TheFez

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TheFez last won the day on July 31 2012

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About TheFez

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  1. I know there are related posts on the board. But the technology changes often and my question is more specific. I have $1200 (say including tax etc.) to spend on a portable computer. I don't want an Apple. My cohorts all have idiosyncratic issues with drivers, software, etc. So lots of questions.... 1. Ultrabook or Laptop? 2. What Operating system? Is Windows 8 good? Is 7 better? 3. If I go Ultrabook, what else will I need? (external CD drive?) that needs to be in the $1200 budget. I have a desktop at school and home but I plan to carry this around for most of my work. So I like the idea of light and small - but I also want a decent keyboard and display. So I am not looking to go uber compact. I want something that boots up fast. My current machine (see below) takes forever. I don't do anything that requires crazy high speeds (like simulations, etc.)0 - Mostly web access, Office stuff, some math programs (e.g. STATA, SPSS, R). I don't do gaming. Just school stuff. I'd like to present Powerpoint presentations from it (I know, I know switch to LaTEX)... Do I need 4GB RAM? 8? How about a touchscreen? I don't want to get something I will regret because it doesn't have flexibility for stuff we don't even know about yet. By way of comparison - my current laptop is a Dell Latitude D610 running Windows XP Pro - so pretty much anything is going to feel better. TNX
  2. your home office setup?

    I couldn't live without a printer. It's one of the top priorities for me. In our first year PhD program we had to read about 10-15 articles a week, plus more for research. I hate reading electronic PDFs. I like to make manual notes and highlight. So I print a lot. I have purchased two HP B&W laser printers on eBay for around $30 each. I have one at home, and one in my office at school. Even though we are on a networked department printer/scanner - I am so glad I have my own printer in my office. Often the printer at school is down (it's a Kyocera that is always having trouble) and it's slow with printing PDFs. The faculty grumble when a student is delaying their copying because we are printing off our papers. So during prime time - I print in my office. Amazon has refurbished toner cartridges for less than $15. It's worth the cost.
  3. There are things that screen you out: GRE and Grades There are things that screen you in: SOPs, LORs, and Research Experience. Nobody gets admitted because they have a 620Q or a 3.2 GPA, but they could miss the cut because of those. Once you make the cut, those two items come secondary to a well written SOP, really good LORs from profs who know you well, and evidence of your ability to do research.
  4. Everyone here is so much nicer than me. I must be taking crabby pills. As a PhD student who teaches - it sounds like a nightmare for your profs. You said you F-d up, but now are trying to hunt down any point you can find or negotiate. What happens when you find every legit point and come up a little short? I would hate having a student putting me in that spot. Second, a B- average would be on the cusp of failing out of grad school where the work will be much harder. So you might want to find a more successful strategy to assure doing well if you get in.
  5. Your Every-Day Carry

    Seriously, I think these Moleskine pocket notebooks are the greatest. I love my Timbuk2 messenger bag, and I should buy stock in Highlighter. I can't even read a newspaper without highlighting it anymore.
  6. Livescribe?

    I have the Livescribe but I stopped using it. Not because it didn't work, but because I was making really really long recordings and never listening to them. My PhD seminars are about 3 hours each. It's just too much. But it did work great.
  7. Getting kicked out of graduate school

    Time to do some soul searching. A 2.72 GPA and getting kicked out of the lab is either a wake up call or an exit call. You need to figure out why NSF is "the only thing going right" in your life. Maybe you don't really want to be there?
  8. Crossing academic/professional boundaries?

    My guess is that you already know the answer. Most 27 year old woman's radar is pretty good. Could be you are sending out signals that you're interested as well - since it's generally a bad idea to keep going back to some guys house to hand out if you're not looking to invite a more personal relationship.
  9. Stop me from getting an iPad

    I wish everybody would buy iPads - since I own a bunch of Apple stock. But for me - neh. And I was like the first person to have an iPhone on Verizon. Literally. I don't like it because: 1. No keyboard 2. No USB port 3. Apple OS and I need lots of Windows programs and drivers So I have not bought one - but I am close to buying the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet 1. Has keyboard 2. Has a USB port 3. Runs Windows
  10. 10 Year "break" in academics

    lyler, Your post doesn't give us any real information we need to help you. What are you planning to go back to school for? A Masters degree, a PhD? In what field? What schools are you interested in - and more importantly - why? Why are you motivated to go back to school? What do you hope to accomplish? How was your work when you were in school? Were you a top student? Do you have any idea what your GRE scores will look like? If you want to pursue a PhD in CS you will need high GRE quant scores. Regarding LORs, the previous poster is correct - letters from business associates carry near zero weight in academia. Sometimes they do more harm than good. You might want to consider taking some more coursework (a few undergrad courses for a semester, or maybe some Master's level courses) before applying to a PhD program. There's going to be a natural concern that after 10 years out of school your academic skills are rusty. I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer - you just need to give us more info with your post, and to understand what the admissions folks are going to be thinking about.
  11. Like Watching Sausage Being Made

