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Tools and ideas to improve academic efficiency

Updated roundup of DEVONthink alternatives for Windows (and Linux)

Since this blog isn’t being actively updated any more, I wanted to pop in to share a newer post that collects a huge list of new DEVONthink alternatives for Windows (and for Linux, too).

Meaning and Flow - Stay organized with a personal research database Windows and Linux alternatives to DEVONthink 2

Good luck with your research!

Filed under: Academia, Computer, Dissertation, Files, Grad School, Linux, Online, Organization, PDF, Research, Tools, Windows, Writing

Fluxiom: is it the solution to online PDF organization?

Fluxiom

I thought I’d found the answer to all my PDF organization needs when I stumbled across Fluxiom. This online file management/DAM solution offers the ability to upload, tag, and search files from any computer to a hosted account.

I thought that it could be a good centralized solution to DevonThink for those of us on Windows, with the added bonus of being available from any computer. Sort of like a personal Google Books.

When I saw the price, I’ll admit that I winced a bit. Nine euros for the lowest-level plan seemed a little steep. However, the site design is amazing, and the functionality seemed well worth the price.

The About page boasts that Fluxiom provides “Full text search: Fast search inside documents like PDF, Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and others.”

However… once I scrolled down to the bottom of the Overview page, I discovered to my dismay that only the Basic (29 euros/month), Pro (89 euros/month), and Deluxe (169 euros/month) plans offer the full-text search feature.

For me, the full-text search within documents was the major selling feature. And 29 euros a month is rather a stretch for any academic budget. The 9 euros I might be able to justify to myself, but 29 is a bit much…

Do any readers have an alternative online PDF organizer they’d like to share? (Or does anyone have any friends at Fluxiom who we could sweet-talk into providing full-text search on the Private-level plan?)

Filed under: Bibliographies, Books, Files, Online, Organization, PDF, Research, Tools, Web

Oh, Don’t Forget…

Oh, Don’t Forget

Send yourself text messages (for free) at prescheduled times. Good for remembering meetings, tasks, and so forth, if you don’t have a PDA.

Oh, Don’t Forget…
[ via Lifehacker ]

Filed under: Computer, Online, Organization, Time Management, Tools, Web

The Carnival of GRADual Progress

Working on thesis
Photo by: OldMainstream

The Carnival of GRADual Progress is a monthly roundup of blog posts of interest to grad students. Hosted at a different academic blog every month, the posts range from helpful to simply hilarious.

There are six carnivals so far:
1st Carnival
2nd Carnival
3rd Carnival
4th Carnival
5th Carnival
6th Carnival

Warning: to be approached with extreme caution. Definite time-sucker.

Filed under: Academia, Advice, Computer, Grad School, Motivation, Online, Reading, Research, Thesis, Time Management, Web, Writing

LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)

LibriVox

Librivox offers free public domain audiobooks, available for download in MP3 or OGG format. This collaborative project boasts an impressive selection of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and drama. Good for the commute– you can download one of those classics that you always meant to get around to read.

If you’re looking for a bit of early-morning cheer on a chilly winter morning, I’d recommend My Man Jeeves or Right Ho, Jeeves, both by P. G. Wodehouse. If you’re feeling slightly more ambitious, there’s always The Canterbury Tales (War and Peace is still in progress).

Filed under: Books, Computer, Online, Reading, Web

Guide to online file storage/backup services

Obviously, no one on earth wants to lose their data. But to an academic, a hard-drive meltdown can be particularly horrific. Imagine, years of original research, gone. Just gone.

Luckily, there are plenty of online backup services to help stop this from happening. I’m a big fan of Mozy myself, but there are tons of choices. Ninety plus (on this particular list), in fact.

Enjoy– and save soon, save often!

Introduction to 90 Online File Storage Services
[ from LifeHack.org ]

Filed under: Computer, Files, Online, Research, Web

Make eBooks for your iPod

Via this web application, you can convert both text files and websites into notes readable on your iPod.

This might be a clever idea. Or it might be a very speedy way to make yourself go blind.

Create ebooks on your iPod
[ via Lifehacker ]

Filed under: Books, Computer, Files, Online, Reading, Tools, Web

More Bibliographical Management Tools

After my last post, two helpful commenters suggested some further tools to consider for managing references.

Michael Dunn suggested JabRef, a bibliography reference manager that works with BibTeX format.

Rick suggested wikindx, a bibliographic and quotations/notes management system that can be used for either the single-user or for collaborative efforts.

While investigating these leads, I also came upon the Bibliophile Initiative, whose goal it is to “promote collaboration between developers and end-users of bibliographic databases.” They maintain a list of bibliographic database applications and utilities which I found to be a useful tool.

A big thank you to Michael and Rick for your help and suggestions.

Filed under: Academia, Bibliographies, Bibliography, Computer, Files, Online, Organization, Research, Software, Thesis, Tools, Web

Web 2.0 Bibliographical Management roundup

Since I use multiple computers, my dream is to manage my bibliographical information online. I haven’t yet found a Web 2.0 (as in a central online solution) to successfully manage all of my bibliographical information. But I haven’t yet given up hope!

These are the various solutions I’ve found thus far. Perhaps they may be of help to others:

CiteULike
Connotea
Easy Bib (they also offer the more powerful paid MyBib Pro, which I’m considering)
RefWorks

Any other suggestions?

Filed under: Academia, Bibliographies, Bibliography, Computer, Online, Reading, Research, Software, Thesis, Tools, Web

Web 2.0 Database

Like most grad students, I work on multiple computers: home, work, library, archives. I’m all in favour of any Web 2.0 apps that can help me centralize my files.

Keeping track of all the solutions that pop up on a daily basis can be difficult. I know there are other Web 2.0 databases, but this one does a good job of organizing all the apps that can replace the Office suite.

Office 2.0 Database
[ from ITRedux.com ]

Filed under: Computer, Files, Online, Organization, Research, Travel, Web, Writing