3 Jun 2011

PhD writing tools

The end is nigh! ...or at least in sight! After four years, my PhD is nearing completion. The plan is to to deliver and defend my thesis sometimes this autumn. In these years, I've used several (free) tools that others might find useful doing the same, or similar, kind of work:

* Zotero - a Firefox-plugin that help me organize papers, citations, web-pages and other resources. All papers/notes are saved in "the cloud" for easy access across multiple terminals (...or Firefoxes). A great tool that enables you to tag, add notes, cross-link papers, add comments to/highlight text in PDFs, etc.

The Zotero Firefox plugin.

* Freemind - a mind-mapping tool. It was the best (open source) mind-mapping tool four years ago - and I believe it still is. Its written in java, so some slowness is included. It has great export functionality as shown in this HTML exported mind-map with the topic "FLOSS development".

Freemind mind-mapping tool.

* Dia - to create professional looking figures for use in papers.

* Dropbox - to sync all my resources (PDFs, papers, presentations, etc) across multiple computers. I might switch to Ubuntu ONE later - but Dropbox works, and it works well.

* OpenOffice (LibreOffice) Draw - to create PhD-posters. Read my howto here.

* I write all my papers in Emacs with the AUCTeX LaTex mode and RefTex to create the TOC speedbar (see screenshot below). For notes I use xpad, and all revision control is done in Subversion (papers, documents, figures, presentations, code).

The desktop manager is Fluxbox with a bunch of key-bindings, bfpager, and gkrellm with bfm-plugin for system monitoring (I like to watch my system resources). Its the same setup I've used for years:

Screenshot of my current workspace: Fluxbox with gkrellm, Emacs, 2x xpads and 2x terminals.


Chris Portela said...

I've never heard of Free Mind although I've used another one called View Your mind (good but not that great...). But I started playing with this thing and it's totally awesome. Mind if I summarize this on my blog and post a link?

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