Decentralized information-centric architectures for school stuff!

Decentralize the information, yet on-demand, aggregate it into one. The University needs this. That way, if one branch fails, you still have the other ones. The University needs this. Centralizing your data is a sure-fire way to lose it. P2P networks are built from this concept...why can't my University be?

"You can come see me...." -112.

I cannot stop blogging. I've been reading so much lately that so many ideas are passing through my head that I swear I am literally going to burst. I am going to have one hell of an aneurysm and I will live through it. My head is teeming with music, ideas, papers I want to write, ideas for programs, information problems, business ideas, things that I need to say. I work daily now at being more articulate. I reportedly used to be the little proper reporter-type as a little kid, but somewhere around middle school in my frenzy to attempt to fit in, I lost touch with that. You know, around the point where my music tastes died.

Being a TA has really helped me get some of my English fluency back. I can't just grunt or say damn near anything. One of my missions as a TA is to get a point across. Thus, I have to be organized in thinking and speaking. On Wednesday night of last week, I helped someone who had never programmed before write their first program. It was an exhilarating experience. It was made possible by two things in synergy--my ability to explain the concepts behind programming and this person's ability to grasp everything I was saying. It worked out well; he's a programmer now.

More?...yes, please.

Lately, I've been really digging into my coursework over in the labs of computer science. I've spent increasingly large amounts of time in one of the more high-performance labs in the engineering building--so much so that they're offering me a job there. lol. Yeah, I'll take it. It's a great environment. There, I'll be free to develop all this software that I discuss all the time. Recently, so much code and ideas have been flowing through my head, that, like I said above, I swear my head is going to explode.

I cannot stop thinking about what the next killer app will be. The other day I was in calculus daydreaming about overtaking ISAS and making the University a seriously more information-rich campus. Right now, there's too much legwork and asynchronicity. It takes too long to do things; it takes too long to discover things that are simple bits of information--it takes them too long to print a transcript.

I've been taking a hard look at the information services of this University and I displeased. I am generating a notebook of information services that would rock this University to its core. No such thing as waiting in line to put money on your meal plan card. Want to transfer money from your bank account to your laundry card? Use your cell phone. I want to engineer services like that.

We're at the Mecca...we've been more than ready for these things.
You ever wonder what dreams really mean?

Every now and then at some point during the night, more than likely on nights where I'm getting at least 8 hours of sleepy (rarely, basically), I'll have either a dream or a nightmare or some convoluted mixture of the two. The latest one is of particular concern because it addressed something that I've been told for years, read in books, heard from mouths, saw in action, and yet, never could find myself to fully live by without being rash about it.

In the dream, I'm at my house, laid across the couch in a state that is sleep. It's very intriguing because it's almost as if I'm in "layers," so to speak. Layer one is the real me sleeping, as in the physical me now. lol. Layer two is me in the dream watching myself sleep. Layer three is everything that the dream me is perceiving. For some reason, I am in the dream watching myself sleep. I look relaxed--dead, in fact. I am not dead, however. I am dreaming.

In that dream during the dream, I hear my mom's voice. She is telling me something that is really of no consequence here, but the message is clear and whether or not I follow it will forever affect what I am in life. The words echo in my head even now...I don't know what the dream was for, where it came from, or why it was inspired at such a critical time in my life. But, I intend to follow it.

Following this dream means I will do some pretty interesting things before I graduate. I will not list them here, because that's the customary thing to not do. They don't involve what you're thinking...but things will get pretty interesting on my end of the stick. Watch me now. I will move in the shadows and overcome those who try to overstep their boundaries with me. The dream has subsequently made me stronger because it didn't involve BMWs, SLRs, no money, no huge houses, no prestige, no comedy, no laughter, barely any light. But, I know what the dream stands for now. I know why I had it.

I needed perpetual FUEL. Will I ever burn out? Not now, folks.


Is distributed software the answer to making our university faster?

So, in all of the deluge of learning I've done this semester, I have formally come across the concept of distributed computing. I've been looking at it for a couple of years now, but I finally have the resources to make efficient use of it. Interestingly, I see it as a way to make our university faster, more efficient, and overall, more organized.

The housing situation, for example, could have been remedied by a nice set up of constantly synchronously communicating software programs in different areas of the university. Software at Residence Life could have maintained a count of how many housing spots were available and software in the cashier's office could have kept a count of how many housing deposits have been paid. The two software programs could have formed a synchronous system that eventually kept everyone abreast of the housing situation. Students could have tapped into this information resource simply by keeping a small ticker on their desktop that is updated when the rest of the information in the system is updated.

This continuous flow of constantly updating information can be enabled quickly by creating distributed software. The architecture for the system would be simple to draw up, as would the protocols and the various pieces of software that would make the system work. The biggest concerns, I foresee, are network reliability issues and security.

If there is a network failure somewhere in the system, such as someone's computer in Slowe Hall becomes a zombie and crowds the network with spam, how would that affect the system that manages the housing information? Secondly, what keeps someone from editing the information that the system has stored thus far?

This way of managing information via distributed systems is highly feasible. How is it distributed, though? My understanding of distributed computing is different computers providing services to clients on a network. In this particular case, different kinds of information are kept on two separate systems in quite possibly, two different buildings on campus. However, when the system is stripped down to the primary user, the student, the information from the other two disparate systems is aggregated into one place, the ticker sitting on the student's desktop, which can be updated as long as that student is anywhere on campus.

How does this solve the ticket problem though?

