Passion, Perseverance, Practice

image from flickr.com no copyright infringement

 

So I’m here to give you my newest hint for achieving success. I know that I’m still a junior in City Tech, but I think of myself as very successful. I have discovered so much about myself throughout my schooling, I’ve learned about life, and I’ve come across some of the secrets to success. The best part? This secret is great for achieving higher scores in your classes and getting the most out of your class.

The secret that I want to share with you is that to be successful, remember the three Ps: Passion, Perseverance, and Practice. These three words are the ingredients to being successful in any endeavor. This mantra can be put to use in many situations. Let’s discuss some school examples.

I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of taking a class that we are really excited about, and of course there are those classes we wish we did not have to take. Those are the classes that might get pushed off until the end of our degree if that’s allowed. Often these are classes that we feel are not necessary for our majors. If we look at both type of classes, we will see that this slogan can be used for both.

First we’ll discuss that class to which you were really looking forward. You probably already have the first part, PASSION. Once you have that, you probably have discovered that you are willing to do anything to do well. That’s good because if you’re willing to do anything, PERSEVERANCE should be simple for you. Of course you know that working really hard only helps to a certain extent. But then, you can PRACTICE. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Practice makes Perfect”, and this is the reason why.

The same basic principle goes for that class that you can’t stand thinking about. There’s is just one fundamental difference. In these classes, you need to find a reason to have PASSION. Find a small part of the subject that is just amazing to you. Find a reason to get involved in the class, and you’ll find that the same principle will apply.

Have the PASSION, PERSEVERE, and PRACTICE, and you’ll be Proud!

5 Addictive and Relaxing Games

As finals week approaches, everyone needs to find something to do to unwind. It’s not my usual tech angle, but here are some relaxing and in some cases, downright addictive games to play.

 

Candy Crush

Candy Crush is a Bejeweled clone with a sweet twist – almost everything in the game has to do with sugary treats. You play this game by matching 3 or more candies of the same type in a row to make them disappear. Matching more than 3 gives you powered up candies. 4 candies in a row give you striped candies that destroy all candies in a row or column. Five or more candies in a row creates a color bomb – a candy bomb that destroys all candies on the board of a specific color. The game currently has about 350 levels but they’re added 15 at a time in groups of ‘episodes’ so it’s unlikely there’ll be an end to this game any time soon. Available to iPad, Android and PC users (usually on Facebook), the time consuming matching of Candy Crush Saga can be played virtually anywhere.

 

Minecraft

With over 20 million copies sold across multiple platforms, Mojang created a winner with Minecraft. Unlike Candy Crush Saga, Minecraft is an open world game, meaning it has no actual goal. Minecraft isn’t the prettiest game out there, but it really doesn’t need to be. The game revolves around harvesting, refining and placing blocks while trying not to get shot by skeletons, eaten by zombies or blown up by creepers. Players are limited in what they can do only by their imagination. The roller coaster video below is a great example.

Top 5 Minecraft Xbox 360 Structures – ROLLERCOASTERS

Minecraft is available on IPhone, Android, Xbox 360 and as of February, UK’s Raspberry Pi.

 

Subway Surfer

A popular Temple Run clone by Kiloo Games, Subway Surfer is an endless game about a kid with a can of spray paint running away from a security guard and his dog. In this game, you run between 3 sets of track, dodging cones, signal lights, trees, barricades and parked or moving trains while you collect coins and special items to complete challenges and unlock new characters. The game has some interesting power ups like jetpacks, hover boards and super sneakers though they occasionally do more harm than good. The longer you play, the faster you run making the game less about actual difficulty and more about reaction time – still, it’s extremely addictive and a great way to pass a train ride. Subway Surfer is available for any device running Android or iOS.

 

Angry Birds

Rovio’s Angry Birds is one of the most popular mobile games ever to be created. With 4 games in the Angry Birds series (Seasons, Rio, Space and Star Wars), a spinoff (Bad Piggies) a slew of Angry Birds merchandise, and a TV series (Angry Birds Toons), it’s more than an understatement to say the series is popular. Angry Birds is a puzzle game where players launch birds across levels of varying difficulty in an attempt to hit green pigs that have stolen their eggs. Different birds have different abilities – blue birds split into 3 smaller (but weaker) birds and yellow birds speed up when tapped. First released on Apple’s iOS, Angry Birds has since been released for Android, Symbian, Window’s Phone, PC, Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360.

