Spring Broke
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Mar 22 2005 Kelly Norton

Spring Break has finally arrived: no classes, no problem sets, no projects, no time-off and, of course, no sleep. At the end of this week, the Simplicity Consortium is hosting a two-day event at the Cape, which will feature, among other things, demos and presentations of our group’s work. As you would expect, the first challenge of presenting your work is to actually get that work to the point where there is something to show. I think I have about forty hours of work remaining to reach that point, which is a problem, because I have only a few more hours until “pencils down.”

Obviously, I should be writing code right now, but fatigue is also setting in and a few minutes at this point isn’t going to make a real difference in whether I have something compelling to show. Though I’m sure it will come down to a last minute scramble of band-aiding things at break neck speed, as it always does. Who knows, maybe communicating in something other than C will prove to be just the ticket for reaching some sort of milestone on this new thing.

The new thing is sort of a wacky, but cool, network rendering/graphics system. I can’t really go into too much detail with the deadline looming, but I just finished implementing the function CreateCanvas as part of a web service if that tells you anything. The basic idea is to allow for visualization of data much closer to the data, so you don’t have to move large databases over to the rendering machine. In concept, the rendering becomes part of the database. The problem I’m having now is doing a prototype in only a few days. Distributed systems software development, as I am now remembering, suffers heavily from the iceberg effect. In the future, I’ll be much more weary of demos that require more than two machines.

So, I’m off to this Cape event this Thursday and Friday. It will be my first time out of Boston/Cambridge since Christmas. If I can manage to not stay tucked away in my room working on the problem set that is due on Monday, the guest speaker line up looks pretty enjoyable … including Ayse Birsel, the designer responsible for the Herman Miller Resolve System. I hope that talking to sponsors will give me a little energy boost, the dregs of New England winter are pretty tough on the psyche.

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