Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here in Britain one of the current subjects of discussion is a modern trend towards multi-tasking such as watching television and working online.  I've always done it and find I work better that way with the exception that I cannot multi-task and listen to classical music because I lose myself in it.

My concentration is unusually deep.  I work best by concentrating in snatches.  If the problem is straightforward like this blof posts then my concentration switches off an on quickly.  I'll plan a few words then switch off.  My mind can then do other things while my fingers catch up.  At the moment I am listening to a 3 CD collection of Status Quo tracks.  It's ideal.  It's not demanding music but while my fingers are engaged there is something for keep my brain interested.  In fact I find it hard to concentrate in a library because there is nothing to keep my mind busy between the bursts of concentration.

In terms of television, trashy is best.  Something like Eastenders or maybe Dannii Minogue Style Queen - I quite enjpy them but they are hardly fully absorbing.  If there is something I really want to watch like the final of Celebrity Masterchef, I'll put the computer to one side.

As problems get more advanced my concentration bursts become longer up to about 15 minutes.  During that time I'll take in very little of external events and media.  However, then I'll need gaps of the same sort of size in between when I am resting and perhaps listening to music and typing material which doesn't require deep thought.  The exception is exams when I need to concentrate much longer continuously.  It's why I dislike exams: it doesm't suit me.  I'll still usually take a 5 minute break every hour or so and just sit and relax.  I don't fully concentrate for an hour though.  I still surface every 5 to 10 minutes, I just usually multi-task on the exam itself so my surface attention can be thinkiing ahead, planning time schedules, keeping  track of likely marks etc.

I've been working recently on displaying Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs online for a couple of new sites I am working one - an Ancient Egypt magazine in partnership with Andie Byrnes and the World of Hieroglphs, my very latest site dedicated to Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.  Both are still under construction.  For the magazine, Andie wanted a way to display hieroglyphs online and I got very into it and wrote a parser for something called the Manuel de Codage.  So into it that I decided to start the World of Hieroglyphs as well which will be the home of my new parser ..,. and another, much simpler one, I wrote yesterday morning.  Analysing the topology of Manuel de Codage and desiging the algorithm for the main parser, called Glypheer,  was the most complex thing I have done in over 25 years.  While concentrating on aspects of that, my concentration was going deep for periods of 30 - 45 minutes at a time.  That really is unusal for me. 

I have a love-hate relationship with things that require parrticularly deep concemtration.  They can be very rewarding but I guess it's like the sport of deep diving.  Before a dive you need to pre-breathe and I find the same with concentration.

Right, I'm about to take a break now. The Waaderer should be about to start soon and I love that so I'll listen and head bang to it!

(PS I think I'll schedule this post for tonight.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, August 15, 2010


For a while they were top of the Premiership.  That was unexpected.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I don't mind living beside a busy road. I'm used to the trams. Late roadworks aren't great but I can cope.

But they have done something to the tram bed and the late trams sound like jumbo jets on take off and it's gone midnight.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'd a date with a guy over 3 weeks ago. Of the two hours we were together in the pub, he spent well over half telling me about his marriage breakdown. I waited a few days and when I'd not heard from him, I sent him a brief note thanking him for the date and said I'd like to see him again if only no-strings theatre trips.

I've still not heard from him. Well frankly good riddance if that's how he behaves. I don't mind him not wanting to see me again. Nobody can legislate for chemistry. If it isn't there for him, it isn't there. I'm also aware I'm an independent-minded woman and not all guys like that.

I do object though to lack of courtesy for other people's feelings - in this case mine. It would have cost him nothing to send me a very brief text message thanking me for the date but saying he hadn't clicked with me and didn't wish to see me again.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, August 06, 2010

My bathroom scales are a mystery to me. They insist I'm the same weight with or without PJs. Now if I had a skimpy nightie on, that might make sense, but not PJs that weigh at least 1/2 kilo.

Either way, I don't like what they are saying :(

By the way, I went back in the old Bradford and Bingley. The woman in there was sweet and helpful and everything done in a couple of minutes.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, August 05, 2010

I had some Bradford and Bingley accounts. The telly adverts stress it's all Santander these days.

It's not. I went in to a Santander branch and they can't cope with my account. I have to go into a Bradford and Bingley branch. How are customers supposed to know which they are? It's totally different to the telly adverts.

Bring back Bradford and Bingley who had great customer service.


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