Monday, September 11, 2006

End of an era + Catch up

Today I moved out of my PhD office. Even though I finished my thesis in January, graduated in June, and have been working on a completely different project (Le Active Math) since last October I had somehow managed to remain at my old desk. Today marks the start of Edinburgh University Fresher’s so new PhD students were coming to inhabit my office which meant that I finally had to cut my ties with my old desk. So sad….so many memories….and too many long hours spent at that desk.

My departure from the office was eased by the fact that most of the office mates I had shared it with during my Ph.D. had also left. Scott Nowson started his new life at Macquarie University in Sydney three weeks ago (you can check on his progress at Sarah Gingell finally finished her Ph.D. (after too long to record here) last year and has moved on to a real life. Colin Fraser went part-time on his Ph.D. and is now touring Europe promoting e-Democracy (you’ll have to ask Colin to explain what this entails). Zoe Bruce (and Morgan the Dog) left a couple of years ago to pursue a career in academic publishing (Zoe that is, not Morgan). We all had some great times together. In fact we may have had too many great times considering how long our research ended up taking J. Still, I wouldn’t have traded you guys in for anything. Thanks for keeping me company.

Now I find myself divided, literally. I’ve got a “hot desk” (what a cool name for what is essentially a desk that anybody can sit at) in the same building in Informatics which I shall be using most days for my Le Active Math work. I also have a very nice office all to myself in John Henderson’s lab in Psychology. That is where all the interesting blog-relevant work will take place. I’m really excited about starting full time over there but this won’t happen until January. In the meantime I have to run a MASSIVE evaluation of Le Active Math….. Wish me look.

Blog posts I should have written and still might:

  • Narrative and Interactive Learning Environments conference, Edinburgh (8/08-11/08/06). I really enjoy this conference as it attracts such a small, friendly, yet hugely intelligent group of people. I was one of the organisers this year and found myself stage managing and being sound and lighting engineer for a multimedia performance group called Palindrome. These guys do visionary things with motion capture and real-time music production. We were really lucky to have them take part in NILE.

  • Active Vision workshop, Dundee (1/09/06). This is a great little workshop organised by Ben Tatler. Lots of interesting presentations about eye movement research from a diverse range of disciplines. The atmosphere was really relaxed which resulted in a lot of discussion and humour. This workshop was a great example of how many interesting eye movement researchers there are across the UK. I’m really looking forward to being more “active” in this community (Sorry, I couldn’t help it)

  • Edinburgh International Film Festival (14/08-25/08/06). God I love living in Edinburgh! August is a month of cultural, artistic and pleasurable excess that always amazes me. The high point for me is always the film festival. I see an unhealthy number of films each year and 2006 was no difference. Highlights include Brothers of the Head, Black Sheep, Host (Gwoemul), Snow Cake, Clerks 2 (and attending a Q&A with Kevin Smith), and Looking for Cheyenne (Oublier Cheyenne). Thanks to Shane Danielsen the festival director who programmed a fantastic final festival. You shall be missed. Especially your bizarre digressional Q&A style and uncontrollable flirting. Fantastic.

Actually I think I just ended up writing those blog posts!