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About this blog

I started this blog last year as a bit of an experiment. I wasn't really too clear on what I intended to do with it, or who the audience was, and I think that has a lot to do with why it just sort of petered out over the past couple of months. Meanwhile I've had some time to think it through, and I've been making a serious effort to re-organise my work habits of late, so I think I know how this blog will fit in.

Although I do need to continue the write-ups of talks I go to, I see myself using this blog as more of a research notebook than before. Lately I've been using my paper notebook more, and this is certainly helpful, but there are a couple of reasons I think the blog will be a good supplement (not replacement). Firstly, I write much more slowly than I type, so while pen-and-paper is good for sketching out ideas and diagrams and tables of data, I find it really frustrating to try and write several pages at a time, but I know that I need to start doing this. The other reason is that from time to time I think it would be useful to get feedback from people on what I'm working on.

At the moment I write a weekly update that I send to my lab and file for my own future reference. I'm going to start putting bowdlerised [the internet does not need to hear about every stupid programming mistake I make, but it's useful for me to have a private record of them] versions of the weekly updates online. These are pretty linear—there's a lot of reference to "that problem I was talking about last week"—so I've been worrying about how to start, but I've decided to just jump in with the first one from this year, and hope it's comprehensible.

I also need to start writing more expansive things about the overall rationale behind my work. These should hopefully put the weekly updates into context, and help me stay focussed on the overall goals, rather than getting totally sidetracked with small details or demotivated because the overall plan is not clear to myself (both very easy traps to fall into). I'm not sure exactly what assumptions to make about the audience to write these for, so I think I'm going to take the path of least resistance, and write them for people with the same background as me. I don't want this to be incomprehensible to everyone else though, so I have one request of my audience: please ask questions. With feedback, I should be able to get better at pitching things right over time.

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