November 08, 2012

1.5 Bold Patch Update

Good evening!

It is my pleasure to announce the release of the 1min 1.5 major patch update, “Bold!” We at 1min© have been hard at work for the past few months fine-tuning the contents of this patch for the best end-user experience. We kept our company’s, our shareholder’s, and most importantly, our consumer’s interests in mind when designing this patch.

Please note, that with this major update, all previous updates, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0, have been renamed 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4 respectively. We believe that the previous naming style over exaggerated the significance and impact of the patches. Therefore, this new naming style should compensate for that psychological effect.

So without further ado, I present patch 1.5 “Bold.”

General
  • Changed general outlook on life from cynical to empathetic.
  • Motivation will now be derived from self rather than “others.” 
  • Amount of Brown alumni contacted weekly scaled back down to 0 due to time issues. 
  • Amount of video games played scaled up to reflect the changes in free time. 
  • Main summer goal changed to social skills, instead of nothing. 
  • New goal of “talking to strangers” has been introduced! 
  • New blog, “White People in Korean Places” has been added! 
  • Amount of events in calendars reduced to 0, down from over 50. 
  • Amount of social interaction reduced to very little, down from not much more. 
  • Removed the Google Chrome extension, StayFocusd. Previously blocked websites are now viewable! 
  • Amount of songs downloaded increased by over 100. 
  • Total amount of jobs applied to decreased by 100%. 
  • Amount of interviews scheduled decreased by 100%. 
  • Two new multiplayer games have been downloaded for the PS3 system. Read more about them here and here. 
  • The “stay in touch with friends via hand-written letters” quest was removed due to lack of popularity.
Mental
  • Amount of pages of books read daily changed to 30~40, up from 0.
  • Focus and attention span increased drastically in step with the increase to books read. 
  • Number of Chinese flashcards made daily increased to 50, up from 0. 
  • Time spent on learning HTML dramatically increased. 
  • Amount of anime episodes watched increased to once a week, up from none. 
  • Amount of news articles read increased by over 100%. 
  • Amount of dreams recorded daily now ranges from 0 to 1.
Physical
  • Fixed extremely long and ugly hair style to better fit the weather and temperature.
  • Changed clothing style from winter to summer. 
  • Daily hygiene scaled down to infrequent to reflect changes in social life.
While we have drastically changed a lot of content, we still recognize that there is still a lot of work to do. After all, programming for a complex human being is no easy task! So here is a list of known bugs that we are working on solving.

General
  • Immense terror seems to appear when encountering past acquaintances, especially from childhood or high school days.
Quests
  • The “approach the boss” quest seems to cause significant lag and on certain occasions, crashes the client completely.
  • The “stay in touch with friends via Facebook” quest is bugged and won’t correctly reward the player with any response.
Mental
  • Frequency of mood swings seems to have increased since summer began.
  • Motivation seems to be very buggy and volatile. 
  • Procrastination is at a record high.
Physical
  • Biting nails is still proving to be a prominent and difficult issue.

On a side note, this was a post that I wrote on June of 2011, so a little over a year ago. I discovered it in my documents folder and had a good laugh at what my state of mind was back then.

October 11, 2012

An Account of Chopsticks and Shame in Wangfujing, China

An Account of Chopsticks and Shame in Wangfujing, China


On a side note, I have many posts in store for the future, but I have been to lazy to get around to writing them. I'm sorry! I'll try to make time for them!

October 02, 2012

Cross Browser!

Introducing official cross browser support! If my coding is correct, my website should look the same on all modern versions of Chrome, Firefox, and on IE. Please shoot me an email if you find any inconsistencies. In addition to the multi-browser support, I also did a few design changes that I felt were necessary.

The favicon, website font, colors scheme, and many layout changes were made. I think that they make the site a lot easier on the eyes.


On a side note, some JavaScript changes are still forthcoming!

