End of the term

Work

I’ve now concluded my internship at Environment Canada.

How do I feel about it? I think I’ve learned alot now that I’ve actually had some hands on time to apply my knowledge in the real world. However, I realized not alot of what I learned in university were applicable. There’s alot of theory in school such as turing machines, algorithm runtime, minimizing truncation error or catastrophic cancellation, stuff that in the real world doesn’t really come into play. Yes, there are alot of design patterns used and using SAX instead of DOM to parse large XMLs saves alot of resources. But never did I use anything that involved Finite State Automatons, Context free grammars or NP-complete problems.

Overall, I felt that it was a good time for me to mature as a computer programmer. I did meet alot of new people, made new friends, and learned new things. Details of my work can be found here. Now, back to school again… sigh.

To-do List

My to-do list has gotten shorter! here it is now.

Need to keep track of things…

School:

-Pay off tuition

-Get accepted into ECO major

-Find potential buyers for my car and sell it for decent price

-PEY Evaluation

-Get accepted into the capstone design course

-Get into waitlisted ECO courses

-Eliminate 75%+ of my debt

TekkieValley:

-Allow users to feature videos and submit their own related links to blogs, videos, articles, etc

-Add mobile phone support

-Do more SEO on it

-Add fb/twitter connect for login

-Wikipedia, Twitter, Blogger, Stack overflow, Google latitude content aggregation

-Procuring investment capital for hiring

-Assessing and developing more cohesive business plan to present to investors

-Finding source of advertisement and promotion

-Consolidate domain names into one dedicated server and one shared (dedicated for video,shared for blog)

Starcraft 2

I found there’s strengths and weaknesses to pooling resources. In a 4v4 match, we have one guy who just expands and gives the other 3 resources. This saves the time needed for that guy to research/build buildings so that the other 3 guys can pump out units much faster than the other team. Since resource trading is disabled for 5 min, this build is susceptible to early rushes and cheese. However I compiled a graph of army strength of the latest game in which our team won:

Pool vs Non Pool resources

Pool vs Non Pool resources

Notice how they have the advantage of army up until the 7-8 min mark. Then we (the pooled team) started beating them in terms of resources and army. There’s an anomaly where at the very end their army is increasing much higher than ours. I suspect its because at the end of the game, we weren’t building anymore units (we had enough) and they were desperately pumping out units to try and defend, and because I counted units lost in the graph, hence the spike up. In short though, I think it could be a good strategy if your opponent is trying to build up, and you are quickly expanding with your other player and pumping out guys non stop. Another thing to note: their team had at least one expansion each, if they didn’t expand as fast, our resource and army advantage would be higher still.

Starcraft 2: Protoss strategy

Been playing Starcraft 2 for week now, and I must say it’s not that bad. Of course, aside from the major complaints of no LAN/being able to spawn copies, it’s a great game. As in Starcraft 1, I played Protoss, my favorite race.

Now, not that I’m a pro player or anything, but I want to share some advice about facing different matchups when you are Protoss.

Update: I have a Terran and custom games strategy article here if you are interested.

General:
-In general, Protoss’ most versatile units are probably the Stalker and Zealot. In almost any situation, you want to be building these guys.
-When using Protoss, be sure to use the Warp Gate function of the Gateway. You can warp guys anywhere there’s a pylon or warp prism.
-Use Chrono Boost: It helps speed up research/building units/cooldown time. You want to use this every time you have the energy.
-Put Stalkers at the back of your base to protect against harassment. Guys will try to harass you and kill your probes with void rays, reapers and even dark templar.
-Having around 3 guys per assimilator and 2 per mineral field is always a good idea.
-Use your judgment about when to expand, but in the mid-late game, it’s a necessity.
-Build observers in case of dark templar and/or banshees/ghosts.
-Photon cannons aren’t that useful unless they are blocking a ramp or serving as a chokepoint.
-In the early-mid game, I will always say go robotics/void ray because both can’t be supported that early, but late game you should always have both.
-Each base can support 2-3 gateways and one robotics/stargate and continually pump them out.
-Optimally have 2 workers per mineral and 3 per geyser.
-Useful upgrades: Blink for stalker, Extended lance for colossus, Psi storm for high templar, charge for zealot

Opening:
My opening is pretty common: 9 pylon 12 gateway. When supply reaches 9, build a pylon and at 12, a gateway. The supply numbers up to about 18 or so should all be probes. At 13, go for an assimilator. When your gateway finishes, build a cybernetics core and another pylon. You want to start researching warp gate at the cybernetics ASAP and send out more probes to scout and build pylons across the map. You also might want to build another gateway and assimilator if you have the minerals. Chrono boost the research 3 times – that should be enough.

vs Terran:
Early-mid game: There’s two choices here, you can go void rays or robotics. I lean towards the robotics if he has lots of marines and/or producing vikings, and void rays otherwise. Void rays are good against pretty much any Terran unit barring the vikings/marines. Vikings usually aren’t massed in early game, but the marine/marauder/medivac combo is often seen. For this, build a bunch of zealots/stalkers and use some sentries to forcefield and protect your guys. If you see lots of siege tanks, throw in some immortals if you are going robotics, and void rays if you are going that build.

Mid-late game: Terrans have several units available to them mid-late: siege tanks, thors, battle cruisers, vikings, possible banshees as well. All of them except vikings can be taken down by void rays. So I would always have void rays massing out in the late game, along with some stalkers for anti air. Build Colossus to wipe out groups of small units such as marines/reapers/marauders/hellions. Void ray/Colossus/Stalker is the way to go, along with some sentries/high templar for support. Using this combo generally finishes the game.

vs Zerg:
Early-Mid game: I would recommend going Void rays against Zerg, for the reason that your stalkers/zealots can take care of the hydralisks, and void rays can generally beat mutalisks. Unless they have corruptor, void rays is the way to go. Zealots usually do pretty well against zerglings/hydralisks and stalkers can hold up against roaches. Sentries and forcefield are invaluable against early rushes.

