Weekly Status Update #19: NP-hard

I’m a bit later than usual this week, but I still want to post this weekly status update. Better late than never, right? A short post this week, featuring more implementation, short breaks, VCBM preparations, computer science choices and sleeping:

  • I started the week out strong by getting a lot more implementation done for my current research project. A new GUI really makes a big difference for this project and I feel like I can wrap up the implementation soon(ish). It seems like this project has been going on forever, so I would be very happy to finish it up and move on to the next phase in my research. I will try to make the PacificVis deadline late September, so fingers crossed!
  • I took Thursday and Friday off for a short break/long weekend. We went to Harderwijk for a couple of days which made for a nice change of scenery. While I am quite the, as they say in Dutch, huismus (homesparrow?), it’s good to get out of the house every now and then.
  • And speaking of getting out of the house, VCBM is right around the corner!¬†We fly to Vienna next Wednesday and head back Friday evening, so I really should start preparing that presentation. According to my own guidelines, it should have been prepared already, but apparently giving advice is easier than following it ūüėČ I’ll get on it asap, because I definitely don’t want to prepare during the conference or I won’t be able to¬†enjoy it to the fullest.
  • I saw this comic the other day and it reminded me of, well, me!
    Why I got into Computer Science

    Back in 2005, after working at a¬†hospital as a radiographer for three years, I decided it was time for a change. I was (and still am) gaming a lot, so I thought, why not computer science? This is probably one of the worst motivations ever, I quickly found out, as the bachelor curriculum slaps¬†you right in the face with about 40% hardcore math mixed with computability theory and all sorts of fun stuff. Still, I don’t regret making this choice, because in the end I found the perfect way to combine my medical background with geekier pursuits. My game dev dreams are definitely far behind me though. I’d rather keep gaming as a hobby ūüôā

  • And now for something completely different. Last week I posted about ambient background noise for work. Actually, for a couple of months already, I also use ambient nature sounds to fall asleep and wake up to. I use an Android app creatively named ‘Sleep as Android‘ and it performs a couple of really cool tricks. First of all, as you go to sleep, it will play your selection of ambient nature sounds for a while until you are soundly asleep. As you sleep, it tracks your sleep activity based on your movements, so afterwards you can examine your sleep data for interesting patterns and trends. Finally, you can set an alarm, that’s smarter than your average¬†alarm. In the olden days, I would set an alarm for six am that would wake me up with the sound of a truck backing up, regardless of what sleep phase I was in. These days, I set my alarm for six am, and Sleep as Android wakes me up between 5:30 and 6:00, carefully biding its time until I am in a lighter sleep phase. Additionally, it does so by gradually increasing light intensity accompanied by the gentle chirping of birds that also gets louder the longer I wait. It’s really a much gentler way of waking up and I have far less trouble getting out of bed this way. ¬†It’s similar to a wake-up light I imagine, but a lot cheaper.

That’s all I have for this week, time to get cracking on that presentation! Have a great week!

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