Archive for category: Uncategorized

Blogging is not (serious) writing, and that’s a good thing

September 19th, 2009 by

Is blogging writing? Of course! You say. I would have said the same, before I encountered Jaron Lanier’s essay:

The question of new business models for content creators on the Internet is a profound and difficult topic in itself, but it must at least be pointed out that writing professionally and well takes time and that most authors need to be paid to take that time. In this regard, blogging is not writing. For example, it’s easy to be loved as a blogger. All you have to do is play to the crowd. Or you can flame the crowd to get attention. Nothing is wrong with either of those activities. What I think of as real writing, however, writing meant to last, is something else. It involves articulating a perspective that is not just reactive to yesterday’s moves in a conversation.

What he means is simply that what ‘serious writing’ is about may well have nothing to do with blogging. Blogging is closer to stream-of-conciousness, barely any revisions; ‘serious writing’ for an academic paper implies maybe three paragraphs a day (depending on how much you know the topic!), lots of going back-and-forth with collaborators, and attention to wording that would make a lawyer look sloppy.


A Road Map to Success

September 6th, 2009 by

Published in 1913 in The Etude, the high resolution is here.


(via the always relevant FlowingData and StrangeMaps)

Alternative talk styles

August 13th, 2009 by

I went to a toastmasters meeting, and found some interesting tricks to improve presentations. For example, they count the “ahhs”, “hmm” etc. Since then I’m surprised at how many scientific talks are filled with those. A minor thing, but very effective. I didn’t keep going to meetings because it looked to me that the presentation style they use is not very compatible with the academic one (e.g., practicing improvisation). But it got me thinking… what alternative talk styles are out there? Is the ‘standard’ one the best? In a way, flying people all around the world to ‘see’ the talk is a bit of a lost cause, because body language doesn’t weight as much as in other communication styles. Of course, the networking and face-to-face time, to work on ideas on napkins, may make up for it, but still…

What follows is a walk through alternative talk styles that you may want to try in your next conference. Some require you to be the organizer, and enforce certain rules. Others, you can try just being the speaker. On with the show!

Pecha Kucha is a presentation format in which content can be easily, efficiently and informally shown, usually at a public event designed for that purpose. Under the format, a presenter shows 20 images for 20 seconds apiece, for a total time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds. They took the name Pecha Kucha from a Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit-chat”). It was being aimed primarily at creative industries professionals.

A Lightning Talk is a short presentation given at a conference or similar forum. Unlike other presentations, lightning talks last only a few minutes and several will usually be delivered in a single period by different speakers. This has actually being already adopted by academics (I’ve been to one!) CITE and in my experience, it’s adored by the audience and well attended.

Ignite is a style of presentation where participants are given five minutes to speak on a subject accompanied by 20 slides. Each slide is displayed for 15 seconds, and slides are automatically advanced.

Last we have the TED talk. The motto of TED is ‘Ideas worth spreading’. If you are an academic, you should ask yourself, ‘is any of my ideas worth spreading?’. So if someone invited you to give a TED talk, what would you talk about? What if you make your next invited talk a TED-like talk?

Feel free to report your experiences with alternative talk styles in the comments…

zotero + Zotz: how to have your cake and eat it too in reference management

January 18th, 2009 by

The current state of reference Management is as follows: you have great integration with word processors, but no sharing (endNote) OR great web 2.0 features but bad integration with word processors (CiteULike, Connotea). No current application seems to offer both. Zotero sits in the middle, but offering something different: collecting is easy, sharing is not. EndNote web seems just a castrated version of the desktop app.

However, Zotero is moving into the sharing/tagging space. It’s clearly ‘not there yet’, but, if you want to publish and share items today, you might be interested in Zotz. It’s another Firefox plugin that can generate shareable bibliographies. Here’s a picture of the results:

This idea came from this post.

Posted via email from Jose Quesada: impromptu

Bachelorhood helps productivity, according to Christopher Orlet

January 17th, 2009 by

There seem to besome connection between testosterone levels and creativity / productivity :) As posted before. What is new in Christopher Orlet’s post is the impressive list of people who have shaped Western society while being chronically single. Note: he forgets Erdös :)

Posted via email from Jose Quesada: impromptu