Monthly Archives: September 2013
Want to get better and more effective at writing scientific manuscripts? Stanford is hosting a free MOOC course on the topic. The content look very interesting:
I will post more once I get to try them but version 3 for both Mac OS and iOS of Papers are available for download. There are paying upgrades.
As of yesterday, we have undertaken a new project that will last a lifetime. This is the third of such project for us. Since a picture is worth a 1000 words, here it is:
As with any project like this one, it will required time, patience and, most importantly, unwavering love. And as with any project I like to undertake, it will be fun 😉
For those of you following the tech world, in particular computers, the announcement of the A7 64 bits SoC probably got a WOW out of you. It did for me. To me screen size, phone shape and the same has nothing to do with innovation. The issue of 4″ vs. 4.5″ vs. 5″ screens is like preferring a 13″ vs. 15″ vs. 17″ notebook or a 50″ vs. 65″ TV set. However, screen technology providing rendering image, resolution, contrast, color delivery (gamma, …), lower power consumption and the combination of all of them and more that is innovation. The same for custom, optimized and powerful SoC chips that drive these micro-computer… errr smartphone.
Quite frankly looking back at computing since the Z80, TRS-80 and commodore when I started on my first computers, the power packed in commercially available device of such as small format as the iPhone 5S, fitting in one’s pocket and working for hours before recharge, is absolutely amazing. In addition it delivered to the general public a 64 bits platform along with the OS and numerous apps (all of Apple apps on the iPhone 5S have been recompile in 64 bits). It might not register as a big deal to most phone users but it is from a technological standpoint. Also interesting that ARM was joint venture between Apple and two other companies in part to produce power efficient chips for the Newton, such a long time ago it seems.
A very interesting review, with benchmarks, can be accessed at AnandTech. We will certainly know more when someone actually get a layout of the chip (from high-res X-ray), but still very interesting. The review also look at the integrated camera and fingerprint system. Another interesting read is Daring Fireball takes on 5S new technologies.
Today was also the public release day for iOS 7 (like it or not!). Ars Technica published an in-depth-review.
Good reading 😉
I receive around 500 e-mails per week to my work e-mail account. About 40% of these e-mails are not “important” in the sense that they do not need any response or action from me. They are rather bulk emailing (yes even from my workplace!), news-related emails and so on. For the past 6 months, almost 10% of my e-mail comes from China and other places to “invite” me to participate to so-called scientific meetings in fields of research that are not even close to what I am doing. Finally of the remaining 60%, only a fraction needs a fast turn around. The VIP option of OS X Mail is certainly a step in the right direction but not full proof.
If you have been following my blog and read the Digital Office section, you know that I keep all of my on-going projects’ e-mails on the corporate (university) server and I link key folders and e-mails to my digital file management system (DevonThink Pro Office) and task manager (Things). I do follow GTD processes when handling my Inbox.
The problem with the low priority, bulk and junk emails is that corporate servers and Apple Mail screening cannot filter all of them properly. Sure you could create rules but you would have to create tens of such rules every week. This takes times and you have to manage those rules afterward. It is not very effective.
Last July, I discovered SaneBox. I started with the two weeks free trial and decided to stick with it since then. One of the thing I really like of DevonThink is the artificial intelligence (AI) used for automatic classification of files. It would be really nice if the guys at DevonTechnologies did a Mail plug-in to do the same with the tons of e-mails I have (no I do not want to throw my e-mails in DevonThink) but they are not. Welcome to SaneBox! SaneBox adds a layer of intelligent filtering (hope it is not NSA driven!) to your e-mails. It creates extra mailboxes. In my case, the figure below shows four of them: @SaneLater, @SaneBlackHole, @SaneNews and @SaneBulk. The others are mine and I use them for classification once dealt with in the Inbox.
SaneBox redirection of e-mails from your Inbox to its associated folders is not only based on senders and subjects only but also on contents. So for example, once I have trained for a few these “strange” conference invitation e-mails to go to the Black Hole folder (self explanatory 😉 ), most of the new ones, even if the subjects or sender e-mail’s addresses are difference, end up there! You do have the chance to intervene and correct a mistake if needed. In fact you control how much feedback you received from SaneBox and the setting are quite simple. The two figures below shows my current settings and an example of e-mails moved automatically to the @SaneBlackHole box. The pop-up menu let’s you “trained” SaneBox behavior to your taste.
The @SaneNews and @SaneBulk folders are quite self-explanatory. Anything related to bulk e-mailing from work, associations, LinkedIn (and similar), software update alert all end-up in these folders, which you can read – and delete – when you want!
The @SaneLater is probably the most interesting. It is meant for all other e-mails that do not fits the other categories, that are kind of important but do not need your attention in the short term. For example, I received frequent request for graduate studies (a few per day). Since the senders are not usually part of my address book, these e-mails ends-up in the @SaneLater. Like the other folders, you can train them by simply dragging a message from one folder to the other. If you drag a message from the @SaneLater to your Inbox, SaneBox will understand that you want this person’s e-mail to be in your Inbox in the future and vice-versa.
There are a few more folders you can have access to as shown below. I have not used any of them until now.
As for the price, on the SaneBox web page, you find three different packages based on the cost of a snack, lunch or dinner. I think my best package would be Lunch with 3 mailboxes. You will also note that you can automatically strip attachment to a dedicated folder on DropBox for example (Attachments option). I do not use this, since all files are transferred to DevonThink for me but this option might be interesting for some peoples.
In conclusion, SaneBox training is easy (dragging e-mails from one folder to another). I found SaneBox classification of e-mails quite efficient, you do not have to think about it after a week or two of training and it performs its work quietly in the background. Note that the extra mailboxes are created on the Server. So it is transparent with iOS Mail application. If you are interested in SaneBox, follow this link (and we both get a rebate!): https://www.sanebox.com/signup/fa39aa9fec
To boldly go where no one [human at least!] has gone before
Interesting piece in the NYTimes: In a Breathtaking First, NASA Craft Exits the Solar System.
If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
– Albert Einstein
How do you know for sure that you are at a particularly interesting stage of your thesis project?
When the excitement spread to your supervisor, fellow students and the extended team (collaborators and others). When you present at a meeting and peoples come talk to you with that look in their eyes. When you are asked by scientists or other students unrelated to your project if you have published/submitted your results.
The flip side of that coin is that the pressure is on you (and your supervisor) to convert in a timely fashion to peer-reviewed publications 😉
Remember the movie Sneakers with Robert Redford? There was this special hardware that could decode any kind of encryption schemes. Lending the famous phrase no more secrets. We are certainly living in a digital world and an increasing fraction of our life is included in it. Well the NYTimes is running an excellent piece basically telling us that as far as the digital space is concerns, there is very little secrets left for the NSA: N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption – NYTimes.com.