Another random blog post before I head off for my fieldwork for two months or so, where I will probably be beyond the reach of internet, telephone or even electricity for the most part of the trip.
Lately, I’ve become a big fan of writing in Markdown, and more I use it, more I like it, especially when I can export what I writing in the format that others want without me having to spend a lot of my time trying to format the text. Although I have a pretty good setups to write in Markdown at home in my Mac and on my iPad, I haven’t yet found an app that I’m completely happy with for my Windows 7 PC in office. As I am looking for and trying new Markdown apps for Windows 7, I have found one that is Open Source and looks pretty feature rich, and it lets me publish on my blogs directly – its called MarkPad. If you are into Markdown writing, its worth a spin.
Now, for my fieldwork, I’m heading to Madagascar and will spend most of my time there in the eastern rainforest. Its the rainy season there so expecting lots of torrential rain, probably some typhoons, and plenty of mosquito and leeches. I’m prepared though, and very much looking forward to it
I have been using Parallels Desktop on my Mac for a few years now when I need to run WinXP. Recently I read about Sun’s VirtualBox and thought of giving it a try. Couple of nights ago I installed the app (its way smaller in size than the Parallels), and then Installed OpenSolaris OS on it. It runs like a charm. No problem in installation and it actualy uses a lot less resources than Parallels does. I have yet to install WinXP on VB to see if it works just as good as in Parallels but with less resource use obviously. In fact I did try to install XP but everytime I got some error in loading installation CD. I have yet to figure out the solution. Seems like lots of other people are getting the same problem though! The error I’m getting is this:
Fatal: no bootable medium found! System Halted
Anyway, I am happy to be able to run solaris though. It works excellent in ‘seamless’ mode on my second monitor! Click on the image for the larger version.
I just though I should write a short post about few of my recent favourite software on mac (macwares). It is not a “review” of any sort, just my “views”. I tend to try pretty much all the ‘shareware’ that I think might be useful, and many of the good ones get filtered through to my ‘to buy’ list that way, especially the ones that I tend to keep running from the day I download them. One of them happens to be Papers.
I used this organiser for academic papers (in electronic format – mainly pdfs) a while back and used it till its trial period ran out. I then was away in Africa and didn’t really have time to organise my collection of academic articles. Now that I’m back writing up my own thesis, I really needed something to organise my collection, which is pretty much all over my computer, and that too quick and in an systematic fashion. I turned back to Papers. Not only does it allow me to organise my pdfs the way I want them, but it also allows me to search for the metadata on the web (I use Google Scholar mainly because I don’t need any special login and find most of the information I need – to use other sources such as Web of Science, you need to set up authentication somehow!) and match them to the papers, all automatically. Now that is really cool. Further, I also got educational discount on my license for Papers so didn’t have to pay the full price (after using it every day for the past week, I think I wouldn’t mind paying the full price). I think going through my pdfs every day and searching for the metadata on the web and matching them with the paper so that they could be organised systematically (by Year, Author and so on), I’m now almost a third through my papers collection. Of course there will be some without metadata on the web, especially the documents that are not publicly available or those that Google Scholar doesn’t have in its database. I think I just need to spend a couple of hours at my office so that I can use Web of Science faster and without having to set up manual authentication to match the rest of the document with their metadata. For anyone with a huge collection of academic papers, books or any other documents and using a mac, I highly recommend this software. Worth every penny!
I have been using ecto on my Mac as the main blogging client for a while now. However, recently when my Mac was at repairs, I tried the latest version of Windows Live Writer on a Vista laptop, and it really blew me away. I think WLW is the best piece of Microsoft software I’ve used by a mile. Now I have got my mac back and ecto feels so unfriendly to use suddenly – very unintuitive, very bland, very un-cool. So I started searching for what’s out there and found Blogo. It has got fairly decent reviews, but the problem is it not a freeware, even WLW is FREE! Anyway, I’m giving it a try for now – using its 21-day trial version to compose this post. Lets see how I find it. So far I’m impressed with its simplicity, ease of use, and most importantly, its really cool “fullscreen” mode. It makes you feel like a “writer”, proper writer
And the picture above – a panorama of the Cape Coast in Ghana – is just for the sake of it, to try out features in Blogo