Posts Tagged ‘Computer’

Array, Pen Review, and Adobe Cloud

Web Design

I have been working a bit more on my JavaScript skill so I can understand JQuery. So far, I am still at array portion of the tutorial, and I was getting sleepy there for a moment because I felt like I was repeating my Java and Python class. So, that’s what the professors meant when they say that once we learn a language, the others are pretty much the same. Still, array is something I am always confuse with, so it is a good review. For one, when .length is use in array, it means the number of elements in it, and not the number of letter in the array name. I don’t remember learning that from my other classes, so that’s good.

I printed out the jQuery code of the sample gallery template that I want to use for my ePortfolio. It’s definitely more advance than what I am learning. I am thinking maybe I should find another template, but I really like the one I found… Maybe I will borrow an actual book on jQuery and see where it takes me, then decide.


I have also been practicing my calligraphy skill. Good handwriting is a useful skill to have. Being able to make art out of handwriting is even better. So far, I am doing the basic font, Chancery Italic Hand. The pen I am using is Sheaffer Viewpoint, medium 1.5mm nib size. I brought it on a total impulse after going ga-ga mode on fountain pen discussion with the store owner at Sunset Stationary. It is pretty much an economy student pen. Pretty good for what I am doing. The flow is smooth most of the time. The soft grip is nice, though I must say that I prefer heavier pens. Viewpoint is a pretty cheap pen make of plastic, and it is far too light for my preference. That’s what happen when you buys things impulsively, I guess. Once I move pass the basic Calligraphy font, I think I will invest in a higher end pen, one made of metal – I have always prefer metal even when I was just a high school student doing basic drafting my architecture class. The weight gives a sense of sturdiness to my drafting pencil that I really like… but back to Viewpoint – I don’t use the pen as much as I should, but the ink don’t dry or evaporate into a mysterious black hole. Can’t say the same for my VFM pen, whose ink cartridge empties itself without me even using it once. I just brought a Pilot Parallel for an artist friend though, and after reading the review and seeing the pretty pictures, I want another pen too! But I must not. It is not an expected expense at current time – in the future, yes. Currently? No. I must save for Adobe Create Suite! Every $20 must be carefully spend! Budget must be follow!

Ownership vs Subscription

Speaking of Adobe Creative Suite, I got a bit irritated after researching about the recent trend. I know about Adobe Cloud for a while, but after recent readings, it seems like Adobe is planning to stop selling the program itself and sell subscription instead. Digital subscription is not true ownership. It is one of the reason I am not a big buyer of ebook despite being a bookworm. Digital subscription and digital ebook are link to the manufacturer, and they can cut off that link. Amazon, for example, have taken ebooks from customers before. Fortunately, with ebook, there are ways to severe that connection once you purchase it. I, for one, like to keep a copy of every ebook I purchased. A digital subscription of an entire program by a company like Adobe is a bit hard to do so. Quite frankly, with the numerous cyber attacks – particularly DoS, I wouldn’t want any thing related to the operation of my professional material depended on the network connection and safety. If I am paying hundreds of dollar, I want to own the program for sure. I want it to operate at all time, at all situation, and at my computer without connection to the web. Fortunately, there is still old version of Adobe Creative Suite on online website like eBay and Amazon. Unfortunately, after this, I will probably not update my own Adobe for a long time. Better yet, I may switch to Corel and other alternatives where I can keep a physical DVD copy. After all, I am just buying Adobe now because I am taking classes at community college and wants to take advantage of the student discount. So far, the program I have been using have been Gimp, Inkscape, and Scribus for my portfolio. As a free open-sourced program, they are actually quite good and gets jobs done for people who may have budget problems.


… 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!

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.

The Evilness of Image Dimension in Blogs

*Flips onto my bed and faint*

That took forever!!! I was writing up a new post when I decided to go to the main page of blog. To my horror, the blog kept freezing the page. Then I realized that it must be my new camera. The image size I saved must have been too big, I thought. So, I went back to the edit page – which froze my Firefox again – and painfully replaced my images one by one after I use Adobe ImageReady to lower jpeg quality to 10. Then I went to the blog post page.

Still freezing.

