Sunday, 28 July 2013

Time

Wow. So, apparently Time has ended.

It's been a wild ride for a really long time, but I guess it had to end sometime.

No, I'm not referring to Doctor Who (although I do see the confusion). I'm referring instead to XKCD comic number 1190, titled Time. If you haven't heard of it, here's just a brief rundown of what it is, and why you should care.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Simulcast vs. Bingeing: One Year Later

I just realized that it was one year ago that I started experimenting with watching anime simulcasts, so I figured that this was a pretty good time to look back and reflect on the different ways of watching. At this point, I've watched a fair amount of anime, so I think I should be able to get a fair handle on the issue.

Fundamentally, there are two ways that you can watch new shows: you can either watch new episodes week-to-week as they come out, called watching a simulcast; or you can wait for the show to end and watch it all in a couple of days (or even in one sitting), called bingeing. Well, I suppose that you could wait for a show to finish and then watch it very slowly, but where's the fun in that?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

My First Con: RWBY at RTX

Well, now that RWBY has been premiered, I think that it's about time for me to write up my time at RTX. By which I mean that I should have done this sooner, but I'm only getting around to it now so that I don't fall too far behind current. For those of you who don't know, RTX stands for "Rooster Teeth Expo." Not that it's any clearer what that means if you haven't heard of Rooster Teeth...

Rooster Teeth is an production company that makes TV series for the internet. Their most famous series (and the one that started them off) is Red vs. Blue, a machinima (which means that it is filmed in a video game, specifically Halo). Red vs. Blue has actually just started its 11th season, which is pretty impressive for something made on the internet. Other series of theirs include P.A.N.I.C.S., Immersion, and now RWBY. Rooster Teeth is also the parent company of Achievement Hunter, one of the most popular video game community websites on the internet.

For the past three years, Rooster Teeth has held the RTX convention in their hometown of Austin, TX. Three years isn't very long for a convention to have been around, but this past year, there were over 10,000 people that attended. It's pretty nuts. They had major game publishers there, as well as famous voice actors and lots of panels from industry professionals. This year they also premiered the first two episodes of RWBY.

Friday, 12 July 2013

airbnb

Alright, I said that I was going to write up my experience with random internet houses in an article of its own, so here I am. I think this is the first time that I've actually followed up on something that I said that I'd write later. Huh.

Anyhow, for those of you who don't know, I recently had to find a place to stay overnight in Austin, and hotels are expensive. I was reading Gizmodo one day, and this article came up on my feed. It talks about how much cheaper it is to use the startup airbnb than it is to stay in a hotel. I decided to check it out, and managed to find a listing for $40/night. Compare that to the $80+ for a hotel (that doesn't even have a shuttle to the airport). Naturally, I was intrigued, but didn't bite immediately. I don't trust the internet very much at all, and this whole "stay in a stranger's spare room" thing seemed kind of sketchy to me.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

ICPC St. Petersburg 2013: Day Four

This is Day 4 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the beginning.

You may be wondering "why are you writing a blog post at 1:30am? Isn't that really early? Go to sleep!" Well, you see, I have to wake up at 2:00am for the bus to the airport to catch my flight, so... why go to sleep at all? Plus, I want to get this blog done before I go.

So, breakfast as usual, then off to the actual competition. I'm not sure why we had to have breakfast at 6:30 when we stood around in the lobby of the arena for an hour waiting for them to let us in, and then had to kill half an hour waiting for them to let us onto the competition floor, but such is life I suppose. We finally got to go to our workstations, and then had to wait another 20 minutes while they explained the rules and settings that they explained to us yesterday in the exact same way. But I guess reinforcement is good, especially if English is not your native tongue.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

ICPC St. Petersburg 2013: Day Three

This is Day 3 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day, or start at the beginning.

6:30am breakfast is not what I wanted to hear, but it happened. Breakfast was in the hotel again, and immediately afterwards, it was off to the buses to go to the arena for the Dress Rehearsal. I say arena because it is being held in a hockey arena on the main floor. There are sheets dropped from the ceiling, and tables set up everywhere. 120 teams takes up a lot of space.

The reason that we have a dress rehearsal is not for the contestants primarily. Mostly, it is so we can test the system that they have set up for the contest, to make sure that everything is working, and that everyone knows how to use it properly: how to submit problems, how to find documentation, how to print, etc. When we got there, we were in the waiting area off to the side. For some reason (I think they were just stalling for time), they allowed teams to come up and get their picture taken with the cup. I'm not sure why you would if you didn't win it, but hey. There were a lot of people who wanted to, so I guess it makes sense.

ICPC St. Petersburg 2013: Day Two

This is Day 2 in a series. You might want to check out the previous day to start at the beginning.

The day started off in a fairly ordinary way (although I had to wake up earlier than I would have liked to for 7:30 breakfast). The hotel has a restaurant on the first floor, and we were given hot breakfast with all sorts of foods. There were pancakes, cheese pancakes (I didn't really like them very much), bacon, sausage, various pastries, cottage cheese, yogurt (with flavours such as prune), watermelon (which is yellow, not red), and a whole bunch of other stuff. It looks similar to an American selection, but there was just some stuff that was slightly different that would make you realize that you weren't in Kansas anymore. Not that I was in Kansas (my other teammates were though), but that's not the point.

When we finished with breakfast, it was time to head over to the ManĂ©ge for the IBM TechTrek (a series of talks). The ManĂ©ge is the building that used to be the stables for the King-Czar-Emperor-Ruler guy, but it has since been converted into an event center. The TechTrek presentations were given by two big names from IBM: Bjarne Stroustrup (who you may know as the inventor of the C++ programming language), and Jeff Jones, the man who wrote security programs for banks, voter registration, and casinos (who you may know as the man who wrote the software that caught the MIT card counters in the true story that the movie 21 was based off of). Suffice it to say, it was a fascinating morning.

Monday, 1 July 2013

ICPC St. Petersburg 2013: Day One

So, I'm in Russia right now. Crazy to think about, but true. Cyrillic characters are everywhere, and everyone you pass on the streets is speaking Russian. Crazy.

The reason that I'm here is to compete in the 2013 International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC). It's part of ACM (the international computer society) and is sponsored by IBM, who are paying all of the expenses for us over here. They've put us up in hotels, and they pay for all of our meals every day, and they're even paying for visiting some attractions, like the Hermitage and Saint Peter and Saint Paul's Fortress. The prize for this competition (aside from money) is a guaranteed job offer from IBM, for the top four teams. Pretty cool stuff.

The reason that I'm here is because back in September, the team that I'm on won our regional competition, which gives you a spot in the World Finals. Our region is small, with only about 60 teams in it. But there are just shy of 10,000 teams worldwide, of which only 120 get to come to the World Finals. Needless to say, I feel pretty privileged right now.