Friday, December 11, 2009

Intel, do tell

I know I said no more meta posts, but just a quick explanation. I had a death in the family (second in a month), which happened literally the day after I posted last. So, things have been exceptionally crazy.

To tide you over, here is one of the more trumpeted pieces of BCI news.

Apparently Intel is now in the techno-voodoo-Kurzweilian prediction business, because they're saying we'll all be controlling our computers with brain signals by, and I quote, "2020". What's better is that they are basing this claim on fMRI findings. Is this reasonable, I mean, are we really that close to this amazing new world? In a word: OMGWTFNONONO. A) No one is going to wait a week for their BCI to magnetize. B) MRI requires that the whole head be subjected to a strong magnetic field, which means a gigantic, neck crushing apparatus. C) Power. Unless we are all driving out own buses filled with batteries, not even close. D) MRI. Magnets. Computers. Railroad spikes. Manhole covers. Nuff said. E) Temporal fidelity. Imagine playing a game with 400-500ms lag. That's also assuming there are massive improvements in processing and predictive algorithms, because right now it is between 3-10 SECONDS (deCharms, 2007). F) Consumer tech will push for better interaction, not more exotic. If I can control a mouse with my arm, why get a BCI that does worse? Things like multitouch at least provide something new beyond simple 2D control. G) Just, just... *facepalm*

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back on the attack

Ah, that's what I needed. A little reprieve from the guilt of being a bad blogger and not updating the site on a totally self-imposed schedule does wonders. So, as I slowly get back into the swing of things, including my RSS feeds, postings will become more frequent.

Right now I have two advisees, a bunch of MatLab code, and a #$*@-ton of neural data to attend to, so this is a quick announcement that DNI lives on.

Super Paper Friday will hopefully resume next week, since I need to migrate and sync all my paper lists, and catch up on the past 6 months or so. I'll also be sticking with Mendeley for citation management, but also post an EndNote file to my public DropBox.

A few random other personal things...

Great to meet folks at SfN! Ah, Chicago. And to the person that gave me swine flu, I wish nothing but the worst for you! j/k, though no idea who it was. I ended up staying with family an extra few days in Chicago because I was too sick to fly. Thankfully the bug hit on the last day of the conference. If you got sick, don't blame me! Our whole lab was a sea of virus shedding nerd phlegm, it was a pretty widespread thing.

Windows 7 is spiffy. Installed it on 4 PCs and they're all popping along pretty happily. 64-bit Business edition. No driver issues with any of the 11-ish devices I have here (list at bottom of post), x58 chipset (x2), Core2Duo laptop, and G45 chipset (x1). Matlab's happy, installed (but haven't messed with) Visual Studio 2010 Public Beta, PeerBlock being all PeerBlocky (replacement for PeerGuardian that has a signed driver, meaning no more booting in Test Mode). Performance is slightly better than Vista on computational stuff, but where 7 really blows away Vista is in I/O. In Vista, you'd boot and then your hard drive would be thrashing for 20 minutes after on some mysterious process of no consequence - even on my RAID 0 Velociraptors. In 7 you boot, and, like a normal computer, everything loads and settles down after 30 seconds (even on my laptop's 5400rpm HDD). Only two programs gave me trouble: Instant Eyedropper (gets values of colors anywhere on the screen), and Eraser 6 beta (secure file deletion program - haven't tried the stable v5 yet). Other than that, about 30-40 other programs launched and worked fine during the minimal testing I did.

So, posts will be forthcoming. Apologies for being all meta again.

(Devices: Logitech: G19 keyboard w/ color LCD, G9 mouse, Illuminated keyboard, G13 Gamepad, Quickcam 9000, Quickcam Pro for Notebooks. iPod Classic, iPhone, Wacom Bamboo tablet, Connexion3D SpaceNavigator, Gateway docking station.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All Quiet on the Eastern Front?

Rather than let my readers think that DNI has been abandoned, I thought I would give a brief update and set an official hiatus return date. Well, either the hiatus will end or I might hand over control/go totally laissez-faire with the DNI posting.

I've had a number of extra-webbernet affairs stealing away nearly all my time. I had a family situation to attend to, projects for two (awesome) minions to set up and coordinate, a facility move, a close friend popping out a kid, a neighbor popping out a kid, and some new, very interesting data to look at from my first official BrainGate related tasks that I've designed from the bottom up (conceptually and implementation-ly). The publication engines are starting to churn and preliminary analysis is pointing in all the right directions, so I'm very happy with the current situation. No SfN poster this year, which is a good thing. I wouldn't have had time to do more than staple some hand drawn diagrams on a piece of paper and staple them up for display.

On a general DNI topic, I have the two EEG BCI toys en route to mess with. I'm interested in seeing how well they work. Hrm, what else...? Caught a bat in my place. That was exciting. Oh, wait, that wasn't DNI related.

Anyhow, I'll be back filling your heads with garbage again (both figuratively and literally) starting Dec 1. Until then, there will be some sporadic updates or tweets, but nothing major. I'll be trying to get my shit together on a number of fronts and figuring out how to 'hiccup-proof' it all in the least disruptive way possible. (Google Reader has given up on counting the number of unread stories. It just cries when I open it.)

Until then, take care and keep your thinkin' caps on. :D

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another school year begins

Ah, the wafting aromatic waves of beer and cardboard boxes could only mean one thing: the kids are back in town. Here are a few minor updates on my end of things (major for me, minor for readers, I suppose)...

Mendeley sadness
My schedule has become too packed and unpredictable to keep up with the Mendeley work, so I decided to leave my Community Liaison job (on good terms). I kept thinking, "As soon as I get over this next time crunch, I'll be ready to really give Mendeley the attention it deserves." But, those crunches just kept coming and I don't see them becoming any less crunchy in the near term. The folks there are great, the product is great, and I really wish I had the time to work on it more. I expect really big things out of that group, and will continue to sing their praises. Okay, maybe not sing. Limericks? Nah. Too many syllables in all the keywords ("There once was a bibliographic... shit, ran out of syllables already").

