Papers 3: considerable improvements, but still beta

I have recently been asked to prepare one of the Oxford Bibliographies. This required sifting through, organizing and annotating a large number of references and so I decided to give Papers 3.0 another try. I have previously been disappointed by various deficiencies of this new version. It seems, however, that the programming team has been working hard updating the (still beta) version. So my impression is cautiously optimistic. Continue reading

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50 pounds of writing

A great article from a design blog talks about the importance of the first draft. It shares a parable from Art and Fear on art-making and creative ventures. A pottery teacher splits a class into two groups: one group is measured on the quantity of work they produce over the semester and the other is measured only on the quality of the best piece at the end of the class. Which group produces the best art?

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Ulysses can assign OS X tags and manage reference notes

Ulysses III has recently had  an important update. It now assigns and reads OS X tags. This brings the Ulysses’ value for academics to an entire new level. Ulysses III has already been great for taking project notes (e.g. on teaching or publications) because it can organize its sheets by hierarchical folders corresponding to work areas and projects. However, Ulysses lacked good capacity to effectively manage reference notes, which may be used for several projects including those that don’t yet exist and are more logically organized by tags or keywords. Continue reading

Posted in Notes, Tags and folders | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

An update on a previous entry: three things I would like to see in OmniFocus2

Since posting the three things I would like to see in OmniFocus,  I have learned that clipping from email is a bug which is going to be fixed fixed (issue 1) and that it is possible to adjust focus in Review, but it has to be done in the Projects view before going on to the Review view (issue 3). I hope managing actions’ duration will be implemented in OF 2.1. Thanks OmniFocus!

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Three things I would like to see in OmniFocus 2

I have recently started trying OmniFocus 2, the new version of my favorite task management software from OmniGroup, scheduled to be released in June. While all in all I like the changes in the new version, I think three important features of OmniFocus 1 have been lost: smooth clipping from Mail,  quickly adding duration of actions, and the ability to manage project focus in Review (which is actually possible). Continue reading

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Trying Sente instead of Papers. Two annoying setbacks.

Following the disappointments with the recent version of Papers I am trying Sente 6, a competing reference and pdf management software. The initial impression is unfortunately not very good.

First, I wanted to email two references to a colleague. Papers can do this through a menu item, a right-click, and a keyboard shortcut ( ⌥⌘E). Any of these create an email message with the subject line containing the author, year and title, the bibliographic reference as the body, and the pdf file as the attachment. All you need to do is to type the recipient’s name. With Sente, I spent 15 minutes combing its User Manual and then searching the Internet for tips, before giving up and locating the PDFs in Finder to send. Am I missing something? Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Bibliographies | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

Ulysses III and TextExpander in teaching

Ullysses III, a note-taking app, stores its ‘sheets’ in hierarchical folders. It is therefore a great tool for keeping project notes, which similarly to project files are best organized in folders. I have previously described using Ullysses for responding to reviewer’s comments on a manuscript. This entry is on using Ulysses for other typical academic projects: teaching courses. Here is an example of recording notes on students’ in-class presentations.

It has always been hard for me to both concentrate on a student’s talk and take accurate notes for feedback and assessment. I used to get distracted by the discussion and as a result loose notes or miss writing down critical information. This year, a combination of TextExpander and Ulysses III has made the task much easier by automating some of the elements. Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Notes, Teaching | Tagged , , | 4 Comments