Friday, February 26, 2010

Midnight Snack

Sometimes there's just not enough time in the day. In high school, I felt like there was too much time in the day. I'd spend 7-8 hours on campus at high school, and I was about ready to yank the hair off my head. There was also a notable amount of homework in high school, which added another hour or 2 onto the grand total amount of time I spent on school related things in high school.

Now try college. Community college was a step up from high school I guess, but in most cases was the same feeling. Drive to campus, listen to lectures, drive home, do homework, repeat.

UNT, however, is a game changer. Any 4 year school would be I imagine. I spend 24 hours of my day on campus and I still don't have enough time to do all my stuff it seems. From the moment the alarm sounds in the morning, it's go go go. And if there's anything I hate most, it's missing class. Sometimes I don't have enough time to even eat! Which is when this place comes in handy:

Eggs, OJ, steak tips, French Toast, Hash Browns?? There's only one joint in town that can provide me all this at 1 in the morning... Of course it's IHop! It's a 10 minute walk or 2 minute drive. The staff is funny and the food is always good and available. To be honest, I'm not sure how long the on campus cafeterias are open, but this place is open 24/7. There is one thing missing from this picture... and I'll bet you've already spotted it. Yes it's the pancakes. I always swap out the pancakes for the french toast.. You'll even notice some strawberry and grape jelly sitting to the side. Indeed that is for my french toast! Perhaps I could beg my parents for a gift card to IHop, because my roommate and I hit up this joint all the time!

Also, if you've ever mixed half n half with orange juice, I swear it tastes just like a Creamsicle.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Engineering Week

So today when I walked into Research Park, I was pleasantly surprised to see dozens of well known companies lined up waiting to chat with the brightest upcoming minds in North Texas! Alright so I wasn't surprised (I've known about the event for weeks!), but I was still happy to see such a wide variety of businesses, interests, and knowledge base gathered in one room. If you submitted your resume, you have a chance to be interviewed by any of the 2 dozen companies present, as well as a chance to jump start your career in your engineering field!

There were lots of companies here; let's go over the full list, just for good practice:

  1. American Airlines
  2. Argo Data Resource Corporation
  3. Austin Commericial
  4. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
  5. CA
  6. CareSmart Solutions
  7. Constructors & Associates
  8. Dibon Solutions
  9. DRS RSTA - Infrared Technologies
  10. Fidelity Investments
  11. Freese and Nichols
  12. Frito-Lay
  13. Hispanic Associateion of Colleges and Universities
  14. L-3 Communications Integrated Sys.
  15. Labinal, Inc.
  16. Lennox International
  17. Oncor Electricity Delivery
  18. PepsiCo
  19. Raytheon
  20. Texas Teaching Fellows/NTP
  21. Tyler Technologies
  22. Vought Aircraft Inc.
  23. Weber Aircraft
  24. United States Navy
  25. UNT Army ROTC
The first thing you'll notice is that there is a very wide variety of companies. There were several technology firms, tech consulting firms, as well as weapons manufacturing companies, aviation companies, a softdrink company, the US Navy, and many more. What do all these companies need with engineers, computer scientists, and network analysts? Well, just about everything. The only fields really projected for growth in the next decade are Engineering related fields, and medical related fields. In fact, with the baby boomer generation diving into retirement in the next decade, it's obvious as to why this is. But engineers and tech savvy individuals are also going to be in high demand. Looking at just about any field - you can draw a link between tech and the aforementioned profession.

Take the soda or snack food company - there were a couple of those present today. These are perfect examples of companies that need IT analysts, computer programmers, and project managers for managing all of their remote offices and keeping their networks up and running

Next, the aviation companies. Aircraft is an excellent example of innovative engineering and clever programming and networking technologies. All come together to form the biggest and baddest flying machines out there today. In addition to the need for engineers to think , aviation companies also need programmers and IT management professionals to keep their offices running as well

Of course we can't forget about the US. Navy. The Navy is probably where most of the cutting edge technology ends up - especially tech that the public isn't even aware of. Raytheon should not be neglected, especially, as Raytheon manufactures many radar and radio systems, communications, missile defense systems, and other technologies used in the military. I actually used to live next to a prominent Raytheon leader named Al. He had an adorable dog named Winston, and a lovely house in a modest neighborhood. I was in middle school, though, so I had no idea what Raytheon was, much less what a prominent figure he was. Men in camouflage uniforms used to come by our house and question my parents once or twice a year about his activities...

