Thursday, November 25, 2010

e resources shortcut links, mit

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stellar thoughts

Features I would like:

some way to "sync" to the Materials or Homework sections, so that I automatically get new psets.

a forum that people used, or some way to find people willing to pset around the same time / place (that... that sounds like a smart phone app sort of thing, actually. But I don't have a smart phone >.>)

It sounds like they're changing the backend for Stellar NG and not so much the front-end.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

[free] Open Office Resume Template for Undergraduates (MIT) - for UPOP

(free, I don't care how you use it)

[update 4/3/11: I've since changed the design based on feedback, primarily addressing the date/location formatting inconsistency, the small font, the multiple colors (shades of gray) and font sizes, and really killed more information off of my resume to make it less crowded.]

There's an openoffice (.odt) resume template there. Along with the
  • resultant PDF (or  
  • here if you prefer google docs), and a  
  • screenshot of what it looks like in OpenOffice if you want a preview (the table lines are invisible when you export it).
    [EDIT: 15 Nov 2010] I tried exporting to .doc; it's fairly messed up, but possibly fixable. I'm not interested in fixing it, but good luck.  
  • Here is the template in .doc

It looks nicer when it's filled in :)

It's what my current resume is based off of; sort of derived from one of the UPOP sample resumes (if you're in UPOP, sign in and see "Resources")
I remixed it from one of the openoffice templates, the one that has blue borders.

Also useful:

As a preview, this is what the English one looks like:


Anyway, documentation for my template:

The relevant styles (edit> styles and formatting, find the style you want, right-click and hit "modify") are

  • resume (for the leftmost column titles)
  • Heading 1 (for the company/lab names)
  • description/title (for the job descriptions)
  • bullet list (for all the bulleted text)
  • Default (for all the other text, dates, etc.)

If you want to change the order of your rows or something, you have to Create New Row, Copy Old Row and Paste into New Row, finally Delete Old Row.

However,  In openoffice, Copy & Paste either doesn't preserve the formatting (e.g. the date column) or doesn't copy anything at all is there's a "dimension mismatch" in a sense

Thus, for moving rows or creating new sections, note that there's two types of sections. (A)The "skills" section with just a field for bullet points, and (B) the "experience" section with a company name+date+location and a field for bullet points. (see screenshot if you're confused)

  • If you're moving same-type sections around:
    • Select (left-click, drag) appropriate (B) rows / (A) row, and Right-click> Row > Insert... > Before / After.
  • If you want a different section:
    • To move a section (A) from before (B) to after (B) (or vice verse)
      • Follow above to create new (B) section
      • Then select the row for (company name+date+location) and Right-click > Row > Delete
      • Copy over (A) contents
      • Delete old (A) row
    • To move (B) to before or after (A)
      • Think of it in terms of moving (A) to before or after (B) (yes, be an engineer and solve problems), because you can't "add rows" from (A) and then copy (B) over because (B) is "richer" than (A) so it won't "fit"

Yay, you keep it so that all the columns are aligned together.

For bullets, Format > Bullets and Numbering,
"width of numbering" is what really effects the spacing between the bullets and the text
"minimum space numbering <-> text" sets a minimum, so it may or may not effect your spacing
"indent" sets the spacing between the table cell boundary and your bullet

Also, see Format > Page if you want A4 instead of letter, or to adjust the page margins.

See Right Click > Table > Borders to adjust the "Spacing to Contents" fields

Also note the checkbox "Table Boundaries" when you right-click, that lets you toggle viewing of what it looks like when export to PDF, aka without the table boundary lines drawn in if you set Table > Borders to the "Line Arrangement" with no lines like I did.

View > Nonprinting Characters is useful for troubleshooting things like the mysterious, hard-to-get-rid-of blank line that appears after the table. (something about a table is attached to a paragraph so there always has to be a paragraph)

If you get a blank line which creates a new page after the table, go to the end of last cell in the table and hit "shift-ctrl-del" ("del" by itself on the blank line does nothing, and backspace goes into the table instead of removing the line). The line will come back if you save and re-open the document, though *shrug*

Saturday, November 13, 2010


In One Day, All Children... , which chronicles the founding of Teach for America from the founder's viewpoint, she mentions that part of the inspiration was seeing people with good educational backgrounds flourish at Princeton where others with backgrounds that prepared them less adequately struggle to do well at Princeton.

