Thursday, March 30, 2006

trying to expand my thoughts

i spent a good portion of today thinking on what exactly i wanted to do with my research. i looked at a specific area and wrote down some ideas to really understand what it means. it was one of those cases where you use words all the time to describe certain things or characteristics, but it is hard to REALLY define what the word means. for example, we all know what a machine is, but how do you define machine? what is a machine? defining the definition is a very important step to understanding how to proceed. it also is crucial in knowing the means to the end. today is one of those few days when i come to the office understanding that this whole phd thing is a PROCESS and takes TIME. i am patient, understanding, and content with taking the baby steps necessary to get where i want to be. i get the most work done when i have this attitude. other days, i come into work expecting to cure cancer with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back. maybe once i can start to have more days like this, i can feel comfortable knowing that i have matured a bit and really have become a phd student!!!

p.s. - as if President Bush is not spying on Americans enough already

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

feeling my way through

i am still riding my high of excitement about actually starting some work on my phd topic, today, i was able to layout a "roadmap" of where to begin my data collection. between my ideas and the ideas and help of a couple of colleagues, i was able to come up with some good tests to run to begin analyzing power consumption and determining possible areas of optimization. i feel confident that the work will be meaningful. the good thing about it is that it has some short and long-range goals that will prevent me from any "idle cycles." i am excited and ready to jump in the deep end. let the research begin.................

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

learning my way around suse 10

not a total convert yet, but i am learning my way around the linux environment. i didn't have too much choice in the os matter because i needed to use some of the acpi modules that come with p4's and windows hides these functions. it has been frustrating having to search the web and ask colleagues for trivial "how-to's" but hopefully it will all fall into place before too long. i guess my big challenge now is to decide what to do from here. i know where i would like to be, but i need to lay out a plan to get there. maybe that is why i have been so frustrated this afternoon. the plan i had initially turned out to be impossible with my current hardware setup, and i did not take the time to think about which direction to head in instead. i was kind of just clicking/typing without a purpose. i need to learn the new os but i also need to be making forward progress. that's the first order of business for tomorrow morning: layout a plan of action.

Monday, March 27, 2006

getting ready for some "real" work

ok, so up to now, i really haven't done to much along the lines of my phd topic. just small projects here and there to keep me interested and to spark ideas. i am now about to begin collecting some power consumption data that i can use to begin some real progress along my topic. linux is installed and i'm ready to roll. i've been reading up to see (1) - if anybody has collected the data that i am interested in yet and (2) - to get some ideas on approaches and possible paths to take. there is still much reading to do, but i can at least know that i have some work running in the background now. this has definitely been some much needed good news.

Friday, March 24, 2006

he's back(physically and mentally)

from the dates on my posts, you can see that it has been a while since i have taken time to write an entry. in fact, it has been a while since i have come to the office. i needed the break. donnie came to visit me and we spent a day in london and a day in amsterdam. it was great. thanks db.

work was just like i left it last. i came in with so much to do, and the list just grew longer as the day went on. i was overwhelmed at first, but i was able to remain calm and take care of business. one of my colleagues stopped me in the hallway with an idea that was GREAT!!! it sparked many thoughts, and of course, more things to do today. although it was a hectic day. i have a refreshed motivation and renewed spirits. i have much more reading to do, but all of this ties in my proposed topic for my phd (low-power architecture design). i might actually be able to start running some very interesting tests in the near future if i can get the hardware setup in the coming days. it feels great to really be back into research phd mode and not just doing "filler" projects that have little or no merit in the long run. maybe a page or two in my thesis at most. we'll see. wish me luck.

p.s. - pics on my website have been updated. check 'em out if you get a chance.

Monday, March 20, 2006

march madness is in full swing

with the likes of wichita state and bradley in the sweet 16, it is very easy to see that the ncaa tournament is in full swing and the cinderellas are partying the night away. these two schools have really caused a lot of trouble in my bracket, but i am hoping that duke, uconn, and bc come through and save my bracket. being able to watch the tournament via the cbs online stream has made me feel at home again. i just wish they would broadcast the entire tourney and not just the first three rounds.

i really have got to get motivated again. i am past "E" at this point. not even riding on fumes. i guess the waiting on parts has finally taken its toll on me. it seems like i have been waiting forever for some REALLY simple materials. my processor design is still not fully synthesized yet, and this is beginning to frustrate me. i am walking in the dark with it as well, so i am really all alone in this process. BUT......

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein

Friday, March 17, 2006

happy st. patrick's day

it's friday. did not get anything done today. should have taken today off too. preparing for a fresh start monday. have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

let the madness begin

ok, so i played hookie today, but it was for a good reason. i had to get some good rest in preparation for the first games of march madness. let's go duke!!! don't let me down.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"i'm still here.....i'm still strong"

after a few days of almost no progress, i have finally broken through yet another barrier. i still have a few more obstacles to tackle, but it feels good to have accomplished some things again. i hope this continues because i would like to hurry up and finish this project and not have to abandon it once i can setup some other experiments.

p.s. - the title was for you jaymin

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

just keep pushin'

i have been stuck for almost a week now, and it is starting to get a bit frustrating. my simulations work fine in one application, but they are failing miserably now that i have ported them to another application. i am starting to wonder how much longer i should keep trying to solve the problem or at what point should i abandon it. it doesn't help that the compilation and simulations take about 15 minutes to run. so, the struggle continues......