Anyway, to say the least, just about any degree field in the College of Engineering is a direct pathway to success. When I spoke with the Raytheon associate, he mentioned that GPA is an important indication of work ethic and intellect, but also that prospective students and freshmen should also prepare for a life of learning. Looking ahead, I can already tell I will never stop learning. That's probably the most appealing thing to me about engineering - constant learning.

Also, for all prospective students of UNT, and UNT College of Engineering in particular, the freshman Fall 2010 application deadline is March 1!! UNT Site for more info

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ready, Set...

With the Olympics under way at full steam, I can't help but draw parallels between athletes who have dedicated their whole lives to becoming the best of the best, fastest of the fastest, skilliest of the skilled, and me... Wait skilliest of the skilled?

Actually, Olympians and myself don't have a lot in common, I'll admit. But there is no one that can time when that bus in parking lot #19 will make its stop outside my dorm as well as I can.

8:37 AM: McCormick dries off after a shower and readies for Econ 1100 - a 9 AM class at the other side of campus.

8:40 AM: admire self in mirror

8:42 AM: glance out window to ensure bus arrival is not immanent

8:43 AM: McCormick spots the Mean Green Express making its stop, 120 meters south of his position, in the Fouts Field Parking Lot #20. The Starting whistle sounds!

8:44 AM: T-minus 3 minutes and twenty seconds until dust off of Mean Green Express from SFT stop out of parking lot #19. McCormick stumbles as he slaps on deodorant and socks. Can he really make it to the bus stop in time??

8:45 AM: McCormick's heart beat is racing, the pressure is on. He can't find his belt! T-minus 2 minutes 11 seconds until dustoff.

8:46 AM: The final pat down; McCormick checks for Wallet, Keys, Phone, iPod, and Glasses, as he grabs his messenger bag (man purse?) and runs (walks briskly?). From the third floor, the elevator isn't a viable option (I actually never use the elevator. Save a tree! Use Stairs!!). Take the stairs quick! T-minus 1 minute 8 seconds til dustoff

8:47 AM: Slow from brisk walk to calm stroll, as the front doors to his housing bursts open, McCormick in full stride. The sound of a roaring bus engine sounds in the distance

Approach bus stop calmly, casually glancing at the phone to find out how cold it is, and how I really should have slapped on another layer of clothing... -1 degrees Celsius??

Observe jealous onlookers, as they realize they have a long way to go until they can perfect approaching the bus stop, every day, on time, right before the bus leaves, thus avoiding the wait in the 30 degree weather.

Zero Hour: Bus departs, arrive in class 9:00 AM. Pen in hand, spiral in... desk. I'm ready to start the day.

A gold medal to you, McCormick, for perfect timing of the Mean Green Express.

Seriously, I love the bus system. My roommate refuses to use it, and it confuses me to this day still why he won't use it. When I ask him, he says he doesn't want to board a bus that will take him to Downtown Dallas, or California. Heck if all I had to do was board a bus to get to Dallas, getting to DFW Airport would be a heck of a lot easier! Instead, he'll leave for class 30 minutes early and walk. To that I say, no thanks. During the summer, I'll start walking to class again, but in freezing weather, I'll pass. I'll take 110 degrees over 10 degrees anyday.

Heck Yes, Lone Snowball outside Research Park lives on!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

And the Crowd Goes Wild

Here in Texas, we Don't get much snow. In fact, I think it snowed once last winter. When it does snow though, we go crazy. Not like the New Englanders and their 57 inches of snow this year, no. That kind of crazy is the kind where you're pulling hair out of your skull. Snow, in Texas, snow is like some sort of freaky foreign substance.Neither me nor those kids rolled that ball of awesomeness...
An Unknown Hero of sorts m
ust have

It was snowing all day long, but not very much of it stuck to the ground it seems. Plenty enough to make snow men and snow angels, but not enough to dig tunnels. I've always wanted to dig tunnels in snow... Actually I tried that once in New York, but we still didn't have enough snow. I ended up on my belly trying to throw snow out of a cave. I got really hot, and really tired. Snow is so misleading. One moment I'm freezing, and the next moment I've got sweat dripping, and I'm hotter than I've ever been in the summer...

Speaking of Snow, snow boarding is the hardest thing I've ever done... I tried snowboarding once in New York, and it felt like my legs were on fire. I took it as a sign as to how out of shape I am... It was so fun, but legs on fire and me losing my cell phone on the hill made it not fun. Whenever we stopped half way down, we noticed my phone was missing, but I decided to grab a snack before heading back to the slopes. I ate like a pig, I was so fatigued. For some insane reason I will never understand as to why I made it, I agreed with my brother to go back up to the top of the mountain to look for my phone... I'm not sure what was wrong with me to let me think I could have ever found my gray phone in the dark when I couldn't even remember what hill we came down.

