Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Evil March

Well, here I am updating my blog just because March is an evil month for me. It has been several weeks since I updated my blog back in France. Now it's time to moan about my life being a PhD student again. I have been moaning about traveling on my own, not sure if doing a doctorate is something that I should be doing or not, and many other stuffs. Oh Shit! That's life!. Anyway, the thing is I have been working so hard recently writing papers got accepted. But recently, my paper got rejected which made me feel like I want to scream on top of my lung. The moment I received the email, my hurt beats like I just finish a 100m sprint. I was excited but at the same time I feel very nervous. Line by line I read the email till the moment I saw the word 'regret' then I realised my attempt this time is unsuccessful. Oh holly shit and crap! I always have faith with my paper especially if the paper is based on my own work. I believe that the method which I proposed in the paper has better potential in doing its job in comparison to some of the methods in the literature. But this is life, people don't think like the way you think.

But hey you..I never expect people to think like the I think, far from wanting them to think like the way i think. But I would expect people to think twice before they even say something about my work. This sounds like I can't accept the fact that my paper has been rejected. No! that's untrue! Because I can accept any criticisms but they have to be constructive. The first reviewer commented a few things about my paper which I think make sense. The second reviewer accept my paper with a few minor corrections. But the third reviewer sounds a little idiot. After discussion with my supervisor this afternoon, he also think the same. The third reviewer might be one in the 20%. For me 80% of the reviewers I would categorised qualified and the other 20% I would say, they might be qualified but they don't really understand with your work, or probably they are just too lazy to read the whole paper and just give some stupid feedback of your paper based on their assumptions. Or it could be, they are so arrogant and just simply didn't like your paper because they thought it should be done like this rather than like that. Phewwww!!!!!

I still feel the pain, sadness and disappointment. Not sure how to mend it for the next few days. In fact, I would probably be miserable for the next a few weeks. Recently, I have written another paper and submitted it to a conference in London. Maybe I will be okay after getting a good news from the conference. Otherwise, if the decision result for my latest paper get rejected again then I will be super duper miserable. Even my recent paper I already feel like a shit and demotivated to do the rest of my other work. Let alone if my latest paper got rejected. I don't know where to put my face and brain. This is even worst after my meeting with my supervisor, because he disagreed with some of the comments from the reviewers. This makes me think that I deserve better comments and should be at least invited for a poster presentation. I don't like to say it let's put it like this. The first reviewer rejected my paper but the second reviewer accepted it. The third reviewer which basically will determine whether my paper will be accepted for my paper gave last resort to my paper. Which basically mean it's up to the committees chair to decide whether to accept it or not. As it happened, the chair rejected it. Not sure why because the comments from the third reviewer were pretty rubbish and didn't make sense at all. Arghhhhh...why?.....why?why?

Changing the topic, I also lost my badminton tournament last week. Close yet too far to reach the semi final. But I didn't mind much about it because I thought there will be good news coming soon. Then it comes to my paper decision result. The whole situation made everything even worst. Till now I am writing this post it is actually very annoying. I didn't feel very sad when my second paper got rejected because I knew there wasn't much work I've done in it. It was just a review paper which doesn't have the originality in it. But my ICPR paper which i submitted to Sweden, I do think is a novelty or some sort of contribution in it and knowing this paper is rejected is so heartbreaking. This result is really demotivated me especially my eagerness to write more conference papers. I used to enjoy writing a conference paper but now the feeling and excitement is a little but low than before. Haisshhhh.....that's life! Whatever the reason is I still don't like the fact that my paper which I thought (that time) was my best one. Arghhhhhhh.........

Anyway, I am going to revise my paper based on the reviewer's comments and going to submit it to a conference in Portugal. But before that I want to fully concentrate on my journal paper first.

