Oct 28, 2007 - Writing Great Research Papers

Simon Peyton Jones has a presentation on how to write a great research paper. He has some great suggestions, which I've summarised here <!--break--> with some thoughts of my own:

  • Your goal is to infect the mind of your reader with your idea.
  • Papers should be written before and as the research is performed.
  • The abstract is written last, and follows a four sentence pattern:
    1. State the problem
    2. Say why it's an interesting problem
    3. Say what your solution achieves
    4. Say what follows from your solution
    This is only slightly different from Simon Dobson's five sentence pattern:
    1. General statement of area that paper is in.
    2. Problem that exists in the area.
    3. Why does this problem exist?
    4. What you get from this paper/work.
    5. Message that you walk away with.
  • The Introduction should describe the problem and state your contributions - nothing more!
  • The introduction should not finish with the ubiquitous "The remainder of this paper is structured as follows:" - a lazy habit that I do myself - instead, forward references should be used.
  • Related work should be left to the end - I'm not sure about this one...
  • The body of your paper should be introduced using concrete examples, and only then should the general case be presented
  • Warmly acknowledge people who have helped you; be generous to the competition
  • Start writing early. Very early.
  • Collaborate. Use tools to support collaboration, e.g., subversion, cvs
  • Get your paper read by as many friendly guinea pigs as possible - but remember, each guinea pig can only read your paper for the first time once, so use them carefully. Thank them profusely! (Thanks again ConorN for reading the body of my thesis.)
  • Always use a spell checker - You wouldn't believe the number of paper submissions with spelling mistakes.
There are other documents on Simon Peyton Jones' website, on writing good research proposals and research talks, as well as a set of resources to other useful advice. (thanks MikeB for the link.)

Oct 27, 2007 - Upgrading the RAM in a MacBook

This morning I upgraded the RAM in my MacBook from 1G of RAM to 2G. I bought 2 compliant 1G RAM chips from komplett.ie for €27 each and followed Apple's straightforward instructions. Everything seems to be working well, so for €54+delivery it looks like I got a great deal on my upgrade. Now, my poor laptop should be able to run Eclipse without stuttering :-D

Oct 20, 2007 - Cheetah Chaser

With the rugby world cup final on tonight, here's a movie of one of the tournament's stars - Bryan "Cheetah Chaser" Habana: This would explain the nickname ;-) Expect him to run riot with the English tonight...

Oct 13, 2007 - Google Vanity Ring

Infosthetics posted during the week about a Google vanity ring (there's a video here)... It's a little ring with an LCD display that shows how many hits the wearer gets on a Google vanity search... Is this the ultimate yuppy nerd toy? A nice spin-off that I know many academic-types would love would be a publish or perish citation count ring... ;-)

Sep 9, 2007 - Transformer Shoes

I blogged earlier about human Transformers. Myairshoes.com ran a story here on a new runner from Nike that ties in with the Transformers movie. If only we could wear them... (thanks enda.)

Sep 9, 2007 - Pride of Arizona Play Radiohead

The Pride of Arizona is a university marching band with a difference. Here they play some Radiohead for the fans: There's a playlist here with more examples of their work. (thanks jenna.)

Sep 6, 2007 - White Power! - White Flour?

On May 20th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK tried to hold a rally in Knoxville, Tennessee. However, they didn't count on facing down the 100th Anti Racist Action Clown Block. The clowns found it difficult to understand the racists and a breakdown in communication led the leader of the racist group to lunge at them in a fit of rage and get himself arrested. Asheville Indymedia ran a great story on the event... well worth a read. Nedless to say the stoopid noses went home with their tails between their legs and the clowns triumphed... well done clowns!

Jul 29, 2007 - The Thriller in Cebu

...rather than the Thrilla in Manila. This video shows prisoners working out in Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center... and by working out I mean dancing an elaborate choreography to Michael Jackson's Thriller: They also perform versions of Radio GaGa and Sister Act. (thanks gordo.) I wonder what Seinfeld would have thought of it.

And if you like dodgy rip-offs, check out Cracked.com's commentary on this video of India's answer to Michael Jackson.

Jul 29, 2007 - Surfing Under the Cliffs of Moher

Here's a couple of awesome videos of surfers at Aill na Searrach in May 2006 under the Cliffs of Moher in county Clare.

There's articles on the event in the Sunday Times, the Sunday Business Post, and the Independent on Sunday. "...the most perfect wave you will find in Europe." (thanks jill.)

Jul 29, 2007 - Movie Trailor Re-cuts

The Association of Independent Creative Editors ran a competition in 2005 for people to re-edit movie trailers re-cutting the film's visuals but changing the genre. The winner was "Shining" - Stanley Kubrick's horror movie re-cut as a romantic comedy (there's lots of information on Shining on the tattered coat's blog):

Since then lots more of these have emerged. My personal favourite is "Must Love Jaws" - Jaws re-cut as a love story: (thanks enda.)

Another great one is Caakth?l - Cocktail re-cut in the Bollywood style:

There's a whole website here dedicated to these trailer mash-ups.