Welcome to Spring Semester or Winter Quarter everybody!

A new term means new students, new courses, and new spreadsheets to keep track of everything! Today I just wanted to share two quick things I use to organize my class spreadsheets. This works in Excel, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice. I’ve never used Numbers, but it probably works there too. Later this month I’ll share a small amount of programming that will help you calculate final grades at the end of the course! :)

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When I built my computer, I had no problems at all. I mean, sure I was confused or puzzled by a few steps, and I was certainly challenged by the process, but I was never frustrated. All in all, it was a very empowering experience. I learned a lot and I was really successful.

And then I decided to upgrade. When I bought my graphics card, I made the mistake of not researching the computability of graphics card drivers with Ubuntu. It caused a whole weekend of headaches and troubleshooting and frustration before I got it working again.

So did I learn my lesson about doing research before making major changes to my computer? Apparently not.

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I bought one of the best GPUs I could get for under $100. I determined this by using the benchmarks per dollar chart here and by watching Black Friday sales closely. I did not determine which GPU I should buy based on anything other than the above, and the games I wanted to play, and whether it fit my motherboard. Okay, so I did my research, I just didn’t take into account I’m running Linux and not Windows.

Big mistake.

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Today would have been Aaron Swartz’s 28th birthday. He was an activist for Open Access, and I think Open Access is important too. Educate yourself:

I’m not gonna lie, I’m somewhat jealous of #thegiftofdata. This couple tracked their text messages for a whole year of dating and a whole year of marriage, and got some pretty cool word clouds out of it!

Thanks to PCPartPicker, NewEgg’s tutorials, and the BuildAPC reddit, I learned a lot about computers in the last month, which culminated in me building a little Linux machine, so I can learn Linux!! Yay! Click through for pics! :)

Building a computer is something I’d wanted to do since I was a kid, and learning Linux is something I’ve been interested in doing for the past few months. So this was an awesome experience and a lot of fun! I’m already wanting to build another one, but I guess I’ll have to wait. More »

The Turing Test is a measure of artificial intelligence or, perhaps more accurately, linguistic mimicry. The nature of the test is simple: a judge sits at a computer, and chats (as you would on any instant messenger app) for five minutes. At the end of the five minutes, the judge decides whether their conversational partner was a human or a computer. The bar to achieve a “passing” grade was set by the creator of the test, Alan Turing: a machine fooling 30% of human judges into thinking it was human would pass. In 1950, Turing predicted that the feat would be achieved by the year 2000.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

Also, Turing committed suicide in 1954. #depressing

However, a few weeks ago, for the first time in history, it was announced that the Turing Test had been passedMore »

For centuries, people have bemoaned the downfall of the next generation’s language. The latest rendition of this fear comes in the form of a fear of the digital age. The New York Times just published a piece decrying the lack of handwriting – especially cursive handwriting – in the new Common Core standards. To support their claims, the article cites a study which links handwriting to greater activation in the brain.

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