September 19, 2012

New URL

http://blog.1minlee.com


On a side note, it's super cool to have my own domain name. It's like my personal slice of the internet and that's awesome.

Blogs and Updates

People have been asking me what the point of this main page was and how it differs from my blog. I've decided to use this page to keep track of the updates on my website while the blog will continue to be my personal journal throughout life.

If you haven't visited my blog, I highly encourage you to check it out here. I have a very large range of posts ranging from the incredibly personal, to the theoretical, and all the way to the practical.


On a side note, these "side notes" are a tradition carried over from my blog.

September 10, 2012

Launch!

It has always been my dream to create my own website for personal growth and what better day than my birthday to launch a website? Welcome one, welcome all to Wonmin's personal website! I guess then this is the first official post of my site? Please use the top right links to visit the other pages and enjoy your time here!


On a side note, please keep an eye out for further improvements to this site!

Website

www.1minlee.com


On a side note, happy birthday to myself! Woo!

September 09, 2012

My Posterior

Not my post, but the main picture is me! Hurray for internet-stardom!


On a side note, my personal website is almost up and running. Keep a lookout for it!

September 01, 2012

Borrowing Bills to Bungee at Great Dragon Gorge, China

Borrowing Bills to Bungee at Great Dragon Gorge, China

I am now able to talk about what this post meant. While in China, I worked as an article contributor to a website called Jetset Times. I wrote a lot of articles about my experiences in China and will be linking to them on my blog as the articles come out. Stay tuned for more!


On a side note, my new monitor makes my neck hurt.

August 25, 2012

Hangeul or Hangul

Here's the link for the Wikipedia entry for "Hangeul."

Now here's the link for the Wikipedia entry for "Hangul" (Without the "e")

Notice anything similar? Of course you do, they both point to the same entry! Now why is that? It's because there is no real set romanization of the Korean language. Or at least one that is universally accepted in South Korea. Why does this matter? Korean is a language with an alphabet, there shouldn't be a need for romanization right? Just learn some 한글 and be done with that! To hell with the Latin script!

But that's really not good for foreigners. Are you Korean? Can you read 한글? If not, then those two characters mean nothing to you. Only if I tell you that those two characters are read like "hangeul" or "hangul" can you begin to pronounce the word. Romanization is an essential step for foreigners in learning a foreign language.

Take two examples, the Chinese pinyin, and the Japanese romaji. Both are excellent examples of romanization and are taught in any elementary Chinese or Japanese language class. Since both languages use Chinese characters extensively, a proper romanization system is absolutely critical to read words. Otherwise, how can I, a foreigner, just look at 汉字 or 漢字 and even begin to know how to pronounce it? When the two words are paired with "hanzi" and "kanji" can my brain make an association between the character and its proper pronunciation.

Let's look at the Chinese pinyin as an example. It is a bit difficult to learn at first because the pronunciation is not what a native speaker of English would expect. For example, the pinyin "you" is not pronounced like the word "you," but rather like "yo" in the word "yo-yo," or the greeting, "yo!" But the most awesome part about pinyin is that, once mastered, every single character in the Chinese language can be spelled using it. This way, once you learn a character's pinyin, you can immediately know how to pronounce it. How useful is that!

Now let's look at the Japanese romaji. Compared to pinyin it's a lot easier to pick-up, and similarly, once mastered, becomes a valuable tool in learning the Japanese language. As you can see from the Wikipedia article, every Japanese hiragana or katakana character has a romaji counterpart. Since all Chinese characters are also made up of hiragana characters, by the transitive property, all Japanese characters have their own romaji counterparts. Learn the romanization, learn the basic characters, then learn the Chinese characters. Boom! You can read Japanese.

Another interesting little fact is that, typing in both Chinese or Japanese requires knowledge of the romanization. Sure there are some other methods of typing, but for the most part, Chinese and Japanese people use Latin letters to type on computers and phones. So the average literate Chinese or Japanese citizen is very familiar with their respective languages' romanization styles.