Friday, 7 March 2014

A glimpse of Nantes, the conference and some thoughts

Here I go again folks, updating my blog. It has been a very busy day in the conference. By the time the conference finished I felt very tired mentally. I attended most of the sessions I wanted today except the sessions after 4PM. For most of the sessions I did ask several questions which basically means I did pay attention for most of the sessions. There were many sessions which I think very technical and only one was very easy to follow but lack of technical report in a presentation make you wonder how did the authors do it. Anyway...the thing is the audience know in general how the methodology works. But I think the presentation of the day is the keynote  from University Collage London. It was about a 3D cave reconstruction. It works by flying a device to go through along the cave and as the device flies it takes lots of information about the cave such as surface, angle, interesting points,  edges and many more. By taking all those information the algorithm will manipulate it for the reconstruction purpose. The most interesting part is, one of the caves they tested is the Mulu cave in Sarawak, Malaysia. In fact they are collaborating with some scientists in Malaysia.

Let's talk about the conference. First of all the conference venue facilitates are first class. Secondly, the services provided by the conference committees was superb! Thirdly, the food was really is amazing. The first day of the conference I gave a 7 out of 10 but today it was 8. I must say, although the french don't use much spicy in their cooking they still manage to make their food so tasty. Don't talk about the desserts. It was 8 and 8.5 for yesterday and today, respectively. There were so many biscuits on tables but I didn't really treat myself with those because I knew they are fattening. So far, everything went so well especially the conference but there is one thing I notice which is so different then the rest of the conference I've attended. For all the conference I've been, for lunch the conference committees always invite us to finish the food. But here in France, it's so different because we were only allowed to have once for every course. Today I wondered if the food were actually all finished. So I stayed in the lunch hall till everybody finished. Guess what I found out? There were so much food left and I don't understand what they were going to do with all those food. Such a waste! I mean why can't they just ask us to just finish it (sounds greedy)? Or perhaps they save it for the staffs (this sounds a bit cheeky). So yeah I am a bit disappointed with lunch because the food were really good but we were not allowed to have as much as we can (greedy again).

Okay, now let's talk about Nantes, where the conference is. I am staying in a studio apartment hotel which is very nice because it's clean, free wifi, and  quite spacious. I always make sure my room has unlimited wifi access. There are some expensive hotel rooms don't provide free wifi or internet connection to their guests. Nantes is definitely not a small city. It is actually quite a big one. Before i cam here I thought Nantes is a small city and I could walk around it within a day. I was completely wrong. But this city is not really a place that I would like to visit regularly because there's not much attraction or interesting places here. I think it has a couple of museums here but I am not really into that. I like a place which has something very rare and difficult to find at other places. It has several ancient buildings but many of them are already replaced by new modern buildings. In fact there are quite numbers of modern buildings built  among the old ones.

Food in France is generally very good but I haven't done the whole experiment yet so I can't say much but so far all the food I had in and off conference were really good. Much better than the ones I had in germany and hong kong (but the food on streets in hong kong were really good).

So tomorrow will be the last day of the conference. But I will only attend half day. I hope some of the people in the conference will be free so I can see the other side of the river in Nantes.

I was searching a conference about medical image analysis yesterday and I found two or three of them which will be held in September and November. So, most probably I will be submitting/writting a couple of papers by because June or May (I have very high expectation here!). For my PhD before i'm planning to write up my thesis (in 3 years), I would love to have 7 conference papers and 2 journals. But that is my highest expectation. My lowest expectation would be 5 conference papers and 1 journal. My other top expectation is to submit a journal into number 1 journal in medical image analysis. But this is very difficult indeed. I'm not sure if I can achieve this but I will definitely do my very best because having a journal published in a number 1 journal in the world in medical image analysis would give a huge boost to my CV in my academic career. Anyway...stop about blogging..I think it's time to go to bed. I am tired and just finished watching the all england badminton 2014. Interesting matches and would love to see some good results tomorrow. Okay folks..night night....p/s: unedited xx

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Exploring Each of My Thoughts

It has been almost two months since I last updated my blog. If you look back to my posts, the last one was in January 2014 and this is the second post of 2014! Yippieeee! I am happy because I know, I don't usually have time to update my blog. Updating my blog is something so precious for me. I used to update my blog several times a day. In fact, when I just started my blog I was so obsessed and updated my blog almost every hour. It was insane of course I don't know where the hell my ideas came from. Some of them just a copy and paste post of course. Anything I found interesting from others' blogs I put them on mine as well. Correct! That's not clever at all. But I was a newbie that time and all I wanted to do is to update my blog and hoped the contents are interesting.

