Thursday, March 31, 2005

"8 Days A Week"

"If coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?" - Fox Mulder (X-Files)

Welcome to Thursday's blog. Thursday is one of my favorite days. It is close to the end of the week! Here are some links you might find interesting:
You know your game is actually being used when you see references to it on message boards. CODENAME: Monkey-Bots (CMB) is really a game I worked on with two other people for my senior design project. Of course, Justin thought I had lost my mind when I suggested that we take this on as our project. Then about a month in to the project he was convinced I was a complete looney when we had little working code to show of our efforts. By the end of the semester we has a working multiplayer game (although you need multiple cartriges to play multiplayer) and it was really cool to see all the hard work and effort. Alright, I think that is enough self promotion for now. If you haven't checked out CMB you really, really should.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

(Don't confuse) Wednesday's Child

"You know, you blow up one sun and suddenly everyone expects you to walk on water." - Carter (Stargate SG-1)

Hello! It's fun filled Wednesday. The middle of the week and the middle of everything. In the event you were wondering what the title is from (and I will give you a big hint that it is follows a similar pattern to Monday's and Tuesday's blog) you can find out here.

So what's today's blog about? Neural networks. Ever since I started my master's project, people have first asked me what is my project. "Predicting future class enrollment using neural network". The second question I (almost always get is): "What's a neural network?" So I decided to do a little internet search (via the almighty and powerful Google).

Here some links you might find interesting:
An Introduction to Neural Networks by Prof. Leslie Smith.

Neural networks and handwritting recognition.

Neural networks and applications in the medical field.

This news article is about the area of IT in general (but it does mention neural networks.

Well, that is just a brief little bit on the subject area. Neural networks (like quantum computing) is a vast area with large quantities of applications. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday

"They have two settings: stun and kill... It'd be best not to confuse them." - Lt. Reed (Enterprise)

Hello! I am slowly running out of blog ideas. My computer architecture class has finished up the topic on quantum computing so I won't have great material on the subject to share with you. However, we have mored on to older architectures - so that may prove to be blogging worthy. We shall see. So today's blog is more random news that I happen to see during the day:

Another good blog to read: Breaking Windows 2.0: Rants and Raves by Ken Edwards and Matt Paprocki. I actually know Ken Edwards (and his large quantity of the latest geek stuff). They were recently Slashdotted.

Google is buying Urchin Software Corporation. What is Urchin? According to to their site it is "world's most widely deployed web analytics system".

The Apple OS X Virus Contest has been cancelled. Why? One of the reasons given was a fear of legal action by Apple.

Big Halo 2 news - it seems that there is an expansion pack scheduled to come out in April for Xbox Live.

Coming Soon - a new version of Photoshop. Now do we "really" think it was an accident?

7-Eleven and Music - I just post the links is all I am going to say on that one.

IBM and Egypt onDemand ad - Ok, I thought this was interesting most people won't, but I did.

On a complete side note: I have finally updated the software to run better for the class to use. I have posted links to the files here. Of course, my work is not done on the system - but it is farther along then before. This version doesn't require you to change the resolution. Plus, it has more of the original pictures. You need to get both files and place the midi folder into the other folder containing the execuable and the pictures. Yikes, this is getting complicated. Part of the problem is the restrictions the university places on our webspace size. They say we have 10 MB, but we can't post any one file over 7 MB (or that is what I think is happening).

Thanks for stopping by and reading Stephany's Un-Random Blog! I should get back to work on my project. I have to sort through some code that doesn't appear to be working correctly. All I wanted to do was add the bias to the neural network - well it is easier said than done. Until tomorrow.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Monday, Monday (ba-da ba-da-da-da)

So it's Monday. Which for those of us in college - back to the grind stone. Many people (including my Dad) have today off due to Sunday being a holiday. Of course, I really don't mind Monday's because I don't have class until 4:30 PM and ususally I don't do much work on this days anyway. However, it means the beginning of the week. I like Thursday a lot better. Anyway, I have started to ramble so I will get on with what you came here for - fun links:

Here is a very funny article a friend sent me the link (Thanks Chad).

