maybe i’m still closer to here than there

So three days ago I got an unexpected email that I found incredibly odd, and I’m still mulling what to do next. That said, in the meantime I have talked to a few people and I’m starting to believe this is most likely a result of the “internal verification” that was mentioned more than a month ago.

If this is indeed the case, then it can only mean that I’m still very much officially a student, albeit a student who’s not registered in anything.

I still feel I’m in the twilight zone or something, but at least when people ask me again I’ll have more confidence at how to answer — or what to do when I go to Gwartzman’s again…

What is a science poster anyway?

So what’s a science poster anyway? It’s not a commercial poster, obviously, but what is it exactly?

So as I’m pulling my hair figuring out how to fit everything into the space, I suddenly realized a science poster is an exhibition design problem. What it is, really, is a 48″ × 36″ 2D exhibition space, complete with artefacts (photos, illustrations, charts and tables) and integrated explanatory panels.

No wonder font size adjusted for anticipated viewing distance is so important. We aren’t really designing posters; we are actually designing mini exhibits.

The case of 51 McCaul's signage

I have been somewhat critical of OCAD’s new signage system. I admit I don’t really like the new aesthetics, but there really is something more; for example there is this:

Photo of the “OCAD University” sign at 51 McCaul as seen from across the street

As can be clearly seen from the photo, from across the street the sign reads only “University”; the first part of the sign, “OCAD,” is missing. However, if we are walking towards the building on the same side of the street, we find that the sign, as designed, should not have any part cut off:

Photo of the “OCAD University” sign at 51 McCaul as seen from the sidewalk on the same side of the street as the building

What’s happening is that the vertical overhang is blocking the line of sight to the upper part of the sign when viewed from across the street, and—no matter whether this is intentional or not—it makes people think that the designer had not taken the vertical overhang into account.

I find this really ironic: when I was in first year we did a bunch of EGD things which were just temporary signage, and the irony is that even I—a student with no EGD training—took the effort to try to make sure that any sign we made would not have visibility issues (given the restrictions imposed by our materials and fabrication method, of course). Yet this sign has two obvious visibiity issues:

  1. From a vantage point that would have been identified during traffic analysis, the sign is cut off;
  2. From the same vantage point, the sign might be too small (i.e., illegible) for some people, a problem that would have been identified during prototype testing.

Let me just say I’m really disappointed. If OCAD is spending so much on branding and marketing, surely it should make sure its EGD artefacts are well designed. It does not help in the school’s marketing if someone walked into our campus and saw illegible signs, could not find a campus map, or could find no usable wayfinding system.

liminality

Today is September 11.

Yesterday was a deadline; I mentioned it on Twitter and that got picked up by Sarah Mulholland because after the initial curiosity I started ranting about OCAD’s new website. But my own personal deadline was not yesterday but the day before, and I never knew there is still an “internal verification” (probably just meaning checking if the profs really signed the forms I turned in). Now that even the rhetorical deadline has passed, I’m not sure what to call myself any more.

Danica asked me how I felt when I dropped by at the AV desk today. “Weird,” I told her. And yes, that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now.

According to the registration system, my thesis is still “in progress.”

But that still doesn’t change the fact that my library card has just expired, or that I’m not registered for anything.

Nor do I really want to unless there’s some way to register for something without triggering the full grad tuition fees.

What can I say? This question of liminality just keeps cropping up. No longer here, but not there yet. Everyone, including my advisor, is asking me about what my plans are. I really just have “some sort of a plan” right now.

one year too late

So yesterday I was at 205 because I was to be at an SU meeting and then stayed in the building afterwards because I was trying to see if I could get other things done there or was needed there. Yes, a most atypical day since I usually don’t stay in that building. But since one of the things was to see if a prof happened to be there (and because I don’t want to stay on the 2nd floor and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay on the 5th floor), I went to the 7th floor, and was surprised when someone called my name.

Danica had told me she’s working for AV now; still, I was surprised to find her working on this side of AV.

Actually, I never associated the 7th floor with AV, even I knew (in an intellectual sort of way) the AV desk is there. Why? Now that I think of it, people in my program (including profs) never borrow stuff from the 7th floor; we all automatically borrow from the 2nd floor, as if the 7th floor AV desk didn’t exist.

No wonder I never knew there’s a common room on the 7th floor until I found my thesis advisor.

No wonder we feel so disconnected. (I mean more disconnected than the typical grad student.)

I wonder: If someone I know had been working on the 7th floor AV desk way back when I was in first year, would anything have changed?

That is why they do it in SuperCollider

So this is why they use SuperCollider for sonification, I think. First a lot of things like metronome beats are just one line of code. And second how do you record something written in WebAudioAPI? If I did this in SC that would be one line of code (I have already forgotten what that one line was but I remember it was just one line), but since I did this in WebAudioAPI I’m still scratching my head.

And I don’t even have a lot of time left. I basically have to get up at 5am tomorrow, which means I have to sleep at 9pm or something today…

A time bomb, accidentally discovered?

(I’ll adjust the vocabulary so that it’s understandable by most OCAD students. But nothing essential is changed. In fact by adjusting the vocabulary it becomes clear why I say the situation is ridiculous.)

So what essentially happened in the past couple of days was that I have been banned from a studio. The tech specifically requested that I be banned only from his studio, but what happened was that I seem to have been banned from the entire building, including the elevator.

Now this is a serious problem, because there can only be so many reasons how this could even have happened:

  1. The person who made the change intentionally made the wrong changes (malice);
  2. The person who made the change on the computer made a mistake and did not check their work so they never noticed there was a mistake (carelessness);
  3. The person who made the change on the computer did everything correctly but the computer did something else and then lied to the person saying it did what was asked (logic error + bad UI);
  4. The computer is incapable of making the requested change and does not provide any feedback as to what it has actually done (software deficiencies + bad UI);
  5. The computer does random unexpected things from time to time, possibly when people try to make certain changes (random errors).

Any of these reasons are serious, and with the SU office having moved to 205 Richmond they have become more serious than ever. Just imagine, if a student has been unfairly banned from a studio and needs the help of the Student Advocate, they might not actually be able to get to the SU office to get help. Or students could be banned from the SU food bank. Worse, the entire SU staff could be shut out from their own office for no reason.

(Even the second possibility is serious. I have basically been banned for carelessness. But if the person who banned me is as careless as I was they should be banned too =P)

I think this needs to be looked into as soon as possible, before the Fall semester kicks in and make this problem one that potentially affects >4000 OCAD students.

205 Richmond

You know, I have never felt a connection to 205 Richmond, even though that’s supposed to be my building.

But how could anyone blame me? If all a student could do is to go into the building to borrow the wifi and the bathroom (and it’s just the wifi and not even a power outlet), it would be a miracle the student felt any connection. So what does it mean to have the privilege of borrowing the bathroom revoked too? Can anyone say “Not much, I suppose”?

Anyway, since this ridiculous thing has actually happened I’ll have to say it’s a good thing that the Student Union moved into this building and literally took over half of the fifth floor. Honestly I used to think it was a bad idea that they moved here since it’s so far away (for most students and ironically that also includes me, since my home base is not 7220 but 253). But I think the move has accomplished something very important, namely to—what’s the right word? “detoxify”? “cleanse”?—anyway, to make the environment feel less intrinsically hostile.

I really hope the SU will do well here. In a sense, I really hated this building. And yes the SU moving there really sort of caused it harder to hate it as a whole.

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