Can I join your party?

tl;dr  subtle flirt by female approximately 10 years older than me.

“Can I join your party?” she said as a subtle flirt, or just joking. She was likely 10 years older than me. Maybe just 5 years older. In all fairness, it is very likely that I *think* that I look much younger than I actually am. That’s what you get when you are in a University setting, with so many people that fit the definition of “young”. She was kind of a hippie looking though. Long are the days since I bother to look at people hand’s to see if there’s a wedding ring.

The small group that I joined was seated on a table already. We moved to a bigger table after two more of us arrived. While moving, I was able to see that she was seated in the bar. She had mentioned to the waiter that she was joining some friends. One hour later and she was still there. I also say that “I’m with friends” sometimes, when in reality I’m just with friends via my small electronic device.

A guy finishing his Mickey Mouse PhD

One of the *perks* of working at a University is to attend seminars every now and then. However, at a recent seminar, the speaker referred to previous research in a not very nice manner. The presenter used this phrase to emphasize that the research was not great: “A guy finishing his Mickey Mouse PhD”. My question is: Is it really necessary to say it that way? I would rather just hear that the previous research is not solid.

I’m pretty sure that you could pick any random Professor at a research-university and find some hole in their research because doing everything perfectly is near impossible. But that does not mean that we should carry on and insult people. In particular, when the person being criticized died decades ago!

Data Structures COSC2320 is not an easy grade

I am a temporary part-time, instructor faculty in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Houston (Spring 2016). I will not teach on the summer session. I will teach on Fall semester (exactly the same course).

On Spring 2016, slightly over 25% of students dropped the class before the deadline for withdrawal with “w“. The programming assignments (homework) require substantial time investment. There are at least 10 days between each homework. The class webpage is now hosted in git: uhcs2320.

On Fall 2016, the same course is available with a professor that has several more years experience in teaching it than me. Reviews on her course likely are available in the usual places. Also on Fall 2016: there is a *new* version of the class (4 credit hours instead of 3) that has a required lab session with it. The professor teaching it also has several more years experience in teaching it than me. Similarly, reviews on his course likely are available in the usual places. My course is much more similar to his course.

Michelle K. Lee from USPTO (University of Houston)

In the introduction, it was mentioned that Michelle K. Lee (MKL) is the first woman to serve as director of the USPTO.

MKL was a computer scientist at HP. However, she’s also a JD, which makes it very hard to catch a short and catchy quote when she talks.

“You cannot take for granted that the system you have now will be there for future generations”

MKL was asked how USPTO supports startups? She said that she’ll be at SXSW talking to startups about the basics of filing patents. USPTO also has seminars for startups.

Questions from the audience started after 59 minutes of the fireside chat. Some questions were submitted via the website. One such question was the one I submitted. However, MKL’s answer was not along the side of patents, instead it was answered along what copyright already covers.

While MKL answered one of the questions, she described a few cases of the cost to society along two dimensions: patents issued (yes/no) versus patent claims (valid/nebulous). Clearly, a patent issued (yes) with valid claims is the ideal. The other cases are the ones that have a cost to society.

Unfortunately, the event took place on the Friday before spring-break, which likely was the reason why there were only about 80 people attending (as of the exact start time of the event). The auditorium easily could hold 3 times the number of people that attended.

Update: link with info, and video.

Calculate Number of Projects per Category from data of Scienteer

Objective: Count how many projects are in each category, separated by Division.


  1. Login to Scienteer, then click on Projects.
  2. Click on “Export All Projects”. It will download a file: project_export, which is a CSV file. Rename it so that it has a .csv extension.
  3. Open the file via Excel (or LibreOffice, etc).
  4. Use “subtotals” from the “Data” menu to automatically calculate sub-totals.
    1. Each change in: category
    2. Use function: count

Who will teach, robots or online videos?

Random thoughts wondering about who will do the teaching in the future, will be it be robots, or online videos?

MOOCs are doing pretty well:

However, could robots do the job?



watch video Michael Osborne.