Is this an anecdote, or is there a causal relationship between the two? I just realized that somewhere I got it into my head that "Regardless of background, everyone who comes to MIT can do well because (a) their inner potential (b) MIT's resources." I would be interested in crunching data for rough approximants such as neighborhood wealth of graduating school and GPA.

In other news, MIT FML has some oddly encouraging people on it who have good advice for adjusting to MIT.

[Edit 14-Nov-2010]
Maja (my freshman roommate ^^) recommended Waiting for "Superman", a movie that came out recently on this topic. I've yet to see it, but Maja says that it's good.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


(draft-ish, as most of my blog posts are)
Ever since spending 12 weeks in China (that is, incredibly, more time than I spend in a semester at MIT learning 6000x things... Man oh man did I waste my time this summer, in some senses), I've called into question a lot of my own beliefs.

I'm a passionate believer in the ideas behind the Millennium Development Goals (or here if Wikipedia's sad), so it seems like I should also fall in the group of people who agitate for human rights. Growing up in the United States of America, I should be a passionate believer in democracy. To me it should be
... depressing (depending on your viewpoint) ... that Obama has failed to press Russia or China very hard on rights, given how little leverage Washington has with these powers--and how such pressure has backfired in the past.

To add to that, this summer I found out that one of the relatives I'm closer to is child-less because she spent 20 years in prison. She loves children all the more for it. In fact, I learned that the story of my family's ties to the Communist Party are just as convoluted as the story of Communism in China itself (My grandfather's picture is in a small museum about the Revolution. He had a chance of being high up in the Community Party, but since my grandma, originally also a Party member, became leftist, in part due to the Party's treatment of aforementioned relative, he had to choose between staying with her and career advancement. He chose her.)*
*(don't hold me to the details here -- my memory ain't the best)

In some sense, then, my summer was invaluable. Irreplaceable, since my grandma passed away recently. My rant on the Chinese hospital system, I'll save for another day.

My heart cries out that we still live in a world where the injustice of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, of Aung San Suu Kyi, these wrongs can be perpetuated for so long. Where there are so many human rights violations in China.

Speaking of which, how do many Chinese think of the Tibetan situation? They buy the line that, in order for China to remain whole, we need to speak a common language. That's the function of Mandarin, why Tibetans are being taught Mandarin in schools. It's a net benefit to them -- many Tibetans, the western regions of China in general, are poor and can achieve better living standards by working with other Chinese, with the government. In America, everyone loves the Dalai Lama. He stands for peace, for love -- how could I not support him?

But my own relatives are more ambivalent. Because they've been prejudiced into not hearing what he actually stands for? If I supported the Dalai Lama, should my heart not equally cry out at the injustice being perpetuated on the Tibetan people by insisting they be a part of China?

Have the Chinese people been blinded by government propaganda, by growing up with biased textbooks? What is the truth? (Is there no truth? No way to know which way is truly "right," whether in two hundred years Tibetans will become a proud part of the ethnicities of China? Whether Tibetans will "gain" more than they "lose" from being a part of China?)

I get such strongly contrasting opinions from my friends in the USA. Since I live in the USA, I should be an ardent patriot, right? Since I believe in human rights, shouldn't I research our policies, defend my country with fierce debate and rhetoric?

The USA...

My beliefs became ever more conflicting when Arka, putz's resident Patriotic Indian (i.e. very proud of Indian democracy) told us how many Indians view Gandhi, that favorite of human rights activists and Westerners. That many Indians dislike Gandhi for tearing their country apart into Pakistan and India. That the independence of India was inevitable due to Britain's changing place in the world, and did not arise from the charisma of Gandhi. I'd never considered this, that perhaps Gandhi wasn't a universal standard of Good.

The USA...

Where our security services gets away with whizzing foreign citizens around and wrongly imprisoning people for years (and these are just the people we hear about). Where Guantanamo Bay exists. Where we decide to invade a country halfway around the world.

