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December 23, 2008

To Warmer Weather

I'm taking a plane to Puerto Rico today (I hope it doesn't get delayed with all the snow). I will try to keep blogging from there, but my posting frequency might be reduced as I spend some time with my family. I hope you all have a great Chirstmas!

December 19, 2008

A Really Hard Game If You're Bored Enough

If you are done finals or simply have too much time in your hands (because five minutes won't be enough) try this game out. I haven't been able to finish it yet. It's simple, but tough. Enjoy!

December 16, 2008

One More Semester Finished

Today I took my last final exam. That means I unofficially finished the semester (only some TA stuff to do). The final exam for the Machine Learning class was just like the rest of the class: hard to understand and almost impossible to do. I'm just glad I'm done with that class forever. The Computer Security class was a lot more doable. This class wasn't in my area of interest, but I still learned a lot and feel that it was an important class to take. Being a TA for the User Interface Design class was a great experience. It was a lot of work (11 weekly meeting with project groups), but it was great to see and help guide these projects from beginning to end.

Now that I'm done, it's back to research. I'm really excited about the stuff I'm working on there. I'll say more about that after I publish a paper (hopefully next year!). For now, I'm just glad to not have any classes. Although I must say, I am looking forward to next semester's classes: Programming the Interactive Internet and Collaborative and Social Computing. These are way deep in my areas of interest! Next semester is already starting to look more enjoyable than this one. (And having classes only two days a week doesn't hurt either).

For all of you who are taking finals, good luck! To everyone, thanks for reading!

December 13, 2008

Going Up

Blog visits just keep going up. Last week, after 15 months of blogging, I finally reached 10,000 visits. Just for fun, I'll share a few statistics on these first 10,000 visits.

First, here are the graphs for daily visits and monthly visits. Growth has actually accelerated in the past few months.



Now, a few statistics about my visitors for my first 10,000 visits.

Countries with most visits:
United States - with 60% of all visits.
Puerto Rico - 6.1%. This is most probably my family reading.
United Kingom - 5.7% - Thanks, British readers!
Canada - 4.4%
Australia - 2.22%

I guess it makes sense that most visits come from English-speaking countries. Although the next five countries are a little more varied (Philippines, India, Germany, France, and Netherlands).

The five states with most visits are:
Minnesota (30% of US visits) - these are probably my friends and colleagues which I have almost forced to read the blog.
California (9.4%)
New York (8.5%) - most of these visits are probably my sister and her husband.
Massachusetts (3.8%)
Texas (3.7)

More facts:
- Firefox (my personal favorite browser) is the most used browser with 50.53% of visits. (Internet Explorer is second at 33.9%)
- The least popular browsers are Blazer and Mozilla Compatible Agent. Anybody heard about these?
- I've received a few visits from video game consoles, such as Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii.
- Windows is the most popular OS with 76.80% of all visits.

Google and Google Images send almost all of my traffic. Other notable referring sites are Facebook (137 visits), Twitter (72 visits), and the College Blog Network (42 visits).

It's really weird how most people bump into my blog. Keywords are the words people type into searches that bring them to my blog. The most popular are:
- superficial intelligence
- blog
- hidato
- matlab easter eggs
- wii programming
- hidato puzzles
- hanjie
- hidato puzzle
- masyu
- matlab easter egg

Half of those have to do with puzzles. And in fact, one of the most visited sections of my blog is the puzzles category. I guess that's what people are really interested in. Maybe I should talk more about puzzles?

There are also some very weird search queries that have brought people to my blog. These are always fun to watch out for. Here are some of them:
will reasonably and correctly, really, fernando? i hope that you will - (hmmm, you hope that I will what?)
wild captions to be written in bikes - (I don't think you'll find that here)
white jigsaw puzzle español - (why do you need a jigsaw puzzle to be in Spanish?)
roy yahoo.com hotmail.com gmail.com mail.com 2007 - (what was this guy looking for?)
proper way to eat fortune cookie - (are there proper fortune cookie eating etiquette rules?)
people with high intelligence who are fools - (you found me!)
java solution for unisex bathroom problem - (huh?)
is it sunny in puerto rico in december - (duh, of course)
i don't want my computer to have artificial intelligence comic - (I hope the last word is separate. If not, then he came to the wrong place)
how to pronounce "foosball" - (is it really that hard?)
fortune cookie vending machine - (I want one of those!)
fernando torre video game - (I have a video game?)

Well, that's it for today. Are there any statistics that you are interested in knowing about? Let me know and I'll post them!

December 9, 2008

Taking the JLPT

On Saturday night, I took the overnight bus from Minneapolis to Chicago in order to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. The ride was smooth, as long as you skip the part about me hitting my head against the bathroom door and ending up with a cut and a bump on my head. The bus arrived an hour earlier at the Union Station in Chicago. So there I was at 5:30 am and at 11 F and only a vague idea of where to go. When I finally got to the train station a few blocks away, I was told that the first train did not leave until around 7:20am. And you can imagine how many places are open at 6am on Sunday where you can just go and escape the cold. Thank God for a nearby McDonalds that had just opened.

I was the first test-taker to arrive at the test location. Only one of the test proctors had arrived when I got there. I had quite a few hours to study before the test. In that time, I met a Puerto Rican security guard (very nice guy!) and a Taiwanese grad student from Illinois who was taking level 1 (the hardest!). Finally, the time came for the exam.

I have to admit it was harder than I thought (mostly because I did not do a good job of reviewing my grammar and concentrated too much on vocabulary). And as expected, the listening part was very stressful for me. Still, I think I did well enough to manage the 60% needed to pass the test. I'll let you know as soon as I get the test results.

I came back really excited. I want to start preparing for level 3 as soon as possible. I'm even trying to form a study group together with one of my labmates who is also interested in taking the test. Hopefully next year I won't have to go alone and on two overnight buses!

If you still don't understand what the JLPT is or why I went through all that trouble to take it, please leave a comment! コメント????も大好????よ?

December 6, 2008

JLPT, Here I Come!

I am taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test this Sunday. I'll be taking the overnight bus to Chicago on Saturday night. Hopefully, it will be a bit warmer over there. I am taking level 4 of the test, which is the easiest level. Wish me luck!

December 2, 2008

Get Your Favorite Comics In You RSS Feed

I love comic strips. I even had a week in this blog dedicated to them. That is why I am so happy to know that Comics.com is now offering comic strips in personalized RSS feeds free of charge! This is great news. Now I can read F Minus and Pearls Before Swine from the comfort of my RSS reader. So go ahead and register for an account, choose your favorite comic strips, and enjoy!