Confessions of a researchaholic

November 16, 2022

Why you should write your own paper, at least the first draft

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:38 am
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Writing is an important skill for not only publishing and communication but also other career tasks. If you cannot do it for whatever reason (language, habit, psychology, etc.) it is better to learn as soon as possible.

Nobody else knows your ideas and thoughts better than yourself. Writing by someone else is not very likely to accurately reflect what you have in mind.

If you find it difficult to express your thoughts, it can be a sign that the thinking is not clear enough and writing can help refine it.

Do whatever to come up with a first draft. Do not worry about nitty gritty details like grammar as long as your collaborators can understand what you are trying to say. We can iterate the paper draft together to improve the not only the writing but also our thinking and execution of the project.

November 8, 2022

How to choose project team members

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:19 pm
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More people do not imply more productivity, sometimes it could be the opposite.

Every member should have a clearly defined role that fits their interests and expertise, so that the total union can cover the entire project with just enough redundancy for robustness (e.g., unforseen demands for certain types of knowledge or tasks, or unvailability for some members during certain stages of the project).

Everyone should have the personality to harmonize with others on the team. We don’t need to love each other, but if some members don’t get along the project will be in trouble.

For longer term projects or building your own teams, consider the growth potential of people in addition to who they currently are (e.g., 3 to 5 years down the road versus right now).

July 17, 2022

Moving around at work

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:58 pm
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After my turn of presentation in a recent intern seminar about how to write research papers, I took a break mandated by the eye-break program installed in my computer. Instead of moving around elsewhere as I would usually do, I stayed in front of my computer to attend the next presentation, but moved a bit to avoid staring directly into the display. Later I got a message from the meeting host reminding me that everyone can see me stretch in the virtual meeting, which I replied that everyone should do that during a long meeting!

A related thread from Cornell about the importance of moving around during work instead of just standing or sitting (or remaining in any other stationary poses).
I think knowing how to take care of our body is more important than knowing how to write papers.

March 24, 2022

Burnout from a thousand little tasks

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:05 pm
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A task might not seem to take much time or efforts to complete, but if we take on all of these coming our way, we will run out or bandwidth before too late.
Better judge each task as part of the whole (work-life) optimization.

March 19, 2022

Layoff

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:30 am
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At the beginning of a movie I was watching there was a scene of someone who received a surprise layoff and, after being escorted outside the office building, did not seem to have any idea what to do.
(I don’t know what happened to that character at this moment of writing as I have yet to continue with the movie.)

Which prompted me to ponder: when at last we leave our jobs, what has to be left behind and what we can bring with us? Thinking ahead of this eventuality can clarify our priority about what is really important: titles and positions we hold, colleagues/collaborators we interacted with, experiences we learned, products we built, achievements we accomplished, etc.

Now, replace job with life, and think again.

February 22, 2022

Advices from a speaker coaching session

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:44 pm
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Say less and say better.

Connect with the audience from the start; why this talk matters to them.

Have a closure at the end, like take home messages or potential future works.

Asking your opinion before venturing mine

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:29 pm
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A recent undergraduate intern (with a first-authored paper in an upcoming top HCI venue with me) asked my thought on how to pick among PhD offers he has received from several top schools.
Initially I gave a no-brainer answer, but on a second thought I realized that I should hear his prioritized list so that I won’t get ahead of myself.

Maybe I should do this for other cases in the future (and put a disclaimer before my existing written suggestions).

Later, we went over his detailed reasoning and it appears that he would pick my original no-brainer recommendation.
I look forward to our next collaboration project.

January 11, 2022

Pre-recorded video presentation

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:54 pm
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CHI 2022 provides this medium post about giving a remote presentation as well as different styles ranging from very simple to quite fancy:

Feel free to pick a style you like.
I would do voice over only as I try not to let people know what I look like, or even sound like via synthetic voice over.
But if you like people to know you and/or have the talk video better approximate an in-person conference presentation, consider showing your face.

December 1, 2021

Sinkhole tasks

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:08 pm
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Certain activities tend to drag me in and hard to get out, such as debugging and prototyping. To avoid crowding out other tasks, I try to schedule these sinkholes later in the day and start with these that I might skip over.

This is an orthogonal dimension with respect to the importance x urgency matrix.

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