Category Archives: Operation: Party Mansion

Still Alive

Where have I been?  My last blog post was over a month ago!

I’ve been pretty busy.  MarkUs is getting close to deployment, I’m about to move to a new apartment, and The Johnson Report has been playing quite a few shows.

So I’ve had my hands full!

But don’t despair – I didn’t forget about Poland!

And on that note, allow me to publish a new chapter…

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Operation: Party Mansion is GO

Operation: Party Mansion just got the green light from reality:  today, my two friends, Joel and Julian, purchased a house.

So that’s phase one.  Within a few weeks, they’ll be in possession of a killer downtown Toronto property, and eventually they’ll begin renovations.

Blueprints and specs have already been meticulously examined, and plans for a dramatic renovation of the house are already being made.

By September, I (along with 3 other friends) will have moved into the renovated house.  The apartment we’ve had near College and Spadina has served us well for 4 years, but it’s too small, and we desperately want the new space.

And man, did we get space.

Deck #1.  There'll be more.

Deck #1. There'll be more.

More photos soon.

A massive thanks to Julian Rabideau and Joel Beck for making this thing a reality.  It takes guts to buy your first house, and you guys hit a home run for us, first time at bat.  Big congrats!  I’m looking forward to moving in!

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Last Post Focused on Summer Work. Operation: Party Mansion Update!

Some good work this week.  Nelle, Severin and I have been hacking away at OLM, and little by little, it’s starting to shape up.

But I’ve decided something – I’m not going to post anything else about OLM on this blog.  That stuff will go on the official OLM blog, that all of us developers have access to.

You can view that blog, and my latest post on it, here.

So, I guess that more or less finishes my “summer work” posts.  I’ll use this blog to post about other stuff going on with me.

Stuff like Operation: Party Mansion.

Remember Operation: Party Mansion?  I mentioned it a while back, but I’ll recap for those of you who don’t know.

I’ve got two friends:  Julian Rabideau, and Joel Beck.  These two friends of mine are looking to buy a house in downtown Toronto.  They’re going to renovate, and improve the house, and I (with a few other friends) will rent under them while it’s going on.

Sounds ambitious, doesn’t it?

I know what you’re thinking – “Big talk!  Good luck!”  But hold your horses:  there’s been a flurry of progress over the last week.  Joel and Julian have already managed to secure a sizable mortgage from the bank, and already have their eyes set on a property that meets/exceeds their requirements.

In terms of renovation, Julian is a certified Red Seal carpenter, and he’d been flipping houses for years in St. Catharines before coming to Toronto.  Renovation-wise, he knows what he’s doing.

Both have solid jobs, and already have tenants waiting to rent under them.

Did you pull a stunt like that when you were only 23?  I can’t think of anyone else I know our age who’s even remotely close to trying it.  Kudos to these two – it’s a big project, with big numbers, but so far it seems to be working their way.

Anyhow, the open house on the property was this weekend.  Photos were taken, and schematics were photocopied. All interested parties seem to be digging the proposed house.

Bids go in later this week.  Will they land the house?

I’ll let you know.

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Hello Graduate School

Well, it’s official.  Today, I handed in my acceptance form for Graduate Studies here at the University of Toronto in the Computer Science Department!

Now I just need to keep my cGPA above 3.2…

Assuming that I get my B.Sc. without incident (because who knows, maybe the University will fight me for it…citing missing courses, insufficient credits, etc.  I’ve checked all of this with New College and the Drama/CS departments, but I’ve been here too long not to be ready for bureaucratic tom-foolery…), I think I’ve got an interesting year or so ahead of me.

