A couple of months before I started university, I spent some of my evenings learning to type on a typewriter. (A year or so before I purchased a Mac Plus.) My girlfriend of the day pleaded with me to engage in more pleasurable summer evening activities with her. However, I knew that I’d be writing documents for the next four years and beyond, and that I had better learn to type. I wanted to be able to focus on my ideas so they might flow as fluidly from my brain as they needed to. My playmate decompensated; but I Continue reading Is It a Good Idea to Enable the iPhone’s Predictive Keyboard and Auto-correction?
When they read, experts tend to seek out the gist and structure of a document. They pay attention to the table of contents. However, many PDF documents don’t have a table of contents. Fortunately, there are tools, like Smile Software’s PDFPenPro (coupon below), that enable you to add a table of contents while you’re reading. Continue reading Editing Tables of Contents with PDF Pen Pro: Delving Tips and Screencast
Reading contributes more to human excellence than any other form of knowledge acquisition. Reading comes so naturally to experts that they don’t tend to think much about the process. Yet reading is one of the most sophisticated mental activities.
Continue reading Are we Doomed to Read with Information Technology?
Smile Software’s TextExpander is the productivity app I use the most. It allows one to define and expand abbreviations for frequently used content (text and images). For example, suppose you frequently need to refer to me in text. You might create a snippet whose abbreviation is “@luc” (without the quotes) and whose target content is “Luc P. Beaudoin“. (See the section on name abbreviations.) That’s particularly handy for long or foreign names. (Mine is a French name).
TextExpander provides statistics that quantify its benefits. From the screenshot below you can see that I’ve expanded nearly 212,000 snippets, saving me 2.8M characters. Continue reading The Value of TextExpander Snippet Conventions: Web Addresses, Citations, Bibliographical References, Markdown and More
The Globe & Mail published an article yesterday morning by Lawrence Martin called “We need Jon Stewart to set Canada straight“. He wrote “Too bad [Stewart didn’t cover Harper]. Imagine the fun he could have lampooning this place?”
As it happens, on June 3, 2015 I sent Comedy Central an email urging them to cover Mr. Harper and to invite Mr. Mulcair or Mr. J. Trudeau to The Daily Show.
Well, it can be said that Jon Stewart did cover the Conservative Government of Canada —in his own way.
In my previous blog post, I talked about the 2-second file access rule in relation to an excellent reference management app, Papers 3 for Mac. This rule (which I explained in Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective) states that you need to be able, 8 times out of 10, to access a knowledge resource (typically a PDF or a meta-doc) within 2 seconds. That normally means without using your mouse. I noted in that post that if you enable Papers 3 syncing, it’s hard to satisfy that constraint.
I encourage researchers to consider using Papers 3. So this blog post briefly explains the file name issue and proposes a solution.
Update. I’ve written a post that follows up on this one.
I want to make it clear that although I am documenting some glitches here, I highly recommend Papers for Mac.
In Cognitive Productivity I described and advocated for a 2s rule: You need to be able to access 80% of the files you work with on any given day within 2s. So, if there are a 10 PDFs that are critical to your project, and you need access to some random file in that lot, 8 times out of 8 you should be able to get to such a file in 2s. Obviously, if you want to access the same file twice that day, then it the probability of quickly accessing it should increase.
This is a very important rule, because when you are doing cognitive work, time is of the essence. For example:
Managing one’s reading today is more challenging than ever. In order to capitalize on knowledge, we need to understand and resolve these challenges to our cognitive productivity. Here are some of them.