My Project/Thesis/Thing
I've begun running some of the experiments that I've taken lead on (I don't want to say they're 'my' projects because so much feedback has gone into the process that, like all good experiments, I don't think one person deserves all the credit). I would go into more detail, but you know how it is in research and especially FDA/clinical trial situations. Still, these are 'mah babies' and so far things are looking really good. Now to get to the data! Big thanks to Jessica (my 'med school minion') for putting up with my odd schedule and all the great work. Hrm, I could use another DNI contributor or two...

On the topic of putting together kick-ass experiments, I've been meaning to post that there is a whole field out there that many scientists are completely unaware of called "User Experience", or UX. UX is kinda an amalgamation of user interface, HCI, psychology, feedback, and design that looks at how all those fields converge into the subjective experience of the user. Fascinating stuff, though more on the 'web design' end of the spectrum, and I've been really loving the bits and pieces I've been coming across. This field is set to explode with the continually expanding emphasis being put on web apps, mobile apps, and even OSes in general. Which brings me to another nice tidbit of knowledge.

2 copies of Windows 7 for $30 (for students)

Yeah, right! No, really! Thinking of getting a new PC, but wanna wait for Windows 7? Don't want to reinstall your system halfway through the semester just play with all the fun new built in toys? (Shuddup Mac people. some of us prefer a different flavor of Kool Aid.) Well, you'll love this.

Join IEEE as a student for $30 (1-year membership), and get access to their MSDNAA software library for free. This includes the Windows 7 RTM version. RTM? That sounds like a beta. Nope, RTM stands for 'Release to Manufacturer'. Buy a PC on Oct 23, and this is same version of Windows 7 that will be shipping on it. Not beta, not RC. I've gone through this process, and it works as advertised. Buy the membership, wait about 7 days for the MSDNAA specific email to show up with your login and password (mine took about half that long, maybe because I used my university email address), and go get em, tiger.

Only the Business versions (32 and 64-bit) is up as of this posting (don't waste your time with the RC, and Ultimate isn't much better than Business, unless you need the language packs, which I think can be purchased separately). Supposedly, the 'in place' upgrading has undergone some major upgrades, and Vista users may not even need to do a clean install, though I always recommend it. Mine installed fine - took about 30 minutes and activated without issue.

Here are the linkies:
Source of the info: SlickDeals
IEEE description: here

Data Visualization
I plan to add more on this in the future, but an interesting (free) iPhone app to check out is Roambi, which basically allows you to upload 'data' to their site, and then spit is back in some really visually pleasing, interactive displays on the iPhone.
Try the app's built in demos for a better idea.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fun tidbits

A brief jaunt into random websites while frantically trying to assemble my experiments, which happen to be unexpectedly soon, is always a dangerous proposition. Here are a few science-y/tech-y funbits...

- The Apollo 11 - rockstar awesome, yes? Well, check out this funky little guidance computer simulator. All systems are go... for fun! (info, and the site.)

- From the DonationCoder forums, bookTome helps you organize your book collection. A better option, though, might be Calibre (though more for the ebook crowd). More alternatives can be found in the forum comments on DC.

- Hodgman vs Obama - sweet nerdcore coolness!

Friday, July 17, 2009

While I was gone...

Here are a few stories worth noting from the last few weeks along with some random ramblings.

Now you see it, now you don't (remember)!
First, I'm watching a really interesting piece from 60 minutes on how flawed eyewitness testimony can be. What's most interesting is the way that psychologists can alter the report of an eyewitness in a predictable manner. To sum up one technique, present two faces that are similar to the perpetrator, present the previously chosen face and another that is very different, present the reaffirmed face and the perpetrator. These little psychological tricks provide important clues to the inner workings of memory and an important bridge between experimental and applied psychology. Whether they will be equally useful for neuroscience, we'll have to wait and see. Think of these types of stories as similar to the barrage of visual illusions you would see in an intro to neuroscience course (like these). Part 1 sets up the case, Part 2 is where it gets interesting (those pressed for time can skip to part 2).

Eat it ASIMO!
Toyota has been trumpeting the creation of a noninvasive BCI (EEG) for controlling a wheelchair. Basically, it sounds like a 3 state decoder (forward, left, right), with an emergency stop signal (the user puffs out their cheek). Usually this isn't too exciting (like that Honda media circus the previous month), but the 125ms lag is actually pretty good for EEG. Worth looking into more for those even slightly interested in EEG based systems.

v0.9 (and now v0.9.1 which fixes a problem with PDF linking), is now available. PDF reader with annotation tools, more control over syncing collections, and a bunch of other features. Go get em, tiger!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Perfect storm

If it seems quiet here, it's because I have had something of a 'Perfect Storm" lately (all my various projects have gone into overdrive mode at the exact same time). Just for the hell of it, here's the rundown...

As mentioned in the last post, the BrainGate2 clinical trial is moving forward. That means oodles of behind the scenes things - everything from website redesign, logo design (not even decided on yet), and preparing for a location move to assembling tasks, getting approvals and shoring up sub projects take time. I've kept out of many of the logistical preparations (plenty of experience there from my days at Neural Signals), but I tend to get called in for consultation on tech issues. That and I like to make sure that the 'modern' bases' are covered (registering the Twitter/Flickr/etc accounts, researching collaboration tools, etc.).

I will be helping with two younger students' projects, so meetings galore, and some preliminary data collection in the current participant should be ready by the end of next week (hopefully at the end of this week). This has been my highest priority, and actually the most fun and frustrating time in grad school so far.

Mendeley has released version 0.9, and it is awesome. I have a number of things on the docket for them which need to be finished this week (webcast and focus group meeting).

My friends' film project is shooting at an undisclosed time and location, but as you might be able to guess that's moving along int he near term.

Digital Trends has moved to a really schwank location in downtown Portland, OR. I have had zero time for them, which I really feel bad about, so that guilt is working into the mix.

