Saturday, June 30, 2007

Some random stuff and the iPhone...

Yesterday I realized that my office number is a prime number. I did not know how I have not factorized that number until yesterday, but then I did it, and it is a prime number! Just perfect. The number is 929.

Wednesday I have met my advisor, and she told me that would be a good idea if I went to a conference called Gordon Conference: Origins of the Solar System. This conference begins next sunday, July 8th, and then now I had less than a week to prepare a poster for this conference. So here I am... Working in a saturday afternoon. And next week I will be going to a city called South Hadley in Massachussets. People here are going there by car, and as I was told it is a 10h to 12h driving. I will take a hike with someone... That will be fine. I can take some pictures of the countryside.

Yesterday, it was June 29th, and it was the release day of the iPhone. I have never seen so much hype because of a cell phone in my life!! Everyone was talking about it, almost everyone wants one, and people were in lines all over the US waiting for the stores to open to buy one. It is price is $600, and the cheapest plan you need to use it is $60 per month. The iPhone is not exactly a cell phone, it is much more than that, and this is the reason everyone wants one. You can access the Internet through it, either using your cell phone provider network, in this case the AT&T, or you can access the Internet wherever there is a wireless network (almost everywhere here in the US). It also has a 4GB or 8GB memory, where you can save songs, and videos, and other multimedia files, as an iPod do. And it is also a phone. With this $60 per month, you have unlimited Internet access, unlimited calls to other mobiles anywhere inside the US continental territory, 200 SMS messages, and I don't know what more. And $60 for it all here is EXPENSIVE!! It is not like in Brazil, where with a R$60,00 plan, I just have some extra free minutes to call another phone.

There are some problems with the iPhone though, first of all it is a new kind of concept, and as such there will be lots of problems with this first generation, and those problems will be eventually corrected in the next generations. There is also the problem that if you wnat one, you have to sign with AT&T, the only cell phone carrier authorized to use the iPhone, and that is the reason the service prices are so expensive for the US market. But these are not enough for most of the people here, they want an iPhone, and they will get one, no matter the price! It was almost the same last year, when the PS3, the Nintendo Wii were launched. Everyone wanted one, and there where lines everywhere. But I am going to tell you, this little thing will revolutionize communications and mobile devices everywhere in the world. It is also very beautiful, and all it is functions are accessed through a touch screen display. There are only two or three true buttons in the device, all the rest you do in the touch screen. Awesome! But I would wait for a next generation until have one, and until the prices dropped a little more too... But as I am not gonna stay in the US for so long, I guess I will not have an iPhone for sometime either.

If you want an iPhone in Brazil, you will have to wait sometime yet, as Apple does not have any intention to release it for the Latin America so soon. And I bet, that if you want to use it, you would have to pay around R$200,00 per month, only to use the basic functions on it, with limited Internet time. Just ridiculous!! I really love Brazil, but when I compare some things here in the US and in Brazil, there is simply no way for me to not get annoyed with some things in my country. Unfortunately!! Bah!

My computer was not delivered yet, but I guess I will have it monday. That is it for now...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Computer in sight...

Soon I will have a computer! And then it will be easier to add more X(ch)aos to this place... And some photos, too. Nothing more to report right now. "And there ain't no cure for the Summertime Blues..."

And I will start to write some posts in portuguese again, too!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dlcrasmbe Mdefroe (?)

Non-existent freedom...
Infinite chains,
And invisible ones.
Are you free?
The most subtle is also the strongest.
What? Boring days...
Before the Dreaming, the revelation...
Bedazzled by the Devil...
And what a Devil I should say!

I almost lost it...
Now I know what to break!
How? Nothing is indestructable...
Entropy is by my side...
That is how you find things.
Not the Entropy, but the Chaos... Almost the same, but not the same.

The surprise was unexpected,
But it was good to discover where to look for.
How long it is been...
The chaos is returning! Ha!

The day is cloudy,
But my eyes are clear.
Not as clear as I wanted them to be,
But the eyes are learning.
I have to watch it now...
Scrambled ideas! Scramblespeak?
Not yet... Is there a piece still missing?
Always will be!

Fim de semana chato! But not totally wasted! Are you free?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Delayed photos and Pirates of the Caribean...

Four weeks in Ann Arbor and everything is still fine. The summer began yesterday, but this night the temperature here will be around 6 °C, according to the local forecast. Colder than the coldest winter night in Belo Horizonte.

About the photos, I will have to wait until I have a notebook to start posting them somewhere. The operational system in my office's computer does not recongnize my Card Reader Device, and the administrator said that it is because it is an old OS, and there is no way for it to work, so... As soon as CAPES pays me, I will buy a notebook. The problem is that I do not have the faintest idea about when it will happen. I expect it to be next week, but I really don't know.

