More crappy little rules please

I observe that people at a certain age get enthusiastic about creating rules in an attempt to make this a better world, or to improve engineering, or to organize people more efficiently, or whatever they love to create rules for. And then I observe that people further down the road of life get more relaxed again, most likely they learned that long catalogues or rules simply do not achieve much (the more rules there are, the less likely it becomes that they will be read, understood, and followed).

German trains and stormy weather

We recently had a storm in the nothern part of Germany - not very unusual in Fall. Three days later I wanted to go home by train via Hannover. There were still some train tracks closed but the train company offered an ‘alternative connection’. Before entering the alternative connection train in Hannover, travelers were informed that they would receive more information in the train. (If you happen to know the German train system, you will know that people working on the trains usually have the least information.

IETF (still) too slow

The IETF is slow. The IETF is too slow. We know that, no news here. There was a discussion today about this topic in the OPS area meeting of the 99th IETF meeting, mostly driven by the fact that the networking industry (not just the IETF) is hit by a wave of YANG modules. Some ideas were presented to help organize this process. I personally do not think the IETF has a problem due to a lack of version numbers nor do I think the IETF has a real problem with format conversions of artefacts.

Network Slicing

It seems the networking industry has created another hot buzzword: network slicing. The story, however, is more than 20+ years old. Telcos want to use their infrastructure (5G nowadays) to provide different services that are targeted to specific network use cases. Sounds good? Well, the telcos leave out that this is not done just to improve the network usage experience but to create new business models that allow to charge different amounts of money for the different network slices.

Farewell PlanetLab

After joining Jacobs University, I ordered two computers in order to join PlanetLab, a truly innovative distributed computing and experimentation infrastructure at that time. The two computers become part of PlanetLab about 10 years ago and they recently asked to be retired. I think 10 years of service for mostly unknown researchers running even more unknown experiments is a great achievement and so I pulled the plug. I hope the silicon can enjoy the remaining time in the rack (with less heat) until it is time to make space available for others to come.

IETF 98 Remote Participation

The IETF is meeting in Chicago this week and I am participating remotely via Meetecho. The remote participation service is improving every IETF it seems, saving me from a lot of long distance traveling hassle during the semester. While the people providing the remote participation service do a wonderful job, I believe a big part of this working well for me is that I know many of the regular contributors good enough from prior meetings I attended in person so that I can extract many soft signals just from the voice stream.

Motivators in computer networking courses

It appears that there are many motivators that instructors use to make students follow and even enjoy the material taught in computer networking courses. The really strong motivators seem to fall broadly into three categories: Competition and games between students or groups of students. Implementation of real-world protocols and systems where students build something that can be used (by them) afterwards (in principle). Trapping students into developing wrong solutions can be a tool to make them think critically and to make them realize the need to adopt a clear methodology.

Active learning, flipped classrooms, online learning, peer reviewing, learning analytics

I am enjoying a Dagstuhl seminar on Using Networks to Teach About Networks where people talk about their experience with modern teaching methods such active learning, flipped classrooms, online learning, peer reviewing, and learning analytics when teaching computer networks. (Some people even talk about using blockchains to maintain student records.) And then there are of course discussions about what do we teach students and why and which tools people have found useful for student labs.

Flamingo evaluated four times excellent

The Flamingo project has been evaluated ‘excellent’ four times. It was a great piece of teamwork to achieve this outstanding result. I enjoyed sitting in a review meeting today with the feeling that there is hardly anything that can go wrong. Lets see whether we manage to keep the Flamingo spirit alive. Looking back, I think the highlights were the meetings where we discussed the research projects of our PhD students.

Bye Bye Flamingo

The last report for the Flamingo project has been submitted today. The final project review will take place next week and hence it is getting time to say bye bye to the Flamingo project. I truly enjoyed the four years of the Flamingo project.