 

Plants vs. Zombies

“There’s a zombie on the lawn”. No, really. In PopCap’s hit tower defense game, it’s your job to plant a 9 by 5 garden of zombie fighting garden to protect your brains from an interesting array of zombies. Players collect sunlight from random drops or from sunflowers as energy to power plants with different abilities that can range from standard peashooters (the name speaks for itself) to ‘Gloom-shrooms’ (useful mushrooms that shoot bubbles in every direction around them).The strategy of this game is in figuring out which plants are most effective against which types of zombies and in what layout. Certain plants don’t do well on the front lines, but work great as support. Plants vs. zombies is another game it’s easy to get lost in. A game of endless mode can last anywhere between 5 minutes and 5 hours so anyone short on time beware. Plants vs. Zombies is available for almost everything including Nintendo DS, PS Vita, and Blackberry.

 

 

Image Credits:

  • http://www.techpaparazzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/mobile-games-developers.jpg
  • https://lh3.ggpht.com/GAhK6Zy7LzhanD-naSrPYAXwYr21fmlZoHicZZSBtTtWmawNmZcv0Xa8Zq1vkKRzdOk=w124
  • https://lh3.ggpht.com/wnJIWJ7KlHhOR2rnu3BhZMZ90YdulOLNiNg6DEXlBQPgf7S9ddJ5-E97HGsXapMapvI=w124
  • https://lh5.ggpht.com/yRUw11DbeZ-XgJG-a1lBViQxH7UjwBsy8QhH0ur9VejpLZK6tNLLarpuRqestCiB6W4=w78-h78
  • https://lh3.ggpht.com/rjvMzwpRBmsufrA0MEmHkwu4iGOj0hO1qgQo8h2IHbWGDcOBmozRk0FUs-bbxg9_6fs=w78-h78
  • https://lh4.ggpht.com/NVIvvxvyL9uXZBop_DpmcqEcJ5JDd2BbVKQVrMxSlhdoSGDMO4EefJNKBmE2vsAqdTc=w124

 

Invention of the Hug

The Crood’s live strongly by their family motto ” New is always bad.  Never not be afraid.” Exactly as it sounds, they never surrender to curiosity, or stray from routine. All but Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) believe these precautions are necessary for survival. Emma Stone’s voice is well suited for Eep, the oldest child, who hates the rules, the cave, and her family.  She desires exploration of new things and is abnormally strong. Emphasis on strong, because this type of strength is not often seen in animated female characters. Her typical love-hate relationship with her father (Nicholas Cage) provides the emotional core of this story.

Eep: Dad, you have to stop worrying about us.

Grug: But it’s my job to worry! It’s my job to follow our traditions.

Eep: Those traditions don’t work out here.

Grug: They’ve been keeping us alive.

Eep: That was not LIVING! It was “Not Dying”! There’s a difference.

After their cave is destroyed in a rockslide, the Crood family ventures into strange and uniquely visualized territory in search of a new home. Head of the family, Grug (Cage) deals with internal conflicts when he encounters an imaginative nomad named Guy who is the polar-opposite to his “change-fearing” character.  Guy introduces them to fire and shoes, and the concept of using your brain to express an idea.

Where this film really makes an impression, is that instead of Eep and Grug meeting in the middle, Grug realizes that he has to accept the new world and find a way to be useful in it.  Grug’s old way of conservative living becomes obsolete by the end of the movie, and he’s forced to embrace a new way of life. His internal struggle goes through several stages: patriarchy to burdensome to abandonment and finally rebuilding through acceptance and adaptation.

The journey to their new home helps the Croods overcome their fear of the world that exists beyond their cave.  They discover an imaginative and colorful environment of prehistoric hybrid creatures and plants. The viewer is able to see them evolve emotionally which is very heartfelt. Grug invents the hug (rhymes with his name) exclusively for his daughter Eep, as a way to express his affection. The Croods offers food for thought about relationships, change, and perspective on why the challenge of family is worth the struggle. Although I do not have a favorite part, I enjoyed the movie’s faux explanations for specific inventions and conventions, such as “Grug’s hug” and belts.