Throw in a little non-school/non-work drama/fiascoes/whatever, and I am running on adrenaline during every waking hour. At least my sleep schedule is actually normalized by the exhaustion experienced in the 'early' evening (3am for me).

Anyhow, the one thing I have been keeping up to date on, mostly, is the Papers RSS Feed. No time for SPF (the summary post at least - those papers are always in the RSS feed), Toyota's silly 3 state decoder, etc. I'm looking into some ways of making the whole blogging thing a little easier to integrate into my regular schedule, but first I have to do the same for Mendeley. Hang in there. I'm still alive, and so is DNI. Our activity is just inversely related.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

BrainGate2 clinical trial is go

That's right! Everyone's favorite Neural Interface System, filled to the brim with Brain-Computer Interfaceyness, BrainGate, is continuing clinical trials, sans Cyberkinetics. Massachusetts General Hospital will serve as the home base, with close ties to Brown and Harvard universities and the Providence VA Hospital. Leigh Hochberg takes the helm as PI and lead investigator along with John Donoghue. The project is being called BrainGate2 in part to denote advancement in the systems, techniques and understanding used in designing and implementing an NIS. People looking for more information, including participant enrollment, can check out the below links and

Clinical trials page on website entry

Brown University release
GenEngNews article
Boston Globe article
Providence Journal article
PhysOrg article

Reddit catch
Twitter catches

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Meta again - site changes

I know posting to the site about the site is getting old, but I'm swamped with work and want to make sure people know I haven't abandoned it. So...

Updated look: I changed some the design a tad - now wider and less crammed looking (that's the default for Blogger, so let me know if it messes anything up). Now it's displaying at 1000 pixels wide, which should alleviate the cut off photo/video problems. I might make it a point to do a weekly visual refresh and add a few elements here and there. The way it is now is now how I 'want' it to be, but it was a quick fix that made it better than before and got the ball rolling (hopefully).

Twitter: Recent tweets added to the right column. I'll be adding some more social engineerin... er social services type things in the future. Honestly, i thought Twitter was going to be annoying, and so far it has taken the place of little things I might have mentioned on the blog, but without the feeling that I need to write a page about said thing.

RSS feeds: These are going to remain 'organic'. By that I mean I will be constantly trying to improve them. I like the categories I have setup now, so what is there will stay there, but I will possibly be adding more or removing others, so check back for updates (I won't be announcing them in posts from now on). Feeds that have proven themselves worthy will be listed in the sidebar as 'stable' and others will be listed as 'trial'. For example, I'm really liking some of the data visualization stuff I've come across, but it doesn't fit in any one category, so I might add a feed for that.

Super Paper Friday: Several things.
  • SPF, as mentioned in the previous post, is now on Mendeley, with the citations in line here.
  • I will be switching to an every other week schedule for posting SPF.
  • Papers will remain on Mendeley for ~3 months in order to keep the account quota usage reasonable. After 3 months, I will be removing the pdf links, but keeping the citations there. If you join the shared group, just drag the citations you want over to your library and the pdfs should follow, so it isn't the case that you would lose access to the pdfs.
  • Mendeley currently has a 7 person limit on shared groups. To get around this I will add groups with the same papers as the community grows. Chances are good that by the time this becomes a hassle, the limit will be raised (already asked about this and it looks like it will be soon).
As always, any feedback is appreciated!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

SPF - now with PDFs!

It's special because it is being posted on Saturday! Just kidding.

Let's see how this works...

Super Paper Friday is live... on Mendeley! That's right! I know, I know, it took me long enough, but not only are the citations up, but so are the PDFs. This is much, much easier for me, and gets me into some better habits in regards to keeping my papers organized. This SPF is one week delayed, so the papers are not from the current week. I was trying to make sure the PubMed info is updated - the PubMed info for papers on the day they are released is sometimes non-existent or lacking info.

So, how do you get access?
  1. First, sign up for Mendeley. No, this isn't all a ploy to up user registration. Believe me. I see how many hits DNI gets, and it would be a drop in the bucket. There are 1,000,000 articles on Mendeley, and from the blog:
    90% of these one million articles have been uploaded since January 2009, and our database is currently doubling in size every 6 weeks. For comparison, venerable PubMed - the largest database of biomedical literature - contains 18,813,527 records as of today. Assuming we managed to keep up our growth, we could surpass the size of the PubMed database within the next 6 months!

    I will post a detailed rundown of my workflow when compiling literature lists soon, possibly over the weekend, so you can see it from my perspective.
  2. Find my Mendeley profile. Hint: It's here. Click "Add contact". Type something in there like, "Gimme mah SPF, ya bastid!"

  3. I will get a notification. I will cry because the above message was so harsh and I thought we had a good thing going. I will wipe away the tears, and try to win you back by adding you to the shared group list.
  4. The group will appear in your shared group list. If you have the desktop client, it will fetch the PDFs automatically.
  5. You will receive a notification that I added you, at which point you will burst into The Happy Dance. Yays!
Note that you don't have to download the client program, but I would totally recommend it. Totally, yes.

As of right now, there's no way to define custom citation styles, which is what I was using in EndNote to post the direct links, so the below list lacks links. (Yes, I am leaving you to copy and paste the title into Google or PubMed if you don't go the Mendeley route. You poor overworked soul.) Once that feature is added, I will resume using the previous format with nice, convenient links. If this really irks you, I'm sure you are smart enough to know that the right click menu over selected text will let you search for that text. Not a big deal.