But since Korean is an alphabet, typing it is just a matter of which key to press for which character--it's really simple once you learn it, just like English. Therefore, foreigners have to not only deal with the lack of an easy way of pronunciation recognition, but have to also learn an entirely new keyboard to type the Korean language. It's just too much effort!

I think the government needs to adopt a sweeping new universal system--one that makes sense, one that is easy to read and understand, and one that'll make Korean a much more accessible language for foreigners. Because it sucks to not be able to pronounce Korean names or streets! Then perhaps people will start taking Korean seriously and more people will actually be willing to learn the language.


On a side note, I am nearly complete with my personal website! Keep on the lookout for a blog post when it's live!
On a side side note, 2012 is on its way to being the worst year for my blog! So little posts!
On a side side side note, I missed the 3rd birthday of my blog! Oh no!

August 22, 2012

Chinese Roadside Carts

A lone child sitting alone in a public lounge. He is reading out loud his homework for today. One plus one is two. Two minus one is one. Six minus three is three. What an adorable sight. Like clockwork, the child is there every single day. Rehearsing his multiplication charts and reading them aloud to his parents over dinner. His mother corrects him every now and then, while the father nods solemnly.

对外经济贸易大学
The mother is a sort-of janitor for the international student’s dormitory. By "sort-of" I mean she's not legally or officially employed by the university. She works daily, cleaning after the students, restocking toiletries, and attending to various needs of the staff. By night, she uses the public kitchens and prepares dinner for herself, her husband, and their son. She stores the leftovers in the communal fridge.

Where does she live then? In the basement level, with the other members of the staff and her own family. They live in cramped ten-by-ten rooms with multiple bunk-beds stacked on top of each other. Not the ideal condition to raise a child in. All the while, students are living in doubles in the floors above, complete with refrigerators, air conditioners, and personal bathrooms. It's a clear-cut example of the major disparity prevalent in China these days.

How is this possible? You see, in China, there is something called the "floating population." Scores of migrant workers, seeking better living standards, leave their rural villages for the cities--taking any jobs that they can manage to find. Due to China's vast population, a lot of daily meager work is fulfilled by these migrant workers. For example, most of the magazine stands and street-side vendors are run by these exact workers--you can't go a day in Beijing without running into them.

When I first landed in Beijing, I had expected a fully modernized city with futuristic skyscrapers and advanced commuter rails. I was not disappointed, Beijing is indeed a 21st century modern city, but at the same time, there were many parts of it that caught me by surprise. The advanced look of skyscrapers and Olympic stadiums stood awkwardly next to the wooden cart markets. Large-screen TVs on buildings lit up the roadside Chuanr (meat skewers, or kebabs) carts. The city is a weird juxtaposition of the some of the most modern architectures with the impoverished look of the poor.

In high school, I had the opportunity to visit Japan on a similar study abroad experience. One thing that particularly struck me as odd there was the obscene amount of vending machines that Japan had littered throughout its streets. There wasn't a single city or rural block that did not have at least one vending machine on it. Now take every single vending machine and replace it with a migrant worker on a wooden cart selling beverages and you have Beijing.

I love chuanr.
Obviously both have their advantages and disadvantages, one is cheaper, the other is more refreshing, and both are extremely convenient. At a glance, the Chinese equivalent seems a bit off-putting--almost an eyesore to the otherwise modern cityscape. But after a few conversations with them, I realized that the wooden carts are actually a deeply integrated part of Chinese culture. The large population isn't just a boasting figure or statistic of China, but rather its most defining characteristic.

I had an assignment to interview a migrant worker on his/her experiences. I had to ask for any challenges in their lives, their motives, their goals or aspirations. At first, I was a bit hesitant because of their facial expressions--hardened with the tough reality of their lifestyles. But after getting over the initial fear of speaking to them, I found that they are quite charming. A chef at a dumpling restaurant taught me to make Mapo tofu, a cell phone and magazine vendor chatted with me about his life back in the villages, and a hairstylist told me his views on America and Chinese communism. I realized that, past the toughened exterior, is an extremely colorful mind, just waiting to share his or her views with the world.

