I’m a part-time student, so I don’t spend every waking moment in the postgrad village, unlike some of my compatriots.  While I was away from my desk for a mere couple of days, some cheeky bastard harvested my PC for parts (no really, they actually went over to my clearly-occupied desk, unfastened the casing from the tower, and replaced their knackered monitor adapter with mine).

Come on now, guys.
Come on now, guys.
Just to make it even worse, they left the base exactly where it should be, to leave me pondering why my monitor had no input when I switched on this morning.  Even more confusing was the loose monitor cable, with no port for it to connect to.

The Crime Scene
The Crime Scene
Infuriating. Rest assured, my revenge will be brutal. Or subtle. Maybe when I track down the culprit, I’ll disconnect something important and obscure, but leave it in place…. Mwhahahahahahahahaaaaa!

UPDATE 2014-09-29: During another of my absenses from the postgrad village, the IT support team located my PC and fixed it for me! Good news. When I told them of the problem, they said it was the most bizarre call they’d ever taken.


Ever had one of those days when you’re convinced that you’re about to fail your Ph.D and get booted out of uni?  Well that was my day, today.  Not just crippled by the creeping self-doubt that I’m sure many of us know so well, I genuinely haven’t done enough work.

Although I work part-time in one of the Professions, it is still part-time, and not all engineering careers have lucrative salaries. So I welcomed any chance of overtime with open arms. I embraced the 9-to-9 lifestyle so wholeheartedly, that I haven’t been to university very much at all in, er, the past two months. Oops.

But it’s not just the promise of extra dosh that’s causing me to stray from my university home. I’ve been given more duties at work, and I’m hoping to get through the Chartership process a.s.a.p. All this extra responsibility and status doesn’t maintain itself, and it’s necessary to put in the extra hours. Oh, and I’ve started skating (roller derby) again, I do volunteer work, and I have a bustling social life. So finding time to eat and sleep, let alone study, can be challenging.

Anyway, it’s time to register for the 14/15 academic year, and as I went to fill in the requisite forms online, I took stock of the milestones that I had not reached. I thought “I don’t deserve to be here”.  I went to see my tutor for Confession Time, and it actually turned out to be a very positive experience.

He did note that I have not been around for a lot of the time, but he was more concerned for my well-being than anything (awwwwwww).

I was honest with him about the total lack of work I had managed to do, and we agreed a timetable for me to get back to where I should be. I’m also taking a couple of weeks away from work-work to complete my literature review. So things are no longer insurmountable, and I’m feeling a lot better about my own abilities.

Now I just need to stick to my own plan.


Last year, when I attended Winchester Science Festival, I had an unpleasant conversation with another attendee.  Don’t worry, it’s not too scandalous, but it did make me consider other people’s perceptions of the ever-more public use of technology.

I was in one of the talks and I had two important tasks to carry out:

1. I wanted to tell my beloved about the cool things I was learning about during the day that he wasn’t there for,

2. I needed to fact-check something.  As a skeptic, this is super-critical.

So I used my smartphone to do the above two tasks, and got pestered by some bloke sitting in the same row of the auditorium for not paying attention to the speaker. I was pretty annoyed, for many reasons, but mainly these three:

1. He spoke to me like I was a naughty child,

2. He clearly had no understanding of what I was doing. Ok, fair enough that technology changes rapidly and not everyone is as clued-up as the early adopters, but it was at a science festival in 2014. Get with the times!

3. I was disturbing no-one, literally no-one. The lights were on, my sound was off, and everyone else was doing it too!

And then I got to thinking of just how pervasive technology is in my personal life.  On the second date with Mr Science Gentleman, we spent the entire evening on our phones playing Cards Against Humanity with strangers on the internet.  Nowadays we do similar sorts of things.  We are frequently out to dinner and glued to our phones playing Ingress.  I’m sure the other diners think we hate each other.

But we define those rules.  We know we’re not being rude, we just communicate differently.  We are all cyborgs now.