Sunday, 15 March 2009

Withdrawal Symptoms

As they say, there can be a long time between drinks. For me, it is a long time between the writing of a blog entry. So much has happened and been happening that sitting down to a blog just hasn't rated in the priorities. Even now, it is hard deciding where to start. There are a number of themes that I would like to cover and so little time in which to do so.

Why the delay in writing? Initially, it was because I managed to destroy the motherboard in our computer so I had to rebuild our system. All I was trying to do was increase the size of the memory from 512 KB to 1 GB but I put the memory cards in the wrong way round and something went pop. Now we have a new machine which is physically smaller but has 2 GB of memory and 500 GB hard drive. It is better all round but wasn't quite what we planned. The plan is to run virtualisation software to support multiple operating systems and user environments.

At the same time (26 February), I had the oral for my thesis and although they passed me, they wanted me to make a number of emendations (changes). That took out another couple of weekends. At least this week, it will be going to the printers and binders. This saga in my life is now drawing to an end. For those interested, the thesis is entitled “How do they understand? Practitioner perceptions of an object-oriented program”. I suppose we should be celebrating this achievement but it all seems a little flat at present. Nearly 8 years work came down to a final one hour oral examination that proved easier than I had expected. It seems the examiners are more positive about my work than I am. Maybe I am just too close to it to see what has been achieved.

The next issue has been losing the server on which our site has been operating. As I write this, there is no sign of the host returning so an alternative host is being established. In the meantime, we lack a site for our web data. The planned new site will give me a lot more flexibility in what I can implement.

The final distraction has been learning that our daughter-in-law has Hodgkin's lymphoma. At least this form of cancer has a high rate of cure so we are hopeful that this will work out. However, it will change the plans that our son and daughter-in-law had. It may also impact our own plans.

The final thing that has been happening over this period is putting our house on the market. This was planned as we prepared for a shift from New Zealand to the UK. Our current target is to fly out on 22 June via Hong Kong, arriving in England on 25 June. I plan to attend a workshop at the ITiCSE conference in Paris related to work that I have been doing with an increasingly international research group. Hopefully as I catch up on entries and we can restore our web site, some of this work will begin to be more visible.

In light of the intended move, we are also reducing the clutter in our home. For me, this is making decisions on books, papers, and cycling gear. I wil be discarding some books that I no longer see as part of our future plans.