What I’m Reading [4]

Yet another list of 10 articles I have enjoyed reading this week.

# The Masked Avengers [David Kushner, The New Yorker]

# The Trotskyites of the Right are Wrecking the Conservative Party [Polly Toynbee, The Guardian]

# Bye, Google Maps. [Zach Hamed, Medium]

(Citymapper is an incredible app. It has a beautiful design and a comprehensive set of features. It is, however, limited to only a few cities.)

# When Life Hacking Is Really White Privilege [jendziura, Medium]

# Four Ways to Organize Your Money Based on Your Personality [Molly Triffin, Lifehacker]

# Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) [Benedict Evans,]

# How to Be Alone [Maria Popova, Brain Pickings]

# My Year with a Distraction-Free iPhone [Jake Knapp, Medium]

# Why Walking Helps Us Think [Ferris Jabr, The New Yorker]

# The Most Important Transportation Innovation of the Decade Is the Smartphone [Eric Goldywn Jabr, Citylab]


Trouble in Paradise? Jobs in the Academy

A recent article on Medium – Academia and the People Without Jobs – recently caught my attention, quite possibly because of its salience to the choices I will soon have to make. It’s not the first and certainly will not be the last to discuss the allegedly bleak situation facing post-doctoral students.

I’m not sure whether the situation in the United Kingdom is the same as the United States (as detailed in this linked article), but I feel it, amongst many others, has raised a number of important concerns for those contemplating post-doctoral study. As someone who is considering studying for a PhD in Geography, it’s alarming to see so many negative and so few positive articles.


What I’m Reading [3]

A further short post of ten articles I have enjoyed reading this week.

# ‘Paris Syndrome’ Drives Chinese Tourists Away [Ania Nussbaum, Bloomberg]

# How to Be Polite [Paul Ford, Medium]

# Slot Machine Science [Brad Plumer,]

# The Most Wanted Man in the World [James Bamford, WIRED]

# The Future of College? [Graeme Wood, The Atlantic]

# The End of Neighbours [Brian Bethune, Maclean’s]

# Postscript: Robin Williams, 1951-2014 [Anthony Lane, The New Yorker]

# Suicide & Silence: Why Depressed Men are Dying for Somebody to Talk To [Owen Jones, The Guardian]

# How (and Why) to Develop Your Mental Toughness [Patrick Allan, Lifehacker]

# Is Samsung bigger than Google? [Nilay Patel, The Verge]


Improving Your Productivity

I’m always interested in discovering new ways to improve my productivity. Earlier today I came across a fantastic website, A Year of Productivity. One article – 100 Time, Energy, & Attention Hacks to be More Productive – stood out as particularly valuable.

Here are a few of my favourite tips:


What I’m Reading [2]

Another short post of ten articles I have enjoyed reading this week.

# Is Coding the New Literacy? [Tasneem Raja,]

# The Obesity Era [David Berreby,]

# How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day [Ron Friedman, Harvard Business Review]

# How to Read A Book [Shane Parrish, Farnham Street Blog]

# The Overwhelming Persistence of Neighbourhood Poverty [Richard Florida, City Lab]

# An Inside Look at Facebook’s Method for Hiring Designers [First Round Review]

# Does It Matter How a Condemned Man Dies? [Alex Hanford, GQ]

# Why Not Even Exercise Will Undo the Harm of Sitting All Day & What You Can Do About It [Hannah Newman, Quartz]

# 10 Lessons I Learned from a Year of Productivity Experiments [Chris Bailey, Lifehacker]

# 50 Apps To Improve Your Life In 2014 [Johnny Davis, Esquire]


What I’m Reading [1]

A short post of ten articles I have enjoyed reading this week.

# How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide [James Clear,]

# 7 Reasons Why You Will Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life [Raymmar Tirado, Medium]

# 7 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Be More Productive, Backed By Science [CamMi Pham, Medium]

# The Beginner’s Guide to Getting Better Sleep [James Clear, Entrepreneur]

# Thirty Things I’ve Learned [Nick Crocker, Medium]

# How to Get Ahead by Speaking Vaguely [Joel Stein, Bloomberg Businessweek]

# Being A Better Online Reader [Maria Konnikova, The New Yorker]

# 9 Minutes a Day is the Magic Number for Better Personal Branding [Mihir Patkar, Lifehacker]

# Kara Swisher Is Silicon Valley’s Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work? [Benjamin Wallace, NYMag]

# How to Change Other People [Leo Babauta, Zen Habits]


Apple Devices


5 Apps for Researching & Report Writing

As a follow-up to my previous article on using an iPad or other tablet device in lectures, I felt that listing and justifying some of the apps I’ve used to assist my research and/or write my dissertation would be a worthwhile exercise. FYI, I used a combination of an iPhone, iPad & Mac to produce my dissertation and so, the apps discussed below may not be compatible with alternative desktop and mobile operating systems.


I’ve been a long time user and advocate of Evernote. A few people have previously misinterpreted my expressed enthusiasm for it on Bowling Googlies as a covert marketing attempt. Supposedly I’m on their payroll. I shouldn’t have to say this (again!), but I’m not. Put simply, I love it and use it for absolutely everything! It’s unquestionably the most versatile, reliable and feature-rich note-taking app. It’s also available for free and cross-platform. Rather than expounding yet another academic application of Evernote, I would recommend you to read this article by Greg Clinton. I would add that for my dissertation, I used Evernote to store reading materials, text notes, illustrations, and photographs, and Dropbox for the dissertation file itself, versions of it, and audio-recordings.

Adobe InDesign CC

Adobe InDesign CC may seem a peculiar and/or unnecessary choice for writing up your research. After all, its an expensive application intended for use by professionals not students and there are many alternatives (e.g. Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Pages for Mac). It is, however, an invaluable and unrivalled tool for those who obsess over the little details. Most importantly, It affords you absolute control over the design and structure of your document, something the aforementioned applications struggle to compete with. For those unfamiliar with Adobe InDesign CC, I would recommend this playlist of YouTube videos (intended for CS5, but also of use to CC users).


To eliminate the problems of computer failure, file corruption, loss and theft of devices and so forth, you should store everything in a cloud synchronised folder. Put simply, everything you’re not storing in Evernote should be stored in Dropbox. Whilst you could alternatively use Box, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or one of the many other cloud storage providers, I’ve found Dropbox to be the simplest and most reliable option.


RescueTime isn’t an academic app, but a time management tracker. It provides a very detailed account of how you spend your time to help you become more productive. It’s also cross-platform (available for Android, Linux, Mac & PC) and free. The free version of the app includes time tracking for applications and websites, the setting of goals, and online and weekly email reports. There’s also a premium version which provides all of the features of the free version in addition to alerts, accomplishments, website blocking, more detailed reports, and tracking of your time away from your computer or Mac. Toggl is an another good option.


DropVox is a great audio recording app for iPhone and iPad. In addition to using my dictaphone (a Phillips Voice Tracer LFH0882) to record interviews and focus group discussions, I used DropVox for audio backups. Whilst iOS and OS X do have built-in audio recording utilities, unlike DropVox, they don’t automatically upload the recordings to Dropbox. The app is also available for Mac.

If you’ve used any apps for research that I haven’t listed, feel free to leave a comment.