A Song of Ice and Fire Wrapped Up Between Martin’s 79th and 90th Birthdays

This is tongue-in-cheek, but during dinner last night we were wondering how long it would take Martin to finish the Song of Ice and Fire series. So I fit it with a polynomial line and projected out. It looks like, if the erstwhile trilogy is limited to the seven books as currently projected, he should finish in early 2027, just in time for his 80th birthday. But if trends hold and either of the last two books are split in two, we’re looking at 2037 — when he’s about to turn 90. Here’s hoping.

Amazon “Academic AMIs” find a community

There’s been some larger interest in using Amazon AMIs to do academic research. I took my work installing the SEASR MEANDRE development infrastructure as an Amazon AMI instance to the folks over at SEASR/NCSI last Spring, in time for their visit to the U. Victoria DHSI (which I had the great pleasure of attending back in 2010). They shared the AMI work there, and my friend Jason Boyd (fellow DHSI class ’10) took it over to THATCamp Victoria the following week. This sparked the intests of James Smithies, who coined the term “Academic AMIs” and launched this site to try and support the use of various academic software packages using the AMI infrastructure. I think it’s a fabulous idea, and hope I can encourage some others to head over to James’ site and lend a hand.

It also brings up an infrastructure problem that I’ve been working with here at U Penn. I’ve been consulting with the excellent IT group here at the University in working on a few different projects, including MEANDRE, archive hosting, and demoing the use of TILE in the classroom. The challenge we’ve kept running in to is that it’s much easier to get a net-based project up and running if it is hosted outside the university, because of various security concerns and issues. For initial development, this isn’t so much of a problem, but when you start talking about longer-term projects (even if small), and University support, it gets more complicated. Continue reading