Writing the thesis outline

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Going open access and creative commons licensing

The SPIE journals are redefining their copyright and access policies:

As of January 2013, any article for which a voluntary page charge of $100 per published page is paid will be immediately open access. Authors of these articles will retain copyright under a Creative Commons license. This program will expand access to and readership for your articles and fulfill mandates from employers and funders, as well as helping to support JBO.

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Temporary text expanding snippets

I actually got this idea from David Sparks in one of the Mac power users podcast episodes. Because I’ve been catching up with past episodes, while also listening to new ones I haven’t been able to remember in which episode exactly he mentioned this, but it’s been one hell of a tip.

On any given project, sometimes you might find yourself having to write the same line over and over again, which is what text expanding apps applications are for. Continue reading

On motivation, procrastination and project logs

In this digital era we live in it’s quite easy to get distracted with the incredible amount of things we have at our disposal. And the worse part is that a whole day can go by, while you’re thinking that you’re doing some work (like writing emails[1]), and yet you end up feeling like having done no progress at all on your projects. At this point I might be starting to sound a bit like all the GTD (Getting Things Done) evangelists out there, if you keep reading you might see that I am not, and neither am I interested in writing about GTD nor the ever-increasing number of apps related to it. Continue reading

Lab reports in (Multi)Markdown

I’ve been using Markdown for a couple of months now and I must say it has grown on me like anything has before. Markdown was conceived by John Gruber to write for the web, but it wasn’t long before someone (Fletcher Penney) thought it could serve as a means to generate PDFs, LaTeX documents, slides, and just about any type of document you can think of, and this is how Multimarkdown was born. Multimarkdown builds on top of markdown to add some features that were missing from markdown so that it could be used to generate documents that could include references, footnotes, and other features more akin to printed documents. Continue reading

Academia can benefit a lot from a more democratic funding system

On a recent post in the Survival blog for scientists an interesting analysis of the research funding system. As a PhD student one tends to get input from one’s advisor so as to continue one’s academic career. And it somehow seems that the bureaucracy, as opposed to the actual research, is a major thing. Some might even argue that attending conferences is more about meeting (the right) people[1], thus improving your chances to get funded, to publish, etc. Is this the right approach? A compromise is what is needed, but how much?[2] Be that as it may, it surely doesn’t seem ethical. So why don’t we just flip the conference.

Much more has been said about the failure of current grant system than that has actually changed. My favorite opinion piece is this one by Peter A. Lawrence. The single-sentence abstract says it all: “The granting system turns young scientists into bureaucrats and then betrays them.” There are a couple of suggestions for improving the funding distribution in that article but the title of a comment by Markus Noll says enough about why nothing is changing: “Scientists in power will never change their system unless forced.”

via Academia can benefit a lof from a more democratic funding system » Survival Blog for Scientists.


  1. Check this post Should editors of Science and Nature socialize with scientists?.  ↩

  2. Working in the Conference Halls, Ronald G. Driggers, Opt. Eng. 50, 110101 (2011), DOI:10.1117/1.3660765  ↩

Writing the PhD thesis: the tools Part I

I’m getting ready to write my PhD thesis, and for some time now I’ve been gathering information on tools that can help me get from here to there. This first post is an attempt to organize this material, to write down my thoughts on the approach I plan to take for tackling the beast. This might not be exactly what I end up doing, so I’ll try to update the post on the changes or difficulties I’ve found along the way, to keep this in a sort of live document. Continue reading