An update: PhD, Holiday and New Venture

What a difference a few months make! In the space of two months, I’ve managed to fit in submitting my PhD thesis, a week’s holiday in the Caledonia Pine Forest and starting up Interface3 – my latest venture!

If you’re on my facebook network, you’ll know that I finally submitted my thesis back at the start of November 2009. The title is “Understanding Requirements work in E-Science Projects” (the abstract is available here). I am still waiting to hear on the viva date, and if things go well, it should be soon. I have to say, that the last few weeks months were manic. Things were being pulled together and throughout this time my supervisors – Stuart Anderson and Mark Hartswood – and my officemates – Massimo Felici, Jenny Ure and Conrad Hughes – were all fantastic.

Much to the relief of my friends (some of who had started to send me messages checking to see if I was still alive), I printed and binded the thesis on 2nd Nov after an all night session of work.

After that, I pretty much moved into my new office in Appleton Tower, where I am one of the new EPIS entrepreneurs. I’m working with Jon Oberlander on some funky innovative multi-touch and multi-modal research (which then could be commercialised). The new venture is called Interface3 – to represent the third new generation of Human-Computer Interfaces. It also hints to “Third Places”, a term to represent public areas such as coffee shops and shopping malls, after the home being the first place, and offices being the second place. I even wrote a startupcafe article about the naming.

I’ll be posting more about my new venture soon – so stay tuned!

Lastly, in my attempt at some work-life balance, I decided to take my first holiday for about 8 months in the Calendonia Pine Forest with the fantastic Treesforlife organisation. The mission for Trees for Life is to restore the Calendonia Pine Forest – of which, less than 1% currently exist. Centuries of de-forestation, demand for wood in war time, growth of non-native trees has meant that there is very little natural Scots Pine forest left.

Work-wise, we ended up planting 1841 trees – between a combination of Aspen, Birch, Hazel, Rowan and Birch Silver. To my astonishment, the final totals are available on the Trees For Life work week website. The other amazing thing is, I also fell my first tree! In fact, I felled several trees (some even by myself)! There are also some photos from the holiday too.

(Courtesy of Sophie Marsh.)

But most of all, the holiday was just fantastic because I ended up with a bunch of fantastically fun and diverse group of volunteers. Lisa gave us pilates lessons, Robin and Lucy had an immense amount of knowledge about nature and Phil and Gordon just made the whole atmosphere chilled out and easy. Not to mention Frederique (Fred) of course, who was in charge of the kitchen and ensured that I got 7 days of home cooked food.

I couldn’t recommend Trees for Life enough. I was looking to book my next holiday already!

So onwards and upwards. I’ll be posting more onto here soon!

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