Over the Christmas / New Years holidays I’ve gotten around to a few projects of mine:
- I finally got around to completing two journal articles I have been working on for several months. It feels good to have them completed. Fingers crossed they are accepted for publication. I’ll refrain from mentioning where they were submitted, but the topics of the papers relate to my dissertation work on probabilistic multi-agent systems.
- I bought a Mac Mini and built a new media hub for our home. With iCloud, iTunes Match and Boxee, all of our content is stored on the mini and hooked into our TV and stereo. I also bought a Bluetooth keyboard + Magic Tackpad and that setup is working great. I was skeptical of the Magic Trackpad, but it is awesome. I may have to get one of these for the office. I also hooked up a webcam and I built a makeshift nanny cam using Skype with auto-answer enabled. I can remotely call my home Skype account via my iPhone and check on our dog…and potentially yell at them if they are being bad. I call this the “voice of god” mode.
- I wrote a few scripts to automate posting to this site. I use Gmail IMAP support + email filters to allow me to email posts (similar to posterious). A script running on my Mac Mini will login periodically to Gmail via IMAP, look for an unread email in a posts folder, download it and create a Markdown file, then rebuild my site via jekyll and rsync it to my web host. I’ll get around to writing more about my setup for those that might be interested.
- Since I was playing around with automating posting to my website, I figured I’d also play around with auto posting the blog update to Twitter. Previously, I wrote a short url service so I turn the new post url into a short url and then generate a new tweet in my Twitter timeline. It seems to be working well.
- I have been lax on backing up our computers lately. I have been thinking about buying a NAS such as an Apple Time Machine. I have an Apple AirPort and I noticed it has USB ports on the back. I decided to try plugging in an external hard drive and sure enough it mounts the volume and makes it available over the network! I have turned it into a Time Machine backup drive.
- Recently, we have had a death in the family. It was unexpected and very sad. The experience made us realize how important it is to have a will and ensure all your assets are jointly owned with your spouse. My wife and I spent a few days adding each other to all our accounts. If you haven’t done this, trust me and go do it. In the unfortunately event, one of you passes, it will make everything much easier for your spouse.
Well that’s it in a nut, aside from the typical holiday events. Fairly productive. Last night we went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Wow. If you haven’t seen them before and you get the chance, I highly recommend it. Rock ‘n’ Rock + Classical + Pyro-technics = Awesome.