I banged my head in frustration. It’s quality was down to 10, which was the minimum size ImageReady would let me go. If I want to go any lower, I would have to open each files one by one and reduce its size that way, and that’s just painful, not to mention it would more than a day!

I continued to tinker the files with different method, and just as I was about to give up, I noticed something – some of the ImageReady option let me reduce the dimension too. Then a thought popped into my head – the file size from my old files isn’t that different from my current camera’s. What happens if the problem wasn’t in the file size, but in the file dimension?

To fix the dimension size of the jpeg file, I opened them all with Preview (much better than Photoshop or Gimp!), then I went to Tools, and lo and behold – Adjust Size. I took a deep breath and clicked on it. Yes! Exactly what I need! The conversion time wasn’t too long either, just a few minutes. I happily reduced the dimension of all the images – with much less pain than before. Meanwhile, I slowly deleted all my previous blog images (another painfully long process where my Firefox froze every few seconds). As I deleted the images, I also started to enter the new, smaller images. To my joy and relief, the speed of Firefox slowly returned to normal.

Now, my blog has finally returned to normal.

*Flops onto bed and faint into sleep.*

Initial Thought on Revit as a ArchiCad User

I have been giddy and somewhat remorseful after I discovered that the Cal Poly library now has Revit in its 3rd floor computer.

Giddy because I can finally play with Revit on my free, no-class times. The computer in the architecture building does have Revit installed, but I was already working on school project during school year.

Remorseful because I am only staying in San Luis Obispo until August 30 and really busy with moving, so in the end I wouldn’t really get to play with it much.

But, onto my actual experience with my Revit training today:

The first half hour, unfortunately, was rather unproductive. To my dismays, the library computer didn’t seem to have the training file that should have come with the Revit program. I have the pdf, but not the example project files that goes with it. I keep looking for it, but I finally have to give up. I realize that I have to look for a Revit online tutorial that don’t require downloading a project. At the same time, I need a tutorial that starts from scratch and is hand-on, a tutorial that lets me work with different function of Revit instead of just watching the instructor work on completed project. It needs to be up-to-date, because Revit in the last years has really change the looks and placements of its tools.

So far, the one that I am working with is Revit learning by 3modelsfree. He also has a blog at:

Simple instruction, good graphic aids, and clear, engaging voice. I quickly goes through half of the entire series in a day.

Now, the overall impression:

As my readers can tell from the post title, I am a predominately ArchiCad user. I had worked with both AutoCad and SketchUp before. Prehapes it was because I had work with AutoCad and the BIM program ArchiCad before, but I found Revit very easy to understand. At first glance, it was intimadating. Compare to ArchiCad, I feel like everything is in the wrong place. But, once I start building walls and look at the various properties and options, things starts to click into place.

I am much more familiar with ArchiCad, but Revit is very… interactive and user-friendly. I love how many different information I can see at once. It is a program that I think everyone can become familiar with fairly quickly.

I wish I have more time to work with Revit in the library, but for now I will learn what I can. Who knows – maybe there is a place in San Francisco that would let me work with Revit.

Taking apart my MacBook

About two days ago, my face expressed one emotion: horror.

My laptop slipped through my laptop sleeve and right onto the ground.

Fortunately, it was a carpet floor. My MacBook was saved! Still, to my horror, part of the keyboard bulged out. The laptop still works, but I can’t let it kept bulging. And thus, tonight, I took apart my MacBook in order to check out the problem areas. Fortunately, I had already took it apart before to install a new SuperDrive, so I didn’t freak at all this time. In fact, I actually recorded the process this time around.

It sounds really scary to take apart the MacBook, but it’s actually really easy. I even cleaned out some of the dust inside (which is a lot, since I have it for four years already) You just have to make sure you keep track of the screws you took out.

Here is my prep tools:

First, I have the instruction guide from printed out and clipped into order. I printed one out the last time I took apart my Mac and replaced the SuperDrive inside. In case anyone’s wondering, is a well-known web site dedicated to Mac tools DIY. Not only do they have guides for Macbook, they have it for Ipod and basically all the Mac inventions. They also sells the parts, so you can purchase Mac parts that you wanted to replace. The screwdriver and plastic spudger shown here are both brought from ifixit. They are both very well quality – I love the screwdriver they have. The driver have a fixed part at the end of its handle that the user can hold onto, so the body of the screwdriver can spin very rapidly but the hand holding the handle end would be fixed and stable. It’s a bit hard to describe, but its very nicely-made.

