>Planning and reality often don’t mix in grad school, I’m discovering. Since I have a committee meeting tomorrow, I thought I’d use today to finish my presentation and written documentation for it. Instead, I was told I had to have code running by 1pm that would process transcriptome data using paired end solexa reads. 5 hours later, I had code analyzing Single end transcriptome data, but nothing finished for my committee meeting.

On that note, I’m not going to blog about paired end data – I’ll save that for another day, and instead, I’m going to go work on my presentation and report. However, I did want to provide a neat link Elaine passed to me: made with molecules. Jewelry for the rich and geeky. (I’m geeky enough to like it, but not rich enough to pay THAT much for it, even if I wore ornaments.)

Oh, and one last parting note… my laptop is being assembled today. If I wasn’t going to be so busy tomorrow, I’d probably be checking it’s status every 10 minutes. The curse and blessing of real-time tracking data.

>New Laptop… with a refund?

>Well, I took the plunge today. After struggling to get through grad school without a laptop for the past year, I’ve decided I can’t take it anymore. The computer I use at work is an ancient IBM, which does an admirable job of running Ubuntu, but really just isn’t up to the tasks I set it. So, with pending conferences, presentations, committee meetings and some serious programming likely in the next few months, I figured I’ve got shell out the money for a laptop. In fact, I’ve purchased a Vostro 1000 for $649 CDN… not too shabby, I think.

My plan A was to buy an Ubuntu laptop from Dell Canada, but after waiting for 8 months for that program to come north of the border, I’ve realized it’s probably not going to happen in a time frame I’m comfortable with. It’s only for a few select markets. So, I had to kick into plan B: I’ve bought the laptop, and I’m going to try to get an O/S refund from Dell.

It’s not malicious or trying to get revenge – I just don’t want to pay for software that I will be deleting straight away, once I turn on the laptop. I think it’s wrong to bundle in an operating system, and force you to pay for it – so I’m going to try to get my money back.

This isn’t a wild crusade – I have heard of people getting back money from Dell before, anywhere from $10 – $110, with no real regularity to what’s received. Such as these links:

here, here, and here.

The internet is full of personal accounts of this working – so I think it’s my turn to try. Besides, as a grad student, getting back $100 is worth about 10 hours of my time – I’m willing to give it a shot. Watch out Dell Service Reps… here I come.

>BC Cancer Annual Cancer Conference 2007

>I didn’t have a chance to blog yesterday from the BC Cancer Annual Cancer conference, but I figured it was worth mentioning a few highlights.

I “finished” the chapter I was working on in the morning, on ChIP-Seq, and sent it off today. I probably could have used a little more guidance on it, meaning that it focuses on things I found interesting/important. Who knows if that’s what everyone else will want, hence the quote on “finished.”

Around noon, a few other grad students and I cabbed down to the Westin Bayshore, where we enjoyed one of the better free buffet lunches I’ve had in a while. (Why more people don’t use free *good* food as a way to bring graduate students to events is a constant source of amazement. Pizza is good… but smoked salmon is SO much better.)

In the afternoon, I did my usual thing, and went off to see a track that really had nothing to do with my research, and ended up learning a tremendous amount about pathology and cancer tissues. Some of my favorite facts:

  • up to 30% of pathologists diagnoses based on histology are misunderstood by the doctors
  • Pathologists generally agree about what is cancer and what is not… but when diagnosing which type of cancer it is, it’s usually a “best guess” scenario. They frequently disagree.
  • Cancer cell morphology is generally rule of thumb based, with emphasis on the size and shape of the nucleus, and the location of the cell.
  • Pathologists often can’t distinguish between types of cells that they see. “if you didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know if these cells were skin, vagina, ovary…” (The pathologist was a specialist in women’s tissues.)

Either way, after about 2 hours of talking with a pathologist, I have a new respect for the lab work done in hospitals, and a few ideas about places I can take my projects to solve major issues pathologists have… I’ll see where they take us.

Anyhow, it’s time to work on preparing for my committee meeting on tuesday. While waiting for my next post, feel free to check out my poster on applications for transcriptome and ChIP-Seq analysis. (Don’t mind the two mistakes I’m aware of!) Cheers!