Monday, 24 September 2012

Red Culins 6 Peaks, Scotland

 I am back again blogging after 4 days disappeared from my "world". I mean from my research. It was pretty depressing last week because nothing interesting happened to my PhD progress. It was very depressing and I hated it because all my experiments did not work at all. So perhaps going to Scotland climbing a few mountains would be a good gate away for my brain. I am still doing it as much as I can so far although I think it's still quite tricky. I don't really want to talk about my PhD in this post because I'm sick of it. I will be doing the same old thing tomorrow, extracting, testing ans segmenting. Kind of a little bit boring actually but then as my supervisor said it is one of the challenges in doing research. In fact, at some points we might feel so down and disappointed because everything does not work.   I hope I won't have to go through this situation. Mmmm..pretty scary actually. Anyway the long weekend went really good and I think we were quite lucky for having that lovely sunny weather although it wasn't warm but the visibility was fantastic.
 Although the second day in Scotland was miserable as I only managed to climb one mountain because of the weather condition and that rain, cold, mist and windy condition made me so tired and just lost my energy that night. I bruised in my dream early night without knowing what had happened before I went to bed. All I know was closed my eyes and got up in the morning as fresh as a Daisy (oh was I? I never thought I could be as fresh as a Daisy LOL!). Anyway, the climb started with a very very shitty a.k.a yucky mud for about 2 KM. I didn't like it at all not because I was a soft kind of guy (excuse me???? a soft guy? Me?) but because I didn't have another pair of shoes. My shoes got really wet and muddy the day before. Anyway, we started it and we had to carry on as fast as we can although I actually wasted a lot of time taking photos along the ridges.
 According to the weather forecast, we had just about 3 hours to do as many mountains as we can before the weather changed and there might be a heavy shower. But thanks God because the weather stayed dried sunny and clear for the whole day. I really enjoyed it. After the second peak a friend of mine decided not to go any further because of his back was aching. So I had to continue it by myself without a compass  and a map. In fact all I had with me that time were two bottles of energy drinks and a bar of Kit Kat Chocolate. I had my mobile phone of course just in case if I couldn't find my way around. The hardest ascent was the fifth peak which took about 40 minutes to climb or maybe 50 minutes. It was quite hard because it was very very steep. In fact, at some points you have to be careful and watch every step to make sure you are walking on a hard surface rather than on a scree surface. Otherwise you could easily slip yourself.
After almost 5 hours climbing at last I reached the fifth peak which is the hardest peak to do. I drank my energy drink and ate my chocolate bar. I thought I had very little energy left after the 5th peak. It was about 3PM and I had nothing except a full English breakfast about 8.30PM but that was burned after the third peak. I needed food and was quite hungry that time but then decided to do the last peak and thanks God because the last peak was quite easy and I ran along the ridge and I took less than 10 minutes to reach the last peak but exhausted on top of the 6th peak. Apart from being really hungry I think I really enjoyed it. My next trip gonna be the Black Culins which is the toughest in the UK. This needs lots of preparation in the terms of logistics, mental and physical. 

Okay, changing the subject...this week is the induction week and guess what? It's gonna be pretty boring.. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

So Much Effort With Empty Result

In a few days time I will be going to Scotland together with a friend of mine who is currently building his house at there. So basically I will be accompanying him from Wales to Scotland for about 8 hours journey (more and less). Pretty long journey before I'm going to Norwich for a hospital visit meeting a radiologist for my research. To be quite honest I don't really know what exactly I want to know and I would get from the radiologist apart from their explanations about difussion MRI and conventional MRI. I don't know what questions I want to ask and what actually sort of data I could collect from them other than difussion MR images. In short, I'm not fully ready yet but it sounds very exciting visit (I hope). Anyway, today is one of those days which is quite depressing, annoying, irritating and disappointing. I feel like a fool have been doing so many things testing different combination of features but none of them were working. In fact, I thought to myself of being a little bit stupid for my lack of understanding in several parts of image processing.

