I'm back. I had a fantastic time away and it was good to see friends I haven't seen for a while. Boston is a very pretty city and smaller than I was expecting. Quincy market was great and I recommend anyone going to Boston to visit it. Beacon hill on a crisp, but warm autumnal morning has a picturesque view of the common and is the location of a monument to the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and Colonel Shaw. Seeing the monument reminded me of the film Glory, depicting the endevours of the regiment. There are lots and lots of things to do in Boston.
We did the usual touristy things: visiting the universities, museums and zoo; toured the sights in a DUXW (pronounced Duck) and went for a drive in the Charles river that run through Boston. I was particularly impressed by the Science Museum.
Halloween was fanscinating - Americans really go all out to celebrate it, closing off roads and having kids street parties. Students were of course enjoying wine and cheese while handing out candy. All very civilised and much nicer than my experience of Halloween in the UK. :)
The Stanford online ai-class has been hard and was a mite tricky keep up with while I was away, fortunately our hosts were very understanding. My results are good so far, but I'm surprised at the quality of delivery of the course, particarly the performance of the supporting IT infrastructure and it's to date lack of reliability. Chatting to our hosts, it seems the quality of online course delivery in the US is generally very poor. The expected culture is that you attend classes and be lectured at for umpteen hours.
Who else is doing the free ai-class? I remember asking on the SumPod forums, but since they are down I have no other means of keeping in touch with other SumPoders(?) taking teh course. A big shame I think.
I've got to sort out the inevitable backlog of work and stuff that builds up while away, but I'll be continuing my SumPod build as soon as humanly possible (including investigate Andy's [Andy who?] suggestion of using Marlin firmware) while writing up my PhD and family things.
I understand more SumPods are in the wild, more pics at 3D-printer-kit.com (I hope the upgrades for Richard's CNC machine have been successful, but I haven't heard from him) and the packages keep getting better with extras like a list of contents.