Category Archives: Software

Software related things, probably focusing on things available for OS X

iPhone sensing

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I am thrilled by the fact that various sensing technologies are getting so cheap that they are incorporated everywhere. As could be seen from the presentation of Apple’s new iPhone, it includes an accelerometer to sense tilt of the device (and also movement if they decide to use that for anything), a proximity sensor (ultrasound?) to turn off the display when the phone is put to the ear and a light sensor to change the brightness of the screen (?).


Smart programs

I had a discussion about which software tools I use for my research, so here is a list of the most important (in no particular order):

  • Firefox: with adblock and mouse gestures.
  • NetNewsWire: for handling all the blogs I am reading.
  • MarsEdit: to write blog entries. Publishes directly to my WordPress driven blog.
  • OmniGraffle: for making diagrams. I even made my last conference poster with this program, works great also with photos.
  • OmniPutliner: for making nested lists of everything
  • BibDesk: for handling all my references + linking all the relevant PDF-files.
  • DevonThink Pro: for storing texts and PDFs of information. I also use the built-in AI-improved search tool for finding relevant stuff in my BibDesk library.
  • TeXshop: for writing my dissertation. Greatly simplifies writing a LaTeX document.
  • TextWrangler: for batch processing of text files.
  • Max/MSP/Jitter: for all my programming needs.

And some web services that I couldn’t live without either:

  • Google Scholar: for searching for documents. The best thing is that it even links to documents that the university have access to.
  • Amazon: for finding boooks, browsing through them and getting bibliography information.
  • CiteUlike: for extracting bibliography information automatically from various sources. The best thing is that it formats the reference as a bibTeX entry which I paste directly into BibDesk.
  • WordPress: for handling my web page and blog.

Gestures and technology

What I find most fascinating about Apple’s new iPhone, is the shift from buttons to body. Getting away from the paradigm of pressing buttons to make a call or to navigate, the iPhone boasts a large multi-touch screen where the user will be able to interact by pointing at pictures and objects. Furthermore, the built-in rotation sensor will sense the direction of the device and rotate the screen accordingly, somehow similar to how new digital cameras rotate the pictures you take automatically. It seems like this will be the year when technology finally got a bit more human-friendly. Nintendo started by launching the motion-sensing game console Wii, and now Apple follows up by removing the buttons on a mobile media phone.

This new commercial turn comes as no big surprise for everyone that has been involved in technological research in the last years. Human-computer interaction has grown to a large research field dealing with this type of things, and the industry has a lot of prototypes to build on when developing new devices. Motion sensing and analysis is a hot research topic and is certainly the future when it comes to human-computer interaction.

Another hot research topic, that will probably also make it to new commercial products in not too long, is semantics. Rather than having one-to-one systems where you press a button and get a response, future devices will be able to sense and feel in a human-like fashion and respond accordingly. Then we can finally start talking about “human-friendly” devices.

LaTeX: Table of Contents tricks

As my dissertation draft grows bigger (and messier…), I see that I need to restrict the depth of the Table of Contents. These lines do the trick:


First I tried to use tocdepth 2, but that gave me three levels. I guess this is because it counts the chapter level as 0.

I have also been wondering why the bibliography hasn’t shown up in the table of contents. I haven’t found an explanation, but the solution is this: