Shower Fresh Part 2: Infusey

Last year, I helped prototype a showerhead for infusing herbs (like lavender) into your shower water. Since then, a new team has re-formed, re-designed the product, and re-named it Infusey. Earlier this year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign. Sadly, they failed to fund.

Although I’m no longer part of the team, I’m impressed with what they’ve done. The new team used 3-D printing to test out new designs. After many iterations, you can tell the showerhead has come a long way since our original PVC prototype.

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However, Infusey might just be a pipe dream at this point. The team isn’t hasn’t worked on the project very much since the Kickstarter ended. Though they may not have built a business out of scented shower adapters, I was glad to have been involved with the original team.

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Why People Browse the Internet Until 3AM

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I have a theory. It explains why people browse the Internet until 3am, even though they’re tired and want to sleep.

Willpower is a finite resource. You need willpower to make intentional decisions–otherwise, your brain will go with your “default” behavior.

During the day, you “use up” willpower when choosing what clothes to wear, processing information at work, or any task that requires heavy thinking. By the end of the day, you’re tired and have little willpower left.

Once you start browsing the Internet at night, it takes mental effort to decide when to stop. The default choice is “one more page.”

And then you end up browsing social media until 3am.

Maybe this also explains why bad decisions are made in the middle of the night.

What do you think?

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Why I Don’t Follow the News

The News is a Lot of Noise

In high school, I listened to NPR while driving. When I went to college, I had no car, and suddenly stopped listening to the news. Additionally, I had no subscriptions to newspapers or news websites.

Did I feel like I was missing out? Not at all. I realized it was beneficial not to follow the news too closely. The news is a lot of noise.

Think of news reports as a graph. When I get hourly updates (or micro-updates), I’m zoomed in and I miss the big picture. When I receive information once a month, I see broad trends. Everyday fluctuations tell me nothing. General trends might affect my life.

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Did I feel like I was missing out? Not at all.

Worse than Nothing

In fact, micro-updates are worse than nothing. A negative fact makes my subconscious more upset than a positive fact makes me happy. So even if my media stream recorded an even balance of positive and negative facts, my head would be filled with a bunch of updates that a) have almost no meaning to my life b) make me unconsciously worse off than if I knew nothing.

If something is important, I will find out about it without being told by the news. Oftentimes, the most relevant news arrives to me by word of mouth. It’s a wonderful organic filter.

I’ll admit, this means that the first time I hear about a political event, it might be presented differently based on who I hear it from. But I think that’s no worse than getting news from only liberal (or only conservative) sources.

So what do you do now, Sheldon?

I do check social media every day, but not obsessively. In fact, I turned off most notifications. And when I see news articles on social media, I very rarely click on them.

I don’t follow politics too closely anymore–general trends are better. If I want to find out about candidates, I do an intentional search on the Internet. And when it’s election time, I vote.

I don’t obsess over Google’s stock price or indexes. I have almost no influence on markets, so I get angry when I hear micro-updates like “The Dow Jones gained 1.2% in the first hour of trading.” That’s completely useless information!

Am I recommending living exactly like me? No. But I feel that I’m not missing out on anything, and I can focus on the things that matter more to my life.

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CS Internship Guide #17: The Problem with College Career Counselors

Part of the CS Internship Guide


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Career Counselors

When I was a student, the College of Natural Sciences had a career center. Career counselors were there to review your resume, help you practice interviewing, and prepare students for the job/internship hunt. All the college career counselors I’ve met were wonderfully nice and genuinely wanted students to succeed.

The problem was that none of them had worked in software.

The career counselors had degrees in subjects such as psychology, chemistry, and biology. They suggested that I, a computer science major, list things like “proficient in Microsoft Office” on my resume.

Informal Networks

The best college career advice I got came from other computer science students at my university. The upperclassmen in the CS department had interviewed for software internships and programmed at real-world tech companies. Students shared their experience through informal networks, like the UTCS Facebook page, or even talking–gasp–in meatspace.

I feel that I got better internship advice from my classmates than I did from the career center. The college career counselors were good for a few things–like how to prepare for a career fair–but it was my classmates that taught me the importance of GitHub, how to write a technical resume, and tons of other CS-specific tips that only come from experience.

My intent is that the CS Internship Guide will be another source of experience for you to learn from. And to go further, you’ll get out into meatspace and learn how to get a CS internship by doing it.

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What I Wish I Knew as a College Freshman

Like I always say before these sorts of posts, don’t take my advice.


Last year, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Since that time, I can look back on my time as a college freshman (and as a student in general) and think about what I did well, and what I wish I knew back then.

In college, I was very much an academic achiever. I learned a great deal about computer science but I gave up a lot of my social life. In retrospect, many of the things I worried about seem unimportant now. But if I had to do it all over again, I would change very little.

What I Did Well

  • I studied a lot and earned good grades.
  • I made a few real, lasting friendships.
  • I used my 30+ hours of AP credit, which made my courseload much lighter
  • I went to very few parties. (Alcohol is overrated.)
  • I learned things from other students, especially course recommendations.
  • I landed an internship each summer and accepted a full-time job at Google.
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Don’t be afraid of living in a dorm.

What I wish I knew

  • Studying is good, but grades don’t matter beyond a certain point.
  • Don’t be afraid of living in a dorm.
    • It wasn’t as bad as I feared.
  • Take a mix of classes each semester.
    • For example, choose 2 or 3 major-specific classes and 1 or 2 core curriculum classes during your first semester.
  • Understand prerequisites and where the “bottleneck” is in your major.
  • Avoid registering for 8am classes.
  • Rent your textbooks instead of buying. I would have saved a lot of money my first year.
  • Visit professors during office hours.
    • Even if you don’t need their help, they’re usually happy to talk to you about the course material.
    • This will come in handy when you need a recommendation.
  • Go outside your dorm and explore off campus.
    • I could have made more friendships outside my major and experienced more of Austin.
  • Get involved with student organizations.
    • They’re a great way to meet new friends.
    • I joined a few, but I could have done more during my first year.

Finally, since I was a CS student:

What do you want to know about college? Feel free to leave a question in the comments.

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