Tuesday, December 09, 2014

When It Snows At Night

I ice skated home from campus today. . . I have to admit, it was fun to slip and slide on the sidewalks.

It's currently 1:27AM and I just got home. But the trip home was beautiful. The air was cold and crisp, and snow was in the air. A light, calm snowstorm had been progressing. There was also a layer of wet snow, turned liquid from all the consistent warm steps before mines, and then turned slushy-ice, because as the night gets later, the frequency of warm footsteps lessen. The sky was light-polluted white. And the streetlamps glowed orange. It was peaceful and relaxing.

Perhaps, it's because it was nostalgic.

I don't normally breathe in the cold, crisp, night air during a snow storm. But I used to. As a child, especially during the winter months, I enjoyed looking out my window into the night. Sometimes, it would snow, and other times it wouldn't. But usually, I would secretly open the window -- secretly because the ones in charge of the gas bill wouldn't be too happy if they knew I was wasting precious heat -- peer out it, and breathe in the cold air.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Right now. Right here.

Right now. Right here. I wish I could lay in bed and look at the sky, the moon, the stars. 

Right now. Right here. I remember that with great power (basically all of today's knowledge in the palm of our hands) comes great responsibilities. 

Right now. Right here. I let go and let myself sleep. It's time to wake up rested. 

Right now. Right here. I return to my ideals and habits of the past that worked. 

Right now. Right here. I leave behind the world and create a place that is my own. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On What I learned this Summer at IDEO

Somebody tell me who did this?
This past summer, I had the most fortunate opportunity to intern at IDEO. And while I received great industrial insight into design and innovation, rapid prototyping, human-centered design, [insert buzzword], etc., there are a few things that particularly resonated with me and go beyond conventional industry wisdom. They are of the age-old truths sort. Truths, themes, realizations, if you will, that will arguably follow me onward.

By IDEO-er Elaine Fong.
1. There's so much time and so much you can do! #story!
We read stories; we watch stories; we tell stories; we experience stories; we create stories; we live stories. We use stories to interact and connect; our lives become stories: it's the way of the homo-sapien species. However, it is important to note that it is the chapters, the characters, the plot, the setting that make a story what it is. At IDEO, I was surrounded by people that were older than I was and definitely a lot more accomplished then I was. And it was thoroughly refreshing. It made me realize how much could be achieved in a span of time. I got to hear about the many chapters of their lives and how multifaceted it could be and still be coherently linear. It gave me great optimism. So often I think I'm put on earth to do one thing; and the fact of the matter is that I can do additional things to that one thing. It's very liberating.

By IDEO-er Lawrence Abrahamson. 
2. "'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar."
The people at IDEO are passionate. They are passionate about their work and they are passionate about other aspects of their life, non work things that can be extremely fringe or mainstream. And that's who they are; no one bats an eye. In fact, they are intrigued and curious, inspired even. These people are genuinely passionated and curious about the world and everything in it: people, life, the good, the bad, the unknown. They have the courage to think the great ideas, as well as the not so great ideas. It's a very attractive and contagious trait: being yourself.

By IDEO-er Josh Sin.
3. Share your work; collaborate. Don't reinvent the wheel.
People at IDEO are constantly learning from each other. I definitely learned a lot from them. There was always a workshop or break out to share and learn. In school, you will no doubt work on assignments that have been done year after year after year. But that's the difference between school and the real world. In school, you are practicing, honing your skills, becoming better. But in the real world, you are out to contribute. And you're allowed to build from other people's work. And they are allowed to build off your work. Otherwise, innovation would take forever.

By IDEO-er Zeke Markshausen.
4. The T shaped person.
A lot of people at IDEO are T-shaped people. This was something I wasn't too familiar with before IDEO. But unconsciously, this was what I've been striving to become my entire life. You can revisit some of my past posts and you will see that I struggled with being a dabbler, a not entirely field devoted individual. I was constantly afraid that I wasn't focused enough, that I had too many interest. And at IDEO, I realized this was a strength, not a flaw. I realized that the kind of work I wanted to do was the kind that required T-shaped contributors. (If you wikipedia T-shaped person, the short article mentions the CEO of IDEO, Tim Brown. I didn't know; I've been brainwashed . . . D:)
By IDEO-ers Tasos Karahalios and Leigh Cohen.
5. Actions speak louder than words, sometimes.
A huge part of IDEO is rapid prototyping. And a huge part of that is making abstract ideas physical. Many times, we have ideas. But we don't actual know how those ideas will translate unless we work them out. Trust in the process and make, make, make.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Careful Shots Make for Less Digital Clutter

There's only so much clutter in a person's physical place before it becomes too much, before it becomes unproductive, before it becomes impossible to hide. Digital clutter though is a lot easier to hide and there seems to be an exponentially growing amount of cheap space for it, Moore's Law.  In that manner, it's super easy and even encouraged to ignore digital clutter.

