We’ve been here in Alabama for 2 weeks now. Things seem to be going pretty well so far. We somehow survived the move and I don’t think left anything too critical behind. The truck full of half our stuff (and pulling the Civic), the CRV full of cats and guitars, and all the occupants got down here safely and relatively uneventfully. The POD full of the other half of our stuff arrived this past Thursday and we’re slowly working on unloading it.
Amanda and I are buying a new house. In a land far far from CU… Huntsville, AL to be exact… or technically Madison, AL to be even more exact (suburb to the west of Huntsville). No, Derek didn’t graduate. While one could ask “why is he leaving sans-degree”, a better question might be “why is he referring to himself in the third person?” To put it simply, I just got fed up with how things have been going (or not going to be more precise) and decided it was time for a change.
So life has been pretty… something recently. Too much going on and not quite enough sanity to go around. Fortunately, I get to head out to San Jose this Sunday to visit with Rich and Carrie… oh yeah and go to ASPLOS (Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems). Looks like it should be an interesting conference and the best part is I don’t have to foot the bill. :)
I’ve been suffering from some bad computer mojo as of recent. First our group fileserver tanked. Not that I really came into physical contact with it, but I talked to it over the network all the time. Then my brand spankin’ new NAS drive (got a Buffalo LinkStation, basically an external hard drive enclosure with ethernet instead of USB/Firewire) had some sort of catastrophic firmware failure while I was using it and I was forced to RMA it.
What an unbelievable waste of time. Some state law passed last year (at least I assume last year… I started having to do this last year anyway) requires that all state employees must go through ethics training every year. Interesting how grad students are considered employees when it means additional requirements/constraints be placed on us and students when they’re talking about salary/benefits/parking/etc. Fortunately it’s done through the web instead of requiring us to attend an actual class.
I should really pay closer attention to who joins our department. Nikita Borisov apparently just started here this semester and is currently doing work on anonymous peer-to-peer networks. Nick introduced him to Jeff and I today with the intention of giving him some of our spare computers to get his group started. Afterwards I took a look at his past work and realized he was one of the primary architects for Off-the-Record Messaging that I use in Gaim (Linux/Windows) and AdiumX (OSX).
Sanjay’s in this month’s issue of CPU Magazine talking about life at AGEIA. Pretty neat! For those not in the know, Sanjay’s a professor in the ECE department here at UIUC and has been working as chief architect at AGEIA for a while now. AGEIA has been developing a custom physics processor to improve gaming performance/experience by pushing all such calculations onto a dedicated chip thus freeing up the cpu and the gpu to do what they do best (ie handle the ai and such and push pixels).
What’s the deal with stupid people getting union secretary gigs in Universities? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some great and helpful secretaries in my time. But so many of them are just so useless! I’ve been dealing a bit with one in the business office for our department trying to place orders for my students in senior design. Here are my two experiences so far: Took a couple of days to get my first order placed.
Fairly recently, the company that made our group fileserver was bought up by Sun. So we’re not really sure whether we’ll be able to renew our service contract (which runs out October 20th), or if we’ll be forced to buy a new Sun fileserver at a discount. The cynic in all of us should know what’s coming next… On Friday, our group fileserver sorta flaked. Took the admins an hour or more to get it back up and running, and when it did our current group mount (ie the one with all the stuff I really care about right now) did not come up with it.
What a relief! Just got news the RAID card has come in, was installed, and with a fair bit of manual tinkering the admins managed to restore access to our unbacked-up mount. They’re in the process of migrating the data elsewhere and we should have a temporary workaround up and running in short order. Looks like we haven’t lost anything since some files have access times from last Friday. Will have to do some testing to see if anything was corrupted, but I’m feeling a whole lot better about it than I was earlier today.