kareina: (Default)
As I type this I have a minor case of sniffles happening--one of those annoying lightly runny noses that don't come with any other symptoms, but still encourage one to take frequent hot showers (much nicer to blow the nose there, than using a cloth or paper tissue and abrading the skin) and naps. This started this morning, occasionally punctuated by sneezes. I wasn't all that surprised when it hit though, since yesterday (Monday) morning and Sunday evening I had slightly swollen lymph nodes and something vaguely but not quite approaching discomfort at the top my my throat/base of my sinus. Since I only just got back from the trip to France on Thursday I am going with the assumption that I was exposed to something during the trip and my body is fighting it off, fairly successfully--these symptoms don't hold a candle to the colds some of my friends have complained of having recently.

This is the first time this year I have had to deal with anything resembling health issues, which is way sooner after the last time than was once the norm (the last time was November, unless you count the self-inflicted bruising in December), but is still better than many other folk have to deal with.

The trip to France was, odd. The meeting was for the Promine research group, of which my boss is an active member. He sent a PhD student who has been an active part of the research team, and me, to this meeting. Everyone else presented their progress on their research, so I am now educated on topics such as how one can use statistics to take information from a geological map and calculate which areas on the map are likely to contain undiscovered mineral resources, based on "rules" that define those resources elsewhere.

This is a very different side of geology than I have been part of hitherto. My primary research interests have focused on how mountains form, and the manner in which minerals grow and change when subjected to heat and pressure because they are at the base of an area actively growing mountains. I have never before touched on the "and how can humans benefit (or profit) from these chemical reactions?". Most of the research presented at this meeting has only to do with how man can find the resources that we require to maintain our current technology levels. Such a different way of looking at the science, though, to be fair, governments are far more likely to find those sciences which have direct benefit to humankind, so it shouldn't be surprising that if one stays in science long enough one will have to deal with these issues.

The meeting ran from 08:30 Monday morning to 17:00 on Wednesday. However, in order to get to Nancy, France, from here it was necessary for me to leave the house at 07:00 on Sunday to catch the flight to Stockholm. I then had a long enough layover to give myself a geology field trip, discovering outcrops within easy reach of the airport I hadn't known were there, before catching my flight to Paris. The above mentioned PhD student met up with me at the airport in Stockholm (he had the later flight out of LuleƄ, but that one had sold out before my travel was booked), and we traveled together the rest of the way.

It was good to have a traveling companion who had done this trip before, it made it easy to find the bus to the Paris city center and then the correct train out to Nancy. By the time we finally reached out hotel Sunday evening it was 21:30, and I had had quite enough of sitting for the day, so I did yoga, chatted a bit on the phone with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar (since the internet connection in my room was too iffy to actually manage a skype connection that night), and went to sleep.

Monday's presentations and field trip to the Ion Microprobe lab went right up to the "ice breaker" at 18:30, so I stayed for a while and visited with the other geologists before heading back to my room to relax a bit. Several of my colleagues were staying in the same hotel, and had plans to eat at the restaurant there that evening, so I wandered out a bit later and joined them for the company (though, of course, I ate nothing at that hour--I didn't even eat any of the food at the ice breaker, as it was too late for me to be eating--I had my evening meal (left overs from lunch) during the coffee break at 15:50.

Tuesday's afternoon field trip was scheduled to go to a mineral processing plant, but I needed some exercise, so I slipped out at the pre-trip coffee break and explored a nearby park instead. That evening the others met at a restaurant in town at 20:00 for the official meeting dinner, but I didn't bother to join them, since I knew I wouldn't be hungry. Indeed, I had done my yoga and was asleep a good hour before their dinner broke up.

Wednesday we had to leave the meeting during the afternoon coffee break so as to be certain to get to the train station on time for the return journey. This time, rather than taking the bus between Paris city center and the airport we opted to walk a few blocks to another train station and take the train to the airport. This was a smart move in terms of getting to the airport on time, as trains don't get stuck in traffic the way buses can, but the walk reminded me just why cities have no appeal for me--they are crowded, stinky, and have not much in the way of plant life (though there is plenty of dog shit on the sidewalks attesting to the presence of animal life).

Before this trip my point of view was "I have no interest in ever visiting Paris". Now that I have seen the bit near those two train stations and the part between the airport and the train station I am certain that I have no wish to ever visit Paris again. Cities--the rest of you can have them, I am so not interested!

Sadly, the flight we caught from Paris to Stockholm got in too late to catch a flight to LuleƄ, so it was necessary to stay overnight at the hotel there before flying home Thursday morning. My traveling companion had a taxi waiting for him at the airport when we got home, because the Uni travel agent always books one with his flights. I am not that patient, I was met at the airport by [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, I didn't want to wait for my welcome home hug any longer than that! He brought me home, we enjoyed an early lunch together, and then we both went back to work, where I got to do science of my own for the first time in weeks. That felt good after two weeks of preparing a grant proposal, wherein I talked about the science I will do, and then several days in a meeting listening to others talk about the science they have done.

Friday I left work a little early so that I could have some time curled up with a book at home before [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I did the two hour drive south to his brother's house for the weekend, where we helped them make progress fixing up the bus for the trip to Double Wars in May, and start costumes so that they will have something to wear at their first SCA event.

Saturday we took the required trip to a fabric store, where we found some black wool that was so lovely we bought the whole bolt--they get half for a dress for her, and we get half for a dress for me, and if there is any left over we might make a tunic or two for the boys. While the fabric was washed and dried we worked on patterns, and on Sunday morning we managed to cut out her under dress from the linen we also bought on Saturday and she started sewing it. Sunday afternoon we drove home so as to be here for Folk music and dancing in the late afternoon and evening.

Monday I worked from home, and today I mostly worked from home (not wanting to share whatever I am fighting off), but it was necessary to bring my computer back to the office in the afternoon so that it would be there for the great uni-wide upgrade to Windows7. I am not clear why they need to mess with my work computer for this upgrade though, since it has had Windows7 since I got it in early November. But when they sent the email reminding us to do backups before the upgrade I replied asking them if it is safe to assume that they won't be changing anything on my computer since it already has Windows7 and they replied saying that since my computer was installed on 7 November I do need to have it upgraded--they are upgrading all computers which were installed prior to 24 November. Sigh.

But since I live with someone who has to upgrade and repair computers for a living I know better than to hide my computer while they do the work, much better to let them do what they need to do, and then restore all of my settings to what they are supposed to be when they are done.

This week I have my final exam for my Swedish class, and next week I need to return to Boliden for work.
kareina: (Default)
I got up a little later than I might normally have done this morning, due to staying up too late typing too long of a post for LJ (apologies for only putting in one cut--that one I put in as a typed, but no other category to be cut occurred to me as I typed, and once I was done I was too tired to consider where one should go). Therefore, as I sometimes do I decided to just eat breakfast in my office. So I packed up lunch and headed to uni. It snowed a little last night, and when I arrived at Uni, a some time before 09:00 (of which I am certain since the grocery store I pass to get there was still shut, and they open at 09:00) I noticed that there were only two tracks going to the door of my building--one set of prints to the door, and another set (same size) leaving the door. I added my prints to the snow and walked up to the door, pulled out my ID card, and swiped the card in the reader, and the little light blinked red at me. I tried it again, same result; door still locked, no option to enter my code into the keypad. Darn. I *could* have tried the building with the main uni reception, but I was hungry, so instead I went home and had my breakfast there.