I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with some of the city's most interesting characters--the average street peddler. Each and every one of them has a unique story to tell--one filled with hardship, sweat, and perseverance. So whether you're buying fresh fruit or a bottle of water from these migrant workers, take a moment to look beyond the wooden cart and try to engage in a friendly conversation. You may be surprised at what you may find.


On a side note, this was an essay I wrote for a scholarship.

July 14, 2012

China and JST

Update with 5 word sentences.

I am currently in China. I haven't posted for awhile. I now apologize for this. I actually am writing stuff. But I can't post them. I will explain why later. But until then good bye.


On a side note, censorship.

April 05, 2012

Tacos

--
Sent from my phone. Please excuse brevity of tone or any tacos. Thank you!
The above is my current phone email signature. It gets attached to the end of any email I write on my phone. Is it okay that I have such a signature? Is it professional? Should I change it?

Agree? Disagree?

Reasoning : I really like how the word "tacos" symbolizes "typos," and it in self is also a typo. This kind of cute, laid-back joke are my favorite types of jokes.

Previously, it said:
--
Sent from my phone. Please excuse brevity of tone or any typos. Thank you!
I've also messed around with a parody of the iPhone signatures.
--
Sent from my rooted Android phone. Freedom to choose is always better.
But that sounded way too arrogant for my tastes and I chucked it after a few days.

Which sounds best to you? What email signature do you use on your smartphones?


On a side note, I wish Providence weather would just make up its mind and be a bit more consistent.

March 30, 2012

Nocturnalism

Peaceful night sky
So it's currently Spring Break over here in Brown. I didn't go anywhere, but instead elected to stay on the campus. It's really peaceful as everybody already left for warmer locations. I decided to try an experiment for the duration of the break--I decided to go nocturnal.

Why you ask? No particular reason. It's just something that I naturally tend towards anyway. I get most of my work done at night. I play with my friends at night. I sleep really late and wake up even later. My life has always been on the nocturnal side. I am no morning person.

So this break, I decided to fully embrace it and go 100% nocturnal--sleeping at 8AM and waking up past 6PM. Or sleeping at sunrise and waking at sunset. I don't really know what biological effects this experiment has had on my body (Vitamin D). But so far, I feel perfectly fine. Adjusting my sleep cycle took a few days where I progressively slept later and later. First 6AM, then 7AM, then 8AM, and finally 9AM. It's been an interesting journey and I have learned a few things.

I think I prefer being nocturnal. An average day (or night) begins with me waking up to my friends/suitemates. They are all hungry from a day of being awake and wake me up to go grab dinner. No blaring alarm to wake up to, no deadline to meet, just relaxation.

Next, my night begins with dinner (or breakfast) with my friends. We enjoy a lovely meal and conversation. I love how the first thing I do after waking up is relax with my friends and have a good time. Afterwards we'd play video games or watch movies. Since none of my friends hang out in the day, I usually don't miss much.

Eventually, the day-mongers would get tired and all retire to their respective beds. After everybody goes to bed, I return to my room, play loud music and do whatever I please. I finished the Millenium Series, reorganized my entire music library, did my laundry, wrote blog posts, did some homework, and finished Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. The best part of being awake at night is that nobody else is awake to bother you. No nagging to go to bed. No annoying questions. Nobody telling you what to do. It was peaceful. It was serene.


On a side note, if there were no classes, I think I'd gladly switch to being nocturnal full-time.
On a side side note, classes start in 3 days. I unfortunately have to pull an all-dayer to fix this schedule again. Oh well.

