What Am I Doing?

At some point in time, I intended for this blog to be regularly updated (I probably even blogged about it).  That obviously hasn’t been happening, nor will this be a post about how I am going to start.  I slap my website on things (linking to it on my twitter, slapping it on my resume, etc) and when I put it on the end of a video today, I felt the urge to post a quick little update.  So, without further adieu, what have I been up to?

Well, the last time I updated this blog was in May.  That means you missed the end of the school year, the summer, and the beginning of this school year (well really about a third of it).  The end of my junior year was stressful, but pretty much uneventful.  Finals didn’t end up affecting my grades (even though I took a few of them early).  Why did I take them early?  A vacation to Europe?  Nope.  I did not want to push back my Microsoft internship a week, so I decided to push the end of school forward a few days.

The Microsoft High School Internship was a truly amazing experience.  I suck at writing, so I do not think I can properly articulate what the experience was like.  I worked in Global Foundation Services (the group that powers Microsoft’s datacenters) and more specifically Manageability Services Group (when I left, part of the group was moving to Azure).  What does MSG do?  They write the software that keeps the datacenters running smoothly.  I got to work with a countless number of amazing people in my group including my managers, coworkers, and fellow interns.  I experienced a new side of coding, where you have to make sure your comments are clear, your code is clean, and when you check into version control your edits are reviewed by other people.  It was truly eye opening and great fun.  While working full time might not sound like an amazing summer to many teenagers, I loved it.

After the internship, I was left with about a month of vacation that I spent hanging out with my amazing friends.  I also went to the Carnivores Tour concert at the Gorge (Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars, and AFI) – which was unbelievable.  I really do not know how to describe it, but I’m sure there are some videos on YouTube, so just imagine it being about 100x better than any video can portray.

I’m doing my senior year a little different than 9th-11th grade.  Instead of taking classes at my high school, I’m taking classes at a local community college through a program called Running Start.  Not only will I be earning credits towards my high school diploma, I am earning transferable credits for a college degree.  My first quarter is already over and I have finished up English 101 and Calculus II, plus a C++ course.  Next quarter I’ll be taking general engineering physics, calculus IV, and PE.  The way my classes are structured gives me time for some more personal projects.

I have shelved Homework Check for now (sorry, class websites have been changing too often, maybe it’ll come back later).  Right now I am lead developer at Fundify Charity Search, which should be available soon at searchfundify.org.


That’s the summary of the past few months of my life.

See you guys next blog post!

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Homework Check and Color Coded

I have a habit of talking about things in the opposite order they are mention in the title, so I think I will continue that here.

Color Coded is a new game that I am developing for Windows Phone and is currently being ported to Android and iOS.  You can expect it to be available on Windows Phone within a week (if it passes certification without issues) and I am aiming to have it on Android within 2-3 weeks.  I still need to get together some money for the Google Play developer account and a lot of money for the App Store developer account.  The Windows Phone version is done and Android/ iOS is about 30-40% ported to LibGDX.  The main obstacle for Android was getting the 2D layout to scale well to all screen sizes, but I think the algorithm I have implemented should work well.

What is Color Coded?  It’s a simple concept, there is a 4×4 grid of colors and the goal is to clear them as quickly as possible.  The game tells you which color you can click and you must empty the board as fast as you can without mis-clicking.  I could not have finished this game without my friend Jake George (I have nowhere to link to, sorry!).  He has helped with the concept for the game, testing, and the various algorithms.

Want to download Color Coded?  It will be on the Windows Phone Store today, and you can check the website for when it does go live, ColorCoded.us.


Now for Homework Check!  I planned to have a beta out soon, but school got in the way (funny how that works).  I hope to work on it over the next few months the iron out all the bugs and have it ready for next year.

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Tomorrow I will be speaking as a panelist for Microsoft’s YouthSpark summit!  I am extremely excited for the opportunity and cannot wait.  I even managed to get some khakis (not exactly used to dressing up, I wore a t-shirt and jeans to my Microsoft Interview).  I really hope I can help represent YouthSpark and TEALS and show how important Computer Science education is.  Even though a lot of my computer knowledge is self-taught, IB Computer Science made programming much more approachable and understandable.  The TEALS program has provided invaluable support by providing TAs to our class and really has made our class the optimal learning environment!

In other Microsoft related news, I will be working as an intern during the summer.  I do not know how much I’m allowed to say right now, so I’ll just leave it as “I’m excited.”

Coming soon: a new game for Windows Phone and Android, iOS coming shortly after, if possible.  I still need to work out developer fees for Google Play and the Apple AppStore, but I’m trying.

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Almost 17 and App Development

This post is in the opposite order of the title, so if that bothers you, stop reading now.  Due to the awesome class that is IB Computer Science, I am working on app development for Windows Phone!  After I complete my IA (Internal Assessment, which is creating anything we want that demonstrates necessary complexity), I might starting looking into Android and iOS development, the former being more likely than the latter.  If IB or AP Computer Science is offered at your school, I highly recommend it if you are interested in computer science and want a challenge.  For most people they are not easy classes and will require you to work outside class to do well.  My first app, PrezPal, was more of an experiment to get my bearings with WP, and I’m now working on an app called Homework Check (final name to be decided), which will serve as a homework planner and pull new homework from your teacher’s feeds.

In other news, it’s almost my 17th birthday, and yeah…  I really don’t know what to say about that, but I guess I can buy M-rated games without a parent.  Except I don’t buy games at retail stores.  For my birthday I would like:

  • A new scientific calculator (preferably a TI-36X Pro, or just a new TI-30XS)
  • New Pilot G2 pens (0.5, NOT .7 or 1.0)
  • To stop procrastinating
  • Google Play Developer Account (actually I should probably wait)
  • Microsoft Surface (this is a stretch, not expecting it)
  • Someone

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Doing Lots of Things

Well school has been out for a few weeks now and I’m settling into summer.  I am probably going to start producing new content for YouTube and have been working on a new channel, Xzst Music with a friend.  Right now there isn’t much there, but I’m using it to motivate me to play around in After Effects and some 3D editing software (such as Blender and 3Ds Max).

The one disappointing thing is I’m in between apartments right now, so my equipment situation is a little weird.  Luckily my server have a home for now, but my gaming setup has been toned down to fit in the restricted space I’m dealing with at the moment.  I’m leaving my Xbox consoles in storage for now until we move into the new place, but I’ve got my desktop and one monitor to game on for now.

On the bright side, I’ve been picking up tennis again, and been hanging out with friends on a  semi-regular basis.  Stay tuned.

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Reading is Awesome (New eReader)

So I finally got around to replacing my broken Sony PRS600 with a Nook Simple touch.  So far I love it, and plan to root it in the future.  It does lack some features from my Sony Reader (such as audio support, some file formats, you can’t draw annotations), but it does have WiFi (which will be thoroughly exploited when I root it) and the B&N LendMe feature and in store reading is promising.

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