Take photographs for example. I usually take two shots of a particular composition that are pretty much identical. And then another set of photographs of the same subject but at a slightly different angle. And I do this with the good intention of going back at a later time and deleting the lesser photo. But there is no lesser photo when the photos are nearly identical! Photo 1 does lighting better, photo 2 does composition better, and photo 3 image quality better but none of them do all three best.

What I end up with is a massive stockpile of photos that are a burden to go through. A stockpile of photos that grows and becomes unsearchable if not categorized. The cycle continues as I ignore the photos. And when I do get to the photos, it's a weary and tedious process. which is not what I want. I want to be able to quickly look through my photos and see the different views. I don't want to ignore them and think of them as a hassle.

So I have a new goal. My new goal is to take a little bit more time during the initial shooting of a photo so that the work afterwards is easier, to take one or two shots of a composition and then to purge immediately afterwards what I don't deem worthy. This way I don't have photos sitting in memory cards, taking up space, waiting to be reviewed.

I think our societies lack of care in digital clutter is a little unnerving. It goes back to the quality over quantity balancing act. It is becoming increasing harder to consume a high level of media in the digital world. Search engines are trying their best to filter the bad content and are a sort of work around for digital clutter; it makes it easier to sort through backlogs of files. But there's just too much. And as the content grows, we lose contact with each other. As we crunch through information on our feeds and consume more and more than ever about each other passively, we make less of an effort to talk and connect with other people. We're losing that authentic human touch.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Quick Updates. Also, I have a B.S. now

The only way to fix not blogging is to blog. Sometimes, I just create drafts thinking I will get to them, but that is never the case. And sometimes, I feel like I need to blog about all the important events in my life and in chronological order. Obviously, I don't have to do that. So I'm just going to conglomerate a bunch of thoughts together again.

First and foremost, I have a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering at Boston University. That's pretty exciting, right? This is one of my greatest achievements. I can't say it was extremely difficult, however I can say it did require a good amount of effort. And I seemed to have done it right, I think. Hindsight is 20/20. But I'm not at that point yet. But the reasons I think I did it right are because I have a wonderful internship at IDEO Chicago and I will be starting graduate school in the Fall with Smart Lighting Center at BU. Sounds pretty darn good to me.

Here it is in all its glory.
Yup, you read that right, I am in Chicago for an internship at IDEO. IDEO is one of those companies I admired as a youth so I cannot fully express how excited I am to be working for them. One of those "how the hell did I manage this" thing. People say not to question your good fortune, but I cannot not question it. My life seems to be going the right way. I haven't hit any major roadblocks. All I can say now is that I'm going to take full advantage of the opportunity. Do a lot of good work. And learn, learn, learn. Hopefully, I don't get too tired and I can return to school in the fall fresh of new ideas.

This is coaster I designed for myself. Also, my first time using a laser cutter.
And a thought about "unplugging."
unplug |ˌənˈpləg|verb (unplugsunpluggingunpluggedwith obj. ]disconnect (an electrical device) by removing its plug from a socket: she unplugged the fridge.• sever the connection between a peripheral device and a computer: the only thing you can do is to unplug the RJ45 | Why do I have to unplug the mouse to get the printer to work?remove an obstacle or blockage from: a procedure to unplug blocked arteries.no obj. ] informal relax by disengaging from normal activities:they've gone up to the cabin to unplug. This is the general definition found in the Apple dictionary. The OED only has the first definition for the verb unplug. But what interests me is the third definition. The informal "new" definition. No one said they were going to unplug themselves before the modern age. You unplug devices, wires, plugs. So what gives? It's so strange that this is a thing now. I am glued to my electronics. And I have to remember to unplug. So odd. It's as if gravity no longer pulled objects together and everyone is flying and we have to consciously remember to gravitate toward earth. Weird.