Since I was home I decided to start a project [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I have talked about doing--design the interface for the app I want to make to keep track of my food log on my phone. I have been tracking my food for years, and have the system in Excel down--I know what information I put in, and in what ways I want to look at it later. Therefore it was a fairly simple matter to create a drawing of my phone in CorelDraw and sketch in the graphs and totals that I want to be able to see, and the fields for data entry. Once I got that project to a breaking point, read my 1000 words from the geologic literature, had some lunch (while reading a story book in Swedish), I decided I had done enough procrastinating for the day and I should try heading back to uni. This time I tried the door closer to the house, thinking that if the door was unlocked (it might have been), I could test my card on the door to the tea room. However, that door was locked, and my card reader worked properly.

So I have no idea if I imagined the problem (probably not, given the other set of footprints), if the problem was just the card reader on that door, or if everyone had a problem and the IT folk fixed it. (The uni is in the process of getting ready to switch everyone over to new ID cards after the first of the year (the new cards will have our photos on them), so there is a chance that someone changed something somewhere with respect to that that caused issues.) I could have also gone to the door that gave me problems and tested my card there, but I couldn't be bothered.

I did accomplish a few useful things at the office, but only in the category of "administrative" stuff, but it has to be done, so I am ok with that. There was no one else in my end of the corridor at all, and I saw only one office at the far end occupied at all--I was not expected to be there, and only went in at all since my sweetie was working, so I may as well. Since I wasn't accomplishing much I also left early, stopped at the store to get some fresh veg, and went home and cooked some yummy food.

I strongly recommend dicing left over palt (see yesterday's post), re-heating it in the microwave with butter and spices, and then mixing in steamed broccoli, snow peas, zucchini, and artichoke hearts, plus raw spinach, tomato, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds. There is some left for lunch tomorrow, yum!

After [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home I first read him another couple of chapters of the Name of the Wind, before we settled down to computer entertainment. First I showed him the interface for the food logs I designed, and we discussed what the database needs to contain, how the various fields relate to one another, and he suggested some very important edits to the first draft. Once that was done we started playing with his project in progress, a web-based grocery shopping list, which after tonight's session, is pretty much done.

Because my handwriting is dreadful I have usually used a shopping list that exists on my computer as a Word document, which I would print and put into a plastic sheet protector, and then keep in the kitchen next to an erasable marker. When something ran out we would use the marker to tick the box next to that item, and when shopping we would erase the marks when the item went into the cart. However, I never got around to doing one of those here--we have just relied on memory to get what we need. This works, often, but not always. I don't recall how it came up in conversation that I used to do this, but he liked the idea of creating a web app that would do the same thing, but be usable on our phones.

He has been programming on that project for the past couple of weeks, and today it was together enough that we were able to edit my old list to be appropriate here. First of all we broke some of the larger categories into more than one category (baking supplies and spices are now two different groups), and then we changed all of the group names into Swedish (those two are now "Bakning" and "Kryddor". We then spent a couple of hours moving things into the appropriate categories and changing them to Swedish, and deleting the things that neither of us will use but former housemates did (or you simply can't get in this country). The project is nearly done--we ran out of energy before fixing the "other-non food" section, but that can wait till later. The list is now usable, and we can access it from either of our phones, or any computer we happen to be on. There is no longer an excuse to forget things while we are at the store...

Some people might think it is strange, but I enjoy working on computer projects with him every bit as much as I enjoy doing art projects and sewing projects with him...
kareina: (Default)
Today's progress report:

Got AdobeAcrobatPro and Quicken installed on the new computer (including copying over the old data such that Quicken still knows how much money I have). Obtained an Italian power cord for the new computer. Spent ages filling in an important form (which isn't done yet!). Sent out e-mails to everyone in my address book with my new e-mail address. Made note of the 70-some odd which bounced. If you didn't get one I don't have your current e-mail address in my address book. Please send me an e-mail to the new address (kareina.sca (at) gmail.com) and let me know your current address.

Been busy all day, but have so much more that needs doing...

At least I started the day with a short run and then got a walk fetching the power cord from the store. I really don't understand how it is 22:00 already...
kareina: (me)
I checked it at home first, and it worked. Backed up recently changed files, just in case. Tried it again at uni, but without plugging in the second monitor, and it is working. I want the second monitor attached--so many work tasks are easier with two screens to play with, but I'm kind of afraid to, for fear the notebook monitor will cease to function again.

A comment from yesterday from [livejournal.com profile] merlyn_gabriel asks what kind of computer--details I didn't include in the "worried about the computer" post, because I didn't have it available to look them up. This is an ASUS computer, purchased in December of 2006 (don't purchase from them--this one came with a faulty attachment for the up-arrow key, and they refused to fix it, so I've been having to push it back into place 1 to 10 times a day ever since--it clicks into place, and stays there, for a while, and then comes off again.) It is a notebook, running Windows XP. What other information is needed?
kareina: (me)
I checked it at home first, and it worked. Backed up recently changed files, just in case. Tried it again at uni, but without plugging in the second monitor, and it is working. I want the second monitor attached--so many work tasks are easier with two screens to play with, but I'm kind of afraid to, for fear the notebook monitor will cease to function again.

A comment from yesterday from [livejournal.com profile] merlyn_gabriel asks what kind of computer--details I didn't include in the "worried about the computer" post, because I didn't have it available to look them up. This is an ASUS computer, purchased in December of 2006 (don't purchase from them--this one came with a faulty attachment for the up-arrow key, and they refused to fix it, so I've been having to push it back into place 1 to 10 times a day ever since--it clicks into place, and stays there, for a while, and then comes off again.) It is a notebook, running Windows XP. What other information is needed?
kareina: (Default)
I just sent the following note to my boss. Thought I'd also post it here, on the off chance that someone knows something about this sort of computer problem and what I should do about it. Though how I will see replies if the computer isn't working tomorrow, I don't know.

I am worried about my computer. On Saturday evening, while replying to e-mail, my notebook monitor suddenly switched from showing things to having naught but a bunch of blue lines across it. The spare monitor just then hadn't any windows open on it, so it was the normal background blue. I tried clicking with the mouse (pen), and using the space bar, and the screen went back to normal, but when I tried to click on something the screen went away again--first to those blue lines, and then to a blank, black screen. I have never seen it do anything like this before, and I was concerned. I don't know if it was a hardware issue, or some weird virus, or what. The computer was on, but nothing I could do got me anything on the screen, and eventually I had to turn it off by unpluging the power cord and removing the battery. I noticed the the computer felt a bit hot, so rather than trying to re-start straight away I took it home with me, spent some hours visiting with my mother, and then we turned it on. It worked perfectly at home, and together we revised my cv.

This evening I again turned the computer on at home, and it worked perfectly. Mom and I composed to a cousin of mine, I did a few other things, and then I decided to come back to my office to send that e-mail while she got ready for sleep. When first I arrive the computer started up normally. I plugged in the second monitor, and it behaved normally. That e-mail sent, I opened my internet browser to do something else on line (I use Eudora for mail, so don't normally need a web-browser for mail). When the browser started to open (Google Chrome) it announced that the last time it closed it didn't do so properly, and did I want it to restore all of the tabs from the last session. I said 'yes', since I was curious as to what all I had had open, and it started opening them. Before it finished opening them the computer started first to freeze up, and not let me click on the other window (which isn't that uncommon with my machine--it is getting up there in years, having bought it soon after enrolling in my PhD program). Then both monitors started showing the blue lines and nothing else. Wondering if the problem was some dodgy link opened on accident in one of the web browsers, I turned it off (again by having to unplug it and removing the battery), and then restarted it straight away.

