I've just discovered a new program called Prezi, which unlike MS Powerpoint allows you to create one image full of pictures and text which you can then navigate around, zoom in and out, in any order you want! For presentations, you can set a designated path which will take you to each part of the image or text in the order you want. I'm going to start using it to map out the Isisford fossil localities, with each locality containing information about the fossils found there, and each fossil containing a description of taphonomic features etc... It should be a great visual/graphical tool for record keeping!
As it's a cold rainy day here in Brisbane, I decided to spend the afternoon working from the comfort of my home. I also wanted to make sure that if at any point I couldn't make the journey to uni, I could easily access from home all my documents on my iMac at uni.
My Dropbox folders are syncing properly, so I can very easily access my PDFs and MS Word docs from home. But to my disappointment, Mendeley, my reference manager, keeps crashing. Apparently it doesn't like Windows 7 64-bit, although it quite happily plugs away on Mac OSX 10.6 64-bit. And after reading the Mendeley forums, it appears that the cite-while-you-write plugin for Windows MS Office 2010 64-bit doesn't work either! I'm very disappointed, as this really limits what work I can do from home.
At this point in time, I'm going to hope this problem is resolved by Mendeley relatively rapidly. Otherwise I'm stuck with sorting through piles of PDF's and citing docs in text manually. Which, I guess, isn't terrible, but frustrating when you know a streamlined system could be doing the hard work for you.
I do really love Mendeley (the reference/citation manager), but I wish it had more choices when it comes to designating document types. I have a geological survey map I want to cite in my confirmation document, but any document type I designate requires an entry in the 'author' field!! And when I just add in "Geological Survey of Queensland" as the author, it lists it as (First Name, Surname) "Queensland, Geological Survey of".
I'm sure I'll figure out a way around this, and its not super crucial at the moment, just a tad annoying.
UPDATE: A colleague suggested a very simple fix for this, simply putting a comma at the end of "Geological Survey of Queensland", and leaving a blank space for the 'first name'. Works like a charm :D
I went to an excellent set of lectures today run by ThinkWell, which focused on how to successfully complete a PhD, and how to turbo charge your writing. I think the second was the most useful to me, as I realised how much "work" I had been doing, instead of actual WORK.
For example, I've been reading a lot of papers, trying to get my head around concepts, then thinking to myself, "OK, now I'll start writing." I look at the Word template I've created, then decide, "I haven't read enough, I'd better read some more and wait until I fully understand all the concepts." The problem is, I'll never be able to fully comprehend and understand the concepts UNLESS I have a go at writing about them, then find out specifically what I'm missing!
From now on I'm going to dedicate at least 1 hour every morning to just writing, NOT reading, NOT editing, NOT formatting, but actual writing. Then I can continue brainstorming, reading papers, etc...
One of the more important things I've done today is procure a Lacie d2 Quadra 2 TB hard drive to sync with Time Machine (Mac OSX), so that I shouldn't have to worry about losing any data. It'll get backed up to a second computer every month or so. It has a heat sink and no fan, so its super quiet and perfect for a crowded office environment. Surprisingly, not many people I've chatted to bother backing up their data at all! I guess they've never experienced massive data loss before...
About the author
Dr Caitlin Syme is a palaeontologist studying the taphonomy (preservation state) of fossil non-avian dinosaurs, crocodiles and fish from the Winton Formation, Queensland, Australia. Think forensic science or CSI for fossils, and you're on the right track!
Love in the Time ofChasmosaurs
Not Exactly Rocket- Science
Prerogative of Harlots
The Integrative Paleontologists
The Mammoth Prairie
The Professor Is In
UQ Palaeo Blog
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