Having said that, in a way I think what I have been doing was pretty good at least I know that they were not working. There are two major thing that I need to do which are features selection and also try to extract more features and test ech of them for to get the best combination among them. I probably can do these two main tasks within a day or maybe a couple of days but the main problem is to test each of them and get the best pairs (features combination). So the extracion process sounds quick and probably not very difficult but the process to test each of them is quite fussy and probably difficult. Sometimes I feel like working 8 hours in the office is not really enough. I feel like I want to bring my desktop in the office to home and then continue at home again. Most of the time I feel like I wish I could have a bed in the office so I can lay on bed whenever I want and feel tired and have a nap, wake up and then work again. This sounds a little bit workoholic actually or probably researcholic (I've just invented a new English word LOL!).

I came to the office today about 10.30Am and started my work on MatLab. It went on and on with no break at all until I realised it was almost 3PM and I thought I should have my Mocha by now. Wow..when I stopped I can feel my head was like throbbing and felt like I needed a paracetamol. Mmmmmm doesn't sound good at all but after my first Mocha the 10 minutes break refresh my brain again. I wasn't sure whether it was a break or not because I was having my Mocha and at the same time doing some pixel calculations. Although I wasn't looking at the source code but my brain was working on something else. Anway, I work until almost 7PM and I felt a little bit tired until I had my dinner. As usual I always skip my lunch if I'm in the office but always take my lunch if i'm at home. The reason is because I have very little physical movement in the office which probably mean I burn very little calories during the day. I also always make sure that I will go to the office about 5.30 or 6PM until 7PM for a quick training. But not today because I needed to complete all the ideas that I thought might be worked. But guess what??? nothing......same old same old same old...I was very disappointed and felt really upset because all the ideas did not work at all. I felt it was a waste of time but then you never know until you try....

Let's hope tommrrow gonna a better day or probably a lucky day for me...until then keep in touch and see you in my next post. I can't wait to play badminton tommrrow :-D

Monday, 17 September 2012

Too Much Badminton But I Enjoyed It

Today was another disappointing day for me and very very annoying day because my algorithm still doesn't work. The results of segmented image have improved a little bit but you still can't relaying on the results in the filed of medical. I emailed my supervisor Prof.Reyer just before I went back home. I attached the segmented result image and asked him what does he think about it. Kind of a bit bonus question actually because I knew the segmented image is a terrible result. I came to the office about 10.30AM and my supervisor was going out of his office (I think he wanted to see me). I came up and started up my laptop and my PC. A few minuted later he come to my desk with a old book "Physiology of computer vision". Oh God!!!! What a book. I must take a quick look what the book is about. Anyway, he came to my desk and was hoping I will will say something about my research but I said I need my time and there are still a few ideas that I need to implement. So I said I will get back or pop into your office when I have some better results. Phewww!!! I don't like it when someone wanted to see something interesting but I can't show. I will always blame my myself first.

I really hope to get or see some result by this week. I mean a better result. I really hope to see improvement. At least 30% or 40% improvement. This will really make me happy and get motivated again. Dealing with high dimensional vectors are not easy and very tricky stated by Harry one of the Post-doctoral researchers in my office. Although my undergraduate wasn't come from image processing (and my Master), but I will take this as a challenge. In fact, I have been talking to a friend of mine that taking a PhD which is not really into my education background is probably the biggest challenge or risk that I have taken in my life. At the moment, I am relaying my on my Math's ability and also my programming skills. These two skills helping me a lot every day. Although there are so many things especially the theories side of this field that I need to learn but I believe I can do this. At the moment my plan is still the same to finish it within 2 and a half years. Sometimes I feel I'm doing the impossible but sometimes I feel like I have done similar (so something like this before) so why can't I do this. Or maybe I have underestimated PhD? Or am I too ambitious? Or maybe I too proud of myself and forgot how difficult doing a PhD is. Well, I might be a dreamer to finish my PhD in 2 and a half year but then as the song says, everybody has a dream. So do I.

