Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

On Switching Jobs

Posted: October 22, 2016 in Thoughts
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Changing jobs can be both challenging and rewarding. People switch jobs for many different reasons: better compensation, career growth, wanting to do something different, not getting along with coworkers and/or managers in the old job, etc. The list of reasons can be endless. Often times, it is a combination of those reasons. And based on why someone chooses to switch jobs, their experience in their new position can be very different. I will not get here into what to look for when switching jobs, but rather into what to expect after already making the switch.
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Traffic in Egypt

Posted: October 20, 2016 in Thoughts
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I have always used traffic and driving as a staple whenever I have tried to explain to non-Egyptians how different life in Egypt is from anything they have been accustomed to. If I were to sum up the traffic situation in Egypt in one sentence, it would be: There are no rules!
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In the last couple of years, we have seen Google try, more than once, to become a player at the social networking game. Let’s look at these attempts, and what has become of them:
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For the last 4 or 5 years, I have been a loyal fan of Piled Higher and Deeper (a.k.a. PhD comics), which is an online comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in grad school. The comics are done by Jorge Cham, who started them when he was a PhD student at Stanford.

Today, Jorge was at our own University of Waterloo, where he gave a very humourous talk – arguably one of the most interesting talks I’ve attended over my whole time in grad school. The comics have a huge fan base, and the hall where he gave the talk was packed. Of course most of the audience were grad students, with a few undergrads and professors (at whom he poked fun every now and then).
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I just found this interesting page, whose author criticizes a research paper that has appeared in VLDB 2006 (a major Database research conference). The author of that page (not the paper) proceeds to point out some major (and minor) flaws in that paper, and also tries to find reasons why this paper did not get rejected. Here is an interesting extract from that page:

There is a common belief that the conference program committees never read more than a few pages of a conference paper when they make a decision on whether to accept or reject a paper. Since the statement contradicting the claim in the abstract is near the end of the tenth page, it would be easy to for such a referee to miss the contradiction.

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Well, this happened almost 3 weeks ago. My backpack got stolen at the gym, with my wallet inside it. This is the kind of things that you hear about all the time, but never think it could happen to you.
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