minutia press.
Starting up the press again

I know it's been a long time, and I seem to have fallen off the blog bandwagon and much of the world recently. There is much to catch up on so I'll just give a kind of executive summary of past months so the posts to come will make some sense.

I finished teaching CSE 436, and it was a great experience. The students did 4 projects, and one was even cited on cnn.com (but has disappeared I believe off the site since then). That project was the Vertigo Dance Floor. My students wrote a client/server base for controlling the floor remotely, sending it text, pictures, animations from a socket connection.

The IEEE students and friends built the 8 x 16 foot dance floor and the software written by the students worked well. The floor suffered a number of shock faults from actually being danced upon, and a new design is in the works I believe.

The other students' projects were also very, very well done. One was a navigation device that might be given to a prospective freshman or family to take self-guided tour of campus. It's basically Dijkstra's algorithm in a box, but with pop-ups to explain things you pass and the ability to avoid stairs for people who can't traverse them.

Two other projects were mp3 jukeboxes: one for the home, one for a bar. The bar box allows patrons to select songs from their tables, and the home box allows distribution to remote players in the home.

It's the first time I taught the course, so there is a lot I would do differently, but I was very impressed with the students, their abilities, and their creativity.

I just got back from a trip to NY with our second child, who is now 12. We had an amazing time. She has enough energy to keep up with me, so we saw and did a lot in the 7 days we were there.

We saw four shows: Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray, and Sweet Charity; I list them in decreasing order of impressitude. Wicked was amazing, and I liked the show much better than the book. I had seen Sweeney several times before, but this production was very different: the actors played instruments and there was no other orchestra. Patti Lupone (Mrs. Lovitt) played tuba, for example. The actors/players were terrific, and the staging had to be changed to accommodate the preoccupation of the actors with playing instruments. Hairspray was great, and we saw the understudy in her Broadway debut. Sweet Charity is an old musical, and the lead actress is famous but I can't quite remember her name; she's from TV sit-com land I believe.

The food as usual was excellent, and were fortunate that our arrival at LaGuardia seemed to herald the end of the transit strike. Subways were still 12 hours away from zinging, but by the next morning everything was back to normal.

I look forward to catching up with people thorugh their blogs -- write something here if you can and let me know how you're doing.