Specifics

Apparently I’m still not being specific enough in my writing. Phrases such as “specified above”, or “close to indefinite” are give aways that I’m being vague with regards to an idea that I am (unconvincingly and unsuccessfully) expanding upon.

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Basic utilities in 2012

The university’s data network went down today, for an entire afternoon. Interesting how much of a requisite our internet connectivity is today. It got me thinking about which utilities are required in this day and age. I would say that today’s basic utilities are (1) water and sewerage, (2) electricity and/or gas, (3) telecommunications (radio, telephone, television, internet).

I wonder what will become the fourth, or how the others will become augmented?

Getting sick

I think I caught a cold from a colleague last Friday, though it didn’t affect me as much as it did him, perhaps because I started taking Strepsils (an antibacterial lozenge) yesterday morning. And I slept most of the day today, getting woken up by a sore throat every once in a while. Had some salty chicken noodle cup-a-soup, that helped too.

Writing all that made me wonder which household cures will be lauded, or which will be laughed at, in 100 years’ time.

Business as usual

Nothing much to report today, just kept on working with the things that I’ve already started. In particular I was working on the grant application due this coming Thursday.

Had lunch with an ex-colleague of mine, who moved to a research institute not far from the University. I also upgraded to Papers2 version 2.3.1, bought a wireless Logitech K400 keyboard, checked out the comprehensive Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion review on Ars Technica.

In short, just average type stuff. Tomorrow might be more exciting with my housewarming out west.

Is there…

Is there such a thing as creatrivia? The creativity you have to pull out for every day tasks, such as cooking whatever’s left in the fridge, or writing a short creative piece every week, or designing a graphic for a client as a paid job?

This is how I feel at the moment, writing this grant application. I have to bring out my creative side to find 400-word answers to these questions on a form, while keeping it factual and scientific. I’m finding it difficult to find a reasonable angle to get me started. How I got unstuck for a particular question, is that I considered myself to be an end user, thought about what the project outcomes would mean to me as an everyday consumer of products, and linked it back up with the project aims.

One of my problems is that I usually write in terms of generalities, without giving specifics. For example, I would have left the previous sentence the way it was, without giving an example. I tend to be abstract in my written discussions.

Proposed project

I started writing up a proposed project proposal last night, after discussion with my boss and his potential collaborator before leaving the conference for the day. When I showed the draft to the collaborator today, it was clear that my answers to the 6 basic questions were either not showing through the writing, or they were not strong enough answers.

Both are pretty serious problems by themselves, as the former requires that I revisit my writing, and the latter means that my arguments are weak. Together, they form an application that will unlikely be funded.

How will I fix this? I will take on board the collaborator’s suggestions first, and see how the application will take shape. Then I will worry about how to identify these sorts of problems myself.

New topic

I attended part of a conference on spintronics today. I got a basic idea of what it was, what some of the major developments were, as well as what some of the major issues are at present.

A result from coming to that conference is that we might have a new collaborator in this field, to contribute new types of materials to apply the scientific analysis techniques that we have been developing at the university. Who knows, a grant proposal might even come out of it…

I also have to learn more about the research area that my boss is setting up. I just got a request for information today, and I realised I don’t know anything concrete about it yet.

Crazy cam

I’ve had my dual-sim phone (Samsung Galaxy Y Duos) for about 1.5 months now. But it wasn’t until my trip to India that I noticed the interesting shots I could take with the camera:

 

This was taken from a stationary vehicle, where the motorcycle was going past from left to right. Notice the normal appearance of the people on the right.

I’ve been pretty happy with the phone in general.