Category Archives: College - Page 2

On the roof again, just can’t wait to get on the roof again

Yesterday after our local Saturday morning ham radio get together a few of us decided to get our repeater’s antenna outside to try and get our coverage increased in the area. We’ve been waiting for months to get a hole drilled in the penthouse wall so we can get the antenna out on the roof, but it still hasn’t been done. Hoping to get a temporary solution in place we bought a jumbo size stoarge tote and put all the elecronics gear inside of it and just put it out on the roof. I climbed up the roof tower, mounted the antenna on our tower and ran a feedline down to our tub o’ electronics. Afterwards we took a ride around the couty to see how our coverage had improved, though it’s much much better than it was it still needs a little work, we now cover the entire town though.

In the evening I baked some frozen dough sweet rolls I had purchased earlier in the week. I finished studying for another professional certification test scheduled for Monday while they were baking. I also went out on my weekly grocery shopping trip and picked up the neccecities for college life including a wide selection of pears (my fruit of the week).

This morning I got up and did some more reading for my SCUBA class and did my laundry. Early in the afternoon I headed out for a Sunday matinee performance of Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas, preformed by University Theater. I’m just about ready to write my performance analysis paper for my theater class now. It’s an epsodic play as opposed to the climactic style you usually see performed. It takes a look at a typical day in a small Welsh fishing village and once you get over it being episodic rather than climactic it is quite a fun play to watch.

Notes on a Friday

A few notes today (I seem to be getting back into this blogging again). First I had a meeting this morning I forgot to tell you all about yesterday. Another thing I’m involved on here at campus is a design comittee for a new residence hall. You can find our meeting notes (and architechtual drawings when they get posted in a few days) here we had a finial design development meeting today and will be picking interior and exterior finishes on May 2. I’ll post again when I see that the building design plans have been uploaded because those will be more interesting than the meeting notes that are on the site now.

Help Mike get on TSS! Add the button below to your webpage or blog. We want to see Mike talk about websites, hosting and blogs on the show. Let’s see your support! One of these days I plan to get ambitious and start such a campaign myself, if I do say so I could probably straighten out a few things with home networking for people.

So much time, so little to say. Strike that, reverse it.

I hate being so redundant, everytime I write one of these it seems as if I’m saying how busy I’ve been; but this time, as always, I really have been busy. In the past few weeks I’ve continued to search for a summer job, participated in two wild chats with my friends from Leoville, studied for and passed a General Class FCC Element 3 exam, been studying for three Cisco exams I want/need to take before the end of the semester, woked on my Cisco instructor certification, interviewed for a summer internship, replaced the hard drives in both my laptop and desktop, started a SCUBA diving certification class, took a severe weather spotting training course from the National Weather Service, continued lobbying and meetings with the university for our Amateur Radio Club, debated purchasing a new ham radio, dvd writing package, Tivo/Replay and flat screen monitor. Oh yeah, and all my normal classwork too.

First things first though. My search for a summer job has prooved fruitful at last. Before returning to Light N Trax again this year for summer employment I decided to try and find a corporate IT internship so I could get a better taste of what I might be doing after graduation while gaining some real-world experiance at the same time. I sent out a pretty good number of resumes and cover letters, got a few responses none of which were promising. Eventually someone my Dad works for suggested applying for the summer IT internship at State Fund Mutual Companies which is an insurance company that specializes in Workers’ Compensation insurance in Minnesota. I headed back home last weekend after getting a call that they were interested in interviewing me. I arranged a ride home just in time to make it to my 2:45PM interview which wasn’t overly painful. They said they’d get back to me early this week. I was called and offered the position on Tuesday and I accepted with minor negotiations on my part Wednesday. I’ll be starting there May 20th at 8:30AM.

Now, since I don’t have a boatload of time the only other thing I’ll cover here (unless there is public outcry to hear about another of my recent activities) is my purchase dillema of the day. It all started again with Leo, yes, Leo. You see a few days ago Leo wrote an article on his message board about hacking his Tivo then on The ScreenSavers Wednesday they had a segment about using your PC as a ReplayTV node. All this Tivo/Replay talk got me thinking again about how handy it would be to have one of these gadgets for all the time shifting I do. For a number of reasons I decided it would now be practical for me to sell some of my VCRs and buy a PVR. After exhaustive research today I found that although they had gotten cheaper you could not simply use them as digital VCRs, you have to subscribe to the guide service for them or they cease working! This is either a monthly or one-time fee. I hate monthly fees and when you add the one-time fee to the cost of the device it becomes considerably more expensive. Besides I just don’t like things that have recurring fees and/or rely on a manufacturer to keep them going or they become doorstops, too much power for me to give up. I decided to investigate set top DVD recorders instead. I found the Panasonic DMR-E30K which allows me to do everything I want, plus burn to DVD-R media as a benefit! I could have this for only $390 at J&R Music and Video.

