Monday, March 11, 2013

Rumors of my death have been greatly exagerated

With apologies to Mark Twain.
Image: Frank the mouse, who has has combed his whiskers into a mustache shape and donned fake eyebrows, tries on a Mark Twain wig. Caption:
Yes, I know Mark Twain only looked like this during the last decade of his life, but he considers the pictures of the time the best pictures ever taken of him.

As you probably know by now, I'm in my senior year. You may also remember me mentioning I was required to write a thesis to graduate. For this, like all things in the area of computer science, it is required to write a computer program and make it work.

This means that the thesis, originally conceived as an academic exercise where you poured through theoretical books, becomes a software project, and like all software projects, it is subject to a final crunch. Ordinarily, the final crunch encompasses the last two weeks or so. Good practices, concerns for health, and even the need to eat and sleep, are forsaken in the name of meeting the deadline.

This makes sense in an environment with lots and lots of loyal employees: they're dedicated to their tasks, won't mind, and the project will get done or dropped in a few weeks (after which point it becomes somebody else's problem). However, theses are generally one-man-shows. Certain practices can't be forsaken, because, at heart, it's still an academic exercise that requires scientific rigor. Because it's an academic exercise, there may not be a somebody else to solve problems you leave unsolved. Also, as an academic exercise, the deadlines are at the whim of university professors and, if the department doesn't oppose it, can generally be moved (I apologize in advance for those links).

Image: Frank, the human, dive-bombs to catch a runaway mortarboard. Caption:
Graduation is fleeting

The consequence of all this is that I was subjected to a "crunch" that lasted six months, which wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't already been in overdrive from the time the project started. This inevitably has left me with no time. No time to draw, no time to write, no time to even glance over someone else's shoulder to see what's on the news! (Case-in-point: I found out about the Microsoft Surface when the second one came out! This is supposed to be the talk of my field!)

But thankfully, it's all over, and you should see me around here more often.

I've already got quite a few blog posts lined up for you in the coming weeks. I hope you will enjoy them.

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