Semester Two

So guess what guys and girls of the internet!! I totally dominated my first semester at Sussex University (currently on track for a distinction). I have grown even more interested in the field of Natural Language Processing and I’ve met some quirky, interesting and intelligent people. Currently I’m buckling down into my second semester and attempting to keep the grades high. During the next month I’ll be making a start on my thesis, something I’m super excited about this project and will hopefully be blogging the hell out of the gross amounts of reading I will be working my way through to aid its completion.

For now..
Mikey

Free Time

I like to think of myself as a ninja of time; producing time when there is seemingly none. However over the past three months I have realized that my ability to do this has been foiled by the MSc course I’m currently ploughing through at the moment. Deadlines are currently stacked for but will all be over in less than a week. Hopefully I will be able to make a few winter posts soon.

This post was brought to you by procrastination.

-Mikey..

Less is usually more

I believe in minimalism.

Round Two

So, I’m going back to University. This time to try out the Advanced Computer Science Msc at the Universtiy of Sussex. The time freed up from commuting will hopefully translate into a few more posts and more activity in the projects listed in my previous post.

The modules I’ll be taking are as follows:
954G5 Advanced Computer Science Project (The Thesis)
948G5 Topics in Computer Science (winter term)
947G5 Advanced Software Engineering
955G5 Applied Natural Language Processing
817G5 Mathematics and Computational Methods for Complex Systems
G5029 Limits of Computation (summer term)
934G5 Machine Learning
951G5 Pervasive Computing
944G5 Web Applications and Services

Your favourite geek is all ready getting his bookworm on and skimming through the recommended reading.
I’m just so excited! \o/

New and current Projects

This post is more for me personally to keep track of what I’m doing at the moment. But if I know other people can read this and know what I’m ‘apparently’ up to I’m more likely to get it done! So here it goes, a list of my 2013 projects so far.

Programming
Amblr – Tumblr Android App.
Splitter – Android App. (Team – Carl)
Fruit Machine – HTML5 Slot Machine Template.
Beat’em up x 2D Platformer – HTML5 game. (Team)
(see GitHub for all projects minus the beat’em up game).

Writing
Cupid – Maintain a “sentence-a-day” novel
(and post here more!)

Music
Demo Album – write an album’s worth of songs by the end of the year.
(not necessary to record)

Languages
Maintain and increase my vocabulary in German and Polish.
Refresh French phrases before visiting Paris in August

Reading
Thesis background reading.
Masters course background reading.
The Witcher.
Cat’s Cradle

Amblr

People who follow me on Github may have noticed a stub repository created about 5 months ago which seemingly nothing happened to as this was my last activity on Github until this morning. Well, I have actually been messing around with code tutorials and reading up on Android at dev.android.com. I decided (about five months ago) that my first app would be a Tumblr client. A social site that fosters trends within shared interest groups by the means of “reblogging” other users posts. More relevant to this app users of Tumblr can follow the blogs of other users and all the posts of the blogs a user follows are aggregated into an infinite scrolling dashboard.

As a new and avid user of Tumblr I was frustrated with the lack of a nice app which caches a large enough amount of the dashboard offline in order for me to browse my Tumblr dashboard in the train on the way to work on my tablet; where I have little/no internet connectivity (for example). So I decided to implement this functionality and create an android app of my own, this also allows me to exhibit my knowledge I’ve gained on the OAuth protocol as the app will have to handle the consumer role as it retrieves and displays information by communicating with Tumblr’s API.

I’ve been playing around with two Java OAuth libraries, Signpost and Scribe. This morning I committed my progress with the Scribe library.

So prepare for Amblr, the Tumblr viewer/client for Android devices, to be coming soon (subject to my weekends being free).

Upgraded to Anki 2.0

With this post I’m completing my final session in my Anki version 1.2 decks. I have downloaded Anki 2.0 and converted my decks over to the new Collection format. The new Anki application itself is a lot lighter and faster. I think this is partially due to the design change which leaves the background white instead of grey, this could ultimately prove irritating for late night review sessions and I’m going to miss my grey, but there is deffinately a performance increase. Also syncing changes is a lot quicker as the whole deck is not uploaded/downloaded with each sync action rather only changes are pushed and updated to the appropriate collection (deck).

The decks are now shared via the AnkiWeb site. Links can be found for German here and Polish here.

Debian Debian Debian

How I love Wheezy and gnome 3.

I’m thinking of getting a Macbook Air for my next laptop, but it’ll definitely dual boot Debian with majority of the hard drive belonging to Debian. It annoys me though the image that Mac have at the moment. The way most people seem to react when you talk about purchasing a Mac or even appreciating Macs in general, is like your selling out or choosing the dark side, then you watch those so called “anti-hipsters” pull an iPhone out of their pocket and start texting their mothers.

Well, to hell with them.

Internalising Large Code Bases.

As part of my job recently I have to get to grips with new code bases for slot machines, understand new API’s and follow new communication protocols. It took its time (about a week) but I finally believe I know the ins and outs of one of the systems and have a broad picture view of the other which is good, but I’m slightly disappointed. I wish the whole process of getting to where I am now was more efficient. Stepping through the intended execution of the code occasionally branching off to observe exceptions which may occur took far more time than I had expected and I am near positive there are better ways of internalising a large code base.

When things settle down at work I plan on carrying out a similar exercise with a piece of open source code; most likely Gnome’s Nautilus or Gedit. I have been wanting to add features to these programs which I use so regularly and understanding how they tick would be one of the best ways to embark on that goal.

Although, this week I’ll be finishing of what I have begun with the slot machine project, and producing a polished code review to detail my efforts. Looking forward to getting a little arty transferring some of my scribbled class diagrams on to the screen in the near future.

Ciao for now.

Das Skript

The Front Cover of Das Skript

Over the last few months I have been slowly making progress through the novel Das Skript by Arno Strobel. The book categorises itself as a Psychothriller and so far I have actually found it rather enjoyable. Sure, I would probably progress through it a great deal faster if it was in English and I am only reading a few passages a week when I don’t have any Anki sessions to finish in the train. But I am enjoying it, retaining the plot and most importantly learning new German vocabulary. For example verschleppen (to kidnap, abduct). I was hoping it would improve my grammer but absorbing grammar rules by reading a short passage every day or so doesn’t seem to be working out.

There is another advantage however to stuffing Strobel’s novel in my backpack everyday, and that comes from the fact I feel the need to pack a thick Collins English <-> German dictionary along with it. Having the ability to actually find those odd words I hear throughout the day and translate them to German is great. Although to make it truly beneficial I need to jot them down and add them to my Anki decks to learn them absolutely.

Anyways, the novel is great! I’m nine chapters in, maybe in a few months or so I’ll write up a little book review. Vielleicht auf Deutsch!

Tschüß!