Viva today

Today I find out whether I get a PhD. I’ve been strangely not-nervous about it, although I’ve woken up pretty early this morning. It’s difficult to `revise’ since most of what we’ll be talking about is what I wrote. I’ve been trying to refresh my memory of papers I cited (especially those of my examiners…) and of what I wrote, but it’s been so boring I haven’t done much. Let’s hope I don’t regret it later.

I’m fairly hopeful about passing – I would hope my supervisors would not have let me submit if it wasn’t going to pass, but I see the viva as being both a rite of passage everyone has to go through (i.e. a horrible experience that my examiners had to go through, so they want to inflict it on me, and a negotiation process about how many corrections I need to do.

I’m not worried about having a hard time today: I tend to stand up reasonably well under face-to-face pressure like this, and I hope I can robustly defend points of which I am confident, and give way in places where I should refine my thinking. I’m more worried about the corrections. I just can’t imagine getting back into writing my thesis – I’ve left it so far behind my thinking, I’m so sick of it, that the idea of writing another chapter or two is horrific. It was bad enough the first time.


I made a page for the band Pete Beresford and me had when we were at uni. You can download the 3 songs I was getting around to sending to John Peel. If you like your metal instrumental and a tiny bit Propellorheads, it might be for you: Mnemonic. If you like it, let me know and I’ll send you some FLAC recordings of those songs (still not great quality, I’m afraid), and/or some of our other songs.

FreeGuide’s TODO list

Take a look at the latest TODO list. There are several categories of things on it:

  1. Already done e.g. “Add firefox to the possible browsers.”
  2. Completeness features e.g. “Use Java’s printing capabilities to print”
  3. Feature creep e.g. “Automatically make a channel set when you right-click a channel and choose
    “Move up” (or even drag!)”
  4. Difficult-to-trace bugs e.g. “Make it not say no listings after midnight”
  5. Difficult features e.g. “Minimize to system tray”
  6. Subtle UI improvements e.g. “Remember where you were in the Options screen”
  7. Major features we are in the middle of e.g. “Run an exe when a programme is about to start and/or end” (this is actually recording)

I should go through and make sure everything is relevant, but also I need to prioritise what to do before 1.0 if we are ever going to get there. 7s are being done by Alex and others, 2s really need doing if we are going to call it finished, 4s should get cleared up during the beta stage (hopefully), most 5s are likely to get dropped, and 3s and 6s are good potentials for a public vote – then the most wanted ones will get done and the others will have to be post-1.0.

I may go through the list and actually classify them this way, and then we can see what we’re doing.

FreeGuide packaging and plugins

I couldn’t sleep last night, I think because my viva for my DPhil (PhD) is coming up on Monday. Work is going to be a struggle, but at least I got a chance to think about FreeGuide.

Alex is working on a plugins system (it’s sort-of-working in CVS) that will allow us to split the grabbers out from the main program, and allow people to innovate with new plugins without delving into all the code, which is quite large and a bit messy to say the least. Both of these things are really good, especially because my own time is very limited, so allowing people to work on plugins seperately means progress can continue without me being such a bottleneck.

However, handling plugins means we need to change the way FreeGuide is packaged. I’ve had some thoughts about how to do it, and I’ve put them together into an Impress presentation (or try the PDF). I’m looking for comments on this before we finalise the system. Once it’s established it will be hard to change, so I want to try and get it right.

If there are a couple more sleepless nights we might even see FreeGuide’s 0.10.x branch going stable … Alex has a few more bugs to fix, but we’re getting there.