Aggarwal V, Singhal G, He J, Schieber MH, Thakor NV (2008) Towards closed-loop decoding of dexterous hand movements using a virtual integration environment. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:1703-6

Aghagolzadeh M, Shetliffe M, Oweiss KG (2008) Impact of compressed sensing of motor cortical activity on spike train decoding in Brain Machine Interfaces. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:5302-5

Ajiboye AB, Weir RF (2009) Muscle synergies as a predictive framework for the EMG patterns of new hand postures. Journal of neural engineering 6:36004

Albert NB, Robertson EM, Miall RC (2009) The Resting Human Brain and Motor Learning. Current biology : CB:1-5

Bishop W, Yu BM, Santhanam G, Afshar A, Ryu SI, Shenoy KV, Vogelstein RJ, Beaty J, Harshbarger S (2008) The use of a virtual integration environment for the real-time implementation of neural decode algorithms. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:628-33

Bradberry TJ, Contreras-Vidal JL, Rong F (2008) Decoding hand and cursor kinematics from magnetoencephalographic signals during tool use. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:5306-9

Bradi AC, Adam JJ, Fischer MH, Pratt J (2009) Modulating Fitts's Law: the effect of disappearing allocentric information. Experimental brain research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation cérébrale 194:571-6

Brinkmann BH, Bower MR, Stengel KA, Worrell GA, Stead M (2009) Large-scale electrophysiology: acquisition, compression, encryption, and storage of big data. Journal of neuroscience methods 180:185-92

Cardin JA, Carlén M, Meletis K, Knoblich U, Zhang F, Deisseroth K, Tsai L, Moore CI (2009) Driving fast-spiking cells induces gamma rhythm and controls sensory responses. Nature:1-6

Cattaneo L, Rizzolatti G (2009) The mirror neuron system. Archives of neurology 66:557-60

Danziger Z, Fishbach A, Mussa-Ivaldi FA (2008) Adapting human-machine interfaces to user performance. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:4486-90

Desmurget M, Reilly KT, Richard N, Szathmari A, Mottolese C, Sirigu A (2009) Movement intention after parietal cortex stimulation in humans. Science (New York, N.Y.) 324:811-3

Dye MW, Green CS, Bavelier D (2009) The development of attention skills in action video game players. Neuropsychologia 47:1780-9

Eldawlatly S, Jin R, Oweiss KG (2008) Identifying Functional Connectivity in Large-Scale Neural Ensemble Recordings: A Multiscale Data Mining Approach. Neural computation 21:450-77

Fukayama O, Taniguchi N, Suzuki T, Mabuchi K (2008) RatCar system for estimating locomotion states using neural signals with parameter monitoring: Vehicle-formed brain-machine interfaces for rat. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:5322-5

Gallivan JP, Cavina-Pratesi C, Culham JC (2009) Is that within reach? fMRI reveals that the human superior parieto-occipital cortex encodes objects reachable by the hand. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:4381-91

Gilio F, Iacovelli E, Frasca V, Gabriele M, Giacomelli E, De Lena C, Cipriani AM, Inghilleri M (2009) Electrical and magnetic repetitive transcranial stimulation of the primary motor cortex in healthy subjects. Neuroscience letters 455:1-3

Gunduz A, Sanchez JC, Principe JC (2008) Electrocorticographic interictal spike removal via denoising source separation for improved neuroprosthesis control. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:5224-7

Han X, Qian X, Bernstein JG, Zhou H, Franzesi GT, Stern P, Bronson RT, Graybiel AM, Desimone R, Boyden ES (2009) Millisecond-timescale optical control of neural dynamics in the nonhuman primate brain. Neuron 62:191-8

Jung P, Ziemann U (2009) Homeostatic and nonhomeostatic modulation of learning in human motor cortex. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:5597-604

Kiani R, Shadlen MN (2009) Representation of confidence associated with a decision by neurons in the parietal cortex. Science (New York, N.Y.) 324:759-64

Kositsky M, Chiappalone M, Alford ST, Mussa-Ivaldi FA (2009) Brain-machine interactions for assessing the dynamics of neural systems. Frontiers in neurorobotics 3:1

Liddle EB, Scerif G, Hollis CP, Batty MJ, Groom MJ, Liotti M, Liddle PF (2009) Looking before you leap: A theory of motivated control of action. Cognition

Mugge W, Schuurmans J, Schouten AC, van Der Helm FC (2009) Sensory weighting of force and position feedback in human motor control tasks. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:5476-82

Ramanathan D, Tuszynski MH, Conner JM (2009) The basal forebrain cholinergic system is required specifically for behaviorally mediated cortical map plasticity. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:5992-6000

Salinas E (2009) Rank-order-selective neurons form a temporal basis set for the generation of motor sequences. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:4369-80

Sincich LC, Horton JC, Sharpee TO (2009) Preserving information in neural transmission. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:6207-16

Slutzky MW, Jordan LR, Miller LE (2008) Optimal spatial resolution of epidural and subdural electrode arrays for brain-machine interface applications. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:3771-4

Smith WS, Fetz EE (2009) Synaptic Interactions Between Forelimb-related Motor Cortex Neurons in Behaving Primates. Journal of neurophysiology

Takahashi YK, Roesch MR, Stalnaker TA, Haney RZ, Calu DJ, Taylor AR, Burke KA, Schoenbaum G (2009) The orbitofrontal cortex and ventral tegmental area are necessary for learning from unexpected outcomes. Neuron 62:269-80

Thakor NV (2008) Neuroengineering: building interfaces from neurons to brain. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:1602-3

Tomi N, Gouko M, Ito K (2008) Impedance control complements incomplete internal models under complex external dynamics. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:5354-7

Tunik E, Houk JC, Grafton ST (2009) Basal Ganglia Contribution To The Initiation Of Corrective Submovements. NeuroImage

Tziridis K, Dicke PW, Thier P (2009) The role of the monkey dorsal pontine nuclei in goal-directed eye and hand movements. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:6154-66

Tziridis K, Dicke PW, Thier P (2009) The role of the monkey dorsal pontine nuclei in goal-directed eye and hand movements. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29:6154-66

Wang Y, Principe JC (2008) Tracking the non-stationary neuron tuning by dual Kalman filter for brain machine interfaces decoding. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:1720-3

Wolynski B, Schott BH, Kanowski M, Hoffmann MB (2009) Visuo-motor integration in humans: cortical patterns of response lateralisation and functional connectivity. Neuropsychologia 47:1313-22

Zhao M, Rattanatamrong P, DiGiovanna J, Mahmoudi B, Figueiredo RJ, Sanchez JC, Príncipe JC, Fortes JA (2008) BMI cyberworkstation: enabling dynamic data-driven brain-machine interface research through cyberinfrastructure. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 2008:646-9

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Very special Super Paper Firday coming

Big, awesome change coming to SPF. Yer gonna like it.

