A couple of days after I signed up to defend my thesis semester, I became rather nervous since I don't have a specific topic yet. I began to wonder what made me think I could get it finished by then. I'd have to pick a topic, probably do some work, write the paper, start the whole review cycle, and so forth. It suddenly didn't seem reasonable to defend this semester.
Then my advisor gave me some papers he had read over the summer that he was really excited about. They were over sensor networks, which is similar to whate I'm doing. These papers weren't very good. Most of the ideas presented in them didn't seem very practical or very clear. I'm still puzzled by one paper on an address free network architecture. None of the people had implementation of the systems they described, just statistical analysis showing how great it would be if you actually did implement it. This bothered me, especially since some of the assumptions these papers made don't seem correct.
Thanks to these papers, I'm now confident I can write a good paper and defend it by December. I have a physical, working implementation of my system, from which I can gather real data. Based on what I've seen in the other papers, I can simply write on what I have. I'd like to implement some more features in the protocol, like priority or self-configuration, but those should be easy to do in the time I have available.