At first it restarted like normal, but this time it thought the other monitor was on the opposite side of the notebook than it was. I opened the display window and moved the monitor to the actual side (something I don't normally need to do--it usually remembers which side it is on), but before I was able to open anything else I first got lines, and then a black screen. I tried one more re-start, without the second monitor, and while it started to work, showing the computer brand name, about the time it would normally show the windows start up details the screen went black again and stayed that way. So I turned it off again, and walked down the hall to the Mac outside your office, from where I am sending this e-mail.

I wonder if the problem is related to the issue my computer has always had with electricity--it has a tendency to suddenly shut down, no matter what I was in the middle of doing when anything changes in the electricity. If something else is plugged in somewhere in the room, if there is a thunderstorm, if someone is doing work on the lights on the next floor, and other times when I don't know why. It happens more often in my office here than when I was in Tasmania (the only time it happened there is when I plugged in a very old CRT monitor into the same power board as the computer was using). Here it happens much more often, and has always been a bit worrisome. But this new issue with the monitor is even more worrisome. I don't know if the computer was over-heated, if it is having issues with the second monitor, if this is a weird virus or what. I guess the data is still fine, but if the monitor doesn't work, I don't know how to access it. At this point I will wait till Monday morning to try again, and see if it behaves.

I have been thinking for a while that I would like a new computer, but kind of wanted to wait and see what sort of work I can find for when this contract ends, just in case I wind up having to live on savings for a while between jobs. Do you have any suggestions--is this sort of computer problem repairable? If so do you know someone who can fix it? Do they speak English, or would I need someone to translate to explain the problem? If it is repairable, would the cost be reasonable, or am I better seeking another computer? If I need another computer, is there one here that I could use, or am I better off buying one? If I need to buy one, am I better off ordering one from overseas, or getting something locally? I prefer the sort of keyboard I am used to (US), and I am hesitant to order things ever since the post office charged me 40 euros to pick up the replacement tires for my trike. If the fee is that high for tires, what would they want for a computer?
kareina: (Default)
I just sent the following note to my boss. Thought I'd also post it here, on the off chance that someone knows something about this sort of computer problem and what I should do about it. Though how I will see replies if the computer isn't working tomorrow, I don't know.

I am worried about my computer. On Saturday evening, while replying to e-mail, my notebook monitor suddenly switched from showing things to having naught but a bunch of blue lines across it. The spare monitor just then hadn't any windows open on it, so it was the normal background blue. I tried clicking with the mouse (pen), and using the space bar, and the screen went back to normal, but when I tried to click on something the screen went away again--first to those blue lines, and then to a blank, black screen. I have never seen it do anything like this before, and I was concerned. I don't know if it was a hardware issue, or some weird virus, or what. The computer was on, but nothing I could do got me anything on the screen, and eventually I had to turn it off by unpluging the power cord and removing the battery. I noticed the the computer felt a bit hot, so rather than trying to re-start straight away I took it home with me, spent some hours visiting with my mother, and then we turned it on. It worked perfectly at home, and together we revised my cv.

This evening I again turned the computer on at home, and it worked perfectly. Mom and I composed to a cousin of mine, I did a few other things, and then I decided to come back to my office to send that e-mail while she got ready for sleep. When first I arrive the computer started up normally. I plugged in the second monitor, and it behaved normally. That e-mail sent, I opened my internet browser to do something else on line (I use Eudora for mail, so don't normally need a web-browser for mail). When the browser started to open (Google Chrome) it announced that the last time it closed it didn't do so properly, and did I want it to restore all of the tabs from the last session. I said 'yes', since I was curious as to what all I had had open, and it started opening them. Before it finished opening them the computer started first to freeze up, and not let me click on the other window (which isn't that uncommon with my machine--it is getting up there in years, having bought it soon after enrolling in my PhD program). Then both monitors started showing the blue lines and nothing else. Wondering if the problem was some dodgy link opened on accident in one of the web browsers, I turned it off (again by having to unplug it and removing the battery), and then restarted it straight away.

At first it restarted like normal, but this time it thought the other monitor was on the opposite side of the notebook than it was. I opened the display window and moved the monitor to the actual side (something I don't normally need to do--it usually remembers which side it is on), but before I was able to open anything else I first got lines, and then a black screen. I tried one more re-start, without the second monitor, and while it started to work, showing the computer brand name, about the time it would normally show the windows start up details the screen went black again and stayed that way. So I turned it off again, and walked down the hall to the Mac outside your office, from where I am sending this e-mail.

I wonder if the problem is related to the issue my computer has always had with electricity--it has a tendency to suddenly shut down, no matter what I was in the middle of doing when anything changes in the electricity. If something else is plugged in somewhere in the room, if there is a thunderstorm, if someone is doing work on the lights on the next floor, and other times when I don't know why. It happens more often in my office here than when I was in Tasmania (the only time it happened there is when I plugged in a very old CRT monitor into the same power board as the computer was using). Here it happens much more often, and has always been a bit worrisome. But this new issue with the monitor is even more worrisome. I don't know if the computer was over-heated, if it is having issues with the second monitor, if this is a weird virus or what. I guess the data is still fine, but if the monitor doesn't work, I don't know how to access it. At this point I will wait till Monday morning to try again, and see if it behaves.

I have been thinking for a while that I would like a new computer, but kind of wanted to wait and see what sort of work I can find for when this contract ends, just in case I wind up having to live on savings for a while between jobs. Do you have any suggestions--is this sort of computer problem repairable? If so do you know someone who can fix it? Do they speak English, or would I need someone to translate to explain the problem? If it is repairable, would the cost be reasonable, or am I better seeking another computer? If I need another computer, is there one here that I could use, or am I better off buying one? If I need to buy one, am I better off ordering one from overseas, or getting something locally? I prefer the sort of keyboard I am used to (US), and I am hesitant to order things ever since the post office charged me 40 euros to pick up the replacement tires for my trike. If the fee is that high for tires, what would they want for a computer?
kareina: (me)
I finally managed to get back on line today, now to see if I can remember what I've been up to while off line...

Sunday: Got up and went out to the airport. Cleared security and settled down with the computer and worked a bit more preparing slides for my talk at the confrence. Shut down with just enough time to spare to run to the loo before the scheduled boarding time. Got back from that necessary errand, and they weren't boarding. I asked at the desk and was told "they only just landed". Ok. Sit down and wait a bit. After a while decided I may as well do some yoga.

A good half an hour later noticed some people talking with the gate and being handed things, so wandered over and discovered that the airline (Air France) provides passengers with coupons good for a drink at the bar if their flight is delayed. Being a water drinker, and having a full Camelbak with me, I decided not to bother. Asked if she had an idea of timing--should I turn my computer back on? She said she didn't know, it could be five minutes, or could be much longer. So I read for a while, and eventually we boarded the plane. Pity they couldn't announce the delay sooner--I'd have kept working. Oh well. I did sent a text message to my couch surfing host to let him know that the flight was delayed.

The plane was the cutest little thing--just wide enough to have one passenger on one side of the isle, and two on the other. I could stand up straight in it, but if I'd have been about three inches taller I'd have had to bend. (One of my colleagues caught that flight the day before and said that he couldn't stand up straight on the plane.) It was a cloudy day, so no Alps view this time, but the flight was nice and smooth, and I even got a nap. (Needed it after shorting myself on sleep working the week before flying.)

