How to see who’s in what group in Mac Address Book!
I’m not sure this problem vexes too many other people, but it surely did me! If you need to manage MANY contacts in your Mac Address Book (as I do), sometimes you want to see if a particular “Contact” is in a particular “Group,” and it’s not obvious how do that. It seems easy to see a list of everyone in a Group, but NOT to see every Group a person is in! But it IS easy…just hidden… the answer is…. HOLD DOWN THE OPTION KEY when you’ve selected a contact!! You’re welcome.
Basecamp (is easier for straightforward project management than a Wiki)
Many of us use wikis, or Google(-like) Docs/Sites, to collaborate with each other, and those are great in many cases. BUT, when what you want is to robustly manage the activities of group of people who collaborate both with each other and with other groups of people, in a secure and simple way, Basecamp is hard to beat. The hard part is the cost. This is not a free service: it will cost someone hundreds of dollars per year to use. The trick is to get your institution (or group leader) to decide this is worth it—and then use it.
Notes on features: 1) Basecamp allows for all communication to flow through it, even if responses are only through email—as long as the original message of a thread was started on the project site (thus, people won’t complain as much about having to go to a web site to send a message). 2) Files can be directly uploaded, and/or attached to messages. 3) Excellent calendaring/to-do/reminder systems are built-in and easily integrated with other apps. 4) Collaborative document editing is possible through “Writeboards,” but these are NOT as powerful as a Google Doc, so beware. 5) Permissions can be easily managed across projects, and administrator privileges can be distributed.
Papers: A Fantastic Way to Manage YOUR Research Library
For years, I used just EndNote to manage my research library, and I mostly used it for formatting citations and bibliographies in my papers (for which it is still excellent). I would also try to keep PDFs of key papers on the hard drive of my laptop—more and more PDFs as hard drives became larger (and cheaper). THEN CAME PAPERS, to save me from having to keep this “EndNote+PDFs all over my hard drive” system up-to-date manually. In this elegantly-executed software (which is presently very Mac/iOS oriented—sorry to those of you on other platforms), discovery (search), reading, downloading, indexing, archiving, bibliographic, and hard-drive-pollution-minimization are all integrated seamlessly together by building parts of apps into Papers and vice-versa. It’s all so interwoven, I can’t really describe it here—just go try it if you can. (And, BTW, Papers understands EndNote (and more) library formats too, so you can inter-operate.)
ADS Labs: A Glimpse of the “Future” of Research for Astrophysicists
“ADS” is the “Astrophysics Data System,” which since the early 1990s has been the go-to site for access to ALL the literature relevant to astrophysical research (a miracle in itself). In 2010, a new effort of ADS, called “ADS Labs” was begun, to experiment with new technologies as they relate to data-literature integration, semantic search, and more. I (and others involved with ADS Labs) will surely make some demo videos of the cool stuff one can do with ADS Labs as soon as we find the time…so more soon! For now, if you’re an astrophysicist, try out a search of your favorite subject, or author, and then try the “View As… “button near the top, or try using the facets on the left. Comment here on your thoughts, please…
Boxee: A Vision for Academia’s Future
When I first saw Boxee in 2010, and installed in on a Mac Mini connected to a projector in my den to manage home entertainment, it blew my mind that it was free software. I’ll explain what I think Boxee has to do with research in just a minute, but here’s what it is in a nutshell, as quoted from Question 8 of the Boxee FAQ:
“8. What can I watch on my Boxee? If it’s available on the Internet, then you can probably watch it on your Boxee - there are more than 40,000 TV show episodes and movies currently available through Boxee. Plus, you can play personal stuff from your network or hard-drive, and use the Boxee Browser to watch video from your favorite websites.”
Now imagine that I re-write that sentence, changing very few words, to read:
“8. What can I do with Resarchee? If it’s available on the Internet, then you can probably get it on your Researchee- there are more than 1,000,000,000 papers and data sets currently available through Researchee. Plus, you can use personal stuff from your network or hard-drive, and use the Researchee Browser to information from your favorite websites.”
I think that’s how research will look with the tools of the future. WorldWide Telescope and the Seamless Astronomy/Virtual Observatory efforts are getting us ever-closer to that future in Astronomy. Try Boxee and then you’ll see what Academia’s Future COULD look like.
Email & Browsers (Too generic to matter?!)
It’s not true that one email program or browser is as good as the next, but which to use has really become a matter of personal preference less than functionality. Sure, one email program or browser can do some things better than another, but the subtle differences aren’t worth discussing here, for now. Sorry. [FYI, on any given day, I use a mixture of the Safari, Firefox & Chrome browsers, alongside Mac Mail and GMail on my Mac, and whatever email program comes with my phone—presently my loved/hated Blackberry.]
Dropbox: Collaboration Simplified
A lot of what you read and hear about the “cloud,” and information stored there, is hype. But, Dropbox is real, and it’s unbelievably easy. ANY document that you might want to share with others, and/or collaborate on with others can be stored on Dropbox as if it was on your own computer (Mac, PC, Linux and mobile). I have come to rely on Dropbox to store any file I’m actively working on with others. Try it if you have not: its cross-platform, cross-device compatibility is pretty close to a miracle.
I NEED TripIt
OK, I confess that my life is kept under control through the use of technology..which is also the *cause* of much of my, and I think everyone’s, over-busy-ness, but that’s another story…
When it comes to travel, TripIt has become my indispensable companion. Here’s how it works. As you plan a trip, and you receive all those emails from airlines, hotels, travel sites, etc., you just forward them to “email@example.com,” and (assuming you’ve set up an account already), TripIt builds you custom itineraries for each trip you’re taking. The program understands many, many formats used by travel sites so well that often no editing of entries is needed on the user’s part. You can also manually add events, links, etc. Then, when you are ready to actually travel, TripIt runs not only in web browsers on any device, but also in “App” form on all the popular mobile devices. That futuristic-seeming life where you just pull up your boarding pass with a couple of taps on your mobile—without ever having to remember anything about your e-ticket number, etc.—can be yours.
You can also become TripIt “buddies” with your over-traveled friends, and join into what essentially amount to scary contests about who leaves home too often the most. More importantly, you can share your trips online with others who’ll want to help you plan, or know where you are.
- Software site link: http://www.tripit.com
- Price: Free for the non-Pro version
- Wikipedia: no page as of September 2011