Not the Main Character

I am the main character in my story. I rather like being one, since the title gives me good authority to claim that my narrative is the correct one. People come and go, either as side characters or as background actors their paths briefly crossing mine. I am their Stormtooper #10, and they are a blurry face in the noise to me.

Not to say that Stormtrooopers aren’t super cool, but they do look awfully similar for some reason…

As I meander through my life, this main character often likes to imagine what life is like through the eyes of random people she passes by on the street. In the closed reference frame of my eyes, my worries and my problems are everything… yet mean nothing to a vast majority of people. It’s calming in a way, seeing how the tornadoes in my life are spring breezes in the grand scheme of things.

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The Universe is Super Old

Because I’m an interesting person and Astronomy is interesting, I’m currently taking it as a class! 😀

Try this one for size. Is this the Universe, or your brain? (Hint: What's the title of this post??)

Try this one for size (haha, see what I did there). Is this the Universe, or your brain?

I’ve learned a lot, but will save the rambling for the future. For today, let’s focus on just one topic– the age of the universe.

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An Introduction to STT-RAM

Spin transfer torque-RAM is really cool, so I’m going to talk about it really quickly. This post assumes that you understand basic terminology like RAM, or electron spins. If you don’t, no worries! Ask Google and come back later! 🙂

As improvements to modern electronic devices approach fundamental limits, we have to start searching for new types of CMOS devices. We can’t shrink MOSFETs down much farther due to quantum tunneling starting to have really big effects along the channel and gate oxide when sizes get down to around 10nm, so we’re beginning the search for other technologies to come take the space of traditional FET technology. Leaky MOSFETs are sad MOSFETs.

Typically, electrons should bounce right off “energy barriers” like wires and the MOSFET gate oxide. However, we must treat electrons in the quantum space when we start to get super small and quantum tunneling becomes a very real problem where electrons “appear” on the other side of the barrier due to the probability waves.

One of the cool emerging technologies is in the space of spintronic devices–in contrast to traditional electronic devices that use level of electron charge to encode data, spintronic devices use the intrinsic angular momentum of an electron. (SO COOL).

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Oh, the greatness of boxes

Boxes are pretty great.

I mean, look at them:

Look at them!!

Boxes are a great way to create distinctions between “this” and “that”. This is inside the box, that is outside. This is the problem I’m addressing right now, that is the one I’ll fix tomorrow. These are the feelings I’m ok with having right now, those are the ones I’ll look at… eh, maybe on spring cleaning day.

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Installing Kinect drivers on Ubuntu 14.04 and ROS Indigo

The XBox Kinect is a surprisingly great sensor that is also really cheap. The combination of the two factors makes it a great sensor to use in Robotics research as an interface for human robot interaction. However, it’s a bit difficult to interface with due to the complicated install process, so this post will walk through the steps of installing OpenNI dependencies for use on ROS Indigo and Ubuntu 14.04.

Unfortunately, NiTE is now proprietary software, so I hope you’ve either found a cached version of it elsewhere, or have found a replacement gesture recognition suite. If so, let me know too please! 😀

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Useful Code Snippets

Even as a super awesome engineer, there are still basic things that I always forget. Like 1+1… or whether it’s cos(0)=1 or sin(0)=1. That’s why it’s so useful to have a cheatsheet at all times!

Anyhow, here are some things I have to search Google for waaaay too often:

Converting MOV to GIF:

ffmpeg -i -vf scale=560:560/a -pix_fmt rgb24 -r 20 -f gif - | gifsicle --optimize=3 --delay=5 > home_anim3.gif

Got this from here.

Great Markdown cheatsheet

Viewing ROS image topics:

rosrun image_view disparity_view image:=/camera/depth_registered/disparity
rosrun image_view image_view image:=/camera/rgb/image_color

Copying file from local to server via SSH:

scp /path/to/source-file user@host:/path/to/destination-folder/

More commands found here.

Opening ROS serial node (defaults to port /dev/ttyUSB0):

rosrun rosserial_python _port:=/dev/ttyUSB0

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A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

If there was one trait I could pick from Jesus to make mine, I would choose his patience. His inexplicable ability to remain calm under a heavy fire of irritating things is both admirable and enviable. Enviable because we’re all humans in a real world, and we all have to cooperate with people whom we might not really like to get stuff done.

As I’m making my way through college, I find myself working on a lot of group projects. Inevitably, I’ve had to work with some people who are the mushrooms in my salad of life. Of course, mushrooms are a great nutritional food that everyone should love, but it’s an unfortunate truth that mushrooms and I are incompatible… I’d much rather work with people who are lettuce.

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Talent Show God of More

Our Bible verse:

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise

Psalm 51:16-17


Back in high school, talent shows were both the most beautiful and most terrifying kind of events. An average student believing they have a unique talent submits that uniqueness to a panel of judges who deem whether that uniqueness is good enough to merit a place in the show. This filtering results in a beautiful arrangement of individuals who were thoroughly amazing, but leaves others with a gentle refusal because “their rendition of Lady Gaga’s latest was great, but just missing a little something—just not quite good enough”.

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