Alex JF

Pseudo-vacations

  • Category: Personal

Shame on me, I actually didn't post anything in May! But I totally have an excuse, I swear! You see, May, in particular the middle to end of May, was quite a turbulent period with project deliveries, presentations and an exam. With all the writing I did for projects and studies, the last thing I wanted was to write more so I just let that month slip.

Cassandra

In any case, as I've said, May was mostly a work month so I wouldn't have anything of significant interest to say anyway. I guess I could talk a little bit about some of that work. Lets see, for Decentralized Systems our group (or rather 2/3 of our group) worked on an evaluation of Cassandra and Couchbase for decentralized microblogging systems (Twitter) using the Amazon Web Services infrastructure. This project was quite fun actually and I got to know Cassandra a lot better (this sounds kinda erotic but I totally swear I'm talking about a database here cheeky). I developed a distributed database workloader in Python (to which I gave the original name of PyDLoader for Python Distributed Loader) using Boto, Paramiko and RpyC which launches instances, sets up database clusters and has workload slaves issue requests to the database clusters. You can check our resulting paper, presentations and files here. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to test in a multi-region environment so that's about the only thing I feel is missing. The other big project was related to the solving of ILP programs using heuristic algorithms and comparing it to some of the most popular ILP solvers. I implemented a OOP C++11 framework for this project and I must say I'm loving all the additions they made to C++11 such as lambda, auto types and the restructured unique_ptr and shared_ptr as opposed to the old auto_ptr. We still have to deliver the report for this one but the presentation was on Monday and went quite well I think.

All the work also meant I neglected my weekly runs. Fortunately, since I bike to and from university, this didn't mean I stopped exercising all together. In any case, as of Friday, I resumed them and since then have already ran 24 km and at a faster pace than my previous runs in April which means I'm improving! Needless to say my legs are hurting like hell though.

I've been feeling quite lazy this last week and, as such, have kept work to a bare minimum. I've started reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follet but in Spanish so I don't let it get rusty. Despite some very specific words which I hardly know the meaning of even in English or Portuguese, reading has been going surprisingly well. I've also installed Need for Speed Most Wanted 2012 and have been entertained with high speed races and police chases. The intros for the "boss" most wanted cars have amazing artwork, check them out:

Have also been going to the cinema quite a lot: Iron Man 3, Fast and Furious 6 and, tonight, Hangover 3. Taking advantage of my Monday+membership+under25 discounts which make a normal ticket almost half the price. I've also been wanting to go to another classical concert in La Pedrera but, unfortunately, missed the pipe quartet last month. I'll try not to miss this month's concert on the 16th of June, a piano + bassoon duet.

Kista apartments

In 2 weeks time (give it or take it a few days), this semester will have finished which leaves me with about 2 other weeks to complete my tourist circuit of Barcelona, maybe go to the Dali museum in Figueres and I also wanted to go back to Montserrat to wrap it up in style. I'll then go back to Portugal on the 2nd of July and stay there until the 14th/15th at which time I'll move to Kista in Stockholm. The apartments are on top of a shopping center and right next to the Kista KTH campus so that will surely come in handy. And the mall happens to have bowling and karting tracks!

As for what I'll do in my month and a half in Portugal, I'm not quite sure. I'll probably start researching and contacting some companies regarding my master thesis. Also wanted to do some signifcant open-source contributions. Since I've recently started using KDE maybe get in touch with their development team and see where they could use some extra help. I also wanted to improve my TrackMyMoney Android application a little further. There were also some talks about spending a week or so to visit some people I knew here in Barcelona in their hometowns but nothing concrete yet.

Let's see how it goes :)

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