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Zoe Louise Matthews | ASY-EOS | UK

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Tools of the trade continued: a blog response

This is in response to Nicole’s “Tools of the trade” blog a few days ago.

First I would like to make one comment regarding LaTeX beamer. I know this is particle-physics blasphemy but, whilst I love using LaTeX for written documents, presentations (and in fact posters) are my exception to hating microsoft office – I always use powerpoint for these things because you have much more control over positions of your plots, layout etc, and I like having the occasional powerpoint-drawn diagram or animation to illustrate a point! However, OpenOffice is in my personal opinion truly rubbish so I don’t blame her for scrapping that idea. I think everyone should have both windows and linux machines and swap around when convenient! 🙂

Secondly, I would like to add to her list of tools a few that I have found useful so far.

Canvas X: Technical drawing, editing plots and other images. Perfect for if you decide to change your plots’ colour coding after making them, for drawing beautiful representational diagrams, or for removing the nasty default-grey background on root histograms (I know you can set it to white in the code, but who remembers? 😉 ) However, I am downplaying its functionality here – you can do just about anything to your image using this! I especially like it for making vector images out of raster ones you copy and paste from a PDF.

Putty, WinSCP and VNC: I am always working on both windows and linux machines – I am one of those terrible physicists who just can’t let go of pretty GUIs (but is too poor to move to mac!) . That, coupled with the fact that I am a Birmingham University student living in France, working at CERN, and with family in Manchester, makes accessing linux (work) email with putty, working on linux (work) desktops with VNC, from windows (home/personal) computers in various locations, and moving files between each using SFTP / WinSCP, (and all for free!) rather handy indeed! There is other software out there but VNC is the one I found easiest to set up.

WinEDT: A lovely windows editor for LaTeX. This means if I am stuck on my windows PC, I can still be writing and compiling my thesis! I haven’t started yet but this is what I used when writing my midterm report. (I should probably start writing soon – only a year to go!)

Of course, Skype is always handy for when you are trying to have a meeting across various countries and EVO is having problems! 😉 but that is rather rare these days!

EVO is a very clever (most clever of it’s kind, apparently) worldwide collaboration network that allows me to tune in to a meeting that takes place at CERN at 9am whilst I am in the UK at 8am, either from a conference phone, my home phone or on my laptop for free. I can chime in with comments or listen in silence, and sometimes give a presentation from the comfort of my own sofa. I can send and recieve video, submit my desktop, and view the desktop of any of the other people connected. This makes it better than a phone conference with a webcam because you can see (in clear detail) what slide a person is discussing.

Anyway I think that’s enough for now. It covers alot of the handy tools I have used so far today. I may come up with more later! In the meantime, thanks Nicole for sharing, I could do with something that keeps useful papers together so I will give your suggestion a try!

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4 responses to “Tools of the trade continued: a blog response”

  1. Penny says:

    I’m told that Powerpoint did not originate in Microsoft Office, they just acquired it. So that’s the one bit of Office you’re allowed to like 🙂

  2. Zoe Louise Matthews says:

    Thanks for that, Penny! I feel less guilty now 😉

  3. Ingrid says:

    Hi Zoe,

    if you want Windows and Linux applications on one computer – get a MAC! That is what I did and I am extremely happy.

  4. Zoe Louise Matthews says:

    Ingrid – I know! It’s what everyone I know has done. Unfortunately I cannot afford it..maybe one day! 🙂