    This week I got a peek behind the curtain at the application review process and it's not pretty. As they say "a little like watching sausage being made". At a social function I overheard some discussion about the PhD applications under review (in another department at another school on another planet with no specifics about any individuals, I swear). Using a sample size of admittedly N=1, I was struck by the difference in the relative importance various members give to different parts of the application. Some like SOPs some don't place much emphasis in them. Some want a hard number for GREs, others(like many of you I gather)think they are worthless. Some are impressed by pedigree - others almost seem to rebel against the idea. Apparently a sort of weighting system has evolved - but in trying to reach consensus among near equals there appears to be a reversion toward the mean - so that in the end no single part of the application was rendered unimportant. In reflecting on how applicants probably need to react to the process I thought about that old joke: Two campers are awakened by an angry bear outside their tent. Fearing for their lives they jump out and start to run away. One camper says to the other "I sure hope we can outrun this bear" and the other says "I don't care about outrunning the bear - I just hope I can outrun you". With no absolute formula or level that ensures acceptance - how you stack up compared to the next guy may matter the most. (Ah, a true economist - thinking at the margins). If the rubrik depends on a small set of judges who hold very different opinions about what they are looking for the best bet is solid strength everywhere rather than brilliance in one aspect of your work that hopes to compensate for major shortcomings elsewhere. This may not be the situation in a lot places - but I suspect it's more common than not. Fez Out.
  12. Ah ye of little faith… I said this blog would be one of inconvenient truths. You will come to trust the Fez, but ‘til then there is plenty of evidence to back this up... Here’s link to a February 2007 Science article (Kuncel, N.R., Hezlett, S.A., Standardized Tests Predict Graduate Students' Success, Science, Vol 315 No. 5815, pp 1080-1081) that examines the GRE and GMAT: https://apps.cla.umn.edu/directory/items/publication/292812.pdf “Four consistent findings emerged: (i) Standardized tests are effective predictors of performance in graduate school. (ii) Both tests and undergraduate grades predict important academic outcomes beyond grades earned in graduate school. (iii) Standardized admissions tests predict most measures of student success better than prior college academic records do. (iv) The combination of tests and grades yields the most accurate predictions of success.” Concluding that: “Results from a large body of literature indicate that standardized tests are useful predictors of subsequent performance in graduate school, predict more accurately than college GPA, do not demonstrate bias, and are not damaged by test coaching. Despite differences across disciplines in grading standards, content, and pedagogy, standardized admissions tests have positive and useful relationships with subsequent student accomplishments.” There are plenty of other studies that validate the GRE, (like one published in 2001 in the Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 127, No. 1) But the 2007 study has the prettiest graphs. As for the GRE’s measure of innate intelligence, you could trust the guys at Mensa who have accepted high GRE scores in lieu of a 132 IQ score on the Stanford Binet IQ Test, but for more scholarly proof you check out Carvajal and Pauls, (1995), “Relationships among graduate record examination scores, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised IQs and undergraduate grade point average”. College Student Journal, 29, 414-416. Here’s a link to the original research thesis in case you don’t have easy journal access https://esirc.emporia.edu/bitstream/handle/123456789/1709/Pauls%201994.pdf?sequence=1 They find a strong positive correlation between the GRE and IQ. Full scale IQ with GRE-V (r=.63) and with GRE-Q (r=.71) But my point really was – with enough effort can score well enough on the GRE for most programs, who don’t accept people based on their GRE or GMATs, but they often use them to help make their first cuts. Fez Out.
  13. Most people who think that the GRE is stupid and useless also have low GRE scores. Like it or not you need good GRE (or GMAT)scores to get into a good program, because like it or not, people with good GRE scores tend (I say tend) to have natural academic abilities far beyond those of mortal men. The GRE is designed to be hard to do really well on (read 85%-90%+) without intuition, insight and reasoning skills - not just grade school math and vocabulary skills. For the not-so-lucky end of the gene pool, there's another reason the GRE is useful to ad comms. Because you can do well on the GRE by working hard to prepare for it. So, low GRE scores mean either 1) you are not naturally gifted or 2) you didn't work hard enough at passing it and might not work hard enough in grad school. (What,you think comps don't require the same level of dedication?) So you say "I worked really, really hard and I still got a 130Q". You might want to lower your sights(and your sites), head for the chat room, and complain about how useless the GRE is.
  14. The Fez is Live!

    Hi All, Hey now! I'm a blogger. My original thought about blogging was to cut through the B.S. I find in the forums and give a practical, unvarnished view of the way I think stuff really works. Like - if you have to get a LOR from a guy who works on the loading dock with you - you're probably not going to impress the ad comm. And if you got 130Q on your GRE you aren't getting into Northwestern's Econ PhD program. I am one of those math/econ types who didn't get enough touchy-feely training as an undergrad - but there's enough of that cheerleader stuff in the forums to balance out my curmudgeony take. Who is The Fez? I just finished my first semester in a PhD program where I plan to do behavioral econ stuff so I will probably begin with some blogs about the admissions process and my first year experience. BTW, I am also an old guy - older than dirt - though you would never know it because The Fez is so hip. But that will probably inform my view of the world of grad school. TTFN...Fez Out.
  15. Sounds like you should get out of it to me. You may likely end up ABD if you don't. Not Happy -> Not Motivated -> Bad Research -> Bad outcome.