• working/reading

    I am reading through 'both ways' literature of Yolngu and non-Yolngu working their knowledge systems together. Alongside I am reading Lorraine Code's 2006 book Ecological Thinking. I am also browsing through blogs and discussions on knowledge work and community development.
  • About this Blog

    Here I post some of my work and thinking. It is a much harder task than I thought! It is an extension of my research on knowledge and difference connecting my experiences, reflections, formal written pieces, and hopefully friends and colleagues. As work and self cannot be separate this blog is both personal and intellectual. Comments are moderated because, while it is a site for collective work, it is not anonymous.
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Blogging here

After my last post on letting go a cherishing quite places of contemplation I thought I would post this which I have had for a while and an image of my current quite place that I like quite a lot …

If you are interested in journal software, blogs and bibliographic software, research tools, or just want to read about the stuff that is behind the screen read on. Part of the motivation for this post is to remind myself and others that blogs come from somewhere. They are typed by hands, in rooms by people, like me, contrived from notes jotted down on paper on trains, conversations over heard and participated in. It is collective work. All this is removed in the ‘post’. I greatly enjoy how writing this blog makes me reconsider conversation and take puzzles I am told about or experience on. So at the moment I sit up stairs in an rather empty version of my family home on Canterbury in Melbourne.


The other part of the motivation is to share what I have learnt so far. So here goes …

I work on a Mac but some of this may be good for PC users.

The blog is all run on open source software so really it is a plug for open source software and the need to support them in use and money as they are better by far.

My main concern when thinking about having the blog was that I wanted to keep notes on my computer but not all of them online; some are rough, boring, personal, and fieldnotes are confidential. So I found Jounler (http://journler.com/ – free), a great way to keep a journal, manage files, and hold ideas. Journler does everything except bibliographic work, but for that there is Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/ – free). Zotero is a plugin for Firefox. It is excellent, much better than Endnote and integrates with Open Office (and MS Word). The best bit is that it can read bibliographic info from websites (including getting any full text links) and also generate records from a website including a full image of the website as it was when you looked at it (great for news items and online resources). Zotero can link to or store any other type of file, generate notes, tags and sub libraries.

Okay back to blogging. So Jounler has all my entires, notes, filed notes, thoughts, stories etc. From any entry in Journler you can send it to a blogging software. I use ecto (http://illuminex.com/ecto/- $19.95). I choose a Jounler entry I want to post on the blog from all the entries I don’t, and simply export it to ecto. From ecto I can add images and media and then upload it to the wordpress online blog. As the blog is on wordpress it is all set up with layout etc. You can choose a few things like themes, colours, and an image.

In the future, I will be using a Creative Common license to make the stuff here more accessible. However, any work like papers I put up, links to them will generate an email to me asking to have a copy. This way, I figure, I get to know people who have similar interests. For this, I have to host my own blog as this email generator thing is not a widget you can add in wordpress hosted blog. But I can still use the wordpress engine which is still open source free.

For reading blogs and subscribe to feeds I have found Shrook (www.utsire.com/shrook/ – free). It is marvelous. You can subscribe to many many feeds and then create folders to find article that mention key words (for me ‘knowledge’ and ‘indigenous’ are all I have now). After trying to get all my online thing together I am actually enjoying having a different piece of software for different uses. So Firefox is for research and surfing, Shrook is for dedicated reading. [From Blogging here]


One Response

  1. Hey CJ,

    Nice post. You become so used to your methods of working, it is always useful to get little tid bits from other people. Below are some of the things that I use, the first few are pretty linuxy, but you might find some of the latter things useful.

    I have similar needs, though am on a linux machine, so use slightly different tools. The tools I tend to use have evolved a lot over the years (probably too much!), but I have generally tended away from commercial packages and more towards plain text based methods and towards open source software. This is partly through a desire to avoid proprietary file formats and support open source, but also because it seems to suit my work better.

    Writing is done in plain text files using vim (a plain text editor) and Latex, with version control and syncing across machines done with svn (which is basically a version control system that allow you to back things up on remote servers). This combination is absolutely fantastic for the kind of work that I do, but all three have pretty steep learning curves, and they are probably overkill for most people.

    Research notes, project outlines, todo’s etc are done in plain text, using vim. The advantage of this is I have an enormous amount of information in a format that is very small and can be read and edited on any machine.

    For any collaborative writing projects, I use mainly google docs, the main advantage being the ability for multiple people to work on a single document, without having to email it back and forth, and try and keen track of versions from all over the place. The ability to quickly see who has edited what, as well as full version control are very useful.

    For reference management, I have recently moved from a combination of zotero and jabref, to mendelay. So far, this seems to be an excellent tool (free, not open source). Does all the usual stuff (imports web sources, pdf management) and also backs up all your references online, so you can get to them from anywhere through a browser, and sync them across machines. It also has some great sharing capabilities, with the ability to share papers and notes between users. It lacks some of the features of zotero though, such as the ability to capture from non-standard reference sites. It is cross platform, working on windows, os x and linux, and integrates with open office and word. Importantly for me, it also exports to bibtex for use with Latex.


    For feed reading, I have moved from offline tools (formally netnewswire on a mac, and liferea on linux) to google reader. I have found this to be wonderful, with speed being almost that of offline tools, while being accessible from anywhere, with no need to sync anything as it is all online. It also makes it easier to refer things to other people through its sharing capabilities.

    For web scouring, I use google blog searches to generate feeds directly. This has the advantage of collecting from across the web, and combining it all into one feed – the disadvantage is it is less targeted than your approach, and you tend to get more rubbish. For phrases I am interested in like “wave modelling” which are pretty obscure, it is less of an issue, for one like “knowledge”, more so. Another thing that you may find useful is something called yahoo pipes. Basically, it allow you to set up a series of filters, such as papers on google scholar containing a search phrase, later than a given year. The results are then piped into and rss feed – very neat.


    google scholar pipe:

    I also tend to work on several machines, so the ability to sync them is important so I don’t end up at home with half my stuff at work. “Cloud” tools (google reader, google docs, google calendar, gmail… google owns my arse, I know) make this less of an issue. Svn takes care of the bulk of my substantive work, but for small things, dropbox a very useful. It creates a folder on your desktop, and anything you add to that folder gets synced to client machines (home and work in my case). It also has a web interface so all your files can be downloaded from anywhere, as well as the ability to share folders between users. 2Gb of storage is free.

    A useful discussion, keep up the good work.


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