In the end though, someone DID find my phone, and turned it into lost and found. I'll never get that lucky again in a million years!

Anyway, enjoy the 2 snow days, stay warm, and have a great 4 day weekend!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let the Games Begin

This week, I have two exams coming up. Next week, I have another exam in a core class - econ. I feel like no one gives those classes any cred. There are some classes out there that are the butt of student jokes. They're the red lights of a college degree plan. They stink, plain and simple. Despite the fact that it's somewhat of a slap in the face to those who teach the course or to others who major in that degree field, I always refer to my economics, math, science, et al. classes as core classes, and the types of classes I just have to "get out of the way". The phrase is all too common amongst undergraduates, but for good reason. An Information Technology major has no interest in the biology lab, yet I find myself there, as I require 3 classes worth of life science.

Don't get me wrong though, life science courses are just a piece of the Bachelor's Degree pie. You may call it the breading of the pie. Core classes such as math, science, english, and political science make up the crusty foundation of the degree plan. Every well rounded scholar must have his/her merits in liberal arts and sciences. Engineering courses such as programming in C++, Information Systems, Enterprise Architecture and Design, and Networks and Security Management make up the warm and delicious center of the pie, with the bulk of your interests taking place within this field. Then of course comes the delightful toppings. Then finally, the whipped cream on top, comes in the form of capstone classes, co-op opportunities, competitions, and more exciting things to spruce up that resume.

mm pie

Anyway, whichever degree path you choose *coughengineeringcough*, it should remind you of pie. That way, when your alarm goes off at 7 AM, and you are dreading going to that econ class all the way in Wooten Hall, just remember, pie. It's all worth it if it's for pie.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mix n Match

So last week I wrote about why there are so many reasons to become an engineering major. Well here's something for the non-engineering majors out there. Computers are more than just ones and zeroes. In case you haven't noticed, technology has creeped into every part of our daily lives. I sound like just about every other tech article out there right about now but hear me out:

Take a computer. It could be anything from your desktop computer, to your laptop, netbook, iPhone, Android, smartphone, watch, XBOX, PS3, Wii... etc. What makes one computer better than the other? Hardware? Software? User friendliness? How you market your computer?

It's all of the above. There is a lot that goes into technology. In fact, the other day, I was talking with my roommate about how much psychology goes into designing web pages. When a person is interfacing with a computer, there is nothing there but you and your computer. Why do you think some people take it so personally when one operating system is bashed or another operating system is praised? The connection that happens between a person and his/her computer is one of a sort of friendship, or pet perhaps. You choose your species (aka manufacturer), then you choose your breed (Operating System), then you choose your nick knacks (your software). You customize your technology for the way it most pleases and benefits you in life. That's why when someone says, "iPhones suck!" so many people take offense to it, because despite how pathetic it sounds, these little devices play an intimate role in people's lives.

Even more, my entire life is on my phone, and to go further, my phone is customized to my personality. As technology becomes smarter and smarter, humans have a choice on what technology to utilize and how to utilize it. Someone insulting your Windows computer for crashing all of the time will not hurt any one's feelings, but I'm saying that a lot of thought goes into designing software and hardware, and how users choose to utilize it. Especially as phones these days get better and better, they seem to be little portals to our personalities.

When I was sitting in Humanities class one day, a kid's cell phone went off real loud, and was playing the Captain Planet theme as his ringtone. These things are more and more becoming an icon for who we are. It's like choosing an avatar for a video game or a logo for yourself, you want it to represent yourself. That kid's Captain Planet ringtone was hilarious for sure, but the poor guy had the teacher making fun of him saying "Boy, I bet that's embarrassing! What is that some sort of cartoon??" I still laughed loudly at that though. haha. It even played the entire theme, because he couldn't get it out of his pocket for so long. Good times...

Anyway, the reason some companies and web sites do so well (despite how they may be lacking in other fields) is because of the design approach that the company takes with their proudct(s). Often times the design is radical, different, human, and connects with people. I've heard Apple's developers described as artists, rather than programmers. On a certain level, that may be true. It just goes to show that computers are not just ones and zeroes. There's more behind that monitor than you first may realize. In fact, hiding behind everything worth loving - your phone, computer, flash drive, TV, couch, bed, steak dinner, car, internet, desk, chair, clothes, video games, and significant other, is a clever engineering major. I guarantee it