It seems I have committed the most frequent sin of blogging.. sporadic posting patterns. All of November and half of December and no posts. It's been a busy month at OthersOnline. We got a huge spike in user traffic and sign-ups, which is awesome.. and predictably exposed some performance issues. That work, plus working on a better user behavior capture algorithm (to better match users to other users and content) was the bulk of the time.
In school news, I just turned in a first draft of the dissertation to my adviser. It's really a disposable organizational draft to help us plan out what the flow of topics and structure is,, and what is left to add. Nice milestone anyway. Goal is late spring for near-final draft with the defense goal in august.
Some advice for people doing PhD work while employed full-time: If you are working in your field of graduate study, and your employer permits it.. do the dissertation on a work related topic! I could easily have done mine on a topic related to my AI work at RightNow and have finished by now. I chose to not only do a different topic in AI from work (to be more well-rounded) but to do it on the theory of that topic (genetic algorithms).
While this seemed a good choice at first, the dissertation sunk to 4th place on the priority list (family, career, misc leisure activities). Don't make this mistake! Take the shortest path and get done... then pursue the side topic under no pressure.