… Internet Began In Department of Defense? And CCSF Offers Ethnic Hacking Certificates?

Internet had began in the US Department of Defense.

… The thought never even cross my mind before. I have to say, I am quite surprise. I have heard that many of our technologies were originally developed by the government’s defense and engineering teams. Just take instant noodle for example: originally developed for the astronaut in Japan to eat in space. But the internet. Wow. With the trouble it created for the government entities in term of information leaks and legal law restructure, talk about irony.

I also started looking more into different courses and certification offered by CCSF. At first, I have a singular goal – I wanted to give web development a try. I like graphic designing work for the Botanical Garden, and if I can get a handle on web design techniques, I can expand my design skills on a wider level. Me being me, I want to understand the background work too, so web programming seems like a good path. But after my teacher’s first day orientation, and I looked further into the courses offered by CCSF. Something had caught my eyes back then.

Ethical Hacking Certificates.

I can’t believe there’s a certificates for ethical hacking, and an entire course work to go with it. I don’t think school would want to encourage hacking, after all. Upon further reading, turns out it is a course on network security. It’s kind of like how doctor would take class on toxicity. A person who work in network security can’t fight hackers if they don’t know how hacking works themselves. Since they are learning hacking for a ethical reason, thus the certification.

The name is really fun though. My cousin told me that I should take the course just for the name’s sake. Not that I would have much use for it – I am a Mac user, and our hacking threat is much less. Although, I have to say, the ideal of being able to understand network threats and how to build a computer structure to defend does sound kind of fun. It’s almost like being a police investigator, without the physical danger.

If I do get into web programming as an additional career path, it would be nice if I can build website that safe against hacking. I think I may end up taking a class or two on network security down the line. I doubt I will get an actual certificates – the web programming certificate coursework would keep me busy enough – but an extra class will only help.


Starting School – Again, Plus a New Job and a Possible New Laptop

I just started reading my first computer textbook today. I don’t know should I be happy or sad that I find the first chapter basic. Granted, this is a 101 course, but the class fee… even if it’s a first week of class, I want to help jump right to HTM instead of browsers 101- and I am not even suppose to start on the book this week.
A quick update on my life. I completed my airline agent training, but they have been taking a long time in deciding to hire me or not, and the paper work took a while too, so I am not sure what’s going on any more. Meanwhile, I was hired to help with the Print Center at Office Depot, which I am please in that the work’s at least slightly related to architecture. Plus, I was thinking about expanding my professional skill to graphic or web design before I learned of my new job. I already volunteered at as graphic designer at SF Botanical Garden, but a more comprehensive knowledge and a certificate would be nice. So now I am officially starting my first computer course at CCSF, which can lead to a website development or web programming certificate. Plus, I am also taking a Revit class! If all goes well, I would develop more advanced drafting skills, plus a computer science skill. Of course, I have to see how I like the 101 – more correctly the CNIT 131 – course first.
Talking about Revit, I decided to work on my homework today on campus. To my surprise, the lab was empty! Not a single window blind or computer was opened. I know it is the first week, but the lab is probably not going in the weekends, and we have the Martin Luther King’s Day right afterward! Sure there’s the possibility of working at home with a laptop, but the screen would be no where as a desktop, and it is always better to work away from home in my experience. I was really hoping to meet some classmates too. It feels strange to be in an architecture class where I don’t know my classmates at all for once. Eventually a girl did came in, but she wasn’t in my class. Not that I got to stay long – I think I arrived at 3 pm. Someone came in a while later to let us know that the lab is closing early today. Turned out he was the Architecture Department Head, and the other girl is taking Studio Max – Studio Max! I would love to give that a try. Not only that, he also let know that the school computer has Rhino, and it seems like universities’, or at least CP’s, focus in design but not computer skill teachings are quite well-known. Not only that, the CCSF’s architecture department uses Cloud for turning in assignment. I am quite surprise, as CP still uses CDs and occasionally emails. It used to drive me nuts because my Macbook DVD driver dies easy, and I don’t really wants to think about CD covers and running to computer labs when there’s deadline. Ah, the advantage of city schools.
He also mentioned tutors, which is nice bonus. Although unlike CP labs, their labs don’t open late or weekend, which is extremely inconvenience. With my daytime job, the only way I can do my assignments is with my dad’s old desktop computer. My Macbook now only holds 2 GB – one of my memory card slot is damage, and somehow my computer can’t do bootcamp because of the damaged card slot. Sure I could send in for a new memory card slot, but with the state of my computer and the cost for the fix, I would be better off buying a new laptop. Using duo-platform would probably tax my computer too much and bring it to an early grave. I think I will be fine with mostly working at home though. I know that people talk about learning curve differences, but I am a quick learner when it comes to visual programs. Besides, Revit seems pretty close to ArchiCad that.  All BIM ultimately comes from the same reason and goal anyway. But I would love more time to play with the program, and my dad’s computer is just like that – dad’s computer.
Since a new laptop is needed for the imminent demise of my loved but aging MacBook, I will probably do a posting on laptops that I am considering – a few years ago I would have automatically go for another Apple laptop, but with the repair-unfriendly Macbook Pro and the discontinuation of the more cost-efficient and repair-friendly Macbook Core 2 Duo (namely, the famous White MacBook), Apple laptop is no longer anywhere on my purchase list – top or bottom. Maybe if I will consider iPad if want to get a netbook, but one where I can’t even change the battery? I don’t know…
I will probably also do a posting on how my Print Center jobs is like later as well. For now though, I think I will stop for the day and get some rest – my CNIT class is an online course, but we have an optional orientation tomorrow. I look forward to it!