This week I also went to the cinema for the first time here in Ann Arbor. I watched Pirates of the Caribean. It was great! The only problem is that I am still having some problems understanding some english accents, and to understand pirates speaking english with lots of different accents and lots of slangs was a little bit confused. But I could understand most of the dialogues in the movie. The problem was after the movie. After 6:30PM there are buses only at each hour, and after 10PM the regular buses stop. The movie ended just after the bus I was expecting to take passed near the movie theater, so I would have to wait for almost one 1h for the next and last one, so I decided to walk until the time the next bus was scheduled to pass. So I walked and walked and walked... And in the end, I walked until the place where I should stop, and the bus do not even have crossed me yet. And when I arrived in downtown, it was already past 10PM, so I had to walk home too. In the end I have walked around 7km from the movie theater to the apartment. It was better than if I had stayed in the bus stop waiting, and I still made some exercise, and explored Ann Arbor a little more. I even crossed a graveyard in my way home (unfortunately I did not see any kind of dark ritual being practiced there, I guess it was still early for those kind of things), walked through a road, crossed Ann Arbor city limities, not exactly in that same order. It is weird, people do not usually walk here, you see lots of people running and making execises, but they always drive their cars to wherever they want to go, even if it is near. I know 7km is not what we can call near, but during my walk I crossed at most 5 people walking around trying to go somewhere, and 2 guys riding bikes. I have not crossed anyone running, though, I guess it was too late for that. It must be weird for them to see someone with a backpack walking in a road almost at night too, but it was fun...

Yesterday, I was making some food (I do not call what I was doing of cook), and I was grilling some stuff. There is no window in the kitchen, which is kind of stupid in my opinion, and then lots of smoke start to rise in the apartment, covering everything. Then suddenly I start to hear something beeping inside the apartment, as loud as you can imagine. I started to try to figure out where in the nine hells that sound was coming from, and then I realized the apartment was totally covered in smoke, and the sound was coming from the smoke detector. I looked to that thing, and was thinking how I would make that sound to stop, and then decided to touch the thing, and it fell to the ground, and then the sound stopped. After that I had to use the bathroom exaustor (there is no window in the bathroom either, really stupid!), to suck out the smoke in the apartment. And after a while everything was ok again! That is what happens when you try to grill things inside a windowless kitchen apartment! Lots of fun! :P

My blog is still suffering some mutations, but I guess it will stabilize soon. I have to sit down, and start to understand the template code, and then change some of its parameters, to do what I want to do with it here yet. That will be done in the near future, or not... Maybe I will just change everything again.

At this exact moment (the moment I was writing this line, of course) I am hearing Johnny B. Goode by Jimmy Hendrix!! \m/,

And that is it for now. Another weekend starts, and time only knows what will be of me until next time... I guess tomorrow I will wander around the city, exploring and talking more pictures, but that is still undecided... And may the Force be with you and with me too! :P

P.S.: After a while I realized that is not so stupid to not have a window in a kitchen or in a bathroom, when the temperature in the winter can become as low as -20°C, or lower than that.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The weekend...

Since last week I have some company at the apartment. Francine's twin sister, Frances, arrived there last tuesday night. Last friday we went to a dance club here in Ann Arbor, and I can say that I drank a lot, and I had much fun there too. Frances is a nice girl, and knows how to be fun, when she wants. Saturday I had my first hangover in american soil, but it was worth the night... I have spent three weeks here without drinking anything, it was enough time... Hehehehehe

Saturday we went to one of her friend's house. The house was in the country, 1 hour by car from Ann Arbor. We went with Monique, another of her friends, and a very nice girl too. It was near a lake, not one of the Great Lakes, a small one called Sand Lake, if I am not wrong. People gathered there for a barbecue, american churrasco, and it was not even compared to our churrasco. Only some hamburgers and hot dogs. I don't know if it is really like that, but people eat one or two, and then they close the grill and it is over. At least the meat eating is over. After that only drinking and eating other things... Due to my hangover, I was not able to drink much during the barbecue, and after that. There were lots of good things to drink there, and all for free, and I was unable to do that! I was still trying to recover control of the entropic levels in my body! A pity! :P

We spent the night there, and sunday people gathered to swim in the lake. It is a very shallow lake, but it was good to swim again. After that we came back to Ann Arbor. This was the first worth weekend here in the US. I just expect more to come, soon.

Frances is going to stay in the apartment for more two weeks, pack her things, and then go back to Los Angeles. After that I will have a room! At least until the end of August.

I am getting tired of only tell about things I am doing here. Next time I post something I will start my random and senseless posts again. Maybe even some scramblespeak to put mind out of order again! Yeah!