Where a relative of mine was arrested and made fun of in their local newspaper for not interpreting the police officer correctly and speedily enough (the arrest was baseless and unnecessary). Where the freedom of the press sometimes results in human deaths and other tolls, despite journalists' best efforts.

This kind of shattered my illusions about and belief in the fairness of our justice system. Do I still believe in its overall fairness and justice? Do I believe its the best possible approach given our human fallibilities? I don't know.

I'm not unpatriotic. I love America and the opportunities it afforded my parents to let me get to where I am today; the opportunities it affords me today. As my parents have said again and again, though, only they who love me so much would ever give me the criticism that I need to hear. Perhaps it's something similar for me... I love the promise of the USA so much, that I would like to see the reality of the USA get even better.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reuse, and Societal Norms

Instead of valuing reuse like valuing recycling, society seems to attach a stigma of poverty and lower-class status to it. If you have money, why would you want to wear a shirt that someone else has given away?

My parents definitely have this mentality. I suspect that they may be particularly sensitive to this, as they've worked extremely hard to go from being very poor immigrants to where we are today. I should be dressing up, aspiring to be high class, not reusing.

On the other hand, I have, for some reason, grown much more radical ideas concerning reuse and appearances. Reuse@mit is amazing. I wear other people's cast-off shirts for activities that I know will destroy my shirt. My bike frame and front bike wheel are from different salvages, and my bike is painted in ghetto coloring to discourage theft.

This is possibly due to my indecisiveness at spending money. Since I've made so few purchases in my lifetime, and since some of those have bit me (due to my inexperience), I'm even more reluctant to spend money. Is it the best deal for my money? Is it a good investment?

For some reason, I find it difficult to internalize that time is more valuable than money. Buying all the recommended textbooks, even used, would save me much time and improve my grades, perhaps helping me earn a scholarship that would make the textbook costs 1000x worth it, but I can't seem to rationalize this to myself. Right now, I walk around without a bike lock, because what if I buy the kind of lock that can be jimmied open with a bic pen? What if I drop $30 on a worthless lock? Instead, I leave my bike lying around unlocked...

Or build projects -- op-amps cost <$1, but there's shipping. So I should wait until I have a giant list of things I need to buy, right?

So you see, I fail as a maker.

Anyway, now you should agree, society is bent on destroying the environment.

6.005 svn and eclipse notes

recently updated to maverick, which broke many things.
also, have to install things on new windows 7 (which is a failed triple-boot and more like a single boot since I can't boot Ubuntu when the win7 drive is attached)

6.005 instructions are for Subclipse. When I reinstalled everything, I went with Subversive instead. So here are some instructions for installing Subversive:

Download eclipse for Java developers (unpack zip where you want, run eclipse, no "installation") Instructions for Helios:
  1. Help > Install New Software >
    • Work with: Pick "Helios -" (should be one of three given options)
    • Under "Collaboration" select Subversive SVN Team Provider (Incubation)
    Next >
    • Agree or not agree to license as you wish
    Install > (takes <10 seconds for me)
  2. Restart Eclipse.
  3. Window > Open Perspective > SVN Repository Exploring
  4. Automatically pops up: Install Connectors (Subversive Connector Discovery).
    Lists several options under Subversive SVN Connectors. I have no idea what the differences between the options mean. I picked SVN Java Kit 1.3.2 which seems to be working fine.

    "Install" (blah Connectors, blah SVNKit preselected for you) windows pops up

    Next >
    • Accept license agreement, if you so wish.
    Finish > Ok (to Software Warning)
  5. Restart Eclipse. (doh, this is silly, I could've sworn last time I only had to restart once, so these instructions are not optimal)
Now to add the 6.005 SVN repository. (remember to pull your folder via SVN Admin!)
  1. Window > Open Perspective > SVN Repository Exploring
    Click the [ ]+ button (the tiny one that looks like a cylinder with a green plus sign next to it)


    "There is a problem with this site's security certificate" > Trust Always >

    "User Credentials" > well yea, enter in the user name and password you created when you did Lab 0.1 > Ok

    "Create master password for recovery" > Yes or No as you wish. I hit No.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the MIT bubble

Gosh darn it MIT. I keep trying to get back up on my feet, but you just keep kicking me in the face. Repeatedly. While all my TAs and professors look on in disappointment.