Archive for April, 2009

Guess Who Owns An iPhone?

// April 28th, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Video

This short video has no real consequence (which is why I didn't publish it on my main YouTube channel). I was just playing about in Final Cut Express, and wanted to show you guys the difference that a little post-production tinkering can make to the look of a video (for best results, I recommend that you watch the HD version, in full-size).

Plus, it's a small reminder of how iPhones rock – as if we needed one!

Evil Evil Spambots From Hell!

// April 25th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

I am so thankful for the Askimet plugin, because my blog has been getting spammed to the max lately. Take a look at the stats:

It was only today that I realized why the spambots have been crawling over me like ants on a giant sticky bun: this post.

A little tip for my fellow bloggers: using the word “c-r-a-z-y” in the title of a blog post is a definite no-no. Not unless you want to be bombarded with spam comments that read like a cross between a bad Mills & Boon novel and a schizophrenic's monthly pharmacy prescription.

Yeah, I'm trying out exaggerated similes today. What do you think? Too much?

Tweaks, Tweets & Twoughts

// April 23rd, 2009 // 8 Comments » // Blog

Tweaks: it's amazing how much time I can spend (some may say “waste”) making little changes to a website, both aesthetic and functional. For example, I must have spent a good few hours 'tweaking' this blog yesterday, making adjustments that, in all likelihood, will only be noticed by myself alone.

In fact, let's test that theory: I made four changes to the site in total. The person who spots all of them will win cheers and my admiration (sorry, I can't afford anything else right now).

Tweets: my latest status message should have already notified you of my decision to become a Twit. It's more a matter of gaining experience, rather than anything else. I don't see it changing my life. In fact, I plan to cheat and only update my Twitter stream with the same status info that I post on Facebook, via Ping.fm.

Twoughts: I miss WordPress.com. Don't get me wrong; I lurve my new site, especially all the extra room I have for customization. But the problem is, I seem to feel the loneliness more in this big, ol' house. The previous site was definitely more 'cozy'. Indeed, I can tell from my stats and the number of comments that I don't get as many visitors popping by as I did before.

There are a few reasons for this, I suspect.

It'll take time for this site to make its way up the Google index, especially as only a small fraction of people have updated their blog rolls with the new URL (big hint). Plus for some odd reason, many people are still subscribed to the RSS feed of the old blog, without bothering to at least add the new feed address – what's with that?

In addition, it's harder for wordpress.com users to follow me now, as they can't make use of the very nifty “My Comments” feature. Commenting is half the fun of blogging, and a quiet comments section makes for an unhappy blogger.

Finally, I wonder if I'm just not as interesting now that I've finished my PhD, and have generally less to write/whine about? Maybe whatever drew people to my humble blog to begin with, has been diluted down in all this extra space. I'm definitely less outspoken, even on other people's blogs.

In one sense, that's a good thing: the less I say, the less I am accountable for. But I do miss the buzz of an active blog, especially contributions from the “old gang” of regulars. Where are you guys? I know you haven't all been married off – marriage being the death of most forms of activism.

I don't live to blog, but I do blog to “live”. And I need more excitement in my life, yo.

So unless you want me to start writing silly marriage articles again, speak up already. Else I will have to resort to a triple feature on polygamy, hijab, and the role of women in society, and watch this place BURN.

Btw, twoughts isn't a real word – unless you're Tweety Pie, and you twought you twaw a puddy cadt.

Though now my iPod dictionary seems to think that it is (I'm blogging from bed again). All for the love of alliteration…

Dude! Bacteria Are, Like, Democratic?

// April 15th, 2009 // 8 Comments » // Blog

Watching this video reminds me of why I love Biology so much. I'd kinda forgotten during the malaise of my PhD. But I really do love scientific discovery.

If you made it to the end of the video: that's a traditional thing among Biologists when they give presentations; they usually big up the rest of their lab via a group photo. See how many people were working on just ONE biochemical pathway? Admittedly, it's a fascinating one, with potentially huge implications; so I doubt Dr Bassler has any problem finding the funding to hire so many eager PhD students and young postdocs.

During my PhD, the neighbouring lab group that shared our floor was largely focussed on researching one gene. I regularly observed the individual team members pairing off to converse about their latest findings, generating new ideas along the way. In contrast, every member of our group was working on a separate pathway, with little crossover between us. Well, I did have another PhD student researching the same gene set as me: but she wasn't one for sharing, unfortunately.

I never really had anyone to bounce ideas off of during my project. I had plenty of people to turn to for technical assistance, but not inspiration. I have learnt that if am not sufficiently inspired, then I become very inefficient in my duties. You don't go into something as dynamic as scientific research for it to then become one big chore. I may as well return to working as a till girl at the local supermarket: the pay is comparable, and I'd have a far more healthy social life.

Watching the video reminded me of why I love Biology… but also, why I love working with people who love Biology as much as I do. I don't know if I'll ever return to working in a laboratory – but it's nice to know that some loves are more constant than others.

Hot Chocolate… So Good…

// April 5th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Photos

Before:

After:

The company was even better. :)

Saturday Shopping on Green Street

// April 5th, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Photos

I decided to be a typical Asian female, and take a walk down Green Street – an East End, ethnic shopping district – on a Saturday afternoon. But unlike most Asian females, I didn't spend any money whilst I was there. Instead, I took pictures, and enjoyed the the beautiful weather, in the company of my current house guest (who happened to be one of the few, non-Asians on Green Street that day).

The Taqwa Store Saris Green on Pink

Attention to Detail Burnt Rainbow Smile Mmm... Cake

Men Really Are From Mars

// April 1st, 2009 // 15 Comments » // Blog

I attended a workshop a couple of days ago, titled “Positive Presence and Image”, that aimed to help Muslim women create a greater personal impact within their professional environments.

The female instructor gave us several pieces of advice, but the one that stuck in my head the most was how to effectively communicate with male colleagues. A very important topic, considering that the workplace is still somewhat of a “man's world”.

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