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Post-studies post

Hello everyone and welcome, after nearly 2 months of inactivity on this blog. It has been a hard time, a time of insecurity, which I am sure everyone sometimes has. A lot of things happened and it was a roller coaster of emotions throughout this time. Everytime something good happened, another not-so-good thing followed. Sometimes, life is just like that.

A reason for inactivity was that my computer, my main device where I do all the stuff, went dark. No electricity flowing through the circuits. As it is my natural instinct to open things and try to fix everything myself, I tried everything to find the problem. My computer broke down before, and I had a work-around that included finding any conductive materials to turn it on. I tweeted a demonstration of that a few months ago:

Finally, I was able to find the problem: the power switch button was required, because my workaround seemed to create electrical shorts and slowly kill the mainboard. Only problem: The “power button” for my Lenovo could only be ordered in China, the US or from Canada, for horrendous prices and even more shipping.

This stupid things that costs a lot and is basically nowhere to be found.

After trying to buy it from a Chinese market and getting scammed out of $30, I surrendered and decided to buy a new laptop. I wanted to buy a new one for months, but money was always tight and, “hey, mine still works” was just too convenient. Money was still an issue, so I bought the exact same laptop from ebay, for a decent price. So here I am, writing these lines on my barely used laptop, hoping the power button does not break down anymore.

Up and downs

As I said before, there were up and downs in the last two months. I finished my studies! What a great feeling! The feeling of accomplishment. Which turns into worries like “Now I need to find a job. Damn!“. Which after lots of job applications and no answers after weeks turns into “Wow, they always told me not to worry, as computer scientist you are WANTED! That was bullshit“. More days go by and my only thoughts are “I wasted so much time, instead of learning something useful“, and contemplating the meaning of life, day after day.

I also had very good days, such as an invitation to an interview in a major city, with dinner at a fancy Indian restaurant, everything paid for by an impressively nice CEO. That felt good, but unfortunately nothing came out of that.

Another good thing that happened, if you are still reading along, is that another academic paper was accepted and I am flying to Paris to present my paper, which is based on my Master’s thesis. It is my third paper (I wrote about previous works) and I was pretty surprised it was so easily accepted by the cloud computing experts.

So, there is a small detail that set me back during the process. I was surprised to learn that you had to pay to attend the conference. Even if you were accepted and had to present your topic. It is an IEEE conference, and I genuinely never heard of associated costs with such a conference, until I was hit with…1150 USD! Wow, I WAS SHOCKED! “Hey congrats, your paper was great. Now pay us, fly abroad and present your work, at your own expense“. The academic world is a strange place.

I felt really bad, not because I did not have that money, but because it was completely paid for by my university chair. Also, they decided to hire me and allow me to start a doctorate, also called a PhD. I am officially going to be a (security) researcher. Sorry, future employers, you were too slow and really missed a chance!

My next projects, apart from my new work, is building a NAS for all my personal data. I am sick and tired of cloud services limiting their services or constantly changing their business model (looking at you, Dropbox!). Also, I never used cloud storage for private data, constantly looking for documents in old backups. Read about my new setup here.

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