To Boston, With Love

Usually my blog posts have to do with what’s happening in NYC, but I’d like to dedicate this post, to the city of Boston, who many of you may know, was recently attacked. On April 15, 2013, two bombs exploded, on Boylston Street, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people, and injuring 183 others. My thoughts and prayers are currently with the families of the deceased, and with those that were injured. It seems as if you can’t go to school, a movie, or run a race, without something horrible happening. With one of the suspects deceased, the other one in custody, I hope justice is swift, and brings some peace to this horrific city. How any human being can do such a thing, is beyond me. What makes this crime even more heart wrenching, is the fact that all three victims were so young, the youngest being an eight year old boy.

It’s times like this that we should all come together as a country. There are many ways you can help, such as donating to the numerous charities set up for the victims. So, let’s find some way to do our part, as we continue to pray for the citizen’s of Boston.

College Life: All Work and No Play?

Image by JacQuLyne on Flickr

There are many aspects of college life that contribute to varying degrees to a student’s success. Of course, a student’s primary responsibility is to his or her classes, but it is important not to ignore the extracurricular activities available on campus and off. Academic research studies have consistently proven that students who are involved in college life in more ways than just their classroom have proven to be more successful in their time as undergraduate college students. Many students hesitate to participate in these activities because of a fear that their classroom performance will suffer. While this is a valid concern, if a student maintains the proper balance between academic and social activities, they have less of a risk of burnout and greater chances of achievement. 

Students who participate in social functions on campus have the added benefit of socializing with other students on a regular basis as well as having the chance to network with students and professionals in their own field and those related to theirs. Many college activities also have a cultural or academic focus, allowing students to learn about their world in a more relaxed atmosphere. These lessons can then be correlated to classroom studies without much effort because the student has “lived” the experience. 

Some specific upcoming opportunities for socializing, learning, and enhancing skills outside of the classroom are the following: 

The 32nd annual Literary Arts Festival is scheduled for 5:30 today. This is a unique celebration of literature, students’ work and culture. This event is open to the public. This year, the guest speakers will be the director of Brooklyn Castle as well as a star character of this documentary. This is not an event to miss. In addition, there will be student performances and readings. Leading up to this festival, there was a writing contest with various submission categories. For more information abouty this event see the Literary Arts Festival page https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/literaryartsfestival/ 

Another opportunity to get involved in your college experience outside of the classroom is the new contest, “What Does Gen Ed Mean to You?” Students are asked to compile an audio/visual, graphic, or other artistic presentation to answer this question. One winner will be selected from each of the three schools in the college. The winner will receive a $250 cash prize. The winning submissions will also be used to promote General Education in the college. This is a great opportunity to start thinking about what general education is, why the college requires it, and how you benefit from it. For mor information and submissions, email the Gen Ed committee at genedcontest@gmail.com or visit the Gen Ed Contest page  https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/groups/what-does-gen-ed-mean/ 

Other upcoming events include an end of semester bash by SGA, “Fun in the Sun”, on May 6 and graduation. Also, you can start attending clubs during the college’s designated club hours: Thursday 12:45-2:15 

How will you make the most of your college experience?

Worms on Campus: What’s In Your Pocket?

Worms

Earlier this week, various computer lab classrooms on the 4th, 6th and 9th floors were infected with a worm called W32.Downadup (more commonly known as Conficker), so anyone who plugged into a computer anywhere should scan any device they plugged in (be it USB or mobile phone) as well as any computers they may have connected them to afterwards. In short,anyone who has used a campus computer should get their devices checked out as soon as possible. If you think that just having an Antivirus on your computer will keep you from possible infection, think again. This particular worm is very easy to spread, especially by USB and almost everyone on campus has one.

Transmission

Inconvenient? Yes. Irritating? Very, but this worm wouldn’t deal nearly as much damage if it weren’t so easy to spread. On an infected computer, Conficker will copy itself into an infected computer the second the AutoPlay program runs. More specifically, Conficker will create a ‘.inf’ (short for Setup Information File) on any USB device connected to an infected computer. Generally, inf files are text files used by Windows to install software in drivers – in this case, used to install the worm on new computers. The Auto Play setting can be disabled on a computer, but that’s a moot point if a user opens the infected USB anyway.

Another method used and abused by this worm is social engineering. Students in the computer systems major probably already know this, but social engineering can include anything from calling a person and pretending to be an IT worker to get a password to a developer making an application to manipulate people into giving them their banking information. In the event a computer isn’t infected though Auto Play, Conficker can disguise an executable file as a folder by changing the icon to look like a folder, leading users to unknowingly infect their computers.

