Updates – Oct 2011.

So, my thesis with the requested changes has gone back to my supervisor.  The process we have going is pretty…  unstructured.  At this point, I’m not sure what happens next.  In theory, it should now go to my committee, but who knows when that will happen. My external examiner isn’t scheduled to get it until mid december, which means my thesis defense can’t be scheduled until February at the earliest. Thus, I more or less have  4 months of thumb twiddling penciled in, unless my committee decides they want me to do another experiment. (And I’d probably have some choice words about that plan.)

So, with that said, I have a couple projects to “wrap up”, if you consider it wrapping up to be a) starting a project that won’t appear in my thesis, and b) doing some maintenance work on an open source project that my committee disregards because its not biology.  At worst, that’s about a week’s worth of programming (probably 10-15 hours, really), and getting things organized for someone in the lab.  (Hopefully a few emails I can take care of this afternoon.)

So, that has left me pretty focused on the post-thesis phase.  While I do have plans, I’m just waiting for an airplane ticket to be booked before I announce things. Until there’s an actual date, I’m not sure I feel comfortable spreading the news just yet, just in case everything suddenly crashes down and things don’t work out the way I expect them to.  All I can say, for the moment, is that I’m incredibly excited by the job description and the opportunity to work with the people I have already met, and of course, to meet everyone else there.

(I should mention that I was horribly jet lagged when I met them all the first time, but they all left a great impression, even if I’ve forgotten a few names…)

So, on to blogging, which is the next big thing that I’m mulling over.  First, I haven’t discussed blogging with my prospective employer, so I’m quite sure where things will go.  Of course, I don’t think it’s appropriate to blog about one’s workplace in any great detail, but some corporate bloggers have done a great job of it by discussing issues important to the work place.  In any case, I can see myself doing a few things:

  1. Continuing along the same path, and blogging about next gen sequencing – with a slightly more corporate bent. (which is a hint about what I’ll be doing next.)  There will be plenty of NGS related topics that I’ll be watching, and I’m certain to have an opinion on many of them.  (Who’da guessed?)
  2. Continuing along the same path, but diversifying to other topics in science so as not to focus on science tangential to my work.
  3. Adding on new topics about moving to new lands (is that a hint?).
  4. Adding on new topics about things more personal to me. (photography, music, etc.)

yes, my version of foreshadowing is a bit heavy handed.

And, last but not least, the other two things on my mind:

I’m seriously considering releasing drafts of my thesis on the web.  Now that my supervisor has agreed that my biology project is not likely to lead to a publication (and yes, that was the bulk of my work for the past year), it’s unlikely to meet much resistance.  I won’t do it until I get a go-ahead from those affected by the work, but it’s a project I’m working on, as I’d love to get more feedback.

And, finally, I had plans to write out summaries of some of the papers I’ve read on my way to wrapping up my thesis.  I haven’t decided if I’ll do this yet, but it would probably be a great way to help study for my defense.

In any case, that’s what’s on my mind this afternoon. And now that I’ve gotten it all down, I can clear my mind and get back to some of the other things I’ve been neglecting this past week.  Whee… errands!

Recap for August 2011

So I’m back.  Finally.

About 4 weeks ago, I cut off all of my “time wasting” interests for the sake of completing my thesis and then went all out in writing the damned thing.  As it happens, it was a great way to work.  No twitter, no blogging… no distractions.  I simply sat and wrote for 6-8 hours a day for 3 weeks and two days and banged out a version of my thesis to hand to my supervisor.  Given that I’d already written about 80 pages before pulling the internet plug, that was roughly the equivalent of 100 pages in ~15 days. I’m not unhappy with that.

But, of course, life doesn’t stop while you’re working on your thesis.  I’ve had to do a number of other small projects in the meantime, and a few big projects as well.  The biggest is that I have figured out where I’ll be going after I defend my thesis.  The open question is when that will be, as I still don’t have a defense date, but I am going to push for it to happen as quickly as possible.  For now, I’m going to keep the specifics quiet, but I’ll let everyone know in a few days.

Otherwise, I do know that my wife and I will be moving out of Vancouver, so we’ve begun the process of winnowing down our possessions.  I’ve given away a few potted plants, sold a lot of stuff on craigslist, emptied out drawers, recycled a ton of paper and even had a (very poorly attended) garage sale.  The fun never ends!

More noticeably to the internet, I’ve also switched internet service providers.  Despite the fact that we’re moving, our previous provider was unwilling to extend our current contract, and instead wanted $50 a month more for the same level of service, which just annoyed me – so I made the call to their competition.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the new ISP actively blocks port 80, which took down my website. By pure fluke, I already had a hosting plan that I had been planning on canceling and they had recently started offering wordpress blogs – So, what you’re now seeing is no longer hosted from the computer in my living room. A big thank you to the staff at namespro.ca who helped make the transition reasonably seamless – other than having to wait over the long weekend for the right staff to come back to work to migrate my account. (=

Of course, the other internet change is that my email is no longer hosted from my home computer anymore – but that’s another long story. (However, the experience of running your own email server is pretty awesome – I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity.)  More to the point: If you tried to reach me over the past week and didn’t get a reply, that was the reason.  Sorry!

I also discovered that 4 weeks of isolation is great for reminding you of all of the blog topics that you should write about.  I have a couple more days of web site migrations to do (such as re-uploading the missing pictures from the blog, moving a few other hosted pages to the web server, etc), but once those are completed, I’ll be back on the blogging band wagon – and I have lots of ideas to write about.

In any case, thanks to everyone for their patience during my disappearance – and thank you for everyone who supported me while I was hunkered down and busy writing.