Mid-late game: Zerg has available to them: ultralisks, brood lords, infestors, etc. All vulnerable to void ray, plus by this time you should have colossus to take care of the zergling/hydra/roaches easier. If they are massing mutalisks/corruptors to counter, make more phoenixes/stalkers.

vs Protoss:
Early-mid game: Against early game zealots/stalkers, and possible void rays/immortals, you should probably build your own immortals in addition to stalkers/zealots. Immortals counter stalkers well, and stalkers do well against void rays.

Mid-late game: Protoss has templars, colossus, void rays, carrier (rare), etc. Immortals can handle colossus and stalkers pretty well, and as usual, stalkers and zealots should be able to take care of the rest. Void rays are not as essential vs protoss as against terran/zerg in the late game, but still can be used b/c the only real counters that protoss has are stalkers and void rays/pheonixes. High templar’s feedback ability is pretty crucial against protoss and other high templar.

Summary:
vs Terran/Zerg early-mid: Zealot/Stalker/Sentry/Void ray – 2 warp gate 1 stargate
vs Terran/Zerg mid-late: Stalkers/Colossus/High Templar/Void ray – 3 warp gate 1 stargate
vs Protoss early-mid: Zealot/Stalker/Sentry/Immortal – 3 warp gate
vs Protoss mid-late: Stalker/Immortal/High Templar/Void Ray – 4 warp gate

Zealot – good/decent against: Marauder (charged), zergling, thor, hydralisk, zealot, stalker, best used against zerg or units that have slow rate of fire.
Stalker – good/decent against: Void ray, mutalisk, reaper, hellion, corruptor, viking, roach, general all purpose unit.
Immortal – good/decent against: Colossus, siege tank, thor, roach, marauder, ultralisk, stalker, best used against armored units.
Colossus – good/decent against: Hydralisk, marine, zealot, zergling, roach, ghost, any workers, best used against small units.
Void Ray – good/decent against: Battlecruiser, carrier, mutalisk, ultralisk, immortal, colossus, banshee, siege tank, roach, marauder, brood lord, best used against ground/air units that can’t attack air.

This guide is in general, and keeping in mind that every game plays differently because every opponent is different, strategies often have to be changed mid-game because your opponent will catch on to your build and try to counter it. Here’s my build, but don’t take my word for it, because it won’t always work. In 2v2, or 3v3 when each opponent is playing different races, you have to make your own judgment.

JFK Assassination

[tubepress video=”C-0ZMnbkGtw”]

It is hard to talk about John Kennedy without talking about his assassination. He was the youngest president elected, and the youngest to die. He was rich, handsome, smart, powerful, charismatic, but even being the most powerful leader in the free world didn’t save him from his tragic fate.

I have many books on President Kenney, as well as tons of videos stored on my comp from Youtube. The more I learn about him, the more fascinated I get. His death is particularly controversial, and marks the beginning of America’s distrust in their government. JFK is considered ‘America’s last president’ by many because his death reflects a decline in the faith that the government could do the right thing for their citizens. The Vietnam War, several other notable assassinations, Watergate, Gulf War, Iraq War, 9/11 and many other events call into question that the government is indeed doing the right thing.

The story of JFK’s assassination is more dramatizing than any movie I’ve seen. There’s so many characters involved in the potential ‘conspiracies’, the Mafia, Anti-Castro exiles, Anti-Communist, Extreme Right wingers, the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, Vice president Johnson, all are rumored to be involved. I don’t think the government would knowingly kill their own leader – but I do believe there might be a conspiracy. Just take a look at all the potential cast of characters and when they ‘conveniently’ died:

JFK – the victim – assassinated Nov 1963
Robert Kennedy – JFK’s brother – assassinated Jun 1968
Lee Harvey Oswald – JFK’s assassin – assassinated Nov 1963
Mary Meyer – JFK’s close friend – murdered Oct 1964
Jack Ruby – Oswald’s assassin – Died Jan 1967
David Ferrie – possible conspirator – Died Feb 1967
Guy Banister – possible conspirator – Died June 1964
*Mary Sherman – Worked with David Ferrie and knew Oswald – Murdered July 1964

*died on the same day the Warren commission was going to interrogate her. Her right arm and rib were disintegrated and she was stabbed in the heart.

Edit: I can extend the period to 1974, and that would include Clay Shaw (possible conspirator, died 1974), President Johnson (d. 1973), J Edgar Hoover (director of FBI, d. 1972), etc. I didn’t even include the numerous deaths of FBI, CIA, Secret service agents + Dallas police.

…Notice how they all died within a short span of time? (1963-1968). This is quite strange, if we are to believe that JFK was indeed assassinated by one person – why so many related deaths in such a short amount of time? The more you look into it, the more sinister the plot becomes. There are even rumors that JFK’s body was altered before it reached Parkland Hospital – attested to by the examining doctors and made to support the single bullet theory. I don’t want to dig too deep into it but – JFK’s assassination is very fascinating indeed, and it makes you wonder what really did go on that November afternoon 47 years ago?

JFK’s death is very graphic indeed. After watching the Zapruder film, I could not watch it again. Seeing the President of the United States’ brains getting blown out is disturbing. Movies are graphic, video games are graphic, but real life is indeed the most graphic.
People all of the world were so shocked at it… I think watching it gives a good sense of what life can be. Unexpected – you could be there waving your hand one second and dead the next. Life is unpredictable, and I think the JFK assassination is a prime example that even the most powerful of men cannot escape what some may say a rendezvous with destiny.