March 29, 2012

Pareto Efficient Crosswalks

Car / Pedestrian and directions of travel
Imagine this scenario, I'm sure it's already happened to you many a times. You're walking down the street, when a car is coming at you from your right. What do you do? The car could stop and wait until you cross the street, then continue on its way. On the other hand, you could also stop and wait for the car to pass by and then continue on your way (Assume there are no stop signs, traffic lights, or police officers).

Either way, somebody must stop. One person must necessarily wait for the other in order to proceed. If we assume that time saved is a normal good and that waiting is an inferior good, then obviously, a rational individual would want to minimize their waiting time and maximize the amount of time saved.

We can show the results in a payoff matrix.

Both Go
Suppose that both the pedestrian and the car decide to go without waiting. Then assume that there will be a car crash and both individuals will die and therefore cannot get to their location (Payoff of 0).

Both Wait
If both the pedestrian and car wait, then neither will ever go resulting in inaction. Prolonged inaction leads to the death by starvation or dehydration of both individuals (Payoff of 0).

Car Goes, Pedestrian Waits
Payoff matrix
If the car decides to go and the pedestrian waits, then the car saves time by not having to stop and wait while the pedestrian has to lose a bit of time before continuing on (Payoff of 1 to Car and 0 to Pedestrian).

Pedestrian Goes, Car Waits
If the pedestrian decides to go while the car waits, then the pedestrian saves time by not having to stop and wait. On the other hand, the car loses that opportunity and gains nothing by waiting (Payoff of 1 to Pedestrian and 0 to Car).

We can see clearly from the payoff matrix that the above scenario has two Nash equilibria--the two cases where one waits while the other goes. Using the Pareto Efficiency criteria, these two results are also Pareto optimal--one must necessarily be worse off for the other to be better off.

March 05, 2012

Anxiety With Friends

W is worth only 4 points?
Lately I've been playing Words With Friends a lot. For those of you that don't know what it is, it's basically just Scrabble for your smartphone or a Facebook game that you play with your friends. I like it particularly because I don't have to overly commit to it and can play at my own leisure. I make a move, you make a move. It could take days, even weeks, for a single game to end.

Sometimes I have to look at a specific game-board multiple times (couple of days) before I can finally decide on what word to play. And If my opponent notices that I haven't played a word for a long time (3 days+) he/she starts pestering me, "Hey man, it's your turn on Words" or "Are you ever going to play your word?" It's not particularly annoying and most of the time I just brush them aside until I have the time to actually sit down and play my turn.  Yet, I can't help but think that the pestering has a subtle subconscious effect on my mind.

For example, let's say you're hopelessly in love with a person. In fact, let's not even use the word "love," because it's more like a crush. Now let's say that you hardly ever see this other person--in other words, your opportunities to interact with him/her is extremely limited. That sucks. But what can you do? You live life in waiting for the next time you will run into him/her, stuck in a perpetual state of limerence.

But every time you do see them, it's like an unconscious reminder--"When are you going to see them next time? Why don't you seize the opportunity now and just do something." It's like that friend who pesters you to make your move on Words With Friends. You feel obligated to initiate something. Otherwise you may lose the opportunity. Then, after hours of worrying, I end up playing a lame 10-point word, costing me the game.

But what if I'm not ready to make my move? What if I don't necessarily have the letters I need for that awesome triple word, triple letter, 100 point+ combo? What if I am preparing for an even bigger move in my next turn?


On a side note, I think my happiness is a function of the weather.

February 12, 2012

Open Letter to Long Distance Lovers

I have a problem with long distance relationships. They suck. They take away my friends, my time, my energy, and my mental health. I don't see anything really positive about these relationships. Now don't get me wrong, it's awesome that you're together. Please beat the odds and make it all "work out in the end." But I do have some reservations about you trying to work it out being thousands of miles apart. Especially if I'm your friend.

You see, with long distance relationships, it's always about the "next time." The next time you will see each other. The next time you can talk on the phone. The next time you can video chat. The next time you can visit. Whatever. So you spend whatever precious time you may have on the phone or Skype planning out the next time you can be together. Because being together means fun right?

