Yosemite

12 Jul

Here are some pictures from the amazing Yosemite National Park! It was a total of 9 hours drive back and forth but it was certainly worth it!

*Edit : Added more pictures! Enjoy!

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Updates soon!

8 Jul

Nope I haven’t forgotten about the blog, just busy with assignments and other stuff..! I’ve got about 2-3 assignments per week and each is comprised of several parts so yea.. 😀

I’ve got some new pictures which I’ll add soon and I’ll get some more tomorrow since we are visiting the Yosemite National Park!

 

Kickboxing, Programming Section Meeting

29 Jun

I’ve been playing tennis with a fellow student here, and since I don’t need the tennis course that much, I decided to drop it and try out the kickboxing course (Reminder: I can still drop/enroll to any course until July 1). A korean girl, suggested enrolling to this course and told us that they usually do a choreography filled with kicks and punches. So, yesterday was the first day, and I didn’t expect it to be really intense… WRONG! In the beginning, I started using lots of my energy by punching hard (since I thought it would be easy), but then I realized that the training becomes even more intense as time passed by.. This kept on going for about an hour non-stop!! (Well, actually we had a 2-minute break..). In the end, it was as if I took a shower and I couldn’t even feel my legs..! And if that wasn’t enough, she made us do ab exercises..!

Apart from the course switch, those past two days we went for a couple of hours to Palo Alto and had a drink. Palo Alto looks amazing and I’ll certainly get some pictures soon. Additionally, I handed in the first assignment for the “Programming Abstractions” course and received the second, which description is.. 12 pages! Furthermore, I also received an assignment from my other course “Client-side Internet Technologies” which is due July 7. Today, I have a section meeting for the first course, in which a discussion is made about algorithms, problems, solutions and any questions we might have concerning programming. Yesterday they uploaded a couple of optional section exercises which would help us practice subjects mentioned the past week. It took me about 2,5 hours yesterday, to complete them..!

More photos soon!

P.S. All my muscles hurt..! And tomorrow I’ve got kickboxing again.. AAA!

The first weekend

27 Jun

Sunday night here at Stanford, and currently waiting for my laundry to be completed. Yep, this is the first time and thank god women were around! Let’s only hope that tomorrow I won’t need to go shopping again..! Well, the last two days were really interesting..

Friday 24 / 06 : The Frat Party

I actually didn’t do much all day, apart from completing an assignment that I have to hand in this week. The night though was different.. We were invited to a frat party called Sigma Chi (ΣΧ)! Well, it is pretty close to what most of us have seen in most American-type movies (κλασικές αμερικανιές American Pie, Eurotrip etc.) Lots of people getting in and out, beers all around, drinking games in a number of tables, and all of those in a quite big “house”. The truth is that I expected it a lot better and fun, so most of us stayed there for a couple of hours and then returned back at our residence and ordered domino’s (Yep, at 2:00am domino’s still gets orders..! Love it..!)

Saturday 25 /06 : San Francisco – Trolley Tour – Gay Street Party – The View

Some days ago, we registered (SSHIP students) for a trolley-tour around San Francisco. So, we woke up about 9:00am, ate breakfast at the Stern Dining Hall and Stanford had small “Lunch Packs” for each one of us in order to have some food during the tour. We all met outside of the dining hall and started walking towards the Palo Alto train station in order to take the train to San Francisco. The walk was approximately 40-50 minutes, and trust me on this, we could have done it in 20-30 but for some reason we made a huge circle.. Apart from the duration, the walk was great and the weather was amazing… until we went to San Francisco..! We were informed that it would be cold, but almost nobody expected temperatures of 15-17°C..! The trolley tour took us to various locations such as the Golden Bridge, passed through Chinatown, downtown San Francisco and dropped us off at the popular Pier 39..! When we arrived there, we were given the train’s timetable and were left alone to do whatever we wanted. Since, it was about 14:00 we roamed for a while, got some pictures and then entered a local restaurant called “The CrabHouse” to eat fresh crab chowder..! Food was really good and prices were actually lower than expected (since it is mostly a tourist area).. When we finished eating, we had two options: either go back to Stanford or go downtown for shopping. Guess what? We went shopping..! I didn’t actually buy anything, but I got to see downtown San Francisco better..! We walked around the shops (Nike, Apple Store, North Face etc.) and around 21:00 we decided to go back.. Well, we didn’t.. A girl in our group told us about a gay street party that takes place quite close! This is generally a huge event which is followed by the popular Gay Parade on Sunday morning. All were somehow hesitant and I ended up going with that girl and managed to get my roommate to come as well. We got a cab and he left us somewhere close by since the roads were blocked! Music everywhere, a lot of gay people of course and a large number of policemen for security. The place was full of rainbow flags, rainbow swords and rainbow T-shirts.. We stayed there for a while and then decided to walk towards the train station (that was about 22:30). We actually didn’t know exactly where it was so we regularly ask people for directions. At some point we met a really nice guy that was in his 40’s that was just a business man that visited San Francisco for the weekend. We were all walking towards the same direction and so we started a conversation. He works for a company that produces jet engines for military uses and private companies such as Rolls Royce..! After a 40-minute walk, he informed us about a bar-restaurant that has an excellent view of San Francisco, so we decided to go and have a drink there. He took us to the Marriott Hotel and went up to the 39th floor in which the bar is located.. The view at 23:20 was breathtaking, with glass walls surrounding the bar which allowed us to see a large part of San Francisco..! We sat there and had a drink (the business man paid) and time passed so fast that we almost forgot we had to catch the last train to Palo Alto. We left the bar at about 23:45 and run downstairs to get a cab but unfortunately there was a long line outside of the hotel that had priority. We asked for directions and they told us that it is about 20 minutes from there, 7-8 large blocks away.. We instantly decided to run towards the station and try to make it.. If we didn’t we would have to stay somewhere there, since a cab would probably be too expensive for an hour drive.. Luckily, we made it on time, after a 15 minute run and a couple of sprints..! An hour after that, we arrived at Palo Alto and walked back to Stanford with some friends which were also returning from San Francisco..! That was my crazy Saturday..