Once I was off the plane and on board the bus I sent a new text message to my host letting him know I was on the way, and he replied saying that he was relaxing on the river, and gave me directions on how to find the group. This has to be one of the best things about couchsurfing. If I had opted to stay in a hotel, like most of the other conference attendees, I wouldn't have been able to wander down to the river which wends its way through Toulouse on a lovely Sunday evening and join a group of people (exchanging the ritual kisses on the cheek) and be offered a beer. (No, I didn't actually accept, not being a beer drinker, but it was nice that they offered.)

After a pleasant visit we scattered and my host took me back to the home he shares with several flat-mates. My, it is a beautiful place! The back garden is enchanting, and the "granite" counter top is lovely. He had some errands to run that evening, so I worked more on my speech.

Monday I got up and walked the short way back to the local metro station and attempted to check out one of the city bikes. The machine will speak English, and it did accept my bank card. However, when it claimed to be printing a receipt, which is needed to actually obtain the bike, nothing came out. So I decided to walk to the conference. GoogleMaps claimed it would be 1 hour, 20 minutes to walk, and, as it turned out, that is how long it took me. However, I took a slightly more direct route--I followed the path it suggested up to the point where it wanted me to cross the canal. From there I simply followed the bike path along the canal to the conference site. I was only 15 minutes late, so if I hadn't have spent 30 minutes trying to check out a bike, I'd have been on time.

Monday's talks were on topics which are not very related to my research, so while I felt bad to be spending more attention on my computer screen, where I was finishing up my own talk, I also didn't feel crushed to be missing something relevant to what I'm studying. I managed to get a good solid draft done by mid afternoon, so I was able to give the later talks my undivided attention.

After the conference I tried the nearby bike station, and this time it worked, so I peddled home. Riding an upright again really makes me miss my recumbent trike! I hope that the new wheel (to replace the one damaged in shipping) arrives soon, so that I can ride it again. The canal path is lovely, and it is really a pleasant trip.

Monday evening I joined my host at a local venue. It is an old, pretty, church, which is now host on Monday evenings to a variety of different entertainments. They offer food (only 3 Euros for dinner!) to go with the entertainment. When we arrived there was a man standing on a podium doing a reading of some sort. Since it was in French I have no idea what it was, but it probably wasn't humour, since the audience wasn't laughing, but instead sitting in respectful silence.

We waited in the crowd at the bar by the entrance while he read, and when he finished and the applause started the guys behind the bar finally started taking orders again, and my host was able to purchase the tickets to get his food. (It was too late at night for me to be hungry.) While we waited I saw a few people smoking, but was delighted to note that with the ceiling so very high and the fresh air coming in the door every time people opened it I couldn't actually smell the smoke. Therefore I was willing to stay. We then found a table near the stage and sat down and talked until the next act was introduced. A group of eleven women who sang for us, accompanied by another playing an accordion. They were lovely, and I very much enjoyed it (fortunately, I'm rather used to not understanding the words to songs, after years in the SCA).

Alas, over time the smoke managed to get thick enough to descend all the way down to floor level (the ceiling was at least three times as high as the narrow width of the room), and eventually I had to leave. Fortunately, I was able to shower and wash the smell out of my hair, and I left my clothes outside in the garden overnight, by which time they aired out enough that I was willing to bring them back in again.

My host went back out to another gathering, but I opted to stay in, do my yoga, and get ready for bed. In the process I succeeded in uninstalling my wireless, so that the next time my computer turned on it re-installed it, without whatever issues it had been having, and I could finally see wireless networks again. I couldn't actually access any just then though, since my host was out, and I didn't have a password.

Tuesday (today) I succeeded in checking out a bike on my first try, and had a lovely ride in. Spent the morning attending interesting talks, one of which actually inspired an interest in a possible future research direction. During lunch I obtained the password to log into the internet provided to us conference attendees, and, Since I happen to know one of the co-authors of the above mentioned paper (way down on the list) I sent him an e-mail asking about it. It turns out that the research team there recently lost someone to death, so he advises waiting till they've finished the resultant restructuring before even thinking about projects in that direction.

I'm now back at my host's house and enjoying a bit of relaxation time. This evening the plan is to accompany one of the housemates (the one who doesn't speak English) to see some of the pretty sights of the town--apparently they light them up at night.

I should also practice my talk for tomorrow...I fly back to Milan on Thursday morning (the only flight on Wednesday would have required leaving before the conference ended), and then to Germany for an SCA event in a castle on Friday.
kareina: (me)
I finally managed to get back on line today, now to see if I can remember what I've been up to while off line...

Sunday: Got up and went out to the airport. Cleared security and settled down with the computer and worked a bit more preparing slides for my talk at the confrence. Shut down with just enough time to spare to run to the loo before the scheduled boarding time. Got back from that necessary errand, and they weren't boarding. I asked at the desk and was told "they only just landed". Ok. Sit down and wait a bit. After a while decided I may as well do some yoga.

A good half an hour later noticed some people talking with the gate and being handed things, so wandered over and discovered that the airline (Air France) provides passengers with coupons good for a drink at the bar if their flight is delayed. Being a water drinker, and having a full Camelbak with me, I decided not to bother. Asked if she had an idea of timing--should I turn my computer back on? She said she didn't know, it could be five minutes, or could be much longer. So I read for a while, and eventually we boarded the plane. Pity they couldn't announce the delay sooner--I'd have kept working. Oh well. I did sent a text message to my couch surfing host to let him know that the flight was delayed.

The plane was the cutest little thing--just wide enough to have one passenger on one side of the isle, and two on the other. I could stand up straight in it, but if I'd have been about three inches taller I'd have had to bend. (One of my colleagues caught that flight the day before and said that he couldn't stand up straight on the plane.) It was a cloudy day, so no Alps view this time, but the flight was nice and smooth, and I even got a nap. (Needed it after shorting myself on sleep working the week before flying.)

Once I was off the plane and on board the bus I sent a new text message to my host letting him know I was on the way, and he replied saying that he was relaxing on the river, and gave me directions on how to find the group. This has to be one of the best things about couchsurfing. If I had opted to stay in a hotel, like most of the other conference attendees, I wouldn't have been able to wander down to the river which wends its way through Toulouse on a lovely Sunday evening and join a group of people (exchanging the ritual kisses on the cheek) and be offered a beer. (No, I didn't actually accept, not being a beer drinker, but it was nice that they offered.)

After a pleasant visit we scattered and my host took me back to the home he shares with several flat-mates. My, it is a beautiful place! The back garden is enchanting, and the "granite" counter top is lovely. He had some errands to run that evening, so I worked more on my speech.

Monday I got up and walked the short way back to the local metro station and attempted to check out one of the city bikes. The machine will speak English, and it did accept my bank card. However, when it claimed to be printing a receipt, which is needed to actually obtain the bike, nothing came out. So I decided to walk to the conference. GoogleMaps claimed it would be 1 hour, 20 minutes to walk, and, as it turned out, that is how long it took me. However, I took a slightly more direct route--I followed the path it suggested up to the point where it wanted me to cross the canal. From there I simply followed the bike path along the canal to the conference site. I was only 15 minutes late, so if I hadn't have spent 30 minutes trying to check out a bike, I'd have been on time.

Monday's talks were on topics which are not very related to my research, so while I felt bad to be spending more attention on my computer screen, where I was finishing up my own talk, I also didn't feel crushed to be missing something relevant to what I'm studying. I managed to get a good solid draft done by mid afternoon, so I was able to give the later talks my undivided attention.

