Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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More Rick Umali web sites at:

Yahoo! Geocities
Lycos Tripod
The World
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Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Thursday, July 05, 2001
I received confirmation today from the lending bank that they have received my final student loan payment. My student loan towards Rensselaer is now "paid in full". I called the bank and inquired about the final payoff amount (almost $700), and wrote them a check in the middle of June.

The loan to pay off my college education was $16,000, but thanks to simple interest (8%), I owed a total of $23,000. I started paying off this loan in August of 1991. I knew from the notes that it would take ten years. And here I am, ten years later: absolved of this almost-$200 monthly obligation.

I can recall times I let the monthly payment 'slip' a few weeks, but I never failed to pay the full monthly amount every month. I like to think that Jenn and I were able to get a mortgage because of my dutiful payment of this loan through the years.

Was college worth all this though? Yes. Absolutely. It's true I don't need to use physics, chemistry, or advanced calculus, but I am always learning using the methods I picked up at school. My perspective and sensibilities about technology and science were gained at Rensselaer.

I first logged into UNIX at RPI, and I still refer to my school-aged battered copy of The UNIX Programming Environment. I wrote hard software there (a C-like interpreter, a shell). I attended a co-op at JPL, where I discovered what I could contribute as a computer professional.

But even beyond all the 'school' stuff were the people, and experiences: learning to ice skate at the Houston Field House; being a college radio dee-jay; going to midnight movies; road trips; absurd drinking games; bonding over ice hockey, pizza, dinners, and late-night studying. Many of my good friends are from RPI, class of 1990.

College was where I tried growing up. College was where I gained some perspective. College was my launching pad.

My student loan, pricy as it was, pales in comparison to the actual value of my collegiate experiences.


Wednesday, July 04, 2001
Today, a human heart was replaced by a fully enclosed artificial heart.

As I read about this ground-breaking surgery, I was amazed that the doctors and engineers who built the heart don't expect the patient to last more than a month. I was also amazed that the company who built the heart is located in nearby Danvers, Massachusetts.

The patient wishes to remain anonymous, but I frankly have a hard time believing he'll stay anonymous. If it were me, I'd be on TV as soon as reasonably possible.

My other thought about all this: we are soon going to be able to make cyborgs: half-human, half-robot beings.





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