A short parenthesis. Just took my clothes off the washing machine and then dryer.. Most look okay but one or two still have stains. Weird, I’m certainly not good at it. I think I’ll put them back and try other settings..!

Sunday 26 / 06 : Sleep, Tennis, Sleep again

Well, after that crazy night, I woke up at 10, ate brunch and then reserved a tennis court with a friend. When I returned, I slept again about 3-4 hours and woke up about 17:30.. Yes, I know.. I slept a lot, and that’s why I’m writing this at this time (2:10am).. Since then, I completed an assignment and climbed with some friends a huge tree outside our residence in order to sit somewhere on top. Yes again, I’m crazy and always try to have fun..!

That’s all for now! I have attached a couple of pictures on this post, so you can get an idea of San Francisco!

P.S. I noticed something else too. When you open an photo, you can also click on it to move to the next.. Leave some comments!

Online Lectures and 50mm Photos!

23 Jun

Hello there! Well Tennis Intermediate course seems kinda easy so I think I’ll give a shot at Tennis Advanced.. So today was the first day that the conflict of lectures occurred! I went to one of the courses (“Client-Side Internet Technologies”) and when I got back “home” I logged in at http://myvideossu.stanford.edu/ and surprisingly I have access to all of the lectures I’m enrolled! This is generally used for distance-learning but also for students that for some reason can’t attend lectures.

 

Sound quality is great when the instructor speaks, but student questions are sometimes hard to understand (The instructor though, usually repeats the question). In some classes, students are also being recorded on video when asking questions or commenting. Above, a screenshot that I got from the online video of one of the lectures I’m attending. I’m the guy with the glasses on the right side of the image, on the left of someone with a striped T-shirt..!

After a busy day of lectures, most of SSHIP students gathered at the lounge, ordered pizza and hooked a laptop on a big screen TV to project a movie..!

I also included some new pictures that I got with my 50mm lens..! The pictures are from a somehow central part of the campus.

Changes, Faculty Dinner, Tennis

22 Jun

Today I normally had no courses but I decided to search for a course that would replace the Graphics course. Why? I prefer at the moment having a pure programming course instead of a course with math too and the course “Programming Abstractions” should be real fun! It’s basically done in C++ and we cover various algorithms and programming styles. It has (as most courses) weekly programming assignments in which we have to complete an application/program. So, I called the instructor and joined his lecture the afternoon. The lecture was okay but the programming assignments are somehow challenging! There is a slight conflict though. One of the courses that I have chosen is every T-Th @ 15:15 – 17:05 and the other course is everyday at 16:15-17:05 … So, I asked if there is another section/hour that I can attend and the instructor informed me that I can watch all missed lectures online…! I only had to check with the finals schedule (which was great, different day)..!

After the lecture, I dropped by a store which I had ordered my new tennis racket, to pick it up! Next, as members of the Honors program we were invited to a great faculty dinner in which Mr. Rush Rehm, a professor of classics and drama here at Stanford, acted a small part of his latest work and then asked us for our interpretation of the play. Dinner was served and we had a chance to talk to him personally and ask him about his courses, his background and his travel.

Last, a Finnish friend of mine and I went and tried out my new racket at the East Tennis courts..! Amazing courts.. and amazing racket! Didn’t have time for any pictures, but more to come soon!

Here we go..!

