Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Yesterday I noticed that National Instruments was coming to campus to do a LabVIEW workshop. It has been fairly interesting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

DVD Player

My DVD player has gradually died. It started as no longer being able to play CDs, then it would hang in the middle of movies, then it wouldn't play movies. It is a Symphonic WF803 DVD Player / VCR Combo and is apparently a common problem with this DVD player. It doesn't look like this product is still available, but if you find one I would recommend NOT purchasing this specific DVD player.

So I am in the market for a new DVD player, looking at edealinfo first.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

iTunes 7.5 install problems (and fix)

I just got back from Australia and saw that a new version of iTunes is available. Great. So I download and install it. Then I get an error message when I try to run it that says "iTunes cannot run because some of its required files are missing. Please reinstall iTunes." Fine. I run the repair option from the setup. Same message, only it pops up while I am repairing. Fine. I uninstall and then reinstall. Same message, also during the actual installation. Fine. Do it again, just for good measure. Same message, same time. Fine. I uninstall and then install an older version of iTunes. Same message. This is not the first time iTunes has broken badly on my computer. I know there are a lot of apple fanboys out there who will sing their praises as "it just works," but iTunes is the only program I've had working which an update then breaks to a point that even uninstall and reinstall does not fix the problem. Stupid Apple.

Updated (11/11):

I found a work around. The problem is discussed and some "fixes" are suggested in this thread:
The solution I used was to uninstall Quicktime and install version 7.2 instead. No official fix from Apple that I know of, yet.

Updated (11/16):

It looks like the unofficial work around I found has become the official temporary fix!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

SenSys 2007

Greetings from Australia! I flew down to Sydney a few days ago for SenSys 2007. Visiting Sydney has been a strange experience, but the purpose of this post will be to summarize some information from the conference itself.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Seth Goldstein. The title of his talk was "On the Path Towards Programmable Matter." At first a lot of his thoughts and ideas sounded like a bunch of science fiction (see this video used in his talk). However, he then proceeded to show prototypes for the ideas! I thought this was an excellent keynote and look forward to hearing more about this area in the future. For now, you can look at the claytronics website.

The "best paper" award for the conference went to Tracking Mobile Nodes Using RF Doppler Shifts. Apparently it stood out above all the other submissions through multiple reviews. The work does seem really neat, since there are a number of things which immediately come to mind about how one would think this is a bad idea.

The "best talk" award for the conference went to CargoNet: A Low-Cost MicroPower Sensor Node Exploiting Quasi-Passive Wakeup for Adaptive Asynchronous Monitoring of Exceptional Events. This work also seems really neat, and the presentation was pretty good. Here is the website.

I presented our work on Safe TinyOS on the second day of the conference. The presentation went well, if I say so myself. I could have handled the questions a bit better, but I also could have handled them much worse too. Dave Culler is anxious to push Safe TinyOS into the main TinyOS distribution and calling it TinyOS 2.1. I have a feeling that is going to be a lot of pain coming in my direction, but it is still cool.

Look at the conference program for more information about which talks and presentations were given.