Sand and Dust

Researching at Sandia National Labs for the summer, though my projects have more to do with coding as opposed to novel insight. It’s been a strange summer, but exceedingly fun. I adhered to my non-binding commitment to get as much camping and hiking in as possible while in New Mexico, trips landing me at El Malpais, Bandelier, El Morro, Durango, and, fingers crossed, Carlsbad. New and old friends have kept me entertained during my summer stint away from home, but I’m looking forward to classes back at Champaign-Urbana. With Embedded System Design, Advanced Applied Cryptography, Communication Networks, and Operating Systems, I should find enough work along with research to make the semester worthwhile.

As always, Flickr has photos from recent excursions, and maybe even some pictures of people. I also updated the Library with recent reads, with other updates to follow.

Where In Life Is Life Going?

This semester I was hoping to start some interesting courses, but Cyberspace Law, Communication Networks, and Advanced Applied Cryptography were all canceled. In lue of my schedule being turned on its head I decided to take Random Processes, Fault-Tolerant Hardware Design, and on a whim, Advances in Psychobiology. Despite the course load and research I’ve found myself with a load of free time which is being directed towards new hobbies (and duties):

  • Outdoor Illini: After getting back from snowshoeing the White Mountains, I decided to finally put some effort into starting a backpacking and camping group on campus called the Outdoor Illini. Hopefully the group will gain some traction — the whole point is to find other backpackers interested in leaving UIUC every few weekends and finding a park to explore. Bitter cold, snow, and rain are making the prospect of leaving UIUC this winter unlikely.
  • SORF Board: I decided to fill an open seat on the SORF Board. Every other Thursday I get to spend 5+ hours reading applications at a blurring speed in an attempt to determine which activities the campus should fund. Serving on the board is interesting, running for re-election is not.
  • Home Brewing: Bar hoping on campus is only so entertaining until it becomes customary. To break the monotony, some compatriots and I have taken to home brewing our own beer. It’s interesting to bring up home brewing to other people; inevitably someone in the group chimes in with “oh, I used to do that too.” Why didn’t they share this with me earlier?
  • Photography: In tandem with hiking and camping more often I’ve taken up photography again. I’m trying to motivate myself to buy a new SLR camera, but the price tag and size of the camera is currently a deterrent. Despite those two factors, there’s no doubting the pictures that come out of an SLR camera put my current camera to shame.

As always, Flickr has photos from recent explorations. I believe that’s enough effort in updating this would-be website.

Sunset on Western Sunsets

Ending my summer stint in Albuquerque, NM. Some useful research came out of the experience, but it was more worthwhile for the people and the area. Though Albuquerque may be the slowest of cities to live in, the natural scenery is a major draw to return some day.

I added some photos to Flickr from hiking trips into the Sandia mountains and into the lava parks of El Malpais.

Time to be heading back to _flat_ Illinois and picking up graduate studies. Courses this semester include abstract algebra, advanced probability and statistics, computer security, and a security seminar. With the added ‘bonus’ of research, life should be fairly busy. Too bad the mountains wont be right outside to escape into.

Winding Away, Winding …

Finishing up the rest of the year of my undergraduate degree. Some interesting courses, but mostly this semester was just a 6 month break. Looking forward to the summer and doing some real work in security rather than just playing around.

After that, 4-5 more years of courses. Funny how things repeat themselves.