Anyway, plan is just a plan. Up to now I'm still with my plan and I'm holding it tightly. Let's hope this dream comes true. But if it doesn't then don't worry because three years is still a good timing. Despite my very busy research (physically relax but mentally busy), I still manage to keep my fitness level (Really? Mmmm..not sure..I need to test my fitness level by running 21KM then I can confirm to you guys). Yeah I recently make friends in badminton games. I really enjoy my time although I have left the sport for more than a year. In fact several years because I played just a few times last year. I need to reshape and regain my skills. I used to play badminton a lot but since I moved to my secondary school I left most of sports. I was interested in debating (I was an ex debater up to division level almost to state level), singing (I was an ex-president choir club of my school), poetry (I love poets), etc. I would say my interests were quite unusual actually because I remembered I took all science subjects such Math, Advanced Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc but  my interests are very much into arts. Strange!!! Well very very strange (not really!).

I left sports many years...probably more than 10 years till I realised in 2011 that I needed to rebuild my stamina again. I started running last year with a very small distance about 3 or maybe 2 kilometres. It was terrible and it felt like I was dying. Since that moment, I realise that I do need to keep fit again. It has been about year and 3 months now I run consistently almost every day (at least 3 times a week with a distance from 5 to 10KM per session). My best time running 10KM is about 48 minutes 35 seconds and that was last month. I would love to run on the circuit again at the university sport centre but the weather has been really bad (either running or windy). So most of the time I go to the gym and have a quick run on the machine for about 3 to 5KM and had my 120 sit ups finish with climbing 100 floors on the machine. This overall burn my calories for about 550 to 650 depending on how fast and how hard I push myself. So for what I am now, I am back in shape, back in good condition physically and back in the game again. To build up the stamina where I am at the moment it takes more than a year training! Phew!!! it was a hard work but I'm glad I did it.

Since I came to this new place (Aber Uni), I made several good friends already and I hope one evening we can go out together and have a social drink in town. I love clubbing having said that I love a nice cosy evening. The next thing to do in Aber is to make as many friends as I can and then plan for a trip to somewhere. I have already make friends from Summer School in Manchester and we are planning to have a reunion in Barcelona in Feb next year. Wow!! Fantastic plan!!! I remember when I first arrived to this place back in June 2012 (Been here for just about 3 and a half months actually) I was a bit nervous because I wasn't sure how's the people here. But then they are quite friendly especially the staffs and the most important for me is making friends from different countries, races, religions and ages.

Oh, it's almost 11.30PM. I mean I need to go to bed now. I played badminton today for about 1 hour 45 minutes. It was a bit too much (not really) because I should be getting back to my desk by 1.15PM to continue doing my research. Anyway..let's enjoy the life while we still alive....going to bed now...nite nite x

Sunday, 16 September 2012

It's Raining Men..Hallelujah

It's weekend and it has been a few days since i discovered this song. It's called It's Raining Men by Weather Girls. I think I've heard this before but I wasn't sure where and then a few days ago when I was driving to school, this song was playing on heart FM. As soon as I heard it, I liked it not because of the lyrics but the melody. I like the fact that the song is quite catchy and clubbing types of song which I always like especially when I'm driving. I don't really listen to slow romantic songs when I'm driving as they make me sleepy LOL! Anyway, I love clubbing (unofficial confession of me) and I love partying but it has to be with the right people or the right company. Otherwise it could be pretty boring.

As soon as I arrive at the office, I switched on my machine and googled the song and I never thought the singers are two big girls and pretty funny to be quite honest. But the strong voices of them make me really like this song. Anyway it was a pretty busy weekend for me because I washed two cars, cleaned up the kitchen, hoovering, dusting, fitting the windows, cooking and several other things. But I'm glad I've done them all made my weekend a productive weekend. Now the car looks clean again. One thing I missed though is having a chocolate milk shake from MacDonald. I must have it sometimes when I got the time to pop into the restaurant (Restaurant???? I don't call restaurants serving junk food as a restaurant). Oh ya, I didn't iron my clothes because I wasn't in a mood to iron them. In fact I was a bit lazy but still managed to do several things.

