Friday, August 27, 2010

My top ten pieces of software

And now for something completely different. A brief list of neat pieces of software I've been using (widely understood to include online services).
  1. WinEdt (6.0) - my favorite LaTeX editor. I've been trying to use quite a few different editors, but this one really works for me. It's not freeware, it's not Linux-compatible (as you could figure out from its name). But I like how you can set up your own macros, how it uses bookmarks, and how it handles large multi-file projects.
  2. Allway Sync - a neat program (freeware in its moderate version) that helps you to synchronize your files across different units. If you switch between computers more than a few times a week, this one's really cool. What I've done is I configured it to check my flash disk automatically once I plug it in on any computer I'm using and to automatically update the files. Saves lots of time and helps to avoid file version mix-ups.
  3. PDFX-Change - a nice PDF viewer with convenient commenting options - quite useful for on-screen proofreading and grading, if you care about saving paper or if you work with people over the Internet.
  4. FreeMind - a java-based mind-mapping software. I use it to organize papers I've read (you can include local or external links). It is kinda cool to draw arrows between papers, add comments, group them according to topic and so on. Sometimes I also use it to outline papers.
  5. TimeGT - For a long time I was looking for a nice task management software. I tried quite a few different ones, but eventually settled on this one. It is complicated enough to handle my task groupings, but sufficiently user friendly to allow me spend less time organizing my tasks than actually performing them. Also, it is GTD-compatible.
  6. Speaking of GTD, GTD for gmail is a nice add-on that helps one to survive email storms. It works quite well for Firefox. The Chrome version is still a bit shaky, but things are looking bright.
  7. GoogleReader really helps me to keep track of all those interesting blog posts on all those neat blogs I'm following (only now I have 572 unread items). It's also an excellent procrastinating tool when you don't feel like really working, but don't wanna feel guilty about not doing anything useful. You can also find your friends and follow their recommendations.
  8. StyleWriter (4.0) - only recently I started using this interesting piece of proofreading software. What's quite nice about it is that it focuses on avoiding pompous and wordy phrases, lengthy sentences and such. It actually helps me to keep my writing simple(r). Alas, it's not freeware. Another problem is, it doesn't handle LaTeX too well, so I have to play around with my text before I run it by StyleWriter.
  9. JabRef reference manager. It works quite well with bibtex databases, and it is not too bad as a pdf manager.
  10. Speaking of references, Mendeley certainly deserves a honorable mention (I wrote about it some time ago). Come to think of it, I'm quite disappointed by how it can't handle switching between computers and changing local folders, so I'm waiting for a better version before I start using it seriously.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How not to use the Church-Turing thesis against platonism

Recently, I've written up a quick note explaining why an argument against platonism, based on the Church-Turing thesis and deployed by Olszewski (1999) doesn't work. It's here. Abstract below.
Olszewski [1999] claims that the Church-Turing thesis can be used in an argument against platonism in philosophy of mathematics. I argue that the argument relies on the illegitimate conflation of effective computability with computability by any means, and that even if it worked, it would not be an argument against platonism, but rather against any realism about truth-value of mathematical sentences.

Some Polish classics online

The Polish Virtual Library of Science made quite a few classical volumes available. Among them, some historical volumes of Acta Arithmetica, Annales Polonici Mathematici, Fundamenta Mathematicae, Mathematical Monographs series, Mathematical Dissertations and Studia Mathematica. Here. Of special interest, Kuratowski's and Sierpinski's works in the Mathematical Monographs series. Here. Alas, some of the stuff is in French and some is in Polish.