Monday, 31 July 2017

Month in review: July 2017

I've shifted to monthly, rather than weekly reviews, now: that (hopefully!) allows me to hit my two-posts-a-month target, with one "non-review" post each month. Hence,  today is the day to review July.

July is a funny month. I've mentioned before the problem of "doing much but getting nothing done", and July often exhibits this. You work furiously, but nothing of substance gets ticked off the To Do list: there's just a load of half-finished tasks. Which, while frustrating, isn't a real problem: I make a point of trying to run multiple tasks in parallel, so that teaching prep continues over the summer, freeing up time for more research in term time.

I've lately become a fan of the Pomodone app, which is a Web-based implementation of the Pomodoro technique. This means working on a task for 25 minutes at a time. The nice thing about this is that not only does it sync with Wunderlist, where I keep my To Do list, but it logs how much time you've spent on each task, so you can at least see progress. Granted, time spent isn't an exact proxy for progress on a task, but unless you want to micromanage your To Do list to the nth degree, it's at least a satisfying alternative to actually being able to tick the big tasks off.

So, what tasks have been underway this month? Well, I have been reviewing Elizabeth Petrick's Making Computers Accessible for Disability and Society (reading done; writing underway); I've prepared a presentation on Humans, Puppets and Robots for the Superposition to be delivered on the 2nd of August. I've been calibrating PSAT and looking at its development into reach-to-grasp movements; I've rejigged my reach-to-grasp model to accommodate time variations in dynamic behaviour; I'm rewriting a marking scheme for my Level 2 undergraduate module; I've been preparing my handouts for next year (I like to get them printed for the end of July, just to avoid the temptation to keep revising them as term approaches); I've been supervising two undergraduate students who are working on the MagOne force sensor for Grip purposes (first iteration due this week); preparing for the Tracking People network finale in November; developing the PACLab technology roadmap; attending graduations; attending the EPS Conference; supervising PhD students and an MSc student; prepping a paper for submission and working on a grant proposal.

Yeah, that'll keep me busy, alright! Thankfully, August will see things getting ticked off the list. Good fun!

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