Get cloaked!

I like to take my devices to coffeeshops and get some work done. I also travel once in a while. At all those times I connect via wireless connections that are far from secure. So, a few months ago I discovered Cloak, a great VPN service that painlessly and automatically secures my net traffic every time I connect to a wireless network that I haven’t explicitly marked as trusted. I have a $2.99/month “mini” subscription that gives me 5GB of data throughput. My laptop, my iPhone, and my iPad are all set up to use the service. Highly recommended!

Apple Watch Purchase Prevention

This is the Apple Watch edition of my new Purchase Prevention Program, trying to keep me from early adopting.


Smart watches are going to be the new hotness, especially once the Apple Watch is out. I’m going to stick with my trusted basic Citizen watch for a while longer. Here’s what would persuade me:

  • standalone functioning, does not need a phone nearby (don’t want to lug anything else along when I’m on long runs)

  • robustness so it can withstand movement and sweat when I’m exercising

  • full set of GPS, altimeter, pulse rate, etc sensors so it can track my runs and every day activities

  • an elegant stylish design that doesn’t scream “nerd”

  • displays just the time and date in analog form in its default appearance

  • displays an alert when there’s a message from a VIP connection

  • excellent speech recognition so I can respond to messages on the spot

  • functionality to take voice memos on the go

  • can send music to Bluetooth earphones

I suspect that the third generation Apple watch will get close to this package but perhaps Garmin, Fitbit, UP or the like will beat them to it. In the meantime, I hope all the early adopters buy loads of early models so that R&D continues at full speed. Ping me when my dream watch is on the market.

Google Scholar personalized updates

If you have made a personal profile on Google Scholar, there is now a new feature when you go to the Google Scholar site: personalized updates, “My updates”, a list of new articles that Google’s algorithm determines are related to your own work. When I checked my updates this morning, it looked quite accurate, lots of stuff that I find relevant, quite a bit of which I already knew about but some that I didn’t. What would be good is a weekly email summarizing what’s new, but in the absence of this it’s another page to check out once in a while.

When you know you’re a geek

When you know you’re a geek, part 145: a slideshow needs to be prepared for a talk in a couple of days. So, you think that instead of writing the slides directly in LaTeX Beamer code (of course, anything like PowerPoint or Keynote is beyond the pale), you should write them in markdown, since that’s so nicely uncluttered. This of course means that you need a conversion engine to convert markdown source to beamer source. Enter pandoc. This of course means that you need Haskell installed, which is of course best done by running Homebrew, which doesn’t seem to be on the laptop yet. So, first step is updating XCode since Homebrew relies on that and of course, everything needs to be up-to-date so that the slide-writing can happen in a spic-and-span system. This is when you remember the first time you saw Hans Kamp give a talk: with overhead transparencies that he had handwritten on the flight over.

Google Scholar Citations

As announced on the Google Scholar Blog yesterday, there is now the option of creating a researcher profile of yourself. Google’s documentation of this service (“Google Scholar Citations”) is here.

Google Scholar Citations is currently in limited launch with a small number of users. This is a new direction for us and we plan to use the experience and feedback from the limited launch to improve the service. Click here and follow the instructions to get started. Keep in mind that this is a limited launch and we may not be able to accept new users when you click. If this happens, we’ll direct you to a sign-up page where you can register to be notified when Google Scholar Citations is available to all users.

I have worked a bit on my profile, correcting some typos (like the spelling of my name … sigh). NB: “If you have substantially changed the bibliographic record (title, authors, journal, etc.), we may not able to match it up with Google Scholar’s index right away. If so, it may take a few days for your citation metrics to include the updated article.” That’s a bit scary so I haven’t gone all out updating the bibliographic details, but I might try it on a test case.