Archive for Geekery

Things I Have Learned #5432

// October 10th, 2011 // 3,925 Comments » // Computers, Kids, Life

Never leave Find My iPhone open on a web browser with Archie around.

Pinterest Bookmarklet for iPad

// March 18th, 2011 // 91 Comments » // Geekery, Internets

Frustratingly, there is no easy way to add a Javascript bookmarklet to your iPad, as I discovered today when using a new social site, Pinterest (great site by the way, I recommend it if you can score an invite). Like so many sharing sites, Pinterest utilises a bookmarklet to share things you like with others. Not everyone uses Safari or wants to sync their bookmarks with their iPad, the current Apple recommended method. There is a manual way to do it though!

Chris Bray has created a very useful page with manual bookmarklets for all the major sites, including Tumblr, Facebook, Google Reader and more. I’ve created this one for myself, for a Pinterest bookmarklet.

From Chris Bray:

1. Add this page as a bookmark
2. Select and copy the Javascript below to your clipboard.
3. Go to your bookmarks and edit the new bookmark. Edit the name and paste the Javascript in the field for the URL.
4. Done.

For more detailed instructions, check out Marco Arment’s step by step guide for adding the Instapaper bookmarklet to Safari for an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod Touch. You can use the same method here.



Here’s a big image you can test your new bookmarklet with:

Test Image

I can’t imagine this can break your iPad, but use at your own risk.

3rd Year Nerd Fest

// February 8th, 2011 // 591 Comments » // Geekery, Study

If anyone is interested, here’s the subjects I’m doing in the third year of my B.Sc. at Sydney Uni.

A unit of study comprising lectures, practical assignments and tutorials on the application of bioinformatics to the storage, retrieval and analysis of biological information, principally in the form of nucleotide and amino acid sequences. Although the main emphasis is on sequence data, other forms of biological information are considered.The unit begins with the assembly and management of nucleotide sequence data and an introduction to the databases that are normally used for the storage and retrieval of biological data, and continues with signal detection and analysis of deduced products, sequence alignment, and database search methods. Phylogenetic reconstruction based on distance-based methods, parsimony methods and maximum-likelihood methods is described and students are introduced to the idea of tree-space, phylogenetic uncertainty, and taught to evaluate phylogenetic trees and identify factors that will confound phylogenetic inference. Finally, whole genome analysis and comparative genomics are considered. The unit gives students an appreciation of the significance of bioinformatics in contemporary biological science by equipping them with skills in the use of a core set of programs and databases for “in silico” biology, and an awareness of the breadth of bioinformatics resources and applications.

A unit of study with lectures, practicals and tutorials on the application of recombinant DNA technology and the genetic manipulation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Lectures cover the applications of molecular genetics in biotechnology and consider the impact and implications of genetic engineering. Topics include the cloning and expression of foreign genes in bacteria, yeast, animal and plant cells, novel human and animal therapeutics and vaccines including human gene therapy, new diagnostic techniques for human and veterinary disease, the transformation of animal and plant cells, the genetic engineering of animals and plants, and the environmental release of genetically-modified (transgenic) organisms. Practical work may include nucleic acid isolation and manipulation, gene cloning and PCR amplification, DNA sequencing and computer analysis of gene sequences, immunological detection of proteins, and the genetic transformation and assay of plants.

The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system and to the main concepts of processing of sensory information. Understanding basic sensory transduction mechanisms and the function of the sensory systems is necessary to understand how perceptual processes work in normal and disease conditions and provides a gateway to unravel the complexity of the mind. Basic aspects of low and high level sensory processing in all sense modalities will be covered, with a special emphasis in the auditory and visual systems. The relationship between sensory systems, perception and higher cognitive functions will be addressed.

The aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system. Our current knowledge of how the brain works is based on the analysis of the normal structure of the nervous system and its pathways, the functional effects of lesions and neurological diseases in different parts of the nervous system, and the way that nerve cells work at the molecular, cellular and integrative level. This course focuses on to the neural circuits and the mechanisms that control somatic and autonomic motor systems, motivated behaviours, emotions, and other higher order functions. The lecture series addresses the different topics, each of which offers special insight into the function of the nervous system in health and disease.

