looks like he has a real good shot at medical school and ultimately, being a doctor. Our government needs to pull itself out of the sand take a hard, long look at things. Ths issue of immigration is not going to be solved by making high-profile cases out of well-qualified illegal immigrants who truly deserve to be here. Neither is mass deportation an appropriate solution. We need to be grateful for what we have and figure out how to make the best of our existing resources, not further undermining the status of our society.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Firefox 3 RC2 Now Available

Mozilla Firefox 3 Release Candidate 2 Release Notes

The second release candidate of Firefox 3 is now out. Those of you who aren't afraid of bleeding-edge software, check it out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Narcoleptic Cat - CollegeHumor video

If there's a narcoleptic dog there must be a narcoleptic cat.

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor