terriko: I am a serious academic (Twlight Sparkle looking confused) (Serious Academic)
2011-10-18 10:56
Entry tags:

Don't call me Dr... yet.

For those who haven't already heard via twitter, the defence on Friday went well, and I passed with minor revisions. Aside from some technical problems with the video conference for my external committee member, it went smoothly.

Technically I don't think you get to call me Dr. until the final paperwork is in, including the final printed copies of my thesis, but I'm expecting to finish the revisions today and get the paperwork done tomorrow so it won't be long now.

I'm not a huge fan of having to use a title at all, but I've always hated Ms,/Miss, so I will indeed be using Dr. as my title when the situation warrants. Obviously I've earned it, but I'm also absurdly amused by the resulting near gender-neutrality of my name. I expect many hilarious incidents where I get to break people's assumptions. But probably the only time any of you would ever use it is if you were sending me a wedding invitation or wanted to mess with someone's head. Including mine... in my head, Dr. O is my father, and it may take a bit of adjustment to get myself to answer to it!

So... what's on my to do list?

- The movers came and took my stuff out of my sister's basement this morning. I don't even have an ETA for when I'll get an ETA, but presumably my stuff will show up eventually!

- Lunch with Ken shortly. Dinner with the McKay's.

- I wanted to donate blood, which might have to happen this afternoon if it happens at all. This might make re-adapting to altitude harder, but I might also still have juicy extra red blood cells from my month in abq, and I figure it's better to donate than have them just all reabsorb.

- I still have revisions and paperwork to do at the university, so I'll be there tomorrow.

- Dinner with my family and possibly band before I head to my grandmother's for dessert. I know, I'm not in the band anymore, but they've got this great lineup of movie music for an upcoming concert and it's fun to sit in!

- I decided to leave my guitar with my parents so that I won't have to deal with the logistics of flying with it *and* the camera equipment I left behind last time. I'll just have to focus on clarinet 'till I decide to buy a replacement guitar. I could use one more suited to my size, anyhow.

- I head back on Thursday and I'm pretty much all booked 'till then, so if I didn't get to see you this trip, I'm sorry! I'll be back in December for the holidays.
terriko: I am a serious academic (Twlight Sparkle looking confused) (Serious Academic)
2011-10-13 00:18
Entry tags:

Tidbits

- My defence is on Friday.

- Slides got sent off today. I am more happy with them than I was yesterday, and think I will do a good presentation despite having to reign in my usual style to appear "more academic" for the one committee member who cared about such appearances. I think I made even my wordier slides reasonably useful, and there's still lots of visual descriptions.

- Amusingly, I now have a student card that is valid through 2015. (Mine had expired 'cause I took more than 4 years to complete my degree, and new ones are also valid for 4 years.)

- I kinda dislike most of what the Canadian Federation of Students does with my money, but they *are* lobbying against our stupid copyright legislation, which may be the most awesome campaign I've ever seen them run.

- I'm worried my movers are going to cancel on me, as they have just changed my moving date again. Ugh.

- My pseudonymous artist persona gained a bunch of followers/fans/friends overnight, and I've been tickled pink about all the nice comments people left. Yeay!
terriko: I am a serious academic (Twlight Sparkle looking confused) (Serious Academic)
2011-09-17 02:48
Entry tags:

Accomplishments: Thesis, My Little Pony

I submitted my thesis!

My defence date is set for October 14th at 9:30am, which is going to hurt a little since I'm currently 2h shifted, but I'll have been back for a week then so I should have time to adjust.

I have a computer at work! And access to stuff on other systems! And things to learn! And have already been watching totally inappropriate videos with my new labmates and got invited to play League of Legends with them once I have it set up. ;)

And then I came home, had dinner, and wrote about my little ponies. Learn about how My Little Ponies helped me make my first "videogame" and then read the interview with Lauren Faust to find out how Michael Bay helped bring us a show for girls worth watching (wait, what?):



OMG, Ponies! (Or… my love affair with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)

I always thought my friend Sarah summed up the appeal of My Little Pony the best:

Once you believe in rainbow-coloured ponies who can talk, there isn’t much limit to your imagination.



