Monday, December 31, 2007

I know I have that paper here somewhere...

I got a question.

What do you use to organize your documents/papers?

Right now I have folders organized by topics and file names that contain author, year, journal and 4-9 word summary. It makes for some friggin loooong names and annoyingly inefficient searches. I was thinking of throwing everything behind EndNote, but before I do that, I want to be sure it will work as I wanted. Are there any alternatives (must run on Windows, but easy import/export to Mac or Linux would be nice). I also hate putting all my eggs in a proprietary basket. Case in point...

I recently found a disk with some very old journal entries (early high school) and even though they were in MS Word format (Word 5 for Mac), the latest version of Office wouldn't read them. I was a smart cookie though, and saved the documents in several formats, including good ole text. Apparently I had a huge crush on Michele Brinkerhoff my Sophomore year.

Any opinions on Zotero?

Jesus "OMFG WTF is wrong with you people!?!?!" Camp

Wow, just wow. I knew we had some real nuts in this country, but after watching Jesus Camp (on A&E right now) I've never felt so disgusted, disturbed and saddened by it. Ugh. I can't sleep now. If you read sites like Digg, you'll see some relatively extreme Athiest views. That used to bother me, but after watching this, I mean how do you reason with people so corrupted from childhood? They're the exact same as the Muslim extremists. There's is zero difference. Can't we add them to a terrorist watch list or something? Oh yeah, I forgot, they're advising the president. I mean you're a kid. You solve some math problem and finish your science project, and you feel pretty good, right? Sure, but you aren't crying and screaming to the point of seizures. Which experience is going to be more strongly imprinted? At least Ted Haggard (the preacher featured in the movie) was outed by his male lover and removed from his megachurch position.

I just needed to vent. Kthnx. Happy New Year's Eve? At least I'm enjoying the irony of this being on during the holiday season.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Most viewed YouTube clip of 2007

If you haven't seen this, you MUST watch it. All the way to the end.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

All your research are belong to us!

I was going to mention this earlier (I think I have another link buried somewhere in my rss reader), but the US congress has just passed a bill requiring that all NIH funded research-based publications be made available on PubMed one year after publication. This is great news. I know that while I was out of academia, I found it almost impossible to keep up with the research world, since I couldn't access any journals.

Brought to my attention again by Slashdot.

On the season

So, first, I rarely wish Happy Hannukah because I never know when it is, even though I celebrate it. I think it was in April this year. But if you celebrate it as well, happy, cuddly wishes to you. Besides, we all know it's an excuse to keep the Jewish kids from feeling left out. Come on. No one really cares about a slight miscalculation in lamp oil volume. And what's the worst that would happen? Oh horrors! Going to bed at sundown. Woe is me!

Second, don't you Goys think you get off easy. Let's see what's in a nativity scene... hrmm wise men, baby, parents, animals... oh NO calendar. Shall we go by the Julian, Gregorian, perhaps Lunisolar? Guess what? There ain't no Santa, and Christmas is on Jesus's's'sssses's birthday (I always get that possessive form with a last name ending in 's' wrong, but I think that might be right this time). So, when you complain about Hannuuuukkahahahaah switching around, we're just being authentic. That, and it lets us take random days off be suddenly declaring that day some unknown holiday. Besides, Christmas is just a celebration taken from pre-Christian times (Yule and Saturnalia, and several others, I think), so it's just as arbitrary.

Yeah, so bah humbug, and have fun with your phony holidays! (Actually, I love this time of the year even as an Athiest, and just kidding around, so don't get all uppity about it. I can only stand to be back around the parents for so long before I go a little nutty. Plus, they don't drink coffee, so I'm going through major withdrawal.)

Hey, anyone get any good presents? (I got clothes, money, and a 3G iPhone when it is released.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2007

Somehow my SfN poster was omitted from the list. (from Science Magazine, found on Slashdot)

Two interface briefs

First, the more 'boring' one. BBC reports on auditory interfaces, and using objects to emit sound with function. Cool? Sure. But, I'm not sure what it would be used for.

Second, and totally awesome, an independent programmer has turned the Nintendo Wii remote into a head tracking device. The result is absolutely incredible in both its simplicity and resulting quality. Watch the video. You can skip to 2:05 if you don't want the background info. Stuff like this makes me giddy about the innovative uses for simple technology.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dual Boot Vista + XP How-To

Soooo, you installed Vista. It's not bad, it's not great, but you have that one nagging piece of software or hardware that just doesn't want to run. Or, you want to play your favorite game and it either doesn't run in Vista or you hate that obnoxious frickin whatever the fuck it is that Vista needs to do with your hard drive the brings the whole system to a crawl just as you see the enemy and even though you tried to track it back to single process there's nothing you can do about it (like fucking SearchIndexer - OMG I will kill you). Okay, I feel better now. Anyhow, your options?

