A new job, a new apartment, a new life?

Posted by Kurt on September 22nd, 2008

Since beginning my new job as a Software Engineer in Test for Google at their Manhattan office, a lot has changed in my life. Here’s a quick rundown:

My Job (Google)

My job is going great. I really love the work environment and people at Google. Everyone is willing to take time out of their day to help you with whatever you need…which is good because the project I’m working on has a very high learning curve. It uses a ton of Google-centric infastructure pieces that all work together in a very specific way. Since I’ve had no exposure to these technologies before, work has been going a little slow (lots of reading of other’s code and documentation, not a lot of coding). It’s a bit frustrating because it’s hard to measure productivity when most of your time is spent inputting knowledge (into your own brain), not outputting knowledge (to others). However, this means I’m learning something new every day (which is exciting). I’ll also excited to report that I’ll be continuing my work on Video CAPTCHAs at Google :)

My City (Hoboken)

There are tons and tons of young professionals everywhere. According to Wikipedia, the median age here is only 30 (as a comparison, the median age in the US is 35.3). While that doesn’t seem like a big difference, you’ll quickly notice it walking around the streets. The city of Hoboken itself is actually a lot of fun. Since the young population drives the local businesses, there are tons of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops in downtown Hoboken. In fact, no matter what day it is, the streets and bars are always full of people.

My Commute (Walk, PATH Train, Walk)

Nearly everyone here takes the PATH train into NYC for work. The PATH train is a bargain: for $1.30 (if you buy in bulk), you can get to midtown Manhattan in under 15 minutes. My train (from Hoboken to 14th Street) makes 2 stops along the way (at Christopher St and 9th St) and still only takes 11 minutes. That’s a faster commute than it would be even if I lived in most places in Manhattan. The only bad part of my commute is getting to the PATH station in Hoboken. It’s a mile walk from my apartment which isn’t bad now, but once the bad weather hits it’s going to be brutal. I’m going to try to get my bike down here to speed up the commute though. Once I get to 14th St, I have another half a mile or so walk to Google. Others have recommended that I take the L subway, but I’d rather save the $2 each way and walk the two blocks. Overall, my commute into the city costs me $1.30, a few hundred calories, and about 40 minutes of my time.

My Car (A Sad S4)

One of the main reasons that I decided on the apartment that I’m in is that it came with a free garaged parking spot my for S4. However, I’ve quickly realized that having a car down here is rather pointless. I’ve only used it two times since moving down here: 1) buying furniture on move in day 2) returning an air mattress to BJs. Other than that, it sits in the garage and looks at me in anger: it wants to be driven. Next weekend I’ll be driving up to Rochester to present at the IEEE WNYIP 2008 workshop…that’ll cheer my car up :) Also, gas is really cheap (comparatively) down here: $3.30/gallon for regular.

My Eating (An Empty Fridge)

I do all my weekday eating at Google: breakfast (sometimes), lunch (always), and dinner (except on Fridays). Because of this, I have very little (read: no) food in my fridge. In fact, all I have at my apartment is 3 mini-bags of popcorn and some soda. On the weekends, I go out to eat. There’s no sense in going grocery shopping for the weekend only. I’m sure at some point I’ll stock my cabinets with non-perishables like soup, etc. Also I should note that I may end up dying of mercury poisoning due to the amount of fish I’m eating at Google every day.

Video CAPTCHAs: Usability vs. Security

Posted by Kurt on September 13th, 2008

On September 26th, 2008 I will be presenting some of my work on Video CAPTCHAs at the IEEE Western New York Image Processing Workshop 2008 in Rochester, NY. The workshop will be held in the Imaging Science building at RIT (registration details can be found at the above link). The paper is in the form of a 4 page “extended abstract” and can be downloaded below.

Paper

The paper can be downloaded here or from the RIT Digital Media Library.

Bibtex Entry

@inproceedings{videoCAPTCHAsUsabilityVsSecurity,
	Title = {Video CAPTCHAs: Usability vs. Security},
	Author = {Kurt Alfred Kluever and Richard Zanibbi},
	Booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE Western New York Image Processing Workshop 2008},
	Address = {Rochester, NY, USA},
	Month = {September},
	Year = {2008}
}

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