PS - for those who haven't been reading my private posts, take special note of my new "Serious Academic" icon. ;)

PPS - I may be more myself again with a break in the thesis grind.

PPPS - Also, I might have internet at home come Monday! And John might manage to visit! Everything is awesome!
terriko: (Default)
2011-08-16 16:07
Entry tags:

I'm moving to Albuquerque!

The job: Postdoc at the University of New Mexico

I'm going to be starting a postdoc at the University of New Mexico this fall.

I was fortunate enough to have some great interviews and offers, but I chose UNM because I was guaranteed to be doing the sort of research I find most interesting there, and because the people are fantastic. It was actually the only place where I got much chance to meet my prospective colleagues so I know I'm joining a very interesting team of biologists, software engineers and security folk. Part of my job will involve being the glue between the 4 teams, so I'm likely going to work with a lot of different people on a regular basis!

One of the researchers compared the project to skynet, and it's actually disturbingly apt, although thus far without the homicidal AI. Maybe that's where I come in? More seriously, I'll be working on biologically-inspired artificial life / computer immunology for security applications. Their early results are insanely promising, and I'm really excited about working in a space where no one will be fazed by my use of biological metaphors for things. (I was raised by wolves biologists, recall.)

And yes, for those of you who heard about some of my other contract negotiations: this postdoc does mean that I'll be able to continue working in open source and more specifically that I'll be able to continue working on Mailman. I'm all excited about doing some informal user testing on the work our Summer of Code students have produced, so expect to see me asking for help with that once I'm settled.

The move: Albuquerque, NM

John and I were down house hunting this past week, and have secured the most beautiful apartment for Sept 1st. I wish I'd taken pictures to show you; it's really gorgeous with high ceilings, this nifty kitchen, and even a hammock in the backyard. The landlords actually knew and could name their neighbours, which makes me feel better about the neighbourhood, and it'll be an easy bike ride in to the university which alleviates my need to buy a car right away. It'll be just me there for at least the first few months, but there's enough space for John to move in later. There is also a full guest bedroom, so please consider coming to visit!

Moving is... going to be a pain. The quotes I've got today run $5-6.5k, and I've been allotted a $1.5k moving allowance. The cheap quote is from PODS, assuming I move a 8x8x16 pod which they recommend for a 2-bedroom, but I may phone them again for the 8x7x7 sized quote since I'm planning on leaving a lot of my furniture behind. Currently planning on taking my bed, a couple of the good bookshelves, clothes, kitchenalia, and a few boxes of books. It may make more sense to ditch the bed and just ship small boxes, though; we'll see. Moving recommendations appreciated.

The thesis

Is not yet complete -- my supervisor just got back from a family event last night and is back to editing today, so I'll be back to revisions later this evening. I really hope this can be done soon!
terriko: (Default)
2011-07-26 17:46
Entry tags:

Yet another reason that my supervisor is awesome

You probably got the impression from my last post that I was kinda irked with my PhD supervisor.

What you may be more surprised to hear is that I had actually told him this in an email before the blog post went up. And here's where the awesome part comes in: he's actually modified his editing style to make the revision process easier and less stressful for me going forwards, even though it's resulting in more work for him.

I often talk about how the best part of my job is working with smart, creative people... but this week, it's one very smart, creative, and considerate person who's making this whole process a lot more bearable.

And with that, it's time to get back to work so hopefully the next round of editing will be easier on both of us. ;)
terriko: (Default)
2011-07-22 15:58
Entry tags:

Terri is moving: The FAQ

I made an offhand comment about not wanting to drive a uhaul for 35 hours, and as a result several dozen people have independently contacted me in a variety of ways to ask what's up with that, and the tide does not seem to be slowing. I'm totally glad I have so many friends who want to know what's up with my life, but I'm pretty busy with thesis and I don't actually have time right now to answer all the questions I'm getting. So I'm sorry about the impersonal nature of this, but here's an FAQ:


Q: Did I miss the announcement?
A: No. I don't plan to make the formal announcement of my new job until I've signed the paperwork, but I promise that I will when that's all sorted out.