By the way, work is progressing. Program is beginning to work, and I am starting the initial debug fase.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Some books

Since I arrived in Ann Arbor, exactly three weeks ago, I have already read 4 books. I like to read, but never did anything like this before. When I get home I usually don't have anything to do, but read something or watch TV. Sometimes I just watch TV, but most of the time, there is really nothing worth my time on the TV, and I start to read something.

The books I have read since I arrived are:
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude (portuguese version) - Gabriel Garcia Marquez;
  • Pattern Recognition (portuguese version) - William Gibson;
  • Neuromancer - William Gibson;
  • Outbound Flight (Star Wars) - Timothy Zahn.
For the first book, I have only one comment: Read!

Pattern Recognition is an interesting book, about a girl who is allergic to brands and corporate logos, and is a "cool-hunter". The story is much more than that. There is some snippets of film footage being placed at various locations on the Internet, and this film is accumulating a growing fanbase. People trying to speculate about the artist's true motivations, methods, and inspirations. And this girl, called Cayce Pollard, is one of these fans. The main plot is about Cayce trying to find out the true identity of the film's author. A good book, but I was a little disappointed in the end.

Neuromance have been written by the same author of Pattern Recognition, but is a lot better than that. I recommend it to all my Shadowrun fellows, and anyone who likes some Cyberpunk stuff. It is a very good book. It was written in 1984, but the author had a good vision of things to come in the future, and maybe even defined some of the cyberpunk concepts. A worth read!

And the last one, that I finished yesterday, is "Outbound Flight". It is a Star Wars book, and it tells the story of Outbound Flight, a mission in the time of the Galactic Republic that was sent to explore another galaxy. The best thing is that the book was written by Timothy Zahn, the guy who wrote the best Star Wars books that I have read (The Thrawn Trilogy, and The Hand of Thrawn Duology) and this book is like a prequel of his other books. And we also have Commander Mitth'raw'nuruodo, the blue guy with glowing red eyes, yet as Commander of the Chiss Expansionary Fleet. A very good book that I recommend to any Star Wars fan!

Next in the list are The Avatar Trilogy books.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A small prime number


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Digital Camera

Now I have a digital camera! And as soon as I find out how to read the photos from the card reader in my office's computer I will start to post these photos somewhere. (I know there is an USB port, but I don't know how to access it from the linux yet, nor do I think I have permission to use it, as it actually seems I have no access permission to any USB device in this computer, I will need to talk with the system administrator here about it.)

I have bought the camera thursday, and it arrived friday. I was at home awaiting for it, and the time was passing and nothing... When it was around 14:30 for some unknown reason I decided to open the apartment door, and to my surprise just in front of it, over the floor, there it was, a small box with my name on it. I have not heard any kind of knock on the door, not the doorbell, nothing... The guy simply left it there in front of the door and then went away. Well... It should not be a problem at all, if the apartment building have a gate or something like that, but there is no kind of gate, anyone can enter the building blocks, and have access to each of the apartments doors. That is what I call 'Trust in People'! That kind of thing should never work in Brazil... Unfortunately!

Next time I buy something, it will probably be my laptop, so after that, I will not tell them to deliver it to my apartment, I guess I will tell them to deliver it to my office in the Astronomy Department. Not that I don't trust them, but well, as a good brazillian guy, I am still a bit paranoid about those things, and I do not want to lose the money I will spend on that computer... :P

As you all, my brazillian friends, can see, things here are very different from things in Brazil... My only problem here until now, is that I do not know many people here yet, but I will try to remedy that soon... Yesterday, a girl that I knew some days ago (she is a friend of the girl who "lives" in the aparment with me) invited me to go to swim in her building's pool, so I went there. And there were also some of her friends there too, but sometimes when they were talking I got totally lost in their conversation. But it was fun, nevertheless, and I was really needing to swim a little...

So, it is time to catch the Magic Bus and go home... 17 days here, and I am fine, and it is getting more interesting every day! ;)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Magic Bus

The Magic Bus is the University of Michigan bus service. The University has two campuses here, and this bus service links the two campuses and other scattered University Buildings. And fortunately its route passes near where I am living, so I am taking it every day to come to the University. They pass each 10 or 15 minutes depending on the hour, and I do not need to say that it is free for everyone, not only University of Michigan Students. The bus service starts at 5 or 6AM, I am not sure, and ends at 1AM, and if during this time you look in this webpage, you will see a map, and some bus-icons moving through this map (yes, they are really moving), and that is exactly where each one of them is passing right now. (There is a 10 or so seconds of lag, but I don't mind, it is just cool enough for me!!) You can always know where is your bus, and when you have to leave to get them on time!