Scientist of the Day: Barbara McClintock

// November 2nd, 2010 // 143 Comments » // Science


During the 1940s and 1950s, McClintock discovered transposition and used it to show how genes are responsible for turning physical characteristics on or off. She developed theories to explain the repression or expression of genetic information from one generation of maize plants to the next. Encountering skepticism of her research and its implications, she stopped publishing her data in 1953.

Clintock’s research became well understood in the 1960s and 1970s, as researchers demonstrated the mechanisms of genetic change and genetic regulation that she had demonstrated in her maize research in the 1940s and 1950s. Awards and recognition for her contributions to the field followed, including the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, awarded to her in 1983 for the discovery of genetic transposition; she is the only woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in that category.

Most Fangirlish Post Ever

// October 16th, 2010 // 422 Comments » // Culture, Moviesandtv, Obsessions

Note: following post very very tragic, so please avoid if you hate Glee. Or want to preserve your image of me as someone with a bit of dignity and gravitas.

I am SO OBSESSED with Glee right now (probably a side effect of end-of-semester stress, as I always tend to get obsessed with things when I have a lot of other shit to do). But, OMG! It is so good at the moment. I mean, there’s Faberry of course (and we even got the two of them in a bathroom together), not to mention Brittana is now canon (woo hoo), and the musical numbers have been awesome (mostly), Kurt just gets more and more impressive, even Finchel were slightly cute last week, and hello? RACHEL FREAKING BERRY.

So just for fun, here are my Glee top lists so far (episode 4 of season 2):

1) Rachel Berry – natch!
2) Kurt Hummel – Le Jazz Hot pushed him right up here
3) Quinn Fabray – Faberry can’t be avoided
4) Brittany Pierce – every word that comes out of her mouth is hilarious
5) Sue Sylvester – it’s not Glee without Sue
6) Santana Lopez – one tough cheerf**ker
7) Mike Chang – Sing! was done perfectly
8) Finn Hudson – Even though Finn is dumb, homophobic and ruining my Faberry, he is kinda hysterical (*cough* LEZBRO *cough*)

9) Dustin Goolsby – He’s only been in one scene and I can’t wait for more
10) Emma Pillsbury – She was better last season but still wearing those lovely collar clip necklace things – what are they called?

1) Artie Abrams – Someone give that boy a storyline that doesn’t involve being nasty to girls
2) Will Schuester – I love me some Mr Schu but he has been so dull this season so far – bring back April!
3) Mercedes – Hey Mercedes, can’t you back off and respect Kurt’s atheism? Nope, let’s drag him to CHURCH
4) Jacob Ben Israel - the image of his damp naked buttcheeks has scarred my fragile little mind
5) Sam Evans – back off Quinn boy! This is the season of QUINNDEPENCE! (But go right ahead with Kurt)

1) Rachel & Kurt – Get Happy / Happy Days Are Here Again
2) Rachel – The Only Exception
3) Kurt – Le Jazz Hot
4) Rachel – What I Did For Love
5) Mike & Tina – Sing!
6) Rachel & Sunshine – Telephone
7) New Directions – Toxic
8) Mercedes & Santana – River Deep Mountain High
9) Rachel – Papa, Can You Hear Me?
10) Finn & Rachel – With You I’m Born Again

OK I’m gonna stop now and go and do some ACTUAL WORK :-P

My MP3 Dilemma

// September 29th, 2010 // 294 Comments » // Computers, Geekery, Music, Obsessions

I’ve been an avid collector of music files since the late 90′s and never delete anything, but rather file it all for posterity. The end result, 14 years later, is an external hard drive with 306GB of MP3 files on it (around 50,000 in all), carefully filed in folders by artist and album.

When I was on Windows, I had everything in Advanced MP3 Catalog Pro so I could search the entire collection for specific artists. Eventually with the purchase of my first iPod, I switched over to iTunes, but didn’t add everything to the library – only what I wanted to sync with my iPod. I can just choose “sync all”. So I’ve only got around 2,000 songs in iTunes.

