Thesis Update

Today, my last work day before Christmas, I gave a draft of chapters 3, 4 and 5 of my thesis to my supervisor! 🙂 This was pretty much what I was aiming for, so I’m quite happy and feel I can let myself have a week or so off now to relax and psych myself up for writing the rest.

The thesis graph is proving a rather useful tool for self-motivation — and gives me something to talk about when people invariably ask how it’s going! 🙂

Merry Christmas.

Installing Debian Sarge onto a Dell Inspiron 8100

A while ago I reported that I had experienced a hard drive failure on my laptop which necessitated purchasing a new one and re-installing the operating system (Debian). I had been hearing some very good things about the new Debian Installer and so gave it a whirl.

The reputation is well deserved as the new installer is excellent: easy to use, yet with plenty of “expert” options when I needed them — for example both 2.4 and 2.6 kernels were offered as options. I was also impressed as the install was considerably smoother than my previous one. There are still issues with the PCMCIA detection on my Dell, and I had to disable apic and lapic probing to prevent the machine hanging while it was unpacking files. The command I booted with was:
expert26 acpi=off noapic nolapic
although in hindsight the acpi=off was probably unnecessary as ACPI worked fine “out of the box” when I subsequently rebooted.

One problem that I did encounter was that by default both the OSS and ALSA sound drivers were loaded, which prevented me from hearing anything properly. I’m not sure what the correct solution to this problem is, but a fairly simple hack was to add the line:
alias maestro3 snd-maestro3
to /etc/modprobe.d/sound. I also needed to delete the file /etc/modprobe.conf as, if it exists, it takes precedence over the modprobe.d directory.

ACM Guide to Computing Literature

I recently blogged about Google Scholar. While this is a great tool for finding interesting papers, I also seem to spend a lot of time trying to find the relevant meta-data for a paper someone has sent or given me, or I’ve just had lieing around for a few months and forgotten from where I got it.

Enter the ACM Guide to Computing Literature which has one feature which makes it singularly more useful than any digital library and Google Scholar — BibTeX data!

It’s not entirely clear what The Guide indexes besides ACM and IEEE publications, but since this covers a large proportion of my reading list, it’s still very useful.

Write-Up and Thesis

So, two particularly good things happened to me this week:

  1. I was offered a job! 🙂 It’s at a large investment bank based in Canary Wharf, and since I really liked the company, and the people I met when I went to interview there, I think I shall probably accept.
  2. I started writing my thesis.

So… plans for next year are taking shape. If I can make some good progress on the thesis between now and Christmas (I intend to be in Cambridge until Christmas eve to make sure this happens!), then a trip “down under” seems very likely. It’s all very exciting. 🙂

Australia and New Zealand in 2005

It seems that lots of people I know will be in Australasia for a good part of 2005. So far we have:

  • My sister: Melbourne from 4th Feb
  • Abi: New Zealand (Christchurch?), for about 2 months, from 26th Feb
  • Chris: Australia and New Zealand, 2-3 weeks in April
  • GK: Sydney, from February
  • Simone: Sydney

I hope I’ve got the details of everyone’s trip right — if not, let me know!! Anyone else going to be in that part of the world next year?