Monday, January 5, 2009

I was at the Bloggers' Calendar 2009 launch

In mid-December of 2008, I took part in the photoshoot for Bloggers' Calendar 2009. Two separate sessions were held then, and I went for the later one. The session, which was held in Willy Foo's LiveStudios, was a fun and vibrant one as I experienced for the first time what it was like to be a photo model (although I have to admit that I am not photogenic, haha). It also got me excited that my photo, along with approximately 20-odd other bloggers, will be appearing in the calendar itself. And needless to say, it also got me expectant of the formal launch itself.

The launch was held yesterday evening at Ice Cold B's in SMU. I was amongst one of the earlier ones to reach, and hence I also laid my hands on the calendar relatively quicker. It was packed in a neat little plastic casing as shown in the picture below:

Nice idea by the way, to have the bloggers lined up below - the only downside is, it's too small to be seen!

Anyway, back to the event. As I was sitting around listening and chatting to those who were there (e.g. Brennan, Robert and Mohan), the other participants gradually arrived too. As the place was rather small and cosy, we were sort of huddled up and split into small groups as we chatted. Dinner was served at around 7 plus, along with a menu of liquors that the outlet serves. However, not being a fan of alcoholic drinks, I didn't order any of them (reason being - I don't really like the taste of liquor, so I don't really understand how some people manage to finish a few bottles of it...well, to each his/her own). Anyway, the standard of dinner was good enough for me to help myself with two servings.

As the participants busy themselves with their meals and the discussions, I also noticed that there was one photographer who was moving around to take pictures - OK, that's probably pretty normal, you would say. What amazed me was the speed and precision at which the photos were processed - I was handed a couple of them with me included within minutes! Here's a snapshot of the 'freshly prepared' photos:

That was impressive, if you asked me. :p

At around 9pm, another guest arrived at the scene - and this one's not a human.

It's a gaming console - the Wii! I have a gaming console at home as well, but it's a PS3, so handling a Wii was yet another novel experience for me. The hot game of the night was the Rayman Rabbids - I have heard of it before, seen the screenshots but have not tried it. Now I could.

The game itself consists of several continents in the world, within which contains 5 different mini-games each. Up to four players could participate simultaneously, and a point tallying system is used - the player with the lowest gross total receives a roll of toilet paper (LOL). And so I managed to play in all the continents - the bulk of the game was based on a sense of wackiness, humor and novelty. There were a few that I particularly liked, such as the handphone-in-the-cinema and bumper cars mini-game. The fun was contagious as the audience had as much of it as the players.

In my opinion, the Wii is a nice alternative in the gaming market, although I personally still prefer my PS3. The former's useful for occasions such as friends' gathering such as yesterday's though.

The night drew to a close for me slightly past 10pm, although several bloggers stayed to carry on with whatever was left. And so I packed and left with fond memories and a copy of the Calendar.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

FYP report - done and dusted, lessons learned

This is it. It is finally completed after 5 months of blood and sweat (LOL OK, I am exaggerating here, but you know what I mean). After the submission of a soft copy has been completed, a hard copy is also required. And so it was properly compiled, printed and bound. Before parting with it, I decided to take a final snapshot of it:

FYP Report - 21 July 2008 to 18 December 2008

When I held this report in my hand, there was a deep feeling of satisfaction - not only does it signify that I, too, can be like any of the seniors, work and produce something primarily out of my own endeavor, but also signify that I am approaching the end of my tertiary, and possibly, my formal education. Whether or not there will be Masters or Doctorate following up, I am not sure, and I am not thinking about them at the moment.

Right now, I just want to bask in the delight of completing something so momentous, as well as share some of my experiences gained from doing FYP with my readers - particularly if you have not done one yourself:

1). Get a good professor

There is nothing like having a good, supportive and readily available boss. Hence, it is better to choose someone whom you know had, or will build a good rapport with you. Obtain advices from your senior as to which professor is better to work with. It's never a good feeling when you cannot find any help when you need them.

2). Persistence

FYP is likely to be one of your longest academic engagements as compared to all your other work, hence persistence is definitely needed here. Few people can land those titles which require only a month or two of work, so be prepared to tune yourself mentally for the long haul. There will be ups and downs, as with all other things in life - hence, it is crucial not to lose heart and focus.

3). Be clear of your path

Before you embark on the project, make sure you thoroughly, or at least understand the majority of what you are doing. Obtain a clear comprehension of all the big and small goals the project entail, but also bear in mind that sometimes, the professor might want you to change one or two things. Being flexible and negotiable are definite plusses here.

4). Consistency

This is probably one of the most important factors that would determine whether your FYP journey would be a smooth or a tension-filled one. Although it is part of human nature to procrastinate, I can safely say that six months, or even a year, is after all not a very long time. We all know how time flies, so try spreading out the work. Every little bit of progress is positive.

5). Communication

By communication, it can refer to anything between you and your professor, post-doctorate, or others, such as the course mates sharing the same equipments with you. Try keeping things polite and respectful, and they would be more likely to co-operate with you. Sure, there will be some people who don't fit into your good books, but not everyone does, right?

6). The final outcome

The unique thing about FYP is that nearly all of the students will be working on different topics, hence the bell curve grading system does not apply. Hence, what would the report be graded based on? If you are thinking that only positive results would get you a good grade, I would say not totally true. One thing of note is that a successful research usually spans over a period of several years and it can be a tad demanding to expect a student to yield marked discoveries over the period of six months to a year. Hence, the crux here is to demonstrate what you have learned and achieved, as well as a positive attitude throughout the course of the project.

Oh and, not forgetting to maintain a good relationship with your professor.

Hope you will enjoy your very own FYP journey!