I failed art at school

Art was the only subject in which I failed a school exam – getting a low 30-something in 1980’s end of year tests. Not that I cared much. But as the years have gone by I have on more than one occasion wished I was rather better at it. Even now, trying to write a scientific paper – and for me, at least back then, art was always the opposite pole to science – my art skills are rather letting me down.

Virtual memory, a very simplified version
Virtual memory and paging

This graphic shows you why – now I have reduced it in size it looks passable (as a hugely simplified explanation of paging and virtual memory, but the arrows are still very ragged. Still, this is better than I would have managed even a year ago.


If writing the MSc project proposal is this hard…

…what is the project itself going to be like?

I started work last night on writing up a very early draft of my project proposal. For several reasons it was a lot more difficult than I had expected.

Firstly, and typically, I let the technology of the writing tool get in the way of the actual writing. I spent much more time fiddling with LyX and various templates than writing anything. Should I just write plain text in a word processor and then copy that into the LaTeX tool or soldier on with LyX (after all even the project proposal will have to include mathematical notation)?

Secondly, while I hoped to use Christmas, and the time off work, to find the time to work on this, doing without distraction means staying up to 3am as the house is only quiet after 1am or later at Christmas. Not really sustainable.

Thirdly, and this is the most difficult one – all my mental images of what I was going to write – here’s the hypothesis (currently framed as “a more thorough-going application of the working set concept in the Linux kernel will improve performance”) and everything else flows from that, just melted away.

Indeed I am sort of working on the idea that I really need to explain some of the core ideas and then present a hypothesis to be tested.