This summer is already looking quite busy, but here’s what I’m looking forward to next year:

Interesting Courses

I’ve been leafing through the Graduate course calendar, looking for courses that sound good and fulfill my breadth requirement.  Here are the courses I’ve underlined as “interesting”.  Note that I haven’t checked the timetable at all to see if these conflict with one another.  They just sound interesting:

  • 2125H – Software Development Tools and Practices:
    This course is an introduction to software consulting practices. Students will be paired with clients whose problems require advanced knowledge of computer science to solve, and will then work under the direction of the course instructor to develop and deliver useful results. Topics will include requirements elicitation, scope negotiations, deployment concerns, and disaster recovery.
  • 2412H – Computer Algebra
    Algebraic theory that underlies symbolic and algebraic manipulation by computer. Chinese Remainder and interpolation theory, fast algorithms for computations with integers, polynomials and power series. Newton and Hensel iteration, polynomial and integer gcd algorithms, factorization of polynomials, the fast Fourier transform, solving systems of polynomial equations, Gröbner bases. The Maple computer algebra system.
  • 2426H – Fundamentals of Cryptography
    Rigorous definitions of security for pseudo-random generators, digital signature schemes, secure hash families, and public-key encryption.. Methods (including number-theoretic conjectures) for constructing these secure cryptographic primitives. Methods for using secure primitives to achieve secure session-key exchange and secure sessions.
  • 2511H – Natural Language Computing
    Introduction to techniques involving natural language and speech in applications such as information retrieval, extraction, and filtering; intelligent Web searching; spelling and grammar checking; speech recognition and synthesis; and multi-lingual systems including machine translation. N-grams, POS-tagging, semantic distance metrics, indexing, on-line lexicons and thesauri, markup languages, collections of on-line documents, corpus analysis. Python software.
  • 2529H – Computer Animation
    The primary focus of this course is on kinematic and dynamic techniques for character animation. Topics include physical modeling and simulation, motion planning, control and learning algorithms, locomotion, motion trajectory optimization, scripting languages, motion capture, and motion editing. Students will implement algorithms and interactive animation tools and then use these to produce motion for animations.
  • KMDI1001 – Fundamental Concepts in Knowledge Media Design
    Knowledge media are systems incorporating computer and communications technology that enhance human thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, and learning. Examples include the Web, email, instant messaging, knowledge management systems, digital libraries, collaborative virtual environments, video conferencing environments, and webcasting systems.
    This course reviews the emerging field of knowledge media design, and the use of digital media for communications, collaboration, and learning.

I’m also looking into the possibility of hopping (back) over to the Computer Engineering Department to see if I can take ECE568H1 – Computer Security.  My general dislike for engineering courses notwithstanding, this still sounds like an interesting possibility.

(Note to self:  the word “notwithstanding” just felt right to put there, but is that correct usage?  I have no idea…)

Thesis

Well, it’s no surprise – a Master’s student is expected to produce a paper in order to graduate.  I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing my thesis on, but the number of possibilities is exciting.

It’d be nice to somehow merge Drama and Computer Science into a thesis – and I think it’d be an appropriate finale for my career here at UofT.  It’s something to mull over while I have time, anyhow.

Launching OLM

OLM is going up in the fall.  Whether or not I work on it this summer, as a TA, I’ll probably be using the software to mark and return student code.  “Eating one’s own dog-food” might be appropriate here – though I prefer, “eating the sandwich I just helped to make”.

Drama

A lot of my friends from the Drama department are either graduating in June, or staying on for one more year.  A bunch who are graduating are staying in the city, and the prospect of doing some work with them outside of school is exciting.

We’re all very spoiled here at the UCDP – modest budget, multiple rehearsal spaces, etc… working on our own stuff outside of school might be a very humbling experience.  Humbling as in, rehearsing in alley ways or rooftops, and using an audience holding flashlights instead of our own lighting grid.  Cool.

Operation: Party Mansion

This one is still in the works.  Some buddies of mine from highschool (who are also my roommates) are looking to buy some property in, or around downtown Toronto.

This may sound ambitious, foolhardy, and naive, but we’re serious, and a lot of legwork has already been done in order to get this moving.

Ideal scenario?  Next year, I’ll be living in a big house with my highschool buddies.  And isn’t that living the dream?

Anyhow, as I was saying, my Grad school papers are in, so my brain is going to put that on the backburner for a while.  Now I have to focus on my CSC301 midterm for this Wednesday, and an evidentiary analysis on CIA/JFK Assassination links for INI304.

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