First 2013 5min Sketch

Was bored the half hour before work (got another part time work in addition to my airport post – Office Dept this time.) and realized that *gasp* I have my sketchbook and a fountain pen with ink!
My fountain pen had ran out of ink every time I use it – evidence that I had been slacking in my sketching. Although the part where I forgot I could sketch with sketchbook instead of taking notes is telling enough. My sketching skill has greatly deteriorated because of my job hunt. I am not even going to imagine what it’s going to be like once my Revit class starts next week…
Alas, here my first 5 minutes sketch of 2013. Well, at least I can still draw in straight line.


New Craft Obsession: It’s All About the Way We Dress

I have a new obsession now. One that I do while taking the bus or waiting for pages or files to load. One that lets me play with color. One which creates products can be use on a daily basis. One that takes a long time to finish and therefore will not deplete my wallet quickly. One that makes me purl.

Nope, I didn’t misspell that word for those with careful eyes. Though I guess purr instead purl also work in this case. My new obsession is, in fact, knitting. With yarns that cats love so very much. I’ve been obsessing over it for close to a year now. I have quickly discovered that how colors match with the pattern really makes a different in knitting, that there’s a real big differences between 5.5mm and 6.5mm (at least in term of needle size), that yarn work encourages one to practice on their algebra, and that I will have to resize everything I knit because I got the body and head size of a child.

It is great for self-exploration, isn’t it?

Really, though, it’s fun. I like matching the color with the right pattern, and I like seeing how changing my knitting method creates changes the whole projects. It feels almost like magic, and I can’t wait until I am good enough to create my own pattern. I just updated my profile on the knitting network Ravelry today. Since this blog is about my trying new things and exploring the my surrounding environment, I figure I should post it here too – with insert from my Ravelry comments:

Overall Knit ProjectsHere’s my overall projects. My first one was the scarf:

Amethyst Scarf Amethyst Scarf Detail

“The first scarf that I made that are to my liking. My actual first one is done all in knits, pretty much just a practice scarf. I had, in fact, took my first scarf apart and reuse the yarn in this one. The variegated color scheme works very well for this pattern.”

Summer Hat

“Since most Western size is too small for me, naturally I started the smallest size. Since this is my first time knitting hat and I decided to be cheap and used 5.5mm needles thinking it’s ‘close enough’, naturally I miscalculated the stitches needed and probably miscounted later too.
This is all a round-about way to say that the hat is the size of an small child’s head. Since I am not a child any more, naturally it barely fits.
Maybe one day I will have a kid and inflict the terror call ‘my first hat’ to her.
… On the other, that is too much of a terror even if a kid is oblivious of terrible knitting skills.

My terrible knitting skill aside, the hat is pretty simple to made. The repeated white, v-pattern hat and my black hair makes too strong of a contrast though, so I added a black ribbon to tie the color scheme up. If I tried it again, I will either use some darker, possibly variegated yarn.”

Rose Petal Hat 1 Rose Petal Hat 2

“Beautiful 3 leaf pattern!
Though, the text pattern did missed some of the stitches. Namely:

  • Row 6: should have fcp after p2
  • Row 8: Should have k after p3

It’s a good idea to check the text before knitting the row and see if there’s a correct number of total stitches whenever there’s an increase or decrease. Otherwise, lovely hat.
Sadly, since this is 2nd time I brought yarn and the brand instruction’s in Japanese, I brought one that was a bit too thick. It ended up being slightly bulky for me. But the thickness does close the gaps, and with the deep red yarn, it now reminds me of rose petals.”