But what about when you're together?

Now, let's say you finished the planning. You bought the tickets. You planned the events. You know where you're going to go. Then the day finally comes when you are reunited. It's awesome, right? Well, for starters, you have to burn a few hours getting over that initial awkward "I haven't seen you in a long time" feeling. Then you can start doing coupley-things again until the "We're going to have to say goodbye again" feeling kicks in. So essentially, the amount of true fun you can have even while together is severely limited. That sucks.

But what about when you're not together?

But that's just the one time you meet. What about the times when you aren't together? What then? Is that considered fun? Does the idea of planning a date sound more appealing than actually going on a date? Sure it could, but generally speaking, I'd take the physical and actual date over the planning any day. Let me get this straight. You spend time trying to spend time together? Are you sure that being "together" is what truly makes you happy?

But what about when
you're not together?

Do you just carry on with your life as if you are single? Are you allowed to steal glances at attractive potential mates? What if it's just a "friendly conversation?" Oh my significant other will never find out, he/she is not here. You worry that you are drifting apart from your boyfriend/girlfriend. So you start acting cold towards the new people you meet. They then think that you're a socially dead block of ice. Slowly but surely, nobody really wants to talk to you anymore. Do you disagree with me? Oh no, I still go out to parties and still hang out with friends, I most definitely don't wall myself off. Really? I'd have a hard time believing that. Even if you may consciously say that you're still very sociable, if I am talking to you, I can tell that you're not 100% here--a portion of your brain is with your significant other. And that's disrespectful to me, not to mention annoying.

But what about if you're not together?

Now try thinking about a world where you are free to spend your time as you wish. You're no longer bound by mandatory (or what feels like mandatory) Skype dates. You don't have to explain acronyms or local vernacular to your distance lover. Sure there may be some lonely downtime when you wish the other was here. But you can get used to that. Turn that negative energy into a positive driving force. Find that thing that truly makes you happy. Be yourself, don't report to anybody.

As your friend or potential friend. I implore you to rethink your current position. Are you truly better off in this long distance torment relationship? Are there other (even better) opportunities staring at you in the face? Do you aspire to do great things? Meet great people? If so, then why are you going at it with anything less than a 100% of your willpower? Why sacrifice a portion to someone who is such a great burden on your life?

When you're with them, blissful happiness. But when you're without, absolute despair. Tell me, are you with them more than you're without them?


On a side note, of course this is just one very cynical viewpoint. I'm sure that you'll somehow beat the odds and make it work, right?
On a side side note, I once read an interesting analogy about how to deal with suicidal partners. It goes something like this:
Let's say that you're walking on a bridge and some stranger runs up to you, tosses you one end of a rope with the other end tied to their legs and jumps off the bridge. You hold on, of course, because you don't want the person to die. That's a natural reaction. But how long are you going to hold on? You have your own life, your own friends and family, your own loved ones on the other side of the bridge. They are all wondering where you are. Can you hang on to this rope forever?

