March review

Another month bites the dust... so what happened in March? Let's have a look!

Beginning

We decided to explore the region a bit more, before our departure to other lands. We went for a day trip to Maastricht (which is only 1.5h away!) together with our friends L. and C.. There we found about Jean-Pierre Minckelers and had another chance to visit the awesome bookstore inside an old cathedral.

February review

Another month passed, and so many things that we did! Here's a brief summary of February:

Beginning

We started to learn how to dance! It's preparation for the weddings and a surprise to my mother (so don't tell her). Thanks to our Greek friends in Leuven that have the energy and patience to show us the tricks of dancing!

And we played even more with lego with friends of ours! This was a month with many dinners and visits.

January review

I recently saw in a blog of a friend a review of her year, and I got jealous :) We decided with my girlfriend to be copy-cats and make our own yearly review, mainly because it's a good way to reflect and share with your friends all the cool things you have done/achieved. But big trips start with small steps, so we thought of spliting the yearly review to small monthly ones. This will make it easier to remember all the details and require less effort in the end of the year. So, here it goes, I present you..... January!

Version control

I've mentioned some things briefly about version control in the reproducible research chapter, as it appeared as one of the four pillars constituting reproducible research. So what is version control?

In the broad sense, version control is a way of keeping track of different versions of something. This something can be a process, a design, a document, an analysis or even a part of a software. The means of keeping track of different versions can vary and can be by simply making separate copies of the file for each version or using dedicated software to automate that process.

Meetings done right

Meetings are an integral part of academic life. Actually, it's not only important at the university, but almost everywhere. You either have to work with people, give report to your suppervisors or receive updates from your subordinates. Organising a meeting is the most wide-spread way to do that.

Reproducible research

Research is a long ongoing process. You will see this sentence being repeated often in this book. The fact that is long and the fact that is ongoing means that often, you will have to jump back in time and re-evaluate things that you have been doing. That might be necessary either because you (or someone else) might have suspicions that you've made a mistake somewhere, either because you received new knowledge that maybe help you improve your work or because simple you want to expand what you've been doing earlier on.

Planning your PhD

As it will be mentioned often in these posts, a PhD is a long process that is not always very clear since the beginning what the ultimate goal is. It of course depends on whether you are working for a well defined project or for a broad idea of what needs to be achieved. To achieve such a long term and not well defined goal, it is beneficial to follow a specific reasoning. It is both beneficial for the quality of your work and also for the sanity of yourself. The approach I would like to describe is what I call a top-bottom-up approach. It's a combination of a top-bottom and a bottom-up approach, because it follows more or less that order.

Explaining and presenting your PhD

Presenting your research, ideas and work is of ultimate importance, not only in academia, but in any field you might be working in. It is actually what it is all about when working with others. You need to exchange your ideas accurately and be able to understand other's ideas, feedback or proposals. However, as much as communication is important, bad communication is probably the number one reason why people sometimes cannot work well together.

How to deal with procrastination

One of the greatest problems one has to deal with when performing research, is procrastination. What I mean by procrastination is not only the fact that you are not working when you're supposed to. Besides that, you can also fall in the trap of procrastination when you are working on things you are not supposed to be working (e.g. due to their lower priority/importance).

Quake style console on Windows

I am sure many of you remember the legendary Quake series games. We grew up with this stuff. And you remember what was the coolest feature of Quake? No, it was neither the graphics, nor that you could blow your friends in little pieces, after you have killed them: it was the console. It was the only game series that I am aware of (ok, I'm not really a games freak, so don't take my word for it) that it was offering a 'console' to the players.