Tag Archive | OSX

Papers 2 – The Best Researcher Software now on PC

Papers 2.2
Price $79
Rating: 4.9 outta 5 stars !

The latest version of Paper (2.2.10) on the Mac has matured very nicely since its early and rough days of v2.0.

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My Tunes Pro App Review

UPDATE: Latest version (2.1.0) removes the best feature, Manual controls of the SRS WOW sound enhancer, and replaces it with the ability to save and share your settings. This sounds like a great idea, accept that it should be an addition, not a replacement. I have no interest in sharing my tunings, and furthermore, I want the ability to tweak the sound quickly. With the new system I have to go thru the whole process of logging in online, making a new tuning, go thru a prolonged step by step process taking up several minutes of my time, without actually being able to hear the changes in realtime to my music…. no thanks…. they just ruining the only half decent feature of the app.
My Tunes Pro (By SRS Labs) – 3 outta 5 stars  1.5 outta 5
  • Improves audio sound quality over default iOS music app
  • Lots of tweaks so that you can get sound to sound how you like it
  • Can access all your music from your music app
  • Has some extra workout, party playlist functions and a decent driving skin with large buttons for easier controls.
  • Cheap compared to the iWOW hardware dongle ($7.49 vs $59.95) Read More…

How To Reduce PDF file size using ColorSync in OSX Lion

Here is a quick guide to reduce the file size of a PDF using the built-in (FREE) Preview and ColorSync App’s that come with OSX.

This will work with older versions of OSX (10.3-10.6) as well. In fact it works better there as you don’t need to manually copy the Filter to the core library for it to work (i.e. Part 2) !

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iMac (2010) Freezing with 8Gb of RAM

Ever since I got my iMac in 2010 (21″ Core i3 3.06Ghz with 8Gb of Ram) it has been randomly freezing. This freeze is permanent, and requires a forced reboot of the machine by holding down of the power button. The screen is stuck on whatever was happening at the time, and it would be completely unresponsive to all input. Read More…

Mekentosj – Great Software for Biological Science

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If you have a lot of PDFs on you computer and struggle to organize and locate them… then perhaps you need PAPERS.

I have been using this program since it was first released a few years ago.

And it has become one of the most important pieces of software for my research.  I no longer need to print out endless numbers of papers, more over I can easily find each paper,  tag them, make digital notes, and have everything searchable.  If you have used iTunes for your music then you’ll be right at home with papers. The interface is quite similar, you can make “playlists” and smart ones too that auto update.

You can search Pubmed and lots of other online database’s directly from papers and I find it much quicker and easier to use then the official websites.  It also downloads the PDF from within the program, along with all the author, journal, etc meta data.

It is missing a few things that would make it the ultimate piece of software, mainly the ability to insert citations and format bibliographies.  So you’ll still need endnote unfortunately.
But it does such a great job of organizing that its worth the small price.


4 outta 5 stars.


UPDATE:  Papers 1.9 & Paper for the iPhone/touch has just been released.iTunes Store Link



This is a small widget and now an iphone app, that makes making  solutions with the correct molarity a breeze.  The widget is free, but there is a small cost for the iphone app.

There are lots more apps including 4Peaks and RNAi which are free and you can get them all from http://mekentosj.com/

Thanks guys your doing a great job, keep up the great work !

Drobo Review (USB 2.0+Firewire 800)

Rating 4 outta 5 stars !

Super easy tool-less setup
Use any S-ATA drive

Price, and no networking without droboshare or similar device

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About 1 month ago my Lacie Big Ethernet disk died (days after the warranty expired)… and I lost ~1Tb of data. So I started looking for a better solution… and thankfully Xmas was coming and my wife was happy to have that be my present. Raid solutions were too complicated and time consuming to setup and maintain. Also I wanted something that was compatible with Timemachine, and allowed easy expansion in the future.

The only solution I found was a Drobo.

Fortunately the drives from the Lacie were still useable (just the controller card broke) and I had another 300Gb sata disk lying around so I was able to set the thing up without a huge upfront cost.

Tech Spec’s

SATA I or SATA II hard disk drives

* Full or half-height, no carriers required

* Choose the drive manufacturer, capacity (mixed capacities ok), and

spindle speed or cache that fits your current storage needs

* FireWire 800

* USB 2.0

File System Options

Windows: NTFS

Mac OS X: HFS+

Cross-Platform: FAT32

Linux: EXT3


Idle system (standby, drives off) = 5 watts

Typical idle system – idle, drive spin down mode (one drive) = 12 watts

Typical busy system (four drives) = 40 watts


Normal operation: 20.9dB (negligible) to 24.2 dB**

Drobo’s Size: 

Width 152.4 mm (6.3″)

Height 160 mm (6.3″)

Length 271.8 mm (10.7″)


* Its very very easy to setup. I had mine up and running in less than 10 min, from un-boxing to coping over data.

* No tools are needed, just slide any S-ATA hard drive in and bob’s your uncle

* No software needed but included drobodashboard is quite useful

* USB or Firewire 800

* Can be formated in HFS+ and thus works with timemachine

* Nice LED indicators give all useful info at a glance

* Fully automated data redundancy, you don’t need to do anything, and it shuts itself down too.

* Hot-swappable drives

* Amazingly small footprint for a 4 bay enclosure

* Quiet

* Operates just like any other usb/firewire external hardrive. You can partition it with disk utility etc.

* Additional drives don’t need formatting, just buy them and slide them in. Drobo takes care of the rest.


* Its a bit pricey and if you have to buy drives then the cost maybe too much for some.

* You have to pay extra to network it (via droboshare)

* The largest drive is used for redundancy, thus in my case adding a 1.5Tb drive gives no extra useable space over just adding a 500Gb drive.. until I upgrade the 300Gb drive (see images below).

Other Issues:

The main issues I had was trying to transfer my old Timemachine to the Drobo. I tried Superduper and Disk Utility… following the many guides out there on the internet,.. but it would continually fail to copy about half way thru. So I gave up, and started a fresh. My old 500Gb drive was a P-ata drive anyways so I couldn’t use it in the Drobo, so it now sits in a cupboard just incase.

It is now working very well with Timemachine, I chose to set the drobo up as a 1Tb partition, this is more than enough space for backing up the two Macbook’s in the house. When I add another drive, a new 1Tb partition will be made automatically and I will use this for other files. NB: with Drobo you have to specify the size 1,2,4 or up 16 Tb as the partition size of the drive even if you don’t have that much actual space. This allows you to expand with easy. This can cause problems with Timemachine as if I had set this thing up as the standard 2Tb size, TM would try and use up all that 2Tb. But the reality is that I only currently have ~1Gb of useable space and thus TM & Drobo would chuck a fit when it try’s to copy extra data past 1Tb.

Eventually I will network this thing, probably via a airport extreme or mac mini so that I can have Timemachine work wirelessly. NB: The Droboshare add-on does not currently support TM.


All in all, I am very happy with how well and simple it is. It will provide future proof data security and hopefully I won’t loose 1Tb of Data again !

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