Four and a half plugs

January 6, 2009

Some people ain’t got nothin better ta do than read blogs. Christmas Day, I got 56 hits. How sad is that ? Oh. Hang on. I checked, didn’t I ? Damn.  So for the addicts, and while I think up something profound, here are some bloggy plugs.

Plug One. First, that Regator thing. When I wrote about it here I worried I was being suckered in to the vanity press; but I have decided I like it and have added a Regator badge to my widgets. It is true that there are sixty million blogs out there, so a web site that picks and organises a couple of thousand good ones is doing something useful. The other reason I like it is that its all done in Atlanta Georgia. It brings to my mind one of my favourite Laurel and Hardy clips. They are in a restaurant. Phone on wall rings, Stan answers. Listens. Says “Uh Huh. It sure is.”. Puts phone down. Stan sits. Long pause. Olly says “What was that all about ?”. Stan says “well, I picked up the phone, and this voice says “its a long distance to Atlanta Georgia.”, so I says it sure is.”

Plug two. Another “best of” web site has given me (and many of the other usual suspects…) a handful of extra hits every day : bizarrely, this is a site called Find Schools Online. There is an associated blog, which basically seems to be a series of “best of” selections. On Dec 29th they had the Top 100 Space and Astronomy Blogs. Slightly less fussy than Regator, which has 14 Astronomy Blogs. Dec 15th has the Top 100 Web Tools For Learning a New Language. Coo.

Plug Three : Zotero. This is very, very, good. In recent weeks I have been playing with different ways of searching, saving, and organising research papers. ADS and astro-ph are crucial of course; for bookmarking and organising, Connotea and Cite-U-like are pretty good, but Zotero is better; I also played with various client programs like Jabref, but Zotero is much better. Now you can also explore citation links with Paperscope, and grab and plot the data from papers using VODesktop plus Vizier plus Topcat. Some of you will be frowning in puzzlement, but fear not, I am planning a whole post on this stuff, as its great.

Plug Four : Fora TV. Its another aggregator, but for video content of a very high quality. Partners include the Aspen Institute, CSPAN, The Times, New Republic, New York Public Library, and lots more. Basically it consists of a large collection of filmed public lectures. Its full of good stuff. Its like the LRB on TV. Very dangerous . I am hooked.

Plug Four and a Half : I found Fora TV via The Daily Galaxy. It has too much to keep up with, but drop in every so often ..

Here endeth the plugs.