Monday, March 13, 2006

cambridge's fall from grace

i tried to stay away from this post, but the events of this past weekend have forced me to share a side of cambridge that you would think didn't exist. you would think being one of the top schools in the world, you would not have to deal with type of ignorance and stupidity. i am just trying to share the REAL cambridge and let you know it is not all rosy like you may think.

while i was making my decision on where to attend graduate school, one plus about studying abroad was the fact that it would be a more "color blind" experience. this could not be FARTHER from the truth. it seems that people here have SERIOUS staring problems. wherever i go, it never fails that people just stop and stare as i enter. next time this happens, i am going to stare back at them and ask if i look ok. when i first arrived, there were many instances where people i came in contact with seemed to shocked that i was a phd student at cambridge. i can say this confidently because i was greeted with "you study at cambridge?" from fellow cambridge students. so, i brushed that off as mere ignorance. the next incident i will share was news to me. apparently, there is a certain "look" that a phd student should have. i was actually told that i "don't look like a phd student." well good. i am glad i don't look like a phd student. lastly, this past weekend, i had an experience that made me feel like i was in georgia in the 1960s. i go to the bar (the river bar.....have to put them on blast) with some white friends (4 to be exact). of course, there were the usual stares as i enter. we go to the bar, and all get their orders taken and drinks served one by one. i just happen to be the last person in line. there were two bartenders and a few customers, but as it comes to be my turn to order, there are no other customers within arms length of me. so, there is no way they don't see me. anyway, the bartender actually tells me he will get me in a second. kool. i continue to wait and the bartender is just chillin and talking to the other bartender as he helps some other customers. now, the bartender that is helping customers at the other end of the bar looks at me and tells the idle bartender (the one that said he would get me in a second) that he needs to come take my order. at that point, i am FURIOUS and walk away as he comes back over. i was waiting for about 15-20 minutes. i get my stuff and prepare to leave, but the friends i was with get me to stay as they are almost through with their drinks.

how is it that i have had more experiences like this in england, and i am from georgia? it's crazy. i guess prejudice and racism isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

as far as my research goes, i am still stuck. hopefully it won't be for much longer.

Friday, March 10, 2006

happy birthday to me / those unexpected events mean the most

yes, it's my birthday. 24 years!!!

ok ok, let's get to it already. i am not that important yet for the whole world to pause on my birthday. i still had to come to the office and do some work. i met with my advisor this morning and came out of the meeting with the same feeling of information overload, slight depression, and a sense of overwhelming mixed all together. it is unbelievable how i as a student struggle for just ONE idea, and my advisor is full of them. we seem to be agreeing on the same focus for my topic, but see slightly different at times. nothing major though.

this fpga synthesis process continues to be a pain in the rear. i think i may have made some headway in solving the issues a few moments ago. we'll see monday. i am waiting on some parts for the short-range location system. hopefully, they will be in next week. i really would like to get this done and out of the way so i can focus totally on the multicore architecture stuff.

i sat down with one of my colleagues here in my group today, and had the most meaningful conversation i have had with anyone here in cambridge. we sat down to discuss the design of some experiments to collect some REALLY useful data. however, once we finished talking, he asked how i was finding cambridge. knowing that this was not some weak attempt at random conversation, i answered candidly, and the conversation took off from there. turns out, he has experienced the exact same feelings and thoughts that i have in my six months here (not sure what these are?.....try reading the blog from the beginning. they are all there). it was really a sigh of relief as i sometimes think that i am all alone in feeling/seeing things the way i do. this is the type of genuine friendship and conversation that has been LACKING in my life since i have been here. thanks for your help. this was just another one of those situations where you know God has placed someone around you to provide the support, comfort, or whatever you may be needing. thanks for a great birthday gift God!!!

p.s. - thank you to all my friends and family for the well wishes and gifts on my bday

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"you have got to crawl before you walk"......but, i'm tired of crawling

my advisor shared this analogy with me during our first meeting:

"...just like a vacuum, you are a sucker right now. sucking up all kinds of information whether relevant or irrelevant. in this process, you will learn a lot of new things and find certain things that interest you. as you progress along your phd, will start to become a blower similar to a fan. you will notice this change as you start to speak more and more of your thoughts and ideas will be coming out of your mouth instead of just repeating what you have read or learned from other places. eventually, you will become a complete blower of information as you near the end of your journey."

