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!