On the way home after a late night

I'm starving and my hands are a little bit weak. I've had nothing but hot chocolate since lunch, too pressed for time to even raid the vending machines near the cafeteria. The data I needed for my paper only came in today, and with deadlines for both the CASCON paper and my article on social bookmarking for the lab newspaper, today was... well... challenging. =)

It didn't help that I spent most of the morning puttering about the blogosphere, welcoming people in and updating my blog. I knew I was supposed to work on the social bookmarking article and I had bits and pieces of what I wanted to say, but I couldn't quite sit down and do it. On Monday, I think I'll get that out of the way before I even start catching up with the blogosphere.

Yes, yes, way too much hacking. Along the way, I'd installed a few more extensions for my browser, including one that made it easier for me to paste some boilerplate into textareas (good for blog newbie tutorials). I wanted to chat with other IBM student bloggers at lunch, so I wrote a quick and dirty Ruby script that generated an OPML file given a set of e-mail addresses so that I could import that OPML file into my blog reader. I turned up only three bloggers, though: me, Pranam, and Kevin. Oh well. We'll get there eventually...

Even the fresh data I received distracted me. I couldn't wait to slice and dice it in interesting ways! It was a good thing that Mark scheduled a 3:00 phone call in order to check up on me. (Yay fantastic research supervisor!) He reminded me about the CASCON deadline, but also reassured me that it was doable and that he was around to help. =)

David also called me up to talk about some complications in the data set. We figured out how to deal with some missing data, and I think the workaround we came up with was okay. Then I went back to 1panicking. Fortunately my editor moved the deadline for my social bookmarking article to Monday so I could concentrate on my research.

So all I had to do was code the visualizations. I felt myself performing a bit more sluggishly than I'm comfortable with - too little sleep, not enough food - but I slogged through it anyway. Fortunately I knew enough Ruby to squish the data into a form I could easily work with, and I had learned enough about the Prefuse visualization library to add filters to the dataset, allowing me to get snapshots of the data. Yay.

So that worked out. My timing was perfect, too. I dumped screeshots into (gasp) a Microsoft Word document, blogged a couple of interesting things on my internal blog, and ran to catch the bus. I waited around five minutes for the bus - ompletely anxious, of course, as those buses run only once an hour!

So now I'm on a bus - the second on this trip - a little bit weak - I really should always bring emergency food in my backpack - but I'll be fine.

The coding was almost fun, even, playing around with Ruby for text processing and Java for visualization...

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Random Japanese sentence: この種の猫にはしっぽがない。 The tail is absent in this type of cat.