It sounds like the plot summary of a movie. Oh wait there was 2 movies that had this kind of plot...

Dell and 64 bits.

By the way, I don't recommend you do this just to get your project done - no matter how appealling it sounds.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

50% Chance this Blog is About Schrodinger's Cat

"It's a kind of a joke, really. His name, that is. Schrodinger's cat." - Carter (Stargate SG-1)

I have already pointed out in an early blog the Interactive Schrodinger's Cat, but there are other interesting links that I am sure you would learn a lot from. Why did I pick this topic? Because I remember the cool quote from Stargate SG-1. Besides, how else was I going to be able to mention it in my blog? Besides, it is pretty funny concept when you think about it. The cat is both dead and alive. You won't know until you look inside. The example is simple, but it represents a complex idea - qubits from quantum physics. You don't know if it spin-up or spin-down until you measure the qubit.

As promised other articles you might find interesting:
A "definition" of the Schrodinger's cat concept.

Here is a very simplifed version - if you are having trouble. However, guessing my audiance you probably don't need it.

Bio of Erwin Schrodinger. Here is another I recommend (shorter version).

On a lighter note, here is a comic called Schrodinger (and is about a cat).

On a completely un-related side note: I finally watched Finding Neverland. Excellent movie. Also, I have been listening to a couple of songs from the soundtrack that I downloaded from iTunes. The movie and the music are wonderful - soft yet strong. Hmm... I am going to have to drink more Diet Pepsi so I can get more caps and download more of the album.

Happy Easter! Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

Friday, March 25, 2005


"Clearer? Jim, the other day I rolled up my car window while she was still talking to me! I drove away and she actually ran alongside the car until she was able to pull her hair free at the onramp! I'm telling you, the woman cannot take a hint!" - Murphy Brown (played by Candice Bergen).

NASA has detected light from planets outside of our solar system for the first time. How were they able to do this? The Spitzer Space Telescope.

Yahoo! is mooving up. Yahoo! is planning on giving users 1 GB of storage - to keep up with competition I bet.

An article about Jeff Hawkins and neuroscience (the study of the brain). Jeff Hawkins is starting a new company to build machines that function like human brain. Wow.

Here is an aritcle about FireFox. Recently they have released another new patch for the FireFox browse - making two total. Their goal? Have the safest browser.

Now this article is really cool - IBM's Blue Gene/L has broken a speed record by performing 135.3 trillion floating point operations per second. Of course IBM's Blue Gene/L already held the record, but still. It is the world's fastest supercomputer.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Hope you enjoyed some of the articles above. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Quantum Computing - A Brief Look in the Past

Alternate Title: "This Blog Entry is Both About History and Not About History - You Have to Read it To Find Out"

When did work start on quantum computing? Well, that is a difficult question to ask. It was a topic debated by all of the great classical physis - Einstein and Bohr. Einstein did not believe in quantum physics, Bohr did. They actually argued/discussed the topic many times at great length until Einstein's death in the 1950s.

Some believe that the first "real" work began in the 1960's when Richard Feynman proposes theories of quantumelectrodynamics. It wasn't until 1982 did Feynman actually came up with the idea of quantum computing - combining the world of quantum physics with that of computing. (In addition to the links above Centre for Quantum Computation (CQC) has some interesting information about the history as well.

Things really became interesting when around 1994 Peter Shor proposed what is now known as Shor's Algorithm. This algorithm runs in polynomial time and can be used for factoring large numbers on a quantum computer. (Hence, breaking traditional encryption algorithms). Which is why many believe that when quantum computing becomes a reality - the field of computers will change significantly.

Well, that is my extremely brief history - well, the parts I think are interesting and significant anyway. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ohio Celebration of Women In Computing

I got notification via CSAM (which is a cool group at University of Michigan that runs these great dinners) about this event - Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing. Registration for going ends March 25, 2005. However, I thought the idea was pretty cool - I didn't know something like this existed. One of the many co-sponsors is BGSU.

