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.
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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.