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[3 Oct 2010 | 4 Comments | ]
A little bit of federated Open Notebook Science

The rationale behind open approaches is the way it enables you to make unexpected connections and to find otherwise hidden shortcuts. People, data, code, and expertise can be more effectively connected when the information is out there and discoverable. Here I wanted to document a little collaboration that was sparked on twitter and carried through using an entirely open toolset.

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[5 Aug 2010 | 8 Comments | ]
The triumph of document layout and the demise of Google Wave

So Google has abandoned Wave. Not really that surprising but obviously dissappointing to those of us who were excited about its potential. Here I argue that part of the problem is that most of us are still restricted in our thinking to static documents on the web. Wave was always about a next generation kind of document that was active and dynamic and that might have contributed to some of the confusion around what it was good for. The advent of the iPad and other tools for generating beautiful and dynamic content on the web may take us beyond this.

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[27 Aug 2009 | 16 Comments | ]

ChemSpidey lives! Even in the face of Karen James’ heavy irony I am still amazed that someone like me with very little programming experience was able to pull together something that actually worked effectively in a live demo. As long as you’re not actively scared of trying to put things together it is becoming relatively straightforward to build tools that do useful things. Building ChemSpidey relied heavily on existing services and other people’s code but pulling that together was a relatively straightforward process. The biggest problems were fixing the strange …

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[23 Aug 2009 | 12 Comments | ]

Yesterday, along with Chris Thorpe and Ian Mulvany I was involved in what I imagine might be the first of a series of demos of Wave as it could apply to scientists and researchers more generally. You can see the backup video I made in case we had no network on Viddler. I’ve not really done a demo like that live before so it was a bit difficult to tell how it was going from the inside but although much of the tweetage was apparently underwhelmed the direct feedback afterwards …

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[11 Aug 2009 | 10 Comments | ]

…is that someone needs to make money out of them. It was inevitable at some point that Friendfeed would take a route that lead it towards mass adoption and away from the needs of the (rather small) community of researchers that have found a niche that works well for them. I had thought it more likely that Friendfeed would gradually move away from the aspects that researchers found attractive rather than being absorbed wholesale by a bigger player but then I don’t know much about how Silicon Valley really works. …

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[31 Jul 2009 | Comments Off on Watching the future…student demos at University of Toronto | ]

On Wednesday morning I had the distinct pleasure of seeing a group of students in the Computer Science department at the University of Toronto giving demos of tools and software that they have been developing over the past few months. The demos themselves were of a consistently high standard throughout, in many ways more interesting and more real than some of the demos that I saw the previous night at the “professional” DemoCamp 21. Some, and I emphasise only some, of the demos were less slick and polished but …

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[1 Oct 2008 | Comments Off on A personal view of Open Science – Part II – Tools | ]

The second installment of the paper (first part here) where I discuss building tools for Open (or indeed any) Science.
Tools for open science – building around the needs of scientists
It is the rapid expansion and development of tools that are loosely categorised under the banner of ‘Web2.0′ or ‘Read-write web’ that makes the sharing of research material available. Many of the generic tools, particularly those that provide general document authoring capabilities, have been adopted and used by a wide range of researchers. Online office tools can enable collaborative development of …

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[6 Aug 2008 | 18 Comments | ]

My aim is to email this to all the email addresses that I can find on the relevant sites over the next week or so, but feel free to diffuse more widely if you feel it is appropriate.
Dear Developer(s)
I am writing to ask your support in undertaking a critical analysis of the growing number of tools being developed that broadly fall into the category of social networking or collaborative tools for scientists. There has been a rapid proliferation of such tools and significant investment in time and effort for their …

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[18 Jul 2008 | 11 Comments | ]

Written on the train on the way from Barcelona to Grenoble. This life really is a lot less exotic than it sounds… 
The workshop that I’ve reported on over the past few days was both positive and inspiring. There is a real sense that the ideas of Open Access and Open Data are becoming mainstream. As several speakers commented, within 12-18 months it will be very unusual for any leading institution not to have a policy on Open Access to its published literature. In many ways as far as Open Access …

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[30 Mar 2008 | Comments Off on Data models for capturing and describing experiments – the discussion continues | ]

Frank Gibson has continued the discussion that kicked off here and has continued here [1, 2, 3, 4] and in other places [1, 2] along the way. Frank’s exposition on using FuGE as a data model is very clear in what it says and does not say and some of his questions have revealed sloppiness in the way I originally described what I was trying to do. Here I will respond to his responses and try to clarify what it is that I want, and what I want it to …