2013 oh what a year!

It's me Mar . . . ok not. Well I'm back on my yearly personal review, as you can see at the blog most of my personal side remained untouched, I guess that this situation was a side effect of a lack of social relationships due research responsibilities. As many of my friends know this year I started and almost finished my Msc. dissertation. Hopefully the day that this post will be published I'll have the first draft of my dissertation "ready and emailed" to my advisor, in general it has been one of the busiest years of my life and I felt a lack of motivation in many areas due this (I don't work well under pressure). I'm not a big fan of setting goals in yearly basis, because the years as we know it are a product of a  poorly chosen calendar  (your fault Gregory!) if compared to other systems with more accuracy. Anyway I always write posts like this on new year's eve since I finally have time to do it, so . . . lets review the things that I did at 2013. Academics: In addition to my dissertation, I started this year with other expectancy: to do good research and publish results. In this area I have mixed feelings because I had a list of conferences in Brazil that I wished to attend but I received “kick in the ass” responses from those events, however and surprisingly my publications came from “let’s try to publish” events. I know that rejections are common on academic life and my advisor never got angry due this (In fact he helped me a lot to fix the papers), however I got angry with myself many times discovering that I’m a perfectionist guy and I’m not accustomed to fail. In the end I didn’t receive the rejections very well, so I took the pieces of my heart (yes, they broke my heart 😀 ) and assuming a SCRUM approach I got publications anyways. As a Christmas gift my key paper (that paper that gives you comfort in the Msc. defense) was accepted, so lets say that I got a 50/50 for this area. With this try and error process, I also experienced other dilemma: to be or not to be a "salamist". As Peter Highs stated some weeks ago, the salami science is more than a reality in modern academia and the people at research programs is obsessed with the quantity of papers that they publish. In their defense I must say that is not their fault, is system's fault. Most if not all academic programs over the world consider the number of publications as productivity, and many institutions use this productivity as one of the strongest criteria for academic promotions, jobs, funds, etc.  I don't like this model because if forces you to decide between two options 1) To publish slices in small events and get more publications or 2) Took the risk and try to publish in strong events. Although every publication has its own impact factor and different weights, the real danger appears when you took the risk and decide to try the option two but you get as a result 0 publications due the waiting periods of peer reviewing (that means less curriculum, less opportunities and less job expectations . . . what a nightmare). (Yes I know that I just discovered sugar-flavored water but . . . I born in a country with no research at all in computer science so it's new for me :D). Languages: In this area I did it surprisingly well, in fact now I'm an official Portuguese speaker (Brazilian Portuguese specifically), and as a result of my academic nightmare life I also improved my English and I'm planning to do the proficiency test in the very first months of 2014, maybe I'll need it to go abroad again, so lets say that in this area I got a 70/100 considering that I didn't take Portuguese or English lessons this year. Music: In my writing journeys I also discovered that Power Metal maybe is not the best music to read and write papers. So I cultivated an old preference for two music styles:
  • MPB
  • Electronic
MPB was a huge improvement in my musical taste since there isn't a direct equivalence of Spanish trova in Portuguese, and in the electronic side I developed a great affinity to trance style, I cannot say anymore about this so these are the videos of the songs that I liked more in these music styles: Chico Buarque - Deus lhe pague (MPB) Andrew Rayel - Dark Warrior And now what? At the time that I wrote this post (between 25 and 31 dec of 2013) I started to face the reality and my life at Brazil is close to the end (unless I get a PhD opportunity). I'm in the middle of a limbo because there isn't a clear path from here and I need to fix some issues and to see my family at Guatemala, so It's very probably that I'll spend at least 2 months there. I really don't want to settle roots in Guatemala considering that academic production in computer science is lower than in Congo, the crime rate has increased since I left the country and the capital city got a shame trophy of being the ugliest touristic big city of the world (yahoo!). I know that the grass is always greener on the other side, but If the other side becomes your side and you still like it more ... well that's a huge problem. Maybe is the time to create a startup, become a hippie or take a one-way trip to live in Thailand, who knows? 😀 (Disclaimer: In my defense I must say that I have all the disposition to help my country, but Guatemala is a country that don't want to be helped . . . or at least the democratic decisions of the people say that). Trips: Finally some photos of my trips of this year to fill space :-).
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