Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Tips’

5 tactics to make short classes work

July 16th, 2012 3 comments

http://www.flickr.com/photos/childofwar/3097124543/sizes/m/in/photostream/Have a short (1-4 hour) class/tutorial to give? Want your students to learn tons and rave about the class? Want them to teach you and stay engaged in the topic moving forward?

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up from running mini-classes in academic and professional settings:

  • Listen to the room
  • Build skills through lessons
  • Let them get their hands dirty
  • Do the boring stuff in advance
  • Follow up with homeworks

These are mostly related to programming-type topics (see here and here from some examples), but I’ll bet the ideas are broadly applicable. Hopefully you can share some of your experiences as either a student or teacher in the comments!

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Why you should be using Instapaper

October 31st, 2011 No comments

Who knew I spent so much time staring at walls… I now use that time to read articles, papers, reports, and more! Instapaper helped me find HOURS per week in my already jam-packed that I can spend reading.

Instapaper is a “read later” service that has changed my life. It allows you to easily capture content from multiple sources and store it in the cloud so you can consume it at your leisure.

Simply click, “read later” across Instapaper’s many incarnations and the service comes through the internet to capture text and images from an article. That content is now available to read whenever and wherever you have some free-time.

It’s a ubiquitous and beautiful reading experience that I never knew I needed.

  • You’ll find new time in your day
  • It goes where you go

Read on to find out more, and check it out at instapaper.com.
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3 hints for Excel excellence

July 20th, 2011 No comments

Excel is the go-to tool for business calculations. Simple or complex, weeks of work or merely minutes, you’ll use Excel eventually. As with any tool, knowing a few tricks can transform the output from a clunky mess to a useful, beautiful creation.

  • Learn before you hack
  • Make it pretty
  • Document everything

These three hints apply to lots of life’s endeavors,
but let’s talk about how they apply to Excel.

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Get rid of fruit flies with 2 simple steps

June 26th, 2011 No comments

…or, “how I consistently defeat fruit fly armies”

I came home from a weekend trip to Atlanta to find my apartment swarming with fruit flies. Luckily, I’ve done battle with these little bastards before… (I keep fresh fruit and don’t spend much time at home) By the next morning all the fruit flies were gone. Here’s how I did it.

  1. Build the trap
  2. Hide the prize

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Categories: Tips Tags: , ,

Convert images to data with Plot Digitizer

May 30th, 2011 2 comments

You’re scouring the internet for data to prove your point…
After hours of searching, you finally found it!
One problem – it’s a chart in a pdf…

Charts are better than nothing, but you really want to have the numbers in Excel or Matlab so you can do analysis and get big insights (or at least make a nicer-looking chart).

The answer is Plot Digitizer

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Become a super-packer

February 20th, 2011 1 comment

Being a consultant is not like being James Bond… but I pretend it is! When I find out I’ve got two hours to make the red-eye to Bucharest, I order another beer before I head out – I know packing will take 10 minutes, tops.

These are a few tips, tricks, and time-savers that I’ve learned that have made packing an afterthought instead of a project…

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Categories: Tips, Travel Tags: , , ,

Using White Noise for Concentration

July 9th, 2009 8 comments

noiseWhen I really need to concentrate I listen to brown noise. I find that it boosts my productivity and keeps me from getting distracted by sounds around me. This is most useful in coffee shops or noisy offices, but I even do this when it’s quiet.

Brown noise is similar to white noise; it sounds like random static. However, brown noise is at a slightly lower pitch so it’s easier to listen to. That means that I can work for hours without hurting my ears!

You can download some free random noise MP3s to play on your computer or iPod, or listen to some right from your browser. Both work great.

This works better than my previous method (using ear plugs) because the sounds aren’t just blocked, they’re all scrambled up by the static. I get so much input from my ears that my brain ignores sound all together and focuses on work!

Anybody else tried this? How else do you keep focused?

Categories: Tips Tags: , ,

6 Tricks for Healthy Eating

June 6th, 2009 2 comments

This was a guest post for my uncle’s site, Healthy Eating Healthy World. Enjoy!

I’ve been eating a mostly plant-based diet since 2006. When I first got started, I faced personal and social barriers. However, by taking a few conscious steps, I was able to break them down and really improve my eating habits! Knowing the truth about nutrition, understanding the benefits of a plant-based diet, and committing to a change are all important, but actually revamping my lifestyle was a daunting task. Here are 6 tricks that I used.

  • Think Long-term
  • Add Some Extra Steps
  • Keep the Good Stuff Nearby
  • Surround Yourself
  • Embrace Frugality
  • Get Accountable

By thinking long-term about rewards and taking steps to preempt myself from falling into old eating habits I was able to leap feet-first into a new way of eating that has improved my life immeasurably.    Click to continue →

Categories: Fitness, Recipe, Tips Tags: , ,

We Were Born to Run

June 2nd, 2009 No comments

I run frequently and had heard some buzz about this book. I’m keenly interested in the amazing results that often come from ancient wisdom and using our incredible human body as correctly as possible. These are the exact ideas that author, Christopher McDougall touches on in his book, “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.”

The book has two main parts. First, it follows the story of the author as he investigates solutions to his own problems with running. Along the way he, meets, befriends, and races with members of a mysterious southwestern tribe known as the Tarahumara Indians and several other interesting characters. The second part of the book (which is mixed in with the story) contains various accounts of scientific study, an evolutionary history of running, and the modern history of the running industry. Here are some key points I found very interesting:    Click to continue →

Categories: Books, Fitness Tags: , ,

Use that Sweet Spot

February 18th, 2008 1 comment

With the easy availability of scientific papers through the internet, it is easy to quickly get your hands on tons of pdfs. Then what? I look through the pile very quickly and pick out the one or two papers that look the most relevant. This quick pass consists of glancing at the abstract and the figures.

Knowing that this quick and dirty scan is probably becoming the norm, I’ve started including a telling graphic right in the Sweet Spot. This is a term my colleagues and I have come up with for the top of the right column on the first page. Check it out:

sweet spot papers

Including the Sweet Spot graphic may get your paper read more, it may get your paper read less. Either way, it helps the reader make a snap decision about whether or not your paper is of interest to them. I feel like it makes the paper visually more attractive and inviting, too.

Any other Sweet-Spotters out there?

Categories: Academic Tags: , ,