First Day at the Airport

9:12 AM
I recently got hired for a part time position at the airport. Today will be my first day of work. The makeup part is a hassle, and I hate commuting on the Highway by car everyday, but at least the working-at-airport aspect will be fun. I have always like being in the airport and airplane as a child, traveling from Hong Kong and US – even that time when I got lost as a ten year old. Speaking of which, I hope I don’t get lost again…

9:20 AM
Oh my god! As I went up on the escalator, I was greet by a curtain of simmering steel wave that clings onto the atrium wall between stories. Turns out it was steel disk, linked together. Will take picture tomorrow.


9:32 AM
Got there! Love the building tress work.


And found it nice that the decoration pieces hides the light bulb in a very unnoticeable manner.


Hmm, bicycles are everywhere! I think the bicycle goddess is trying to cheer me up knowing that I have to commute on the highway.

6:25 PM
Home sweet home! Until next time!

Weeds, Begone!!!!

It is strangely satisfying to meticulously weed out box after box of tiny succulent container. Well, not so much when I turned the said container around and got the shock of life because there is giant snail right next to my finger, but the weed part is definitely satisfying.

Of course, I don’t have boxes of succulent at my house. No, this is me at San Francisco Botanical Garden, enjoying my first day of volunteering. I had finally followed through my desire to volunteer at a local garden/park. I am going to be helping at the nursery, and I will start helping with GIS and graphic design later on. Today though, it is mainly nursery tour and walk.

We started at 10AM and was suppose to end at 2PM. Me being me, went accidentally overtime by half hour without noticing. It’s a good thing I learned my lesson as outdoor Route Rabbit at Sunday Street – where I bike around checking up on volunteers and jay-driver (car that wonders into closed off, pedestrian only streets) – regarding the importance of sunscreen. I probably didn’t burn myself this time.

I did, however, neglected to bring my own gardening glove, lunch cash, and cap – though the nursery did provided backup, as no one actually brought any of those for their first day except for the cash part.

While browsing SFBG, I kept seeing this Poppy:

Since I left my camera at home, here is a stunning photo I found at an online store named Annie’s Annual.

Turns out it is is called the Ladybird poppy (Papaver commutatum), a heirloom flower (though the word Ladybird is a British way of calling Ladybug, which is strangely not Californian at all. I guess the botanist naming the flower is Britain???). The petal appears to have a paper like texture, yet it is smooth and soft like a regular petal when I touch it. The contrast of crimson red and black seems to set the petals on fire in a scenery of green and brown. A truly puzzling yet stunning sight.

Sadly, I didn’t have my watercolor kit with me either. Next time, next time.

After helping at the nursery, I am going to start helping in graphic design next Monday, and hopefully learn some GIS soon. Gardening and design, two of my favorites all in one!

San Francisco – the New Cauldron of Tech and Real Esate

When people think about a city known for technology in California, the first thought stop tends to be San Jose. Its quite logical, considerating that it is the largest city within SIlicon Valley, housing some of the most major tech HQs – Adobe, Cisco, Ebay, HP, and IBM… and those are just some of the major names there.

San Francisco is catching up though, and I was once again reminded of that as I read this little article by SF Gate:

Tech firms seek perfect space in S.F.

With new industry, comes new demands and needs. It is no wonder that the advancement of tech industry will directly influence commercial design, architecture planning, urban structure.

Seed Starting Ideas – Commercialism Vs. DIY in Gardening

It’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s a season that inspire all gardener to go all out. Even containers ones like me.

So, as of a few days ago, I found myself rumbling through my boxes for seeds. The questions though, is how I should grow them? The plant nursery has so many different seed starter kits, sparkling in front of me and tempting me. So, what are someway to start seeds indoor?

Hmm… how about the good old jiffy pots? The compressed soil tend to led to sterile soil that will develop a moldy surface. I want to use my own, healthy soil. Besides, my chives has never successfully seeded in a jiffy pot – and I plan to plant some chives seeds.

Plastic container? They don’t have it, and transplanting is going to be nightmare for the seeds I have in mind.

Oh, what’s that? Biodegradable Coco-fiber pot? And it looks shiny too. But nope – bigger than what I want, pricier than other products in store, and don’t look that biodegradable. Maybe it will degrade outdoor, but I am not so confidence about indoor without all the bacteria and rain. I want something with thinner surfaces, like paper.

…No cowpot, pulp pot, or other paper-like pots on store shelf.

In the end, I ended up buying only a bag of all-purpose “Natural Plotting Soil” from a nearby succulent shop named Succulence (Yep, they sell not only succulent soil, but also natural and occasionally organic soil, all for a lovely $2 per bag. Oh, and they have Renee seeds and… wait, wrong post! Shall shut up now).

