Category Archives: PhD-Story

The Widgetisation of the Web

Yes, I know widgets are everywhere. In fact I’ve become a bit widget-obsessed lately, choosing my new WP theme because, amongst other things, I now have 3 columns for widgets instead of one 😛 . I do already use some customised WP widgets alongside the ready-made ones they offer.

Of course, another example of the widgetisation is Google’s iGoogle, which I’ve also used for quite some time now (though I must admit that I don’t use any of the widgets on my iGoogle on a regular basis).

So, why this post, now?

Well, first of all I came across a site the other day which looks very interesting, and which I want to play around with on a secret WP blog (yes, I do have more than one WP blog, though I only really write on lenina). The site is Widgetbox, with the tagline ‘widgetizing the web’ 😀

It’s a directory of web widgets, and as such really useful, especially for a project that I’m doing some research on.

There is something very narcissistic about personal widgets though, and it shifts communication from interaction with another person to interaction with yourself, playing solipsistically with yourself if you like. What I’m going to research in my project though is how to use widgets professionally, and how to integrate them into your website as a service for users. We’ll see.

It seems though that this prediction was somewhat true: 2007, is the year of the widget – i.e. the year widgets became mainstream.

Edit: Even the BBC now has widgets on their site, which is a good indication of the now mainstream status of widgets. On a different note, they also give a Wikipedia article as reference in the same article. Thus, Wikipedia is now deemed by the BBC a trustworthy authority source. Interesting. Well, I did use Wikipedia myself in my PhD, so I guess I paved the way 😛

Website Updated & other Digital Housekeeping

I’ve just (finally!!) updated my website.

Yes, I do have a website (enter my real name into Google and you’ll find it).

In particular, I’ve actually uploaded my thesis to my site – so if you want to have a look at it, feel free!

It was great fun. I enjoy doing stuff on the computer for myself – i.e. stuff that *isn’t* related to wrk. Only that usually there is little time for it, and keeping this blog up-to-date is a chore in itself 😛

The great thing about a web 1.0 ‘website’ (and yes, it is web 1.0) is that it’s static. Once it’s done, it’s done (at least for a while…). So, you won’t be able to comment or do anything with it really. Still, it was fun to use Dreamweaver again (the first time in a year) and to fiddle around with the code. I also added the code for Google Analytics to the site (all pages), so I can find out a little more about my traffic and in fact try out Google Analytics.

I used to want to be a web designer about 10 years ago, and we all created our little websites using (in my case) Homesite, all hand-coding. Obviously I no longer do this, but it’s great to be able to work in code mode (it’s the same with WordPress actually).

I’m even thinking of creating a wikipedia-entry about my thesis topic. Seeing that I haven’t done a Wikipedia-page before, this will be a useful thing to do.

I’ll also add a few people to my bogroll here. People whose blog I read occasionally and where it’s just easier to put it into my bogroll. I can’t put everyone into my feeds, I don’t even use Google reader (I’m too fucking busy).

/me thinks she should try out FeedBurner.

Last Post from my University Office

Today for the last time, I’m blogging from the office at my Uni. I came here earlier after picking up my hardbound thesis from the bookbinder’s (yum, it looked very phat and stylish). I handed in my thesis to registry, so they can pass it on to our library, then signed some kind of release form so that the British Library has access to it, and finally, ended up in my office.

Once here, I started the long process of printing out another copy of my thesis – all its 326 pages – so I can get a hardcover version bound for myself. Thus, I sat here for ages, trying to do some other stuff at the same time. Nearly ready to go home now. I was going to get another print-out tomorrow but might not have the time. The extra copy would be for my mum, so she can see in black and white my achievement!

Anyway, brain a bit fried right now, so I’m offski 🙂

When do I have to start paying Council Tax?

I’ve been a bit confused as to the exact date from when I’ll have to start paying council tax 👿 . My graduation was on Friday, but my student card doesn’t expire until 8th of September, which I suppose is when the new term starts.

So, I can either:

  • go and tell the council that I graduated last Friday or
  • don’t tell the council anything until the official expiration date on my student card

hm…I think I’ve just found the answer via Google. Apparently, students are

expected to pay council tax from the date of their graduation ceremony.

Bummer! My free ride is over!

/me goes to write a letter to the council

PhD – Over and Out

That’s it now. The PhD-topic of my blog has come to its natural end. I could still do some kind of reflection on the overall ‘journey’ etc. blah blah, but I think I’ll leave it for just now.

I’ve been there, done that, and wouldn’t do it again!

I’ll have to finalise a few things next week, e.g. taking the hardbound copy of my thesis to the library, and provide a list of keywords for their indexing, but that’s it. There’s nothing major left now. I’ve thrown away all my folders and all articles etc. that I printed out over the last 5 years.

The worst thing about doing a PhD was the amount of effort and time it took. Intellectually, it really isn’t that challenging. But fitting it in with the rest of your life, while earning money, paying the bills, and making time for a relationship is very hard indeed.

I’m all for University and would encourage everyone to do a first degree, but anything thereafter, especially a PhD, is pretty pointless.

EXIT Stage Left.