Life Update Before Graduation

I am about to graduate from my master’s program but before I can do so, I have to write about 70 pages worth of papers.  25 for international negotiation (Iran), 20 for comparative democratization (Iraq), 15 for policies for poverty reduction (Ecuador’s conditional cash transfer program), and another 5-10 pages for a negotiation simulation after-action review and for a business operations in emerging markets strategy plan.

Fun!

I’ve been distracted from schoolwork and blog reading lately.  Georgetown benefits from both a Spring Break and an Easter Break, which breaks up the rhythm of the semester.

I spent Spring Break studying for my final orals exam, which I passed although I don’t think I performed very well.  I got a comment from one of the panelists, “suspect hidden knowledge not articulated”.  But I got through it which is all that matters.

For Easter Break I went to Jamaica with some classmates and with my buddy MonkeyPope.  Videos are at Flickr, photos are forthcoming.

Last weekend I went down to Charlottesville with a couple classmates and stayed a night with my grandmother and my cousin at our family house.  Early on Saturday, we ran in the Charlottesville Marathon, my first.  We all did really well and finished in 4:22.  Very long race, but I haven’t felt that bad afterwards — no pain or much soreness!  I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that I ran 26.2 miles…

Afterwards, we went down to Salem and Roanoke to see where our classmate spent some of his time — downtown Roanoke in particular is very nice.

My desktop finally died — I suspect a motherboard issue.  But without a lot of time spent, I don’t think I’d be able to figure out what was wrong with it for sure.  So I ordered a new computer from ibuypower.com:

  • Case (  Nzxt Lexa Blackline Gaming Tower Case w/420W Power Supply Black )
  • Power Supply ( 800 Watt — Power Supply Quad SLI Ready )
  • Processor ( [=== Quad Core ===] Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9550 (4x 2.83GHz/12MB L2 Cache/1333FSB) )
  • Processor Cooling ( Thermaltake MaxOrb CPU Cooling Fan System Kit Silent & Overclocking Proof = Maximum cooling efficiency for quietness and performance )
  • Motherboard ( [SLI] eVGA Nvidia nForce 780i SLI Chipset w/7.1 Sound, Gb LAN, S-ATA Raid, USB 2.0, 3-Way PCI-E MB 3-Way SLI )
  • Memory ( 8 GB [2 GB X4] DDR2-800 PC6400 Memory Module Corsair-Value or Major Brand )
  • Video Card ( NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB w/DVI + TV Out Video )
  • Hard Drive ( 320 GB HARD DRIVE [Serial-ATA-II, 3Gb, 7200 RPM, 16M Cache] )
  • CD/DVD Drive ( 16x DVD-ROM Drive Black )
  • CD-RW/DVD-RW Drive ( LG 20X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive Black )
  • Operating System ( Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium ) 64-Bit )

ibuypower.com is pretty cool.  Very customizable through the web site, doesn’t tack on much of a premium for building your system and burning it in.  The case has a transparent window with blue and red LED lights on the fans.  I’m very happy with it, and I’m happy to have upgraded just before finals so I can have a nice big platform (dual monitors) to write my research papers on.  Doing a lot of work on a MacBook is just a pain.

The most interesting thing is that it took me very little time at all to reconnect to all my data.  Using Microsoft Live Mesh and Gmail, I was able to relink to all my cloud data and important files.  I also have an external hard drive as further backup.  This is a significant change from how things used to be, and how things still are for many people:  you can now back up your data in multiple places online and offline.

Many of my friends’ hard drives on their laptops have died and they’ve lost almost all their data.  It’s a shame that they’re still not backing up their data on the cloud (which is not 100% perfect but still a lot better).

Moving forward, I am looking for a permanent job after graduation, so that will consume much of my time.  I’m still trying to get Galapag.us off the ground as well, but that seems like it will be a lifelong project.

  • Great choice with ibuypower.com. I bought a PC from them while we were in Monterey and I’m still using it. It’s incredibly easy to upgrade, given its straightforward design, and it looks pretty good, too.