Older blog entries for mwk (starting at number 7)

27 Nov 2001 (updated 27 Nov 2001 at 16:04 UTC) »

Alan Chen pointed me toward distributed ruby as a possibile language for the experiments I mentioned yesterday. I'm looking in to it (thanks, Alan) but if you have any experience of distributed ruby or (particularly) embedded distributed ruby then please drop me a line.

I attempted to get my old director of studies to write a reference for me for my PhD application. It turns out that he has all but retired. He is the second of my DoSs to leave. Perhaps that tells you something. ANyway, the application process is slow to say the least. Just gathering all the little bits of paper together and posting them off. Hey, that gives me an idea...

I've also been having lots of ideas related to my PhD. Basically I would like to kick off the project by developing a series of networked mobile robots and static workstations and some API for cross-agent communication (and perhaps code migration). Then I hope to move towards an evaluation of various control methods across this network (hopefully with more than a passing look at fault tollerance) and develop what I think will turn out to be a good layered network for fault tollerant network operation. The only really tough bit that I can see is chosing the co-operative task that will be used as the benchmark. Hmm. Please send your ideas on a postcard.

My meeting down in Reading went very well. I don't want to get my hopes up too much but I am about 80% sure of a PhD place there.

I didn't get much of an opportunity to speak to CyberKevin, since he had to dash off to Marseilles earlier than planned. I spent a while talking to Iain Goodhew and the other members of the Madlab; I am getting really excited about the possibilites. Just as well really since there aren't any other reasons to be doing a PhD...

My business partner is on holiday this week so there isn't any progress on winding the companies down. Most of the stuff we need to do is legal or financial. Mark won't let me near the legal side of things and I don't want to touch the accounts with a barge pole; company accounts aren't something you can just dip in to.

16 Nov 2001 (updated 16 Nov 2001 at 13:46 UTC) »

Mostly been preparing for my meeting with Professor Warwick next week. I am hoping that he will offer me a PhD place at Reading (50% chance I reckon) and that I will be able to start at the beginning of February (25% chance given the PhD place). Not optimistic numbers but I think that I will make a good impression ;-)

I mended the heating on my car yesterday afternoon. The heater valve (where the heating radiator hose connects back to the engine) was filled solid with lime scale. It took about 20 mins with a screwdriver to mine out the cruft. Another half an hour sitting in warm vinegar and the problem was solved. The car is now lovely and toasty (which is just as well since my girlfriend, Ruth, and I are going to be driving about 400 miles in it over Christmas).

If there are any coders out there interested in working on a free provisioning system for ISPs then please get in touch!

I have spent most of today and yesterday trying to get Debian Woody onto my laptop. The machine is almost entirely SiS, so it is actually going on quite easily. The tricky bit was working out which video modes would crash the display... After a lot of successful research, I finally found one that didn't. I guess the drivers will settle down with time. I might even poke my head under the hood of the SiS630 if I get any time.

Progress towards open sourcing my package is swift. Basically, a single phone call tomorrow should seal it all. (Well, that and the copyright assignment document which I have sat on the desk in front of me.) When the project is announced I think I'll put up an article on the front page of advogato looking for volunteers. It is a big project and it do need collaborators to get the ball rolling.

Been researching for my PhD today. There are quite a few interesting papers in the field I want to look at. Which reminds me that I must tell everyone how great The NECI Scientific Literature Digital Library is. It has many more actual papers than it used to (mostly used to be just citations) which allows you to follow research trails many times faster than looking up references in the library.

12 Nov 2001 (updated 12 Nov 2001 at 16:10 UTC) »

More work on the new web site for my open source project. hope to throw it open during the next week. Things seem finally to be sorting themselves out.

Just read loic's article on SourceForge. I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly. I've watched SF since they founded it and must say that I am happy neither with their policies nor (over)regular maintenance cycle.

That said I am planning on listing my new project on SourceForge (but only as a placeholder for the real site). I am undecided as to whether to host the project on savannah or to use a few of my own conveniently deployed boxes. The project as a whole does really need a few boxes for development since the point is to tie together services on multiple machines. It would be useful to provide such a service to the other developers (and I am fairly sure that I can find very cheap hosting for it).

My car (Hector, 1969 MGB Roadster, Snowberry White) is running beautifully after being tuned. Not having to cringe every time the engine misfires means that I can finally relax and enjoy the ride. Going through London this weekend with the windows open (but the top up unfortunately) I got a good chance to hear the exhaust as it should be. Music to my ears.

Been having fun with a-large-company-that-shall-remain-nameless. Trying to get their technical services team to do anything really teaches you the meaning of the word inertia. This is all part of the final project that my company will do before we wind it down, but it is all just taking soooo long.

The new web site for my much awaited open source project is coming along nicely. Also a little progress on my own site, undue.org. Unfortunately, I always get stung by a bad case of writers block whenever I sit down to work on it. This usually ends up (like it did yesterday) with me writing a javascript smokescreen to help me feel like I am making progress. God willing, I'll add some content today.

Took my MGB into the garage yesterday so that it could be tuned and serviced today. Will probably go and get it back in a couple of hours. Unfortunately it has been quite wet this morning so it looks like I won't be able to take it for a really good thrashing down the little country lanes round here.

Working on the new web site for the project which I can't yet name. Hopefully everything will get sorted out in the next couple of days and I can press ahead with that. My head is filled with ideas, and I am certain that there are many like-minded people who will be interested in contributing to the project once it is launched.

I should really do something with my own web site. It hasn't been updated in ages. This is the problem with being self-employed. There is always something really important that needs to be done. Speaking of which, I should probably dig out the papers and have a go at my self-assessment tax return...

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