Friday, December 12, 2008

I suck

My new year's resolution will be to blog more.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I was here for the CISDR workshop. The work shop went well, which should make Chris happy. (One of the work shop goals was to help Chris get tenure). I met a lot of new people at the workshop and we had some good discussions on future research ideas in SDR. Hopefully, some joint projects come from the workshop.

Ireland is a nice sunny place (the locals do not think the weather has been normal this week). Yesterday, I did the cliff walk from Greystones to Bray. I had trouble finding the beginning of the walk in Greystones, so I ended up walking several kilometers on roads and finally bushwacked to a summit above the cliff walk. The view was good and I managed to re-join the cliff walk proper.

While wandering lost I saw a lot of nice houses. Greystones seems to be a pretty upscale area.

The food is good, however the meat centric nature of the diet is getting to me. It's been good to find things like sausage rolls and Cornish pasties again.

Well, time to catch the train to the bus to the airport.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Travel Plans

I'll be in Ireland next attending the First Collaborative International Software-defined Radio Workshop.

We received a small grant from the National Science Foundation to cover our travel expenses for the workshop. Internally, the group working on the proposal called this the "Ireland Pub Crawl" project. In spite of this, we have a good program and it looks like it will be well attended.

Hopefully, I can get my Beagle Board running with a couple of simple SDR demonstrations and attract some people interested in using this board for SDR.


Yes, I play GTA IV. It is awesome.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The cat is not helping

Sorry about the complete break down in blogging. Not much interesting to blog about. I really should say more about the FOSDEM trip, but that is old news. If I get somewhere with the Lyrtech Small Form Factor SDR board, I'll talk a little about that.

I like our cats more than I like most people, but at least people don't do this to me:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gumstix mounting solution

Mt friend Hasan's PHD project is the build a flexible RF front end for public safety radio's. In the US (and I suspect many other countries) public safety radios operate on a diverse set of frequencies. This creates problem for people trying to design radios that can operate of the range of services using these frequencies.

Hasan is working on a RF front to solve some of these problems. As part of this work he is build a demonstration unit that operates on several different frequencies. There are several parts of the radio that need configuration information via a SPI interface. He is using a gumstix computer to do the control and user interface.

Here is an overall picture of the unit. Since it is based on evaluation boards, it seems kind of large for a handheld unit. I'm certain that professionals could create a compact unit based on his work.

Here is a photo of the gumstis mounted on the front plate and the LCD touchscreen panel used to change the operating frequency.
Finally, a side view to give you an idea of how the gumstix is attached. He used a threaded rod to stack the gumstix boards and attach them to the plexiglass.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Beer event

The beer event was held at a much larger facility this year. It was still very crowded, but we could stand in the alley. The beer event organizers are not joking when they say " Unlike some other beers, Belgian beer is not just colourful water". There were 25 beers on tap and there is a book describing each of the beers including the alcohol content. The alcohol content is valuable information for the wise.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reginald A Mines

My grandfather, on my mother's side, served in France during WW1. His brother also served and died in the war. (My aunt said he was shot by a sniper). The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists information about all war graves. A few years back I found his entry on the web site.

This year I rented a car so I could drive from Brussels while de-jetlagging for FOSDEM. Beuvry is about a 2 hour drive from Brussels. Since my plane was late I made it to a larger town nearby called Bethune and stayed in a hotel near the center of town. I found a french looking restaurant on the "Grand Place" and had dinner and went to bed. The next morning I took a look around town and stopped by the tourist office for things to do. There were some interesting looking tunnels near Arras and a blockhouse used for V1 and V2 production.

I quickly found the cemetery and the grave.

Then I headed toward Arras. I stopped at the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. I poked around the area where they had some restored trenches and a small museum. Parts of the area are closed off due to un-exploded ordinance. Even after all these years you can see the outlines of the trenches and craters left from the war.

Finally, I made it to Arras. Since it was not obvious where the tunnels were and it was late I found a sandwhich and headed back to Brussels.


Wednesday I left for Brussels to attend FOSDEM. My flight went via Frankfurt because USAir does not fly direct on Wednesday. My flight from Frankfurt to Brussels was delayed an hour due to fog. Then, while preparing the airplane, the rear emergency exit deployed. This led to the cancellation of my flight. Fortunately, they managed to get me on a 1PM flight. The Frankfurt airport is not my favorite place to spend six hours. The food selection is not great (at least on the airplane side of security). The airport is also a bit of a maze.

There is a tunnel between the A and B terminals. This is what it looks like around 7 AM after you have been up all night.

I've been through Frankfurt twice now, and taken a different route between the international arrival area and the outgoing flight each time.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mid Life Crisis

Not much blogging since I need to work to pay for this.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Office construction done

Today I finished painting the closet door frame, the window, and the area around the new power outlets. Basically, these were the last construction related tasks that I had put off for the past month. Now I just need to organize my crap. And I have lots of crap.

Here is my workspace:

To the left of my desk I have a peninsula for extra desk space.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Still here

I've been very busy with some consulting work.

Check out this blog, Kitchen Patrol. A friend of mine seems to be having kitchen issues.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


This weekend I started to get my office setup again. Next week I need to give a talk to a company in Maryland and I need to work on the presentation. Like any good grad student, I procrastinated. One of the things you learn to do in grad school is to procrastinate productively.

So today:
  • I patched the kernel for the Lyrtech SFFSDR board with the Davinci NAND flash driver, setup the SFFSDR board, and tested the kernel. Lot's of progress, but I haven't quite got it working. I suspect I need to read up on setting the NAND controller registers properly.
  • Started finishing the wall where I added a bunch of AC outlets.
  • Read about some algorithms for FM demodulation
  • Filled out the rebate form from the PS3 purchase. (They'll send me 5 blu-ray DVD's)
  • Took the cardboard from the office furniture to recycling.
  • Started collecting information on the ML-403 evaluation board from Xilinx.
  • Responded to some emails that needed responses.
  • Looked for an Open Office template for my slides.
  • Started working on the presentation.
A fine day of procrastination!