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Gift Baskets!

The Renaissance Fair on 12/1 was a great event; with music, food, and great local crafts. I had a great time: Saw so many friends, did some holiday shopping, and met a lot of new, interesting people.

I put together gift baskets using Beautycounter products for the fair, and have some remaining.  If you’re not done with your holiday shopping yet and see something that interests you, let me know! I’m happy to ship them as well if you’re not local.

Beautycounter is all about safer, high-performing ingredients, in products produced sustainably and responsibly. Let me know if you’re interested in more information!


Mozart K406 Double Reed Quintet – Performance

I’m really a huge fan of some of Mozart’s chamber works. In particular, I’ve always enjoyed his Serenade for Winds in C minor (K388), but it’s hard to get a group of 8 together to play chamber music on a regular basis. So you can imagine my excitement to learn that Mozart himself arranged the Serenade for a viola-quintet (K406), which translates really well back into a wind piece – for two oboes, two English horns, and bassoon! We played two movements from this past January in the Brockton Symphony chamber concert. What fun!

Melanie Hayn & Tegan Sutherland – Oboe

Mark Finklestein & Ashley Perry – English Horn

Bob Gemmell – Bassoon


Tweaks to Windows 8: Part 1

There are several things in Windows 8 that are clearly not meant for people using this OS for business or science. So this is a list (updated as necessary) of the tweaks I’ve found necessary to be as productive in 8 as I was in 7.

First, if you right-click the start screen icon on the taskbar, you can get to some of the things that used to be in the start menu: control panel, shut down, etc.

1)Search

1a)The default search only finds files if they’re in libraries, which I don’t use. So select Indexing Options in the Control Panel, click the Modify button and add additional drives and folders that you want to be searchable.
1b) I also don’t want to search the web from the search pane, just my computer! Disable the online component via the Settings charm > Change PC settings > Search.
1c) Want to search from the desktop rather than going to the start screen? Keyboard shortcut [Windows) + S opens a search bar.

2) Booting. I almost never use the tablet-friendly app versions of programs… it’s a laptop and I want my desktop! So:
2a) right-click on the desktop taskbar, choose Properties and then open up the Navigation tab — tick the top option under the Start screen heading to “boot to the desktop”.

3) Touch-screen vs. trackpad. I’m excited to figure out how the touchscreen can enhance my efficiency, however some features are just plain ridiculous if you have a keyboard/trackpad. So here are some tweaks:

3a) Turn off hot corners. Right-click the desktop taskbar, choose Properties and then open the Navigation tab. Under the Corner navigation heading, you can disable the top left (open apps) and top right (Windows charms) corners.
3b) Turn off the feature where mousing from the right opens the charms bar. On lots of systems, this will be in control panel under your mouse options. However, my Asus has some crazy third-party software that I haven’t figured out yet.

4) Backing up. After all this effort, I definitely want to make a system image so it’s easy to restore if my HD fails. Launch the desktop Control Panel, then choose System and Security > File History window and the System Image Backup option is down in the lower left-hand corner.

5) Keyboard shortcuts. I absolutely hate having to hover in a corner to open the side charms bar. Nothing as annoying as a) having to pause, and b) having it open by accident when you’re working in a program and mouse over there. So
5a) Disable hot zone for charms
5b) Settings Charm: [win] + [ i ]
Charm Bar: [win] + [ c ]
Desktop: [win] + [ d ]

[win] + [down arrow] closes an App

6) Fuzzy programs
Several programs aren’t optimized for high-resolution computer monitors yet, like Google Chrome, Office 2010, ArcGIS, etc.  To remove the fuzziness, right click on the icon to open the program, and go to properties.  Under “compatibility” check the box for “disable display scaling on high dpi settings”. Hopefully new versions of these programs won’t have the same problems.

For full info, here are some of the sites I got this info from:
http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/laptops/20-tips-for-windows-8-1-50012852/
http://www.howtogeek.com/167013/how-to-optimize-windows-8.1-for-a-desktop-pc/
http://www.howtogeek.com/175664/how-to-make-the-windows-desktop-work-well-on-high-dpi-displays-and-fix-blurry-fonts/


Citation language sorting problem: solved!

I’ve been having a lot of difficulty with the various citation management software packages based on the CSL language, as none has a built-in style that aligns with how we’ve always formatted our citations, particularly the sort order.

From my understanding, what we want for citations by the same first author:
– single author pubs in chronological order (oldest first)
– multi-author pubs in chronological order (oldest first)

This morning I finally did the research to come up with a solution that appears to work!

This should sort all papers by their first author. Then within that, it sorts between single-author and multi-author papers. Within each of those categories it searches by year

Method 1: via a direct CSL code editor

In the macro section, add the following macro:

<macro name=”Author-count”>

<names variable=”author”>

<name form=”count” et-al-min=”3″ et-al-use-first=”2″/>

</names>

</macro>

Then, in the <bibliography> section, specify your sort as:

<sort>

<key macro=”author-short” names-min=”2″ names-use-first=”1″/>

<key macro=”Author-count”/>

<key macro=”year”/>

</sort>

Method 2: via csl.mendeley.com/visualEditor/

1) add a new macro

– named author-count

– add an element for names

– add an element to names for variable ‘name’

– under “form” select “count”

– under “et-al-min” select “3”

– under “et-al-use-first” select “2”

2) under sort, first use a macro for “author-short”

– specify “names-min” as “2”

– specify “et-al-use-first as “1”

3) under sort, then add a macro for “author-count”

– leave all options blank (default)

4) under sort, add a 3rd macro for “year”

– leave all options blank (default)


Setup tips for Windows 7

If you’re like me, you often don’t agree with what Microsoft thinks are useful features. Here’s a short compilation of the steps I take when dealing with a fresh Windows 7 install, which I’ll update as I apply them to my newest install.