Well, this is a quick blog. Hopefully later this week I will actually have time to post up a real blog with like cool links and stuff. Until then, you will have to live off of these half blogs. I spent a good chunk of my free time trying to get this project working (an old project a professor wanted to use for a class exercise about user interfaces). It is quiet large zipped file (6+ MB). If you are interested in taking a look at the Horse Race System feel free ( The project developed using extreme programming practices as the software design process. The software was written in C# using Visual Studio .NET (so you will need the framework installed to run the exe). Sadly, it is Windows only software. It was written for a charity group to use at a fundrasier. You will need to change the resolution of your screen before running the software (the program was designed to look good on large screens).

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Title Goes Here

Normally, I spend todays blog talking about quantum computing. However, I didn't prepare this blog ahead of time so I decided to wait until later to post some cool stuff related to quantum computing. I want to talk about the history behind quantu, computing - but I just haven't gotten around to it. So, why the heck am I telling yout this? Well, stop back later this week and there will be a blog on the topic (hopefully).

Instead, I will post some other articles you might or might not find interesting:

A friend of mine pointed out this very funny article. (Thanks for the link Chad).

Today is World Water Day. Before seeing the image on Google I was unaware of there being a world water day. What is World Water Day? A day to discuss conservation of water resources. There are even ecards you can send to your friends.

The iTunes hack has been un-hacked. PyMusique was software that hacked into iTunes and songs were available without anticopying protection. However, the security hole has been fixed.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Saturday/Sunday Stephany Couldn't Think of a Title

Saturday's Quote: "The different branches of Arithmetic - Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision" - Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

Sunday's Quote: "A Mathematician is someone who can take a cup of coffee and turn it into a theory" - Paul Erdos

Do to my (extremely) busy weekend, I have decided to combine my Saturday and Sunday blog. In other words, I am going to only write one blog this weekend. I have to work on my neural net project, a research paper/presentation, re-write CRC cards for a group assignment, and finish a take-home exam for Wednesday. Yikes! The list looks even longer written down. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog! Have a great weekend.

It appears that 1/4 million of adult American's with cell phones use the text messaging feature. (I am one of those 3/4 million who own a cell phone and don't use text messaging by the way). The stats don't really surprise me that much. Text messaging seems to be the new "in" thing. Heck, they made fun of it in this comic.

In the Internet world the big news on the street is about Google going open source. You can visit their site called Google Code you can check out Google's open source projects. Google seems to be staying one step ahead of their competition - but of course that's just my thoughts on the subject.

Completely random side note really not important to anyone but me:
Another reference in Blogsnow. Cool. Blogsnow is just an interesting concept to me that there are sites that keep track of this kind of information.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Infomercial Blog

"A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there." - Charles Darwin

This is the product for those people who REALLY like Star Trek.

An article about the PlayStation Portable (PSP). It looks very interesting. They are using mini-DVD's to hold the game information (unlike the GameBoy Advance which used cartridges).

MP3 players are "The Thing" to have. It is predicted by some that the number shipped increase by a factor of 4 by the year 2009. Many claim it to be a market to watch.

I have seen the TV commercials for this show about Dragons many times last week. I wonder if the show is going to be interesting. Animal Planet went all out with long commercials and several web pages.

Microsoft recently began showing off some of their advertisingfor Microsoft's new MSN search. As someone else pointed out to me - why is the text box so small on MSN search?!? Is this to encourage people to make their search phrases short? Microsoft is hoping to "catch up" in the market. They are currently being used for about 16% of Web searches. Google takes about 35% and Yahoo! is around 32%. Microsoft has a ways to go before - plus Google and Yahoo! are well know for being good search engines. However, Microsoft has this way of pulling themselves up that I will never understand. It will be an interesting battle to watch.

