Wednesday, January 31, 2007

minor strokes of genius

i had a very productive day today. lots of good ideas and thoughts. the process continues tomorrow as i continue running tests and analyzing the results. i wish i could have started off like this on monday. now, i feel pressed to make tons of progress before close of the day on friday.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

chasing the eureka moment

the mundane testing i am conducting at the moment has me at a point where i am just itching to find some ground-breaking pattern/characteristic/device behavior to exploit. i have narrowed down some preliminary areas to focus on in my results, but i will just have to see where it takes me. the testing process is slow and tedious, and i am constantly having to make sure my measurements are accurate. i just want this phase to be over so i can begin analyzing the results and coming up with equations to take advantage of my findings. then, i will feel like the real work has begun.

Monday, January 29, 2007

where has it all gone?

the mounds of confidence that i had just days ago has left me. for someone that has things planned out fairly well, i cannot understand why morale has escaped me. although the road is long and daunting, i am fairly certain of my course over the next couple of years. once again, the amount of work to be done is overshadowing the present tasks at hand. the good ideas and work i have accomplished up to this point is totally forgotten. all i can seem to focus on is what i have not done and where i haven't gotten and the phd i don't have. i really need to sit down and plan out some short-term deliverables to maintain my sanity right now. i wanted this week to be a very productive week since i am going home for a week on sunday, but it seems i may need to focus more on outlining my plan of action (in great detail) for when i return. the impatience bug is back, and rome has to be built in a day. anything longer than 24 hours is unacceptable.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

the setup

not too much of an exciting day today. i spent the most part setting up my testing environment to begin the extensive tests that will hopefully provide me with favorable results. between tomorrow and next week, i hope to have the majority of the tests run.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

it finally snowed in cambridge

i woke up to a pleasant surprise this snowed last night!!! i was even lame enough to take photos before i left this morning. this was the first time the snow has stuck to the ground since i have been here. it sure was cold enough last night.

anyway, my work is still progressing well, and i am slowly getting my next steps planned out. i am leaving a bit earlier today to go to a lecture by Professor Stephen Hawking as part of the Gates Scholars Distinguished Lecture Series.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

what to do next?

i had a productive day today on both the planning and accomplishment fronts. a large part of this whole phd thing is the organization and planning of your next steps. it is so easy to get caught up in what you are currently working on and forget to map out what you will do once you've finished the task at hand. it's obvious that planning along the way makes for maximum utilization of one's time, but it is also extremely difficult to know what you need to do next. what will be most beneficial? what is the missing piece in my research puzzle? what won't take me another 5 years to do/prove/implement?........................... (and my favorite) where am i going with this???

i believe it's safe to say that the point at which you know you are done with your phd is the moment when you no longer have to convince yourself that you know what you are doing.

Monday, January 22, 2007

regaining my confidence

i had a bit of a shake to my confidence after a meeting with my supervisor this morning. i should be used to our conversations by now, but they still seem to get to me as far as not being as confident in what i have in my head versus what comes out verbally. maybe it is because i need to practice describing my research more. i don't know. anyway, the tendency after these meetings is to focus too much on the big picture and becoming overwhelmed as opposed to using the high-level description to guide my present work. meeting with my supervisor is always a weird situation because he throws out so many ideas and it all can seem a bit scatter-brained and lacking focus. but, i need to learn to be more confident in my own ideas and work to prevent myself from being pushed around in this sense. hopefully, this will just come with a bit more time and reaching more goals with my research. it took me a while to get back on my feet today, and i wound up wasting a good portion of the afternoon because of this. these next few weeks are very critical for me, and apart from doing the work, i need to find out what work there is to get done to meet my goals best.

Friday, January 19, 2007

trying to get my foot in the door

i am seeing some potential avenues for my first taste of real success as i prepare my testing setup. my fingers are crossed though that more means to early success manifest themselves in my results. it feels good getting to a point where i am looking at data representations and discovering clever ways to exploit patterns for the better. it's kind of like i'm just now getting to do some real research and come up with some algorithms to save the planet. this is just the beginning though. this small step leads me into a large, dark room that i must navigate through (the faster the better). the learning curve is about to steepen as well as i will be forced to do some crucial mathematical (statistics/probability) analysis on my data. hopefully, software implementation will not be too difficult once i have the equations.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

the long days begin

the last few days have been pretty long an intense as i try and make sure everything is correct before beginning any long-term data collection. this process has extended longer than i would have liked, but it is definitely better to put in the precautionary man-hours on the front-end as opposed to finding errors on the back-end. it would be a good ending to the week to finish the setup process tomorrow. it is possible, but it will take a lot of things lining up just perfectly.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

and the experiments begin (...............almost)

i almost have all of the hardware i need for my system measurements, but i am going to go ahead and begin working with what i have. the calibration process is a bit more tedious than i anticipated/would like, however, there has to be a means of verifying the data i collect. it's just one of those necessary evils you have to face. morale is still high, although, i am facing a great deal of work. however..........the results can be very promising. the crucial part now is designing my tests and testing environment to yield the best (and most interesting) results. a few more man hours are needed to make sure the readings are being interpreted correctly. the test scripts i have now are pretty complete. i just need to spend a bit more time with them to ensure completeness, and then, i am off to the races.

Monday, January 15, 2007

productive morning, wasted afternoon

i got some much needed rest this past weekend, and my body clock is no longer flashing midnight. i came into the office today (MLK holiday in the US) and had a productive morning. it was mostly reading, but the work was necessary. i could not continue piecing my hardware setup together because i am waiting on parts. neither could i force myself to continue reading this afternoon.. that's about when surfing the web took over. the afternoon was not a total waste. i did manage to straighten up my desk among a few other small but important tasks.

Friday, January 12, 2007

jet finally got me

i foolishly thought i had successfully escaped the dreaded beast that lurks behind the door to a different timezone, but...............this morning, i saw that i was sadly mistaken. i was exhausted when my alarm clock went off and, without realizing it, fell back asleep after turning the alarm off. i woke up a couple hours later feeling pretty sluggish, and the feeling stayed with me the rest of the day. i did get a good bit accomplished today in spite of being tired. the renewed spirit is still very strong, and i am trying to get as much done while it lasts to (1) take advantage and (2) perpetuate the feeling even longer.

p.s. - i couldn't have said it better myself plez

Thursday, January 11, 2007

officially registered for my phd

after a 15 months and a successful first-year interview in october, i finally got my paperwork stating that i was officially registered for the phd degree by the university and approved for my research topic by the board of graduate studies. i knew it was coming, but it was one of those moments when you read the official notice, you feel good about what you have accomplished so far.

i started the day still on my high from yesterday and continued to make good progress. i am really excited at the moment about my work and morale is extremely high (as if you couldn't tell). there is still much to accomplish before i can even begin thinking about submitting a paper, but i am shooting for a deadline in the middle of march. that would be an awesome birthday present to myself. if i can keep making strides at the pace i am at now, it should be no problem. i'm full speed ahead.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

back from the break

after a long journey back last night, i do not know exactly how i am still up and functioning. i dropped off my luggage in my room and came into the office to begin working (what a dork............who does that???). anyway, i am glad i did do some work instead of just crashing for about 48 hours. i was able to pick up right where i left off and even solved the problem that caused some stumbling before Christmas. also, i was able to dispell a bit of anxiety since i have been away for so long and felt i was slacking on my phd. all in all, long journey home ended in a pleasant feeling of a small success that will allow me to make loads of progress and finish my phd (lol............can you hear the wishful thinking in my head as loud as i can)?.