21 Jun

I mentioned that I was thinking of getting the “Graphics” course instead of the Operations Management course. Well, Today I attended the first lecture and I finally felt like home :D. It’s filled with programming (C/C++ & OpenGL) and math. The lecture was mainly an introduction to “What is graphics?” and then point, vector representation and their operations. One thing that may instructors (especially CS) may be interested is the online Q&A application that most CS instructors use here. It’s Piazzza! It enables students from the same course to interact with each other, with Teaching Assistants and of course the professor. My next lecture, “Client-Side Internet Technologies” took place in the same room 10 minutes after my previous one (Kinda lucky here..) We were introduced to HTML today and we’ll continue with CSS, Javascript and AJAX. We discussed some examples and visited several sites to view the elements of a webpage. The fun part was that the instructor visited the NYTimes.com website and accessed an article about… the Greek economic crisis (!!?) and was trying to pronounce the name “Papandreou”..! When we got back to the tech stuff, he talked a little bit about jQuery vs pure Javascript and added: “If Google had to choose between someone that knows excellent jQuery vs someone that knows excellent Javascript, it will choose Javascript.” (He also mentioned that he did actually talk to Google about this..!!) So, since that’s what employers want, that’s what we’ll focus on. Another really interesting information is that all CS classes are being broadcasted across Silicon Valley (live!), with people from companies such as HP, Google etc watching! Hmm, let’s see what else? My tennis course started today too, and it’s courts are all the way in the other side of the campus.. Without rollerblades it would take over 30 minutes to get there..!

So, today I got an idea of what the courses look like and my final course enrollment will be:

1. Introduction to Computer Graphics and Imaging (4 Units)

2. Client-Side Internet Technologies (3 Units)

3. Tennis : Intermediate / Advance (1 Unit)

The first course is very demanding, so I’ll have to start studying from tomorrow. Reviewing math concepts and programming methodologies. The second course should be easier and with the third I’ll finally get to play tennis again!

So I have included some pictures of the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center” as promised. Let me know what you think!

**Edit: I just noticed that when you click an image in here, you can go to the next or previous image by clicking a link in the lower left and right corners instead of going back and forth to the home page.

First Day of Classes

20 Jun

This blog was actually created today (20/06/11), but I just added the two past days to give a short summary of what has happened so far. In general, I’ll try to post a couple of pictures per day and sum up most of my activities here at Stanford. Enough said. Today, classes started and students are able to attend / drop / enroll (if there is available space) any course until July 1 without any fees. I attended a course of Operations Management in a building called “Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center” which is full of high-tech features. The technologically-wise interesting part of the lecture was when the instructor sat on her desk and pressed a button. The projector (HD of course :D) instead of showing the powerpoint slides, switched to a HD mini camera that was placed on top of her notepad. She wrote equations and their solutions and we could see them clearly on the large screen. I haven’t got any pictures of the building / classes yet. But I will soon get some, since I have other classes there too. The OM course is really interesting, but I’m thinking of switching to another course called “Introduction to Computer Graphics and Imaging” which is basically programming in C/C++ and LOTS of math such as vectors and vector operations, vector spaces, matrices, basic linear algebra, polynomials, and some elementary signal processing (the Fourier transform and filtering). Although I’ve been exposed to most (if not all) of the above subjects I’ll definitely need to review during the summer. For anyone that is interested, here is the syllabus which I found online: Graphics Last, after having dinner (great buffet, but that will be another post), my roommate and I went for a short walk-jog to have a look at the gym, squash & basketball courts and fencing facilities. Oh, one last thing. In a short meeting that we had, I just found out that there isn’t anyone observing / watching us while we have our exams. They encourage honesty and integrity, and other students reporting cheaters.

P.S. Here are some images of a “small” part of the campus.

P.S.2 This is NOT the main Library..

Campus Exploration

19 Jun

Weather is sunny around 28˚C. I mostly rollerbladed around campus to get some kind of direction on where classes are etc. The campus is H U G E and well organized. It is so big.. that it has it’s own Sherif..! I didn’t want to rollerblade with my camera so I didn’t get any pictures but I’ll soon capture and upload some pictures of the campus and maybe a video too! The afternoon we had an informal reception in which we were introduced to the people that are responsible of this program and students that will help us through the session. According to the speech, this program I’m attending was recently created and it has expanded significantly..!  It started with 7 students from Mexico and today we are over 80 students that come from all over the world. Mexico, Italy, France, China, Japan, Korea etc. and of course.. Greece! The reception was followed food and drinks (no alcohol offered of course.. just coffee and tea..) And then a Mexican fellow organized a gathering with “real” drinks..! That’s all for now!

Arrival: San Francisco

18 Jun

Today I arrived at the San Francisco International Airport through a domestic flight from New York. I spent a week around Boston and NY which were extraordinary cities. I personally believe that Boston is a safer, cleaner and more welcoming that NY. Well, upon my arrival I met with a fellow Deree student and got a shuttle bus to Stanford University. We got to “Branner Hall” which is our residence and were welcomed by some Stanford students which will help us adjust in campus. To make things short, I got my Student ID (Woo!) and the key to my room. Although I was tired after a 6,5 hour flight I was too excited to lie down so I went for a short ride (is it ride?) on a pair of rollerblades that I bought in Boston! Last, most students went to WallMart for office supplies and bedsheets.