morsla: (lookin)
I'm about to head off to Barcelona for the ICWSM conference: leaving tomorrow, and getting back in two weeks. I'm mostly ready... that is, I've packed just about everything I can think of, printed (and packed!) a poster to present at ICWSM, and I have a vague idea of where I'm staying. I still feel a lot less prepared than I'd like to be, but there are plenty of reasons for that.

I've never travelled solo in a country where I can't speak or read the local language, so that adds a little bit of stress into preparing for the trip. I'm looking forward to it, but really don't know what to expect. At some stage during the flight (almost 22 hours in the air, with a few hours in Singapore airport) I'll try to work out exactly where to go once I reach the airport, and how to say "I apologise for mangling your beautiful language" when I try communicating via phrasebook.

Money will be a bit of an issue this trip. I'm still yet to see any money in my account from a botched casual timesheet (four weeks of research assistant work), or a thousand dollars worth of registration fees for the two big conferences (reimbursement claim lodged a month ago). That means I don't have the easy safety barrier of throwing money at anything that might go wrong: most of my account has been emptied for the mortgage payment that happens while I'm away, so I will be doing my best to use those budget traveller senses that have been honed over the years.

In the past fortnight, I've had over a dozen people warn me about pickpockets. Most of the warnings come from people who have spent a reasonable amount of time in the city in the past two years, so I'm taking them seriously... Barcelona currently has the dubious honour of being the pickpocket capital of the world. So I'm hoping that I manage to keep my possessions, at least for long enough to consult a map and track down my hostel. Maybe I should write down that address somewhere.

The first few days will be spent in a backpacker's hostel on the western side of the city. During the middle of the trip I'm in a hotel, near the conference. Then there are a few days after the conference, which I have no plans for yet... I haven't booked anything yet, and will hopefully find a good place to stay in my first few days in the city.

So, yeah. Not particularly prepared, this time. I wonder where this road will lead me.
morsla: (lookin)
It feels like late on a Friday night.

It's not, of course - compared to recent bedtimes it's actually bloody early, and it's Wednesday. A lot of people are out celebrating various things, though... lots of Christmas or end-of-year parties, RMIT's graduation extravaganza, [livejournal.com profile] mousebane's 21D magazine launch. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel has just had her final day of work with the students around. I at home with my feet on the desk and the speakers cranked up, enjoying my first listen to Pendulum's recent-ish album.

It's been a long time since I posted anything in here, though, and I felt like writing something. Between LJ, twitter and facebook I read an awful lot these days, but rarely feel like writing more than occasional spur-of-the-moment tweets.

November was a mess, much as I thought it might be. Four back-to-back conferences and three interstate trips combined forces to leave me feeling exhausted - fascinated and inspired, but exhausted nonetheless.

When I got back to Melbourne, deadline season killed me and took my stuff. I should have seen it coming, but it always shocks me just how hard the bastard can hit.

I've typeset 436 pages in the past six days, for two study guides. I've also written material for the Virtual Safe project report, due next week. Late at night, I've finished two long overdue painting commissions. I've done another PhD interview, and worked on a chapter of my thesis. I started up a LinkedIn group for the CRC research students, and still have a couple of layout jobs to finish next week.

It's not healthy, and after a few weeks of redlining it, it's not a lot of fun either. I seldom reach bed before 1am, haven't slept before 2am in weeks, and generally get up before 7am. I'm beginning to feel the strain of keeping focussed on all the things I need to finish each day, in order to reduce tomorrow's pile. I almost wish I still drank coffee, but I need steady hands for my painting.
morsla: (Default)
Note: not actually dead. Just very infrequently online, as work is super-busy and home internet is still "in progress" according to Netspace. I'm also getting ready for the CRC conference next week.

I bought a Livescribe pen after eyeing them off since February. What made me decide to buy one now? Mac OSX support, the ability to export audio in AAC format, and my 2009 research support funding not rolling over from year to year... I'll be using this to record many interviews and conference sessions over the next couple of years, so I will hopefully be using my support funding to pay for it.

For the uninitiated: it's a pen, with a built-in microphone and a small camera that helps it work out where it's writing on a page. You can record digital versions of all your notes, with audio linked to them. When you want to listen to the playback, just tap the written notes and listen from that point.

It can also do stereo recording with a microphone headset. While the files are obviously going to be larger, it's a nifty trick for filtering out background noise in busy recording environments: your brain is used to focusing on the sounds that are balanced between left and right (they come from the thing you're looking at), so it should help when several people are talking.

I have downloaded the Livescribe Desktop software, and will have a play with it tonight. If it all works as planned, I'll record seminars at the Social Media 2009 conference tomorrow. I should be able to put these online ("pencasting" :D ) so the world can see my messy handwriting, and listen to some interesting seminars.

September 2014

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