Also, that you for the kind compliments regarding DNI from the folks that spoke to JPD at the neurotech conference earlier this month.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Feed tweak

Just a note: I'm going to make a couple small changes to the RSS feeds, outlined below:

Papers: Now, Papers will be the only feed with, er, papers (besides Noteworthy News). It will only have papers, no stories. This feed will be purged (items removed) as papers are consolidated into Super Paper Fridays.

Video and Audio: Removing this feed.

'Shared' items (BCI News): Okay, I misunderstood this, somewhat. If you just want everything - every feed without duplicates plus posts on DNI - this is what you want.

'Starred' items (Noteworthy News): This is going to expand to include anything big/important and papers that appear will not be purged with SPF.

Social media note: All DNI original posts are being cross posted to Twitter and FriendFeed, along with each "shared with note" story - shared items that I specifically commented on. This adds a layer of complexity, but it is what it is. Starred items are also cross-posted to Twitter and FriendFeed.

Remember that you can mix and match feeds, too, with Yahoo Pipes. Simple example below (merging 3 of the feeds into a single one):

Hang in there!

I've had an unexpected family issue that has taken precedence over DNI, but things should be back to normal soon. (I know, bad form with the picture, but no reason you shouldn't be entertained!) I swear, one thing after another, after another... This little roller coaster over the last month has been exceptionally bipolar (all the events, not just this one), and all my side projects have had to take a back seat (Digital Trends, Mendeley, DNI, and few others included), but don't worry. DNI is still here. I feel it is important to at least give updates when these little lapses occur, so people know that I haven't abandoned them.

That said, I am currently looking into a massively cool relaunch-type event/design/thing. This includes paper sharing, social media, new resources, etc. so stay tuned (not a service, like Mendeley, per say, but tying BCI communities and resources together a little better). Thus far, DNI has been a little experiment in neuro-y, research-y, tech-y stream of consciousness - as I hit on something quick and easy to implement, I've tried throwing it into the mix. The relaunch will be much more reasoned and deliberate. My first task will be to find a way to stretch 24 hours into something close to 24^10 hours, so I can fit everything in... :)

So, sit back, enjoy the feeds, catch a tweet here and there. I'm focusing attention on keeping up with the Papers stream.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Calling out the impostor

If you are familiar with BCIs you probably have heard of the project I work on, called BrainGate. I'm a grad student in John Donoghue's lab, though the thoughts and opinions on DNI are entirely my own. I generally try to keep all things related to the 'project' at a very superficial level, due to the FDA/patient confidentiality/my generally responsible nature, and report on news items there as I do with any other project (when they hit the mainstream news agencies).

But, there was something brought to my attention the other day regarding our project that I think needs to be examined. Apparently, someone with no affiliation to the project, no interaction with anyone on the project, and obviously no scruples owns the top level domain (TLD) for the project's name. I'm not going to link to it, since this poser doesn't deserve any traffic, but I wanted to put out the word to the core BCI researchers, students, and labs that keep up with DNI, that is the ONLY official site for the project. (Yes, that is just a placeholder page with a few links, and the full launch will be mentioned here.)

The BrainFake site, as I will now refer to our charlatan friend, isn't particularly 'bad', I mean, at least he links to the real site under the clinical trials section, but essentially we have someone confusing people interested in the project, stealing attention, providing unverified information, and just generally passing themselves off as the real deal. This is probably one of those people that just went and registered so he could redirect traffic to his lucrative online natural Viagra website, so we're talking parasitic to the nth degree and not some scientist I just happen to disagree with.

Anyone have any ideas on how to deal with this type of situation? My usual inclination is to use 'hired thugs', but that route always seems to get voted down by others. (obviously kidding)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Social adjustment

I was dragged into the Twitterverse kicking and screaming, but the unthinkable has happened. Actually, so far I like it. The signal to noise ratio is pretty poor, but not as bad as I expected. Then again, I have very few people that I'm following.

So, follow me, kids!

Twitter: xbkingx
Friendfeed: xbkingx

These are general accounts related to whatever hits me as interesting, so not just BCI items.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Catching up

Yeah, I loooove to see "1000+" next to my rss feed subfolders... ugh. Catching up on news items slowly, but going to try to be back at a regular clip this weekend. Prelim done, need to update a few research related doohickies, Mendeley thingamabobs, film project whatsits, and organize all the junk that has been piling up the last couple weeks. Whee! Fun!

As a side note, I love Amtrak. Get there 10 minutes beforehand, no lines, power adapters, leg room, smooth riding, jeez. I think I am a total rail convert. No worrying about laptop batteries running low or turning them on and off during take off and landing. Just though I would share the love.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One more thing...

Papers feed is live, and has been added to the list on the right. Or click here.

A week away

So, I underestimated the amount of work leading up to my prelim defense, and going to start my little break now-ish. It isn't the prelim work as much as the other stuff, like my little Thunderbird on a USB stick took forever to configure perfectly, and was then corrupted by an old version of TrueCrypt hiding on one of my computers. *poof* All that work disappeared. Ugh. Not sure how to handle that now, but might have to think up a little hack to make it work properly.

In the meantime, here are a few stories...

60 Minutes covered DEKA on Sunday. Thank you to the 20-ish people that let me know about it, including my parents. They're silly. They still live in a world where missing a TV show means you have to wait for the rerun. Video clip is up on the 60 Minutes site.

This best computer interfaces story is a trip down memory lane.

Pravda has a very vague and almost not worth reading article on a Russian BCI group.

The Boston Globe discusses some of the hurdles of setting up an implantable BCI project, and chronicles the situation over at the now defunct Cyberkinetics. I don't want to say anything about the project that could anger one of the 14,000 government institutions regulating aspects of it (kidding on the number btw), so I will point to here (yes, the page is in a very very early alpha state).

