Saturday, May 20, 2006

Into the Ocean...

January/February 2006 will always be looked upon by myself as a wonderful period of time. The holiday we went on made me discover more things about myself, the world and other people than I ever knew. My mind cleared, blank- no lucid thoughts or crazy ideas, just the sun and sand, damp caves, barren and sunburned red earth, sunlight roads, or clear city lights.

It has cleared my mind for the tough mental year to come, and it provides me a form of escapism, back in my memories, away from the strain that sometimes is my life. It is a special gift, and for that I thank you.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mmm, osmosis.

I've been working at Tieline Research for about 9 weeks or so now, and the more I do so the more I'm learning. I can't really judge whether I'm learning more working or going to university, as personally I categorise the two as separate kinds of learning. Uni teaches me life skills, theory and good all round practices and adaptability- and this year in honours it's also teaching me about specialising and communicating. Work is more a process of osmosis, soaking in the experience and practices of people who are experts in their fields.

For instance, I'm working with a guy who once implemented a Java JVM on a 16-bit smartcard chip, for no other reason than "to see what it was like" (incidentally, apparently garbage collection took up 4 seconds of processing after the thing was initially swiped :P). Other people specialise in audio development in Java- something which I found to be rather odd at first. I can't actually say what I'm working on due to a Non-Disclosure Agreement, which is a pity- but it's all very interesting stuff and I rather enjoy doing it- a stark contrast to my last job at EFTel.

Importantly, the environment is casual and encourages creativity. The most formal I've seen my boss dressed is jeans and a shirt that says "fat kids are harder to kidnap". The normally-dreaded discussions with CEOs are actually quite funny, with our directors providing free pizza and alcohol on fridays, and one of them being a tech buff anyway means they know their stuff. It's all very entertaining, and whilst there are some drawbacks like the stale air environment created by aircon (headaches abound unless one takes a walk around the block, which everyone does at least once or twice a day).

In any case, it's a pleasure to work with these people, and suck up their experience and techniques for my own improvement- and in addition, there's the constant question of "so David, when's your degree finish..." which is always rather encouraging.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bring a laptop to the big white bus

Ok, so I've been measuring wireless signal strength from all around my house for my Scicomm Assignment 3 experiment. And I tell you, I've got some pretty whack results. Apparently, I can get better signal strength in the toilet than I can in the actual room where the access point is.



So, what the hell is the point of all this? Well, like I said it's for an assignment. I'm guessing my hypothesis will be something along the lines of "There is a relationship between the number of walls between an access point and the reduction in signal strength" or something more specific, like "there is some constant x which can describe the reduction in signal strength when wireless signals propagate through walls".

It definately won't be "sit on the toilet and get better signal strength", that much I know for sure.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Finding the right gear

Damn that 6-speed short shifter that they had on the Commodore I raced around in near Perth Airport the other week. You go from second to fifth without realising (and back!) and end up ripping the poor gearbox to shreds. Heck, I even stalled the damn car.

My work's been the same lately. Somewhere along the line i've skipped a gear or something, and now I'm stuck in the wrong mindset and have 6 or more assessments due in 3 weeks, two of which I have started. So, what do I do? Well, I write this to get it off my chest first of all- heck, I might even just delete it later on anyway.

In any case, I'm going to work hard. I've taken the train today, forcing myself to walk and not waste money on parking. I've brought my lunch, to try and offset the sleepyness brought on by CS BBQs (which went quite well today by the way). And best of all, the guy from UCS has got back to me, so it looks like i'll be heading to the Reid Library in order to do some experimenting. Now, back to Terry Woodings' lecture- I always enjoy them, so I don't really want to miss much more of it.