The thin silver moon disappeared below the horizon, pulling with it the last hints of light from the barren Mongolian grasslands. Behind us, an unseen electric lamp cast a weak glow out of one of the ten or so rounded tents clustered together on the banks of the Zavkhan River. A jeep roared to life, blinding us in the flood of its headlights before they cut off abruptly, leaving us in darkness again. Over the din of the engine we heard our driver swearing in Mongolian, followed by the somewhat less harsh sound of a hammer panging on metal. The lights came back on.
In today’s issue of Ask SIPB, we’ll discuss that bane of the digital world: printing out documents on those old-fashioned sheets of paper. Networked printing presents its own set of challenges, and the way to effectively use Athena’s printing infrastructure may not be immediately obvious. We’ll also discuss getting Matlab to run on Mac OS X and forwarding your MIT e-mail.
After having given up on our horses mid-journey, my adventurous acquaintance Will and I found ourselves standing alone on a remote dirt road in the Mongolian countryside. As we weren’t sure how long we’d have to wait, be it minutes or days, we were quite relieved when an old Russian minivan shortly came chugging around from behind a hillside and into view.
There’s something overwhelming about arriving on the MIT campus that makes me sound both apathetic and verbally primitive. “Why did you show up a week early without an FPOP or a sport to go to?” “Just ’cuz,” I said. “Why did you choose that major?” “No reason,” I responded. “What’d you have to suck the helium out of all those picnic balloons for, and why is your face turning blue??” “… I dunno,” came the reply, with me sounding and looking not unlike a Smurf shortly before losing consciousness.
The first bright yellow and orange glimpses of autumn peeked out from the underbrush between the trunks of the pine forest outside. As the heaters pushed the morning chill from the car, we made our way over a pass on a bumpy dirt road. For a few moments, it seemed as if I was home again; the scene could have occurred on any of the frosty fall mornings of my childhood spent growing up in the Yukon. But as we descended around a corner, the distinct cylindrical profile of a nomadic Mongolian tent — called a <i>ger</i> in those parts — came into view, and the illusion quickly vanished.
I don’t like grocery shopping, probably because of the chilliness of the frozen food section and because I don’t like lugging heavy bags. Or maybe it’s just because I’m lazy. Either way, you should not follow my example because it must be possible to enjoy shopping for basics like food, bedding, and toiletries. Here’s a list of places where you can go to try to achieve nirvana or at least find a good deal:
Most of us are now definable by our Facebook profiles. We’ve named our hometowns, our majors, and our favorite music in neat lists. The moment our tastes change, we rush to update our profiles, lest someone mistakenly believe we still like The Get Up Kids, even though we’ve now declared allegiance to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
I know you’re in awe of LaVerde’s beverage selection right now, and you probably will be for another few months. But once you’ve grown tired of that lingonberry soda and tomato egg salad sandwich (both of which I consumed almost every day of my first semester), you’ll realize that you can’t rely on LaVerde’s for all of your meals. And even if you can and do cook, you’re sure to crave a restaurant-cooked meal someday soon. When that day comes, pick up this guide, find a friend, and eat out!
It’s no secret that most MIT students don’t give a great deal of thought to how they look. So you used to curl your hair every morning in high school? You think better in a blazer? Forget how you used to look in high school, because odds are, you’ll look a lot worse soon. Depressing, sure, but thankfully there will be days when you’ll feel like an ordinary, non-stressed human and will stop wishing that public nudity were a social norm. Shop now and you’ll be prepared for those bright days when you actually care about what you’re wearing.
Welcome, especially to freshmen and new graduate students! Ask SIPB is a column published regularly by the Student Information Processing Board, the volunteer student group concerned with computing at MIT, to help students like you learn more about the computing resources MIT provides and how to make effective use of them.