Saturday, May 26, 2007

Charlie

My brother introduced me to this pretty little film. It's a little strange, but very enjoyable...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Family Names

While running an analysis I had a few minutes and I made this sweet plot using the interesting data on the Social Security Administration's website. The plot is of the popularity of Alison's, Ada's and my name over the last 126 years.

(I guess the plot is a little backwards because the more popular a name is, the lower the line and the popularity of Alison is a little misleading because even just this year there were two spellings of Alison (Allyson and Allison) that were more popular)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

100 Books

Most everybody that reads this blog knows that I like to read. A lot. It's one thing that I can't do while school is in session though, because I get sucked in and end up wasting too much time. I recently finished my 100th (documented, there may be some I missed) book since I returned home from my mission. For your summer reading, here is a list of 10 of my favorite books out of those 100 (the link indicates that I've reviewed the book on my booklist - where you can also see a list of the last 100 books that I've read).
  1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  4. Truman by David McCullough
  5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (I know I'm cheating by including them all in one spot)
  6. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (trendy, but I enjoyed it)
  8. Eragon and Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  9. The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz
  10. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Honorable Mentions:
  • Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling (you choose which one...)
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Map of Bones by James Rollins
  • Sarah by Orson Scott Card

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summer Research

Well lucky me, I was approved for a grant to do some research with a professor over the summer (and probably next fall as well). I'm excited to get to know the professor a little better and once we have finished, we expect to be published as well. This will more than make up for me getting a Master's of Engineering rather than a Master's of Science (with a thesis).

The research has to do with a new way to implement a PLL (phased-locked loop). A PLL is a closed-loop feedback system where the output is dependent on the phase and frequency of the input. They are used in anything wireless as well as computers and other analog and digital circuitry. See the wikipedia article here for more info.

My professor has rough designs of a new (and hopefully better) way to implement a charge-pump PLL. My job will be to simulate the circuit, optimize it and then lay the circuit out for fabrication. For the layout, each transistor, resistor, capacitor and inductor is designed in silicon, silicon dioxide, poly-silicon, and different metal layers. Once the circuit has been laid out, we will have it fabricated in either a .5 micron or a .13 micron process. Next fall we will test the circuits and document the results.

I can't say anything about the specifics of the circuit because of a non-disclosure statement that I had to sign. I'll be making a cool $10/hr and will hopefully work between 10-20 hours a week on this and then 30-40 hours a week at my regular job. The nice part is I get my own desk/lab space at school where I can work and new computer that dual-boots Linux (CentOS 5) and Windows Vista. Hopefully everything works out!

**Update - It turns out that I did better this semester than I expected. My GPA was 3.66 - which also brought my cumulative GPA up a bit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

100 Days!

That's right, there are only 100 days until the University of Utah opens the football season in Corvallis, Oregon against Oregon State University (who finished 3rd in the Pac-10 last year). That also means that there are only 185 days until the Utes get the chance to revenge "Johnny Harline's answered prayer". I'm not making any predictions (except that they will avenge the aforementioned prayer) but I like the Utes chances this year. They have an experienced quarterback (Brian Johnson) but a very tough schedule, playing at Oregon State, Louisville and BYU and against UCLA at home. It's going to be a good year!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Conference Finals Predictions

Alison and I are ready to make our conference finals picks available to all. (You can see our first round picks here and the second round picks here). The updated scores will be posted soon!

Eastern Conference

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (1) Detroit Pistons

Alison: Detroit in 5


Tyler: Cleveland in 6 (I'm going way out on a limb here...)



Western Conference

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (4) Utah Jazz

Alison: Utah in 6


Tyler: Utah in 6 (I guess we're both going out on a limb here - and predicting with our heart).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Link Dump

Here are a few random links (yes, I posted this earlier, but I made a few changes):

Friday, May 11, 2007

How Googleable Are You?


I'm sure that most of the people reading this blog have googled themselves one time or another. If you haven't, then maybe you should. I'll be honest, I do it and I usually enjoy every second of it. I'm usually the top hit when I search for my full name (Tyler Squire, for those unaware) and yesterday I commanded 10 of the top 11 hits. I'm a little off my game because today I'm only sitting at 8 of the first 10. It changes quite a bit, because web pages that were top hits yesterday are now buried on the third or fourth page.

Even more interesting is my personal moniker tysqui. As far as I could tell, a good 90% or more of the 40 or 50 search results referred back to me. Now I just need to work on not embarrassing myself online - at least not until I get a permanent job right?

So good readers, where do you land in the search results?

notes:
  • If you don't think that googleable is a useable word, see here or check out the definition.
  • Take care when googling your name because somebody with whom I share a name has a foul-mouthed website...
  • When (not if) you do Google your name, be sure to place quotation marks around your name or you will never show up.

Monday, May 07, 2007

New Reviews Posted!

If you're looking for a summer read, check out my book review page. I've posted a couple of new reviews there that you may find interesting.

NBA Playoffs Scoring Update

As you can see I am holding a slight advantage over Alison for Round 1. Lets see if she can make up ground during Round 2.

Round 1 Predictions
Round 2 Predictions

Saturday, May 05, 2007

WOOHOO!!!

WOOHOO! The Jazz have won it in seven. It was a thriller that went down to the wire but the young Jazz team took it to the Rocket. WOOHOO!
Game Recap

NBA Playoffs Round 2

The first round is over and Alison and I are ready to make our new picks (See our first round picks here). Here are our second round predictions. I'll post our first round scores after the Jazz's game 7 tonight. (Remember, 5 points for the correct team, and a 2 point bonus if the number of games is correct)

Eastern Conference

(5) Chicago Bulls vs. (1) Detroit Pistons

Alison: Detroit in 7



Tyler: Detroit in 6 (Al and I both had a tough time with this one, neither of us think that the Bulls will be able to pull it off).

