Penguins.mooh.org

A shout-out

I'm just completely missing out on all the big ticket blog posts. No Christmas post, no New Years post. Heck, nothing to even acknowledge that I'm back in Germany. Like a real PhD student, my catch-cry is that I'm just far too busy to write stuff in a timely manner. I'll make an exception just this once.

I learnt things at uni. Maybe not a lot - in fact certainly not enough to fill up 5 years, but I do recall knowing more stuff than when I came in to uni. Beyond learning some very interesting stuff about biology, a very important lesson I learnt while at uni was the power of the written word.

To deliver a stunning revelation, universities are known to have bureaucracies (I didn't learn how to spell that word in uni), and quite often, they get in the way of you doing things like going to classes. During my tenure at UNSW I developed a love-hate relationship with the bureaucracy. I loved the school of Biomedical Engineering, and I hated Computer Science and Engineering. I walked the tightrope of these two relationships, yinning the GSBME against the yangning of CSE. However, around the time of re-enrollment, my carefully nurtured inner balance was thrown off into a desperate pool of Yang. Since I was doing a special degree, information about what we actually had to do to graduate was scarce, and that which we did have was blatantly incorrect. The way the system did in fact work was that each student had to go to the school offices and conduct a proxy argument between the two of them. In order to make things easier, I'd put up an informational page up on my website (this was before blog was even a word), and quoted several important people involved with the discussion. I should really put the word quote in quote marks, since it was for one of these statements that I got into a little bit of trouble.

For future reference, when implying that someone called some other people a bunch of idiots - you need to make sure that you've got a verbatim quote. I had, inadvertently started a large argument between the two heads of schools, which I thankfully was not fully drawn into. From that little event I learnt that I'm not completely anonymous in the internet, and that if you write something down, you better be prepared to take responsibility for whatever you wrote. And if you want to say something controversial, be as obtuse as possible about it.

Another lesson from university - regarding copying. I'll be the first to admit that I may have plagiarised work during uni. Not all of the work I did was original to me. However, there was a certain mentality at uni which my group of friends fostered. We were (are) all smart kids back then, and so to get through assignments, we'd work together. I'd try doing the assignment early, and then distribute it to other people to review. They'd take good ideas from my assignment, and then do it in their own way. They'd provide feedback to me, and we'd all come up with solutions that are the best. It wasn't unequal in any way - everyone helped each other out. So, that's why I don't like straight copyright infringement in academia. The painful thing is, they often get away with it. Somehow, when you're a postgrad/postdoc/professor it's all ok to do such a thing. I know for a fact, that if someone had infringed my copyright, well I would have a personal interest in making sure that they didn't get away with it.

The last point I want to make is about where my loyalties lie. Generally speaking, I'm pretty damn loyal to people I've been through lots of stuff with. Hard and challenging times especially - parts of school, all of uni, my time at PSL, and now my PhD. Even in cases where I've got no formal association with the people I've worked with, I do tend to try to do my best on their behalf. This extends to work I've done before too - even if I got paid for working on it, if I've put months of work into it, not even counting the work other people have put into it too, I still feel like it's my crusade.

Finally, I'd like to say hello to the visitors to this site from two days ago, accessing the internet via Software Technology Parks of India in Indore! I don't know if this is a habit, but you missed reading the research section. I look forward to the communities response!

3 comments

benjamin *

having your work stolen twice in two years is a damn good compliment. I think it even deserves a separate section on the cv.

Hiren Joshi *

Stolen is such a strong word. I'd prefer calling it a misunderstanding. I mean, if the diagrams from a journal article appear awfully similar to those in crappy flash promotional presentations, and the layout is highly derivative of another application, and if there's nary a mention of the previously mentioned paper anywhere on the website, that means absolutely nothing at all. It's probably just an oversight.

I can take comfort in knowing that every time someone pulls a stunt like this, they don't even come close to matching the original. Which, by the way, is showing its age - the core of it is at least 4 years old, with work starting before June 2002! Remember when it used to run on schlong, and it was called OMFG, and then Glyconiq? Or my brute-force Glycomod with a 5GB DB table? Kinda sad really when you think about the state of interpretation programs after all this time.

Apepoker *

I am yet to come across another organisation that had servers with names as good as the ones at PSL.

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