And some sort of licensing setup for ECoG algorithms has been setup with a company called Neurolutions. (Really? Neurolutions? Have we gotten to the point where all the good brain related names are taken? Even DNI, which was a 3am, caffeine-induced hyper-mania induced naming beats the snot out of that.)

I could bring myself to watch this clip, but here's the title:
"Robotic baby seal has healing powers" - CNN (also known as, "We fired out entire science department, but what could go wrong?" News)
Video clip. Be sure to get the tshirt, too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mini Super Paper Friday

Since I have been behind on my feeds, just an abbreviated SPF today. EndNote file available here.

Beurze, S. M., De Lange, F. P., Toni, I. and Medendorp, W. P. Spatial and effector processing in the human parietofrontal network for reaches and saccades. Journal of neurophysiology, (2009).

Blana, D., Kirsch, R. and Chadwick, E. Combined feedforward and feedback control of a redundant, nonlinear, dynamic musculoskeletal system. Medical & biological engineering & computing, (2009).

Chib, V. S., Krutky, M. A., Lynch, K. M. and Mussa-ivaldi, F. A. The separate neural control of hand movements and contact forces. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29, 29-29, (2009).

Churchland, P. S. and Phil, B. The significance of neuroscience for philosophy. Functional neurology 23, 23-23.

Corradi-Dell'Acqua, C., Tomasino, B. and Fink, G. R. What is the position of an arm relative to the body? Neural correlates of body schema and body structural description. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29, 29-29, (2009).

Cunningham, J. P., Gilja, V., Ryu, S. I. and Shenoy, K. V. Methods for estimating neural firing rates, and their application to brain-machine interfaces. Neural networks : the official journal of the International Neural Network Society, (2009).

Dietrich, A. Imaging the imagination: the trouble with motor imagery. Methods (San Diego, Calif.) 45, 45-45, (2008).

Dockendorf, K. P., Park, I., He, P., Principe, J. C. and DeMarse, T. B. Liquid state machines and cultured cortical networks: the separation property. Bio Systems 95, 95-95, (2009).

Fekete, T., Pitowsky, I., Grinvald, A. and Omer, D. Arousal increases the representational capacity of cortical tissue. Journal of computational neuroscience, (2009).

Friedman, A., Frankel, M., Flaumenhaft, Y., Merenlender, A., Pinhasov, A., Feder, Y., Taler, M., Gil-Ad, I., Abeles, M. and Yadid, G. Programmed acute electrical stimulation of ventral tegmental area alleviates depressive-like behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 34, 34-34, (2009).

Fuentes, R., Petersson, P., Siesser, W. B., Caron, M. G. and Nicolelis, M. A. L. Spinal cord stimulation restores locomotion in animal models of Parkinson's disease. Science (New York, N.Y.) 323, 323-323, (2009).

Graziano, A. and Jones, E. G. Early withdrawal of axons from higher centers in response to peripheral somatosensory denervation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29, 29-29, (2009).

Inuggi, A., Amato, N., Magnani, G., González-Rosa, J. J., Chieffo, R., Comi, G. and Leocani, L. Cortical control of unilateral simple movement in healthy aging. Neurobiology of aging, (2009).

Koulakov, A. A., Hromadka, T. and Zador, A. M. Correlated connectivity and the distribution of firing rates in the neocortex. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29, 29-29, (2009).

Lee, J.-H., Ryu, J., Jolesz, F. A., Cho, Z.-H. and Yoo, S.-S. Brain-machine interface via real-time fMRI: preliminary study on thought-controlled robotic arm. Neuroscience letters 450, 450-450, (2009).

Lonini, L., Dipietro, L., Zollo, L., Guglielmelli, E. and Krebs, H. I. An Internal Model for Acquisition and Retention of Motor Learning During Arm Reaching. Neural computation, (2009).

Majdandzic, J., Bekkering, H., Van Schie, H. T. and Toni, I. Movement-Specific Repetition Suppression in Ventral and Dorsal Premotor Cortex during Action Observation. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), (2009).

Milton, J., Small, S. L. and Solodkin, A. Imaging motor imagery: methodological issues related to expertise. Methods (San Diego, Calif.) 45, 45-45, (2008).

Park, J.-H. and Shea, C. H. Effector independence. Journal of motor behavior 34, 34-34, (2002).

Polyakov, F., Stark, E., Drori, R., Abeles, M. and Flash, T. Parabolic movement primitives and cortical states: merging optimality with geometric invariance. Biological cybernetics 100, 100-100, (2009).

Riva, G., Gaggioli, A. and Mantovani, F. Are robots present? From motor simulation to "being there". Cyberpsychology & behavior : the impact of the Internet, multimedia and virtual reality on behavior and society 11, 11-11, (2008).

Serino, A., De Filippo, L., Casavecchia, C., Coccia, M., Shiffrar, M. and Ladavas, E. Lesions to the Motor System Affect Action Perception. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, (2009).

Skipper, J. I., Goldin-Meadow, S., Nusbaum, H. C. and Small, S. L. Gestures Orchestrate Brain Networks for Language Understanding. Current biology : CB, (2009).

Veyrac, A., Sacquet, J., Nguyen, V., Marien, M., Jourdan, F. and Didier, A. Novelty determines the effects of olfactory enrichment on memory and neurogenesis through noradrenergic mechanisms. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 34, 34-34, (2009).

Wu, S.-W., Delgado, M. R. and Maloney, L. T. Economic decision-making compared with an equivalent motor task. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (2009).

Yates, C. A., Erban, R., Escudero, C., Couzin, I. D., Buhl, J., Kevrekidis, I. G., Maini, P. K. and Sumpter, D. J. T. Inherent noise can facilitate coherence in collective swarm motion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106, 106-106, (2009).

Zanos, S. Neural correlates of high-frequency intracortical and epicortical field potentials. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 29, 29-29, (2009).