this a very simple but accurate description that i thought/think is very good. it definitely made me think a bit. anybody that knows me can tell you that i always put an extreme amount of pressure on myself not only to perform, but be the BEST performer. the title of this post describes how i feel at times. i understand the situation that i am in, but for some reason, i have this notion/feeling that i need to be blowing already. most times i can convince myself that it is not time yet, but other times i feel like i am behind. i think that my haste to become a blower may stem from a bit of uncertainty of whether or not i am smart enough or capable of becoming a blower. matter of fact.........i know this is the reason why i am in a hurry. being in an academic environment surrounded by established researchers can be a gift and a curse. so many resources to tap into, but so many people that are miles ahead can be intimidating for a young phd student.

today, i made some good progress on my fpga design and finally picked up where i left off with my short-range location system. i am hoping to have this finished by the end of apil at the latest.

p.s. - check out Microsoft's new mobile device:

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

looking for inspiration in the midst of gloom

the weather has been absolutely horrible the last few days. i have just recently realized how the weather plays such an important role in my state of mind. i can definitely see a difference in my mood when it is nice and sunny and when it is dark and rainy. needless to say, it has been a struggle to do even the simplest of tasks. the hardest part has been trying to motivate myself and look at the bright side of things instead of the obvious. my work has reflected my attitude in that i have not gotten much done, but i have made some significant progress this afternoon (hopefully, i have gotten out of this rut *fingers crossed & knocking on wood*). i have successfully compiled the processor design for the fpga, however, i was forced to make some changes in order to succeed in this. now, i must run some more simulations and ensure that everything functions as it should. this has given me a bit of inspiration as i thought this would be a never-ending battle once i started a week ago. after many failed attempts at trying to simply satisfy the compiler, i finally stepped backed and started from scratch. at first, i thought this would take a while, but once i got started, i was understanding things more and was actually able to use a good bit of the code that i already had. turns out, i did not need to re-invent the wheel at all.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

just leave stuff alone anthony

ok, so i thought i would be smart and retroactively change the timestamps on my first few blog posts to reflect the correct time here. but, i have managed to screw up all of my timestamps (even the ones that were correct) and now NONE are right. great job me!!!

anyway, as much as i tried to get through the day on a good note, i feel that i have failed miserably. what started out as a good day, quickly sank into a whirlwind of crap. i had to force myself from websurfing BUT i had already read cnn, ajc, nytimes, and a few other news sites about 5 times each. then, the rain came. i needed to go into town and take care of some business, and i tried to wait till the rain stopped. of course, it did not. once i get back to the office after errands and lunch, i find myself trying to be productive, but to no avail. i continued my quest to get my processor design synthesized onto my fpga. this may be the most frustrating thing i have come across up to now. but, i have learned a great deal and now know what not to do in the future in my fpga designs.

ok, so now i will try and finish up my post from last wednesday. sorry for the delay. i guess what i was really trying to say in such a babbling manner was that i just wish people were more genuine and truthful. why is this so hard and how did we get to this point? are we so caught up with image that we are no longer comfortable with who we are? if so, why do we take the easy way out (exaggeration) instead of making positive change? what does this make us as people?

403 forbidden

i had all good intentions to finish my post from the other day, but the site will not allow me to see my blog for some reason. i hope this is fixed soon.

anyway, after a few days of snail-paced progress, i have managed to get back to the grind. i made some nice strides today and have a few things to think about as i go forward. i feel really optimistic about my research and ideas at the moment. let's hope this lasts.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

absolutely nothing

this is what i got accomplished yesterday and today. at least yesterday, i did not come to the office at all. today, i came in late and tried, unsuccessfully, to read. i need to get my act together over the weekend, get some rest, and get ready to work my but off.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

a time for thought and reflection

ok, so i am sitting at my desk this morning, and i just had a flow of ideas and thoughts running through my mind. some were related to my work and research, but most were just about life, me as a person, and my future. it was really random and caught me off guard, however, i did lend a few moments to entertain these thoughts. as you grow older, you learn so much about people and human nature, BUT you never really quite know what to expect out of others sometimes (or yourself for that matter). well, let me take that back. i don't want to over-generalize. i don't know what to expect of myself sometimes. anyhow, i began to think about all the times you are listening to people talk and you find yourself trying to filter the truth from the bs. do people that exaggerate things honestly know that they are fabricated their stories or is it just natural.....if such a thing can be called natural. at what age/point in life do people begin this? why does it start? what is the objective? i apologize for being scatter-brained, but i just wanted to get some of the key points on paper before i forgot. i can see why cambridge has bread so many bright intellectuals. the town is strategically bubble-ized so all you do is study and think. i just realized that this post didn't seem to go anywhere. maybe i can bring all this together tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

good intentions, but no focus

had some plans to be really productive today, but i just didn't have the focus and drive to accomplish what i needed to. i could not seem to stop thinking about everything else BUT my work. i did however focus enough to write a "to do" list for tomorrow. maybe i'll have better luck with the start of a new day. once i get closer to finishing my phd, i can look back at days like this where i absolutely WASTED 8+ hours and think how much i could have gotten done in those hours and possibly be done with my phd already.