Now, the tip here is to have the guide printed out and a multi-box storage kit set aside. The kit I use (the rainbow color box) was brought from Japantown for around a buck. It is suppose to be used for keeping track of medicine. I usually use it for necklaces so they don’t tangle, but I have a few rows left just for Mac.

Now, here is my MacBook, open to the world to see:

Very dusty. I should clean the screen as well right after this – you can see the keyboard mark! Yuck!

Not very good lighting too, since I am doing this at night. My room isn’t the best space for professional photos, so here’s some more details:

Ah, now I see the problem.

This is the non-bulged side:

And this is the bulged side:

So its bended. Hmm…

I tried to push it back – even hit my screwdriver on the bulged part (it’s not connected to anything – just a metal part, so I know its safe. Don’t tried this at home.)

Didn’t work. Nada.

*Sigh* Well, the keyboard was actually breaking apart already. The side was chipping off (Macbook keyboard is made of plastic, and particularly weak at the edge. The edge is known to chipped off even under careful use.) Actually, I wasn’t sure if it had really bended back when I dropped it – my Macbook was acting really weird that day and refused to go into sleep mode.

I wonder if I should just get a new keyboard…

P.S. on 4/20/10: Right after EGB (Emerging Green Builder) club meeting, someone dropped his Macbook Pro solidly onto the concrete ground.


Everyone was looking at the MacBook, wondering what will happen. Someone, to my amusement, said that it should be fine since its a MacBook. But then, I also added my comment about how I also dropped my mac, so he should be fine (Although my case was a bit different – I dropped it on a carpet floor. I also hold it right when it dropped so only the edge of the Macbook hit the ground, instead of letting it drop face flat down like the the club member did – I seem to have a pretty good reflex when it comes to drop things…)

His  laptop turned on fine though. I was just mumbling about how annoying the Adobe-Tiger upgrade was a few days ago (since I can’t upgrade to Snow Leopard without upgrading the $300 Adobe program), now I am in love with my Mac again!

Crash Waitlist Class – Mission Success! Get a Job? Also Mission Success!

Patience is a virtue.

Like last Winter Quarter, I got waitlisted for the classes I want. But like last quarter, I patiently went and sat in for all possible classes even if I got in one of my “ok” classes. And now, I got the best classes I can hope to get!

I sit through all the class section of Buddhist Art (the require class of my Art History Minor), and I email the teacher to let her know my situation: I can only possibly attend two of her three section classes, and I am waitlisted for both two. I know my chance is low because a) I am at the end of waitlist for both class, and b) even though I am a senior, I am not graduating (BArch degree is a five year program). But I am genuinely interested (Which is very true. It’s a class that studies culture, art, and religion all at once!) . Then I ask her to let me know if someone drop the class by the add-drop deadline, because I will add her class for sure – very eagerly.
Appearally, I make a strong impression with the email and presence in the class. She remember me very well and wanted to add me in the class because I was so patient about it. So I got in!!!

Once again, I am amazed at how well people remember me. I have a lot of people that I meet for the first time whom told me they always notice me on campus. We have a low Asian population in the school, but its not that low.

But then, I am only 4′-11″ and always running around. (My leg is short – it takes longer for me to get around!)

I also mange to get into a Geography class related to climate and ecology. The teacher pulled out maps the first day of class, which scared me slightly. But after the first day, I know it is going to be one interesting class! It will combine ecology science and cultural humanity together. He talked about the scientific aspect of the subject, but he brings to a more human-culture scale.

It is also a class that can be use for both the Sustainability Minor and Anthropology-Geography Minor, should I choose to apply for one of them. I am very interested in the Ant-Geog Minor right now. They have Archeology classes and GIS classes! If I can get into Cultural Anthropology class in the summer, I am applying for the Minor!

Unfortunately, that means I would drop the Soil Science class I got in earlier. That class sounds interesting, but it doesn’t fulfill any Minor requirement , and I know it would not be very smart to do 16 units with a job, volunteer work, and architecture studio unless I actually need to. Maybe I should try it for the summer?