Slow goin' and syncing madness

Just a quick note (again) that things over here are changing, which always puts the strain on DNI. Right now my big issue is that all my email is being aggregated by GMail with another account, so I have to log in and out to get to my rss feeds and DNI mail. Plus, a little side project knocked out this weekend + the beginning of the week. Sooooo... sorry about the lag. Also, this Wednesday through next Wednesday will be a brief break, since I'll be preparing and presenting my prelim. Just giving fair warning.

I'm thinking of moving to Thunderbird 3 on a USB key for email, then Neuvasync for iPhone contact/calendar syncing. I'd have a TrueCrypt encrypted file to contain it all. The big problem is that TB, and all email clients for that matter, can only move messages to a single folder, which is picked up by GMail as a tag. In GMail you can have multiple tags, and I would like to be able to move seamlessly between TB and GMail. Poopy. Someone needs to make a GMail tagging add-on for TB. Anyhoo....

Also, if you have a LinkedIn account, there is a BCI group that you might find worth checking out.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

House episode and SPF note

Hulu says that the BCI episode of House will be up April 7. Pirate Bay says it's been up since a year before it aired. :D No, I'm not encouraging pirating, but ya see the problem here? Eh, I can't stay mad at Hulu. They just added all the episodes of Voltron. Activate interlocks! Dynatherms up! Megathrusters go!

I wanted to get SPF out today/yesterday but I have been swamped with work. I will probably do one final change to the rss feeds (I know, I know, sorry). I can't keep track of which tag I'm supposed to use for papers, so I will add a Papers feed and just put all of them under the Papers tag. No papers in any other feeds unless they are very important/interesting. In the meantime, you could just search the feeds for "Pubmed" or "journal" and be able to get the bulk of what I will be aggregating into SPF.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BCI on House

If you love House, that great TV show starring Hugh Laurie as the cantankerous Dr. Gregory House, you should have noticed that they used a BCI in the most recent episode (season 5 episode 19). I was waiting for Hulu to have it up, but got enough emails and calls that I thought I would mention it today. Typical TV BCI, EEG-ish and mystical in operation, but the episode was pretty well done, with internal dialogue from the patient and no spelling of words as fast an able-bodied person could say them, but got a little cheesy. Still, this is an example of where an EEG system would make more sense than an implanted one. Cursor up for yes, cursor down for no.

Neuroscientists put out

I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret: neuroscientists are total players. Ha ha, right? Ignore that sample size isn't mentioned and check it:

(thepHtest, thanks Vania)

Honda: Our in-house research can't read

Apparently, Honda has decided that they are the first to use a BCI (NIRS and EEG combo in this case) to control a robot (video here-and, oh, is it worth it). Not the first to use this technique, but the first to do it, ever. Okay, let's pretend that the Fetz 1969 experiments drove a 'device' instead of a robot (I'm not even sure how far back a device driven by surface electrode input might have been), but this is massively misleading. Sure this is just a stupid company statement, but Google "first robot controlled by a BCI" in two days and this crap will be the #1 result. *facepalm* I'm sure I can't really have an impact on such a large corporation's ridiculous press statement, so instead enjoy this video of ASIMO falling down stairs:

Thanks Katie for the heads up.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two new Mendeley tools! Part 2

The second, and arguably the most awesome tool new to Mendeley is.... Me!
(Tool? Get it? I'm so punny!)

I was waiting for this to be posted on the Mendeley blog before saying anything, but I will be joining the Mendeley team as a Community Liaison. Victor Henning and I came up with the idea when we met for coffee during his US east coast tour. We thought that designing a reference managing program/system should really be driven by the potential users, and that this was almost a full time job in itself. Like most problems, this one could be solved with minions. Or 'Mendions', if you prefer.

What does this mean to you, dear readers?

1) First, yes I will be mentioning cool Mendeley items. And yes, I am a paid consultant, so, depending on how you want to see it, I am a little biased. BUT...

2) I am working with Mendeley because I think the program has significant potential and the folks there have the vision, resources, and talent to do great things. Also, I can't believe that after leaving academia in 2001, I came back in 2005 to find almost no change in the tools for managing information. Seriously, EndNote looks the exact same as when I used it on my Power Mac 9500/120 running System 7. Sad.

3) My job is not to 'sell'. My job is to get feedback from users, librarians, and labs on how to make Mendeley work the way they do. There is a nice feedback and bug reporting system in place, so the Community Liaisons are more the 'big picture' folks and web presence crew. Yes, we'll be 'promoting' the program and web service but, like I said, I'm doing this because I do think it's a great program. So, if you have any insights you can provide, check the feedback system (it's very easy to use) and let me of any other the other CLs know! If you think I'm being unfair or too 'rah-rah', call me on it.

I'm really excited about this, and after dealing with all the papers and other literature I've amassed with my thesis project and DNI, I have a vested interest in helping make Mendeley awesome.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Two new Mendeley tools! Part 1

Today: The awesome tool. Tomorrow: The total tool.

One of my suggestions to Mendeley has been put into action, and it totally rocks. It's a very simple idea: a bookmarklet that you can click when you are in PubMed or IEEEExplore that directly imports the publication into your paper library (they added a number of other sites, like Google Scholar, too). Well, it's a reality, and it totally rocks. Just one word of caution. There is still some wonkiness with DOI vs PMID queries that they are aware of, so just be aware of that. Once that is ironed out, I may switch Super Paper Friday over to be a shared Mendeley library. Here's the info, from the source:
It’s here! The Mendeley browser “bookmarklet” allows you to import documents from websites and academic databases into your Mendeley library with a single click. At the moment, the following sites are supported: ACM Portal,,, CiteSeer, IEEE Xplore, IngentaConnect, Google Book Search, Google Scholar, PubMed, NASA Astrophysics Data System, and ScienceDirect. We’ll be adding support for further sites continuously.

This is how it works: Say you’re on PubMed and you’ve just discovered an interesting paper. Now, all you need to do is click the “Import to Mendeley” bookmark in your browser - Mendeley does the rest: The paper is automatically added to your Mendeley Web library with metadata, abstract and (if available) the PDF. All of this happens in the background, so you don’t have to leave the PubMed page you’re on.

