April 23, 2017

Time for a weekly blog. I’ve almost finished my thesis proposal. Good feeling. I should have done it since February, but a lot of things have been going on since then. However I feel like I am at a much better position right now, and my thesis proposal is in much better shape than ever. A few things on my “things to worry about” list have been crossed out. It still have a few more, but it’s always good to cross any item off. It’s time of the year when there are lots of birthdays. Can’t understand that. 9 months to today was in the middle of the summer.  

Apr 15, 2017

After a few weeks of experiment, I would say recalling your last night dreams are quite hard. I usually can determine if I am in a dream or not, and occasionally can come back to a dream after a brief wakeup. I also often can recall almost every details of a dream right after wakeup. But by the time I have the first morning coffee, everything is gone. Just gone. I don’t have a slightest idea of what was going on in my dreams. Weird? Turns out dream recall is essential to lucid dreaming. The wikibook Lucid Dreaming wrote that the most important thing to improve dream recall is keeping a dream journal. So technically I am practising lucid dreaming without even realizing it. Strange? Actually lucid dreaming is kind of cool. It’s like being the sole director of your own movie, where you also the main actor/actress. You can control almost everything in your dream once you realize you’re dreaming. It’s like your own Inception setup. Cool? Anyway, back to not dreaming. I’m waiting anxiously for many things to happen. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. It always good to have a plan, and if you can afford, a backup plan as well in case things go south. I’m turning 30 this December, and can’t afford to start from the beginning again. Life’s short. Anyway, things can only get better. Right? It’s getting warmer and warmer in NYC. I’m really looking forward to this summer, with BBQ, beach, vacation and stuffs. But first, finishing my PhD would be nice. Then a short trip to Hawaii on top of that would be the icing on the cake. Not to mention camping/hiking/cycling during the summer. It would be nice to get a butt cramp after ~60 miles cycling

Mar 22, 2017

Today I’ve killed another two mice, with one using frying pan. It’s also the 5th this month. It’s the first time in my 5 years living in this house that I have to kill mice. WTF is happening? I’ve submitted an abstract for my new paper to VAST 2017. Good feeling. I have until Mar 31 to write a whole new paper. Finger crossed. Writing paper, especially under deadlines (who doesn’t) is very stressful. That’s why last night I dreamed about not submitting the abstract ontime. In my dream, I had until 8pm ET to submit, but I still have nothing until 9pm. Fortunately it’s just a dream. Therefore, I decided to start a new category called “Last Night Dream”, to capture almost everything I dreamed (and if I still can recall). You might ask why. Just to keep track of what I have dreamed about, as a reference to real life, and maybe one day I will realize that I am just a simulation, living in someone else’s machine. Maybe we all. It’s great to catch up with several friends. Most of them are now in the job market looking for a full time position, just like me. Hope everything will work out in the end.

December 11, 2016

One of the best feelings in the world is when you finish something long overdue. And finished writing the final piece for the year-long project. It feel so good that I decided to write this blog post, which can also be considered as something long overdue. This project has been going on for almost two years, with multiple iterations and discussions back and forth. One less thing to worry about. Today marks the first snow of the season. A long and cold winter ahead, thanks to La Niña. My 5th winter. Hopefully it will be my last cold winter in NYC. Next year is going to be much warmer. I always told my friends jokingly that I never stay in one place for more than 7 years. It’s still true up to this point though. My family moved a lot in the past, once every few years. I moved to the city on 1998, stayed there until 2005 and moved to Hanoi. Stayed there until 2012 and moved to NYC. And hopefully will be moving in 2017. Less than 3 weeks to my trip to Vietnam. It’s been awhile. 3 years to be exact. My plan is just to spend time with my family, especially my mom and dad. You’ll never know when will be the next time you can see them again. 2016 has been awesome so far. From the Miami trip, Uber’s offer, great summer in SF and Phoenix, trip to Puerto Rico and a few other things. Hopefully I could finalize a few other things before 2017. I’ve been using too many “hopefully”. Here’s to another great year.

Lảm nhảm

Hôm trước đọc được bài có rất nhiều PhD sau khi tốt nghiệp đi làm Janitor vì việc nhẹ lương ổn định, lại có nhiều thời gian cho nghiên cứu. Cộng với việc có tin Google không đánh giá cao “người cao tuổi” (>40). Năm sau mà mình ra trường thì cũng là 30 rồi. Có khi cày cuốc 10 năm rồi đến 40 tuổi đi làm Janitor mất. Trong một diễn biến khác, mình đã biết vì sao những hộp sữa của mình để trong tủ lạnh của department không cánh mà bay, hoặc bị người khác dùng mất. Đơn giản là vì department cũng mua những hộp tương tự thế, và tự động assume tất cả những gì giống thế là của họ. Hơn một lần mình đã dùng bút đánh dấu đâu là hộp của mình, nhưng đến hôm sau đâu vẫn hoàn đấy. Chả lẽ phải kiếm tủ lạnh khác (?) hoặc đổ sữa sang một hộp khác cho nó đỡ giống? Trời ơi, giữa đất nước Hoa Kỳ mà còn có cướp ngày. Mà thôi, nói xấu department thì có mà đến cả ngày không hết.

