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Mateo's working from home tips

It has been a couple days since the “shelter in place” order in the Bay Area due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all been forced to become hermits, and give this whole work-from-home thing a go. Those of us who already work from home have an advantage, and are probably staying a bit more sane (and hygienic) amidst the crisis. I have been working from home for over a year in San Francisco, and I actually prefer working from home to slogging through a dreadful commute everyday, to get to an office full of distractions. If you are sinking 5 feet into your couch, but still feel like there is a bit more depth, and plenty of shows for endless binging on netflix, then this will not be helpful for you! On the other hand, if you are feeling a bit stir crazy, have that cabin fever (hopefully not due to COVID-19!), or want to bring a little normalcy back into your life, some of this might be helpful. As with all advice, only pick and choose what is applicable to your life. Dedica
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1998 4Runner Timing Belt & Water Pump Replacement

My water pump was leaking coolant at an alarming rate (you could say pouring coolant). I first noticed when my car overheated during my commute to work. I had to pull off the side of the highway to take a look around but found nothing. I continued driving to work with the car overheating. If this was a newer and more valuable car, I probably would have called for a tow. I drove the car back home (overheating) and then found that the coolant was empty (oops!). Even after driving overheated for approximately one hour, this freaking champ of a Toyota (with 200k miles I'll add) runs like a charm. I'm sold, Toyotas are hands down the best car. I filler her up cold, and drove to work the next day. After the car heated up on the way to work, it leaked about one liter of coolant in the parking lot! Knowing that glycerol is toxic, I would have filled her up with water only, but it was winter time in Boston so I dished out about $50 in coolant before I got around to replacing the water p

Pool Pong

We invented a beer pong game, it is called "Pool Pong". This is not beer pong in a pool. For something we made up on a whim, the rules of Pool Pong work exceptionally well. Pool Pong is highly competitive, well paced, and perfect for a chill night with a couple friends (or a rager). There were only three of us on a Saturday trying to finish up the beer from a Friday night party. The kitchen at my buddies place is small, and the table is too short for beer pong. I suggested playing a one-sided beer pong game with a 15 cup rack, two players, mixed cups (half his, half mine, plus one?). Eric said "that sounds like pool", I said "8-ball", and then all the rules fell into place. RULES 15-cup triangular rack, 7 stripes, 7 solids, 1 eight ball (death cup) Two players / teams, one ball Whoever makes the first cup calls that set (stripes or solids). Opponent drinks cups that you make of your set. Keep shooting until you miss If you make your opponents cu


For Design and Manufacturing II (2.008, year 2012) at MIT undergrad, my team designed and made molds for an injection molded Octopus Yo-Yo. The intent of the project was to teach and expose the team to mass production design and manufacturing, in particular injection molding. I am writing this a few years after graduation, and looking back I realize what the heck they were trying to teach us! When I was a student trying to finish psets and pass final exams, I was not able to connect the dots between 2.008 and the real world. It is nice to have the opportunity and time to reflect on these things after working in the industry for a few years. All the fabrication took place at the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (aka LMP) under the instruction of Professor Sanjay Sarma, and technical instructors Patrick McAtamney and David Dow. Team "Octopus" (shout out to Kaitlyn Bailey, Emma Benjaminson, Lucy Du, Tanya Liu, and Shaka Thornhill) split the design into an assembly o

County-Fair Robotics Competition

For the Design and Manufacturing (2.007) County-Fair Robotics Competition, I built an autonomous and remote controlled robot, the "Scorpion King". Events on the playing field included hitting a high-striker, spinning a ferris wheel, and pushing a button. With a need for speed and power, I decided to hit the high striker with a spinning flywheel hammer. The most lucrative point-making strategy after that was to spin the ferris wheel for a multiplier. Video of the final round (I did much better in the seeding round, with the top score of the night! I could not find the recording though.) "The Scorpion King", a fitting name with its spinning flywheel hammer! This robot was eliminated in the quarter-finals after winning three rounds. The design had the potential to win, I just needed a little more time to do some key tweaks to improve consistency. CONSISTENCY! so important. The camera cut out right on impact, so annoying, but you can hear the bell ringing af

Autonomous Lego Robotics Competition

During the winter session (IAP) of my sophomore year, I competed in the anual 6.270 Autonomous Lego Robotics Competition of 2012. The competition involved autonomously navigating a playing field using a visual tracking system, capturing territories by spinning gears, accumulating resources (ping-pong balls), and depositing them before the end of the round. With two other team members, I built and programmed the "Brave Little Toaster". Here is a video of the entire competition . This is one of the seeding rounds . The autonomous Brave Little Toaster. Able to navigate, capture territories, acquire ping-pong balls, and deposit them while competing against another robot. Building legos required a few hours to get used to. Reinforcements are vital to avoid falling apart when running into walls or other robots, dimensions have to line up, gearing has to be well supported to minimize friction, and the design of systems is preferably as simple as possible. We started with