Now I’m on Mac, I can’t seem to find a simple cataloguing program that will index my MP3 files by metatag so I can easily search them. I’m considering putting everything into iTunes, but will it cope with 50,000 tracks, or will it just run like a dog? MediaMonkey seems great but it is Windows only.

I’m beginning to think that the answer is obvious – CULL MY COLLECTION and get rid of all those albums that I have never and will (probably) never listen to. It’s the logical thing to do. Yet it fills me with heartbreak!

Oh what to do?

Gene Mapping Lab Report

// September 24th, 2010 // 117 Comments » // Science, Study

I’ve just finished my lab report for Molecular Biology on gene mapping in the Queensland fruit fly. I have uploaded it here for posterity, so that when I am a famous geneticist I can look back on it and laugh at its simplicity and obvious errors! But right now, I’m quite proud of it.

MBLG2972 – Gene Mapping with Molecular Markers (PDF)

Insane Quantum Physics Awesomeness

// July 27th, 2010 // 127 Comments » // Science

Somehow I started reading this paper about a new theory of time travel. Can’t understand much of it but man it’s fun!

Here’s my favourite bit:

‘I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, “Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass.”


“Because, they are all the same electron!”

And, then he explained on the telephone, “Suppose that the world lines which we were ordinarily considering before in time and space – instead of only going up in time were a tremendous knot, and then, when we cut through the knot, by the plane corresponding to a fixed time, we would see many, many world lines and that would represent many electrons, except for one thing. If in one section this is an ordinary electron world line, in the section in which it reversed itself and is coming back from the future we have the wrong sign to the proper time – to the proper four velocities – and that’s equivalent to changing the sign of the charge, and, therefore, that part of a path would act like a positron.”

What the? Mind boggling. I wish I had the right brain for physics sometimes!

Semester 2 Courses

// July 22nd, 2010 // 313 Comments » // Science, Study

Here are the courses I’m doing this semester at the University of Sydney, if anyone’s interested:

ANAT2010: Concepts of Neuroanatomy
Students are introduced to the structure and organisation of the central and peripheral nervous system. The course begins with an exploration into the make-up of the individual cells, followed by an examination of the different regions of the nervous system. A final theme of the course touches on the organisation of various systems (sensory and motor), together with aspects of higher-order function (memory). In essence, the course covers general concepts of organisation, structure and function of the brain and its different areas. The practicals offer students the unique opportunity to examine specimens in the Anatomy labs and museum.

BIOL2917 Entomology (Advanced)
This is a general but comprehensive introduction to Insect Biology taught in 3 integrated modules. The first module examines morphology, classification, life histories and development, physiology, ecology, behaviour, conservation, and the biology of prominent members of major groups. The other two modules examine new developments in entomological research, focusing on research strengths at the University of Sydney, the biology of social insects and insect behaviour.

MBLG2972 Molecular Biology and Genetics B (Advanced)
This unit of study shows how modern molecular biology is being applied to the study of the genetics of all life forms from bacteria through to complex multicellular organisms including plants, animals and humans. Lecture topics include classical Mendelian genetics with an emphasis on its molecular basis, cytogenetics, bacterial genetics and evolution, molecular evolution, bioinformatics and genomics, developmental genetics and the techniques and applications of molecular genetics.

PCOL2012 Pharmacology: Drugs and People
This unit of study examines four important areas of Pharmacology: (1) drug action in the nervous system (2) drug discovery and development (3) pharmacotherapy of inflammation, allergy and gut disorders, and (4) drugs of recreation, dependence and addiction. The delivery of material involves lectures, practicals, computer-aided learning and problem-based workshops. Practical classes provide students with the opportunity of acquiring technical experience and teamwork. Problem-based workshops are based on real-life scenarios of drug use in the community. These workshops require students to integrate information obtained in lectures in order to provide solutions to the problems. Online quizzes accompany each module.

I start on Monday! Hurrah!