Well, I have so much I wanted to say but I have so little time as I need to go to bed very soon. I am currently in France, more specifically in Nantes. I never heard this place before but it quite a nice town actually. When I first arrived here I thought it's a small town but then after wondering around, this is a well sized place. Not too huge neither too small.. but just nice! Okay I am in France and will be attending a conference tomorrow. My aim is to attend all as many presentations (medical imaging) as possible. I only interested in medical imaging because that's why research area at the moment. Okay now let's go through each of my thoughts (LOL!)

1. Attending a conference on your own is always odd! I have attended three international conferences so far and all by myself traveling from the UK. It was in Germany, Hong Kong and now in France. All the national conferences I've attended so far were accompanied by some other PhD students/Post Doc. Therefore, for every conference I always hope I can make new friends/contacts (which is always the case). It is always nice to be able to keep in touch with people (doesn't matter whether they are from the same research area or not) via email or facebook. The most common way to keep n touch with the people I have known or met in the conference is via facebook. It seems to be very effective way (not sure why). So let's hope I can make some friends tomorrow.

2. I feel happy when people follow my blog and get back to me how inspiring my blog is especially achieving my ambitions. Yeah if you guys want to know who I was then you can go to the very first post of my blog. You can see how terrible my writing (English). It just recently I have improved a lot. My IELTS results weren't that amazing. I just managed to get band 6.5 in overall and only band 6 for my writing. I think this is a minimum requirement for most UK universities. But I remember it was very hard that time because I was working as a software engineer with Motorola that time and I had to take a night class from 8 till 10PM every night. It was very tiring actually but my determination pushed me to the edge of my limit. I hope this blog does not just inspires people who want to succeeded in life but also to those who have been trying advise is don't give up ..keep doing it...keep tying it. God knows when is the right time for you and you never know..because at the moment you surrendered success might be just around the corner of your life.

3. I've read several articles about PhD students committed suicides, mental problems, sick, etc. Wow! I think I am quite far away from these. It is quite worrying! That is why I always have physical exercise at least 3 times a week, 2 hours per session. I usually managed to make it five times a week but sometimes i was just too tired. It's weird how much the effect of mental energy to our physical energy. I spent most of my time in the office thinking different solutions of my PhD problems without any physical efforts but by the time I finished in the office I was so tired. Most of the time I just pushed myself to go to the gym and have a 5 or sometimes 8KM run. After my run my head did feel relax and showers make it even better. But hey folks, in many cases doing  a PhD is a choice. People took effort to make applications as well as the scholarships. For me, if you have made the effort to apply for a PhD plus the scholarship, then you should have known and ready the challenges are. Doing a PhD is not easy. I must say it is very very difficult. It's not just how brilliant you are but it is a combination of so many aspects of yours. You need to be tough mentally, emotionally, good management skills, etc. Trust me, if you want to do a PhD think about it again.

4. Up to now since i started my PhD (1 year 9 months), i already have 4 conference papers accepted, 1 conference paper under review, 1 rejected conference paper and 1 journal paper under review. At least I know I have done 7 attempts so far. I'm not sure if this is good or not. It seems like I am very much obsessed with the number of papers. Recently, my paper i submitted to London has been accepted. But I do really hope the paper I submitted to Sweden will be accepted as well. I am so damn crazy and desperate want to see this conference and the country of course. I am a bit worry because when I checked the paper i submitted there were a few minor errors. But I do really hope that the reviewers don't really get too fussy about it because they can be amended within half an hour. So I am planning to write a paper for MIUA conference, I have two in mind so far but I don't really know which one I should go. The main problem is I have no idea how the results look like because I haven't run the experiments yet. I hope to get some good results so I have something to write. Anyway, back to the under review. This is probably the toughest and waiting for the result is really daunting. In many cases in exams you know how well you did in the exam but writing a conference paper or a journal paper is really scary because writing a paper usually will take about 2 weeks for a decent one. Some people may take less or more. When you finished writing your paper, it seems to be okay and sometimes you have very good feeling that the paper will get accepted. But then in the reviewers' views your paper might be just another piece of shit which doesn't worth a penny. Hence rejected! So till now waiting for the results for my other two papers are so uncomfortable.

