Time does wait for electronic true love [Weekly Head Voices #30]

I probably shouldn’t be spending deadline-chasing time writing this post, but I can’t not, you know? I do have some Sunday pomodoros behind me, so the FNSF (and other involved parties) will probably not mind too much. Also, to shave off a few more seconds, I’ll temporarily switch to the Swimgeek Quick Update-style bullet list.

Before the first bullet however, you really have to see the DTV Shredder in action, the vehicle I’ve decided to equip my evil footsoldiers with, right after I manage to purchase a suitable volcanic island and install my evil lair:

(found via engadget.)

Here come the bullets:

  • Due to the completion of the TI 1100-a project by the end of the previous week, I was expecting this week to be of the more relaxed persuasion. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It turns out that a number of deadlines were simply in stealth mode, waiting for the right moment to pounce. Colour me surprised.
  • The extremely resourceful  / capable individual (ERCI) mentioned in WHV #3 and #9 completed his M.Sc. under the entertaining supervision of the FSNF and myself, defended his thesis (title: Integrated Visual Analysis for Heterogeneous Datasets in Cohort Studies — Application to Neuropsychiatric SLE) this past week, and managed to acquire his whole degree Cum Laude. Congratulations Ir. ERCI, we hope to see much more of you during the coming years *wink wink*!
  • It turns out that combining a Goretex raincoat, a Senz aerodynamic storm-proof umbrella (truly awesome tech, designed by a TU Delft spinoff) and a set of RainLegs (you look like the missing fifth member of the Village People, but your legs remain dry) results in a pretty effective counter-measure against the soul-demolishing Dutch Autumn rain, if one is able to live with wet feet. A Facebook friend with some serious tropical storm experience also recommended a pair of those big Timberland boots, a suggestion that for some or other reason resonated with me, and not only because it would solve my wet feet problem. He meant these really pretty yellow boots with the macho-looking soles:
These are the Timberland boots you were looking for.
  • On Thursday, my Kindle DX Graphite was delivered by the friendly UPS dude. It was love at first sight (with the Kindle and not the UPS dude), and since then my feelings have only deepened. You see, the Kindle DX embodies the fusion of two of my greatest fetishes: Reading and high-tech gadgets. Ostensibly I bought it to try paperlessify my academic review work (papers, student theses, proposals, all printed out numerous times and finally thrown out for recycling) and as soon as firmware 3.0 has been released for the KDX Graphite and I get some time I’ll write a critical blog post concerning its performance in this role, but for now I’m just euphoric with the thing as general reading platform. Calibre, once you get used to its idiosyncrasies, is fantastic as a cross-platform library manager.
  • Specific events of the past week, as well as interesting conversations with the FSNF and others, have again pointed out that terminal over-booking might be necessarily associated with a post-Ph.D. academic career. During your Ph.D., you have the exquisite luxury of focusing on one (perhaps three) important things for extended periods of time. Thereafter, right after the defence-afterglow has subsided, if you decide to stay in academia, your calendar and task-manager explode in a messy deluge of meetings, administration and forced work during the evenings and weekends, because this is the only way to get more than half of your stuff done. I have it from trustworthy sources that this only gets worse the further along you get in your career. As I’ve invested heavily in optimising my own time utilisation and efficiency, and now have a strategy that, although there’s significant room for improvement, doesn’t work too badly, I’m planning to put together The Great Academic Time Management Post. If you already disagree with this or with what you think the contents of the post might turn out to be, please vent in the comments!

That’s it for this episode. My big red pomodoro timer is looking at me in a decidedly unfriendly way… The rest of you have a great week!

7 thoughts on “Time does wait for electronic true love [Weekly Head Voices #30]”

  1. Charl,
    Thanks for the post. It is a little lonely here in the comments section – so I thought I would help you out. Anyway, feigned concern aside, why the Kindle and not an iPad? Does the Kindle have PvZ for instance? Perhaps not so good for the work efficiency – but so much fun
    Cheers!

    1. Ruben!!

      They’re two completely different devices. The Kindle has been designed for reading: eInk screen (no backlight, 100% stable, looks like paper so you can read for as long as you want) and the battery lasts a week. The iPad is more of a little computer without a real keyboard, with which you could conceivably read longer texts, but which was not really designed for that purpose. Also it needs recharging very often.

      I needed something with which I could replace the thousands of printed sheets of paper I lug around most of the year, so eInk it was.

      Besides that, Apple is the new Microsoft. :) (sorry Apple friends, but it is!)

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