Q: What will you be doing? Where are you moving?
A: I'll be doing awesome things! Not here! It's a very open secret where I'll be going and what I'll be doing, but I'm hoping to tie up some loose ends before I make a public announcement.

If you see me in person, feel free to ask (I *love* talking about the new job), but please don't send me email/g+/fb/twitter messages any more. I wasn't prepared for the sheer number I've gotten, and I'm finding it surprisingly draining (see below).

Q: Why are you so cranky about it?
A:

1. I've been working very close to 24/7 for the past few weeks in a bid to get my thesis into a defensible state, and was working 10hour+ days frequently even before that.

2. My supervisor decided that I need two complete extra chapters as well as major revisions on what I do have. Which is why the long hours and limited time off. And it's not going to get up for at least another week, probably longer.

3. While I like working with my supervisor in general, the one thing I actually dislike about working with him is his editing skills, which makes this even more frustrating.

4. I can't start the new job until I finish this degree, and they wanted me to start in July if it were possible. I currently can't defend until September due to university rules. The longer I wait, the harder it's going to be on both me and them when I start because of other things going on during that time period.

5. I have an ever-growing list of things I have to do before I leave the country. Including finding somewhere new to live.

6. It's stupidly hot out (~46C with the humidex) and I don't deal well with this weather nor with being cooped up to avoid it.

7. The constant questions and reminders that I'm moving away from all my local friends are making this especially emotionally draining.

8. I just had to spend time writing this instead of doing my job because a half hour on this was less time than answering all the questions individually.

etc.

Q: When are you defending your thesis?
A: I don't know. As the university requires it to be scheduled 6 weeks from submission date, we're looking at sometime in September. We can't schedule it until I submit my final copies, and I expect that will take at least two more weeks at this stage.

Q: How is it going?
A: DON'T ASK.

Q: Can we come cheer you on in the defence?
A: I don't know, and I'm leaning towards no, since frankly the defence will likely be the most boring way I have ever presented my work. (Because, and I am not kidding here, I was actually told that my proposal was too readable, so I expect I will have to make the presentation intentionally more boring and "scholarly" for that particular committee member.) I'll let you know a week or two before the defence date when I've decided my preference.

Q: When are you moving?
A: Hopefully near the end of August. I've given notice here so it'll be on or before Aug 31, but I haven't found a new place there.

Q: How are you moving?
A: I don't know, but not a uhaul. I do have a small moving allowance as part of my contract, but I will be very surprised if it covers many of my expenses.

Q: Are you selling/getting rid of stuff before you move?
A: Yes, but I'm not fully sure of what until I've made actual moving arrangements.

Q: Are you having a party before you leave?
A: Yes, probably a drop-in affair like the cookie parties. I don't know when this will be because I don't know when I'm actually moving, but rest assured that it will be well-publicized, and you will have ample opportunity to see me before I leave. Or you can come visit once I'm settled in the new place!

Q: What if I have another question not covered here?
A: Please wait until I've announced my thesis defence date before asking, as I'll likely still be stressed out and irritated by questions until that time.
terriko: (Default)
2011-07-21 03:30
Entry tags:

I am slowly going crazy...

This will surprise no one, but I am tired of writing thesis.
terriko: (Default)
2011-06-28 16:42
Entry tags:

Uniquely defining an HTML element

As some of you may know, my last paper was on visual security policy (ViSP), a neat idea I had about how to add security policy to a website in a way that was more in line with how sites are designed. I based it on my own knowledge working as a web designer, as well as ideas from a variety of friends who have or do work in the web space professionally and not.

