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Considering Blogging again

Trying out the Choco theme on WordPress.

If you still actually read this blog (via RSS or some other such monitoring system), toss me a comment or an IM to let me know. Knowing that people are watching might motivate me to publish some old drafts I have lying around and get the ball rolling again.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2011 in Garbage In, Garbage Out

 

The Miracle of Flight / Confidence Week

I’m such a nerd/internet addict I can’t resist pressing a WP post using my in-flight internet!

I’ll also take the opportunity to remind everyone that it’s Confidence Week. Take a moment to think about how today you can avoid being passive or aggressive (or both), and instead take steps to be assertive.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Garbage In, Garbage Out

 

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Values in Science – How to Judge Scientific Posters

(apologies if this post isn’t super clear — I just wanted to get it out)

I haven’t posted in ages, but I am at a conference, I can’t sleep, and something is on my mind, so I figured I’d strike while the iron is hot.

I’m at the 2010 Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Fellows Conference in Washington D.C. This evening I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for a poster competition. The current fellows present posters on their graduate research. The poster topics shared the theme of “computational science”, but besides that they can be from any discipline. I’m not going to discuss the specifics of the posters here.

The basic criteria we judged posters on were visual, oral, and impact.

To me, there are fundamental rules governing effective poster design. For example, in the visual category, use no paragraphs of text, and large fonts (even in figures), and well balanced graphics. In the oral category, have a 3 minute speech prepared, and refer to the poster when delivering that speech. I was surprised, however, how other judges had vastly different values when evaluating the work submitted. Most specifically, some judges felt that work of high scientific quality could compensate for poor poster presentation.

Have you ever designed or seen a scientific poster? If so, what do you think are the most important criteria for evaluating this sort of work?

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Alchemy

 

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Resemblance

Normally I’d tweet something this short, but I wanted a chance to give a SPOILER WARNING for season 1 of Dexter.  More after the “more” thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2009 in Entertainment

 

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Seeking Advice on Exercise Logs

For about 8 years, I’ve kept track of my running mileage in an Excel workbook.  Before that, I was logging things in a Claris Works Spreadsheet for a couple years, and before that I had a couple years of paper logs.

The Excel workbook has worked well because it’s functionality has evolved as far as I have been willing to push it.  But for a while I’ve felt that its development has stagnated and it has grown unwieldy.

running log winter spring 09

running log graphical summary

Now that I’ve been benched from running for 4 months (more on that later), I’d like to explore other exercise tracking options that are more amenable to cross training.

Features I’d like:

  • Accessible anywhere (i.e. on the web).
  • Can accommodate different sorts of workouts (running, biking, weight lifting, pickup frisbee, etc.).
  • Exportable to spreadsheets or database files.
  • Nice graphical data and meta-data summaries with easily adjustable parameters.
  • Easy to track peripheral data such as gear (e.g. shoe mileage) and routes (possibly with maps).
  • It would be awesome if there were some kind of API or other method that allowed me to import my running logs from the last 8 years into the system, but I think that may be asking too much.
  • Social networking would be nice, but not necessary.

A couple friends (thanks Z and G) suggested Daily Mile.  I’m happy with that but it would be nice if it could track strength training as well.  Does anyone have other suggestions?

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2009 in No Easy Days

 

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The Big Finish

Apparently the Diesel Wi-Fi terms-of-service requires users to blog.

So here I am.

In the next six months, my three major activities are:

  1. TA a “drug delivery” class (provides current income).
  2. Finish and defend my thesis.
  3. Find a job (provides future income and intellectual fulfillment).

TAing isn’t so hard to fit in because it’s scheduled into the academic year.  I go to class twice a week.  Immediately after class, I review the notes for the class using a codified note-taking system.  Once a week, I hold office hours.  Three times this semester, I’ll have to grade about 90 exams.  These activities fit themselves into my schedule.

It can be harder to make time for dissertation work and job searching.  Essentially, these are both full-time jobs being fit into a single set of full-time man-hours.  Overscheduling seems to be the hot business strategy in this economic downturn, however, so I’m trying to view this over-commitment as my way of cutting back (“I had to let the guy who normally applies for my jobs go — we just couldn’t justify his salary to corporate in this climate.”)

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2009 in Alchemy, Garbage In, Garbage Out

 

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A Million Little Files

My office desktop’s Windows partition fills up on a weekly basis (I usually notice first when CNN news videos start to quit unexpectedly), so I’m always looking for some way to search for and destroy large files or folders on Windows XP and free up disk space. Usually this involves clever guesses and manual breadth-first searches on my computer.

Enter WinDirStat. This program combs the hard drive for you and helps get detailed information about where larger files are hiding. This is not a review of the program, nor it is an endorsement, but I’m a fan of pretty pictures, so when I saw this I couldn’t help but say something.

WinDirStat output

The graphical output at the bottom visualizes all the files on your drive, as well as their relative size. With a few clicks, I cleared ~3 GB of space.  The main culprits were the “sharing folders” in MSN Messenger (a program I no longer use) and various cached installer files.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2009 in Alchemy

 

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