Thursday, January 28, 2010

Just a Thought: Blog Forest

If a blogger types in a forest and no one reads his posts does his keys make a sound?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taking Notes The Google Way... Again

I posted a few days ago about my note taking adventures with Google Docs. The very next day I had an even more interesting experience taking notes, this time with Google Wave.

For those of you who don’t know what Google Wave is, to steal the description from this page by Google, it’s “…an online tool for real-time communication and collaboration. A wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.” Or in my own words, it’s like taking email, IM, and Google Docs, smashing them together and stirring well.

I can say that it’s really hard to fully understand what Google Wave is without seeing and using it for yourself. Also, I’d always heard you’d never truly understand how useful (and awesome) Google Wave is until you collaborate with someone using it. Well, on Monday I got to finally use Wave for the first time where it shines best, when working in tandem with someone else.

Currently this semester, a friend of mine and I are in a Network Architecture class together. It’s really hard for me to pay attention in that class because the teacher is very hard to follow. I think my friend was having the same problem, so I suggested that we take notes in Google Wave together. On Monday we did just that and it worked ridiculously well.

My teacher uses power point during class and we copied down the slides by working together. One of us would start at the top of the slide; the other would then take the next part of the slide. From there we’d frog hop over each other until we finished what was currently on the screen. We also both added any little notes we thought would be helpful and, when we found the time, organized our quickly typed information. Basically we’d write down much more in a much shorter time and I’d say that the quality was better than if you took the notes by yourself. That gave us more time to listen to the teacher and try to figure out what she was saying (she’s foreign and quiet, if you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about).

The best part was when someone blocked my view. I was in the middle of typing a sentence when someone moved their head and blocked the end of what I was typing. Normally this would be a bad thing, but with Wave it was easy to get around the problem. I just wrote within parentheses, “(can’t read anymore).” My friend saw it and replaced what was in parentheses with the rest of the sentence. That’s teamwork.

Google Wave was made for this and it serves its purpose wondrously. All that’s left to do is get the whole class onto Wave. Now that would be some good notes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just a Thought: Yawns Per Hour

You know when you yawn and you get the person next to you to yawn too? You ever wonder what the longest distance one yawn has traveled going from person to person or is that just me?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Taking Notes The Google Way

In grade school they always would say, “Take note so you can study them later.” It was even worse when teachers would check your notes and grade them, because then I couldn’t sit there and just pretend I was taking them. I always hated this. I’ve never been much for taking notes. I learn by listening, not by writing and I can’t count the number of times I’ve missed something the teacher said because I was writing something else down. Whenever I do write something down I usually never look at it anyways and when I do look something up, half the time I took the wrong notes. So, when it comes to note taking, I figure my wrists take enough abuse when I’m on the computer and that they deserve a break during class.

Recently, however, I’ve been in classes that are very complex and there’s really no way that I can remember everything just from listening. Most teachers will post their power point slides and I just study from that. This semester however, my Psychology teacher isn’t posting her slides and said that we’d need to take our own notes. So, I tried something interesting last week, I actually took notes in Psychology 101. I know it shocks me too.

“What’s special about that?” you ask. Well, I did it on my computer in Google Docs. I’ve always hated paper notes because of all the writing and I’ve always hated using Microsoft Word because it ties you to one computer. Google Docs fixes both those problems.

With Google Docs I was able to type my notes, which I don’t mind doing cause I can type much faster than I can write. What happened tonight though is what really caught my interest. I had to take a quiz by midnight and thought I should study a bit first. My notes were taken on my laptop and I was currently working on my desktop. That wasn’t a problem. I just went to Google Docs and opened my notes. No computer booting, file transferring, or downloading was needed, just a bookmark and a few clicks and I was there. I also noticed after studying and taking the quiz that I take much better note when I type; probably because I can type so much faster that I’m not afraid to add more information. I was also able to reorganize my notes quickly and easily while taking them on the computer if the teacher added more info to a previous topic.

The notes really helped, I guess this semester in Psychology I’ll actually be taking notes and using them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just a Thought: Text Books

I had two professors say to me the other day, "You should bring your book to class every day, that's why I picked one that was light."

They seem to not understand that when every professor wants you to bring the book they still weigh a ton.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Night Owl – HOO HOO!

I’m a night owl.

Huh? You don’t believe me? Well if you need proof just look at when this was posted. It is now 2am in my little part of the world as I write this. I earnestly do not feel tired (okay, you caught me. Maybe I’m a little tired). This is how I operate consistently. I love staying up late.

People constantly tell me I should get more sleep. Those are the ones that are up at the crack of bloody dawn. Some of them are probably up before I even get in bed. And even the ones that aren’t that insane are up by 8am. In fact, everything and everyone seem to run on an 8am-10pm schedule.

Everything closes at 10pm. Everyone goes to sleep and the ones that stay up are “too tired.” It sucks for me because that’s when I’m really at the peak of my day. That’s my lunch time you could say. Somehow, the socially acceptable “awake hours” don’t line up well with my body clock. It’s like some sick joke.

So, I’m here to ask you how you do it. How, you… you Morning Birds can get up with the sun. How you can bounce out of bed in an instant while I’m hitting the snooze for 2 hours. Even worse is that you little birdies are doing homework at 9am while I’m still in bed. The last thing I want to do in the morning is work. Maybe it’s the coffee. You know, that bitter icky liquid you can somehow trick your body into enjoying. It’s turned you into little hyper humming birds.

“But wait Mister Night Owl,” I can hear you asking, “if you have trouble getting up shouldn’t coffee be the first thing you reach for?”

Simple answer, no. Caffeine makes me jittery. It makes me do that annoying bouncing leg thing that shakes the whole table. The fundamental problem isn’t that I can’t stay awake (how could I stay up late then? Hmm?), it’s that I don’t like waking up.

You see, there’s so much crap in my life from day to day that it becomes this nagging thing in my brain. I wake up and I have all this stuff to do. Some days I enjoy it, others it’s like this never ending list of things I hate. At night, when I’m up late, all of the day’s crap is behind me and all my future crap is tomorrow and tomorrow is still hours and a night’s sleep away. It is a pressure free time and I don’t rush to bed to get it over with, I stay up to enjoy it. That’s why I’m a Night Owl.

So, I ask, how do you Morning Birds do it? Because, as far as I’m concerned, you Birds can keep your early worms and I’ll just stay happily up in my tree, hooting away.

Welcome To Lost In Neurons

Welcome to my random blog. I really can't keep a topic specific blog going because my mind tends to be all over the place. The stuff here will be whatever is on my mind. I hope it's not too boring. Please tell me what you think once I get something written.