Monday, 26 November 2012

come on in: the water's lovely!

Eleven ducks, fledged, wing feathers now nearly fully grown, plus their mother, were mobbing our pond today, bobbing, ducking and diving, swimming under water, and having what generally looked like a great time.  Then most decided to get out and preen.  One lonely guy still wanted to play. (Okay, I admit it, I anthropomorphise somewhat. I also provide commentary.  I blame Johnny Morris.)

ten watch one: the colours are a little off, having had to compensate for the 4pm twilight gloom

Saturday, 17 November 2012

nearly full grown

The eleven ducklings are now nearly full grown, if not yet with their adult fledge (they still have stubby fluffy wings). I continue to be amazed by their survival.

11 ducklings a-swimming

11 ducklings, plus mum

volume two

Possible contender for the Diagram Prize seen in a local second hand book shop:

Social odours in mammals Volume 2

It's the "Volume 2" that kills me.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

my magpie habits finally virtualised

I'm in love ... with Evernote.

I first heard of apps to organise clippings, etc, several years ago, from Steven Johnson talking about DEVONthink in one of his books.  It sounded great, as I kept a paper commonplace book, and had an overflowing scrapbook, and wanted something more systematic to keep all those notes and thoughts and cuttings.  However, DEVONthink is Mac-only, so I started keeping an eye open for something else.

During my intermittent reviews of applications over the next few years, I came across Evernote, which seemed to be another alternative that people really liked.  But it too was Mac-only.  So I kept looking, experimenting with the odd app now and then, but nothing really seemed what I wanted.

Last week, I was having yet another look around.  This time, I was after something to keep an electronic laboratory day book, as my Word document version is too clumsy.  There didn't seem to be anything specific, and I was wondering whether to use a new blog, but in my web trawl, I again came across Evernote.  I noticed that now there is a Windows version, and an Android smart phone version.  I looked closer.  It seemed ideal for a clippings container.  I decided to give it a try, as a commonplace book at least.

I downloaded it to my home machine last Saturday, and experimented with it for a while.  I installed the Web Clipper app into Chrome, and started surfing/clipping.  I downloaded it to my phone, and played around some more.  It's got great searching capabilities, and a nice interface.  I particularly like the way the bullet lists work -- tab to indent, and return to outdent again -- very natural for note taking (where I am an inveterate bulleter).

my desktop version: snippet list on the left, detailed notes on the right

On Sunday, once I had a feel for what it could do, I decided I would also experiment with using it as a lab book. I planned to use one note per meeting/seminar/lecture, plus a "day note" for all the other bits and bobs that need recording on a given day.

Back at work, I downloaded Evernote to my work desktop and my netbook.  There I used it all last week, taking electronic notes in meetings, and during seminars.  It was really smooth.  For example, for one meeting I made a note that contained: what I'd done in preparation for the meeting; my notes typed in during the meeting; what I did to discharge the actions after -- all in one place.

Then I found the excellent blog of Jamie Todd Rubin, Evernote's "Paperless Lifestyle" Ambassador.  This opened my eyes to many other ways of using Evernote -- not just as a commonplace book and a lab book, but for other notes, projects, and whatever, and for automating various parts of the process.  I now have seven notebooks on the go, and more in mind.  (Although I probably won't go completely paperless.  But I am thinking of getting a faster scanner.)

I am seriously considering upgrading to the premium version, to get more monthly upload allowance, and some other nice perks.

Now all I need is for someone to port Penulimate to Android -- so I can scribble diagrams as well as textual notes in meetings.

autumn sunlight

view through the dining room window, in the morning sunlight

Saturday, 10 November 2012

my, how they've grown

Another week, and bigger ducklings.  Still eleven of them (although a little harder to count in this picture), which is amazing, given the number of cats who prowl our garden.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

21 days later

The eleven ducklings born in October are all still all alive, amazingly enough.  They've progressed from "toddlers" to "teens", and are still enjoying our pond in the autumnal sunshine.

early morning moon

looking west, 7:40 GMT.