Tuesday, July 04, 2006

To hack or to overkill?

I feel so stupid, sometimes. Yes, it's about those experiments and building the setup. It's practically ready and done, but I still have a choice to make. Either to learn to use a piece of sound equipment properly, so that it can handle multiple inputs and multiple outputs. I need this so I can channel my different sources of stimuli through one piece of equipment and to two participants simultaneously. The gear I'm using would do that routinely, but I would need to make an effort on how to use the damn thing and change a number of settings and defaults.

My other option is to take two pieces of the same equipment and just use them in parallel, not having to worry about setting them up in any special way. We happen to have two of these £600 pieces of equipment that nobody else needs at the moment.

So, why don't I just jump in to the second option, why do I even bother thinking about the first? Well, because I feel so stupid about it. I keep imagining how it looks like in the write-up. The equipment section would be a ball. "For stimulus presentation, TWO units were used, mainly due to laziness of the experimenter to learn how to use the stuff properly. All the gear, no idea." Well, I would formulate it differently, but that's how it would be read (by the 4 graduate students trying to build their own research settings, the only people who ever read the methods sections).

This is not rare technology, nor extremely expensive, but I couldn't escape publicly admitting that instead of knowing how to use these things I just kept amassing more and more of them so I could use them with default settings. I'd feel so... Cambridge.

Also, I do have a basic knowledge of how to set these things up, and I would even like to learn more about them. While this is not the best time to do it, it is an opportunity. You learn by doing and my patience doesn't stretch as far as to learn these things if I don't have to put it to use somewhere. Also, I might need to keep running these experiments in the autumn when there are other people in the lab who might need some of the equipment, and so I can't keep hogging all of it.

OK, fine, I'll read the bloody manual and get on with it, and as a compromise I promise that if it takes longer than an hour I will just use the two systems and I promise not to procrastinate with this issue any longer. There are other things that need to be procrastinated about.

No comments: