Vincent Cheung

Vincent Cheung's Blog

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Friday, April 30, 2004

Matlab "for" loops.

The indices for Matlab "for" loops can be made quite cleverly, eg. for ii = round(xMin : (xMax-xMin+1)/10 : xMax). This gives 10 ii's, evenly spaced between xMin and xMax inclusive, and also rounds the ii's to the nearest integer.

On another note, it's not a good idea to use i or j as indices for "for" loops because i^2 = j^2 = -1 :D. I got caught on that before....why aren't my complex numbers complex!!!!
Stairs with rollerblades.

Going up is easy. If the stairs are wide, then just slightly angle your blades so it's not so easy to roll back down :p.

Going down is a little more difficult. Two techniques I've found useful are to crab walk down (go sideways and kinda shuffle down) and go backwards (same as going up, but backwards :p). In both cases, it's quite important to hold onto the handrail! If it's a few stairs, I usually find it faster to take the stairs rather than going all the way to the ramp...

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Ya, the Blogger submission page does weird things with Firefox, I think it's the scrolling thing in the text box. Just sometimes I can't see the Blogger "toolbar" area, which is important cuz that's where the "post & publish" button is.

Anyways, back to work....
What's with this "one space" vs "two space" after sentences? I was taught 2 spaces, but Helen says 1 space. So, I "obviously" used google to settle the argument :). Apparently I was wrong *shock*. Apparently, the "two space" was used because of typewriters cuz they didn't leave enough space, but with computers, "one space" is sufficient cuz the fonts handle the spacing. I was taught 2 spaces cuz that was the "historical" way of doing it (am I that old?)

I personally like the way 2 spaces looks, but maybe just cuz I'm accustomed to it....I just can't not do 2 spaces, cuz my thumbs automatically put in two spaces after the end of sentence (my thoughts go right from my brain to the keyboard, I don't think about typing or how many spaces I need, it just magically happens :p). Oh well, LaTeX automatically handles the whitespace for me :p. Again, the beauties of LaTeX. It makes documents look so nice :D.
On another note, Matlab (http://www.mathworks.com/) rules! You'll hate it at first and it seems clunky and obese at best, but it has everything and does everything (mathematically at least). It has a pretty steep learning curve, but quite useful, but I guess you have to be in the right field, i.e. Engineering (me!, Computer specifically), Computer Science, Math, Sciences, and other "real" programs (i.e. not Arts, Management, etc.)

On a second note, LaTeX rules! Note latex, LaTeX (http://www.latex-project.org/). It makes writing documents MUCH easier. Not for the faint of heart, and again, steep learning curve, and it's not for everyone, basically for researchers (me!) and students writing theses and technical documents (me!). You make documents by essentially "programming" them! The best part is that you never need to look at the format of the paper, it's done automagically!

I'll be making a number of posts about Matlab and LaTeX in the future...why? because I use them a lot :p
Oh, I forgot the best thing that Firefox has that IE doesn't......tabs! Tabs are cool, they keep you more organized and I always open craploads of windows when I surf, so tabs are nice things to have. I've been using them since Opera, but IE has yet to implement them.....just wait until the next release of IE....
This is my first Firefox Blog! (the text editor for blogger seemed to mess up a bit for a sec though)

Well, I've been using Firefox a bit and I'm beginning to like it. I just installed it on my computer at school (University of Toronto) and I think what I'll do is do the full conversion here, rather than at home because I depend less on bookmarks here.

A few things that bug me with Firefox.....while it has Google search built in, it doesn't have the highlighting functionality that the Google toolbar has, which is really nice cuz it lets you scan through web pages faster, nor does it have the handy word finder buttons. It doesn't have Google images, translate page, etc. buttons either.

I did find a solution to the lack of Blogger button though, I just made a bookmark to http://www.blogger.com/blog_this.pyra and put the bookmark on my quick link bar in Firefox (the "links" folder for IE bookmarks), so now I can make quick Blogger entries with Firefox :).

On another note, Google is awesome. It is a great search engine. Plus, it doubles as a dictionary, a spell checker, a translator, image searcher, product finder, and others. Potentially best of all, it's a calculator and conversion tool! It can do anything that Window's calculator can do and more! It's great for doing conversions, eg. google "1 m in ft" (with or without quotes) and it'll tell you that "1 meter = 3.2808399 feet"! It can do crap loads of conversions, weights, distances, time, volume, engery, etc! There's a guide at: http://www.googleguide.com/page_27.html, but unfortunately, I haven't found a page that lists all the supported units, in particular, I'd like to know the abbreviations used for some of the units. I also didn't find out how to convert say, xx seconds to hh:mm:ss format, which is nice to have. It has a bunch of constants as well, like G, e, pi, h, c, etc. It can handle Roman numerals, decimal, binary, octal, complex numbers, and more!

The greatest thing about Google's calculator is that you can use it anywhere you can surf the web!

Well, back to work.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Post #2: Mozilla

I never got into the whole Open Source or Linux thing. I've tried out Linux a few times, usually with VirtualPC, but never got hooked. I've never really gotten into any of the Open Source projects, like Open Office, etc., because I could just get the "real" thing.

I did just download Mozilla Firefox, it's newest browser. I had Mozilla's browser on my computer for a while, but hadn't had the newest one. I didn't use it all that much though. Tony uses it all the time. Same with Kives. It's not bad, but I've just been so hooked on IE since Netscape stopped updating it's browser. Now that Microsoft's not gonna release a new version of IE for a while, I guess I'm just getting bored of it....maybe it's time to switch browsers! But IE's come a long way, it rarely crashes (browsers used to crash ALL the time) and even when it does, you don't usually lose control over all your windows and it's not bad. The only thing seems to be its integration with Acrobat, as it tends to freeze/crash with pdf's sometimes, but I think it's more of Adobe's fault....

IE doesn't have a pop-up blocker (yet), and the default search in the toolbar sucks. But, with the Google toolbar, you get the pop-up blocker and you get Google search :). Funny thing. Microsoft released its new MSN toolbar and it looks identical to Google's :p. They tend to rip a lot of ideas off other companies...

Anyways, I'm gonna see how this Firefox works out for me. I know a few things annoyed me before.

1) I didn't have the Google toolbar, but it has a Google search thingie, but now I seem to be getting hooke don the Blogger button, which I need the Google toolbar for...plus, I love news.google.com, and I like that button on the Google toolbar, too bad you can't modify it to be news.google.ca, which is now my new homepage

2) I can't type in say, "google" and press control-enter to have Firefox put in the "http://www." and ".com", actually it can now! (just tried it out).

I think there may be more things, but I can't think of them, but maybe they're fixed now. I think I should make the switch for a week and see what happens....
Alright, so this is my first "real" blog. I've recently gotten into BitTorrent, ever since Sharereactor went down, plus I've found that the eDonkey network is rather slow for getting stuff, i.e. music, movies, tv shows, but has really good stuff. BitTorrent seems to have quite good stuff, the only problem is finding stuff. I've known about it for a while, but never got too into it because I couldn't find the torrent files, but now I've found a couple of good sites, such as www.suprnova.org, which is kinda like Sharereactor. It updates A LOT (many times a day), but isn't as organized. It also has a search, search.suprnova.org, but for some reason, I can't find the link to that page off the homepage.....eh....

Anyways, I've been trying out a few BitTorrent clients. I don't like the "official" one cuz it doesn't allow multiple downloads in one window and has a very minimal interface. I tried XBT Client and it's alright, it works, but doesn't look that nice and doesn't give you too much control, plus there's all these columns that I don't know what they are, just random letters and numbers everywhere. Plus, it seems slower to get downloads than with the "official" client. Oh, the "official" client kept giving me all these weird error pop-up boxes too, which were annoying. Something that's weird with BitTorrent is this whole tracker thing, it seems that some trackers want you to log into their site before they tell you the other clients you can download off of....

I tried Shareaza, which hooks up to the Gnutella2 network in addition to BitTorrent, Gnutella, and eDonkey, it seems to have potential, but I haven't used it much. Again, with BitTorrent, it doesn't seem to have enough control, probably cuz it's concentrating mostly on the Gnutella2 side.

I've just downloaded Azureus, a Java based BitTorrent client. It looks quite nice and seems much more like your typical P2P client (minus the searching ability), like eMule (my choice for the eDonkey network), Kazaa (I don't use it much cuz there's a lot of crap on there and the quality of the stuff is not so great), etc.

I have been successful with BitTorrent in getting tv shows, like Tru Calling, and some apps. It definitely seems to have some potential.
Oh, by the way, it's my birthday today! Happy 23rd Birthday to me!
I'm not sure how often I'll blog, but I have the "Blogger" button on my Google toolbar, which makes it quite easy. I think one of the down sides is that I don't think I can archive it and save it on my computer very easily (I like to have it myself cuz it seems more permanent, rather than just having it "virtual).
I've decided to try out blogging my thoughts, ideas, tricks, and discoveries to see if they're
1) useful for me to look back upon
2) useful for other people

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Hey, this is my first Blog post!
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