You can read my presentation the larger run-down or read the paper, but the idea behind ViSP is that it's sometimes very useful to subdivide pages so that, say, your advertisement can't read your password, or that funny video you wanted to embed doesn't get access to post blog entries, or whatever. Sadly, right now anything embedded in the page gets access to anything else unless some awfully fancy work has been done to encapsulate parts of the page. (And given how much people tend to care about security in practice, this doesn't get done as often as it should.) We currently just trust that any includes will play well, which is super awkward since malicious code can be inserted into around 70% of websites and you can't very well expect malicious code to play nicely.

Anyhow, I digress.

I'm updating this particular policy tool so that I can generate some policies to test, because I'm tired of building them manually, and my not-terribly-scientific method of clicking randomly on things to make policy has turned up a problem: what happens if you want to set policy for an element that's just one of many paragraph tags or whatever, not assigned an id?

With ViSP, we assigned an index based on how many such tags we'd seen, but I figured while I'm updating this surely I could find something more standard...

Turns out, no, that really is the best way to do it. At least according to the selectors API, which includes a nth-of-type() pseudo-class that seems to do pretty much what I want.

So now, if you're using my tool and wanted to define policy for a given tag, any given tag, we can make that work for you by building up a CSS selector to find it. Of course, it'd probably be cleaner to read if you only set policy on tags with ids or classes, but I don't have to require that as an additional hurdle to policy creation. I figure this is likely a net usability win when it comes to policy generation, and let me tell you, security policy is not a field known for usability wins. (So much so that if I google search for the words security policy and usability... I see a post by me on the front page suggesting usability studies on CSP.)

Anyhow... Thanks to having to learn querySelector earlier, I was already primed to create querySelectors for uniquely defining tags. Thanks Mozilla documentation! You're a terrific coding wingman, introducing me to all these awesome apis. ;)
terriko: (Default)
2011-06-27 15:39
Entry tags:

Notes from building Firefox on Mac OS 10.6 using fink

This is my (slightly cranky) record of building Firefox. I am reminded of why I don't do much open source dev directly on my mac -- documentation tends to be weak, and searching error messages yields many people being told by devs "I'm sorry, I don't have a mac to test this." Frustrating. Actually, I probably should have thrown more of the error messages into this document for those people... but I'm not going and breaking my build again to do that, so this is mostly for my own reference.

Mozilla does, a few layers deep, tell you that fink is not recommended for building Mozilla. It's buried in this document, but of course that came well after the "getting the source code" document which said fink was fine, and is surrounded by instructions on how to use fink. Oh well.

I had to upgrade fink to get Mercurial installed properly, so I'm feeling stubborn about it now and want to see if it can be done. So here's what I've had to do....


  1. Reinstall fink to get mercurial

  2. Get the source. Which takes a good long while, but takes even longer when it hangs the first time and you don't bother to fix it for an hour.

  3. Make a mozconfig file in the source directory. Mine currently contains:

    . $topsrcdir/browser/config/mozconfig
    mk_add_options MOZ_OBJDIR=@TOPSRCDIR@/ff-dbg
    mk_add_options MOZ_MAKE_FLAGS="-s -j4"
    ac_add_options --disable-optimize
    ac_add_options --enable-debug
    ac_add_options --enable-tests
    ac_add_options --disable-webm


    The very last line is because webm threw an error, and I didn't care enough to debug it just now.

  4. Then you can start trying to run make -f client.mk and see what breaks, such as webm as I mentioned above.

  5. You'll need autoconf2.13 because Mozilla is stuck in the past requires some features from it. The fink package is called autoconf2.13-legacy, and when you run fink -b install autoconf2.13-legacy it will install non-intuitively in /sw/lib/autoconf2.13 to avoid conflicts. I then added a link so that mozilla's default config file could find it:

    ln /sw/lib/autoconf2.13/bin/autoconf /sw/bin/autoconf2.13

  6. Next I was missing libIDL-2.0, which is libidl2 in fink. Yet another fink -b install libidl2 and some waiting.

  7. I thought my next problem is due to missing Java libraries, available from Apple, but it turns out that it was actually something else, so I have no idea if these are really necessary.

