Retro-Planning software 2, workflowy

I have been used to try and drop off many software and technics to organise my workflow. It is a kind of obsession that I document, I might end by writing something about it someday.

The new software I use: workflowy chrome app

And so far… I love its simplicity & user interface!

The last one I used was I choosed after testing The list of the Retro-Planning Softwares I tested: (Yes I tested wedding planning tools)

[EDIT, 2014.08.12] If I don’t stick to workflowy, here is an alternative

Skype eye contact finally made possible

Skype eye contact made possible thanks to 3D face rotation by C. Kuster, T. Popa, J.C. Bazin, C. Gotsman & M. Gross from ETH Zurich.
Innovative software rotates the face of the person on screen during video conferences in order to make eye contact. (Photo: Computer Graphics Laboratory / ETH Zurich)

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“Those separated from family and friends by long distances often use video conferencing services such as Skype in order to see each other when talking. But who hasn’t experienced the frustration of your counterpart not making direct eye contact during the conversation? A software prototype from the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich may be able to help.”

Text by Angelika Jacobs from ETH Life Blog

I don’t know why but this “computer vision” software makes me think of the AutoSmile project by Theo Watson from F.A.T.

More on the project (+source code):
• Skype eye contact finally possible
• Paper: Kuster C, Popa T, Bazin JC, Gotsman C, Gross M: Gaze Correction for Home Video Conferencing. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia (Singapore, November 28 – December 1, 2012), ACM Transactions on Graphics, 31 (6), 174:1-174:6

2013.08.14 Bibliographic management software

Outcome of this second phase:
• I chose Papers2 as Reference manager
• I uploaded, completed metadata, sorted out in categories and set priorities for all the PDFs I collected until now
• I have 380 items (it’s only a first step)
• I registered for Dropbox Premium 100Gb (10$/Month) and ulpoaded my whole PHD folder + Papers2 bibliography


Bibliographic management software
A bibliographic tools (also called reference manager, or citation management tool) can be used for any discipline (sciences, social sciences, humanities) to save citations and PDFs, as well as incorporate citations into a Word document.

Choosing a reference manager is hard because there is too much choice. Here are four criteria of choice: Efficiency/Features, Aesthetic/ergonomics, Interoperability (citation styles, export format), OpenSource. The two last criteria can be evaluated on this page:
That article is also helpful–Introduction-to-Zotero?mid=821&type=UploaderResource&uid=1241.
For the two first ones, it has to be tested. The leader softwares are EndNote (Thomson Reuters), Mendeley (Elsevier), Papers (Springer), Zotero (Center for History and New Media at GMU) – Two other notable open source softwares: the—quite dry—BibDesk (BibDesk developer) which is the closer client for BibTex tools, and Docear (Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg and University of California, Berkeley), a suite of tools for academic writing.

My choice before testing: Docear for its mind mapping tool & Mendeley for its interoperability with Docear, its free iPad app, its capacity to recognize and rename PDF metadata, its online community, its legal and free offer.

My final choice: Papers, as it has the friendlier interface. It is therefore very efficient to do tasks, and speeds up my work. Paticulary for the uploading of new PDFs, completing their metadata, sorting them out in categories and adding notes – which is the first step I took.

Here are some of the GUI (graphical user interface):

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And Papers2:
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2013. 08.06 Retro-planning software

Outcomes of this first phase:
• I chose Action Method as Time management tool
• I set a list of major tasks over 5 months minimum in order to achieve my literature review

Retro-planning software
One of the hardest task of the PhD studies is to learn to work by oneself. Therefore, managing one’s time demands discipline, wise advices but most of all: tools.
More here

Because when you are ready for self control and fully loaded of “golden rules” to work fine, two problems remains: Knowing what to do and when to do it. And over a 3years period of time, retro-planning tasks on a piece of paper on in .txt documents can become a mess.

I began by searching more about retro-planning, I tried to remember my Pert and Gant diagrams courses – big mistake :P – Then I tested these online tools over the criteria of “easy to use, modern and efficient interface, free (low cost), interoperability, phone/tablet App, simplicity”.
The one which is scalable, appropriated to my (working alone) needs and which is above the others concerning the previous criteria is: Action Method (By Behance Network).
After having planned a general TDL (To Do List) + Milestones over a year, I find efficient to have my due (and overdue) tasks right next to me on my tablet at anytime. I cut these major steps in sub-TDL on post-its (or notebooks, or .Txt files).

The list of the Retro-Planning Softwares I tested: (Yes I tested wedding planning tools)

1. on iPad, 2. on iMac