Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What I did on my holidays

The Israeli holiday period finished yesterday (i.e. today is the first day of work). This is a three week period in which there are very few workdays; projects are brought to a standstill and many people take time off. Whilst I did relax a great deal during this period, I also achieved a few things.

Books: I read all four 'Millenium' books for the first time in several years and compared my feelings now to what I wrote in the past. Not much has changed; all the books need strong editing, and the first is somewhat out of place. Over the past few days, I've been copy editing a Kindle version of the science fiction book, "The mote in God's eye", by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The story is excellent and so justifies the work which I have done. The Kindle version which I have seems to be derived from an OCR copy and so has many mistakes which can easily be corrected. I've done about 25 chapters and am about 75% of the way through the book. 

Music: over the past few months, I've recorded quite a few songs, so the holiday break gave me a chance to listen to them via the stereo system in the living room instead of via headphones connected to the computer. A few minor edits and changes were required, which improved those songs. I rerecorded the vocals for one song for the third time, improving it immensely; I recorded two takes and used those takes as a double tracked vocal, instead of converting one mono take to stereo then delaying slightly one of the channels. I was surprised at how accurately the second take matches the first take; there was only one line in which it was clearly apparent that I was singing the song twice. This may well be because the song is in 5/4 time and I had to be very precise about the phrasing.

It also became clear that I needed a 'fast' track to liven things up (I have a tendency to record slow songs). On Sunday evening I took the dog for a walk and came back with a chord sequence; I worked on an arrangement for about two hours a day for four days and then wrote the lyrics. On Thursday I recorded the vocals and on Friday had second thoughts about the ending. In a week, I had written a song from scratch as well as recording it! Whilst this is hardly a top-tier song, it still sounds pretty good. Listening to all the songs again, I now need a slow song....

I was playing the songs by connecting a line between the computer's speaker socket and the aux socket on the stereo; as a result, the music is dependent on the computer's sound card which caused several frequencies to disappear. I presume that a cd burnt on my music computer will produce a much better sound. But even so, the songs still sound good - they just sound better on the music computer.

I visited my optician this morning (the dog ate one of the end pieces of one set of glasses); I had to wait an hour as the optician was looking after someone else who is a performing guitarist. When this person was paying, the optician asked what kind of music he played, to which the guitarist answered 'look for me on youtube'. I don't know what this person's name is, so I can't look for him, but that's not the point. It occurred to me that I could make a video of me miming one of my new songs and then upload it to YouTube. Maybe ....

There was a question on 'Academic Stack Exchange' the other day asking what to do when a reviewer requests more recent quotes (answer: include more recent quotes). This is something which appears in my course book: even though the literature review may be completed two years before the thesis is handed in, try to keep up with articles as they are published and update the review. So yesterday, I spent most of the day reading new papers, mainly about 'shadow IT'. I can safely include a few mentions without changing the thesis greatly. These papers have similar concerns to mine, although they differ in the specific subject matter (ERP systems run by SMEs). I am now part of a global group who is researching this field.

The end of the doctorate is now in sight! I also gave a little thought to what happens after the doctorate - do I just say thank you and go home, or should I continue somehow in my academic endeavours? I would like to have some kind of part-time appointment at Ben Gurion University which is only an hour away by train and seems to have a department in which I could feel at home. Tel Aviv University is slightly closer by train but I haven't come across any publication by their staff in my field.

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