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No ACM!

| school

Oh no! I tried using the ACM Digital Library through my
library access
earlier, and I couldn’t get full-text access. I’ve sent my research
supervisor a panicky e-mail. While he’s solving that problem, I’ll
focus on designing my research study.

Random Emacs symbol: bbdb/gnus-split-crosspost-default – Variable: *If this variable is not nil, then if the BBDB could not identify a

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Hooray Internet collaboration!

| school

I hadn’t heard anything from my KMD2004 groupmates all weekend, so I
was rather worried about the integrative summary that we were supposed
to pass on Monday. I couldn’t find any drafts on the wiki or the
shared workspace. If I had to write everything from scratch by myself
just to make sure that we’d get it in before the deadline, I was going
to do so. They could always make it up to me for the next assignment.
;)

I wasn’t looking forward to working on a Sunday night, but I hadn’t
had the time to work on it during the previous week. Besides, I could
consider Saturday as my downtime day for the week.

I sent my groupmates e-mail telling them I was going to write the
summary, and I gave them my MSN and Yahoo! instant messaging details
just in case they were online on a Sunday night. I started a document
on Google Docs (formerly known as Writely)
and sketched the outline just like I’d blogged my way past a writer’s
block for my background article.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quick response of my groupmates. MJ
sent me an instant message on MSN. I asked him to reformat the
appendices to have consistent citation styles while I worked on the
summary. Dave came online after a short while. After some trouble with
the invitations, we managed to get everyone on the same page.

I set up a group chat using Bitlbee, the IM to IRC gateway that I use
to chat within Emacs. We coordinated our actions using instant
messaging while I fleshed out the summary. Dave couldn’t work on the
document right then, but he could look over my work to see where the
article was going. I added some notes about the structure of the
document so that we had a coherent, logical flow.

My computer crashed twice because I ran out of memory. (OpenOffice +
Firefox + Emacs = not good!) Good thing I was drafting the document in
Google Docs, which auto-saved the document every few seconds and
allowed people to keep reading it while I rebooted.

I sketched the document and condensed my paper before fatigue set in.
I left the paper in their capable hands, and I’m sure it will get done
by tomorrow.

I couldn’t imagine doing this without real-time collaboration tools
like instant messaging and Google Docs. Imagine what it would have
been like, having to e-mail documents around? It would have been such
a hassle for me to keep people up to date.

Hooray for Net collaboration and awesome groupmates!

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Random Emacs symbol: menu-bar-mode – Command: Toggle display of a menu bar on each frame. – Variable: Non-nil if Menu-Bar mode is enabled.

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Seven pages, double-spaced

Posted: - Modified: | school

That’s what my previous blog posts and this morning’s list of actors
come to: seven pages, double-spaced. Add another page for the actor
network map, and I’m getting close to the *maximum* of 10 pages.
Tomorrow I’ll go through it, add references to back up my wild
assertions, and edit it to be more scholarly. =)

Thanks for putting up with my blogorrhea. I really appreciate being
able to think out loud. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment!

Random Emacs symbol: url-bug-address – Variable: Where to send bug reports.

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More cramming

| school

I realized that I’d forgotten Alvin’s poster in the lab, so I trekked
back there to pick it up. The walk wasn’t a total waste, though. I
breezed through some 400 blog posts (out of 1200 or so) from IBM’s
blogs in October.

More cramming to follow. I need to work on my KMD2004 requirements.
Then I need to work on adapting the dogear tagclouding code so that we
can make tagcloud T-shirts. After I finish that, I can quickly sort
out my CASCON schedule so that I know how crazy tomorrow will be.
Fortunately, I don’t have to present anything at either Wednesday’s
workshop or Thursday’s panel. I just have to show up and be
interesting.

After I survive this, I’m treating myself to a musical! (And *then*
there’s DemoCamp to pull off…)

During times like this, I wish Simon lived closer downtown.
<laugh> Then I’d have some company while cramming, and a steady
supply of hot chocolate. Speaking of hot chocolate – we tried the
spiced hot chocolate from Soma last Sunday. I followed the
instructions, whisking it over low heat until it was smooth. It was
terrific, although tsokolate eh from Tsoko.Nut was still much better.

Anyway. Little breaks are good for sanity. Maybe we’ll hook up the
headsets later so that we could be doing things separately but still
prompt each other to relax. My cellphone plan has unlimited incoming
anyway, and he can use his home line to call for free. I guess
Canada’s telecom pricing was *just* right after all…

Random Emacs symbol: w3m-halfdump-command-arguments – Variable: Arguments passed to the w3m command to run “halfdump”.

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Whew! Midterms done

Posted: - Modified: | school

I’m not too happy with my performance on the midterms, but there’s no
use worrying about it now. I’m surviving this crazy month!

I’m so tempted to write down each milestone on index cards just for
the visceral satisfaction of tearing them up once I’m finished with
them.

Ah, what the heck. I have plenty of index cards. MWAHAHA! Let me write
down “MIE1402 Midterm” just so that I can tear it up! ;)

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Sweet! The Peer Review: Graduate Studies and Academic Life

| school

I opened my mailbox to find a small publication called “The Peer Review: Graduate Studies and Academic Life.” The cover advertised an article on “The Ultimate Guide to Scholarly Publishing: Editors of leading journals tell you how to make sure your research gets published *before* you hit the job market”. It continued: “Also inside: How to memorize all of your students’ names in just one class: + why some students hate new ideas (and what to do about it).” The trailer: “Grad research: The nurture of your true nature… do fish have feelings?”

I should just take a picture of it, really. ;)

I’m sold. I don’t remember signing up for this, but the first thing I thought was, “This is a terrific idea.” The second thing I thought was, “How can I help with this?” The third thing I thought was: “How can I send them warm and fuzzy thoughts for a job well done?”

So I’ve left voicemail (although the office will be closed for a few weeks), blogged this entry, and sent enthusiastic kudos to the Peer Review folks. I would totally subscribe to this in order to keep more of this content flowing, and I would love to write for it as well.

Check it out. A casual flip-through reveals both good U-of-T-specific
content as well as lots of other helpful things.

The Peer Review

Now I’m thinking: how can we syndicate this idea to lots of other
universities? I’m sure other universities have some kind of serious
grad-student-oriented bulletin…

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Wow. Statistics can be fun.

| book, school

I have a new favorite statistics textbook. Not that I had one before. Who knew that a statistics textbook could have a sense of humor? Discovering Statistics Using SPSS is infinitely cool. It’s funny, it’s solid, it’s detailed, it’s good. Get it if you ever need to do anything with statistics. Heck, get it even if you just want to get over a fear of statistics.

Props to Mark Chignell, my research supervisor and the professor teaching the statistics course I’m taking this term. He’s hilarious, too. This is going to be such a great term…

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