Using Databases and a potential Future-Power

Physical Database Design is not easy to learn without doing, and thankfully we have weekly labs to put into practice the concepts we gnaw on in lecture. Sometimes I feel like that’s all I can do to understand Databases, just gnaw on it until I write a reasonable statement.

Our class works hard to complete assignments during the labs so we don’t have to do them as homework, but that makes me wonder if we are really learning at all. Databases are exciting, if you like organizing data. Databases are boring, if you only care about finishing a lab. I’m still undecided, but I have found comparisons and parallels to the human brain, and recognizing the beauty of that makes me excited about learning more about databases.

If old cars could talk... They would probably be grumpy
If old cars could talk… They would probably be grumpy

Databases are boring and hard to use because you are looking at chunky graphs and dealing with SQL statements. Yet, I like imagining what it would be like to have a database like brain, or a database that acted like a brain. The current Oracle database is so static it stands as a monolith to the jungle of the brain. Rich with errors and inaccuracies, the brain could only scratch the surface of the sheer scope of pedantic information a database is able to hold. Conversely, the database is simply a stupid machine you have to fiddle with to get the expected results, not intuitive, but not overly complicated to understand.

Yet, they are able to produce so much information, and act as powerful tools in the hands or skulls of an adept craftsman. The speed at which the brain is able to access and process information is staggering, and the volume and the time to sort, select, and CRUD all of the information in a database is mind boggling. It’s working in millions without breaking a sweat.

The brain is able to rewire to process information quickly. The database is not able to rewire, but will not forget. The brain can hold emotions, images, scents, and memories. The database could hold every cultural artifact of mankind. If I could quote Shakespeare, consider the change in population of major cities, and listen to every piece of music ever created without having to think twice I would be a super hero.

If I could have any future-power it might just be database brain.


People want to make things

I was in Portland for Easter weekend to spend time with family and enjoy Portland, which changes in little ways every time I go back. It’s growing in a lot of cool ways.

85 Suburban
Ryan’s 1985 Suburban. It was previously a Sunriver service car.

Anyways, while I was there everyone was asking me what I was going to do after school, and it was really fun watching their eyes light up as I told them I was going to be helping people make applications. People love coming up with App ideas! My cousin Ryan gave me 3 or more right off the bat! He loves vehicles of all sorts and had ideas that would help car enthusiasts work on their transmissions. How cool is that! Even my Grandma had an idea!

This got me thinking about the power technology has to put building tools in everyone’s hands! Pair people’s ingenuity with easy to use tools and we’re going to be improving people’s lives!


Crazy Mika
Cats are crazy. Taking care of a Cat is like dealing with a crazy predator that will only kind of mess things up.

U Topia

A university would be a great place for a Utopia. A utopia focusing on learning, collaborating, and contributing to higher understanding would fuel a balanced lifestyle.

1393363443873The Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle U my soon to be Alma mater. For whatever reason certain things always look good.

Focus on Education is the main priority, I postulate that while we’re on earth we should focus on learning what we can about the universe and our world so we can take steps to make it a better place for its inhabitants.

Some examples:
Find a calling, have a meaning for your life: create a better world

Reasons for being there: Focus on Education, live happily among others with a similar focus. Work together to create things. Use technology to help our pursuits. Clean Energy, 3D printing, rapid digital communication and knowledge exchange.

Housing: You’ll be living with like minded individuals, without wasting time or energy commuting or managing logistics.

Food/Maintenance: This is pretty self explanatory, but I really like the idea of sharing food and maintenance responsibilities. Taking care of each other and the facilities would provide everyone a place in this society. Spend 1/3 of your time learning, designing, and crafting, 1/3 managing responsibilities cooking/cleaning/fixing, and the final 1/3 recreating/enjoying life.

Recreation: Fields and organized activities for everyone! Student clubs are integrated into your lifestyle, you’ll always be able to be part of new adventures, and when you can’t find a club to join you can create your own!
Proximity: A big part of this is just having everything nearby. If we don’t have to waste time getting to things we need or people we can collaborate with we’ll be significantly more productive.

I’d love to spend time in this community and in some ways I already do as a student, and I’m now realizing how valuable that time has been, and I look forward to promoting this style of institution in the future.

Do leaves change in color in the spring like flowers do? Crazy plant patterns are beautiful.

Meatspace 3

Volvo Squish
Katie’s car was squished. Cars are amazing and fragile.

I could take photos of this car all day. It’s so bizarre, what an awesome treat to see one on the street. According to Wikipedia their were 8,583 made originally and now they’re making them again or at least have been since 2008! I can’t imagine the performance being spectacular with a 2,700 pound vehicle equipped with a three speed automatic and 130hp engine. The wikipedia article is awesome: DeLorean. It’s so goofy!

White Wizard
aka: The White Wizard!

Kerry Park always provides a great view, Seattle provides a great view.

Mexico and Compilers

Sunset from the Condo!

Being in Mexico
I was in Mexico for spring break and it was awesome! We swam in the ocean, ate a lot of great food, and me a lot of really cool Mexican people. However, most of the time, it was difficult for me to communicate with them. My girlfriend, who has much more practice speaking Spanish, did most of the communicating, but I’ve been practicing with Duo Lingo for the past couple months, so I was able to understand almost everything, but couldn’t quite pull off an entire conversation. Either way, being able to communicate or at least being able to understand someone else is amazing, and learning another language highlights that feat of evolution.

Fruit Stand
Ordering fresh sandia!

Learning a new language
Learning a new language might be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Trying to reorder sentences is especially difficult. It’s really easy to use words, but to create sentences of different structure in a different language with words you’re hardly familiar with is nearly impossible without a lot of practice. Either way I’m stoked to continue practicing and learning (If any one wants to practice Spanish with me let me know!) All of this language thinking really made me want to draw parallels to the computer science world!

How compilers are like the brain translating.
Computers are just layers of abstraction, taking logic created at a lower level to build upon using instructions of higher orders of complexity. The logic gate is a lot like something existing at all. Now if we can get this thing to exist in a way we can tell it to take shape as anything we want, as long as we have enough power to control, conceive, and destroy an object it might as well actually exist. Again, it just takes a single thing existing to generate this amazing virtual object. Okay, I love this stuff… Back to languages, if this object can communicate with other similar objects it’s a lot like a language that we both understand, or a standardized protocol. But, if we are trying to communicate between two objects of different languages it’s a lot like compilation. (I just had my first day in a Compilers course taught by Prof. LeBlanc at SU) Compilers are a lot like the brain translating Spanish to English! Marking phrases, recognizing syntax and phrases, and parsing could be seen as functions of the brain. That is amazing.

Language is amazing. I’m excited to learn more about compilation.

Mount St. Helens from the plane. (Can you see the dome?)