I cooked something very fattening tonight. Believe it or not it was chunks of lamb cooked with tandoori curry with cheese, cream, honey, etc. The ingredients were so bloody fattening!!! Sadly I ate them with rice which made my dinner so rich full with carbohydrate and fat. I then watch x-factor which is my favourite TV show after Britions got talents. Very interesting and exciting talents some of them were really good and some were really crap but have very high self confidence made them look fool in front of thousands audiances in the hall. Some have very sad background and performed really well during the auditions made me think that a real hero! Next week gonna be the bootcamp and I'm going to miss it because I will be in Scotland otherwise the hotel or B&B room has a TV which I doubt. This means I have to watch the episodes from youtube on Monday. I will be back from Scotland on very late Sunday night.

Regarding to my PhD research, it has been 3 months 15 days for me being a PhD student and then progress works pretty okay not too bad but not very impressive at all. In fact I feel several parts of what I have done were quite depressing and sometimes I thought it can't really do it. But so far I managed to do all those difficult tasks but sometimes when I looked back I don't really know how did I do it. But anyway, I am still stuck with my clustering at the moment after several attempts. I have done so many ways try to invent a new method but none of them can produce good results. Phewwww...getting to my nerve sometimes and I hate the fact that I have to redo some of the parts for the sake of testing it (mmm...what is it?? sorry I don't understand what I'm saying here lol!). So tmrw gonna be a new day fresher brain and hopfully new ideas can help me out to figure out the problems.

This week I should start to buy rackets (I need two!!) from the internet and hopfully get them delivered before Thursday. I then need to buy the shuttlecocks and also the rackets' cover. I have found a few interesting reckets from several websites but I haven't made up my mind yet. I also think I need to buy a new pair of running shoes. I get bored using the same shoes running everyday LOL!!! Okay guys, I think I need to go to bed now and I need to get up early tmrw (I always say this and always get up late).

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Good Bye Summer Hello Autumn

Summer is leaving us

Autumn is coming 

Good bye blue sky hello dark sky
Okay here is another update late night. Huh..yesterday (Tuesday) was another disaster day for me but not too bad because I did manage to normalize the two features which are Entropy and Local Binary Pattern Images. The good thing was I managed to use K-Means method to do clustering but the result wasn't very good. In fact it was very disappointing. I hated the result anyway it was far than my lowest expectation. It seems like I have to do a huge modification or I need to redo the whole process again which is very depressing because it means that I need to read other different journals to get some ideas. I really hope that I can do some modification at the last step of the algorithm.

Anyway, last weekend was the time to say good bye sunshine, hello dark sky! After my dinner I was washing the dishes in the kitchen and realised that a beautiful sunset was disappearing. It looked so beautiful and so clear with the red sky. I wish my DSLR Canon could focus closer so I can take the sunset bigger without cropping it. I quickly ran upstairs and took my camera and had a few snaps. The pictures above are some of more than 10 shots I took.

Need to get back to my research now...I have been doing this for about 3 months 12 days now!!!!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Seafood Dishes

It has been a few days or maybe almost a week since I last updated my blog. I have been very busy with my PhD research and at this stage (early stage) I think it's very demanding and very tiring. Just a quick update for what I have cooked last week. Scallops and Prawns. Very simple cooked them with some cream and coconut milk. Not too bad but was a little but disappointed because the scallops were overcooked. To be quite honest I never really cooked scallops but was keen to try it out. Unfortunately my first attempt was a failure. The taste was just above the average but I must say there were harder and drier than they should be. I should cook them in a very low temperature and watch their texture very carefully. Each Scallop should not be cooked more than five minutes. In fact I got the feeling they could be better cooked if I warp them with something such as banana leave or maybe foil. By using these wrappers, they don't get dry easily and the meat would get very moist which is the main aim when cooking Scallops. So that's what I say lesson learnt!!!
Next time I will cook these dishes again but I really need to learn about some special techniques cooking Scallops. Ok folks I need to continue my work now and I hope to get some results and at least to see a one step improvement for what I'm doing now. I am stuck at the moment and I hate this so much !!!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Another Great Recipes But bad Monday

Chicken Chinks with three different curries

Aubergine with intense sauce made of lime, honey and chillies 
Fantastic food, great weekend but very bad Monday!!!!