5. Okay this is the last in my mind. I have some other but I need to go to bed. I've been up since 3AM to catch my flight from Manchester airport to Paris and then to nantes, France. I am now so tired, but the last thing I want to say is that sometimes I have a feeling that I should not be doing a PhD now. I should be doing something else. I don't know why I'm doing this PhD. I should be working now and making money, saving and holiday. At the back of my head I always have this very very bad feeling that doing a PhD is not the correct path for me. But then when I look back again what I have prayed to God and how I'm doing my PhD now I think I have done the best decision of my life. Yet this is very uncertain because I don't know what happen to me when I finished my PhD. I might become one of those people who has a doctorate qualification but never used it. That would be really sad otherwise. But again some people say everything happens for a reason.Well, time will tell. So much plans but so little time left. Money is very important to start up something. In this world if you don't have the money there is no other way you can start something. So I hope after my PhD it's gonna be another chapter of my life. New start with new challenges.

Mmmm..okay I think I have written enough for this post. Not really I have more to write but my eyes can't stand anymore. I am so sleepy and really tired. I've been up since 3AM. I have a conference tmrw and I need to be fresh and sharp in the conference especially during my session. Okay folks..bye for now and I'll see you again in my next post. I will try my best to write a post this week but no promises! :-) xx

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A glimpse of Hong Kong

Holla I am back again after so many weeks or perhaps months. I have been so bloody busy (usual excuse but true). First and for most my paper which I submitted to France has been recently accepted for a poster presentation. This means I already have three accepted publications so far and I do really hope that my will have more publications. I always believe that the more publications you have the better your chance to pass your phd viva. This might be not true in all cases but I believe it's true in many cases. Anyway..that's not what I want to talk about in this post. It's about my opinion of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong from the top of Victoria peak

I stayed in Hong Kong for 10 days in Dec 2013 for a conference. But the actual conference was only three days and the other seven days was my holiday. I'm writing this post in Hong Kong as my flight to Paris is tomorrow morning. I'm staying up don't want to fall asleep. I hope to get a good sleep on the plane to Paris. Anyway, y first impression of Hong Kong is it's an amazing city full of dollars and luxuries. I remember when I was on the coach going to my hotel from the airport I saw high raised multimillion dollars  apartments decorated with beautiful neon lights. At that time I am thinking this city is another New York. As soon as i checked into my hotel room brain said let's explore and see what this city can give. I am an explorer and a traveler of course. I like to compare to different things to get the best of them. But I thought it was too late and didn't proceed my plan but managed to go out for a couple of hours for my dinner. My first dinner in Hong Kong cost me about 100HKD. I didn't realise it was expensive that time until the next day when I was walking on one of the popular streets. I saw there were so many restaurants and stalls with much cheaper prices less than 50 HKD.

Anyway it was an experience. That's always happen especially when we are new in that place. I continued my exploration. As I'm walking on a street with multimillion dollars building on both sides I noticed they use lots of bamboos scaffolding. It is very strange because they don't look safe at all but according to the local people I've asked. Bamboos scaffolding is very cheap hence maximise the contractors' profits. This is indeed very dirty way/trick of minimising the cost. However, in terms of infrastructure development, HK is probably having one of the best in the world. I don't think UK, France or Germany has the facilities what HK can offer. For example the trains services is every minute and the latest is every 3 minutes where in those countries could take up to 5 to 8 minutes in their capital cities. On the other hand, night life in HK is alive every single night. It seems like the city never sleep especially eating places, markets , bars and pubs make most streets never get dark.

So how about the society or the people? I'm not sure how do you measure politeness but they never hold the door for you and they certainly never say thank you if your gave a way to them. Saying thank you or showing a sign of courtesy is almost null in their life. These sort of acts is probably something very strange for them. Cutting or jumping a queue is something normal. I dare to say this because I have experienced it several time when I was in HK, It happened in fast food restaurants and counter tickets.

