Saying Goodbye to the Big Apple

July 4, 2017

When I talk to people about New York, I typically get one of two reactions. The first is a sort of reverent awe of the city, an admiration of its life and cultural richness, of its grand scale and its diversity of experience. The second is a sort of disdain, a general feeling that they would be overwhelmed or exhausted there, swallowed up by a city that doesn’t know their name and never will.

Neither of these viewpoints are wrong. They reflect different priorities in a person, a different understanding of what makes life worth living and what they’re okay with sacrificing.

Around a year ago, after doing a summer internship in the San Francisco Bay Area, I made the decision to accept a full-time job offer there after graduation, even though I had the option to take the same position, or a very similar one, in New York. I’ll be moving there in about two or three weeks.

I made this decision partly on a rational level: the Bay Area is the base of operations for my new job, meaning I get a lot more flexibility to do what I’d like within it. That’s not to mention the activity and opportunities in the area as a whole, since the Bay Area is the focal point of the world of technology. But a big part of the driving force behind that decision was emotional. New York, as much as I had enjoyed my time there, had tired me out.

Since then, I’ve had a lot of time to think about that decision, to explore why it is that I felt this way. And I’ve had a couple of insights that might help give people a better picture of my feelings towards the city, and to know what it’s like from the inside.

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Four Months of Alternative Controllers

March 5, 2017

How do you interact with a computer?

Chances are the first thing that comes to your mind is the keyboard and mouse, or a keyboard and laptop trackpad. Those more used to mobile devices might point out the touchscreen. Technically-savvy readers might point out the other sensors and systems that are typically included in today’s computers and mobile devices, like cameras, microphones, or motion detectors. Gamers might hold up the button-filled game gamepad as their interaction method of choice.

But are those the only ways? What other methods of interaction are there? Can we get creative with them?

Those are the kinds of questions I was asked during the Spring 2016 semester, when I signed up for NYU Tandon’s Beyond the Joystick course. Taught by Kaho Abe, it’s a course based around rapid prototyping of alternative computer interfaces, with a focus on interactive creative systems such as games and art exhibitions. It tasked us with creating a new controller, and associated game or application, nearly every single week over the course of the semester.

I’m going to take you on a quick whirlwind tour of a few of the projects I built, going a bit into the motivations behind each, talking a bit about the kind of sensors used, and relating some of the lessons I learned.

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Scenes from New York

June 14, 2016

It’s been about nine months since I first came to New York City. I’ve reached the end of my first academic year of my Master’s degree, and with that comes a bit of time for reflection. I’d like to take the time to share with you guys some of the little moments I’ve had around this city, and maybe give you a bit of a taste of what it’s been like.

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Notes on Programming Languages

May 30, 2016

This past semester, I took a course on Programming Languages at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences as a part of my ongoing Master’s degree in Computer Science.

Because of Professor Benjamin Goldberg’s clear and methodical presentation of the subject matter, and because this is a subject I found myself pretty comfortable with, I ended up taking some pretty thorough, detailed notes while in class. A few classmates I shared them with thought they were very useful.

I thought it would be a shame to keep it to myself, so I’ve put them up online here. Hopefully this will be useful not just to my classmates (to whom I sent this link before the exam) but also to students taking this course in the future, or anyone who has an interest in programming languages.

You can access the notes here.