Big Things

Hello, friendly blogoverse!

Despite my best intentions, it’s been awhile since I managed to get to a blog post. This is an interesting semester; while I don’t have very much “homework” per se, as a graduate student, I have a lot of things going on. And, of course, I’ve found a few other ways to keep busy in my “free time” (such as it is).

First of all, the reason I didn’t write a post about leaving 6A (aside from not getting to it) was that I didn’t really; I’m still doing some work for my team, on the side. Enough said about that; when I can talk about it, I will, but that isn’t for awhile yet. (What I’m working on is, however, completely awesome.)

Then I have a few interesting projects, to keep me amused:

  • Project Voom: As a few of you may know, I’ve always wanted a Segway. “But why, Brendan? Aren’t you already enough of a geek stereotype?” Well, yes– but I just think they’re awesome. Unfortunately, they’re also very, very expensive, which puts a real cramp in my ability to get one (at least while I’m still a student). There are, however, a few enterprising individuals who have made various attempts at it. All of those use lots of microcontrollers and nice parts to get what they want– but I don’t have a microcontroller programmer, a set of gyroscopes, or most of the rest of it. I do, however, have something better; when I was at Sun, I was given a set of SunSPOTs, which have microprocessors, accelerometers, and many other incredibly useful parts (like wireless connectivity, so I can remotely reprogram them without having to unwire them). I’ve acquired, thus far, parts to make a small prototype– as well as something in the way of making the full model (about which I’ll post later, when I take some photos). Since I haven’t done robotics work since 11th grade or so, this is a stretch– but I think it’s fun.

  • Project Mnikr: (Pronounced “Moniker”) This is my thesis work, and some related projects. When I get precise questions nailed down for my thesis, I’ll probably post them, but at the moment, I can just say that I’m working on solving that nasty information sluts problem I talked about earlier– as well as a few other issues that have been bugging me recently.

  • Project Enigma: Hey, look, it’s something for an actual class! For JHU’s ever-exciting “Security and Privacy” course (exciting because people in it, or who used to be related to it, such as its TA, seem to get indicted from time to time), I’m building (as one of a team of three) a social network for the paranoid. This wouldn’t be something we’d actually launch, but it’s kind of a neat exercise.

  • JHUMagic: Yep, it’s the second year of my shiny Magic: The Gathering club, and it’s off to a great start, with 13 people showing up to our first tournament, despite some jerk (I know who it is, and fun people are taking very large steps to put an end to his actions) trying to shut us down. We may even have an invited guest in to teach an Intersession course, which would be a major coup, not to mention incredibly fun.

And, as always, there’s violin lessons and “normal” homework (for my other two courses, one of which is both brand new and the most popular course ever offered in the department; what was expected to be a small seminar for 10 graduate students had literally every sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate student enroll in it) to contend with. And taking care of my cat, who demands constant attention. :-) (I actually got her one of those humongous cat trees, which she seems to enjoy; a picture is below.)

And I found a new band I like; they’re called “Gregorian,” primarily because they’re a cover band who redoes classic songs (say, Stairway to Heaven) as Gregorian Chant, which is just awesome.

For now, however, I’m going to get some sleep. Things to do, people to annoy in the morning, and all that. :-)

Lys' New Playhouse