New Year

Hello, friendly denizens of the Interweb. Having just woken up at 1:45PM (MST) after a really quite excellent New Year’s party (including friends I hadn’t seen in years– and new, cool people I hadn’t met before), I’m now camping out at a coffee shop to hang out and play with my XO without waking the rest of my family up.

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One Laptop Per (Inner) Child

So my resolve to keep blogging regularly was broken, it would seem, by the sad realities of the latter part of the semester. A brief update list, before I get on with the story:

  • With a team, I did my Network Security project-- "Security Through Virtualization." The basic premise was to make a "secure" virtual machine through placing an antivirus scanner on another machine, then scanning changed files on the first continuously-- then, upon finding malware, rolling back the VM to a checkpoint. It turned out to be reasonably easy (well, for a term project; the professor said it could be done in a weekend, we spent more like a week on it), and so a good time was had by all.
  • Somewhere in the middle of the various products, JHUMagic got its constitution finalized (we're an official student group now, yay!), and held its last tournament of the semester.
  • I proctored, then worked (with all my CAs) to grade the Java final-- always interesting, or at least, always somewhat fun to see what students *actually* learned at the end of the semester (besides to hate me and/or Java :-) ).
  • On my own, I did my final project for Embedded Sensor Networks-- a continuation and extension of the work I was doing for HiNRG. My task was to implement sensor network testbed control software-- which I had (previously) chosen to do in Rails. This worked out quite well-- Rails is designed for web applications, of course (which this was), and so the primary challenge turned out to be to write the middle layer (Rails being the top and MySQL and the motes being the bottom layer)-- which actually translated commands into action. It's research code, so I can't post it here (right now), but if someone wants to see it (especially if they know something about sensor networks, but even if they're just curious), I can certainly let you take a look.
  • With my research team (the non-HiRNG one-- Shannon's Biomedical Engineering one), I went to visit Northrop Grumman. Fun people, if that's your area of interest; certainly they're doing interesting work. We got to learn about their research in the area of biodetection; naturally, what they told us was somewhat restricted, but it's not too hard to get some sort of idea.

So then, after last time’s (chaotic, poorly-thought-out) blog post, my dear readers should have been somewhat concerned; after all, taking away Brendan’s computer would be… bad. Anyway, what ended up happening is that I took a friend’s laptop with me to Florida for the break– which worked out fairly well. My laptop’s hinge is still broken– my dealer is having trouble understanding the definition of a “warranty” – caveat emptor is one thing, but I’d hate to have to use ahem measures of extraordinary gravity to bring them to my views on the matter. In the end, I suppose they’ll listen to ReasonUltima Ratio Regum, indeed.

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Catastrophe and OLPC

So, Sunday night I had a fairly large catastrophe: upon returning from the week’s tournament, I opened my laptop to find that, well, it couldn’t open quite right. Upon further examination, it turned out that the left hinge’s bottom half– a cast-steel solid part– had sheared, completely, a situation made even worse by the fact that the left side, on this laptop, contains the wires necessary to make the screen work.

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Running

It’d be great if I could manage to update this regularly; I suppose I’ll settle for “when I can get a chance.”

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