January 13, 2012

Summer Plans Email

The below is a copy of an email I sent to a contact. In retrospect, it is way too long and there's no way the person who I sent it to read it all, given their business. However, I thought it was a good piece that showed the passion and dedication I once had. I think I'm starting to get it back, little by little.
Hello, 
My name is Wonmin Lee. I am the cousin of Won Joon Lee. This summer, I need to work. I have worked tirelessly to get into Stuyvesant High School. In the post-achievement glory, I slacked off, yet realized soon enough to manage to get into Oxford College of Emory University. Now, I am determined to not let my achievements blind me from my goal in life. I am aware of my current successes, I am truly glad of what I was able to accomplish. However, I am also aware of how far I have yet to go--of how far behind others I truly am. This is the reason why I need to work this summer. Because I cannot afford the time to play around when I have so much ground to cover--just to catch up with the vast amounts of people ahead of me.  
In the financial and business world, a good educational background and contacts can get your foot in the door. However, no matter how stellar your recommendation or your credentials may be, if you do not have the talent to back up your first impression, failure is almost guaranteed. I believe that I have the perseverance, enthusiasm, and creativity that will put me above the crowd. I believe in my ability to impress--I just need that one interview, that one meeting to establish who I am and what I can accomplish. 
I do not know the intricate workings of the market and its behavior. As a college freshman, I cannot possibly predict where our economy will be in the next week, let alone a year. My personal portfolio experienced a loss of 99% in the past two months. I jumped in the market with limited prior knowledge and a heart filled with determination and confidence. Two months later, I barely survived, gasping back on the shore with less than twenty dollars left. The difference aside from the obvious $1,980 loss is a new grasp of the workings of the market—a firsthand experience that I believe is priceless and an incredible bargain at such a price. My confident and determined heart is if anything, even more confident and determined. 
The past two months has been the most revealing two months of my life, not only due to the market, but my lifestyle as a whole. I woke at 8:30 every day, to catch the market openings. I stayed up late researching the latest financial news. I picked several stocks every week and compared them to the S&P--averaging an unimpressive -0.50% margin of increase versus the S&P. Given a goal, I laid out the plans to achieve that goal and worked at it relentlessly. My goal wasn't to earn money; it was to learn as much as I possibly could before going broke. I believe that I have accomplished that goal. However, similarly with my current college status, I cannot let this victory deter me from achieving greater victories in the future. This isn't the time to celebrate, but rather keep moving forward. This is the reason why I need to work this summer. My previous goals, whether they were achieved or not, matter little once I have set my next goal.  
My next goal is to learn the intricacies and inner workings of an already established and renowned financial company. The history, credentials, and the name of the firm matters very little. What matters is the amount I could take with me on my journey to a successful future. Which company will be the greatest teacher to the aspiring leader? Which company can provide exposure to the resources that make a business man a business man? What is the difference between risk management and trading? And where can I learn these things firsthand? 
The other day, I was walking in Wall Street with two of my college friends. We happened upon the New York Stock Exchange where the traders were leaving for the day, the market being closed. A group of middle-aged Asian women were standing at the entrance taking group pictures with some of the people who were exiting the building. I was amazed. Since when did businessmen become celebrities? It struck me then that these men were all successful. I wanted to be like them. To leave everyday at 4 o'clock, discussing with my fellow traders about the day's various trades and hot stocks. A person with almost nowhere to go but up on the corporate ladder. I firmly believe that I have what it takes to climb that ladder. When you ask me why I would want to climb that specific ladder, I can only answer by saying, "Because the view is nice."  
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. 
Sincerely, 
Wonmin Lee

On a side note, I didn't realize that the world of search was so complicated and interesting.
On a side side note, I added my Google+ profile to the sidebar! Check it out!

January 11, 2012

Margin Call

I saw the movie Margin Call yesterday night. It was a pretty suspenseful movie that dramatized the recent financial crisis of 2008. At the very least, the cast was very well selected and every actor was incredibly professional.

While I don't fully understand the financial crisis, nor am I claiming to be an expert on economics or finance, but the movie made me feel a little weird--especially at this point in my life where a lot of my peers in school do in fact go off in search of finance jobs.

One particular scene struck me--the scene where the character Seth Bregman (portrayed by Penn Badgley) is crying in the bathroom stall because he's afraid of getting fired. A little background info on Seth before I tell you how I felt. He's a 23 year old working in the Risk department at a large unnamed corporation who made $250,000 last year in bonuses and salary.

I was a bit annoyed as to why he was crying. Here's a young fresh graduate making six figures with an absolutely beaming future ahead of him. The crisis wasn't completely his fault nor does he probably even understand what's happening around him. So he just cries? He made five times the national median of a 25 year old male with a Bachelor's Degree and he's crying?