While I was contemplating this purchase a friend who works with me pointed out a hot deal posted to the Anandtech Forums, Dell is selling an 18″ LCD flat-panel for $390 (after instant rebate and 15% off coupon) as well! I considered getting this as well, but after a few hours of internal struggling I finally decided it wasn’t as important to me right now as any number of other things so I decided against it, we’ll see if this was a good choice or not. Back to the DVD Recorder/PVR debate. I had pretty much decided to get the Panasonic DMR-E30K when I stated thinking about how easy this would make DVD video editing on my PC if I got a PC DVD-R/RW/RAM drive as well. Not to bore you too much with the details, but after quite a bit of research and debate I ended up with the Panasonic SW-9571-CYY which I purchased from AvLogic.Com for $165 and will complement the DMR-E30K nicely allowing me to record on DVD-RAM media, stick it in the PC edit it on the media itself and save it or burn it to DVD-R for more permanent storage. You might ask why I didn’t go with the Sony DRU-500A which I was considering late last year. There are a few reasons actually, first cost, second availibility and third support for the DVD-RAM format. This is an older DVD format that uses random access and so it will work better for on-disk video editing and it’s also the rewritable format supported by the DMR-E30K.

When all is said and done I have a set-top dvd recorder, a computer dvd recorder, some blank dvd media, an internship and talked myself out of the flatscreen. I think I’ll be happy though, and isn’t that what really counts? Hopefully I’ll have some time to blog with more frequency soon. In the meantime I return myself to my regular busy life and you to yours. Stay tuned!

Surprise Email

Looking for photos from my mom’s 50th birthday party? Try

I got an email from one of my Telecommunications Professors today saying I should drop by his office to sign something. Having no idea what he had up his sleeve I decided to head over to Modern American Lit early and drop by his office. He wanted to get some club callsigns and needed a club officer to sign on the FCC request. So as of today I am the interim CEO of the UW-Stout Amateur Radio Club.

Let’s backtrack a little bit, as you know I finally got my ham radio licence in early November after meaning to do it for years. I bought a used Icom T7H handheld radio and dove right in to this thrilling hobby. Being a very experimental group of people hams have contributed to everything from telegraph to cell phone and computer technology, but I digress. Right now a hot item in the ham community is voice over the internet radio linking allowing two people on radios to talk around the country or world through the internet. After hearing about this on a repeater at home I talked a professor (and friend) of mine into buying a computer interface for a radio so we could experiment with it. The interface came at the beginning og the week and we’ve spent many days this week experimenting with it and we’ve been having a blast. In any event setting up an internet link and repeater here on a permanent basis is what led to forming the UW-Stout Amatuer Radio club today.

In other news I have passed another Cisco exam, the Remote Access certification, one step closer to the next level CCNP certification. I also plan to pick up a CWNA wireless certification over Christmas break as well as working at Light N Trax where I worked this summer. Yesterday I got a perfect on my Remote Access class practial lab final which was another good feeling. Now all I have left for homework this semester is a 10 page paper related to Richard Wright’s Native Son which is something I’m not looking forward to starting tomorrow. Anyway I’ll be sure to keep you apprised of my happenings as time permits.

Kilo Charlie Zero Oscar Juliet Alpha

yes ladies and gentelmen today the fcc approved my test rsults and gave me the amateur radio call sign KC0OJA. That’s all I have time to say today, just thought I’d share the news with you all…

inside the insanity: a look inside my head

In an effort to do something interesting and different today I kept track of the totally (mostly) unrelated to what’s going on things that went through my head today while I was doing other things, you know the things you think about in the back of your head. Some other day I’ll keep track of and talk about the things actually related to the events of the day. Anyway maybe you’ll gain some insight into my insanity or head; maybe you’ll just be amused. Either way it was a very interesting activity to occupy my day.

This morning at work we had about 550 middle school student council members from the region at a workshop and motivational speaker. Part of my job was to help separate them into groups and direct them around the building for their breakout sessions. As I was down in the room standing, leaning against the doorpost, waiting to do this and looking over them I considered how much I love working with kids who are excited about learning. I thought maybe I should go into teaching after all. This is a struggle in me every time I get a chance to interact with students. I do seem to know I wouldn’t like the politics or the bad attitudes of teaching either though. As much as I like the idea of inspiring and leading future generations of students, exposing them to the wonders of the world I don’t think I will actively pursue a teaching career at this time. Maybe at some point in the future I’ll pick up a teaching certificate and do it on the side or in retirement. Anyway I was just struck by the influence I can have on a young person’s life seeing this group of students today.