Finally I never been to a city where I caught bugs so quickly. Only in HK because the air is actually polluted badly. I had a few bad days in HK but I must say I had an amazing experience as well. HK is a beautiful and very nice place to visit but I don't think it's the best place to live in the world.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Learning To Be A Researcher

Hello guys, I'm back again after more than a month. It has been really busy months for me. Since I started my PhD I can hardly breath. In fact, it feels like everyday is like another day but with the same hope. For those of you who don't know when I started my PhD, it was June 2012 and it's October now which basically means it has been 1 year 4 months. If someone asked me how does it feels being a researcher I would answer like a shit! yeah I mean it. Nothing to be proud of being a PhD student. My life is surrounded with data, complex mathematics equations, other researchers' updates which I'm not sure whether I want to know about it or not, full of worries because I'm so keen to finish this project in 3 years (1 or 2 months extension is okay) and another one is my life is full of questions which I think nobody can answer them. First of all, my CMBE conference paper in Hong Kong has been accepted and I have applied for a travel funding from BMVA but not sure if I will get it or not. I do hope to get it so my I could save a lot of money on my expenses this year. Otherwise I will be in trouble because I don't really want to use my own money for most of the expenses. It will be very expensive. Perhaps it will cost more more than £800 and that is not included my flight going back home in Sabah. The total estimation cost might be about £1300 but the the extra a few hundreds pounds I will use the department's travel funding, some from my supervisor maybe, etc. If I can go to Hong Kong in December, then I will be going back to Sabah as well. This means, I will be celebrating Christmas in a warm weather. Maybe a little bit unusual because most of the people in my country associate that special day with snow LOL! But that is a typical thinking of the people back in Sabah (too much western influence).

I have recently submitted a paper to France as well but the acceptance of notification will on the in the middle of December. I think based on the four papers I have written so far, the fourth paper would be my best. Therefore, I am pretty confident this paper has a good chance to be accepted. But I'm not holding my breath because the result might be completely the opposite. At the moment, I am developing another method which is the third method of detecting prostate abnormality within the peripheral zone. This time I am trying to exploit the dark regions by using histogram analysis techniques. The basic idea behind this method is, making comparison of the low intensity values between the left and right peripheral zone. By using certain matrices, if the difference is more than certain threshold values then we assume that abnormality appears within the prostate. Up to now, the accuracy for this third method only 75.7% and I'm aiming to achieve  more than 80%. I actually put a higher target this time which is 85% but to increase 10% is actually incredibly hard. But I am trying very hard to achieve it. I can actually see a very good prospect of this method if I can find one more feature which can distinguish those left and right peripheral zone. But usually the one last feature which basically means the last indicator is the most difficult part in research. I am so keen to find it out and hopefully before the end of this year I can write another paper to be published. I know it's not easy and it will be bloody difficult but I will keep doing it till I have the answer. On the other hand, I am planning to add more data which basically means I will be testing the method with more than 100 slices. At the moment I am using 70 slices and based on this data set the result shows a good potential.

Now when good results achieved, we should be talking about conferences. Which one shall I go? A top conference but the topics are very general or a lower ranking conference but the topics are very specific. My supervisor advised to submit into a conference which is less popular conference but the topics are very specific. At the moment I have two in my mind. The fist one is ICPR and the second one is ICBES. ICPR is highly ranking whereas ICBES is a new conference but the second one only accept papers within the biomedical engineering field. The fact is, if you going to submit a paper into a more general conference you would end up attending a presentation which is not within your field. I would say just wasting your time attending the conference especially after your presentation. Secondly, most researchers if they are looking for citations or references they tend to search for  conference proceedings which are specifically within their fields. But I will be having a meeting with my supervisor on Monday and hopefully he can give me his best suggestion. It's either Sweden or Prague. Oh yeah! I'm feeling excited now :-) I honestly don't mind which one but I must say Sweden will be cold and Prague will be warm. Therefore, I will be choosing Prague LOL!

Okay, that's some of my updates today. It's Saturday and I am in the office running my experiments hoping to get some good results. Slurping my mocha (my favorite drink). Life is getting exciting but I can feel that my soul and body is wearing out and I'm not sure how long can keep it up but I know that I will be there. I still haven't found my 'torch light' to light my way up in the middle of my research world but at least I have a wooden stick help me out one step ahead.

