2012 Fall Term in Review

It’s the last day of 2012, and I suppose this is as good of a day as any to look at my previous academic semester. The fall 2012 semester was my fifth as a graduate student. Since I’ve been doing grad studies for a while now, I only needed to take two courses. The two courses I took in the fall were a little different than the technical courses that I usually take, and here is what I thought of them.

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New Theme

TJ Online has its first new look in 2 years. I finally finished tweaking the new theme today. The theme is a modified version of the Twenty-Twelve default WordPress theme. I went with a simpler look with cursive fonts and some… I suppose, ornate patterns to match. White is the dominant color this time around, and I took the opportunity to play with CSS3’s background color alpha-transparency properties. One element that returns is the random background images, but I opted for a simpler square frame this time to make adding future background images easier. I haven’t worked with web stuff for a while and took a little while to figure things out, but afterwards customizing the theme was simple enough. It’s good to work on my sites once in a while so I don’t completely forget my web design and Photoshop skills. Overall, I’m satisfied with the new look, and hope you guys like it as well.

My Second Year (and a Half) in Graduate School

Supposedly every year I write a reflections post looking back at what I did on the previous year. My last such post was in August of 2011, which means I’m four months past the due date :roll: . I only remembered because I decided to change the look of this blog, so this post will cover the last year and four months. So in the last 16 months, quite a bit has happened. I received another degree, and traveled around more than I ever had. Keep reading to find out more.

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Happy Holidays

I’ve traveled back home for winter break once again, and I’m glad to be home for a couple of weeks. The academic semester ended a little earlier than previous years, which meant I could go home earlier and save a few bucks on my plane tickets. As usual, I don’t have any plans. Grad students don’t get long vacations, and I do have to work on my research. On the other hand, I do have more free time on my hands since I don’t have to worry about shopping and cooking or classes. Maybe I’ll try to go learn skiing. One thing I’ll do is eat a lot, since it’s the holidays, and the Chinese food in Vancouver is much better than what I can get at my place of study. Hopefully I don’t gain too much weight over the holidays :lol: . I will also try to give my humble blog a new look. I’m probably looking for the minimalist look, but I want some transparency and rotating backgrounds that the previous theme had. I’ll play around with the new Twenty-twelve theme to see if I can modify it to my likings.

Anyways, I wish you all a happy and safe holidays.

Boston NBA Day Trip

I’m mostly writing about my travels these days. As a grad student, I don’t have the time nor money to travel a lot, but if I still try to go somewhere once in a while. During Thanksgiving break, a couple of friends and I went to Boston on an one day trip to catch a NBA basketball game. It was my first time seeing a NBA game in person, and it was a fun experience. We also explored downtown Boston by following the Freedom Trail. Here is a short summary along with some photos of the trip.

A view from the Boston Commons towards… some part of Boston.

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Here, There, and Everywhere

Once again, I haven’t posted here for a while. It’s not that I don’t have stuff to post nor is it that I’m that busy; it’s just that I’ve been lazy with this blog like usual. School has started, but I only have two courses and neither are particularly difficult. I’m not making much progress on research, but fortunately I don’t have any hard deadlines as of yet. In between academic obligations and everyday life, I managed to do some fun stuff along the way.

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Visiting Atlantic City, New Jersey

Some friends and I wanted to go on one last overnight trip before the start of classes, and we decided to go the famous East Coast gambling destination of Atlantic City. It was a fun trip, and here is a post with some photos and thoughts. We played around on the beach, walked around, shopped, dined and of course gambled… just a little bit.

Your's truly on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. This is actually the first time I posted a picture of myself for a trip post.

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TonyJiang.com: Year 6

I haven’t paid much attention to my websites lately, and thus I have completely forgotten about the anniversary of getting my own domain name until today. The anniversary is somewhere in August, but I don’t remember the exact date anymore. TonyJiang.com has been on the world wide web for 6 years and I have been running websites for probably past a decade now. I’ll be running websites for as long as I am able, and there should be plenty of years left for this personal blog and my other websites.

Over the last year, I haven’t done much work on my websites, but they’ve chugging along pretty well. Traffic is comparable to last year with my crabbing guide, Smash Bros. guide and this blog combining for around 700-1000 page views per day. Despite no real new content and steady traffic, ad revenue actually went up, and 2011-2012 is the first time my websites made over $1000 in a year, and I had a record-breaking month of nearly $150 in revenue. $1000 is obviously not enough for me to run websites as a full time job, but it’s a nice bit of extra income for a student like myself. My crabbing guide earns the vast majority of the ad revenue, showing that my first website is still the most useful website to visitors. Hopefully the ad revenue will keep on rolling in.

So what’s my plan for the next year? Not much. Graduate school takes a lot of time and energy. Of course I want to provide new content that will draw visitors, but I don’t have much to write these days other than post the occasional travel photos. Some people get a great idea and make it big on the internet, but I haven’t found that great idea yet. I’ll keep thinking about it though, and in the meantime I’ll continue running my websites. Hopefully I’ll remember to post on the anniversary date next year.

Visiting San Diego, California

I recently went on a conference trip to sunny San Diego, California, and it was probably the best conference trip I’ve been on. San Diego in the summer is just a great place to be, and it’s even more awesome when my travel costs are paid for. Of course, this was a conference trip and I did spend most of the trip attending conference events, but fortunately I also had a bit of time to do touristy things as covered in this post.

San Diego
San Diego is an excellent location to hold a summer conference… or an outdoor car show.

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2012 Winter Term in Review

It’s been more than two months since the end of my latest academic semester. The winter term was my fourth term as a graduate student, and it was a pretty tough term with two out of three courses being quite challenging. I managed to survive though, and here are some thoughts on the courses.

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