Almost there

So it seems I’ve successfully finished quarter 1 in gradschool (chemical biology), and quarter 2 (cell signalling) is well underway, and appears to be going well; that is, better than quarter 1. This back-to-school experience has been hitting me a bit, but I think I’m back into it now. Think about it: readings, assignments. Not that much different from having a good job, but a lot more stressful at times where you don’t want to care.

However, if you do care, it gets interesting. Being able to understand the research you’re doing and talk to your peers is important, but sometimes takes an awful lot of time and effort, depending on the subject. And admittedly, neuronal axon growth may seem like an irrelevant detail in the big picture of life, but for me, it’s currently my whole study subject. And a very interesting one, I must say.

My PI (“head of lab”) is a peculiar person, with interesting ways of motivating people. At times, he will tell me that someone else (a “senior” colleague) made a mistake and that it’s my fault since I didn’t correct him/her. At other times, he will suggest new readings to get to know new techniques, and require me to prepare presentations for a next meeting about that subject. His ways appear to work, though, I’m quickly getting into all this. It just eats a lot of time. At my birthday, I regretfully told him I could not finish one of his requested presentations for the next day because I wanted to go out to a bar that night. He looked at me, understanding though disappointed, and we agreed that I would do it in a less formal way, though still that same day…

Some people… :-).

During thanksgiving, I travelled to Boston with my girlfriend, where we stayed in a hotel and had dinner with some friends of hers from Harvard. People keep telling me how Boston is supposed to be “New York, but smaller and cleaner”. Well, it is cleaner, but that’s not surprise if there’s only ten houses there! I still don’t understand how people can compare the two, Boston is at least a zillion times smaller in all possible aspects. They have good restaurants, though, and the waiters are a lot nicer.

During christmas, I hope to visit DC, for the cultural part of my stay here.

So, with all this school- and travel-work, I have had little time to do cool stuff in GNOME. I’ve fixed some small but annoying usability-related bugs in both Totem and the Volume Applet, but nothing big yet.

Related, I noticed that Fluendo released GStreamer 0.10. Interesting release, excited to see the new core. I hope it’s as stable as promised. It’s unfortunate to see that several interesting plugins have not been ported, leading to a huge decrease in media support w.r.t. previous versions. Let’s hope Fluendo will be able to fix that. You don’t want GStreamer to be the “finally stable framework that can still not play my divx” (figure of speech, of course, since I myself ported divx playback almost a year ago).

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