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 for streamlined installation. A howto build for Mac installation is provided here.





Graphics in Top Tiered Journals and Modern Academics

Just an observation and an opinion, but has anyone noticed that the use of colourful, three-dimensional and completely out of scale cartoons has proliferated substantially in high ranking (as well as lower ranking, but not as much) academic journals in the last 7 to 10 years?

If you read a paper in a lower tiered journal or papers from back in the good old days when the top of the line image processing program was MS Paint, you don’t see these fruity cartoons and schematics you see simple and usually meaningful plots and diagrams of data, chemical reactions, and experimental set ups.

Maybe this is just my take on it but academic publications have  become more visual to cater to the “there’s an app for that” type society that this world has become.

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.


Electrochemical Science and Techology Information Resource (ESTIR)

This is a valuable online resource for various aspects of science and technology associated with electrochemistry. You can follow the link below or on the right hand panel under the blogroll links.



Monday February 11th 2013 1755 –  personal note, it’s another day in paradise same ‘ol shit different date, but I would like to say the control key has to be the most useful key ever invented …