The ticket problem was an interesting problem simply because it was an information problem. Those who held tickets were pretty sure they were entitled to pay their housing deposit. The fundamental issue behind this, however, was that how were people supposed to know exactly how many tickets had been given out? Even though administration emphasized that they were only letting 1,550 people register for housing, how were people really supposed to know that the ticket they received while skipping English really entitled them to anything? In all reality, what kept people from making their own tickets, complete with the "official stamping on the back"?

To make a long story short, paying the housing deposit should have been something that was subordinated to BisonWeb. The problem with that, however, is being sure that the network would have been able to fight off the inevitable congestion. We all saw how someone was reportedly trampled outside the A-building in an attempt to get a ticket. It was a riot. Literally. Could our network sustain that type of traffic? That has yet to be seen...

But, the engineering of minute services such as a housing tracker, etc. could be done with a bit of planning and the cooperation of the University. I'll see what I can do.


Ten days ago it was off to Hell I sent thee, now it's all about the Benjies...WHAT?!

First of all...the housing frenzy. I heard one girl was trampled in front of the administration building and other people got into fights over what appeared to be Willie Wonka Chocolate-style "golden tickets." Let's face it, folks. Housing here at Howard University is treacherously scarce...as in, "yeah, if we can't find you a bed on campus, we'll be glad to negotiate contracts for boxes with U-Haul for you. I mean..hey, it's something." No, the situation is not that bad, but I'm only able to say that because I was blessed enough to be able to register for housing. Lots of folks got caught out there...as in, not being at the right place at quite the right time. It's a pretty unfortunate situation...one that I hope can be remedied soon. Howard needs housing, folks. Alumni, where art thou?

Jenkies...you drew that?!

Yes, folks. I can still draw. One night I was horrendously bored and I knew that I wanted to create better flyers to advertise ACM here at Howard. I mean, it was to the point where the executive board members were the only ones that were showing up to general body meetings. We were having, basically, executive board meetings on top of executive board meetings on top of executive board meetings. Nobody knew about us. So, again...always the person who likes to solve problems and do cool stuff, I sat down the other night and started drawing. The result? An awesome flyer that potential ACM members have been taking notice of--which is exactly what I wanted. Now, I just hope that when we have meetings, the flyers will have had some sort of effect.

In any case, we've got a donut drive going. If you want some, drop me a line. tiffani2k3 at gmail dot com. Gotta hide from those spammers.


So, Brandon and I were coming out of the engineering building tonight around 830pm or so to walk over to Five Guys for dinner. I felt like neither cooking nor even walking back to Slowe, so I made him come along. Just as we exited the parking lot behind the engineering building adjacent to Georgia Avenue, somebody says rather quietly "Tiffani?" I turned around, and ohmigosh!! It was EBONY!! My long, lost buddy from many days and a year ago!! I had talked to her on the phone over Christmas break and a few times during this semester, but strangely, I hadn't seen her at all. I saw all of our buddies..Nate, David, Tony (mmmhmmm), but not Ebony! Then tonight, we broke out in a scream on Georgia Avenue. It was so good to see her again. So, now, me, Kim, and Ebony are most definitely going to go out to lunch somewhere.

I missed both of them. They're two of my true buddies on campus. I really do feel like if I needed something, like right away, I could call either one of them. Thanks, y'all. :)

...And now...it's off to bed. Jana says I should. See?!

**ite*n0*: dude, i gotta go to sleep

**ite*n0*: and you should too

DukeBlueMonkey: lol yeah...i'm writing tho

**iteo*0*: when you fall out tomorrow, don't say nothing to me

**iteo*0* is away at 3:21:01 AM.

Yeah, I'm going..I'm going.


Weak. Work.

Yeah, I'm thinking I got sick from someone in back of me on the metro a couple of days ago that basically sneezed onto the back of my head. Gross, eh? But, yesterday, I spent most of the day incapacitated and for the first few hours of today. At one point, however, I couldn't take it anymore--the hot flashes, the cold flashes, and the sneezing fits--so I got up and made a sandwich and turned on the television. The History Channel is pretty interesting during the weekends.

Most of the time, there is nothing on television during the weekends. But, right now I have to go find something more substantial to eat. I'm thinking I'll clean my room, wash dishes and fix a huge dinner for myself to recover my strength. Gahhh, I still have work to do.

::Goes to get dressed::


"Things We Do for Love" - Horace Brown

So, yeah. I rediscovered Horace Brown sometime ago and tonight I downloaded more of his tracks. I swear, if I could travel back to 1994 and start the second half of the 90s off correctly, I would. I mean, yes, I was only nine, but I felt music. I could appreciate the beats and at that point, that's all anybody really needed. I felt all laid back in Fayetteville, like that was the only place I'd ever need to be. As much shit as I talk about North Carolina, I love it. It was where I seriously discovered music. Foxy 99.1FM played all of that stuff, Bad Boy, Motown, yeah, even Horace Brown. Crucial Conflict had a song out that was one of my favorite songs because it was so crazy sounding.

I remember everytime it came on I'd hop into the front and turn the volume up and then promptly sit back down and bob my head. At that point I had so much music in my veins that I was a walking lyric. I swore I was going to be a DJ, a musician, a producer, a singer, something. I even took it so far as to join the band in middle school.

Music, interestingly, gave me confidence. When I stopped listening to all my favorite songs, I changed. My temperament got really bad (I cursed all the time and I was exceptionally rude and dismissive) and I just didn't seem to have much of an oomph about myself anymore. Suddenly, it wasn't all about the benjamins anymore. It started being about trying to fit in. I guess that's why I was so much more...interesting than all the other kids for my age; music is never about fitting in. It's about being confident in what you have and what you can say and do. Music is never about fitting in.