  8. The "something else" is that I don't have the 64bit libraries thanks to not having selected "64 bit only" when installing fink. Bank to reinstalling fink... *sigh*

    I'm awfully glad I started making this list, though, as I'm now going to have to go through it all again.

  9. Get some hideous error:

    IOError: $MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET mismatch: now "10.3" but "10.5" during configure

    It seems related to this bug in python2.7, although it doesn't seem like it's python's fault so much as fink's if my python was build for 10...

    Fastest solution: uninstall python 2.7. Which uninstalls mercurial since it was based on 2.7, but I don't need to check anything in for a while and care more about having a functioning build atm.

  10. Over an hour of compiling later... Success! I can run TumucumaqueDebug.app (yes, that's Firefox) from obj-ff-uni/x86_64/dist -- not that this was helpfully given to me anywhere. After some fruitless directory clicking, I found it by searching for *.app.


Final mozconfig:

$topsrcdir/browser/config/mozconfig
. $topsrcdir/build/macosx/universal/mozconfig
mk_add_options MOZ_OBJDIR=@TOPSRCDIR@/obj-ff-uni
mk_add_options MOZ_MAKE_FLAGS="-s -j2"
mk_add_options MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET=10.6
ac_add_options --disable-optimize
ac_add_options --enable-debug
ac_add_options --disable-webm
terriko: (Default)
2011-06-26 10:27
Entry tags:

hasAttribute deprecated? using querySelector.

I have a Firefox add-on I made several years ago to help me explore page composition and generate (theoretical) web security policies, and I decided to pull it out of storage and see if it could still be helpful. Of course, my browser decided to update Right Then, and I decided it wasn't worth fighting to stop it from doing so.

So I updated the add-on so that it included versions 5.* and actually, it mostly still worked (despite having been written for, I believe, a very early version of Firefox 3, or maybe a late version Firefox 2? This is one of my earliest add-ons.) except that apparently hasAttribute/getAttribute doesn't exist anymore.

I can't seem to find anywhere telling me that they've been deprecated, and more importantly, what I should be using instead, which is irritating. But the end result is that it doesn't work, so I needed to find something else. It looks like the solution for at least some of my code is to instead use a querySelector to look for all elements with that attribute.

Of course, I never seem to want to do exactly what the darned examples show. So in case you're like me, the way to search for any tag with a given attribute using querySelector is like this:

document.querySelectorAll("*[myattribute]");

And if you wanted to search just a specific type of tag, then you'd specify that instead of *. So if you were looking for the alt tags for every image, you'd do...

document.querySelectorAll("img[alt]");

But I'm concerned by this note in the querySelectorAll documentation, which tells me that it "Returns a non-live NodeList of all elements descended from the element on which it is invoked that match the specified group of CSS selectors."

There's a big warning elsewhere that it's non-live too, unlike other such methods. So my questions are... why is it non-live, and what do I need to do to get a live list? For my particular purpose at the moment I don't think I need it to be live, but for some of the older code that I might want to update in the future I probably do.

I'm mostly just recording this for my own reference later, but if someone happens to be able to tell me if there's another function that more directly replaces hasAttribute, or there's a good way to get a live list of elements with a given attribute, I'd love to know!
terriko: (Default)
2011-06-21 12:08
Entry tags:

First "complete" thesis rough draft!

I sent my first "complete" thesis draft to my supervisor last night. The quotes around complete are because actually, we thought of another segment to put in, and while I've roughed it out there, it's current really sketchy because I need to do some (hopefully brief) experimentation to go with it. Even with the caveats, though... woo! progress!