In the AATA buses (the regular town bus service), there is something alike, but not on the map. There is a notice in a webpage, telling exactly where the bus is, and how much late it is. If the bus arrives in a reference bus stop before it should be, it just stands there until the time is right for it to leave. If it is late, it just stops for a minimum amount of time, and then go. If you know the bus schedule, you practically do not need to wait, you just arrive on the bus stop at the time, and it will be there at the time, with a small error or 1 minute or so.

I am just liking this place!! Everything works!! :P

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Deceiving Sun and the squirrels...

So today after I wake up, I looked through the window, and when I was near it I fell a heat wave coming from the glass. The Sun outside was bright, and the sky all clear. So I thought that this would be a very hot day, and I decided to wear light clothes. When I went outside I have felt a little unconfortable, it was a little cold, but then I thought - No, it is still early, it will get hotter! - So I came to the university wearing a shirt and a bermuda short. After a little while, I got to the university, and the temperature did not raise as I was expecting. So I am here chilling in this cold, the sun outside seems warmth and confortable, but it is not as it seems! It is almost summer here, last week the days were hot almost everyday, so I thought that sun means hot today. The temperature is around 18 degrees Celsius, and it was colder a little earlier. I guess it was 14 or 15 a little earlier. I will just think twice next time I decided to wear a bermuda.

Almost every bit o bureaucracy here is already solved. I have a place to live, a bank account, health insurance, a computer on my office's desk, my advisor is already here, my visa was validated, and my bank card is already in my hands. I also have already sent all the documentation CAPES need to start paying me here... I guess in 3 weeks I may have my first payment, I guess... And after that I am gonna buy my notebook.

Now I have to start to work without worrying to much about those things, and I can also look for a place where I can swim again... :)

I have not mentioned it yet, but there are LOTS of squirrels here. There is at least one or two of them near every tree, or green patch of grass you look. And it is almost time to go home...

Sunday, June 3, 2007

666th visitor

Unfortunately for everyone else, I was the 666th visitor of my own blog. I kind of was expecting such a thing, but I really wanted that it was another person. Anyway...

So it is sunday, I am here in my office. I had nothing to do at home so I decided to come here to access my e-mail, and update myself a bit. Now it is raining and I have to stay here until it stops. I have seen something about a hailstorm passing exactly over Ann Arbor yesterday, I just hope this hailstorm do not decide to pass over here today. I am hungry and I want to leave... HAUhAUhaUhAUhAUhAUHa. There is also a kind of mist passing over the city, but it is just passing away. This rain does not look to be stoping anytime soon... Bah!

I have to buy some books. I am almost finishing the last one I brought with me here, and I really do not want to have to read astrophysics stuff to pass all my free time, sometimes it is ok, but not everytime.

And the computer administrator here, he is called Jeremy, is a Star Wars addicted (he has lots of Star Wars miniatures over his table), listens to Heavy Metal, and has also a Dungeons & Dragons Black Dragon miniature over his table. I guess I will have to talk to him sometimes about these stuff! I just do not expect him to call to play RPG, because that would be a very tempting offer, and I do not know if I will have the will power to deny his offer. Hehehehehe

Ah! The first days living alone are not being so bad. (Today is only my second day living alone, so I do not have a good number of days to make any kind of worth statistics yet, but until now it seems fine enough!)

Friday, June 1, 2007

A place to live...

Until I do not have this keyboard correctly configured I will continue to write in english. It will be better than to write in portuguese without accents. To be brief as I have to leave here soon, today I moved to an apartment. I will be living there alone during sometime, and eventually the other girl who is renting with me will come. She is going to spend her summer in Los Angeles, and during that time I will be living alone. It is a small, but very confortable place, and for sometime I will have to sleep in the living room, because the room that should be mine is still full of the old owner's stuff, and she is travelling somewhere. I will only get the room after she came back and take her stuff away. I really don't care, there is a sofa-bed in the living room where I can sleep, and besides I will pay less for this month because of that. And as noone is sharing the apartment right now with me, noone will disturb me while I sleep there. Only one problem though. This apartment is practically beside the Largest Football Stadium in the United States (as I was told), and I don't know how will it be during the games, fortunately though there are only Universitary League games there, and not big NFL games, and it seems they are 6 or 7 games per season. Weird, I know, but I will not complain about it! :P

And after getting a permanent address, I also have opened my bank account. I just hope CAPES's first deposit come soon, so I can buy my computer! =D

Tomorrow I will start explore my new neighborhood, and then go out to buy stuff. Hehehehe... And today, sooner, I will go out with some astronomy grad students here to drink something. Just starting to socialize! I am still a bit shy speaking english, and sometimes I still get lost in their conversations, but soon that will be past! :)

That is it, people! I know this place is needing some xaos, but there is still too much to do! Hehehehehe...