After the conference I tried the nearby bike station, and this time it worked, so I peddled home. Riding an upright again really makes me miss my recumbent trike! I hope that the new wheel (to replace the one damaged in shipping) arrives soon, so that I can ride it again. The canal path is lovely, and it is really a pleasant trip.

Monday evening I joined my host at a local venue. It is an old, pretty, church, which is now host on Monday evenings to a variety of different entertainments. They offer food (only 3 Euros for dinner!) to go with the entertainment. When we arrived there was a man standing on a podium doing a reading of some sort. Since it was in French I have no idea what it was, but it probably wasn't humour, since the audience wasn't laughing, but instead sitting in respectful silence.

We waited in the crowd at the bar by the entrance while he read, and when he finished and the applause started the guys behind the bar finally started taking orders again, and my host was able to purchase the tickets to get his food. (It was too late at night for me to be hungry.) While we waited I saw a few people smoking, but was delighted to note that with the ceiling so very high and the fresh air coming in the door every time people opened it I couldn't actually smell the smoke. Therefore I was willing to stay. We then found a table near the stage and sat down and talked until the next act was introduced. A group of eleven women who sang for us, accompanied by another playing an accordion. They were lovely, and I very much enjoyed it (fortunately, I'm rather used to not understanding the words to songs, after years in the SCA).

Alas, over time the smoke managed to get thick enough to descend all the way down to floor level (the ceiling was at least three times as high as the narrow width of the room), and eventually I had to leave. Fortunately, I was able to shower and wash the smell out of my hair, and I left my clothes outside in the garden overnight, by which time they aired out enough that I was willing to bring them back in again.

My host went back out to another gathering, but I opted to stay in, do my yoga, and get ready for bed. In the process I succeeded in uninstalling my wireless, so that the next time my computer turned on it re-installed it, without whatever issues it had been having, and I could finally see wireless networks again. I couldn't actually access any just then though, since my host was out, and I didn't have a password.

Tuesday (today) I succeeded in checking out a bike on my first try, and had a lovely ride in. Spent the morning attending interesting talks, one of which actually inspired an interest in a possible future research direction. During lunch I obtained the password to log into the internet provided to us conference attendees, and, Since I happen to know one of the co-authors of the above mentioned paper (way down on the list) I sent him an e-mail asking about it. It turns out that the research team there recently lost someone to death, so he advises waiting till they've finished the resultant restructuring before even thinking about projects in that direction.

I'm now back at my host's house and enjoying a bit of relaxation time. This evening the plan is to accompany one of the housemates (the one who doesn't speak English) to see some of the pretty sights of the town--apparently they light them up at night.

I should also practice my talk for tomorrow...I fly back to Milan on Thursday morning (the only flight on Wednesday would have required leaving before the conference ended), and then to Germany for an SCA event in a castle on Friday.
kareina: (me)
Before we came out for this short course we had an e-mail providing the urls for a variety of free programs we needed to download in order to do the practical sessions. One of the programs comes with a warning when you install it that there are many, many, many sub programs which could be downloaded, and to save space one might wish to pick and choose. However, the e-mail didn't give any indication as to which, if any, of the sub programs we'd need. Therefore I went with the default package, and hoped. Nope. Not good enough. When using another of the programs (which one must use the first program to access at all) I encountered a "command not found" error on the first step of the first practical. In asking our fearless leader it turns out that this is because I didn't install one of the necessary sub programs. Sigh. This is why I am here, in the hotel lobby (where there is internet available), downloading/installing that (and others they suggest I add as well) program, instead of in the classroom actually using the programs. It is up to 8% now.

The hotel here in Verbania is very generous with its serving sizes. I did manage to eat a small amount of last night's dinner, despite the very, very late hour (we sat down at 8pm, which is a good three to six hours later than I normally quit eating for the day, but I'd deliberately eaten less than normal, in hopes of being able to be sociable and actually eat with my colleagues). I managed a small amount of the yummy lentil-barley soup they brought out at 20:15 (but stopped her after the first small ladle full, not wanting three heaping scoops like she gave everyone else at my table), and ate a few bites of the gnocci with tomato sauce when it came out at 20:40, but was too full to finish even the tiny scoop she'd given me (and she filled everyone else's plate). I didn't even let her try giving me any of the meat or carrots that came out at 21:00, nor the desert (some sort of fruit-jam topped baked good by the look of it) that came out at 21:30. I really don't understand how anyone else managed to eat all of that food so close to bedtime--doesn't it hurt them to go to bed with a full tum like it does me? Perhaps some of them stayed up late, but since breakfast was served at 07:30 in preparation for 08:30 lectures, I wasn't willing to stay up very late.

Breakfast was a help-yourself affair, with choices of hard or soft bread rolls, or really dark croissants with jam filling, or museli, corflakes, or one other cereal with yoghurt, milk, or fruit cocktail.

Lunch today was another elaborate meal--the brought out a beef lasagne at 13:20 (being a vegetarian, I nibbled a bread roll from the basket on the table), followed by a yummy rice dish cooked in pumpkin broth with enough cheese to make it sticky at 13:30, then they brought out bowls of lettuce with vinegar and oil for the tables and served what looked like slabs of chicken at 13:40, and let me know that they'd bring me a vegetarian option along with a vinegar-free salad in a few minutes. Sure enough, a short time later they brought out a plate covered with slices of fresh tomato, covered with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and basil, and another bowl of lettuce, this time without dressing. There was way too much for one person to eat, but one of my co-workers, who also doesn't like vinegar, was sitting next to me, so she helped me with the lettuce, and once I'd managed to eat about half of the tomato and cheese (with the lettuce--I think it would have been better without the oil), the others at my table agreed to eat the rest of it for me.

hmm. That brings the download to 13%. Darn it--by the clock they should have switched to the next set of practicals, but I'm not leaving my computer here, and if I take it with me the downloads will stop...
kareina: (me)
Before we came out for this short course we had an e-mail providing the urls for a variety of free programs we needed to download in order to do the practical sessions. One of the programs comes with a warning when you install it that there are many, many, many sub programs which could be downloaded, and to save space one might wish to pick and choose. However, the e-mail didn't give any indication as to which, if any, of the sub programs we'd need. Therefore I went with the default package, and hoped. Nope. Not good enough. When using another of the programs (which one must use the first program to access at all) I encountered a "command not found" error on the first step of the first practical. In asking our fearless leader it turns out that this is because I didn't install one of the necessary sub programs. Sigh. This is why I am here, in the hotel lobby (where there is internet available), downloading/installing that (and others they suggest I add as well) program, instead of in the classroom actually using the programs. It is up to 8% now.

The hotel here in Verbania is very generous with its serving sizes. I did manage to eat a small amount of last night's dinner, despite the very, very late hour (we sat down at 8pm, which is a good three to six hours later than I normally quit eating for the day, but I'd deliberately eaten less than normal, in hopes of being able to be sociable and actually eat with my colleagues). I managed a small amount of the yummy lentil-barley soup they brought out at 20:15 (but stopped her after the first small ladle full, not wanting three heaping scoops like she gave everyone else at my table), and ate a few bites of the gnocci with tomato sauce when it came out at 20:40, but was too full to finish even the tiny scoop she'd given me (and she filled everyone else's plate). I didn't even let her try giving me any of the meat or carrots that came out at 21:00, nor the desert (some sort of fruit-jam topped baked good by the look of it) that came out at 21:30. I really don't understand how anyone else managed to eat all of that food so close to bedtime--doesn't it hurt them to go to bed with a full tum like it does me? Perhaps some of them stayed up late, but since breakfast was served at 07:30 in preparation for 08:30 lectures, I wasn't willing to stay up very late.