On a side note:
I found this article to be very interesting: "No Stopping it Now: Seas to Rise 4 Inches or More this Century".

Oh and this article.

On a copmpleted different subject: I recently got a Gmail account! I really like it - especially the fact that you can send/receove large files. Anyway, I thought I would share my opinion. If you are a Windows user you can download the Gmail Notifier which allows you to check your Gmail messages without a browser. Being a Mac OS X user I can't use it (but I still like my Mac better than Windows - even though this looks really cool). I know how those Microsoft people are... Just kidding. I don't think Windows is that bad. There are some great products just for Windows - games, .NET, GameBoy emulators. However, Mac OS X is great for working with Unix (because it was built off of Unix). Anyway, I am totally rambling.

Have a nice weekend! I know I am looking forward to it. I plan on working homework, my project, and getting lots of sleeping. Hope your is filled with equally enjoyable activities.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The History Channel site has posted the history of St. Patrick's Day. The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in New York City on March 17, 1762. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City to help them reconnect with their Irish roots.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Un-Random News

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." - Victor Hugo (French dramatist, novelist, & poet)

Wednesday's Un-Random News:

For starters there has been recent brake throughs in quantum computing. It's been shown that you can take highly entangled clusters of many particles (i.e., a bunch of photons) and make some modifications to these photons and then they can do some "computing tasks". The entangled photons create a quantum logic circuit. The down side being this processes is only one way (i.e., not reversable). The up side is this may lead to experimental implementations of quantum computing. Basically, quantum computing just took one more step towards becoming real.

A must read: Dilbert, quantum computing, and chaos

Other Equally Interesting News:
IBM's new mouse will help those who suffer from hand-tremors (a condition that affects millions of Americans).

Tuesday the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum opened in Israel.

It appears that Microsoft is in a settling mood recently.

Drink more green tea. They have determined that green tea may keep cancer cells from growing.

"Sunlight in a tube" - I know sounds weird, but it might be kind of interesting. Might help you get more vitamin D at least.

Looking for a 5 minute break? Give this a try. Besides, you can claim that you were learning more about science. Or you could try your hand at this game.

Harvard Faculty voted Tuesday on their confidence in the president of Harvard. You know it's big news when a comic makes fun of his statement. And they do so for more than one day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Now I Can Claim My Blog as "Career Building"

Check out this list: "Ten Reasons Why Blogging is Good For Your Career".

Grover's Quantum Algorithm

Alternative Title: "Please keep all your q-bits inside the vechicle until the algorithm has come to a complete stop"

On Monday night (after a week of spring break) I returned to my architecture class. Each time I walk into that class I know I will walk out a different person. Maybe my q-bits are getting re-arranged or something (ok, a really bad joke - just forget about that). Monday's lecture - Lov Grover's Hi-Speed Quantum Algorithm used for searching in databases.

Quantum computing may be a thing of the future, but the applications are already here. We actually walked through a simplified version of the algorithm in class. The important thing to remember is that you are calculating several things at a time (well, that is an over simplification that I find useful in grasping the material). To better understand Grover's algorithm I suggest this article for a nice overview of the topic. All steps in the algorithm (basically a bunch of phase shifts) are completely reversable (a requirement in quantum computing).

Related links you might find interesting:
"How fast can a quantum computer search?" by L. K. Grover
"Searching A Quantum Phone Book" by Gilles Brassard
Progress to quantum computer with artificial atoms
"Divide and conquer for quantum computers" by I. Peterson
Lov K. Grover's website

Two Quotes of Interest:
"God doesn't throw dice." - Albert Einstein
"Albert! Stop telling God what to do!" - Enrico Fermi

On a complete side note:
I was surprised to receive yet another comment :-) Totally cool!

To Anonymous: Thanks for the link. That looks quiet interesting (and it makes that quantum computing material seem straight forward). Unfortunately, I don't know how to say "holy crap in 10 dimensions?" ;-) But I couldn't agree with you more. I hope you find that summer physic's class to be interesting. I am sure you will learn a lot. Quantum computing seems to be the next "thing" in computers. Developments in the area has already produced usable and interesting side components.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Not One of Microsoft's Brighter Moments...

