Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Time and the Macademics  §

© 2012 Aron Hsiao

In a house containing a toddler and a near-newborn, a clean home office is a rare and fragile thing, to be appreciated before it fades.

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For extroverts, the social world is safe and the natural world is dangerous.

For introverts, the natural world is safe and the social world is dangerous.

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A vignette on the speed of modern life, even in the stuffy academy:

I have been looking for a literature and citations database to help me to manage my ever-unwieldy collection of journal articles, books, conference proceedings, etc.

After reading reviews and trying out time-limited demos, I’d decided on Papers over Sente because I preferred the Papers interface and because Sente cost somewhat more after academic discount than did Papers. So I pulled the trigger on Papers—or so I thought.

Turns out they want evidence of your academic affiliation and time for a human to look at what you submit. They say 24 hours max until you receive your academic discount coupon.

At first I sat waiting impatiently, checking my mail every 10 minutes or so, wanting to be done with the purchase. But within a few hours, I was reading comparisons again and trying out different sets of features than I’d initially evaluated. Soon I’d changed my mind based on some of the more arcane Sente features and some of the community tools I discovered along the way.

About four hours after submitting my request for an academic discount to Papers, I purchased Sente instead, which happens to require no wait for human verification for its academic discount.

If Papers had offered the same, I’d be a Papers customer now instead.

You can’t ask people to wait 24 hours for anything in the online era. It’s just not competitive.

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As an illustrative wrinkle to end the story, within 10 minutes of my purchase my bank’s fraud department called me to verify that I’d indeed authorized the online software purchase.

No way they think waiting 24 hours is a good idea in today’s world.

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So now I use DevonThink, Sente, and Scrivener together as part of a growing “workflow.” I’ve become a completely stereotypical Macademic.

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Whatever helps me get the dissertation out of the way. Thank the stars I’m not still trying to code all of my tools on my own in Linux.

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