What this means for all of you is that for the next few weeks, I'll be super busy in fits and starts, sometimes doing nothing but thesis, and sometimes doing anything but for a day or two while I wait for my supervisor to finish an edit. Basically, if you don't get an answer from me right away, you may not get one at all as my entire working memory is probably going to get overwritten every few days.
terriko: (Default)
2011-06-09 09:52
Entry tags:

Final thesis push, hopefully

I'm in the final push of thesis, sending a chapter to my supervisor every 3 days or so. This would be scary if I were writing from scratch, but they're actually mostly written and this is just a way to space things out for my supervisor as he reads them and me as I go through and fix all those notes to self I've left in.

I haven't gotten feedback on any yet, but when the two of us push on something we can usually go from "ugh" to "ready to submit" in a very short time, so I'm hopeful! He'll have looked at all the chapters in two weeks, and hopefully it won't be much longer before I submit and have a defence scheduled.
terriko: (Default)
2011-05-20 16:30
Entry tags:

The art of the job talk

I'm prepping a job talk for next week, and wanted to share some quotes from the articles I read. They're not really all related to giving a great talk.

“Anyone can think of a hundred reasons why something will fail. I want that rare individual who can think of the creative one way in which it will succeed”
- Leo Kim (from Tooling Up: Job Talk Jitters)

"Always end your talk by saying “Thank you.” It is not pretentious—you are doing the audience a favor. If you do not cue the audience so they know when to applaud, they will be confused and irritated. Like most social rituals, the thanks-applause sequence comforts everyone. Do not ask for questions until you complete it."
- Jonathan Shewchuk in Giving an Academic Talk

"The lecture room was about two-thirds
full when we arrived, with more empty
seats towards the front than in the back.
Richard had been prepared for this.
Undergraduates, he told us on the way
there, have a highly developed fear of
fire and always want to be close to the
exits, just in case."
- Owen O'Shea (quoted in FOCUS on Students: The Job Talk)

I also read "Half a Minute: Predicting Teacher Evaluations from Thin Slices of Nonverbal Behaviour and Physical Attractiveness" which was pretty interesting. Short version: people viewing short clips of video (without audio) of a teacher can estimate their end-of-term reviews from students with startling accuracy. Those are some useful first impressions!
terriko: (Default)
2011-05-20 03:15
Entry tags:

Congratulations Matt and Jen!

I was in North Carolina for my friends Matt and Jen's wedding last weekend, and it was really lovely. In fact, I think that they've really raised the bar in my mind for what makes an awesome wedding. My favourite part of it all was that they encouraged a bunch of folk to bring games and play in the hotel the day before... so by the time the wedding happened we had all these new friends and were good to play a few more games and chat on the patio. Very fun!




Kernersville and the surrounding area was beautiful and lush and green -- very exciting since when I left Ottawa, barely any of our trees had leaves out. It was like stepping off the plane into summer. The weather held perfectly for the outdoor ceremony, although we had a slightly rainy few days overall. Still, it was a nice excuse to play indoor tourist and enjoy things like bakeries and museums, as well as time spent playing games and hanging out with people.

I've uploaded a few photos from the wedding, for the curious. As you can tell, weddings are serious business. ;)




What was less fun was the plane ride home. My flight was delayed, which meant I'd miss my connection, so I was told I'd be stuck in Chicago overnight waiting for the first flight to Ottawa at 8:30am. No hotel provided either, since it was weather related. We all spent 3 hours waiting in Greensboro with 10 minute updates telling us the plane hadn't taken off. Everything closed at 8pm so there was no way for us to get food for several hours before the plane finally arrived around 10pm. I was glad for my penchant for packing snacks and plenty of entertainment! United didn't so much as offer us an extra drink on the plane for our troubles, sadly -- at least Air Canada often gives me a cookie!

When we got into Chicago, I decided on a whim to check the board and see how badly I'd missed my flight. Whereupon I realized the Chicago-Ottawa flight had also been delayed. And then I realized it was delayed so much that they hadn't left. And then I realized it was at the gate I'd just left... it turns out that the second leg of my flight was on the same plane! So a quick check with the gate agent and I just got back on. Sure, I didn't get actually home 'till closer to 4am... but I didn't have to sleep in O'Hare airport!