Nor this student at Kent State University (Ohio).

(A nice friend of mine sent me this funny link and I decided to share it with others. Thanks by the way).

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Several blogs ago, I pointed out an article about King Tut. I think ancient cultures is a very interesting topic. So I decided to ask the almight and powerful Google for some interesting sites. Here are some interesting sites you might want to take a look at:
  • Current Archaeology - a British magazine full of information. Last time I stopped by this site there are an article on Alexander the Great (it was in a PDF format).
  • Archaeology Magazine - this is published by the Archaeological Institute of America. I found the Interactive Dig very interesting.
  • ArchNet - this is the virtual library for the Archaeology Research Institute of Arizona State University.
  • The Archaeology Channel - I haven't had much of a chance to look around this site yet. However, from first glance it looked promising.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Hope you enjoyed the links.

"History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Thursday, March 10, 2005

By Golly!

Alternative Title: Stephany's Allergy Medication + Watching Avengers = Stephany Saying Phrases Like "By Golly!"

Well, I am still suffering from cold/flu symptoms :P However, the positive outcome has been getting to watch "The Avengers" on DVD. If you want to know more about "The Avengers" I recommend this site ( The movie was pretty good too. Anyway, I am feeling better than yesterday. I even worked on some homework today. I don't have anything due right away, but I wanted to get a head start on a few things (like a take home exam).

On a complete side note, it appears you can not customize the Google News page. You can order the sections as you see fit and show more or less in various sections. Ain't that just ducky?

Here are some interesting news bits.

For people like me who often drop things: "The PowerBook Sudden Motion Sensor".

IBM is selling personal computer business to a company in China called Lenovo. Amazingly enough there is a Committee on Foreign Investments. This multiagency group's reviews are held in secret. What do they review? It appears they look into the national security impact purchases of American businesses by overseas corporations would have. I didn't realize there was such a thing. They didn't cover that in my high school government class.

On March 13 Star War fans will probably want to tune into "60 Minutes" to watch an interview with George Lucus. According to the write ups, they are going to show some clips from Episode III.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

King Tut's Death - still a mystery, but may be closer to answer

This is a really interesting article. After scanning the mummy of King Tut they were able to determine that he did have a broken leg - which may have been the cause of death. It was theorized by some that King Tut had died from foul play. There are some who still believe that King Tut was murder and that the broken bones might have occured when the mummy was found or moved.

King Tut tomb (and treasures) were found by Howard Carter in the 1920's. The uniqueness of this find made Carter extremely famous. Most tombs have been found empty. Long ago tomb robbers stole the valuables buried with the mummies. (The items were buried with the body so that the person could take it with them in the afterlife). Carter and his team did "dismembered" the mummy to locate artifacts. Small objects were often hidden among the wrap covering the mummy.

I highly recommend reading this article if you are at all interested in Ancient Egyptian history. (By the way, "the team may have also located Tut's lost penis, which was catalogued during the 1920s but absent during the 1968 x-ray examination". Can you imagine cataloging that?)

National Geographic has some great pictures of items found in King Tut's tomb if you are interested.

More information:
King Tut - articles, pictures, the curse, etc
Virtual Tour of King Tut's tomb

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

The Blogger Came Back

I'm back from the land of no internet (i.e., my grandmother's house). Why did I go to grandma's house? My parents and I went to try and help her prepare her house for my cousins wedding. We also took books for my grandma's booth (well, my mother shares the booth with her) in the Lousiville Antique Mall. The downside was the fact that I now have a slight cold :P At least I don't have to try and go to school on top of it (it is spring break at BG). I figured I would update my blog in between sneezes - actually it's not that bad (I just thought it sounded humorous). Anyway...