A) Reinstall your whole system as XP. Ugh. What a PAIN.
B) Find an alternative piece of software, buy alternative piece of hardware. Expensive/annoying!
C) Add a partition or whole drive with XP. Best alternative.

It is NOT that bad. I just did it, and it took about an hour. Here's how.

Software you will need:
- EasyBCD - Download and install in Vista.
- Acronis Disk Director - Best partition resizing program I've found. You can use the built in partition resizer, but the pagefile generally makes the available size very minimal (in my case, it was 200MB for the maxsize of the new partition). Note that some people recommend Partition Magic. If this was 2 years ago, I would have given an emphatic YES, but since Symantec bought it and let it die, there have been issues with Vista that have cropped up
- Your Vista and XP CDs - yes, you need both.

Step 0: Backup you system. You do run the risk of fuXoring up the whole system, so do a full disk image. I highly recommend Acronis True Image Home (this is starting to sound like an ad, but I swear I get no kickbacks... yet!)

Step 0.5: If you want to install on a separate drive, skip Step 1.

Step 1: Create the new XP partition.
In Vista, use your chosen software, in this case ADD, to shrink the Vista partition. I would suggest at least 100GB, but more if you think you will be swapping large files - remember to have space for any temporary files that might be generated. Next, create a new partition using all the unallocated space. Make it a primary partition, NTFS format. Apply/Finalize the changes, and you will be asked to reboot.

Reboot, and you will either see a text-y prehistoric looking screen giving you a rundown of the partition creation process or a completely black screen with disk activity (my case). Don't worry, just wait for the reboot to go through. In my case ADD rebooted the system again and Windows thought the reboot was in error. Just start up normally. The partition will be formatted once in Vista, and you may need to boot again (I did, though subsequent reformatting didn't require it).

Step 2: Check My Computer, and make sure the new partition/disk appears. Hooray!

Step 3: Install XP
Insert your XP CD, and reboot. If your BIOS settings are not set up to boot from CD first, remember to set that (if you never messed with your BIOS settings, this should be how things were set up at the factory). You will be presented with a list of disks*, along with the available space. Select your newly created partition and hit Enter.

*If your disk is not shown, you probably have an older copy of XP and a newer motherboard with SATA hard drive controllers. You may have to load your driver floppy at the beginning of the XP install boot - when it asked for Third Party SCSI or RAID Drivers. (I had to do this with a 4 year old PC installing XP no-Service Packs)

Step 4: Tweak and protect XP
The average Windows PC directly connected to the internet is compromised within 15 minutes. Install all your Windows Updates, restarting as necessary. Don't forget the antivirus software and firewall. I recommend Kaspersky Internet Security 7 for both. Universities generally offer AV software for free, and you can always grab ZoneAlarm's free edition.

Step 5: Give me back my Vista!
Reboot with the Vista DVD in the drive, and select the option to repair a Vista installation. The program will scan the drives and find your Vista installation, select it. Choose the first option, which is for Boot Time Problems (prevents Windows from booting properly blahblahblah). Let it do its work, click finish and you will reboot.

Tada! Yay Vista!
(If you are not saying Yay Vista here, you may have borked your computer. Try repairing more options from the previous step, but at this point something is seriously wrong.)

Step 6: Choose, don't lose
Time for the magic. Open EasyBCD. Select Add/Remove entries, type NT/2000/XP/2003, name it something with 'XP' in it, click Add. Click Change Settings, select the XP item and select the correct drive letter. Save settings. (UPDATE: Oops! Select the drive letter that Vista is installed on, not that XP is installed on. This is because the Vista bootloader is on the Vista Parition, and will handle booting XP)

Shazzam! You win! Reboot and you should have the option to choose either XP or Vista. Niiiice. As a side note, you can also install Ubuntu using the same procedure (partition, install, Vista CD reboot, repair, and EasyBCD), and use the NeoGrub option in EasyBCD. Haven't tried adding MacOS X... yet. Then again, I have no reason to.

Slightly more technical explanation (if you WANT to know, not that you NEED to know). The issue here is that the Master Boot Record (MBR) gets overwritten by Windows with that version of Windows bootloader. So Installing XP means the bootloader for XP only is installed. The Vista bootloader plays nice with XP, with the right settings (XP's does NOT play nice with Vista), but not Linux. NeoGrub, based on the GRUB bootloader lets you select between a Linux distro and the Vista bootloader. Depending on how you configure it, you may end up with Selecting between Linux and Windows on the first screen, and then XP or Vista on a second one (first screen is NeoGrub, second is the Vista bootloader).