Random

MTA ads find it way to the MetroCard. It’s actually look interesting and distinguishable. Now I don’t have to remember which one is unlimited and which one is pay as you go. Jetpack (WordPress plugin) new module called Photon is great! Basically all my images/videos/audios are cached and served via WordPress server. Save me a lot of bandwidth (CPU improvement is not that much because I’m using nginx). However they better check their code. Seems like they were DDoS’ing my server for 30 minutes hitting a single image. We had 3 courses of carp fish last night and it was great. It’s a treasure to find carp fish in NYC. Carp fish usually available in H-mart locations upstate or NJ, but this is the first time I saw it in NYC. Left: Carp sour soup. Center: Carp fry in canola oil. Right: Carp fish cooked with fish sauce (slight pun intended)     Guantanamo Bay costs about $445 million per year, or $7.29 million per prisoner per year. WTH? I finally decided to give up on academia. I’ve been thinking about it in the last several years, but today is the final push after finished reading PhD Grind by Philip Guo. With my mediocre publications, I don’t think I stand a chance as assistant professor, postdoc or event research scientist. Now my full energy will be spending on finishing my PhD and moving on to other things. On the topic of reading, I finally pick up my reading habit on subway. Last summer in San Francisco was not very good for reading because it took literally less than 15 minutes to go anywhere I wanted to go in SF, either by subway or bus. But now since I returned to NYC, I have 60 minutes on the train back and

Two weeks back to NYC

And I want out so badly. It’s amazing how my perspective has changed after last summer. I’ve been living the “perfect” life in NYC for the last 4 years. Previously my definition of “perfect” was having a small living quarter for sleeping, taking train to/from work (read: don’t have to drive and deal with parking), having easy access to almost everything and getting out of the city occasionally. Now I probably want somewhere quiet, still having easy access to everything (aka within 10 minutes driving), and a car. Having a small garden to grow potatoes would be a plus. I am sick of taking trains for at least 45 minutes to go anywhere in Manhattan, with additional nightmare of weeknight/weekend train schedules. I am sick of having a living quarter technically equal to two queen beds. I am sick of having a closet smaller than my chest drawer. And many other things. Last week my hard drive died. Well, not really die, but I cannot boot into my OS. Any attempt to fix it will make it stop spinning. Fortunately I was able to get a brand new hard drive, install new OS and rsync files from my home directory over. No disk read error so far (which mean no data loss yay!) Hard drives are cheaper and cheaper and I am considering getting another one for RAID1 setup. My Airport Extreme Base Station also died. Two out of 4 ports are dead, including the WAN port. It had been serving me well for the last 3 years. I originally bought it because it supports disk sharing, but now I realize it has the best support for multi concurrence users. My other  NETGEAR/TP-LINK devices are nowhere near it. I am telling myself every single day: Get your shit together, try

Goodbye, San Francisco!

It’s hard to say goodbye. I’ve spent exactly 14 weeks here. Yet I only have few more days before heading to Phoenix before coming back to New York. My first impression of San Francisco is “cold like hell”. As someone who spent the last 3 summers in New York, I was not expecting this kind of weather. Over the past 14 weeks, my weekly routine is almost the same: work hard Mon-Fri and play hard Sat-Sun. My typical week started with a Monday full of meetings. As an intern, I found my Monday schedule horrifying, or as my coworker often said “horrendous”. I could hardly get anything done on Monday. I felt the pain of FTEs or managers, who often had 5x more meetings as me. But as my manager said, Monday is the best day to set goals for the whole week. I usually had lunch at around 12:30pm by went up one floor through the emergency exit, got food and went outside to the patio. Lunch finished by a quick detour to get tea, sour patch kids and TCHO chocolates and back to my floor though another stair. Occasionally there were popups with tiny proportion of treats, like ice cream, s’more and pie. We went to a bar almost every week and had team lunch each month. During weekend, I either went to South Bay to visit my friends, or stayed in the city to explore food and drinks. I’ve been to countless number of coffee shop, found some good ones (Four Barrel!, Philz!) and also not so good ones. But none of the Vietnamese restaurants in the city is as good as in New York. I met so many people there, from many different ages and backgrounds. Each and everyone of them had something I want to learn

Summer Reflections

Summer has come to an ends. It has been a lot of hard work and a lot of funs. Over the past 11 weeks, I’ve been “struggling” to find time to write blog. So this weekend, I decided to fuck it, I’m staying at home doing nothing. Well, only if life can be this simple. This weekend I need to finish a long overdue project, revise a paper and plan for my departure. So here I am, 2pm on a Saturday afternoon in the darkest corner of my office. But first thing first, I am going to write a blog post to reflect what I’ve done this summer. First, I secured my first internship in the US. Well, I’ve been interning at CUSP for 2 years, but it’s not technically a real internship. I got a new cubicle, a new machine, a nicer pay check but still working on my current problems. This time is different. I got to take a break from my current research and jump into a completely different environment. In the last several years, I frequently found out that the best things in life come at the most unexpected moments. I applied for this internship somewhere in October. Never heard back until I came back from a vacation in Miami. Got it after 3 weeks with 2 technical interviews. And here I am. During the last 11 weeks here, I’ve met so many people from different backgrounds, learn a lot of things that will be useful in the future. I’ve got to work in a very active and fast moving environment, where your code is running on thousands of production machines, where you can write your code in the morning, get it reviewed in the afternoon, landed and deployed in the evening. Most of my deploys were

Dear websites: Please stop requesting for my contacts when login or signup

Dear websites, It is a really, really bad practice. There are many websites requesting access to my contacts when I just want to login or signup. Yes, I understand that you might want to know my contacts to suggest me people I want to follow on your websites. But I just don’t want to trade my precious contacts information for a few people to follows. It would be much better to just request for my email address for the purpose of login/signup. You can always request for my contacts when I want to discover people on your websites. Blindly request as much information as you want is simply arrogant and unacceptable under my terms. Sincerely, An average Internet user.