It also works on search results pages, so you can import multiple documents at the same time - a small pop-up allows you to choose which ones.

Friday, March 27, 2009

SPF resuming next week

No sleep makes Brandon l0o0o0o0opy.

EEG consumer BCIs spanked by the Schwartzinator

Forbes has a fun little story on the state of consumer BCIs that hits on the major consumer players, but also throws real BCIs researchers John Wolpaw and Andy Schwartz into the fray. Each echos the officially sanctioned position of their respective scalp electrode versus implanted microwire/fancier probe electrode camp.

I prefer to call this the Head-Computer Interface versus Brain-Computer Interface debate. I try to be even keeled on the subject. EEG is obviously a worthwhile endeavor because there's none of that messy surgery involved, and thus appeals to a very large audience (at least in the near term). Hey, if you get a signal that can be controlled by the user reliably and with an acceptable level of precision, you have something useful. BUT, EEG is a degraded, garbled, sloppy signal prone to nearly limitless interference sources. Anything that can bork an implanted BCI can bork an EEG-based system, but EEG throws the doors open to the world because you are essentially wearing an antenna (or several).

One major problem with EEG is the fallacy that somehow destroyed information can be recovered by some form of fancy filtering. This is simply not so. Think of the electrode as a point of convergence for all electromagnetic signals of a measurable intensity. Even after narrowing frequency bands and implementing funky probabilistic decoders, any squiggle can be the convergence of several squiggles of indeterminable sources. In other words, at a specific time, a signal of amplitude +5 can be two signals of +4 and +1, -2 and +7, or 5 signals of +1-4-2+3+7. And don't even start with harmonics.

The second problem is population size. I know we like to think that motor cortex responds to only movement. It makes life easier. What life? Life in La-La-Land. MI responds to visual stimuli, movement preparation, auditory stimuli, imagined movements, movement related words (heard, internally rehearsed or spoken), reward, attention, cutaneous and proprioceptive feedback, and a bunch of other factors I'm not even mentioning. Until the impact of these influences is understood and quantified, there will not be any BCI that translates the neural activity for "move my arm to point x,y,z". EEG will never have the fidelity to isolate the differences feedback has at the single neuron level, so the nature of the recorded signal will never allow the 'direct' mapping of neural activity to output. That is, the activity that once gave rise to movement can never be harnessed with an acceptable degree of control to recreate the movement. Yes, I am using the word never. Never. There, I said it again.

Like I said, this isn't an attack on EEG, just reality. Different uses for different technologies. I can drive a car on a road. That doesn't mean I can drive a road, or that a road has no use.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A story about a child named Notepad.exe

Little Notepad.exe was always the quiet type of child; he never complained, talked out of turn, or crashed for that matter. But, he also never played with the other children, instead opting to spend recess inside, content with a single font and word wrap. The other children left Notepad.exe alone, for he was too plain and boring, and while flaunting their fancy ribbons and spell checkers they would giggle about which mail merge feature was better on standard 9x12 manila envelopes.

[insert more blathering literary setup here, maybe a plot, too]

The alien exploded from Notepad.exe's chest, a freakish monstrosity barely reminiscent of the shy creature it inhabited. As the creature's vessel collapsed to the ground with the sickening thud of dead flesh, the patrons at the motorbike and baby stroller emporium froze in horror. Before anyone could scream, the fearsome being, pulsing with raw energy of a million suns, spoke. "I am Notepad++, destroyer of worlds!"

Anyhow, I wanted to point out that Notepad++ is a great alternative to Notepad, and can be used to completely replace Windows's built-in, underpowered app. It has a ton of fancy tools, like code highlighting/collapsing if you are using it as an editor for any number of different languages, all sorts of text manipulation settings, tabbed and side-by-side document viewing, plugin support, and really too many features to even attempt to explain here, so do check it out. Oh and it's free.

Font trivia

Filling out grant stuff, and I thought it would make sense to match the font in Word 2007 to the PDF I'm filling out. So I go to check for Helvetica in Word, and... it isn't there!?!? Hel-friggin-vetica? Okay, okay, maybe a bug or something. Let's see if I can download it... $300!?!?!

Needless to say, this mystery just sucked down about an hour of my time. I briefly explored the seedy underworld of typeface worship, following the twisted lies of stroke terminators and outfoxing the glyphs of despair. All I can say is that I can never look at Ariel again. *shudder*

I did find this ancient, sacred text, though.

Oh, and no, Office 2007 does not have Helvetica, no matter how many movies they make about the damn font. And yes, barring the usual alternatives, you have to pay out the nose for a 52 year old typeface.

Feeds updated (final update on these, I swear!)

I'll update the post below as well, but I have the feeds now finalized, and I'm adding them to the sidebar after this is post is up.

For those of you wondering how I'm categorizing the news items with minimal pain, here's how...

I'm using Google Reader for my usual news reading. To keep from having to type tags, I'm using a free program called AutoHotKey, which is an AMAZING piece of software. Sounds simple, but basically it lets you create simple scripts that can do just about anything. Kinda like Windows meets the bash prompt, but easier to use, low on resources, and a $^$&-ton of really useful scripts out there. In fact, many of the little utility programs that you use right now may have an AHK script equivalent, especially if you got them from Donation Coder. AHK scripts can be compiled into executables, or you can let them run in the background, or you can drop files onto them. Want a script that randomizes your desktop icon placement every 15 seconds? 30 seconds of coding (if you don't know what you're doing).

In this case, I have a simple AHK script that changes Alt+F1 into the "t" keystroke (opens the 'tag' section in GReader), Alt+F2 into "Neuroscience and Bioengineering, ", etc. So, I see something I like, I drop my thumb on the Alt, hit F1, consider the categories it falls into and hit those F-keys, and then Return. My hands don't have to move, except in a few cases (which is why I used Alt+F1 for t, when I could just hit t).

If anything is wonky, please please please let me know.