The next thing that ran across my mind was sitting in speech class. We had to turn in these montage projects I spoke of last time, and yes I did just fine on mine. Anyway I was awed by the power of non-verbal communications and my ability (from what people in class were saying) to drive a point home in a short paragraph. Another thing I thought about in speech class today was how much I would have liked to get up and do an semi-improv informative speech. While my professor was talking about visual aids for our next speech I was looking at his Aquafina water bottle and was thinking how easy it would be for me to get up, use that as a visual aid and talk for several minutes about how plastic pop bottles are made, just using the knowledge in my head. Gosh I love talking to people, teaching them about science, technology and the world around them. How many of them have ever really looked at a pop bottle and wondered how it’s made?

Later in the day, during lit class in fact, I had a “college moment” as I like to call them. These are when I realize that I really am in college; you know what you look towards for your entire schooling career. This time I realized that I will be graduating with a real college degree, which is an amazing thing, to think of how much I’ve learned in the past twenty years and how this really is a landmark to that. The next two things I thought about in Lit are totally unrelated to that, first I was thinking that next time I’m home I’d like to go out on a night drive of the cities and do some night photography, I’ve decided I really like dusk and night pictures, and I’d like to take some of them myself, also take some winter scenes and winter night scenes. I also decided I’d like to do some portrait photography sometime soon as well.

Then later in the evening I did a Compline night prayer with some people from the Newman Student Association here. This was a great time and I really enjoyed it. Once I got back from that I was sitting down for a moment and I realized that in December I’m turning twenty years old. For some reason this seems to be a major step from youth into adulthood at least on a symbolic level and it just struck me for a minute.

So now you’ve had some insight into what goes on in the back of my mind, maybe you learned something, or had a chuckle, maybe both. In any event please share your insight because I am certainly still learning about myself and appreciate all input. Well many Minnesota races are still undecided but it’s time for me to get some sleep, we’ll see how this all turns out tomorrow.

frustrating times

Well, all the snow melted, but it’s now fridgid here again. I’m told this is the third coldest October on record. I feel like I have so much to blog about but then again I don’t know what I should or can say because who knows who reads this thing so I’ll probably stick to the safe stuff for the time being.

I got two big things out of the way this week, nevermind there seem to be way too many more coming down the pipe yet this semester. I must say this is definately my busiest semester at school yet, and I don’t know why that is I had more credits last semester. Anyway I got an A- on both a speech and a Modern American Lit midterm this week, which made me pretty happy. I was worried about the midterm becuase the format was very open and directions were very lacking in direction.

The first bad news in the pipe is I have a montage due for speech class on Tuesday. What that has to do with speech I have no idea, but it’s going to be a big pain. I think I’m going to do it on the DMCA because we’re supposed to pick a topic that we’re passionate about. The trick is to figure out what I’m going to put on this “3-d collage” I have few ideas, maybe a video tape, cd and floppy disk that show somehow the inablility to use them as you like. I’m desperate for resources and ideas people, so please post any in the comments section right here. Remember I’m at school in a dorm so I have very limitied resources, another thing that makes this so frustrating. I also have an extremely limited amount of traditional creative ability, again very frustrating to be forced into doing a project like this.

I have to stay here at school this weekend to work Friday night and Sunday night. We have to work one weekend a semester, I guess I’m lucky to not have any morning events but both my events run late into the evening so we’ll see how that all goes. luckily the work is not too demadning so it’ll probably be mostly browsing the web time.

On Saturday morning I’ll also be taking my Technician Licence Ham Radio Exam on campus. As I mentioned before I think this is something I’ve been interested in for quite a while and I finally got around to doing something about it. I have been studying pretty well I think, and I should pass I hope. I’ll be sure to let you all know. I already bought a handheld transceiver on ebay so I’m all ready to go now except for the licence. I love talking about it with “the profs” but that’s another story for another time.

Happy and Safe Halloween Everyone!

the snow has arrived

Here in Western Wisconsin we actually have a small accumulation of snow on the ground tonight and by the time it’s all said and done, they’re estimating 4-6″ in this area. This is all fine and dandy with me because I don’t have major travel plans and I’m ready for snow, but I know it will dissappoint many.

In other news, I know I have been really bad about updating this, but life calls you know? This semester is turning out rather busy actually. In some ways it’s hard to beleive it’s going to be halfway over this week, seems like school just started the other week, in other ways I’m ready for Christmas break. Hopefully things will let up a bit once we get into November though, I think they should.

My laptop is somewhere in Michigan being repaired right now, it needed some backlight and floppy drive repair. Luckily I’m not using it for notes in any class this semester and I should have it back this week I think. The joys of electronics.

Things are progressing well with my Amateur Radio Licence studying and I think I’ll be well prepared for the test on November 2nd. I’m in the midst of writing a speech for speech class right now so that’s the big project at the moment. I am slightly concerned about a Lit midterm coming up this Thursday, mostly because it’s a huge part of our grade in the class and I haven’t experianced this prof’s exams before, hopefully I’ll do well. It’ll be quite a relief to be through that in any event.

how busy is too busy?