All in all, the whole thing is not that bad. The hiccups are if you have to use a floppy with SATA drivers (who has a floppy drive anymore? and flash drives won't work for it), and user error, so take your time. You may be forced to call Microsoft to reactivate your old copy of XP. Just call them and speak to the nice Indian woman for the authorization code. I know people that have used crazy pirated XP serial numbers from Chinese hacking sites, and they were just given their activation code.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sssssssooper paper FryDAE!

I just threw them all together this week. You get a wiggity tossed salad of primary research deliciousness!

Anatomical and physiological definition of the motor cortex of the marmoset monkey.
Burman KJ, Palmer SM, Gamberini M, Spitzer MW, Rosa MG.
J Comp Neurol. 2007 Dec 12;506(5):860-876 [Epub ahead of print]

Cooperation in self-organizing map networks enhances information transmission in the presence of input background activity
Maxim Raginsky and Thomas J. Anastasio
Biological Cybernetics, Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Order-Dependent Modulation of Directional Signals in the Supplementary and Presupplementary Motor Areas
Jeong-Woo Sohn and Daeyeol Lee
The Journal of Neuroscience, December 12, 2007, 27(50):13655-13666.

Brain–Computer Communication: Motivation, Aim, and Impact of Exploring a Virtual Apartment
Leeb, R. Lee, F. Keinrath, C. Scherer, R. Bischof, H. Pfurtscheller, G.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, Dec. 2007, Volume: 15, Issue: 4, 473-482.

Real-Time Classification of Forearm Electromyographic Signals Corresponding to User-Selected Intentional Movements for Multifunction Prosthesis Control
Momen, K. Krishnan, S. Chau, T.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, Dec. 2007, Volume: 15, Issue: 4, 535-542

Prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia control access to working memory.
McNab F, Klingberg T.
Nat Neurosci. 2007 Dec 9 [Epub ahead of print]

Vestibular Signals in Primate Thalamus: Properties and Origins
Hui Meng, Paul J. May, J. David Dickman, and Dora E. Angelaki
The Journal of Neuroscience, December 12, 2007, 27(50):13590-13602.

Thermal Impact of an Active 3-D Microelectrode Array Implanted in the Brain
Kim, S. Tathireddy, P. Normann, R. A. Solzbacher, F.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, Dec. 2007, Volume: 15, Issue: 4, 493-501

Recruitment and Comfort of BION Implanted Electrical Stimulation: Implications for FES Applications
Popovic, D. Baker, L. L. Loeb, G. E.
This paper appears in: Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, Dec. 2007, Volume: 15, Issue: 4, 577-586

Design, Implementation and Clinical Tests of a Wire-Based Robot for Neurorehabilitation
Rosati, G. Gallina, P. Masiero, S.
This paper appears in: Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, Dec. 2007, Volume: 15, Issue: 4, 560-569

A deliberate practice account of typing proficiency in everyday typists.
Keith N, Ericsson KA.
J Exp Psychol Appl. 2007 Sep;13(3):135-45.

Spatiotemporal dynamics of cortical sensorimotor integration in behaving mice.
Ferezou I, Haiss F, Gentet LJ, Aronoff R, Weber B, Petersen CC.
Neuron. 2007 Dec 6;56(5):907-23.

Impairment of retention but not acquisition of a visuomotor skill through time-dependent disruption of primary motor cortex.
Hadipour-Niktarash A, Lee CK, Desmond JE, Shadmehr R.
J Neurosci. 2007 Dec 5;27(49):13413-9.

Prediction of upper limb muscle activity from motor cortical discharge during reaching.
Pohlmeyer EA, Solla SA, Perreault EJ, Miller LE.
J Neural Eng. 2007 Dec;4(4):369-79. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

Inhibition and brain work.
Buzsáki G, Kaila K, Raichle M.
Neuron. 2007 Dec 6;56(5):771-83.

Spatiotemporal dynamics of cortical sensorimotor integration in behaving mice.
Ferezou I, Haiss F, Gentet LJ, Aronoff R, Weber B, Petersen CC.
Neuron. 2007 Dec 6;56(5):907-23.

Connected corticospinal sites show enhanced tuning similarity at the onset of voluntary action.
Yanai Y, Adamit N, Harel R, Israel Z, Prut Y.
J Neurosci. 2007 Nov 7;27(45):12349-57.