(6) New Jersey Nets vs. (2) Cleveland Cavaliers

Alison: New Jersey in 6



Tyler: Cleveland in 7 (The Nets have just proven how important playoff experience is).

Western Conference

(8) Golden State Warriors vs. (4) Utah Jazz? (Game 7 hasn't been played but, we're taking our chances ;)

Alison: Utah in 6


Tyler: Utah in 7 (I don't think that the Warriors will lose another game this season at home).

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (2) Phoenix Suns

Alison: Phoenix in 7



Tyler: Phoenix in 6 (We just can't stomach picking the Spurs).

Idol Overload

The last couple of days have been "American Idol Overloaded." I didn't watch Idol at all the last three weeks (because I was inundated with school-work). I finally got caught up the last couple of days. It worked out well because I was working on some agendas for my church calling on my laptop while AI played on my computer. I'll now make it official - I'm officially on the Blake or Melinda bandwagon!

**Update: My sister loved Blake's last performance so much that she asked me to create an audio file of it. Feel free to download it here if you so desire.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Fun Little Addition

If you scroll down a little, you will notice a new "widget" that I have included on the right side of my blog. This shows clips of feeds that I've read using Google Reader and enjoyed them so much that I've wanted to share them. You can also see all of my shared items here at anytime. So next time you're bored, come and check out what I've been reading and maybe if you're lucky, someday one of your posts will end up there. Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The End of a Mediocre Semester

The end of another semester has come. Hip-hip hooray - although it is a little depressing seeing most of the people that I've gone to school with for the last 11 semesters graduate. It just feels like I should be there (and I will be, in two semesters!). This semester was a tough one. The overall difficulty of my classes was pretty much average. The difficulty mostly stemmed from one class (and working 20 hours/week, working on a senior project, wanting to be home with Alison and Ada, being tired all semester, my church calling...). Here is a quick rundown of my classes and how I think they turned out.

Soviet Literature - This was the last class that I needed for my Russian minor. I really enjoyed this class but it turned out to be extremely time-consuming. During the class we read 7 books, as well as many other readings. Before every class we had readings and questions to answer. In total, we read more than 2365 pages. This took up a lot of my time that is usually reserved for studying for my engineering courses. This course also had four essays as well as a midterm and a final. The positive side of all this was that when the final came I felt very well prepared and I'm pretty sure that I did well. If only I had spent an equal amount of time on my other classes...

Wireless Communications - This course had incredible potential but turned out to be a real drag. The professor didn't speak very good English and used PowerPoint for all of his lectures. For me it was simply impossible to follow the math and learn all the equations when he just cruised through them slide by slide (with 5-10 equations per slide...). By the middle of the semester, I stopped going because it was simply a waste of my time. The tests and project in this class were all really tough for me. Let's just say I know I'm not getting an A...

Observational Astronomy - This class was great. Unfortunately, we only got to go up on the roof and observe and take pictures of the sky a handful of times. It was a cloudy semester. Either way, I learned a lot about something that I otherwise would not have learned - and I enjoyed it. The final was very difficult (which surprised us all) but everything should be a-OK with this class.

Senior Thesis II - This class consisted of working on my senior project, writing a paper and presenting my project. Although the class itself required very little time, I spent a great deal of time working on the project itself. There were very few weeks during which I did not spend my fair share of time out at EFI Electronics in west Salt Lake. It is sure nice to have this one over with.

RFIC (Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit) Design - I enjoyed this class but it was very difficult. It is a class that draws upon what I was supposed to have learned in about 10 other classes. I have a tough time remembering what I've learned this semester, much less other semesters. This course also had a big course project which was tough, but not quite as time-consuming as I expected. If this professor doesn't grade on the curve, I'd say all of us that took the class are in deep water.

It's a nice feeling to be done, but I'm certain that it won't compare to the warm fuzzies that I'll be feeling next year, right?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spend-Free April is Over!

The end of April has brought an end to our frugality... The last week of the month went well, although we did end up spending money on a couple of things. First of all, Ada had her 9-month doctors appointment and we had to pay the co-pay. I had an application to the U's graduate school and I had to pay a $45 application fee. I've long been admitted to the EE program, this application is just so the U can charge me a lot more money next year. We also had to purchase gas. We would have made it to the end of the month had we not driven to Provo (for Alison's sister Angie's graduation get-together) and Brigham City (for Alison's grandmother's 80th birthday party). We've almost got to refill again after all of that driving.

Here are my thoughts on how everything turned out, you can read Alison's thoughts here. I actually found it to be easier than I expected (of course, I wasn't the one having to come up with the meal plans). All it really required was a little planning and foresight. I found the hardest part to be conserving gas for the month. There were a lot of unplanned driving trips that I had to make (most of them concerning my Sr. Project) and I was worried that I would not be able to make it to the end of the month. In the end, there was enough fuel for the month but I filled my car up anyways, because I get really nervous being stuck with two cars on empty if there were an emergency.

We did a really nice job of looking ahead and having the things we need available to us. Hopefully, some habits were formed and we will think twice before wasting what precious little money we do have on things that are simply not needed or can wait until another month. It's very difficult to quantify what we saved, if anything, because our income and expenses fluctuate so much from month to month and there are many months that we easily spend more than we make - like most of the school year, when we are living off of last summer's income. Either way, we are proud of ourselves for turning down visits to restaurants, conserving gas and making the most out of what we had.

Original Post
Week 1 Update
Week 2 Update
Week 3 Update