It’s a while since I wrote in here — it’s been busy, of late.
So, first thing’s first: since I last wrote, I have successfully completed my mini thesis. Hooray! This means my next Big Deadline is around Christmas next year, by which time I need to have my thesis written… eeek! My supervisor tells me to allow half a year to write up the thesis — that allows for contingency and finishing off bits in the background, of course, but still theoretically means I need to have all my work done in under twelve months. That isn’t long!
Meanwhile, I’m finally at the point in my degree where I’m actually making some kind of research contribution. An important part of the doctoral experience is the act of sharing one’s work with the wider community and getting feedback: as such, I’m just back from a semi-whirlwind of conferences.
I first went to PETRA, on pervasive technologies and assistive environments, where I presented a full paper on the pervasive aspects of my work — multimodal messaging and using it to provide social networking functionality.
Next, I took a poster on the social aspects of the work to the hypertext conference, where I talked about finding methods to understand user experience: it’s no good my re-providing the functionality of social networking websites using novel, pervasive channels unless I can show whether or not the pervasive experience matches the web-based one!
Finally, last week I attended a symposium in Southampton called InterFace, an event to promote learning and sharing between fields of technology and the humanitities.
Each of these represented a rather different experience. PETRA was very solidly in my research area, and a fantastic chance to meet a community which was new to me and give a substantial presentation on my work. Hypertext was more relevant in terms of the adaptive nature of the system I’m designing, and the social aspects of the work; it was a very different community, but no less responsive to what I had to say. Finally, InterFace was a one-of-a-kind event, mainly made up of postgrads from all over the UK, and a few other countries: a diversity of fields were represented, from archeology to sociology to computer science. I always enjoy the challenge of discussing my work with people from different backgrounds, and this provided exactly that opportunity.
I’m now done with conferences for the foreseeable, which may be for the best! I have yet to wade through a big pile of papers to read, contacts to email and to dos to, well… do.
I’d better get to it!