Mixed Bag

This post is just a mixed bag of things. First, a handful of things I’d like to achieve. I guess you could call them resolutions, although I’m haven’t quite reached the point of resolving them yet:

  • Learn to write the one-sentence email. A few people do this, and while it sometimes annoys me, especially in personal emails and because I like to write, it is really more effective. Last week, I sent out an email that had three short paragraphs with two questions; my conversation partner only replied to the first. When I sent out the second question again by itself, I got a reply.
  • Get up early more consistently even on days when I don’t have to get up early, and go to bed around the same time, even when I could stay up a bit. I have gotten a lot better this year, but there is still room for improvement. When I get up later, the whole day seems to be messed up somehow. To do that, I need to go to bed around the same time, but I love staying up late, browsing the web. It’s one of my guilty pleasures.
  • Take better notes when I read papers. Writing helps retention. I’m more of a big-picture person, so I tend to forget seemingly unimportant details like names of authors or even which papers I’ve read (that doesn’t mean I forget what it was about, I just couldn’t tell you if I’ve read “Smith 2007” or “An Efficient Semantics the Theta Calculus with Futures and Traces”).
    While I can read much better if I don’t have a computer with me, I think using Papers by mekentosj.com could help. It has been described as “iTunes for Papers”, and it can help to get bibliography items right, to tag and search papers, and to store notes. I’ve shelled out the $25.20 for a license after 40% student discount.

And in the past few weeks, I have taken a great liking to some online radio stations and podcasts, and an internet TV station:

  • DW-RADIO liveDeutsche Welle, news from the heart of Europe. World and German news in English. Unfortunately, the program repeats a lot, so you can’t listen to it all day.
  • Scientific American 60 Second Psych, 60 Second Science, and Science Talk. 1 minute/1 minute/30 minutes of miscellaneous science news. Especially the 1-minute podcasts fit in many little breaks during a day.
  • AAAS Science Update – Same. 6 to 10 minutes.
  • Hulu – has many shows that I would otherwise miss by accident or because I have cable. It’s almost a TiVo on the web, and you can time-shift the shows. 30 second advertisement only. I’m watching “The Colbert Report”, “The Tonight Show”, “American Dad!”, “Family Guy”, “House”, “Saturday Night Live” and “Terminator” there.

And finally, ever since returning from Germany and Finland, I’ve started to eat a lot of these foods:

  • Blueberries – I miss having my own blueberry bushes outside.
  • German muesli bread – relatively cheap at my local Fiesta. Now my mom doesn’t have to bring me bread anymore when she visits.

About Mathias

Software development engineer. Principal developer of DrJava. Recent Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.
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