December 29, 2003

Lab automation

Sequencing the SARS Virus. Uses all the things that I like: Linux, PDAs, barcode printers. Lab automation has gone a long way, and can be had on the cheap. Too bad it hasn't caught on around here where I'm at. If I'm ever privileged enough to run my own lab, I'm implementing some of these automation techniques.

Posted by johnvu at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

Internet is no longer fun

'Phisher' site targets Visa, as holiday scams abound. I've gotten so many of these fake Visa email scams in the past 2 months it's not even funny. Luckily yahoo mail just filters these requests into the spam bin. Best policy for all of us is NOT to respond to these types of emails. If it really is that important, these companies would have contacted us via snail mail. Seedy email like this makes the internet a less fun place.

Posted by johnvu at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2003

All the buzz words: Linux, Life Sciences, SuperComputer

LinuxElectrons - St. Jude Prescribes Linux SuperComputer. Minor news, but makes you think about the future. This will soon be old hat. Supercomputer facilities of this magnitude will be found in just about every institution doing biomedical life sciences (BMLS) research -- the nature of competition and dropping computer prices. Sounds like if you want to position yourself in this business of BMLS research you will have to familiarize yourself with the computer tools of the trade. No?

Posted by johnvu at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2003

Organizing all that data (like your lab notebook)

For Doodlers and Pack Rats, a Multimedia Binder. Here's something I read last week that I just now have the time to blog about. MS is coming out with software to organize lots of different media types in a "binder" or sorts. The program is called OneNote. The article caught my eye because it mentions a program called NoteTaker, which is used by a scientist at the NIH as quoted by the author. Interesting perspectives in tackling a huge program -- tons and tons of digital data.

Here's a little device called InkLink that made me recall this article. It's a "tool for instantly capturing your handwriting or drawings directly to your handheld, laptop, or desktop PC." Sounds handy to me. The one hesitancy I have in migrating to digital notebooks as opposed to the traditional pen and paper is that I would like to be able to jot down notes in the margin, etc. And this device seems like something that can bridge the divide. Hmm...now if only I could convince someone to get this for me for Christmas.

Posted by johnvu at 02:25 PM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2003

Good riddance

Virginia Indicts 2 Under Antispam Law. I apologize if this sounds harsh, but good bye and good riddance -- have you no shame? If you want to know what a multi-million dollar earning spammer looks like and what his home looks like, goto the NY Times article above. He was able to afford a plush looking home in Raleigh, NC by taking away your precious time and energy (and maybe money) when he sent you that porn spam. I hope he gets the maximum penalty under law for this crime to society.

Posted by johnvu at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2003

Gub'ment funds

CRISP - A Database of Biomedical Research Funded By the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Just learned about this interesting database. I'm sure most of you out there know of it already. By the way, for that UMI dissertation search, you may require a proxy from your university library for the full search to be enabled.

Posted by johnvu at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2003

A great laptop for the holidays plus curve fit software for biological data

Best Deal - Office Depot: Averatec 5110P Notebook Centrino 1.3GHz 512MB DVD Burner 40GB $1153 shipped AR. Great laptop at a great price. Can't beat integrated DVD+RW. By the way, if you ever wanted to create very professional looking graphs with excellent curve-fit capabilities, check out Graphpad Prism. In fact, the page even has a free PDF ebook, Fitting Models to
Biological Data using Linear and Nonlinear Regression

Posted by johnvu at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2003

Scary scary scary

The Scientist :: Thomas Butler convicted. This could happen to any of us. It's not fun to conduct science when you know Big Brother is breathing down your neck. Goes to show you, when one side has an axe to grind, the voice of reason may still not be loud enough. My question is: why wasn't the trial moved out of Lubbock?

Posted by johnvu at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2003

Download dissertations for free

UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertations - Search - basic. Are you a grad student in the process of writing and looking to see how others have written up their thesis? Or just graduated and curious to see your "masterpiece?" Or perhaps you're curious to see your adviser's thesis but don't feel right to ask him/her? Well, luckily there is a database of dissertations for you to search and download in PDF format (well, for those dissertations published after 1997). UMI handles archiving of dissertations for most (if not all) universities in North America -- well, actually, I mean the U.S. and Canada.

Just search through the database in the link above. The process is a little different than journal publishers. You can't immediately download the PDF. You must first punch in your email address and then wait until the site "preps" the PDF and puts it up for download. Once it's prepped, you goto this page:


Where "XXXXX" is any university code name, for example:


has "harvard" -- it does NOT matter what university you have in that link. You then type in the PIN number that the previous search provided . That should do it -- you'll be sent the same information via email later, but why wait for the email when you can download the file just a few minutes later? You can also browse by university at: http://wwwlib.umi.com/cresearch/browse_name.

This is a great way to find related research as well. It also gives you a perspective of what looks good and what doesn't, what's appropriate in a thesis and what's not, etc. Lastly, I wanted to note that it will be immediately apparent to most of you that some of these dissertations just look aweful -- I mean, the content could be great, but the reproduction quality is just aweful. This is because they archive it from the actual hardcopy that you send to your university's library. Wouldn't it be much better if you could just send your library the PDF format of your thesis and have that archived? Well, yes, it would, but unless your library allows it (and accepts it) you may be screwed. So check with your library/grad office and see what the standard is. UMI accepts submission via FTP and CD-ROM!

You have a thesis archived that you're proud of? Please let me see it and post a comment here.

Posted by johnvu at 04:15 PM | Comments (2)

December 02, 2003


The Scientist :: Front Page, Dec. 1, 2003. Got this tidbit from the pybliographer website. Once OOo integration is implemented, the user base will likely grow, IMO.

Posted by johnvu at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

Cool geeky holiday gift

Costco.com: Canon PowerShot S230. Here's a 3MP digicam that is very competitively priced. Do a search on Pricegrabber for "S230" and you will know what I mean. The next best place is Amazon.com that sells it for $269. Great gift for a good price. Want to know how good this camera is? Check out my relative's photojournal.

Posted by johnvu at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)