Showing posts from April, 2020

Being like Mike Jones

Mike Jones was a lecturer when I was an undergraduate student: and as with many of my lecturers, later became a friend when I went on to a PhD. Mike taught me statistics: or failed to - I should say I failed to learn statistics from Mike, because he was a compelling and diligent lecturer who provided clear and copious notes. He had amazing handwriting - a beautiful copperplate italic style - and he hand-wrote his notes. I used to weep - literally - over my failure to understand statistics, and Sarah would be unable to understand why: "but he has such lovely handwriting". Like other people in my life and career, I think of Mike often as someone who helped me learn a valuable and important lesson - just not one about statistics. Twitter recently reminded me of Mike, and of what I learned from him: first, by talking - as one does in these times of Covid - about statistics (which I do now understand); second by the annoying habit some Twitterati have, of dismissing contemptou

Slowing Down

A year ago I organized a panel discussion on exercise and motivation. We had three local people with varied expertise and experience in exercise and psychology. It was a fascinating discussion, very informative and interesting: but one question made me think. One of our good friends is a real runner - fast, looks the part, always out running. He has been running almost every day since he was 12: he is now in his 50s, and still runs almost every day: rain or shine. Not like me - I am a fun runner, I do it for enjoyment but I don't much push myself, and although I did learn to lead other runners and know a lot of background and techniques I am not myself a very good runner - apart from the fact that I do it and enjoy it still. His question was unusual: "How do you stop?" His explanation was that as a habitual runner - and a good one - he found running an essential part of every day: it didn't feel right without it. But also, as he aged, he was coming to realise th

Shy of retiring

Being 'self employed', it is not so easy to retire. Not only because it is hard to tell the difference between retirement and just not finding work, but also because it's actually quite hard to make the step. I have been privileged for many years to work at what I would basically choose to do if I didn't work. I love what I do, and what it does. DSP is an acronym for Digital Signal Processing, which basically means just about anything you want it to - specifically, combining computing, physics and maths for practical applications. So you get to learn how the world works, how to work out how the world works, and how to change the way the world works (that last, just a little bit..). I've had a lot of fun and a lot of 'interesting' challenges: speech synthesis and recognition; digital audio; digital camera and TV design; the 'streaming' technologies; medical imaging using magnets, sound and radio; surveillance; controlling things ranging from the