No alcohol (= no beer) for 40 days. Usually, I just do 30 days projects, but I think I am going wild on this on.
In parallel I have started taking one photo every day, which I’ll share here: https://goo.gl/photos/ZmW82v8Pxw1LaDBKA.
Every year around Christmas I start a little DIY project, that most of the time involves some programming and some real hardware (e.g., TI chronos: My watch controls my bedroom lights). With most light bulbs in my apartment being Philips Hue light bulbs, I decided I wanted to be able to control them from my PC. So this Christmas I created “Hue System Tray”, a tiny program that lives in the system tray and lets me check the status of my hue lights as well as control them.
Instead of using Java, which I’ve used for most of my GUI programs (e.g., jdotxt), I did this little project in C++ using Qt. The only down-side is that Philips does not offer a C++ SDK. To keep things simple I decided not to implement a full-blown SDK myself. At this point in time the program basically makes hard-coded RESTful API calls to the Hue bridge directly. It would of course be much nicer if the list of rooms would be populated automatically from the list of rooms stored on the bridge and if all API calls were derived automatically. But hey, holiday time is limited ;)
This was my first encounter with Qt and a rather pleasant one I have to say. The signals and slots mechanism is rather intuitive, it features a nice collection of libraries (e.g., for networking or for parsing JSON), the documentation is good and the learning curve is not too steep. Actually I found programming Java for Android apps more difficult. Also deploying my program to another machine was not too difficult, once I had figured out which dlls to carry over.
I will probably have to do some more C++ coding at work in the near future, so I hope that dusting off my C++ skills and Qt will come in handy.
My PhD Thesis entitled “Mutual Coupling Compensation & Realization Aspects of Array Design for FMCW MIMO Radars” is available for check out from the JKU library. Here some of the steps that lead up to the completion:
PhD Thesis Step 1: Informal Submission
PhD Thesis Step 2: Collecting ECTS
PhD Thesis Step 3: A Date
PhD Thesis Step 4: Thesis Submission
PhD Thesis Step 5: All Set for the Final Date
PhD Thesis Step 6: 48 hours
PhD Thesis Step 7: The Official Decree
Microblog of the 48 h hours around my to my PhD defense.
09:00 – Working on the PhD presentation
13:00 – Short walk to Bella Casa to order 18 Pizzas for tomorrow
14:00 – Chat with other PhD students about previous oral exams.
14:30 – Last chat with my advisor before the defense, as usual we talk about everything an nothing.
15:30 – Final edits to my presentation.
17:30 – Presentation dry run with useful feedback from Herbert
18:30 – Christmas social at the office
19:15 – Shopping for beer, champagne and snacks
19:45 – Delivering beer and snacks to the uni campus
20:30 – Last minute studying of “Microwave Engineering” by David M. Pozar
23:00 – Brushing my teeth and going to sleep
24:00 – Realizing that there won’t be much sleep tonight.
07:30 – Good morning!
08:00 – Ironing a white shirt
08:20 – Final dry run before the actual thing
08:50 – Realizing that I have my black shoes at my parents place. – The dark blue will have to do
09:00 – Short walk to the university
09:20 – Connecting to the projector. Having my friend Reinhard print some last minute paperwork.
09:45 – First guests arrive
10:00 – The show starts
11:15 – Yay! You may now call me Dr. Schmid
11:45 – The party starts: Champagne, beer and pizza for everyone!
13:00 – So many people have shown up to party with me! Me, happy!
16:00 – We move to a pub
17:00 – We move to a restaurant
21:00 – I arrive back home – still, happy!
22:00 – I fall asleep.
05:30 – Getting up, I have a train to catch
07:15 – Boarding the train to Flughafen Wien.
10:20 – Boarding the plane to Athens
13:45 – Landing in Athens
14:30 – Boarding the Metro
15:30 – Arrival at the hotel for the Region 8 OpCom meeting
16:00 – Joining my last IEEE Region 8 OpCom Meeting
xx:xx – Still feeling happy!
If there’s one thing that I have learned about my PhD advisor over the past years, it’s that he’s a last minute kind-of-person. Now that all reports are in (on the last possible day), the university has officially announced my defense!
Two thoughts that keep me going:
Download brass quartet sheet music: Andachtsjodler.
This is what it sounds like when played on a piano:
Around 2000 I was one of the most active trombone players within my 30 km radius (my radius as a trombone player is more link 500 meters these days). On the 23rd of December of 2000 I was hired to play with a brass quartet in the “Welser Altstadt” (see Google maps, we played within 10 m of that location). I was a teenager back then and at a point in my life where 100 EURs plus open bar felt like I had conquered the world. I even got to kiss a girl later that night. But that is not the point.
The point is that I heard (because I played it) an Austrian Christmas tune called “Andachtsjodler” for the very first time in my life that night. I had never heard or played it before, but when we played it the innkeeper who had hired us (he was pretty drunk by the time) started to cry. It was not only him, the song also touched me.
More than 10 years later I improvised a piano version of the “Andachtsjodler”:
Recently I distilled it into a brass quartet version. I hope it helps you beam yourself to Austria and experience some of the magic that still surrounds Christmas.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The sky is grey … I feel right at home in this stunning monochrome.
But, hey: Next stop Christmas!
Written over the course of the past 4 years, my thesis is finally ready for submission. I am really thankful to my main reviews and friends Herbert, Reinhard and Stefan who have made this possible!
My sountrack for the final sprint: Alex Cumfe – Jetzt.
This is an apology to all the people who have sent me an e-mail over the course of the past 5 months and have not received the response they expected in time. I was swamped at work, with my PhD project, IEEE activities and other challenges in my private life. But now I am on top of things again. I’ve reached “Inbox Zero”.