Quote of the Year 2014

So it’s been a while since I’ve been on my blog … I guess I’ve had more important things to keep me busy. But I just got off work after spending 12 hours trying to reconcile what went wrong with my project and cast the blame on reasons other than the tool I was trying to make work, a thought came to me … there are two quotes since the year 2014 began that have not left my mind … they’re mostly insults but they suit me perfectly

So what is your quote of the year?

The year isn’t out so there may be other contenders but currently I’m vacillating between the two:

“… It’s a good thing you taught your son all these things otherwise he might have ended up like … he might have ended up like Mason!”

And the classic vegetarian angst when one asks for a vegetarian sub:

“No I’m not doing that, go fuck yourself and have a salad at the deli up the corner”

Gnumeric – Open Source Spreadsheet by Gnu

There are several open source spread sheet software available such as Open Office and LibreOffice. All have pro’s and con’s so to throw another option out there that specializes in cross compatibility with other spread sheet softwares is the Gnu Project’s Gnumeric.  Below is a screen capture of a gnumeric spread sheet I made in linux, saved as an excel sheet and then opened It in MS excel. Gnumeric also features similar keyboard shortcuts to that of MS Excel, the keyboard shortcuts are really the only thing that make a spread sheet actually usable, otherwise they’re slow and tedious to work with. In the future I will include a glossary of the best and most useful MS Excel shortcuts I’ve found thus far – these shortcuts can make the difference between grueling tedium and efficient work progress.

More information about Gnumeric can be found at their homepage. On linux and Mac the install is an easy one liner in the command line.

GnumericWindows

News Links

On the RHS column. Engineers and their TLAs … MGPTDB QTM PMMA QED ONG

Virtual Desktops for Windows: Dexpot

Most unix based operating sytstems such as Apple’s Mac OS and the myriad of flavors of Linux have options for virtual desktops and have had them for quite sometime. However, Windows has always been behind the curve on this. Fortunately there is an option for those of us who prefer organizing their computer workspace with multiple virtual desktops and use Windows. I’ve been keeping an eye out for something like this for a while and never really like anything that I found. However, Dexpot is the ticket. Finally a program which does a good job handling  virtual desktops in Windows and is fairly customizable in terms of setting keyboard shortcuts, the number, location, functionality, and appearance of the desktops.  Another plus (well more a requirement if I’m actually going to bother using it …) is that Dexpot is free for personal use – not so for commercial use or multiple computers of the same person, but if you just have one Windows box, you’re good.

 

More information on Dexpot can be found at their website, here.

 

 

Gnu Pretty Good Privacy

PGP is a very powerful encryption tool and is open access, more on OpenPGP.  There is also the Gnu equivalent for command line based file encryption known as the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). More information can be found here at their main website. GnuPG is available for Windows, Mac and BSD. Mac users may also want check out GPGTools.org for streamlined installation. A howto build for Mac installation is provided here.

 

 

 

 

Open Source Chemical Process Simulator

There are several complex  simulation programs available for chemical process simulation such as ChemCAD and Aspen however, these software suites are as expensive as they are convoluted, but the latter is intrinsic. However, the former can be reconciled! With the open source simulation software DWSIM – which can be run on virtually any platform and doesn’t coast a dime.

Real ChemE’s spend their Friday nights setting up these process simulations, you can even make a game out of it where if your simulation actually converges you take a shot and if it doesn’t you have to shotgun a PBR or something.

First Chapter of Thesis

It’s 0217 on 03/12/2013 11/52 … all I have to say is that for graduate students everywhere: Writing the first chapter of your thesis sucks and you should get it out of the way as soon as possible. By the time you initiate research and have developed your proposal you should compile all the literature and background into a rough draft first chapter because if you put it off like I have you’ll end up spending 10 days straight doing nothing but reading and writing at an agonizingly slow pace. However in the process one is forced to master the subject material to the point of explaining it to others which is the level of background necessary and useful during the initial steps of research. If it is done as an after thought then it will be a more tedious and arduous process, not that it isn’t anyway.

Cheers.