A Pause, Some Highlights

Hey, its been over a month since my last post. This is not on. It has been interesting times though since the last post. I am buried in work. Haha, grad school be no joke ladies and gentlemen. But this too shall pass. So in the spirit of giving a fititng update I will do it some snippets of what I have been up to.

I have updated my main website http://www.vima.co.za. Am actually very happy about that. I got myself a 20" iMac earlier in September so I was able to get my rapid weaver working and now I can edit the site and upload it (still have some problems with automated ssh/sftp). The iMac has been enjoyable, even though I use my laptop as my main work machine and the iMac is used for storage (heavy) and some other things. I have installed Windows 7 on the iMac also, and it works full out, I will put up a review later. I will be upgrading my laptop to Windows 7 later as I make sure that everything is working properly first. So why no Linux updates you ask. I have been having problems with repositories for my Linux Mint Gloria, and some other technical problems that I caused by poking around the wrong places, lol. I have virtual machines running Gloria on the iMac, I have not installed it along side the Max OS Snow Leopard and Windows 7. Talking about snow leopard, what teething issues there! My installation of Leopard (10.5) ran quite well in the last year on my Mac Mini and other machine. Snow Leopard had a lot of new/changed API's that I guess developers had not moved into using properly, so some programs I am still waiting for updated versions that will work properly with Snow Leopard. My biggest issue was VLC and the apple remote and it just starting up iTunes every time I press play. The other is QuickTime X, it should have been launched with Snow Leopard if it is not finished (it should be an optional install, the standard should be the previous version).

The joys of the internet. Being at Rutgers and not having a car, means I have had to embrace the American way of buying a lot of things over the internet. I have had now countless things delivered to my post box. I bought new chargers for my cellphones, a new battery for my laptop, books etc. all via websites like Amazon, Ebay and Buy.com. Its different than in South Africa as I would have to wait countless weeks after ordering something from Ebay. Amazon is great and I get things quite quickly. Textbook money saver Amazon is.

Courses are interesting. I am taking Principles of Artificial Intelligence which is a very good course and is mixed in with programming exercises that are challenging but enjoyable if you get them. My next assignment is to build AI for Pacman, after watching "The King of Kong" a week earlier it seems the universe had planned this. I am working on my project proposal for this course also at the moment. Another course I am doing is Computational Thinking. It is very interesting and really gets me thinking about how we structure what we perceive as thought and how we are representing it in our designs of machines and computers. I am taking this course with students from a diverse set of backgrounds and current focus'. If you are into computers then you must, must read Hillis, "The Pattern on the Stone", Basic Books 1998. This was a great reading from the class. It really took me back to how I got interested in computers and how they work and what we can do with them. The other course I am taking is Design of Data Structures and Algorithms. The graduate level course is challenging and insightful. My midterm for it is this coming Thursday so a bit nervous.

The are so many international students here its mind blowing. Its like whoa!! I have gotten to know a number of students. David is a fellow Fulbrighter from the UK, Oxford University previously. Simon is Davids roomie from Belgium. Edinah is a fellow CS student and fellow African from Togo. Tarek is a fellow student (we are both first year grad students), and fellow African from Egypt. There are also other Fulbrighters I have met around Rutgers and also a large number in New York, which I need to visit again soon. There are also a number of American students who are really interesting to talk to, "cultural exchange".  I should be heading to Chicago for a weekend in November so that will also be interesting.

Side Projects. These have mostly taken a back burner this last two months. Now though I can put up more info about them.

  • The Tsogo Alumni website has been a long term project and hopefully it also go into the future. Its mostly about awareness and people finding each other again, we all loved high school, except those who didnt, hehe. The site is now really utilising my unused bandwidth. It has been a labour of love for all those involved in it and we aim to do more in the future and maybe even branch into bigger goals (Education in SA in general).
  • The IGRISE website. Its been long long term but still running and will be running into the future. Its one project I will never let go of.
  • DJ T_Tablez. Thulani had been asking for this for a while. We promised (me and a friend) to get it up for close to a year. Its finally up and Thulani is using it a lot, more than I had initially imagined. If you are into music, production, listener, whatever its an interesting blog to read.
  • All of the above projects are wordpress based, I am taking this year as a year to learn as much as I can about WordPress and how it can be used for content management.

Is this the end of this post, I guess so, there is too much to say, so little time to do it but I will update more in the future.

Rutgers University 2009
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