Tech

I recently switched to Linux for my primary personal computer. I use crouton on an Acer c720 Chromebook. It runs all day on a single charge and is extraordinarily capable, thank you very much. (I still keep my old macbook pro around for some things, but it’s increasingly just a data server).

I blog and maintain my website using a combination of Octopress/Jekyll, markdown, nearlyfreespeech, and Git.

Academic input

Docear is the long-sought-after solution to my literature organization conundrum–and then some. I use it for organizing all kinds of things. But it’s built for–and works well with–academic literature (i.e. pdfs of journal articles).

I’m a fan of MOOCs (massive open online courses) to be very useful, particularly for topics in math and CS. I feel compelled to say that I was on the MOOC bandwagon before you were. Some of my notes from various MOOCs are over here.

Academic output

I do a lot of statistical computing using R. This is not the place for an exhaustive list of R-related tools I use, for they are many. I’m (sometimes) working on a guide to getting started with R over here

RStudio deserves special mention. It’s an open-source IDE for R with lots of useeful integrations. The RStudio team (which includes the prodigious and prolific Hadley Wickham) puts out many good packages and has assumed flagship status in the R flotilla.

I use Git for version control. Some of my repositories also live on Github, but generally not my in-progress research projects.

I now write most things in Markdown / RMarkdown. I find this is a good middle-ground between Word (proprietary, poor math support, poor version control integration) and LaTeX (steep learning curve, hard-to-read source). Pandoc converts Markdown to just about any format I could want, including LaTeX and docx. For things where real-time rendering is important, e.g. equation-heavy documents, I’ve started using Haroopad. editR is an attempt–still in development–to do something similar for RMarkdown. I’ve only used it a smidge and found the current version to be unreliable (lots of crashes).

Non-open-source

Sometimes the thing you need is the thing that works, and the thing that works is proprietary. Here are some that I find useful enough to spring for the premium version:

Bike

I ride a Surly Cross-Check, which I use for everything from commuting to touring to (ocasionally) racing.

Podcasts

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Here are my favorites (in the order in which I think of them, which roughly corresponds to my degree of admiration)

  • Radiolab
  • Planet Money
  • 99% Invisible
  • Reply All
  • Startup
  • BBC Global News / The World This Week
  • This American Life
  • The Moth
  • Song Exploder
  • All Songs Considered
  • Conversation Parade (an Adventure Time podcast)
  • Talking Machines
  • The Allusionist