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OKR #2

Posted on Jul 5, 2020 by Chung-hong Chan


This is the 2nd post on OKR. I think I should write something about the current situation of the world, like I did with the first post.

For the pandemic, we have entered a very bizarre situation. The number of infected and deaths reaches a new high. Yesterday, for example, the world recorded around 210,000 new cases in a day. Compared to the “peak” in April, it was around 100,000. Admittedly, most of these new cases now are in the U.S., Brazil, Russia and India. Not in Asia or EU countries. It gives many of us an illusion the pandemic is behind us.

Instead of heightening the infection control measures, lock down was lifted in many countries paradoxically. Many countries, e.g. New Zealand, Scotland, announced they have contained the virus.

Here in Germany, for example, most of the measures for social distancing have been lifted. Well, people need to wear a mask in public transportation and in supermarket, but who knows when it will last? Virus outbreaks are centralized in either poor regions or dense work places such as slaughterhouse of Tönnies.

I am still working from home, however I have been summoned to go back to office for a face-to-face meeting. Soon or later, I guess, exclusive work from home would be replaced by a hybrid mode.

Politically, Black Lives Matter protests are still going on in the U.S. The situation in Hong Kong is beyond bad. I have made a pledge not to comment on Hong Kong in this blog when I left Hong Kong. I hope this doesn’t count as a comment. An assessment maybe.

My life is quite okay. My wife has also great improvements in her artistic life, although there is also a lingering minor health problem making us quite stressful. But all in all, we are okay. We have talked about the current situation and how could we go back to the previous normality. I can’t imagine how our lives (not only my wife and I) would be the same after this pandemic. But apparently, people like the previous normality more and always want to go back to that kind of lifestyle.


think out loud

For this objective, I think I did better in Q2 than I did in Q1. Numerically I have just published 3 blog posts in this quarter versus 2 blog posts in Q1. But I think the 3 blog posts are more diverse. I wrote about programming and non-programming technical stuff. I think I have really thought out loud in this quarter, despite being quite busy.

contribute to open source

Similar to the first object, I think I did better in Q2 than I did in Q1, mostly in terms of diversity. I have worked on my regular R packages such as oolong, readODS and experimental one such as rectr. I have also worked on special one such as mzesalike (a hybrid of javascript and R). I did also some pure Javascript stuff, as a I have described in the previous post.

The plan for release resdtmf and textplex has postponed, which is a setback.

But I have contributed to others’ projects such as birdfish by my coworker Marius Sältzer and keyATM.

BTW, Marius is now a coauthor of oolong. For my future self, oolong has won a SAGE Concept Grant (2000 pounds). Well, it means a lot to me because it is a grant I won with my own power with a software I truly believes would make a big impact.

publish top papers

Well, for this one, I think I have met my quota for this quarter, even for this year.

In the previous post, I said “there are little details that I cannot share at this moment” about my ICA submissions. Actually, I knew at that moment I have won 2 best paper awards. I have won one from the ICA computational methods interest group (now a division) and one from the ICA communication & technology division.

Apart from that, I have published 2 papers in high impact journals. Two papers were published more or less on the same day. But I think the one in International Journal of Communication was a bit earlier. That one is important because it is the first paper from my main research at Mannheim. It is also the first substantial study from my current research project. It took 2 years to get it published!

This paper has been rejected once by a journal with lower impact factor. But admittedly, the paper looked very rough back then. The paper was submitted to IJOC in January and I got an offer to revise the paper just before the Corona pandemic. The initial phrase of my home office was actually dealing the R&R of this paper. I was complaining about my tiny MacBook Air (I used to have a large screen, meaty Linux computer in my office). After almost 4 months of working with this tiny computer, I must say the computer is small but wonderful.

Another one is published in Information, Communication & Society. I am the 2nd author of this paper because this paper is mainly an idea of the Zurich group. I have contributed mainly, as always, the data analysis part of the paper. One interesting experience is that the Zurich group is more apt to do social media promotion of new publication. I believe more researchers know the publication of this ICS paper than my IJOC paper.

That was it. Actually, there are more exciting announcements in the pipeline. But I think a better approach is to announce something, only after I have a 3rd party source to prove such thing.

Apart from working on papers and R&Rs, I have churned out 2 grant proposals in Q2. Let’s hope that at least 1 of them can get through so that I extend my contract.

improve myself

As in Q1, I have read quite a few books. I have also learned a lot about programming either in my native R and Javascript (let’s not go back to objective 1…)

I think my English writing has a slight improvement. My German is degrading, I can feel it. One surprise from Q2 is that my wife and I have finally knew some of my neighbors and in a meeting with them, I have a small chance to speak German.

publish a book

Among all 5 objectives, this objective has the least progress in Q2. It has been predicted in my previous OKR. But there is almost no progress. Actually there is some very side progress that can be counted as progress. However, the writing of the book is stagnant. Still, I don’t know if I can start it again in Q3.

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