Hello (children of the) World

Strange, how is one best to start a piece of writing? How about their inaugural post to blogdom?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of... no not really that age.

Perhaps I need look no further than my fellow bloggers and their opening posts.

I could say that I'm the new Freshman (class of 2012) blogger, but some of predecessors didn't seem to find the step necessary--Maia, in her first ever student blog post, jumped straight in with her new bed, and Roland with John Geddes' dog. But it isn't quite fair to say they didn't have proper introductions, they are seasoned bloggers and were probably had introductions on the Olin blog aggregate (the precursor to the official blog you're reading now).

I could start with a confession,
or three, as Angela did (lying about her degree, sporadic procrastinator, and Thai food lover). "I confess I don't know how to start." You probably guessed already.

I could start with romance. "Oh alum, prospectives, parents, olinophiles. I know not how to tell thee who I am." But that doesn't beat Bennett's opening post and its "painful, poignant parting," signs of a true helpless romantic. Jessi's post appears romantic at first glance, but is only as romantic as romanticism (just the title, "This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship"), so I ought not copy her.

Perhaps I should start with a proposal: a new tradition. I propose that all future student bloggers propose something their first post. That they compare and contrast each other, that they include a picture of themselves doing a handstand on top of a pancake. Except that I don't have such a picture and Olin is rather anti-tradition.

Enough of this foolry. Hello all, I am Colin Zwiebel, second generation in the search for freshman bloggers. I am into all kinds of random things and look nothing like my picture (facial hair, not sure its a good thing, though). OLPC and the XO are a few of those things and provided the title of this post. In my failing to properly test Fedora Linux on my XO (a gadget I'm earning by being Red Hat Inc's testing grunt for October), I couldn't help noticing a line in the console output during boot. So I figured I'd pay homage some poor code monkey and title my post after his work (oh, bias of immediacy).

But what about the future? I think this post is the first in a long line of Zwiebel meta-Olin posts. What is Olin all about, how is it really different, what is the class of 2012 like, what about accredation, which Olin programs should be sacked by the 5th of November and rebuilt from the ground up, what makes a good engineer, what makes an engineer that will change the world and change it in a positive direction, who is the craziest oliner, what are the awesomest clubs/activites/sports/jobs/professors...

Just a few of the topics I would like to discuss. Just teases, you only get to salivate over them for now.

But I will follow suit of (most of) my fellow bloggers and their inaugural posts and tell you a recent happening. I visited the inaugural IEEE Humanitarian Conference at Boston University yesterday. Overall, an interesting experience. In the spirit of learning by making mistakes (an Olin favorite, you will soon learn), I present some actions that should and should not be taken in regards to conferences:

  • do: go crazy, jump head first (IE, register days before, become an IEEE member last minute, even though your a undergrad freshman)
  • don't: arrive late and miss all the speakers (even if you have physical therapy and your Sibb gives advice otherwise)
  • do: heed the advice of Colleen O'Holleran (Chapter Manager, EWB-USA) when she says that regional, language, logistics, management, and other issues are by far the largest part of humanitarian engineering (or, I believe, most engineering, these days)

And no matter what else you do or don't do:

  • don't ask grad students for help ("All I know on Boston University Campus is the Law Tower")


P.S. You should follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/computercolin , I don't post about food and try to tweet amusing tid-bits. Plus, fewer words.

Edit (21 Oct 08):


  • don't write blog posts at 2am (or at least don't publish them)!

Found so many errors!119

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