Starting today: Head voices, every week!

(Badly) inspired by some dude’s weekly I’m-finishing-my-PhD-blog, sent to me by the infamous francoism, I have decided that you, dear reader(s) (hey mom!), have the right to be exposed more regularly to the voices in my head.  So, in order to supplement my recent posting frequency of once per month (my global frequency seems to be higher: 349 posts over 98 months in total), I’m going to post every single week with an exceptionally entertaining summary of the week’s highlights.  I do reserve the right to slip up now and then, or to stop completely when I feel like it. :)  You then have the right to taunt me in the comments of this, or the latest post at that time.

So, with that off my chest, I can start with the highlights of this grand week, number 35 of the year 2009.

As many weeks do, this one started with Monday. However, this particular Monday was quite special.  On that very day, we (I have really really terribly fantastic friends, family almost) were having an extremely relaxed yet already nostalgic morning, getting ready to leave the Lowlands 2009 festival grounds, after 3 days of Exceptionally Excellent Times.  Because we have an Exceptionally Strict Rule called “What Happens At Lowlands, Stays At Lowlands”, I can unfortunately not tell you much more than that.  While contemplating The Rule,  you could do worse than watch the YouTube clip below of Whitest  Boy Alive performing 1517, but why would you?:

Apart from my post-festival illness (hey, what do you expect after 3 days of Extremely Little Sleep and Far Too Much Excitement?), the rest of the week consisted of a number of research / technical meetings (these ones are nice, really) with research collaborators, and I took part as external member in the M.Sc. thesis opposition of a student who evaluated the perceived quality of several electron microscopy post-processing filters.  It raised an interesting discussion on perceived quality (of experts) vs. task performance.

Other than that, I’ve rediscovered Mendeley.  I wasn’t that impressed the previous time, but the current software version has been greatly improved.  The free software runs on Linux, Mac and Windows, and is a kind of beefed up reference manager.  Simply drag and drop an article PDF on it, and all metadata is extracted and inserted into your database.  There’s a bookmarklet that can also slurp information from a large number of citation sites.  You get to synchronise all your references with the Mendeley mothership (website), and you can even synchronise up to 500MB in article PDFs. You can also add other academics as your friends, harr harr.

What I like most about the software, is the ease with which I can now add new references, and also the fantastic built-in PDF reader, which which I can easily annotate PDFs.  What I don’t like, is that it doesn’t yet offer a way for me to use it on multiple machines where I already have synchronised PDF directories.  For now I’m using it to synchronise a subset of my PDF articles (only collections that I’m currently working on) as that still fits in 500MB, but I’d really like to be able to use it across different machines with my own pre-synched directories.  I did add a suggestion concerning this to their feedback thingy.

I’m going to be using it as my main reference manager for a while (I’ve been using JabRef up to now), primarily because it has 90% of what I need in one system.  If you have a Mendeley account, link up with my profile man!

Academic research

That’s it for now boys and girls.  I hope you enjoyed the first weekly head voices, and I hope you have a fabulous week! I’ll see you at its other end harr harr!