This past week I was away from work, doing a nano-sabbatical in my secret lair.Example of some random evil lair. Mine is exactly the same, except that it’s not in a hollowed-out volcano, doesn’t have my face on the outside and is not near the sea. I thought I was being original by dubbing my week-long self-imposed working isolation a nano-sabbatical, but [google knows better]. It turns out other people call their week-long sabbaticals nano too.
Post summary: Part one is about friends graduating from Evil School, part two is rather short mentioning vague bits of good news and part three is 100% time management and productivity boosting goodness! Feel free to skip, skim or reorder! One On Thursday, February 10, 2011, my dear friend Mister Krekel graduated from Evil School after years of hard work and evil-doing, and will henceforth go through life as the formidable Doctor Krekel.
I hope to have time this weekend to report on significant and wonderful recent events, but until then, I wanted to share some less important but nonetheless good news with you. My house is more than 3km from the telephone exchange, so my ADSL connection could manage 5.4 Mbit/s down and 0.8 Mbit/s up on a good day, but during the evenings and on weekends, it would go completely wonky and generally unstable.
Post summary: Review humour, WhatsApp, SPA3102 gadget, hiking boots, happiness in the blue zones. So there are people on the internets who have chosen as their creative outlet the writing of superbly entertaining fictitious reviews of real products on real e-commerce sites. See for example this customer review of a tub of uranium ore that was once available on Amazon:You used to be able to buy uranium ore on amazon. You can still read the awesome reviews: http://www.
Post summary: Conference, VXLabs, SIP, boots, backyard philosophy on you the consumer, dramatic reading. Read on for more! Just before the weekend I spent two days at the Dutch Bio-Medical Engineering Conference in Egmond aan Zee, in a ginormous seaside hotel. Probably because I attempted to keep up with the young ones during their nightly escapades, I’m currently dealing quite badly with a serious cold, which is why this is the first sick blog post of 2011.
In spite of last year’s Space Odyssey also not quite panning out as Kubrick and Clarke might have hoped, I had a great year. Sure, it had its fair share of curve-balls, but in terms of personal growth (am I even allowed to use that term? I hope the cliché police are still on vacation) I am most satisfied. My traditional year-end vacation, as per usual filled with family, friends (slightly less than usual due to genetic offspring #2 related constraints), sun, sand, beer and deep thought, helped wonderfully in my subconscious processing (the most important kind) and integration of the past year’s events.
On Monday, I took a stroll in the autumn with genetic offspring #2.A mysterious path in the autumn. mysterious path + autumn = double the pensive power. It was a stroll of somewhat above average duration. As one tends to do during this sort of stroll, I was thinking. Not the modern kind of internet thinking during which one’s line of thought gets interrupted at least three times per minute, but the old-fashioned kind, with stately, fully-formed thoughts of some complexity.
Hiatus: temporarily over. My sleeping patterns are not quite what they used to be, mostly due to the latest manifestation of our little gene pool over here. Added to that, I’ve been really busy. Added to that, work has been throwing unnecessary curve-balls that have done their part in keeping me (pre)-occupied. In the end, a dash of perspective, several extremely wise friends and a generally sunny predisposition go a really long way, so here I am.
In week 40 (that’s Monday October 4 to Friday October 8 for those of you not so much into week numbers) I had the privilege of giving a week-long Information Visualisation course to a group of post-graduate students (a mix of B.A. Honours in either Socio-informatics or in Decision-making and Values Studies) at the Centre for KDD of the University of Stellenbosch in the building previously-known-as “The BJ”. With this post, I want to summarise, extremely compactly, my impressions:
(post summary: I’m teaching in Stellenbosch next week. We have another published paper. Next DeVIDE will have InfoVis. Peter Norvig spouts backyard philosophy on slow email and work-life balance.) This week, yet another Weekly Head Voices Quickies! The handsome and sun-drenched building below, known as “The BJ” to generations of students, is part of the reason for my current posting-diet. You see, next week I have the pleasure of teaching a post-graduate Visualisation course at my old university in the beautiful town of Stellenbosch.