At home, I mentally debated on which seed starter products I should use. I mindlessly took some paper out for recycling. Lo and behold, I saw a egg carton. My mindless haze cleared up, and the wheel in my brain started cranking as ideas popped into my head. I was so busy thinking about what to BUY to solve my problem, I totally forgot my Eco Crafty side! The scariness of consumerism culture.

I make a quick, sneaky gaze around the apartment trash room. Area clear. I grabbed the carton and checked for a clean condition. Good. I chucked my papers-to-be-recycle and stealthy transport my egg cartoon without any neighbors seeing me.

Once I got home, I renewed my research, now with a new mindset and a new weapon idea. Excitingly, I googled about egg carton seed starter. I immediately learned that it is too small and not very biodegradable. Fortunately, I came across other solutions – homemade paper rolls, eggshell, and newspaper containers. I didn’t had any eggshell and paper roll prepared, so newspaper it was.

I decided to forgo the tape that several blog uses, and relied on my origami folding  skill. Then I rumbled through the cabinet for something to put it in. To my luck, I found a take-out rice box with a clear plastic cover – perfect for a greenhouse. All the seeds are edible plants. A lunchbox of edible garden – yummy.

From left to right, there is two strawberry, chives, nasturtium seeds.

The nasturtiums outgrown the box pretty quickly though. So I took it, and it’s now arrange symmetrically with two other baby aloe. One of the chives have also popped up. Strawberry will take a while, but I think it is a pretty successful experience so far.

Point one to DIY.

Why in Art

When the usual Tuesday networking was cancel yesterday in prep for July 4th, one of the group member decided to visit the DeYoung on free Tuesday. Being an art history junkie, of course I went. We end up going a tour of Three Masterpieces, and then another on American Art. Interestingly, the docent inquire about our interest in art work (to decide which Masterpieces to go over) and what Masterpieces to us. To my own surprise, I immediately answered Aztec. The docent then later mentioned how people often thought of art as the western art, which is why the World art tour can offer a different perspective and is something that she really likes. Later on the tour, my companions mentioned that some of the native pieces are scary. While I agree – having a skull staring at you will creep most people out – I also like the creepy artworks.

Which brings the question, why? Western art definitely is what attracted me initially to art history class, and I never got Picasso’s fascination with African mask when I was younger as I was looking at his work on paper during my high school and early college years. But a visit to DeYoung sparked something. I think it is the same with my feeling toward architecture – reading about them on paper is great, but what constitute as great architecture and art… their true quality may only shine in person. Looking at the native mask and art on paper, there is no aesthetic appeal to me.  But seeing it in person? It struck me stronger than many of the “perfect” Western art. To me, I feel those native art are very powerful. It has a strong presence and a rich history. It is very hard to grasp that on paper – the old saying of picture don’t do it justice. If I am getting a postcard, I would prefer a beautiful Western pieces, as they are elegant in any paper medium. But in term of real physical objects, I think I may enjoyed a native art or pottery instead. Well, if it doesn’t give me a scare at night, that is.

Great looking at it in museum during daytime, not so great at 3 am.

Talking about artworks, I love those tiny adorable pottery. Wish I know how to make them:

Umm, maybe having a growling bear as an example doesn’t really matches the “adorable” image, but trust me, its adorable in person. The detail at such small scale is amazing.

Notes from HEED workshop

Hmm… I have a few fun, summary notes from the PEC class I attended, but I almost forgot to post it. Well, here it is!

Designing High Performance Homes with HEED

  • It will not beat the accuracy of hand-calculation, but it is good for getting a quick insight. It is sort of like SketchUp for architects. You can make the shape and even a presentable perspective, but it can’t really make presentable floor plan or detail section.
  • If you work in the build/construct/energy industry & don’t have Climate Consultant or HEED, download it anyway just for fun. I will admit the graphic is not the most attractive or flexible, but that’s what photoshop does.
  • There’s a few bugs, but they are small things to smile about – just a bunch of instruction pop up. In fact, Pablo jokes about it, blunting inviting those of us in the room to send a massive group complaint to his friend in a single day. Considering that there are only 4 UCLA guys working on the program for free, the bug is understandable. In fact, it is already down right amazing.
  • Love the Vintage Home option that they are working with, especially since my prep day volunteer at Rebuilding Together and my water audit class at PEC reminded me the importance of building age.
  • Climate Consultant is as I remember it. Maybe a bit clearer in term of graphics. It also have the climate files preloaded now – no more going online to look for the right file. I did, however, learn how to twit the psychrometric chart to see how different recommendation changes the graphics. It’s pretty neat.