What’s the Risk?

There are multiple versions of this worm floating around the net and nearly all of them make it difficult for infected computers to detect and/or remove them. Most version of Conficker disable Windows update and blocks users from visiting anti-malware sites but nastier versions take it a step further, disabling safe mode and killing any anti-virus, patch or diagnostic processes it comes across it. While most symptoms of the Conficker worm only affect the computer, the defining issue for students is this worm’s ability to corrupt flash drives. That project you’ve been working on all semester? Gone. It can’t be stressed enough. Back up your work.

Symptoms of Infection

Symptoms can include slow internet, forced redirection to ‘not safe for work’ sites, disabled folder options (unable to view hidden folders), and potential damage to USB drives. While most symptoms of the Conficker worm only affect the computer and whatever network it’s on, the defining issue for students is this worm’s ability to corrupt flash drives. Students have reported missing files and folders, new files that they didn’t add and occasionally a completely corrupted flash drive.

While it’s unknown whether or not the school at large has been infected, it should be common practice for anyone using portable storage devices to routinely check for viruses and malicious programs. So for the people to stick their drive in the nearest computer without taking any security precautions, the question remains, what are you carrying?

Sources:

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conficker
  • http://www.usbvirus.com/usb_virus/remove-usb-worm-virus.html
  • http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2008-112203-2408-99&tabid=2
  • http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/autoplay-worms
  • http://www.f-secure.com/v-descs/worm_w32_autorun.shtml

Image Sources:

  • http://canerator.deviantart.com/art/USB-virus-139656994
  • http://www.zdnet.fr/i/edit/ne/2009/04/autorun-windows7.jpg

Cirque du CitiField

Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM is on tour in Citi Field Queens  until 23 June 2013. This show’s theme revolves around the evolution of mankind from its primordial, amphibian state and toward the desire of flight.Totem reflects the continued development of the aspirations of human evolution by combining many acrobatic skills, costumes and music, making each act truly unique.

This performance also included a live orchestra and vocals, which were mesmerizing. Although the musical score was not focused on the traditional music of the native tirbes as one would assume, it was a harmonious balance of a variety of cultures. It samples Asian, South Asian, Italian and Tribal music. The combination of these cultures was exhilarating.

I’ve attended a few of their performances, and must say I always enjoy their stage setup. Totem’s stage was an artistic interpretation of a pond. I won’t elaborate, so I don’t spoil the visual for you. Cirque du Soleil’s seating arrangement is very well thought out. Sometimes while attending shows, we get seating near the infamous blind spots. Whether you are seated behind a pole, a pillar or a rather tall audience member. The distribution of audience spacing in this show is great because the acts look amazing from any angle in the almost 360 seating. The space between the rows are far enough that even if you are slouching in your seat, the person in front of you doesn’t affect you.

The little, subtle details always seem to speak loudest to me. The storyline of the characters was lightly emphasized in this performance. Normally, Cirque has an overall story that the characters fit into. The story line was all over the place. Nevertheless, the concoction of magic and, gravity defiance was nothing short of amazing. Acts in this show focused heavily on strength, coordination and agility.  There were a few death defying acts, where I realized I forgot to breathe. These performers definitely do not have trust issues.

Dates: “Totem” continues through May 12 at
Place: Citi Field, 126th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, Queens 
Run time: 90 mins with 30 minute intermission

Who’s Ready To Have A Weiner for Mayor?

I’m sure everyone by now, has heard the story of shamed politician, Anthony Weiner. In 2011, Weiner was a Congressman, who represented the Brooklyn-Queens district, for more than a decade. He resigned after several provocative photographs of himself, engaging in lewd interactions, were leaked online. Instead of privately sending the sexually explicit image privately, Weiner accidently tweeted it to his 45,000 followers.

After leaving the political world behind, Weiner now plays the role of stay at home husband and dad. He spends his time picking up his wife’s dry cleaning, babysitting their son, and sticking close to his Park Avenue apartment.

