Friday, 26 September 2008

MIT OCW and Wikinomics

I am still awake, and now blogging, because of a bit of bed time reading of "Wikinomics" by Don Tapscott (Author) and Anthony Williams (Author)- On page 23 I was reminded of MIT's Open Course Ware (MIT OCW). I was quite excited to look for engineering related resources and I was not disappointed. After visiting the site, I remembered an email that a friend had sent to me.
It turns out that I was originally introduced to this resource by a friend as this excerpt from an email shows:
Subject: Have a look at this
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 01:43:20 +0100

Look at this

Audio, Video lectures from engineering to literature, plus lecture notes.

A general site

For example

Video lectures on circuits and electronics:

Mp3 files on Advanced Digital Integrated Circuits:

May just border the scope of your second year material, tell what you think.
I can only say thank you. I seemed to not go for it on first bite but I am just glad that another path has brought me back to the same information but this time with fresh eyes (well...not so fresh at 1am...). I just watched lecture 16 on 'Sinusoidal steady state' (additional videos, accompanying notes etc. can be found on this page). The lecturer's style and delivery was refreshing to say the least. I really enjoyed it. One thing I noticed about his style was the abundance of mental anchors to allow the teaching points to embed themselves into the memory.
It seems funny to me that while this precious resource was presented to me back in Nov 2007 it has taken me until now to come across it again on my own terms and realise it's full value.

But back in Nov 2007 while I was interested in open source, I was obviously not fully aware of it's significance in (my) education. Nearly a year on I am glad to say that, for example, I use delicious as my principle research and indexing tool and evernote as my notebook for just about everything. These have both added enormously to my education allowing me to build huge and complex webs of tagged and indexed notes, references and links. Suffice it to say that I am glad to think differently now.

Monday, 22 September 2008

The good old days

A picture from the good old days! I hope to be reusing some of these computers to create some dedicated onion routers, file servers, ssh tunnels, webservers etc. Don't worry, I will put Linux on them. I would not trust XP to run as a server. Ubuntu all the way for those that can, and those that can't will take xubuntu or equiv low-spec OS. TBH it might be a case of: the processing power is not worth the electrical power the PC is consuming. So maybe I should content myself to have lots of large metal doorstops instead?
I also need a serial interface electrical switch / relay / control unit so I can bring my 32 port netgear router or a smaller 5 port one online when I need it (or for that matter anything else that plugs into the mains). I wonder if there is already a standard interface for doing such things. If I am not satisfied with what I find, I will make one from scratch as a project.
Back to the servers, I hope to be able to employ WOL magic packets to use the 'Wake on Lan' capabilities of the NICs (Lan Cards) to bring the computers online as and when I need them (to save some more power).

Hello Blogsphere!

This is my first blog post. I will start by introducing myself:
My name is Sam and, on the date of publishing 22/09/08, I am soon to be a third year electronic engineering student.
I applied to Durham to read General Engineering and now that I am a third year I have to option of 'streaming' to focus on electronics.
One of the main benefits of the General Engineering course is that I have been able to give each major discipline a fair shot at capturing my imagination. Well, it seems that electronics has won.

I am probably going to be one of about eight electronic engineering students (it seems to be a less popular choice). I am staggered that this is the case given the current trends towards complete global connectivity and the increase in computing power in the home. I fear that so many people will fail to engage with the technological innovations of the 21st century and simply be left in the dust. But I know by now that technology is not everyone's cup of tea. Oh well, sucks to be them. It is mine.

I am looking forward to returning in October for several reasons, chief among which is finding a master's course for my fourth year. I will also spend countless hours on my final year project working with low powered wireless modules (like the Jennic JN5139, Till next Blog.