1) Turn off automatic docking

DockingI find nothing more annoying than my computer assuming I want one thing while I try to do another.  It’s easy to turn off, but hard to find.

Go to the Ease of Access Center, make the mouse easier to use, and check the box to prevent docking.

2) Make explorer window only show useful shortcuts on the left.

I only use the “Favorites” and “Computer” groups, so I hide the others (network and libraries).

It requires registry entry changes (right click first to give yourself permission to edit):

Libraries
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}\ShellFolder
change b080010d to b090010d

Network
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\ShellFolder
change b0040064 to b0940064

Full link to LifeHacker post.


ESRI continuous world aerial photography

While helping a student the other day, I stumbled across a background ESRI now offers in ArcGIS 10 with continuous world imagery.  Similar to Google Earth, it streams the orthophoto tile to your system and selects the most appropriate photo and resolution based on your view extent. While it does require internet connectivity to work, using this layer can save the time of downloading potentially hundreds of aerials for large study areas.

It is not as sophisticated as Google Earth (you get one image of ESRI’s choosing, no scrolling through history), but for simple tasks it’s great.

A word of advice when using. Turn the layer off until everything else on your map is set up, then enable the background layer. It’ll make your processes run much faster, since the map won’t need to download and re-render every time you change your view.

http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=10df2279f9684e4a9f6a7f08febac2a9

Some tips on projection.  These background files are in the web mercator projection (see link below), which is not compatible with the UK datum. Remember to set a transformation in your map document properties to correct this, or you’ll be ~half a kilometer off.


Binding Machine!

I guess I should also post the reason I was away for so long. I finally finished editing my thesis, and now am a master of science!  (Where’s my cape?)

From a crafty perspective, it gave me an excuse to buy more coils for my binding machine; I felt like a kid in a candy store, picking out the colors 😀

So now that I had bindings (and quality paper for the covers plus clear oversheets), I could make a multitude of budget copies (since the hard bound ones were pricey!).

 

And now I have lots of colors, to color code the music booklets that eventually I will get motivated to assemble.


Computer tip – minus signs in text

I know this is barely a craft, but I had to record it somewhere before I forget (since editing the ‘tips’ section of my website is too difficult… must remedy this in the future).

I was getting incredibly sick of Word putting the line break in the middle of my exponents. For example:

… rates of 3.0 kmol N d
1 and other…

So I learned about the “non-breaking” dash/minus sign, unicode character 2212.  To insert it, type 2212, then press alt+x to replace the 2212 with the symbol.  I then ctrl-h’ed to replace all of them.


Injera – Day 2.5 – cooking

This morning, our injera had a distinct grey watery layer on top and a very distinct smell. We tried to follow the instructions and pour the water off the top, but the dough was a bit too watery for that, so we left it alone.  We followed the instructions; took 1c and added it to 2c boiling water and stirred until it thickened, then added back to the main bowl and left covered in a patch of sun to rise.

In the meantime, we started on the entrees. First, about 11 cups of onions browned, then I pre-measured out all the spices for the five dishes into individual bowls to facilitate massive cooking efforts later.

By this time, the injera was ready to cook. It took a few tries to get the heat just right (water droplets skittering across the pan surface). After a few failed attempts, we had it down well enough; the key was pouring on the batter and getting it even very quickly, leaving it for a few seconds, then clamping the lid down to steam the top. When they cooked properly, they slid around on the pan without sticking and were very easy to remove.

They usually looked great in the pan, even when the end result was a dud

Very first attempt resulted in a crumbly mess that stuck to everything

By the end, we were getting very nice results

It’s a good thing we have the 5-burner stove… this is the first time we’ve needed to have that many things going at once.

Eli was great at stirring things left-handed while I ran about doing the tasks that required two hands

Overall, everything came our really well. The collard greens were the biggest hit, none left over from that. I’ve learned that the recipes call for more berbere than I’d like; most of the dishes were too spicy for me (but perfect for Eli).  Also, despite cooking the lentils a lot longer than the recipe called for, they were still quite crunchy. I guess we’ll boil them longer next time. I wish I hadn’t been too busy at the end of the meal to send folks home with leftovers! There’s no way Eli and I will finish all of this in the next few days.

The final spread


Injera: Day 1 1/2

Just took a peak before leaving for work. The liquid on top isn’t as disgusting as others say it should be; it’s more a grey-brown than black. But I’ll take it!

 

I guess tonight we boil a subset and add it back in, let it ferment/rise for another few hours, then cook. Should be fun! I’ve read that we can keep a small subset in the fridge and feed it T’ef to grow it again. We’ll have to see how painful the process is before making our decision 🙂


Injera: Day 1

Decided to tackle Ethiopian for Wednesday’s dinner, so step 1 was to get the Injera started today. It’s a spongy sour flatbread that should look like this when done:

Unfortunately, the recipe in Exotic Ethiopian Cooking said to use 6 cups of water, but you add the water in four different steps, and it doesn’t tell you how much to add in each one. So I guessed 5c mixed with the flour (1.5lb, weighed out on a scale), and 1c. warm with the yeast (2 packets). It looks soupy to me, but we’ll see! What I have now is a thin batter, covered with a towel waiting to rise. I hope the bowl is big enough…

Some folks have said it smells horrible on day 2, but it also says elsewhere to keep at 70° while rising. I don’t have anywhere that’s that warm, nevermind that warm and well-ventilated.  Just going to keep my fingers crossed that it works on the kitchen table.

7pm (1:15 after adding yeast). I think I need a bigger bowl!

8:30pm (3 hrs into rising). And now it looks less appealing. I believe I’ll stop checking until tomorrow 😀