So I’m stuck in a Student Association (Senate) meeting right now and thanks to 802.11b wireless networks I’m able to browse the net; it’s a lifesaver I tell you. Anyway I realized that it’s been a long time (almost a month!) since I updated my blog and I must say I’ve been extremely busy.

School has been going well for me this semester so far. I have a number of very interesting classes this semester and can honstly say I’m learning quite a bit. Thanks to my superior scheduling skills I have no classes before 12:20PM and no I don’t sleep in every day, but it is a nice option.

I again have two jobs on campus this year. I’m working two days a week in the Ameritech Telecommunications Lab and a few more days a week as an event service technician in the student center.

I seem to have more reading this semester than I have had before, this is not neccecarily a bad thing as I tend to enjoy most of the reading, but it does stress my schedule just a bit more than previous semesters have. Hopefully I’ll be able to update this more often as the semester progresses, I know that the second quarter will be less stressful as I’ll be through two more industry certicfications by that time.

busy as busy gets

I feels like it’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged. Probably because it has been. My summer turned out to be a lot busier than I had origianlly invisioned and the time just wasn’t there to blog, hopefully now that I’m back at school I’ll be able to get one in at least weekly if not more often. Better catch you up on my summer first though.

I got home towards the middle of May and jumped right in with the upcoming Current Jam concert at that time. I’ve already blogged quite a bit about that I think so I’ll leave that as is. For the last month of school though I had been looking for an interesting summer job and hadn’t found that yet. I didn’t want to be one of those average college kids home for the summer painting houses or whatnot. As luck would have it one of our vendors for Current Jam which is responsible for the intellegent lighting rental was looking for some extra work as their business was growing rather rapidly and they also needed someone with a bit of computer experiance to straighten out the network at the office. After a lunch meeting with them I was offered a job that would provide me with around 15 hours of work a week, which sounded pretty good to me, plus it was doing something I really enjoyed. As it turns out we were even busier than we had imagined and they ended up needing me for 40 hours a week which was fine with me because it was a blast working there. I got some great experiance and got to work on some interesting projects for them. If you’re ever looking for intelligent lighting rental or installation in the Twin Cities be sure to give the great folks at Light N Trax a call.

This kept me pretty busy weekdays after Current Jam so things at home piled up for me and I spent most weeknights and weekends dealing with those times, leaving little time for, yu guessed it, blogging about the summer. You must be saying to yourself that even with all this work I must have had a little time to myself or I’d go crazy. You’d be right, I did and it did stop me from going crazy. Now you’re asking yourself well great, but what did he DO with that time? I’ll tell you that too.

Towards the end of June the lake my Grandma lives on where we usualy have the boat and go waterskiing was flooded out. We quickly got the boat and dock out of the lake, anticipating it would stay out for the rest of the season. After haveing the flooded engine cleaned and checked out we kept the boat in our garage at home, this made it very convenient for us to go and chaeck out the skiing on a number of lakes near our house, specifically Bryant Lake in Eden Prarie. I got to ski more than I probably would have otherwise which is great because it’s something I love to do. The last few weeks of August it actually got low enough we took the boat out twice on my Grandma’s lake and I got in a few more ski runs. There are some pictures of me skiing on Bryant Lake in the Ben and Family Galleries located at be sure to check those out.

I also got a girlfreind this summer, something I haven’t had before, it was never quite right until now. Katie and I have been good friends for a few years and over the first part of the summer we grew closer as we learned more about each other and spent quite a bit of time together. Towards the end of June we both got honest with each other and admitted we liked each other a lot and agreed to start dating. As the summer progressed we spend even more time together, walking around some of the lakes and parks in the cities. We went out to see the Music Man at Chanhassen Dinner Theater, and to see Sum of All Fears. At the beginning of August we took a one day trip up near Duluth to a camp where I usually spend a week during the summer but didn’t have time this year. We also started whittling down the James Bond movie series, Katie admitted to only having seen one or two and since they are such a look into the periods of American history since the 50s I thought we should watch all of them, we got through most of them and have just a few to finish up. Just before we left for school we decided together that we didn’t want to see anyone else, so we’re keeping up our relationship via phone, email, letters and occasional visits. It’s interesting that only 30 minutes by car seperates you a lot more physically when you don’t have a car. In any event we’re doing quite well and both have a great outlook on our future together.

I moved back to school right at the end of August, but after visiting the fantastic and unparalelled Minnesota State Fair. Classes started the day after labor day and I came back home for labor day weekend for one last ski run. More on that and my first week of school to come in a future blog, this one got long enough!