I'm not sure how I feel about having jet lag despite staying in the same time zone, but there's no time to recuperate: I need to prep a job talk for next week, and there's still thesis to finish! Wish me luck!
terriko: (Default)
2010-07-08 16:47

HotSec & LinuxCon or How I wound up speaking in 2 cities in 3 days (totally different topics too!)

My paper was accepted to HotSec! This is the web visual security policy research I've been working on for a while in various forms, but this is my first proper paper on the subject (although some of the related issues were touched upon in my W2SP paper). Getting in to HotSec is rather a big deal, as it's among the top publishing venues available to me. I was one of 11 papers chosen (out of 57). Go me! So I'll be heading down to DC on August 10th to present it. If you're curious, we should have the final camera-ready copy done in a few days.

My HotSec acceptance causes a bit of a logistical problem, though, since I've also been accepted to speak at LinuxCon on August 12th. It's a bit of a long story as to how I ended up applying at all, but the short and relevant part is just that I wasn't originally planning on submitting to HotSec and didn't realise I'd have such a conflict. (There's a longer story involving speaker diversity issues and good folk willing to go out of their way to work on solving them.)

Anyhow, I really *should* send my regrets to LinuxCon as, academically speaking, it makes a lot more sense for me to go to USENIX Security immediately following HotSec. Especially this year, as I'm hoping to graduate soonish (more ish than soon; don't get too excited) and should be networking as much as possible. But I chatted with my supervisor, and he agreed that it's a bit of a toss-up as to which is more valuable to me: it's nearly as likely that the person I need to meet will be at LinuxCon and that I'll wind up finding a job through open source connections. Raising my open source speaking profile may be just as useful.

What's clear is that Mailman benefits more if I go to LinuxCon, since I'm going to be talking about upcoming awesomeness in version 3.0. The other day, I had someone comment that they didn't even realise Mailman was in active development... ouch. I think getting people interested now, while we're in alpha, is probably absolutely perfect timing. Plus I'm hoping to have some nice stuff to show off from my excellent GSoC students, if they're willing to let me talk about what they've been doing with the archives, and maybe some of the other projects as well.

If you're interested in coming out to LinuxCon, they helpfully gave me a 20% discount code to share. Drop me a note and I'll pass it along (they asked we not just post the code publicly, but I can pop it in a private post later). If you can offer me a job then I'll be able to tell my supervisor I made the right choice. Heh. No, seriously, it's just nice to see people.

Anyhow, I'll make my final decision when I see if the travel arrangements are ridiculous, but it *should* be relatively easy to go from DC to Boston after HotSec, so let's hope this all works out!
terriko: (Default)
2010-04-15 00:18
Entry tags:

Fatally flawed

I was browsing around, and found this article where someone is asking the author if she'll be putting her thesis online. She replied that she'd be using the ideas and reworking them to make them easier to read. "The writing style is pretty academic and not terribly accessible, which is a big criticism I make of feminist scholarship."

And here I had to laugh. Because you know one of the comments I got in my proposal defence? I got told that my thesis proposal was too much like a novel and basically too readable for a scholarly endeavour.

If you ever wondered why academics are so boring, now you know. ;)
terriko: (Default)
2010-04-12 11:53
Entry tags:

And the good news keeps on coming

In the past week:


Wednesday:
Interviewed by the CBC, which aired at 6:15ish on Thursday. Very positive interview. It felt a bit fluffy to me, given the sort of issues I get tossed through the Geek Feminism crew, but a nice positive interview is exactly what we needed to kick off the Celebration. John apparently recorded it, so I may have an mp3 of the interview shortly.

Thursday:
The Celebration of Women in Science and Engineering at Carleton was a total success. We've got some really excellent researchers who are also excellent speakers: I was actually fully engaged for all but the last presentation, and didn't find my mind wandering at all. Pretty impressive, given that I was exhausted and had a lot of thesis related stuff on my mind otherwise! I'll probably write about the individual talks later.

