Life is better

Posted in Journal by Mike Stay on 2007 June 11
  • Talked to my manager, who said his first six months were painful because of not having a clear coding project to work on
  • Got a clear coding project to work on
  • Happy for Jason
  • Miriam and I made some friends at church
  • Will be moving to third floor of 41 instead of second; the view is of trees instead of parking lot.

Posted in Journal by Mike Stay on 2007 February 3

I’ve accepted a job at Google in their Applied Security team. We’ll be moving at the end of March, when the quarter is over. I don’t know if my first choice of email address above will be the one I get, but I can’t imagine someone else has it. My second and third choices were and .

Cris checked out U. Auckland’s policy on off-site students for me. They’re currently waiving international student fees for doctoral students, and I wouldn’t have to take any more classes or exams, just write a thesis. The guideline for what constitutes a thesis is apparently three publications’ worth of material, and I have that much in the queue already:

  1. Most Programs Stop Quickly or Never Halt,”
  2. “Four perspectives on braided monoidal closed categories,” and
  3. “Weakly-universal machines and the algorithmic uncertainty principle.”

I’ll need to have a co-advisor, so I’m hoping John will agree to it. It would be really cool if I could get a Ph.D. while at Google. It would be cooler still if they still give me that scholarship they offered me when I graduated.

Finals finished

Posted in Journal by Mike Stay on 2006 December 15

Complex analysis went stunningly well–I got a 95% on the midterm, far better than the guy whose notes I studied! The final was iffy up to the last few minutes when I had a couple breakthroughs (I think.)

I was dreading real analysis, though; I got a 50% on the midterm and hadn’t understood much since then. I actually survived, though. There was only one question I had no idea how to answer. I know I got a few of them right because I studied those problems before the test. I guess we’ll see if it’s good enough.

I really wish there was a good way to include math markup in blogspot. Something they do with their CSS makes MathML render wrong.


Posted in Journal by Mike Stay on 2006 December 13

I spent yesterday morning building a water rocket with Martin for Aidan’s birthday present. It was based on a vague memory of one Dad made years ago.

I drilled a hole in a plank deep enough for an inverted 2-liter bottle to go up to the rim around the neck. (Marty sat on the board to keep it from moving.) I mounted two metal L-brackets with a slot down the center of one side on either side with a single screw in the slot. (Marty screwed them in.) I didn’t tighten the screw all the way down; the play allows the bracket to reach over the rim on the neck of the bottle and also to slide away quickly. Once the brackets are over the rim, I lift both and put shims underneath.

I also drilled a hole about 1cm wide all the way through the plank; I inserted the valve of an old bike tire and a few more layers of tire with a hole in the center. (Marty cut up the rest of the tire to “help”.) This allowed the bottle to be pressed tightly against the rubber to form a good seal. Getting the seal right was the hardest part.

I tried using a small water bottle first; the pressure got too high too quickly, so after a few abortive misfires I switched to the two-liter. There, with more room, the pressure increases much slower and maintains pressure for longer after launching. (Note to self: try some combination of 2L bottles!)

Ten pumps on the bike pump shot the thing around 30-35m high. I think Aidan will like it.