Monday, November 19, 2007

Ok, so although this is a 2006 picture, I still used the same costume as last year. I haven't yet posted the pictures on picasa and I also created this entry just to keep the blog a little bit alive.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


After finishing the summer semester, I organized to go with my friends to go and have a team-building experience: paintball!. I had never played this "game"before and was a little anxious about it, and I think all my other friends were as well.

We drove about 20 minutes out of Pittsburgh and arrived to this outdoor field full of nice props. It was raining throughout the trip so this would add some interesting realism to the game. After getting our gear (a gun an a mask) we were explained the rules of safe playing and where taken to our first game. The game consisted of one team trying to run uphill through a forest and reach a fort where we had to plant a flag. The other team had to stay in the fort and repel the attack. I was in charge of taking the flag.

After we reached the top of the hill we started getting shot at. I remember that I was worried about that point if I would "get into the game" and duck into the bushed and dirt. Ohhh boy did I crawled into the mud. After trying various strategies, we decided that I was going to have covering fire to help gain a higher ground. After I started running I received my first shot ever. In that particular moment you know if you like the game or not. The pain lasts only about a second, but I didn't care, all I wanted was to get there again with my team.

We played all afternoon in different scenarios: old scrapyard, inflatable obstacles, etc. Some had different rules like trying to get the other team out while others where more strategic in which you had to capture the enemy's flag.

I've posted some pictures (others are available here), but you have to get a feeling of what it is like to have 14 Software Engineers trying to shoot each other. Everyone has a strategy and think they are the smarter player, until they get a couple of shoots out of nowhere. Then every team start getting their own natural leader that organizes the assault and trusting the wisdom (and firing coverage) of the group.

All in all, it was an amazing experience and I had a blast. I can't wait to go play this again.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Summer capstone project finished!

Wow!! I thought this day would never come. Today, the last day of my summer semester at the Masters of Software Engineering, we presented the project in which me and other 4 people worked for the last year.

I've been involved in many projects as developer and manager, and I this has been the best project I have ever delivered: on time, on quality and above scope. I must say that some of the techniques learned in the program has helped me as team lead to achieve this goal. Off course, this would have been possible without my team mates. All exceptional individuals.

So, if you are curious, the presentation slides can be found here (hope the stay there forever):

Unfortunately, my semester is not yet over. In a couple of hours I have to go take a Data Mining exam. Then I''m done and I'm off to celebrating this rough year.

Friday, August 03, 2007

A picture from CMU

I was thinking that I have never posted any picture on my blog of my time in CMU. I found this nice picture of last year's Fall when my girlfriend (now wife :)) came to visit.

What you can see in the picture is on of the areas Carnegie Mellon. The small building behing me is called Hamerschlag Hall. The long towering building behind it is the Cathedral of Learning, par of the the University of Pittsburgh.
Posted by Picasa

Almost there....

Well..its 4:30 am and I'm still awake. After a long year of pulling all nighters I'm starting to feel dizzy. I need a break and I need it soon. This last couple of days, knowing that the end of the semester is near is making every day more difficult.

After this semester I will start pointing my guns in a new direction:finding what to do after CMU. Although, as my mentor says, I'm like a kid in a candy store here at, I want to go back to industry. The ideal setting would be to find something research-like. Lets see where the tide takes me in the next couple of months.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Interesting summer semester

Even though I promised myself to write more I can't seem to find time.

Well, its my fault. After all, as a grad student in the MSE program you are supposed to take at most 60 unit (a unit is computed as the average hours per week required in the course) but I got greedy and took 72 units. I couldn't help it. Too many interesting course and opportunities to venture into unknown territory.

Ok, here are my courses this semester:
  • Studio III(48 units): this is a core course. After 2 semesters or designing and preparing to create a search-and-rescue simulator for our client (DoD L3-Communications). Last semester I was chief architect and this semester I've rotated to the role of Team Lead. The project was delivered on time and exceeding our client's expectations.
  • Statistics: (6 units): I took this course mainly as a refreshed to take data mining later on
  • Data Mining (6 units): This course, although interesting lacks the depth I was expecting. We are learning classification methods and different techniques of data mining, but it lacks the mathematics in-depth that I was expecting to learn. At least I get a good hands on with some cool tools that I will be able to use later in my life
  • Product Management in IT: I took this course so in the future I'm more adept at communicating with this group in a company. I was also curious to see what the responsibilities of a PM are, like building Product Marketing Plans and Strategy Plans...interesting indeed.
  • Independent Study-architecture evolution (6 units): this turned out to be pretty cool stuff indeed. A new group within CMU was formed lead by Dr. David Garlan. The group is in its initial phases and we are currently reading possible papers regarding the evolution of an architecture through time. It deals with how to reason about changes and what techniques and method exists to help this transition. This group was interesting not only because of the exposure of the people involved in it, but also because it helped me articulate my thoughts better. As my first splash into academia, I found it to be very challenging and entertaining at the same time.
Next semester I'm going to take it easier, maybe 36 units and audit the rest. No more stress and all nighters. I've been doing this for a year now and my body needs a rest (and the fact that my wife haven't seen me in a while :))

As a glance of what where my past courses:
  • Managing Software development
  • Formal Models
  • Methods: deciding what to design
  • Software Architecture
  • Managing Intellectual Capital Intensive Businesses
  • Real-time decision making with ERP
  • Developing Star performers
  • Analysis
  • Studio I & II
See you!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Back to life

So, after about 6 months of feeling the pressures of life of being a Carnegie Mellon student I've decided to put some time aside and write a little bit of what is going on.

Since I'll be here for another year I guess my thoughts will be mixed between the difficulties and daily chores of a grad student as well as some insight of the new stuff I learn.

Regardless of who reads this, it will be nice to see my thought down the road when I'm older.