Friday:
I defended my thesis proposal.

Note that this wasn't the final thesis defense for my PhD -- that will be harder. The proposal is the negotiation of the roadmap I need to finish, and is actually pretty friendly as far as defenses go. Basically, I propose 12+ things, they say how about these four, and we agree on what I need to do to finish. In my case, I've got a user study that I'm super excited about running, and a lot of tying up of loose ends for publication-worthy results. It went from a nearly insurmountable seeming pile of things to something I can actually finish this fall.

Later on Friday:
GSoC proposals closed, and we've got really excellent students applying to work with us. Ranking them is going to be incredibly hard!

Later still on Friday:
Rock band party, giant chocolate soccer ball, and... okay, the broccoli rum was a bad idea. ;) But it was nice to kick back and celebrate for the evening! I then took the weekend off and more or less did whatever I felt like: gaming with friends, a long photo walk, pleasant yardwork to get out in the sun, and some of the tidying that gets put off while I'm working hard.

Sunday very late (or Monday early morning...)
My latest paper got accepted! I'll be heading down to California (the bay area) at the end of May to present, and the plan is to stay a few weeks 'till the beginning of June. This is a web security paper with some observations that motivated my thesis work and hopefully will motivate others. I'll probably have digital copies up shortly.


The plan for this week is similarly awesome, but much less busy in that some of this can overflow to next week if need be:


  • Today, I go to see Jane Goodall speak as part of the writer's festival.
  • I'm working on another paper that's due Friday.
  • There's a cool symposium going on over at uOttawa on Biology in the Media - Fascinating Science on the Front Page, but I'm not sure I'll manage to get out for that.
  • There's an interesting security talk on Thursday that I should really RSVP for and go to see.
  • I get to read and make initial evaluations of my potential GSoC students.
  • Need to set up my own GSoC dev environment -- I scraped together some hardware so I can have a dedicated machine, and I'm absurdly excited about getting it running.
  • Photos photos photos: I've got several hundred event photos that I need to cut down to a manageable number and put online.
  • Need to register for the conference and plan my trip!
  • And probably a bunch of stuff I've forgotten, since in my head this week is mostly about the first two items on the list.
terriko: (Default)
2010-03-09 11:58
Entry tags:

Revisions continue but LaTeX is slow, so have a dogsplosion!

Revisions continue apace. Often, I think that using LaTeX is a bad idea because the compiles are long enough that I lose my train of thought by the time they're done. I am trying not to think about ways to solve this problem on account of that being really distracting. Instead, I am web surfing.

This is the most awesome thing I found yesterday:

DOGSPLOSION!!
see more dog and puppy pictures

A quick web search (for "mop dog") discovered that it is a Hungarian Puli Sheep Dog, in case you wanted to know.
terriko: (Default)
2010-03-02 01:12
Entry tags:

One more flaming hoop jumped through!

Latest draft is off. To celebrate, I went out for dinner, practiced clarinet, and watched Dr. Who with Ken. Life is good.

And then, after saying I wouldn't be able to do any writing for GF for a bit, I got inspired by a twitter link and wrote this:

Quick Hit: Why Strong Female Characters Are Bad for Women


Everyone knows Hollywood isn't so good at depicting women, especially in blockbuster films. This is why we have the Bechdel test. But while I've seen a lot of good articles on the subject, Why Strong Female Characters Are Bad for Women not only makes some great points, but it makes some of them with hilariously snarky photos:

A Strong Female Character? Not so much.

It's tempting to link more, but seriously, just go over there and look. Don't miss the one with the queen. And if you're as busy as I am lately, don't feel guilty if you're reading the article just for the pictures. ;)


So, um. Now you know.

And while I'm all link-happy, doesn't this look delicious? Plus, I've been wanting to get a copy of Fat since I heard about it. Basic premise seems to be that fat is tasty, and by having some we'll feel more satisfied by our food and thus wind up eating less in total. Sounds both fascinating and tasty.