Nicks Octopress Blog

A blogging framework for hackers.

About Me

Hello

Being a computer science major, I’ve always wanted a website and since I’ve been wanting to learn Rails… two birds with one stone! You can find the source code at github.

I’m Nick Lau, I graduated from UCSD in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. I have a diverse range of interests, including videogames, sports, nutrition, meditation, yoga, reading, watching tv, music, organization, clothing, travel, and picking up random scraps of knowledge and organizing them in my personal knowledge base.

Interests

Videogames

I would be lying if I said videogames didn’t influence my decision to major in Computer Science. Currently my favorite videogame is League of Legends (licknau) where I’ve made it up to 79 LP in Plat 1 (putting me in the top 1-2% of the playerbase). Followed by Tetris where I’ve hit rank cap on every version I’ve played, Rank 110 God of Tetris on Facebook’s tetris battle and Rank 20 with 999 points on tetrisfriends. I’ve always loved videogames, particularily computer games (WoW, Counterstrike, Age of Empires) and Nintendo (Super Smash Bros, Final Fantasy, DS games).

Sports

I adore sports and have casually played most of them, I’ve played hockey for about 15 years, traveling to tournaments as far as AAU junior olympics in Philadelphia, coaching my high school’s JV team to a Division Championship, and playing for the club team at UCSD. My high school team won 5 Division Championships while I was with them, and placed second multiple times in D1 (that’s out of five divisions each with about 10 teams). Pingpong was the way my friends and I passed the time in high school (we had a table in our garage). The insanely cheap $4/hr billiards hall at UCSD gameroom actually probably came to cost me a couple hundred dollars… Played intramural tennis and loved hitting around with friends during highschool and throughout college. Oh, and I ran track and crosscountry for my highschool team, running a sub 5 minute mile! During Highschool my friends and I would pass time playing wiffleball, soccer, football, golf, wrestling, really anything you could imagine… even imaginary things like golf hockey and improvised rugby.

Fitness

I mostly just lift weights at the local YMCA now. I’m running the Ice Cream Fitness routine which is a modified 5x5 that includes more hypertrophy. Researching fitness lead to an interest in nutrition which is a vast and incredibly complicated subject. However, I’ve learned the basics and know enough to set and accomplish my goals. At the time of writing I’ve cut down my bodyfat by about 8 pounds and reduced by bodyfat percentage by around 3%. I’ve done this by eating at a deficit of 400 calories with the goal of cutting bodyfat down to 10%. Working out a lot leaves your muscles very tight, leading me into yoga and meditation. I do yoga weekly to stay limber and meditate daily to keep my focus sharp.

Reading

Although my reading suffered considerably when I discovered videogames, I have read hundreds and hundreds of books. I’m a huge scifi and fantasy nerd, my favorites being Isaac Asimov (particularily the Foundation Trilogy) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Oh, and I wouldn’t have a childhood without Harry Potter, waiting for that 7th book was pure torture. After graduating I found myself in a void of learning. Books, particularily nonfiction, have helped fill this void. Some books I’ve enjoyed include: ‘The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin’, Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Meditations by Aurelius.

Learning

Graduating from UCSD meant the end of Sixteen years in the education system. When I read books like Meditations or Programming Pearls there were no longer tests to enforce knowledge retention. Being structured and having a passion for organization, I setup a cumulative knowledge testing workflow that makes use of text editors and evernote reminders. This gives me a way to store my knowledge base and continually re-expose me to reinforce the interesting things that I find.

Travel

Backpacked around Asia for several months. I spent a month in Vietnam and Japan as well as a couple weeks in Hong Kong. It was an eye opening and life changing experience. It was a huge step out of my comfort zone and has given me a huge confidence boost. That I can set out on my own and be independent! I also had the opportunity to meet some fantastic people and share persepectives with them. The world is an expansive and interesting place, I look forward to seeing more of it in the future.

Programming

Programming has very much become a hobby to me. I am an avid reader of resources like r/programming, Quora, hackernews, stackoverflow etc. The enthusiasm and intelligence of the posts and discussions inspire me and give me something to aspire to as I begin my career. Through these resources I have discovered incredible, life-changing advice on things like speed reading, meditation, programming tricks like the anti-arrowhead pattern, and so much more.

In the last couple months, I’ve learned and extended my knowledge of several technologies: git, sublime text (using lints, bracket addons, and its incredibly flexible settings), command line interface, basic scripting with bash and python, UML (Unified Modeling Language), Ruby on Rails (using with RSpec, Capybara, New Relic, Heroku, PostgreSQL, and much much more), Ruby (through codewars.com and codeacademy), Object Orientated Programming and software development (through Code Complete 2, stack overflow, and simply looking up every possible question I could think of), C++ (google’s opensourced codelabs - style guide), DNS (through struggles with gandi.net), Javascript (through Crockfords yui Lectures and MDN’s Guides), Distributed Systems (Research papers like Amazon Dynamo and Google MapReduce), DIY projects with my Raspberry Pi. Furthermore, I’ve been reading blogs such as www.joelonsoftware.com and steve-yegge.blogspot.com which have helped me understand the software industry better (which I feel is very important as a relatively new grad).

Cooking

A relatively new interest of mine. Is mostly in the learning phase, browsing blogs and forums, taking notes and trying out some basic recipes. Hopefully something big comes out of this!

Routine

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