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"!!!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Research break on Isle of Skye, Scotland

Marsco mountains on Skye
I can't believe the fact that I am back again updating my blog. It has been almost a year or parhaps more than a year (you see I can't even remember when did I last update my blog). Well, I must say doing a PhD probably one of the toughest experiences I have ever encountered so far. It's not about how briliant you are but it's about your patience, your motivation, ambition, timing, management, etc. Seems like it is harder than running in a marathon. I am writing this post after completed the 14th month of my doctorate studies. On paper I have about 22 months to go before I will be submitting my thesis.

Anyway, last week I was on Skye a beautiful island of Scotland. After a hard work on my research I finally decided to have a break for about 11 or 12 days. I am glad I had that short break because when I was there my brain was completly free and I didn't even think about my research except in the last a few days. For some reasons I can't really leave my research too long otherwise it's would be very difficult to get back. So an 11 or 12-day break was actually perfect or maybe just a bit too long (not really). But when I was back a few days ago I found it was very difficult to start especially the writing part. I needed to revise some of my code and tried to understand what I have done before the break. Believe or not it took me the whole day to put my mind back on track.

Talisker Bay on Skye
Okay, okay let's talk about my holiday although not many of you might be reading this. Skye is definately a beautiful island and apart of its cold and wet weather I have no hesitation to rate the island itself 4.5/5. It's a shame really because the wet and cold weather ruined some of my plans and I believe it wasn't just me but most of the tourists who are comming to Skye. Even worst for those who travelled thousands of miles and greeted with and opened heaven and strong breeze. I noticed those who came from Japan, China and Korea or even from east Europe had to go through the bad weather condition. They had no choice as they had limited time staying on the island. They have to go through the wet and cold weather for sight seeing or keep themselves dried and warmed but missed the chance to see the island.

Fairy pool on Skye
One thing which is very visible on the island is the people especially the older generation are still very traditional especially their costume. I remember one afternoon when a friend and I went out for fresh shellfish, we saw a men out for gardening with his very traditional scottish costume. I don't really know what exactly the name of some of the things his put on but they do look very traditional. Unlike England, Scotland seems to be prouder with their cultures (I might be completly wrong here but I was about 2 years in England and never seen people wearing their traditional costumes or parhaps they never had one). Secondly, I think there are more tourists than locals on the island. I went to a small town called Potree and I remember the number of coaches from different europe countries are just incredibles. It's a small island with small towns and you hardly meet locals there except when you are in town but it seems like the place is so popular. I noticed most of the visitors are from Holland, Germany, France and from China or Korea. I didn't think this place is popular for asians to be quite honest.

Well, the more I discovered the the island the more questions appeared on my little complicated brain. Another thing I noticed about the island is there are so many huge houses and beautiful of course. In contrast with rural places in Wales, most of the houses are quite fancy instead of just a square box with a roof on it. This makes me wonder what are the source income of most people on the island which made them can afford such fancy houses. But then I suppose people who came there or parhaps moved up there are retired or just wanted to have a second place. Again, it's a shame actually because most of the houses are beautiful with amazing views but again most of the time it is wet and windy which makes me think it's like living in a jar with a beautiful view but you can't really go outside of the jar and enjoy it. I find it very fustrating in some aspects. Imagine you have the money but can't buy it.

After days being on Skye, I realised what i enjoyed the most apart of climbing mountains. It's the food which I find fascinating. I always like food and up to this age (I'm getting an old fucker) food is always a passion in my life. Especially the shellfish, everything is so fresh and I would say really cheap compared to the ones I had in England and Wales. There are lots of fishmongers and they sell what they've caught from last night or this morning (arn't this amazing?). Living in a huge cities like cardiff, london or Edinburgh is probably good in some aspects but living in a remote place like Skye, when it comes to a fresh food I would say it's unbeatable! The cost of living is definately low but you still can enjoy a beautiful, fresh and delicious food (the most important is healthy food).

Well, I don't like the midges though. To be quite honest, they are worst than mosquitos. At least mosquitos don't suck/bite your head. Midges are definately nastier than any flying insects I have ever known. Luckily my skin is coloured and for some reasons (i dont know why) the midges bites didn't leave any marks on my skin. So I was okay in this case compared to a friend of mine who has a white skin, there were so many red marks after bitten by the poxy midges.

Tattie bogle on Skye
Phew!!! before i forgot, tattie hunting is definately unforgettable. Every year they have tattie bogle competation. A tattie-bogle is a device (sort of), tradeetionally a human figure dressed in auld claes, or mannequin, that is uised tae discourage birds sic as craws frae disturbin craps. They have some many different figures and my favourite one is a skeleton women in red dressing sitting on a roofed bench with a written board next to her "Waiting for the perfect men"! I have seen a photo on the internet but I never thought someone on skye would make a figure if it.

The last day on skye, leaving very early morning. Had to get up very early which I didn't like. Sad to leave but I did enjoy short break. Skye is a beautiful, peaceful and a nice place to have a holiday but my gut tells me that I'm not sure if it is a place that I want to spend the rest of my life or not. In fact, my little complicated brain and my fragile heart always never really landed on skye although my eyes have fallen in love with skye. I do still think I want to spend some of my life in huge cities but I would be happier to spend my retirement life in a calm, beautiful and warm place. Life is only once and never twice let alone three, so let's enjoy the life.....take it as it comes leave it as it goes.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

ANUGERAH JUARA LAGU 27 FINAL: Keputusan AJL 27 Akhir, 2013

Keputusan Anugerah Juara Lagu 27, 2013...Here I am updating the lastest results of the most popular song competation in Malaysia.

Winner: Yuna (sang by Aizat), Terukir di bintang
1st runner: Azlan and The Typewritter, Idola
2nd runner: Hafiz, Ku Akui

Best performance: Black and RJ, Rahsia ini
Best Vocal: Hafiz, Ku Akui

So what do you think? Like it? dislike? Well..congtatulations to all winners. I think Hafiz is really good in vocal. He won it this year and last year. Let's see next year's AJL? I hope AJL 28 final will be much better than AJL 27.

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