Tag Archives: technology

Back to blogging

It’s been a good (and long) social media break! And an interesting one… as you may know I decided to take a break from FaceBook, which just naturally turned into a “no social media” break. Online, I only used email, and I only read BBC news, The Guardian (being careful to access the UK edition), and some of The Washington Post. It was sort of glorious – there was an instant feeling of superiority (oh come in, there is… don’t believe me? Check out this simultaneously hilarious and too-close-to-the-bone video:


… which soon faded, a lot of extra free-time …which I soon filled with online shopping, US Weekly and ALL the episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and a strange feeling of loneliness at times… which soon passed.

The superiority, free-time and loneliness passed soon enough, and I was left with just a little bit more a rounded view of world knowledge and a much heavier text messaging bill. Weirdly, I missed Instagram,  and my blog, and Buzzfeed – but never FaceBook. Like, I thought FaceBook would be the thing I missed most, and I would be chomping to get back to… but as 2017 rolled around and I felt my self-imposed social media hiatus should come to end I just had no particular impetus to rejoin. Despite some “did she have the baby yet?” style curiosity (and yes, there are emails and texts for that), I just never felt the urge to reactive my profile.

So, I didn’t. I started to post on Instagram again (hey, I am way too obsessed by food, my cats and my kids not to, alright?), and I started to read Buzzfeed (while trying to continue to read more reputable news sites, with admittedly limited success), but through general inertia just never got around to really joining FaceBook again in a meaningful way (secret confession: I have a profile solely so I can buy LulaRoe clothes. Don’t know what LulaRoe is? DON’T TRY TO FIND OUT OR YOU WILL GO BROKE!). And although I missed my little blog it was hard to find the time to post, and hard to be motivated when I didn’t have a social media platform on which to share my posts. But, even so, some 4 months later I am sad, because I have this chunk of my family’s life that there is no record of now (Memory? What is this memory if which you speak? If it isn’t recorded on social media, it didn’t happen… mmmmkay?). And, especially, the kids’ development is no longer chronically in any meaningful way what with them having grown out of their baby books and all (and my ‘phone breaking and losing moths of pictures too – sob). I miss seeing pics of them and watching the grow up. And I miss being able to stay in touch with my friends through the comments sections.

So, I hope to start blogging again, and I super hope that some of y’all will join me back on this journey 🙂

Misinterpretations and mass media hysteria

Need a laugh? This article writes a very amusing and light hearted article satirizing how the media misrepresent Science findings. It nicely combines an easy readability and laugh out aloud moments, with a serious point. Its a timely reminder to all of us to be wary of believing what we read. And a nice example of cutting British humour.

US friends: The Daily Mail is our National Enquirer – but it actually tries to report ‘news’ not just celeb stuff.

Kudos Martin Robbins


For anyone interested in following the pre-story behind this, i.e Susan Greenfield’s horrendous article in New Scienist, the wonderful (and Intellectual Crush worthy) Dorothy Bishop provides an intelligent and reasoned, yet passionate summary and the responses to said summary.

Timely reminders to us all about minding what we say and applying critical reason to what we read. Indeed, as my mentor David Allison has been saying recently: one of the best things Scientists can do is remind themselves, regularly, why they got into Science. That should set you straight 🙂

I wandered lonely as a… and all my music problems were solved.

Clouds. Of a different (less good) type.

So, I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch… I don’t want to jinx my new discoveries… but I always do so let’s be upfront about my (usually misplaced) trust and enthusiasm and take this sentence with a grain of salt:

“I think all my technological problems have been solved”.*

*those related to my music.

So, my whole life was a world of pain since moving to the US and trying to access my digital music collection. Said collection is 130 Gb (and growing) and so could not be stored on my laptop. My desktop didn’t make it with me. Nor, crucially, did my music player system. So, my music had to be streamed through my TV… and the device I bought for this, was my Apple TV. Foolish perhaps, I was going through my  (usually misplaced) trust and enthusiasm at Apple, believing, like a child of divorce, that any breakdown in communication was my fault, and if I just behaved better (Apple translation: spent more money) the happy marriage that was my life and Apple would be OK.

It was not. The problems ran deeper.

Basically, I had an external hard drive, that was connected to my laptop, but friends couldn’t seem to remember not to yank my laptop around willy nilly and drive kept  being dropped/disconnected and started to threaten to give up its grip on life and take my computer backup and music with it as it hit the technological wasteland in the sky. = FEAR.

Attempts to make my hard drive wireless = $130 and fail. Attempts to hack my AppleTV so it would accept a hard drive, well actually = pass, but attempts to get it to run at a decent speed, or even not crash every 2 minutes? = Epic fail. So, my hard drive sat tucked away on a shelf, and I sat without music getting more and more miserable. Plus, I could not update my iPod which had been hastily loaded for a dance session (Britney, Pink and dare I say – Usher??) and so was passable for 20 mins on the treadmill, but rather deadly for any form of walk / relaxation.

What was I to do? The answer came like hurtling towards me through the pages of a blog (which I have now lost): The Amazon Cloud. Purchase a data plan ($20 a year at its cheapest) and get unlimited music space. Listen to that music wherever you (and your laptop) are and stream it to your Apple TV. Even – get this, get the little Android app and have your music with you wherever you go, whenever you go *

*as long as you have a connection of some sort and battery

Oh Joy. I am music-ed up and currently reveling in the delights of Anthony and The Johnsons, Radiohead, and The Decemberists. Just back to a few popular old faves. Soon Fleet Foxes will come back into my world as I prepare for their upcoming concert (y-e-e-e-e-e-s). When I get bored of that (as if I could??). Well, the whole Rolling Stones catalog is just a button push away.

HAPPY. Nay, blissful.

Oh, while we are talking of technological wizardry and black magic (which The Cloud surely is): Mendeley: I salute you. I grudgingly moved over to you, after RefMan deserted me in a time of dire need (even though I hated refMan and its stupid always having to close searches one by one trickery). You were a seemless transition, you did everything you were supposed to, and you even managed to get rid of all my duplicate papers (ARE YOU LISTENING, REFMAN)? Plus, every time I login you list my publications, and I feel smug. So, I do, as before, highly recommend anyone who writes papers for a living checks out Mendeley. Although I wish people would stop describing it ‘as if facebook and Endnote had a baby’ because that sort of freaks me out, as does anywhere Scientists congregate to converse only with other Scientists like on the New Scientist dating site. #no, no, no.

I digress.

RefMan: you suck. Endnote: you’re OK, but nothing special. Papers: sigh, your free trial was a disappointment; I bow to Matthew (who got me into Mendeley) to explain why (but Apple, you and me are OVER. I wave my Atrix in your face). Mendeley: you have all my (usually misplaced) trust and enthusiasm for the moment. Don’t disappoint me 🙂