Breakfast was a help-yourself affair, with choices of hard or soft bread rolls, or really dark croissants with jam filling, or museli, corflakes, or one other cereal with yoghurt, milk, or fruit cocktail.

Lunch today was another elaborate meal--the brought out a beef lasagne at 13:20 (being a vegetarian, I nibbled a bread roll from the basket on the table), followed by a yummy rice dish cooked in pumpkin broth with enough cheese to make it sticky at 13:30, then they brought out bowls of lettuce with vinegar and oil for the tables and served what looked like slabs of chicken at 13:40, and let me know that they'd bring me a vegetarian option along with a vinegar-free salad in a few minutes. Sure enough, a short time later they brought out a plate covered with slices of fresh tomato, covered with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and basil, and another bowl of lettuce, this time without dressing. There was way too much for one person to eat, but one of my co-workers, who also doesn't like vinegar, was sitting next to me, so she helped me with the lettuce, and once I'd managed to eat about half of the tomato and cheese (with the lettuce--I think it would have been better without the oil), the others at my table agreed to eat the rest of it for me.

hmm. That brings the download to 13%. Darn it--by the clock they should have switched to the next set of practicals, but I'm not leaving my computer here, and if I take it with me the downloads will stop...
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Around 6:30 this evening I determined that I need a better computer--one which doesn't freeze up when one has open 12+ files in 7+ different programs. So I managed to get the computer shut down (took a while) and went for a walk. When I returned I discovered that the problem wasn't *only* the level of multi-tasking I'd asked of the poor machine, but was due to the specific file I'd tried to open. It was only a 33,000 KB CorelDraw file (I've got others which are larger!), but when I tried to open it, the darn thing froze up again. So I restarted the computer again (and picked up a sewing project) and then proceeded to spend a couple of hours trying various techniques to get the file to actually open. Once it finally did (after much stitching progress while I waited), I cut half of the data into a new file and saved each half separately. Sigh. I still want a better computer, but I don't think it is going to happen any time soon. As a result of all of that mucking around, I didn't get as much uni work done as I wanted, but I did get the most recent monazite results typed up and added into the thesis, and created the new figures to go with it. I will still need to go back and recalculate the averages for all of the data now that there is new data, but just doing the above took sufficent energy that I shall wait till tomorrow do do that part.

In other news I received a surprising e-mail today. A few days back I saw an advertisement for a post-doc position in Europe which involves experimental petrology. I've not had a chance to do the experimental stuff, and it sounds intriguing, so I sent off an e-mail & copy of my CV asking if they are interested in applications from folk without experiance in that field, and indicated that if they'd like, I could prepare a formal application. Yesterday I received a letter back with some questions, which I replied to promptly, and today received another letter suggesting that while they consider the applications that I contact their embassy to ask about visa arrangements--he was concerned that as a US citizen in Australia would I need to return to the US to apply for an European visa. I let him know about my dual citizenship, which, at the least, would mean I could apply as an Australian, rather than as an American, and I did fire off an e-mail to the embassy asking them about visa applications. He also asked for my Skype account name so that we could do an interview. I gave him the information that he requested, and then asked him if he wants a formal application, or if the correspondence we've exchanged thus far is sufficent indication of my interest. I'm not really clear at this point if I've applied, and if so, what kind of chance I've got, but what the heck, I'm going with the flow.

Here's hoping that tomorrow is without any computer issues and I can get things further along with the thesis before heading out to the Folk Federation dance in the evening.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Around 6:30 this evening I determined that I need a better computer--one which doesn't freeze up when one has open 12+ files in 7+ different programs. So I managed to get the computer shut down (took a while) and went for a walk. When I returned I discovered that the problem wasn't *only* the level of multi-tasking I'd asked of the poor machine, but was due to the specific file I'd tried to open. It was only a 33,000 KB CorelDraw file (I've got others which are larger!), but when I tried to open it, the darn thing froze up again. So I restarted the computer again (and picked up a sewing project) and then proceeded to spend a couple of hours trying various techniques to get the file to actually open. Once it finally did (after much stitching progress while I waited), I cut half of the data into a new file and saved each half separately. Sigh. I still want a better computer, but I don't think it is going to happen any time soon. As a result of all of that mucking around, I didn't get as much uni work done as I wanted, but I did get the most recent monazite results typed up and added into the thesis, and created the new figures to go with it. I will still need to go back and recalculate the averages for all of the data now that there is new data, but just doing the above took sufficent energy that I shall wait till tomorrow do do that part.

In other news I received a surprising e-mail today. A few days back I saw an advertisement for a post-doc position in Europe which involves experimental petrology. I've not had a chance to do the experimental stuff, and it sounds intriguing, so I sent off an e-mail & copy of my CV asking if they are interested in applications from folk without experiance in that field, and indicated that if they'd like, I could prepare a formal application. Yesterday I received a letter back with some questions, which I replied to promptly, and today received another letter suggesting that while they consider the applications that I contact their embassy to ask about visa arrangements--he was concerned that as a US citizen in Australia would I need to return to the US to apply for an European visa. I let him know about my dual citizenship, which, at the least, would mean I could apply as an Australian, rather than as an American, and I did fire off an e-mail to the embassy asking them about visa applications. He also asked for my Skype account name so that we could do an interview. I gave him the information that he requested, and then asked him if he wants a formal application, or if the correspondence we've exchanged thus far is sufficent indication of my interest. I'm not really clear at this point if I've applied, and if so, what kind of chance I've got, but what the heck, I'm going with the flow.

Here's hoping that tomorrow is without any computer issues and I can get things further along with the thesis before heading out to the Folk Federation dance in the evening.

arrrrgh

Feb. 1st, 2009 10:29 pm
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Bad computer, no biscuit!

Over the past hour or so, I have had to deal with my computer misbehaving. First when I added a reference to chapter three of my thesis in EndNote, then clicked the button to format the bibliography, and, for no apparent reason, the reference vanished. Tried adding it several more times, and each time it vanished. Then I realized that *all* of the references in the document had vanished. This is really weird, and has never happened before. So I restarted the computer, opened Word, created a new document, put in a bunch of references in EndNote and turned on and off the "format bibliography" feature several times, to see that it was functioning normally. Then re-opened my document (which, alas, had been saved before I'd noticed how wide-spread the damage was) and then opened an older version of the document so I could find all of the places wherein I'd cited sources, and added them all back in. This didn't take very long, there not being many places in this chapter where I'd needed to cite the literature (since this is a chapter reporting my data, it is mostly crediting the other people who collected the samples I've been studying). I was quite pleased with myself, I managed to keep calm throughout the process, and while annoyed to be spending time fixing random computer issues rather than working, I dealt with it quickly and easily. Then I returned to editing the chapter and fixing the list of figures, whcih, large chunks of this chapter having been moved to an appendix, now contains a bunch of figure captions whcih are no longer needed. In the process I noticed that the style heading for the chapter titles really needed a bit more space under it--the underlying paragraph was snuggled up too closely to look good, so I paused in my work for the few seconds it took to update the formatting for that style, and continued with my work, saving the document again. Then I went to add a caption for a new figure, and was most surprised when it was going to assign it a number of 1-3, rather than 3-3 as I expected it to. So I clicked "update fields" on the other figure numbers, and they all changed from being in the format of 3-1 to "Error! No text of specified style in document.-1". Sigh. Clearly it isn't happy with me for doing the changes to the format for chapter headings. Unfortunately, now I can't get it to work. I can turn off the chapter number part of the figure numbers, and it is fine. I tried setting bullets and numbering to "none", and then turning them back on again. Alas, now they show "chapter 1" for the first level, but don't show any of the numbers for the other levels any more. Eventually the process of trying to solve the problem triggered my temper. Unfortunately, yelling at the computer does not help. Nor does it make my throat feel good. Note to self: when losing one's temper at a machine, project from the diaphragm, it hurts less. Improved note to self: It is better to stay calm--tempers don't help.