Oh Gosh I have been very busy with my research lately. There are so many things I need to do and at one point I really thought I almost achieve my first objective but ironically there are so many test I need to do. I feel a little bit disappointed and feel a little bit upset. Very frustrating after so many hours and days you spent your time on something and knowing that it's not gonna work or it's only the beginning of thousands of things that you need to do. Oh Gosh I really hope that have enough enthusiasm before I get exhausted. Well it's still very early to say but I honestly think the three month being a PhD student feels like three weeks. It seems like everything was very quick and I'm not sure whether what I have done in the last 3 months are enough or not. Sometimes I feel I am a little bit ahead of my plan but sometimes I feel like I am way behind from my plan. I'm not sure and I really don't know until I achieve my first objective which I hope before the end of this year. Phew!!!! In fact, today's progress was empty. I did so many tests trying to do different method to segment my image but none of them produced the result I want. The main problem is how can I do clustering/segmentation???? I have tried several different method but it didn't really work because I didn't really know how to implement it and even if I know how to implement them but they couldn't produce the result I want.

I was very disappointed!! I thought nothing I can do but had to leave the office because it was already 6PM and I didn't really want to miss my training in the gym. I had very quick training as I needed to be at home about 7.45PM. I had only about 30 minutes training in the gym but it was enough to burn some unneeded calories in my body (LOL!). I had 3KM and climbed only 60 steps! That's enough!! And I will continue again tomorrow.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Two Different Korma Prawns Dishes

Very simple to prepare but very nice!!!
This is another very simple dish but really a delicious one, Tikka Prawns with Mango and Yogurt. I would rate this dish 4.3/5.0. But then could be up to 4.5/5.0 depends with how thick and tasty your gravy is. Another one is the prawns. Make sure your prawns are flavoursome because they are the main   and very important ingredient in this dish followed by the gravy and mango. Make sure your mango is sweet and not sour.

All right, the second dish is using Korma curry as well but cooked with with vegetable stock and honey with pineapple chucks and parsley. Don't put too much honey because the pineapple should be sweet enough and make sure that you are putting a table spoon of apple vinegar to make this dish a little bit sour. This dish meant to be sweet with a little sour. So this could be as good as 4.5/5.0 rate. But again make sure your prawns are really tasty because it would influence the whole dish. Flavoursome prawns would produce nice juice when you are cooking them with the other ingredients and makes a really nice gravy!!!

Okay guys, It's Sunday so happy weekend although I'm stuck in the office doing my research and learning something. Have a good weekend and enjoy especially my loyal readers in the UK.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Great Food and Great PhD Progress

Mushrooms with Ginger and Honey
Well, before I go to my PhD progress here is another dish I cooked suitable for vegetarians. All the ingredients are 100% vege! So if you are vegetarians than this one is a perfect choice for you. Thick gravy and very moist and tender mushrooms yummyyyyyyy....this one can be spicy and can be very mild but this this time I made it very  mild and no chilies at all.

Okay, now a little bit update of my PhD research. Well, I am really happy today because my algorithm does work and the main thing is that what my thought in the last a few days constructed into a code and it does work almost exactly what I wanted although still a little bit inaccurate but this is so great for the first time. I've learn two main methods today which was taught by my Spanish friend Raquel. She's genius and I've learnt a lot form her. It's a shame as she is leaving very soon to Scotland. But I do hope that she will be coming back to Aber Uni again next year for her PhD.

The two methods I've learnt today were KNN and also K-means. Actually they are not as difficult as I thought. In fact K-means is quite easy but KNN was a bit tricky. But once you got the concept it should be okay. Tomorrow (Sunday), she will teach me about split and merge algorithm which I really want to learn and I can wait to learn. My noise removal algorithm is working and this makes me really happy. Yippieee!!!

Officialy I'm with MatLab for a month today and guess what??? I think I'm doing really great. Oh I forgot to tell you guys, I had 5KM run, 150 sit ups and 100 steeps climbed!

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