We're a little crazy, about science!

A successful first test

Sometimes you have to work weekends, especially if you end up working full-time. But sometimes you have to do what you need to do if you want to graduate on time. Hint, I really want to graduate on time, but then again time is relative. Grad school is time intensive and as I’ve talked about in the past, you have to do the work when you find the time and energy. Yesterday, I made time to test some new equipment and it went well!

Back in March or so I ran the first of my dissertation experiments. It was a disaster and took roughly twice as long as the experiment was designed to last. That didn’t include the setup and teardown, which took like 4x the amount of time it should’ve taken. Oh and there was a lot of improvising. Thankfully the participant was super understanding and the professor helping was equally understanding. Or at least the professor wasn’t angry about the dozens of interruptions, so that was nice. Then after it was all said and done, I had roughly 25 files worth of data and no easy way to align or organize everything. Total failure, but at least I got some data.

Since I’ve gone over the story a few times now, the short version is that I used some of the funds we got for the project (yay!) to purchase some of the equipment I really, really, really wanted to use for my experiments. We got the new equipment… finally and things were looking up. But and that’s a big but, I needed to test the equipment and make sure everything played nicely together. Hence the weekend work that needed to happen.

Well like I’ve mentioned things went well and the equipment took forever to setup and install all the associated software, but once I was finished I managed to get it all working. It took several hours of work and there was some things that I needed to sort out, but in the end everything worked the way I needed it to and it was money well spent! Now I won’t have to take the equipment across campus, I can setup the space prior to the experiment the way I need it, and I have a semi-dedicated space to work in.

With the initial preparations done and out of the way, I can now move on to the actual data collection! This has been several months of waiting, but with some luck I’ll get my data next Friday and it won’t be a huge mess like the last time. I have no delusions that there will be things to work out while I’m doing my experiments, but now that I’ve ironed out some of the major problems, I can focus on making sure the experiments go better than that first pilot.

There’s a lot of work ahead, but it’s work that will actually lead to something once it’s done, which is why I waited for the proper equipment. There’s just something about having the right equipment for the job that makes me very happy. I can’t wait to finally get started!

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