Thursday, May 31, 2007

procrastination problems

So when you already know your future and it is so much more alluring then your current life is; it is just to easy to get burn out. Normally one person is there to cheer the other one up. But with both of us going to school and with how busy both of us are when either of us started falling behind it means that both of us fell behind because the other person had to get them back in line. (It sure felt like it was me doing more of the encouraging though.)
So our escape was TV shows downloaded from the internet, or renting them from the library. We would watch shows while writing our papers and there always seemed to be more to do so we seemed to burn though a lot of shows.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day Redwood trip

Knowing that this was our last vacation before the end of the term, and the fact that we had gone crazy with the stress of school, and soon we would be moving to the other side of the country, we decided we both needed a vacation otherwise procrastination would overtake us. Actually I spent Friday and Saturday hard at work and just couldn't take it anymore. So Sunday morning we decided to drive down to the redwoods in northern California.
L. Drove while I typed my thesis. We bought an AC converter from the store before leaving so I could power my laptop. It was a pretty drive down and it was nice to have the GPS. When we got there I emailed the first draft from an open wireless point at a cafe while we ate lunch.
It was weird being able to spend some money since I had already got the sign-on bonus from the new job. We had been so tight with money for two years it was nice, but I felt guilty to get a nice hotel room with a jacuzzi.
So all the really tall trees are in central california. These redwoods in Crescent City are all the really fat ones. We had fun walking though the state park which felt like you are a miniature person among all the huge trees and ferns. You half expect a dinosaur to go walking by. We also stopped off at a place that had a giant fiberglass Paul Bunyan outside. After looking around at the redwoods there is a cable car to the top of the mountain. We decided to walk down instead of talking the cable car back and had a nice allergy free stroll through the forest. It really was a needed relaxation.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

History is never written by the busy

The device that was supposed to be built by the electronics guy at the school was given to me half done because he ran out of time. This means I have to solder 256 wires to a metal plate an inch and a half wide. So with the plate in a clamp, I used a pair of needles in my left hand like chop-sticks to hold the wire. My ring finger and pinky fed the solder in and my right hand held the soldering tool. Any extra extra solder was scratched off with a needle.
Working for the lab has slowed down. (Everyone else is busy writing papers so don't need much help gathering results from the computers.) This is the one break I have since I can just sit in the lab and work on my thesis.
I am so busy now my average schedule between work, school, homework, and thesis, gives me 3 hours of personal time a week to wash clothes, dishes and the such. I know I am over-loaded. I can feel that I am pushing myself to hard. But if I want to finish on time, and I don't have a choice since I already have the job waiting, then I don't have any other choice.

(This post was written retro-actively because there is no way I had time for frivolous stuff like internet posts.)

return of the alergies

Well the rain is gone. The grass is green. People are coming out of hiding, and you know that means- Allergies. I can't skip out on them this year like I did last year by going down to San Jose.
This year we are a little more prepared. L. went right away to the doctor and they were quite experienced with dealing with all the allergies in the area. They gave her a cocktail of drugs and they seem to have worked, she is able to leave the house. I finally just got an inhaler.
It is just awful that all this happens right at the end of the term when all the drugs and allergies make it harder to think straight just when you need your brain the most. The allergies here from the sod farmers make it so I would never want to live here permanently.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Problems with my thesis

There is just something about electrocuting peoples tongues that brings people out of the wood-work. So, because my experiment involves inducing electricity to people I have to get a medical OK from the FDA saying that this is not a medical device. The problem being that no one in computer science has done anything like this before so I am more depending on my contacts in psychology to help me out for this one. There is so much documentation I must prove that this this thing is safe. I built in double fail-safes and fuses plus have resorted to only running the thing off of AA batteries to make sure there is no chance of an overload. So it is more a case of change this document and re-submit. This sentence needs to be here and re-submit. I kid you not, this bulleted list needs to be copied to the next page instead of just referenced, then re-submit. After 4 1/2 months magically I get an email for the all clear, 4 months longer then the previous record.
There are technical problems too. I am a computer science major. electronics are not my area of specialty. I have designed this thing as far as I can figure keep running into problems. I hunted high and low I finally found out we have a technical department to help build prototypes for research. The problem, since I am not funded under anyone else's research I have to pay for it myself. I was able to convince the professor that was advising me on my thesis to cover the consultation costs out of her research budget. I ended up making a deal with the electronics guy. Since he does not know software I will write the firmware for another personal project he has going on the side and he will design and build what I need and I only have to pay for parts. That's great since I don't have $1000, so around $300 for parts is much better. The only problem is that I don't need another thing to do on top of all the other stuff. I still have to write, you know, the thesis.