2014 has passed, and here we are at 2015! 2014 has been a pretty eventful year for me. I finished my PhD degree and got a job, and that entailed a move from upstate NY down to North Carolina. That’s a big change for me, and I’m still getting used to life after school. It’ll take time, but the future looks bright. My New Year’s resolutions is to make some new friends in NC, get better at my job, and to lose a couple of pounds. Compared to when I graduated in May, I have lost a few pounds since moving to NC, but I can still stand to lose some body fat. I also probably gained a few pounds over the holidays too.
The holiday season has arrived and we are only a few days from Christmas. I’m looking forward to a short vacation in a few days. As a new employee, I don’t have many vacation days, but combining my vacation days with Christmas and New Year gives me a week or so of not having to work. No more spending a month back in Metro Vancouver during the winter, but a break is appreciated nonetheless.
It’s been about three and a half months I’ve moved from Upstate NY down to the Triangle region of North Carolina for work. I’m still trying to get used to my new job and surroundings. Having a full-time job means my schedule is less flexible than when I was a student, but I always try to go out hiking and exploring on the weekends, and here is just a round-up of what I’ve been up to. I’m not going to write much and let the pictures do most of the talking.
As I posted a little while ago, my iPhone 4S stopped working. I got a new phone, but I still wanted to see if the iPhone was salvageable, so I spent a few bucks and bought some tools on Amazon to open the 4S up to take a peek. Since the phone is dead, I might as well take a look inside for the slim chance that I can find where the problem is. Given how popular iPhones are, instructions on taking the phone apart are easily found online. I followed this set of instructions and managed to remove the logic board from the phone. The iPhone 4S and all the innards I took out can be seen in the photo below. The parts are tiny, but the disassembly is doable with a little bit of patience and organization (so you don’t lose the screws). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the problem, and chances are the phone needs a new logic board, so I just put the whole thing back together and stuff it on a shelf for now. It was a good little exercise.
Speaking of taking stuff apart and then putting them back together without making any repairs, I also took my washing machine apart. The last couple of weeks I noticed that the washer leaves soggy clothes after the spin cycle. The tub spins as far as I could tell, so I took apart the washer to check for clogs in the hoses. I have a pretty common Kenmore direct drive washer, so disassembly instructions were easy to find. The process is actually pretty easy. I went as far as taking the pump out to check for clogs, but I didn’t find anything. The funny thing during the whole process was that I was able to take the washer apart and take the hose clamps off with a small pair of pliers, but then I found that I couldn’t put the clamps back on with my pliers. I ended up having to buy a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers the next day in order to put the hose clamps back on. Below are a few pictures of my washer with its cover off.
I spent some time in the last week or so updating my Travel Log website to a new theme. To give some background, the Travel Log is a Chinese language website that contain travel dairies written by a relative. The new theme is reminiscent of the old HTML website I made for one of the older series of travel logs before I converted the whole site the WordPress. In addition, I also uploaded my relative’s new Caribbean cruise travel log onto the site for those who are interested.
I had to get a new smartphone this week, because my old iPhone 4S went kaput. Even though people consider the 4S to be “old”, my phone is only a little over 2 years old. I guess it’s just bad luck, or Apple’s build quality isn’t all it’s made out to be. My iPhone worked perfectly fine until it suddenly froze, and I had to turn the screen off with the reset combination. Then the phone couldn’t be turned on, reset, or restored. Brought it to a local Apple Store, and they said it’s probably a hardware failure, and at this point it isn’t worth spending $200 to fix it.
My cell phone contract was up anyways, so the day after the iPhone died, I went to local AT&T store and got a LG G3 Vigor. I got an Android device because I wanted to change, and the iPhone breaking after 2 years only made the decision more justified. The Vigor is one of the cheaper smartphones AT&T had, but not the cheapest one. I’m not into chasing the latest and greatest, so I wasn’t going to pony up for the iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S 5 and such. Now that I think about it though, I probably should have done some more homework before getting the phone, since the specs on the LG aren’t that great for the price they charge. If I wanted more bang for my bucks, I should have ordered a LG/Google Nexus 5 or tried to get one of those Oneplus One invites, but when I was at the store all I wanted was to walk out with a working phone. Since I don’t have a landline, not having my cellphone made me feel a little vulnerable since I couldn’t call anyone in case I got into trouble.
It’s been almost two months since I moved from upstate NY to my new place of work, and I’m slowly settling into my new environment. I worked at the new company for about a month and a half now, and that’s going okay so far with me finally starting to do some actual work. I’ve figured out where to buy the basics and even found a place to play badminton, and I’m exploring the area when I have time on the weekends. I’ll try to go out more and be more sociable, since it’d be harder when winter comes a long and works piles up. As for my apartment, I finally got my new, reclining couch in the living room, so I have all the major pieces of furniture now. It took a while, but the apartment is slowly starting to look like a home. It’ll take longer for me to truly become comfortable with this area I’m living it and with the working life, but things are on track so far.
I was busy moving and starting my new job recently that I completely forgot about the anniversary for my web domain. TonyJiang.com is now 8 years old! And I started running websites a few years before and I got the domain name, so I have been in this business for probably 12 years. I definitely feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, even though my websites aren’t all that popular. I’m just glad I kept up my hobby for so long.
Over the last year, I haven’t spent much time doing any development on my sites, mostly because I was trying to finish my PhD degree and find a job. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to devote to my websites now that I have a full time job, but I’ll do whatever I can. I’m in the process of sprucing up the theme for the Travel Log and adding some new entries to the log. Literally no one visits the Travel Log, but working on the site gives me a chance to refresh my web design and development knowledge and hopefully learn a few new things as well. As for my other websites, the Crabbing Guide is doing quite well in the summer months and is the main traffic driver my websites. Obviously I’m not raking in the web ad earnings, but it’s good that some people do visit my website and find them useful.
I received my PhD degree in May of this year, but it took a couple of months for my dissertation to become available in RPI’s digital collections, so that’s why I haven’t posted the abstract here until now. Unlike my Master thesis, my PhD dissertation actually has a respectable number of pages (130 including all front and back matter). The dissertation features work on two not-very-closely related projects, and that’s why the title is a mouthful. I put 3 years of work into my dissertation. There are things I wish I could have accomplished in my dissertation, but I’m proud of what I was able to finish. And of course, I’m just happy that I was able to graduate with this dissertation. Obviously I don’t expect anybody to try to request a copy from RPI and read the whole thing, but if you are really into power systems research, my dissertation may prove to be an interesting read .
I finally jumped on the media streaming device bandwagon and bought myself a Google Chromecast. I wanted to put my TV to better use since I don’t have cable/satellite, but I didn’t want to spend $50+ for a Roku or similar streamer, so I ended up buying a recertified Chromecast off of Groupon. It was a good deal after the $10 off $25 purchase discount. I finally got my Chromecast a couple days ago, and here are my quick impressions of the device.