As a college undergraduate, I don't even know what I would do with $250,000. Pay off my student loans? Pay off my credit card? What then? I have no clue. Which is why the following scene really shocked me.
Seth Bregman: Will?
Will Emerson: Yeah?
Seth Bregman: Did you really make two and half million bucks last year?
Will Emerson: Yeah... I did.
Peter Sullivan: What do you do with all that money?
Will Emerson: I don't know really. It goes pretty quick.
Will Emerson: Well the tax man takes half of it up front. So now you got what... million and a quarter. Mortgage grabs another 300K, I gave 150 to my parents to live off, so now you got what?
Peter Sullivan: Eight hundred.
Will Emerson: I bought two cars last year for 150 total. Probably another 100 eating... 25 on clothes, put 400 away for a rainy day...
Seth Bregman: Smart.
Will Emerson: And what's that?
Peter Sullivan: 125 left.
Will Emerson: I spent $76,520 on booze, dancers, and whores.
Pretty amazing if you ask me.


On a side note, Zachary Quinto is so cool.

Smart Shuffle

Left - Shuffle, Right - Smart-shuffle
Wouldn't it be nice if all media players, iPods, Android phones, or whatever you use to listen to music could all sync? I would love to look at the statistics on my music listening habits. Which songs get skipped one second in? Which songs have I listened to the most in my lifetime? Which songs are never played? Which songs are over-played?

This got me to thinking about a smarter way to shuffle songs. Let's just assume that somehow, music we listen to was kept track regardless of whatever device we use. Some magical tool that we shove in our ears, I don't know. Think of the possibilities!

Music that was recently added to the library have heavier weight. Songs with high play-counts can slowly decrease in weight à la diminishing returns. Lower play-count songs will be favored over higher play-count songs. The same song will never play back-to-back. An option to have smoother transitions from song to song so we aren't listening to classical Bach one song and then suddenly Lil Wayne.

Ignoring the issue of how to keep track of songs we listen to in our lifetimes, doesn't the technology to do at least the mentioned above already exist? Albeit my play-count in Windows Media Player are pretty abysmal because I chronically skip songs, I would love some of the above-mentioned functionality.


On a side note, I wish a song would count as "played" if at least 50% of the song was listened to. If not 50%, at least make it customizable!

January 03, 2012

Escape

At school, I currently work part time (9 hours / week) at the school eatery as a cashier. It's not the most glamorous job in the world, but I find it incredibly relaxing and fun. Which is contrary to general consensus--that a minimum wage job cannot be anything but hell on earth. I brought this up to my dad, proud in my unique ability to see the silver lining on what is considered to be a dark cloud. He then suggested that my part-time job didn't sound like a job, but rather an escape. An escape from the ordinary and mundane life of a student.

Is that true? Was working a cashier job an escape to me? It's true that the money doesn't really matter to me. If I think about it, what's truly special about working is the interaction I have with the countless students who pass by. I have more fun in those 3 hours of interaction than I do in any class or study session. I guess it was an escape after all.

This led me to think about what else in my life is an escape? Naturally, I arrived at video games. In the past, no matter how sad or depressed I was, playing video games would allow me to relax and forget about everything. When I had my wisdom tooth pulled out, I didn't even take any pain medications because I was too busy playing GTA4. That's the power of distraction that video games have over me.

Are escapes such a bad thing though? I'm not quite sure. But there seems to be a distinct correlation between my success and the amount of games I play. I like having the option of video games. I have been through some tough parts of my life by surrounding myself in the worlds of Azeroth or Runeterra. It's great that I have such an escape to run to when times get tough. But does this desensitize me? When does it get to the point where the slightest difficulty sends me running to video games' open arms?


On a side note, why is it that recent movies only depict Apple products? For example, when you think of the Mission Impossible film series, you don't think of Apple. I don't associate Apple with spy-gear and badassery, but there was nothing but iPads, iPhones, and Macs in MI4. What gives?
On a side side note, happy 2012!