Increasing the performance of cortically-controlled prostheses.
Shenoy KV, Santhanam G, Ryu SI, Afshar A, Yu BM, Gilja V, Linderman MD, Kalmar RS, Cunningham JP, Kemere CT, Batista AP, Churchland MM, Meng TH.
Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2006;1 Suppl:6652-6.

Visually guided reaching depends on motion area MT+.
Whitney D, Ellison A, Rice NJ, Arnold D, Goodale M, Walsh V, Milner D.
Cereb Cortex. 2007 Nov;17(11):2644-9. Epub 2007 Feb 8.

Reference frames for reach planning in macaque dorsal premotor cortex.
Batista AP, Santhanam G, Yu BM, Ryu SI, Afshar A, Shenoy KV.
J Neurophysiol. 2007 Aug;98(2):966-83. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Biomimetic brain machine interfaces for the control of movement.
Fagg AH, Hatsopoulos NG, de Lafuente V, Moxon KA, Nemati S, Rebesco JM, Romo R, Solla SA, Reimer J, Tkach D, Pohlmeyer EA, Miller LE.
J Neurosci. 2007 Oct 31;27(44):11842-6.

Electrical Stimulation of the Midbrain for Hearing Restoration: Insight into the Functional Organization of the Human Central Auditory System
Hubert H. Lim, Thomas Lenarz, Gert Joseph, Rolf-Dieter Battmer, Amir Samii, Madjid Samii, James F. Patrick, and Minoo Lenarz
The Journal of Neuroscience, December 5, 2007, 27(49):13541-13551.

Neuroscience: sensors and synchronicity.
Heidelberger R.
Nature. 2007 Nov 29;450(7170):623-5.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And more on the inevitable robot uprising

Okay, coffee shop is getting a little boring, and I just finished another chapter in Machine Learning (suggested by a reader). So, before I go trudge through the snow that is falling like CRAZY, here's a fun post.

A robot heckled President Clinton at a recent speech before succumbing to the police is a hail of paper propaganda. What's worse, it seems to be using a human to host it's menacing opinions! Report, plus video here. (via Engadget)

Perhaps we should have listened to this editorial in 1932, that nineteen-thirty-frickin-two people! Yes, this is a real editorial. (via BoingBoing)

perhaps we could escape this lunacy by burrowing deep below the Earth's surface, you say? That would have been a good idea, IF THE WORLD WASN'T HOLLOW. Perhaps the ascended masters that live there will shield us from the death from above.

Biopolymers - Beating the crap out of biomonomers

Actually, I don't know if biomonomers are are better or not. I'm running out of headlines ideas.

GATech, an underappreciated powerhouse of neural engineering, reports that a couple researchers have been using "ACh-like" chemical to stimulate CNS nerve growth (in the spine). I've only got the news bites (linked below), but here's how it goes, I think.

Previous work has shown that laminin induces nerve regeneration by providing a scaffolding signal for the sprouting processes to travel down. Laminin dissolves quickly, though, making it a poor choice when not dealing with a petri dish. Part of regeneration is not only providing the necessary trophic environment, but also activating the growing fibers. Using a polymer with ACh binding domains, these GATechies were able to get both the scaffolding and activation needed to induce regeneration. There are also issues of how much activation is needed, which can be tested by just varying the number of embedded ACh binding sites - in this case they settled on 70% max.

One problem that remains is that the polymer does not dissolve at all, meaning that long term implantation could eventually lead to biocompatibility problems down the road, but I assume that some savvy chemist will make a dissolvable polymer replacement as soon as the timecourse for reinnervation is determined (don't want it dissolving too quick or too slow).

If complete reinnervation isn't possible, this could also be used to direct nerve growth from severed cells, to a biochip interface for using a BCI (depending on how much axon retraction there is).

Reports here and here.

Hot off the press!

And just when I went back to dig up more stories, this hits the front page:

Ted Berger, rocker of many socks, has released a report on the state of BCI. It is long, it is free, and I have only skimmed it, but good stuff. Here's the breakdown:
The report contains three overall findings on Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) work worldwide:

-- BCI research is extensive and rapidly growing, as is growth in the interfaces between multiple key scientific areas, including biomedical engineering, neuroscience, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, materials science and nanotechnology, and neurology and neurosurgery.

-- BCI research is rapidly approaching first-generation medical practice—clinical trials of invasive BCI technologies and significant home use of noninvasive, electroencephalography (EEG-based) BCIs. The panel predicts that BCIs soon will markedly influence the medical device industry, and additionally BCI research will rapidly accelerate in non-medical arenas of commerce as well, particularly in the gaming, automotive, and robotics industries.

