003.2: Meetings, Meetings, Meetings, Feedback, Meetings

Other than slaughtering bugs and resounding joy, last week featured about a million meetings. Or like two. And some written feedback. You know.


Marijke and I spoke again Friday, this time via voice chat. She had some helpful feedback on my presentation (see the following post) and suggested that since I am still struggling with my thesis statement that I write ten imperfect ones quickly and see if that doesn't break me out of my rut. (Kate suggests that the first two sentences are a pretty good start and not to worry about including notes on method, etc.)

For her part, Marijke seems to be doing well. She is looking for data, which is always the hardest part of a data-driven piece.


The biggest meeting of the week was with Arlene, my project advisor. Before we met, I pulled together a rough agenda and mostly stuck with it.

1. Talking about how often we want to meet / setting a repeating time (every other week seems good & this time works for me).  What you are interested in in terms of seeing paper drafts, etc.

Result: We probably don't need to meet quite so often and can figure it out on an ongoing basis. I should go ahead and forward her drafts as I get to them. Pretty chill.

2. Talking about where I am hardware-wise — and possibly coming up with things I need help researching together.

Result: We talked a bit about the induction charging. Arlene suggests I look more for the induction hardware data sheet, though I still assume if Adafruit didn't have it, I am not likely to find it either. But I can take a gander. I was worried about overcharging being an issue, but Arlene said that is usually one of the functions the onboard chip takes on.

We also talked about different methods to make the button, which is on the board, accessible from the surface of the plaster. The most promising idea is to create a sort of silicone plunger + backing carrier, similar to the first run holder I made before leaving for San Francisco in May.


3. Discuss the BLE bug.

Result: At this point, I already had the thread fix in mind, so I talked about hunting that down. In terms of discussing working around the bug and whether it was desirable, Arlene encouraged me to go back to my paper and consider the criteria I laid out for the object. 

slide from final pre-thesis defense

slide from final pre-thesis defense

I am not sure that it is clear to me where "a thing that notifies you" fits in these yet, but always returning to what I have set as a goal seems like a reasonable way to make a decision.

4. Talking about the paper

Result: Items to consider include: how much I want to talk about self-fabrication as an element to this project; what can be said about privacy from a technical level, all the way down to the operating system; and larger meanings of reflexivity.

I do keep dancing around the first question. Overall, while I don't think at-home fabrication is a cornerstone of the work, it is certainly out there — after all Lost Time Club does, however tongue in cheek, promise a kit and not a product — and as such worth mentioning in the work. Thinking about privacy beyond the privacy of ambiguous data is definitely not something I have considered yet beyond the idea that just storing the data in the phone keeps it off other servers, if also leaving it susceptible to loss. Finally, in terms of reflexivity, Arlene asks whether a system can be reflexive at a community or societal level. I must admit being kind of uninterested in this tack currently.

5. How to when to stop reading :)

Result: Now. And also never. Arlene emphasized the practice orientation of the program and that it is not a PhD dissertation. But I don't want to stop. I should probably slow down a little though, and, once I have the outline laid out, concentrate on the areas that are obviously missing. It is definitely a challenge, since all this is so interesting, to not keep following threads and trails.

The Paper

Speaking of reading and writing, Liz got back to me on a review of my paper from pre-thesis. She liked it a lot and thinks it is great shape, so I feel good. My biggest goal with the paper is to cover all the points we need to, especially practical notes on research and development and comparative works, while weaving in history and reflection so it doesn't seem so chunky and blocked out. The recommended paper assignment this week is a high-level outline, so that is about right in line with my current preoccupation. It may not appear till the end of the week, though, since some work-related projects have been taking up time.


Finally, this coming Friday I will be meeting with Nick Montfort to talk to him about being the external examiner on my committee. He seems about right thematically and knows way more about this process than I do, having been on a committee before.