Tool of the Week: Stack Exchange

Over the past few months I've gotten a handful of requests on this blog to help write a custom piece of code. There are a couple reasons I don't do this: Ain't Nobody Got Time For Dat! One of the most valuable parts of my 10.5 years of higher education was learning how to learn. If I just gave you answers,...Read More

Reflections on Grad School: Tools and Tricks I wish I knew all along

I've done it! I've gotten my Ph.D.!  Here's a few things I wish I had done from the very beginning. Enjoy Yourself. You're going to take 4-8 years investing in yourself. This is time you've set aside to educate yourself about a subject you're hopefully passionate about.  Along the way, you'll learn a tonne about a multitude of subjects! Besides...Read More

Tool of the Week: Google Scholar (and your own Scholar Profile)

Google Scholar is a cool tool to find research papers.  If you find a paper you like, you can find similar papers by looking at who cited that paper, and who that paper cited.  (web of knowledge has similar features, but will you require you be at a university or using a VPN to access).  What I've never done before is click...Read More

Monitoring Progress in Matlab

There are a lot of pre-made codes out there to make progress bars for your code.  A lot of these work fine, but some will slow down your code.  The last thing you want is a progress bar that hampers progress. I like the built-in waitbar function in matlab.  It's pretty easy to use following the help dialog, with the caveat that it...Read More

Rounding to Order of Magnitude in Matlab

Knowing what order of magnitude a number is can be really helpful when performing analysis.  I find this especially useful when setting my color-scale using caxis. To find the order of magnitude of a number, denoted as O(10n) of some number A in matlab, use: n=floor( log10(A)); [caption id="attachment_1179" align="alignright" width="300"] Example: Say I want to plot this constrained to some integer value of 10^n....Read More

Tool of the week: Klok

Many people struggle with the constant distractions that are on the internet, and all around us... but in Grad school it can be especially hard with a culture of tweeting, Facebook, and tublring, it can be really hard to stay on task. On top of all that, Even if you ARE being productive, when managing multiple tasks it can be easy...Read More

Tool of the Week: Wunderlist

My friend Andrew introduced me to wunderlist when we were working on a project together.  At the time, I thought it was neat, but now I know that it's AWESOME. Wunderlist is a task management tool that syncs across multiple platforms and even has a smartphone version!  I use both the Mac OSx app as well as the iphone app....Read More

MATLAB Tip: Logarithmic color-scales for contour and image plots

[caption id="attachment_761" align="alignright" width="392"] Logarithmic Color-bar for Contour Plot[/caption] A lot of my data ranges orders of magnitude, and can be very hard to depict using standard MATLAB functions like imagesc, contourf, contour, etc.  A quick google search on how to make logarithmic contour plots and logarithmic color-bars yielded some unhelpful results, so I thought I'd give a quick post here. 1) Define Your Contours Define where you'd like...Read More

Tool of the Week: GitHub

In any sort of research, chances are you're going to have to write some code, be it in Matlab, R, or Javascript, or some other processing language.  Having the ability to share your codes with others, and truly collorabirate is extremly useful in being productive.  You could share your codes via a file sharing service like Dropbox, but at least...Read More

Tool of the Week: Making Animations in Matlab

Once you've made a pretty plot in Matlab, making an animation might help you understand temporal phenomena.  Making an animation is super easy in matlab, weither you're working with figures or images.  There are two methods to do this, but the most robust is using the VideoWriter class.  It's compatible with all versions of quicktime on both Mac and PC.  Here's how you do it: 1)...Read More