Monday, 19 August 2013

It's about what you eat NOT how much you eat

Yeah I'm back again updating my blog which I find it quite fascinating (lol!). For me able to write an update my blog is an achievement because it means I have some free time which is also basically mean I probably a little bit ahead of my schedule (i'm not sure if this is really true or not though). I will be going to treat myself a nice chinese buffet tomorrow and i will make sure that i will have the best from the restaurant (correction: I have gone and successfully did it again). For some reasons i actually found a new technique on how to avoid your stomach feels full easily. LOL! is only for those people who appreciate food very much (like me of course!). Most people usually eat their meal starting from starters, main course and desserts accordingly. However, my last experience has proved that eating your meal reversely will make your appetite stays longer. Believe it or not this has really worked to me and I believe this will work again tomorrow. So, instead of starting your meal with a starter, try to start with some cakes but not an ice cream. Why? because ice creams contain more fluid than a cake and it will fill up your stomach quite easily. That's why a bowl of soup is definitely not a good starter especially when you are in a buffet. After having some cakes, I would suggest you to go for the main course followed by the starters and finish with something cold which like an ice cream.
Okay peeps, now let's talk about junk food, fast food and the ones what I call a proper food. I started reading about healthy food when I was about 13 and that was about 15 years ago (jezzz...did I've just revealed my age?). If I still can remember it correctly, fruits were ranked on top of everything followed by water (I mean a still water and not the fizzy one!). Bad food are those contain excessive saturated fat or too much sugar. Therefore, for the sake of simplicity, to know how healthy your meal is depending on how much saturated fat and sugar in it (of course in some cases when we are talking about an nutrients we will be looking some other things such as salt, calories, etc). But in my case those two things are very important will consider them first before anything else. Saturated fat are okay but remember that consuming/taking them more than your recommendation daily intake may cause you a lot of health troubles. But hey, I'm not a nutritionist who knows everything about nutrition (not even a dietitian, or perhaps they are similar) .
I've learned or started cooking when I was about 9 or 10 years old. As far as I can remember, cooking is always something I really enjoy. In fact, when I was a little (around 7 or 8) I used to play with my nieces doing some sort of dummy cooking. It was taste good at that time of course but  the experience was fantastic and I enjoyed every second of it. Eating green leaves are something that I believe every human on earth must do. Cook your food at home is something that I believe all youngsters have to do. Not too much fast food such as KFC or McDonald. I admit that I went to these places sometimes but I would say probably once every 4 month? or maybe 5 months? Yeah because I know that I can cook myself and I do not need to go to expensive places to get delicious because I can do it by myself. So why should pay more? In some circumstances, we cannot avoid from going to take away places (but take away restaurants/shops aren't as bad as fast food) but I notice in many cases (especially in the UK?) most people tend to buy their food from these places. The worst thing is many of them couldn't really afford it but for the sake of 'want to be seen by other people that they can afford it' they will dig every single penny they've got to buy it.
Some/many might argue with this post. It's hard to cook or even some of you might say, cooking taking a lot time. Well, well, well,...the fact is, the more you do cooking the less the time will be taken. The first a few weeks you will find it a bit slow but after sometimes (i would say at least a month), everything will be so quick because all you need to do is just to reuse some of the recipes that you have cooked before. If you want to do something different, most dishes or meals are actually using similar ingredients. You don't have to know many different food to be able to make delicious food. All you need to know is just a few and from that you should be able to modify the ingredients to something else. As you might can see, I have several photos of my food on this post. They are all delicious and to be quite honest I don't think you can get the same taste or standard if go to a restaurant which might cost around £30++. They are all using similar ingredients with just two or three different. But the tastes are completely different although 70% of the ingredients are exactly the same. Well that's the power of cooking! You don't have to master many different cooking skills. You just need to master one or two and from there you can do lots of different dishes. There are so many fat people out there because they don't see/watch carefully what they eat. Lack of exercise is of course one of the causes getting fat but what I'm saying here is, if you watch carefully what you eat then you don't have to worry about doing exercise. I always believe 'it's about what you eat and NOT how much you eat'. A simple example, if you eat 100g of steamed rice + 2 chicken wings + 100g vegetables + 100g watermelon = 650 - 750 kcl. However, if you consume 300g chocolate cake that is about 1100kcl!! Can you see the difference????????If you eat more healthy food it's filling up your tummy with small calories but even if you eat small amount of unhealthy food you end up with +350kcl! Therefore, I would like to emphasize it again that "It's about what you eat NOT how much you eat"!!!

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