Happy new year! I’d like to start the year off by making a personal post. I don’t anticipate that these will become prominent in the new year for this blog, but I thought I should share this one, especially as it’s especially topical: new years resolutions. During December of last year I thought about what I could change for the up coming year. I don’t usually make resolutions, much less keep them, but I feel if I immortalize them on the web then I might be more likely to keep them and follow up on them. Without further delay, I present my list of 2012 new years resolutions:
-Update this blog regularly
-Wear ironed shirts (or shirts that don’t require ironing)
-Read at least one book per month and one paper per week
-Drink more tea (and maybe less coffee…unless its good coffee)
-Update profile pictures for just about everything, perhaps somewhat regularly.
I’m going to comment briefly on these resolutions next, and then talk a bit about the future of this blog.
The first two resolutions seem straightforward: as an academic I need to publish or perish, and as a blog owner I feel its necessary to update it (or it will not be of much interest to anyone, including myself). The shirt resolution should be easy: I was pretty good at this during last summer in Waterloo (when I first acquired an iron) and the habit followed through until about October after moving back to Toronto. I’d like to get back into the habit, as I think it makes me look more professional and less like an over-worked graduate student. Reading is something I would like to do more of as well, especially for papers in my field. Again, this ritual worked well during last summer and lasted until about October this year. After that, work picked up and I was much more disorganized in finding time to read the papers required of me for my weekly lab meetings or research. As for the books, sometime in the last year I compiled a list of “classic” works that I think I should read before I die, and in order to motivate me, I’ve set a goal to read them by the time I get my Ph.D.. In order to help realize this goal, a book a month sounds fun and doable. With any luck I’ll be reading more than just 12 a year. The reading resolution goes well with the drinking tea resolution: I enjoy sipping something hot while reading, but I don’t always want coffee. Further, I’m going to resolve to drink less poor-tasting coffee (e.g. Tim Horton’s) so that I enjoy the cups I do drink. The gym resolution is really not something I think will last. I’m not overweight or (obviously) unhealthy, so there is not a whole lot of motivation, but it would be nice to preempt these conditions, and with the University offering these services free, I should start to take advantage of them while I can. I have stated to friends that if I do decide to hit up the gym, I’m going to wait until after the new years craze. The last resolution should be easy but I don’t find myself taking pictures of myself or being motivated to go out and do exactly that. As a result, my Facebook profile picture hasn’t changed in over a year, and I think my Twitter and MSN messenger profile pictures haven’t changed in over two. Not to mention I would like to have one for this site and LinkedIn. So that should be achievable, but I feel like I’ll just keep putting it off unless I explicate it.
As for the future of this blog, I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking and I think I’m going to be changing the format a fair bit. The older paper-review posts are long, (hopefully) in-depth reviews about everything the paper says, almost like a book-report. But after some thought I don’t think that is the most interesting way to present the topics I’m learning about during my on going education and experience in academia. Furthermore, the old design was such that I would pick apart every detail as to remember it later because I was still very new to the ideas in (model-based) software engineering. I’ve become more proficient in using the vocabulary and ideas of the field so I don’t think every detail is as important. So instead, I’m going start posting abstracts of the papers I’ve read at regular intervals (say, every month). Along with the abstracts I’ll post comments on why the paper was chosen, what was interesting, if it was well written or too dry, or other short comments. This way the readers of this blog can still follow my education but can choose the depth at which they follow it; they won’t be forced to read long summaries of the papers. I will still post other blog updates, such as those pertaining to life in academia and the occasional personal post, whenever I get the chance. As I do plan on attending some conferences this year and these seem like the obvious topic for a blog post, there should be at least a few of those. And later in the year, when I undoubtedly start working on my thesis (scary!), I’m sure there will be some interesting posts. To start, I might post on the work I’ve been doing for both the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto since I started my masters in September, as well as my first thoughts on teaching.
As a final note, I should point out that I have closed comments for now. I have 29,000 comments on the blog waiting for approval and I have yet to see one that isn’t spam. So until I find an effective method for blocking the spam and cleaning out the approval list, I will keep comments closed. With any luck, I will open them back up by the end of the month.
Thanks for reading!