Today I managed only five hours of uni work. I'd intended to do far more--I was happily settled in to the computer making good progress. Had just thought to myself, gee, I should call [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and have him get a ride half way home from fighter practice with my apprentice--she has to pass uni on her way home--if I met them there when he's done I'd be away from the computer for far less time. Just then he called, saying that he'd like me to come get him soon. I told him my cunning plan, and he said no, he had too much stuff to impose upon anyone else, and I should take a break and come be sociable at fighter practice. I pointed out that I was happily working and didn't feel like I needed a break, and he pointed out that he's had to put down work (and computer games) to come get me in the past. Sigh. So I went and got him. Did enjoy a pleasant few minutes chatting with people at practice before coming home, and once we were home got his help tidying up the kitchen a bit. Total time elapsed between putting the computer down to go get him and sitting back down to it: 2.5 hours. *If* I'd have picked uni work back up then, that is all I would have lost. Alas, I've a bad habit of wanting to go "splat" for a bit to recover from arduous tasks like heading into town, so first I read a bit of e-mail and live journal whilst eating. Then I decided to write up my 25 things, even though I'd told [livejournal.com profile] corva that it might be some time before I could afford the time to do so. Once that was done and posted the family were sitting down to their evening meal, so I went and visited with them a bit before *finally* returning to work--total time elapsed between putting the computer down to go get him, and starting uni work: 5 hours, 54 minutes! No wonder I lost my temper with the computer, I was already feeling guilty for how much work I'd not done--no wonder that when it presented complications I snapped. I wonder if understanding that will help me not snap next time?

arrrrgh

Feb. 1st, 2009 10:29 pm
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Bad computer, no biscuit!

Over the past hour or so, I have had to deal with my computer misbehaving. First when I added a reference to chapter three of my thesis in EndNote, then clicked the button to format the bibliography, and, for no apparent reason, the reference vanished. Tried adding it several more times, and each time it vanished. Then I realized that *all* of the references in the document had vanished. This is really weird, and has never happened before. So I restarted the computer, opened Word, created a new document, put in a bunch of references in EndNote and turned on and off the "format bibliography" feature several times, to see that it was functioning normally. Then re-opened my document (which, alas, had been saved before I'd noticed how wide-spread the damage was) and then opened an older version of the document so I could find all of the places wherein I'd cited sources, and added them all back in. This didn't take very long, there not being many places in this chapter where I'd needed to cite the literature (since this is a chapter reporting my data, it is mostly crediting the other people who collected the samples I've been studying). I was quite pleased with myself, I managed to keep calm throughout the process, and while annoyed to be spending time fixing random computer issues rather than working, I dealt with it quickly and easily. Then I returned to editing the chapter and fixing the list of figures, whcih, large chunks of this chapter having been moved to an appendix, now contains a bunch of figure captions whcih are no longer needed. In the process I noticed that the style heading for the chapter titles really needed a bit more space under it--the underlying paragraph was snuggled up too closely to look good, so I paused in my work for the few seconds it took to update the formatting for that style, and continued with my work, saving the document again. Then I went to add a caption for a new figure, and was most surprised when it was going to assign it a number of 1-3, rather than 3-3 as I expected it to. So I clicked "update fields" on the other figure numbers, and they all changed from being in the format of 3-1 to "Error! No text of specified style in document.-1". Sigh. Clearly it isn't happy with me for doing the changes to the format for chapter headings. Unfortunately, now I can't get it to work. I can turn off the chapter number part of the figure numbers, and it is fine. I tried setting bullets and numbering to "none", and then turning them back on again. Alas, now they show "chapter 1" for the first level, but don't show any of the numbers for the other levels any more. Eventually the process of trying to solve the problem triggered my temper. Unfortunately, yelling at the computer does not help. Nor does it make my throat feel good. Note to self: when losing one's temper at a machine, project from the diaphragm, it hurts less. Improved note to self: It is better to stay calm--tempers don't help.

Today I managed only five hours of uni work. I'd intended to do far more--I was happily settled in to the computer making good progress. Had just thought to myself, gee, I should call [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and have him get a ride half way home from fighter practice with my apprentice--she has to pass uni on her way home--if I met them there when he's done I'd be away from the computer for far less time. Just then he called, saying that he'd like me to come get him soon. I told him my cunning plan, and he said no, he had too much stuff to impose upon anyone else, and I should take a break and come be sociable at fighter practice. I pointed out that I was happily working and didn't feel like I needed a break, and he pointed out that he's had to put down work (and computer games) to come get me in the past. Sigh. So I went and got him. Did enjoy a pleasant few minutes chatting with people at practice before coming home, and once we were home got his help tidying up the kitchen a bit. Total time elapsed between putting the computer down to go get him and sitting back down to it: 2.5 hours. *If* I'd have picked uni work back up then, that is all I would have lost. Alas, I've a bad habit of wanting to go "splat" for a bit to recover from arduous tasks like heading into town, so first I read a bit of e-mail and live journal whilst eating. Then I decided to write up my 25 things, even though I'd told [livejournal.com profile] corva that it might be some time before I could afford the time to do so. Once that was done and posted the family were sitting down to their evening meal, so I went and visited with them a bit before *finally* returning to work--total time elapsed between putting the computer down to go get him, and starting uni work: 5 hours, 54 minutes! No wonder I lost my temper with the computer, I was already feeling guilty for how much work I'd not done--no wonder that when it presented complications I snapped. I wonder if understanding that will help me not snap next time?
kareina: (BSE garnet)
or a better computer.

or something.

When I bought this computer two or three years ago I was upgrading from one with 2 gigs of hard drive, so the 2 gigs of RAM this notebook came with sounded like a plethora.

I have memories of doing my Master's degree using a Pentium 75, which was just fine for the word processing, but a pain to do the figures--particularly getting them sized correctly and put into the correct spot on the pages. There weren't all that many figures for that project, so the technique I used was leave blank boxes within the Word document and then do the figures in CorelDraw positioning them the appropriate distance from the margins of the page, then print the page twice,once for the text, and the second time for the figure. It worked, but it was slow and painful, and caused numerous computer crashes and necessitated re-starting the computer often.

This time I have *way* more figures. Therefore I've decided that rather than trying to put the figures on the same page as the text I'll be putting them on facing pages. All of the text will be on the right hand pages, and all of the figures will be on left hand pages (the Uni's policy on printing is that we can print double sided *if* we use good enough paper that it doesn't bleed through to the other side, so sometime soonish I'll have to go paper shopping for something good enough to do figures on one side, text on the other, without the figures showing through. Sure, it will cost more, but it will be much better than doing a separate volume for the figures (as some people do), and way, way, better than trying to insert them into the text).