But it appears as though Weiner is ready to put the past behind him, as he eyes the New York’s 2013 mayoral race. Weiner was quoted as wanting a “second chance” from voters, and called the upcoming mayoral race a case of “now or maybe never for me.” While he doesn’t know when he would make a firm decision about running for mayor, he acknowledged he would be the underdog. However, he would have a $4.3 million war chest to work with, funds left over from a previous mayoral campaign. He also would be eligible for an additional $1.5 million in public matching funds, which he risks losing if he does not use the money by the end of the year.

Weiner’s political committee recently spent more than $100,000 on polling and research, to find out if the public would be up for giving him a second chance in politics. The results of the polls showed that, in general, people are prepared to see beyond his scandal, and give the former congressman a second chance.

So, is it time to forgive and forget? If his wife can, maybe we should as well. While his actions were disturbing, he did prove to be a very good congressman, and scored high in his approval ratings, before the scandal occurred.  But at the same time, I don’t think I can ever look at him the same way again, after seeing those photos. The media made such a mockery out of him; I don’t see how he will ever have the full respect of the people of New York.

Scientists can “read” dreams by using MRI scans

MRI Scan

Have you ever had a dream in which you wanted to talk to your friend about what had happened but just couldn’t find the words to explain what you have just witnessed in your subconscious mind? Well recently scientists have discovered a way in order for them to read your dreams by scanning your brain. The purpose for this experiment was to better understand the brain and understand what goes through it as we sleep.

What researchers had done was they did an experiment on three different people where they used MRI scans as they began to drift asleep. As soon as they would fall asleep, right after they would be awoken and asked a series of in depth questions on what it was that they had seen in their dreams. They repeated this process 200 times for each participant! After all of that work, what it had done was it gave the researchers a database of images in which they connected with brain activity and began to group similar visual depictions together.

After they have acquired the database of images, scientists were able to analyze the brain activity as the participants had slept and began assuming on what it was that they were currently dreaming about at the moment. Scientists were able to predict what people were dreaming about. They were 60 percent accurate with their assumptions that were based off of many variables. Professor Kamitani who is one of the researchers says, “We were able to reveal dream content from brain activity during sleep, which was consistent with the subjects’ verbal reports”.

However this is just the beginning of their research. Scientists wish to continuously grow in their experiment. They had only started to analyze dreams of light sleep. They now wish to target deep sleep since those are where the most vivid dreams are thought to occur. They also want to see in depth if the MRI brain scan can help detect colors and smells people come across in their dreams as well.

So stay tuned everyone. Some see this as a fascinating experiment in which dreams are able to become decoded but others see this as their nightmare being played for them on a DVR. So what do you guys think? Is this a neat experiment or are you guys going to dread seeing your most embarrassing dreams or horrifying nightmares being shown to people and played for you?

Source & Image Source
BBC News
BBC Image

Saving the world, One Life at a Time

So, I usually write about things that are directly related to school, but I had an experience this weekend that made me decide to change my direction this once. The Nursing Department has a requirement of 6 hours of Community Service. The past two semesters, I completed my requirement within the first week of the semester. This semester, I arranged to do it two times already, and both times it got canceled. I finally got a chance to do my community service this Saturday.

Last semester I actually had a chance to volunteer with this agency often. It’s a wonderful community-based agency that provides services for families of children with chronic and terminal illness. This semester, I was actually worried that I would not be able to complete my six hours of volunteering. I was so busy worrying that I wouldn’t make my required hours, that I had forgotten how great it actually feels when I’m doing it.

I got to the hospital on Friday evening, and I realized that I had actually taken care of this child on another occasion. It was so wonderful to see how much this child had improved in the past few weeks. As I settled in to the routine, I started thinking that this would be easy. I thought that since I already knew this kid, and I knew about his condition, I this would be a breeze. And I knew that the next 25 hours would be great.

Then, the kid started crying. I could tell he was in pain, and all I could do was hold his hands. I could try to soothe him, I could advocate for him, and I could pray for him, but I could not fix him. I spent the night hoping that he would be okay. I accompanied him to tests, I freaked out every time the monitor did its little song, and prayed some more. And we got through the night.

When the day shift arrived in the morning, I was tired from being up all night, but we had made it. The little boy was really in a good mood, very friendly, and I like to believe that it wasn’t from the pain medicine. We got to bond the rest of the day. Except of course when he took a little nap, and I got to snooze a little. By the time it was time to leave, I felt like I had just saved the world.. Well I guess they do say that you can save the world one life at a time.