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Playing with emerging web technologies

During the last week I've been playing with some of the emerging Web technologies that aim to make the Internet a more interesting place over the next few years. I've just finished redesigning my ECS Web site with HTML5 and a little bit of clever CSS, partly to see what can be achieved in a modern browser and partly to see if I could build a really simple content management system (CMS) in PHP without using a database or a web-based front-end. Continue reading →

Job Interviews

Job Interviews It has been pretty busy round here lately. There's the usual overcrowding problem in the labs as everyone tries to print their dissertations and theses at the same time, lots of last-minute coursework submissions and the beginnings of exam preparation. Then there are the interviews, screening processes and assessment days all curiously scheduled to conflict with the major university deadlines. Continue reading →

New Challenges and Problems to Solve

New Challenges The world is full of great challenges. They may be problems to solve, people to meet, or experiences to explore. Where one person sees a problem, another will see a challenge, an opportunity for growth and a step on their personal road to success. Getting a degree is one such challenge. I've been involved with the University of Southampton for nearly 5 years now, and I am constantly finding new challenges in my work. Continue reading →

OpenChatter Project

OpenChatter Project Sometimes progress on a project can stagnate, leaving the end result as a load of odd bits of code that don't quite work when put together. This is especially true of group work where the aim is to integrate disparate technologies and there is no clear group leader. I finished such a project in January for the scripting languages course. Continue reading →

Many opportunities all at once

Many opportunities all at once It is funny how when the mind is consistently focussed on what it wants, an endless stream of opportunities seems to materialise from nowhere. This effect has been described as the law of attraction in various online circles and takes a different form depending on who describes it. The gist of it seems to be that the ideas you hold on to intently gradually become self-fulfilling prophecies. I've been thinking about how to get my own business up and running. Continue reading →

Work Ethic

Work Ethic Now that the deadlines are starting to pile up I am able to see how my habits as a student have changed since I left for Spain in July 2008. The drive and motivation to work throughout the day is not something that had come naturally to me before that, but having worked 9 - 6 in an office for more than a year, now I just feel lazy if I'm not constantly doing something. Continue reading →

As a Computer Scientist you Spend Time Fixing Other Peoples Computers

There is something special about being the house's computer scientist. You spend a lot of time fiddling with networks and trying to fix other peoples' computers. Fortunately the tools to properly diagnose and repair computers are very good these days. Unfortunately most manufacturers think that a recovery CD costs too much to bother including in the package, so they half-heartedly provide hidden partitions and the like that don't help one iota when there is a hardware failure. Continue reading →

Returning to ECS

Returning to ECS Having been back in the UK now for nearly two months, I am well settled into the lifestyle. This year I live in a bit of a multi-lingual household with a Spaniard, a Frenchman, and a German in addition to a couple of English freshers. It has been good fun getting to know everyone's quirks and we hardly ever fight over the shower in the mornings thanks to a rather scattered pattern of morning alarm clocks (I'm usually up first). Continue reading →

Looking back – looking forward

Now that my time in Spain is coming to an end, I thought it might be a good time to share more of the overall experience. We have a new placement student fresh out of school working with us this week. Having been officially at the lowest rung on the company ladder for over a year, the role reversal is intriguing. I've been providing support and teaching processes over the last few days and can finally see just how far I have come since I first arrived, equally naïve of what the job involved. Continue reading →

Performance and concurrency

Performance and concurrency A technical post today, methinks. After having been assigned to my project supervisor for next year, it seems the thing we are most compatible on is exploring concurrency patterns in software. To that end, I have been researching some of the issues surrounding concurrency by analysing the design of some of my code at work. I am not at liberty to post real source code, so I have given the architectural overview below. Continue reading →