Here are some little bits of news you may or may not find interesting to read:

The information of this article really didn't surprise me in the least. Why? Because more and more people are using the internet. I can't imagine not having an internet connection. Going several days is hard enough.

The internet now offers us every service imaginable and then some.

Today is International Women's Day. What is International Women's Day? It is a day to celebrate women's achievements (economic, political, and social). Believe it or not, the first International Women's Day was held on March 19 in 1911 in Germany, Austria, Denmark and a few other European countries. It was selected because this was the Prussian king had promised women the right to vote. (For more see this page with background information).

Judge for yourself. All I have to say is - if you can't buy it on the internet it isn't made and these kinds of products are proof.

By the way, unfortunately I don't have any experience with "launching a message from you tree house to your bedroom via a clothesline tied from your outpost to your window". However, I believe you are correct. Quantum communication does make on think of that kind of thing. Thanks for posting a comment. I found it most interesting. Getting comments is really cool. It reminds me that there are people who actually read what I rant and discuss.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Until next time.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Quantum Teleportation

Alternate Title: "Beam Me Up Scotty, Well Sort Of"

Wednesday night in class we discussed quantum teleportation. I know you think I am kidding, but I am not. It is an interest subject. They really have done quantum teleportation in a lab environment with one particle. For more information (and better information then I could ever try to explain) on quantum teleportation see the links below.

For background information on Quantum Teleportation from IBM.

About the lab experiement see this site.

Here is a recent article that mentions quantum teleportation.

Here is another.

Well, I hope you find the links interesting. I will be heading towards the land where they don't have internet access for a couple of days and figured I would update my blog before I left. As of Wednesday evening I am offically on spring break! Yippee. I am very exciting to finally be on break. Well, until next week...

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

The Amazing World of Blogs...and other stuff

Today, I was trying to figure out if via Google you can find my blog. Currently, it doesn't seem like you can using the name of my blog (Stephany's Un-Random blog) or my name (Stephany Coffman-Wolph). However, I did locate a link to my blog. It really isn't a big deal to anyone, but me. However, as you can clearly read does not stop me from telling you about it. It is from something called blogsnow which reads "ping lists", so it is even less of a big deal. It also appears that I have been listed on a couple of Intelliseek's BlogPulse citation pages - February 8th and February 10th. Moving on (because I am probably the only one who cares)...

At Yahoo! News there was an interesting story called "Closeout on brand names" about the Federated and May department store chains merging.

I bet the kids living in Berkeley aren't looking for this to be settled soon, since it appears they get out of homework. Teacher's don't make very much money, so I do feel sorry for them.

Today is Yahoo!'s 10th birthday. To celebrate they are giving away free ice cream. To bad I don't live near a Baskin-Robbin's store.

There is actually some non-negative news about Microsoft - odd news (Bill Gates honorary knighthood) of course.

Here is an article about Dell/Napster vs Apple/iTunes. My only problem with this article is the fact that implys that Napster and iTunes are the only services when in fact there are many others. It is a good article, I recommend that you take a look.

Like to play video games on you Mac? Doom 3 for the Mac comes out mid-March.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Billiard Ball Computer

Alternate Title: "You are so not going to believe me when I tell you this..."

What? Billiard Ball Computer?!?

Billiard Ball Computer was designed/proposed by Edward Fredkin and Tommaso Toffoli in the early 1980s. The Billiard Ball Computer is reversable - which means that it requires low amounts of energy. (It also means that if we can store perfectly all energy used in the system it will not release heat nor would it require energy - but thats a topic for a whole another blog entry. Plus, I don't really feel like getting into the whole discussion of entrapy at the moment. So I will save that for tomorrow).

There is this great java applet available for you to try out. However, I highly recommend doing the background reading first. The concept is actually really interesting. It gives us a physical object we are familar with as a bases of reference and help people understand concepts relating to quantum computing. Cool ain't it?

Completely unrelated, but I felt I should point this comic out since I have so many friends how are graduate assistants...