So here’s my new schedule:

  • ARCH 453-03 Architectural Design 4.3
  • ART 318-02 Asian Art Topic: National, Religious, & Intellectual Movement
  • GEOG 325-01 Climate and Humanity

Also, all my job hunt effort is starting to pay off. I got a job in the school library. Those whom know me for a long time knows that I practically lived at the library when I was in San Francisco. In fact, I even got into the Teen Advisory Council in the Sunset District Library. It is the ideal job for a bookworm like me.
Not only that, I got an interview from the Library’s Information Technology section! I am not a Computer Science Major, but I have gather some computer skill over the four years of Architecture classes. I am definitely going to give it my best try. Wish me luck!

Starting Computer Programming

So, as my previous blog said, I am starting to self-teach myself about computer programming.
Of course, I have been trying to self-taught myself blogging through HTML and CSS. So I will be studying two subject at once – but that’s what breaks between school for for!
I am studying more about herbal gardening as well, if anyone’s been reading my Twitters.
The book I am currently using is Learning C on Mac by Dave Mark. It is a good starting book for Macbook User. It teaches reader about how to get started C programming on Mac, like its title says. C is a popular computer programming language – kind of like HTML. It works with both Mac and PC.
The book teaches about using C language with Xcode. Xcode is a software from Mac that reads C languages.
Since I had the older Macbook version – Tiger 10.4, I had to use the older Xcode 2.5. I can no longer find it on the Mac website, but I was able to access it by googling, and here is the link:

It is a pretty big software and took me over a hour to download, so I have yet to tried it. I will start with it tomorrow! *Sighs* So much to learn, so little time… Nothing better than starting a new day with a new skill to learn! *Rolls sleeves up*

A small reflection on computer skill

When you think back to the time you first starts learning computer, what were you working on and where do you think it will lead you too. Well, for many of the newer generation, maybe you grow up with a computer. I did not even know how to spell computer, since I had just immigrated to America. I was a kid – about 10 years old? Back then, I just use it for chatting. My sister was (and still is) the computer guru of the house. She did all the computer setting and virus checking. I had one incident where I managed to get about 5 virus in one day! Since then, I had pretty much declare myself a computer idiot.

Now that I look back, I have really come a long way. Friends and co-worker had commented on my typing skill before (I can type without looking at the keyboard), and I have come up with insane methods of doing things because I have a Macbook without Window program and Microsoft (I am low on budget – OpenOffice replace Microsoft fairly well, and I can always borrow the school computer. Zoho has the best note-taking program ever.). Because of major (architecture), I got pretty adopted at using most of the Adobe programs, along with a few drafting programs. I have been working with HTML and CSS, and even manage to create a blog of my own (Though I am using a WP theme by someone else – but I am on the way to making one of my own.)

But I am going to take the ultimate challenge this school quarter: Computer Programming class for Engineers and Scientists!


I am an architecture major, I know. But it’s really the only computer science class available to me – the rest is full. I needed 4 more units, the only one GE class I need is completely fill. I have been very eager about learning programming – it was a perfect chance! I am a bit nervous though is, but I met a girl whom took the regular computer programming class before – right on the Amtrak bus that I took while going back home this Spring Break! She told me it’s good thing I took the specialized class. It would be easier – so even though I learning about programming without prior knowledge and taking studio class with possible part time job, I should be able to handle it. Still, me being me, I am researching right now to prepare myself for the class.

Since I have Mac, things are a bit more atypical. The book I selected is Learn C on the Mac. It is a nicely done beginner book, with some good pictures but fair amount of text information in simple languages. It’s available in the San Francisco Public Library both in book and ebook form. Because I have a Macbook with a older program (Tiger 10.4), I had to research online for the old Xcode 2.5 (Xcode is the Mac program to do programming). I thought about updating to Snow Leopard (The 10.6 newest version of Mac), since it’s not really that pricey. But I can’t! I would lose compatibility with Adobe Creative Suite C2. It has no Education Upgrade, and the regular upgrade price is over $300. I may as well get a new Education program for C4.

Anyhow, I got the Xcode 2.5. Hopefully, I can learn enough basic by the time school starts.