Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Job

Okay, some updates on life. After finishing my Master's at UofT, I had some vacation time, went back home to see family, and had some R&R at home in September. That was a really good break from everything; I read some books, played some video games, and just took a break from Maya and all that. I think it was the right decision, although it does feel pretty slow getting back into being creative and doing personal projects. Partly that is the adjustment to working full-time, which brings me, in this blog post, to the job I'm doing now.

I'm employed as a Research Associate (which feels like a bigger more important title than I deserve, but I'm eager to grow into it) at the Science Visualization Group at the University of Toronto Mississauga. There's just a few people in the "group" and we are starting out on a three year project that will involve creating, testing, and disseminating new visualization strategies for addressing common misconceptions in molecular biology undergraduate students.

It's a really great opportunity, because I get to be involved at every level of the research process. We're in the process of creating a simple wordpress site that will serve to share updates on our ongoing research, so I'll share that in the near future and also will probably link to pieces from time to time that I'm involved in.

Sorry, this will be lots of text again and no pictures... maybe I can find a TL;DR photo. Oh no, wait; I do have an image of me at work.

Am I doing Movember at this point? Hard to tell... but you can donate something if you feel so inclined here:

So, one of the awesome parts of starting on this project was I got to put together an amazing computer for doing intensive Maya simulations and things. Not to brag, but I basically got to choose every component I wanted (within a budget of course). So some of the specs are:

  • i7 3790k (six core 3.4GHz CPU designed for overclocking, which I need to try out at some point)
  • 32 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 256 GB SSD
  • 3 TB HDD plus 3 TB external backup
  • One of the biggest cases on the market so it's super cool and quiet. It doesn't look that big in this photo, but everybody that sees it in person is slightly amazed; you can look up Corsair 900D
  • Logitech G710+ mechanical keyboard which is a noisy joy to type on (sorry Andrea)
  • Logitech Performance MX mouse which is almost, but not quite as good as my MX Revolution at home (why discontinue it Logitech‽ <- interrobang="" li="">
  • ATH-M50 headphones which sound amazing but hurt the top of my head. Might need to mod them: (they're attached to the AUNE DAC I brought from home)
  • Two monitors 1920x1080 and 1920x1200... only problem is one is 27" and one 24" so the pixels are quite different sizes and it creates a weird visual thing when I drag windows from one to the other (one monitor is turned around and attached to another computer in the above photo because we're doing eyetracking testing on some existing animation)
  • And a huge steel-series mousepad which makes the mouse butter smooth :)
  • Oh yeah, how could I forget my first ever Quadro video card, the K4000, which is supposed to be excellent for Maya and other intensive computer work
So you can tell I'm pretty excited about all that hardware.

And, what else is there to say? Not too much, but I'm reading another book on Typography and I'm hoping to start some fun creative projects now. I've got a huge long list of ideas and it's time to stop doing so much planning and start doing so much doing.

Hope you're having a great weekend!


PS TL;DR photo

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Interview with SimplyMaya

I had the privilege of doing an interview for SimplyMaya, a forum I have been a member of for quite a few years. I've also done a few tutorial reviews for them in the past. This time they had a number of questions for me regarding the BMC program and what it is like studying for scientific visualization. Check out the article here:

More updates on my work and my fancy computer and convocation coming soon!