-- The focus of BCI research throughout the world was decidedly uneven, with invasive BCIs almost exclusively centered in North America, noninvasive BCI systems evolving primarily from European and Asian efforts. BCI research in Asia, and particularly China, is accelerating, with advanced algorithm development for EEG-based systems currently a hallmark of China's BCI program. Future BCI research in China is clearly developing toward invasive BCI systems, so BCI researchers in the US will soon have a strong competitor.

It is over 200 pages, and at first glance a really nice report of the state of the art. (Several other very prominent authors, as well.) Found the report news release here, and the actual reports (free to everyone!) is here (6MB pdf). For anyone asking, "Could you recommend a good general overview of the field?" this would be it.

The Neurosky is falling!

Into fun-filled children's toys, that is! Everyone's favorite EMG, I mean no, wait TOTALLY EEG from one dry electrode because they have either signed a pact with Satan or they aren't using brain signals, has been in talks to integrate Neurosky into several toys designed by Sega Toys.

Now, I love me some BCI in the consumer marketplace, but this is starting to get a little out of hand. It was funny when Emotiv showed off the Cap of Infinite Dorkiness(tm), but Neurosky better post some concurrent EMG recordings that show they are actually using EEG before I believe it (I'm talking wet electrode, established 'real' techniques). Until then, I'll say it again, you are only getting covert muscle movements, not EEG. There's a reason EEG studies use 128 electrodes with skin abrasion and conductive gel. Oh wait, no, it is kinda fun to torture the volunteering undergrads, but no, no, it does have a real purpose.

Bah! Anyways, here's the media blitz. Here here here.

Brain in a dish

.... flies a plane. Yes, old news, but it was mentioned yet again. Possibly blogspam, but if you haven't heard about it, worth the read.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Posts coming

I know I haven't posted in a while, but this time of year is always a mixed bag. More reviews needed for Digital Trends, and that feeling that I'm not making any progress (always happens this time of year) have kept me from keeping up with DNI. But I got a bunch of material piling up, so I gotta post some of it soon.

To make up for it, here's a puppy nibbling on a cat's ear. Enjoy!

Puppy Vs Cat - Funny videos are here

Friday, December 7, 2007

Not related to anything

Papers will be posted sometime next week. I will probably be setting the EEG/ECoG stuff apart from the neurosciencey/cortical BCI stuff and possibly scaling it back a little. I've been catching up on papers and found I just don't need the non-invasive pansiness (haha!). j/k, but I just glaze over when I try to read them, and they're not important for my schtuff.

Wow. I had a bud over to play Halo 3, but I cracked open Call of Duty 4 before he got there to just play a mission or two first. He ended up watching me play for 3 hours (Hey! I asked something like 15 times if he wanted to play it or switch to Halo 3, but he insisted that it was fun.) The game is like watching a movie and friggin fun as hell to play, and I'm just a casual gamer. Seriously, if you own a PC/XBox 360/PS3, get it. It is ridiculously beautiful and fun. Just... wow. Our original plan was to crack open H3, and whoever won a match would have to drink - that way it evens out the abilities (hey, I haven't had a sip of alchy since SfN, so this isn't a regular occurance). Some other time, I guess.

Maybe I'll start a gaming night here in Prov, and any readers are welcome to come and join in. We'll see.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm good, and I got proof

So all those productivity software bits about file management I posted the other day... "Sure, why should I listen to YOU?" you say. Well, most of those same programs were mentioned today on Lifehacker. There's a reason I get paid for that type of advice!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

High tech wheelchairs

Title says it all. I think I covered most of these, but it's a nice list. Posted on Neatorama.

Good neural network books, anyone?

Anyone know of some good intro to neural networking type books? Something from theory to application, without being too 'dense'. I know they're somewhat dense in general, but nothing with 20 consecutive pages of formulas (which are usually special cases to the special cases that the author just happened to like). I've had some AI and the basics, but a good refresher is always welcome. Please post in the comments section.


Microsoft's first robo-minions get legs with which to crush the life out of you!

The first fruits of Microsoft's Robotics Studio have made it into the marketplace.
What this nimble biped lacks in torso, it makes up for in ass-kicking soccer/football playing. The only clip I could find was the one below, and frankly, it kinda sucks. But, hopefully it's an early version.

BCI like gandpa used to use

Yes, a wooden robotic arm that you can build! Now, if I had any ability to work with wood, I would be set. I did make a 6 foot circumference hovercraft in junior high school (yes, it worked), but gramps helped me big time.