In anticipation of doing the figures like this, I decided to start gathering the figures for chapter five together into a "single" document ready for printing, since this is the chapter which is close to done--the thought was that I could give the figures and the chapter to my advisor at the same time--it will be ever so much easier for him to edit the chapter if he can look at the figures too. On another occasion I gave him all of the figures for the chapter tossed into a PowerPoint presentation, with a single slide per figure, that being a quick way to gather them, and didn't require worrying about things like page margins. But as the time to print is getting closer, I thought it worth heading towards an actual final product for that part to save time later.

Silly me, my first thought was that since the Microsoft program Publisher is designed to let one do specific layout and design, it would be a sensible program with which to organize my figures, most of which are graphs created in Excel, and Microsoft products ought to be able to handle data from other Microsoft products. It worked for the first 10 figures. However, the time between hitting "paste" and having the image actually appear took long enough that I kept a sewing project within reach so that I could do some stitching whilst I waited for it. Then the silly program gave up. It told me that it couldn't save any more--the file was too big! Even after re-starting (which I'd done periodically all along during the process of getting it that far--it was going slow enough I thought it needed a break now and then) it wouldn't even let me copy some of the figures to put them into a new file.

So I did the sensible thing. Rather than yielding to the temper tantrum which was begging to come out and screaming at the machine, which hasn't the ears to hear me anyway, I shut down and went for a walk. 45 minutes later, I returned, used the C-Clean program to get rid of any temporary files remaining that should have been deleted during the shut-down process before this, and commenced making the rest of the figures in CorelDraw. This was a vast improvement! With CorelDraw the second I hit "paste" the graph shows up, and when I tell it to change the size, the change is instant. Alas, there is still a *long* wait every time I save the file, but, that is what sewing projects are for!

As I work I read over the text, doing edits as needed, and I've created another spreadsheet which lists every figure's number, its caption, the location of the file from which it originally comes,and the file name of the ready to print version. My goal of putting the entire chapter's worth of figures will not be realized--I'm doing only one to five pages at a time, depending on the size of the file--some graphs seem to be larger than others, for reasons I don't understand.

I had hoped to do all of the figures and the rest of the chapter editing this weekend. No such luck. Over the course of eight hours, 47 minutes today, and four hours yesterday I've managed 21 of 90 figures, which corresponds to the first 13 pages of text (of 40 total). Perhaps tomorrow will go faster. Wish me luck, and much patience my poor computer can't manage what I think it should be able to accomplish at one go.

But what will I stitch tomorrow? I finished converting the huge pair of sweat pants (the "M" in the label must have stood for "Massive") to a more reasonable size today--working a bit at a time in between waiting for the computer to be ready for the next task.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
or a better computer.

or something.

When I bought this computer two or three years ago I was upgrading from one with 2 gigs of hard drive, so the 2 gigs of RAM this notebook came with sounded like a plethora.

I have memories of doing my Master's degree using a Pentium 75, which was just fine for the word processing, but a pain to do the figures--particularly getting them sized correctly and put into the correct spot on the pages. There weren't all that many figures for that project, so the technique I used was leave blank boxes within the Word document and then do the figures in CorelDraw positioning them the appropriate distance from the margins of the page, then print the page twice,once for the text, and the second time for the figure. It worked, but it was slow and painful, and caused numerous computer crashes and necessitated re-starting the computer often.

This time I have *way* more figures. Therefore I've decided that rather than trying to put the figures on the same page as the text I'll be putting them on facing pages. All of the text will be on the right hand pages, and all of the figures will be on left hand pages (the Uni's policy on printing is that we can print double sided *if* we use good enough paper that it doesn't bleed through to the other side, so sometime soonish I'll have to go paper shopping for something good enough to do figures on one side, text on the other, without the figures showing through. Sure, it will cost more, but it will be much better than doing a separate volume for the figures (as some people do), and way, way, better than trying to insert them into the text).

In anticipation of doing the figures like this, I decided to start gathering the figures for chapter five together into a "single" document ready for printing, since this is the chapter which is close to done--the thought was that I could give the figures and the chapter to my advisor at the same time--it will be ever so much easier for him to edit the chapter if he can look at the figures too. On another occasion I gave him all of the figures for the chapter tossed into a PowerPoint presentation, with a single slide per figure, that being a quick way to gather them, and didn't require worrying about things like page margins. But as the time to print is getting closer, I thought it worth heading towards an actual final product for that part to save time later.

Silly me, my first thought was that since the Microsoft program Publisher is designed to let one do specific layout and design, it would be a sensible program with which to organize my figures, most of which are graphs created in Excel, and Microsoft products ought to be able to handle data from other Microsoft products. It worked for the first 10 figures. However, the time between hitting "paste" and having the image actually appear took long enough that I kept a sewing project within reach so that I could do some stitching whilst I waited for it. Then the silly program gave up. It told me that it couldn't save any more--the file was too big! Even after re-starting (which I'd done periodically all along during the process of getting it that far--it was going slow enough I thought it needed a break now and then) it wouldn't even let me copy some of the figures to put them into a new file.

So I did the sensible thing. Rather than yielding to the temper tantrum which was begging to come out and screaming at the machine, which hasn't the ears to hear me anyway, I shut down and went for a walk. 45 minutes later, I returned, used the C-Clean program to get rid of any temporary files remaining that should have been deleted during the shut-down process before this, and commenced making the rest of the figures in CorelDraw. This was a vast improvement! With CorelDraw the second I hit "paste" the graph shows up, and when I tell it to change the size, the change is instant. Alas, there is still a *long* wait every time I save the file, but, that is what sewing projects are for!

As I work I read over the text, doing edits as needed, and I've created another spreadsheet which lists every figure's number, its caption, the location of the file from which it originally comes,and the file name of the ready to print version. My goal of putting the entire chapter's worth of figures will not be realized--I'm doing only one to five pages at a time, depending on the size of the file--some graphs seem to be larger than others, for reasons I don't understand.

I had hoped to do all of the figures and the rest of the chapter editing this weekend. No such luck. Over the course of eight hours, 47 minutes today, and four hours yesterday I've managed 21 of 90 figures, which corresponds to the first 13 pages of text (of 40 total). Perhaps tomorrow will go faster. Wish me luck, and much patience my poor computer can't manage what I think it should be able to accomplish at one go.

But what will I stitch tomorrow? I finished converting the huge pair of sweat pants (the "M" in the label must have stood for "Massive") to a more reasonable size today--working a bit at a time in between waiting for the computer to be ready for the next task.

Nine?!

Aug. 19th, 2008 02:08 pm
kareina: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] clovis_t needed a new mouse--his right mouse button didn't work any more. He told me that he didn't just want to get a cheap one, so I gave him permission to look for something better than bottom-of-the-line. After all, I insist on a pen/drawing tablet instead of a mouse, so I understand being fussy about how one communicates with one's computer. But, I do have to wonder, does a mouse really need NINE buttons? Sure, I like having a pen with two buttons--one for "double click", and one for "right mouse". But Nine?! Isn't that a bit excessive?

Nine?!

Aug. 19th, 2008 02:08 pm
kareina: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] clovis_t needed a new mouse--his right mouse button didn't work any more. He told me that he didn't just want to get a cheap one, so I gave him permission to look for something better than bottom-of-the-line. After all, I insist on a pen/drawing tablet instead of a mouse, so I understand being fussy about how one communicates with one's computer. But, I do have to wonder, does a mouse really need NINE buttons? Sure, I like having a pen with two buttons--one for "double click", and one for "right mouse". But Nine?! Isn't that a bit excessive?

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