Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Humid Wednesday

I have done a great job of procrastinating today. I've been finding it quite hard to concentrate. Having read a number of journal articles and some books I decided to go no further without doing summaries of each one. A good idea too because as I started to do this I discovered that I had already forgotten important chunks of some of the readings. Somehow this task has proved harder than any of the others to date. I talked to my sister this morning and we came to the conclusion that perhaps it is the difference between absorbing information and processing it. I've also been trying to note down how some of the ideas in the readings may apply to my own project. This too has proved quite challenging and I find my brain muscles sort of yawning with the effort of it all - always a good sign that the old muscle is being exercised!

Yesterday I went in to Uni (going in every Tuesday and Thursday now as part of my weekly plan). I ordered Filemaker Pro V7.0 because the number of Word documents I have with various bits of information on it seems to be proliferating. A simple database will be an effective container for all these bits I think, particularly since most of them relate to each other in some way. This in itself could be a helpful process as the design of the database will require thinking about and understanding how they relate. Mmmm.

Tomorrow there is a welcome for all the new PHD students in the centre. I'm keen to meet the other PHD students starting this year. I'd almost forgotten there are to be others.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Week in review

It's been a bit of a frustrating week on the study front with all the work being done on the house. Finally, the plasterer is done and we have the rest of the house back, including my study. The dust has been persistent and completely unmanageable. Every day we have cleaned after the plasterer left and put the barest minimum of furniture back to be able to sit down. The rest of the time we've been camping in the kitchen and sleeping on the floor in the lounge room. Our vacuum cleaner kicked the bucket the day before the sanding and in protest of the tons of dust we made it suck up over a week, decided to pump dust out instead of suck dust in. The motor must have been shot 'cause it sounded like a 767's taking off in the lounge room and it shook and spat clouds of talcum powder-like dust into the surrounding air. Yesterday we bought a new vacuum cleaner and went nuts cleaning. We mopped and vacuumed three times in a row and booked the cleaner to come after that. This morning my body has stiffened and I feel really sore all over.

Nevertheless, I have done some work this week. I went in to Uni twice, attended a really useless training session in the library on online research and typed up the minutes from the panel meeting. I read a couple more interesting journal articles and have been thinking about writing an article, perhaps a popular article, on the emergence of technology before its time as per my discussion with my supervisor last week on the same topic.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Still a bit tired

After a very eventful weekend I am still a bit fragile and tired today. I have a niece and am now an Aunt. I attended the birth and was one of my sisters support persons throughout her labour. It was an awesome and life affirming experience. The sheer physicality of it is something to behold. My niece is beautiful. It feels like a whole new era.

This week has started topsy turvy. We are getting some work done on the house and it is very messy. The chasing of the electricals into the walls has resulted in vast plumes of ancient rendering and plaster dust to drift effortlessly onto every surface and into every nook and cranny. I have retreated to the kitchen behind a drop sheet to act as a barrier against the penetrating dust and it is still encroaching...

Between phone calls and dust attacks I have been re-reading my Honours thesis from years ago. It has been very interesting and I feel that I have been able to approach it with almost fresh eyes. There are some potentially useful concepts in it to follow up for my thesis. I think Kristeva's interpreation of 'chora' deserves another look in and some theories on play and gaming.

Friday, February 11, 2005


What a great meeting this morning. I met with my panel of supervisors and I feel really inspired and excited. OK a little daunted maybe but not in a bad way. They have so many great ideas and know so much of the literature. I felt all the little electrons in my mind dancing around in a sort of whirling dervish. Some of the topics we discussed stood out, like the role of technology-play in the workplace, the concept of emotions as a bridge to understanding the connection between perception and an analysis of material culture. I am interested in exploring how to consider emotions with theories of phenomenology and to apply this to the entire assemblage of relations that a work place represents as a technological site or sites. The sense that it is a collective perceptual shift that takes place is an interesting idea to look into. I really liked the comment that one of my supervisors made about how our literacy of film and television informs computer literacy. This also has some very interesting connections to perception. The research side was really interesting too. I will give some thought to this. Oh geez I drank way too much coffee.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

First Panel Meeting

Quite a few firsts lately. Tomorrow is another first. It's my first panel meeting with the full contingent of my supervisors (all three) who will remain nameless with respect to their privacy.

I've done a little preparation, reading the Measures of Achievement on the University web site. I've also collected some bits and pieces together which represent notes and references from my research and reading to date. I have read some great stuff this week. I'm feeling very inspired.

Oh my but I almost forgot to mention it, one of the platties had a baby. I was conducting my daily scan of the tank to see if I could spot any newbies. We have a couple of generations of platties so I'm always on the look out. There it was, darting across the tank, a little flash of orange. I have separated it into a small tank. Why? I have heard that the big platties will eat the baby plattie. Is this a myth? Anyone know?

Dog with spots

My darling dog
Originally uploaded by msmalapropa.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

First day at Uni

Today is the first day I'm going out to the Uni to do some research at the centre. So far I've studied from home. I think I'll drive out and aim to get there at about 10am. What will I work on today? I think I'd like to finish reading Information Ecologies and making notes in my issues paper. Then I'd like to do some journal searches on the online library system. I will do some preparation for my first meeting with the full panel of supervisors coming up.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Reading on Information Ecologies

I've been reading a very interesting book called "Information Ecologies" by Bonnie A. Nardi and Vicki O'Day. So far it has introduced the idea that there is a need to take positions on technology that do not involve extremes of dystopian versus utopian views but instead allow for a range of debates that broaden human involvement and understanding of technology. It works towards creating a discursive space for these discussions by challenging some of the tradional language and grammar applied to technology. Some new concepts are introduced such as the 'information ecology' and the 'know-why' questions. It has given me some ideas for following up on some other theorists such as Bruno Latour and James Gibson.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

First week

I have not drawn up my weekly plan yet. Oh the guilt! Perhaps there was a part of me that knew this week would be a bit topsy turvy but I do feel bad that my first milestone is still to be reached. On the other hand, I did attend some training yesterday on some bibliographic referencing software at the Uni and have downloaded the program on to my computer to practice. I also activated my university email account. I have almost finished reading my first selected text and I have started an issues/questions document to keep a record of the ideas and questions that come up as I am reading. I have thought alot about process and structure. I have talked to other people about their experiences doing a PHD. If you wish to share yours then I would be very interested.