Mar 12, 2006

Tech Items

I have been trying to collect links that would help grad students writing theses, especially those of us at good old State.

Starting Off
Some good resources on several software are available at:

http://its.psu.edu/training


By this what I mean is, people, go and register for these seminars and then once you finish the seminar, play around a lot with that piece of software, that is the best way to learn.

Online Document Storage and Sharing

You have to love google docs for this . You can store a document by uploading it, or by directly emailing it (Note: works only for *.doc not spreadsheets; emailed to a quasi-private address)
You can have friends email to the same email address and if you allow shared access multiple people can edit the document and save changes.
You can also share documents via Yahoo briefcase and similar other things but google's functionality and upload speed are the best.

More Technical Details

One thing which I have noticed is that many people do not know how to "generate a table of contents" automatically using Style Sheets in word. This is useful when you want to keep track of several figures, data tables and section headings in a dynamic (read frequently corrected by thesis committee) document.
Some resources for that are here:

1. http://www.shaunakelly.com/word/toc/CreateATOC.html

2. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/285059

3. http://www.logicaltips.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=289

For more you can google "creating table of contents in word".

Tip: Be careful while using PSUThesi, pennstate's suggested format, Read up ahead of time (i.e at least 3 days before thesis deadline.. hahahahahha could resist!)
about the different format restrictions and then plunge into it.
ALWAYS BE PARANOID and keep backing up your document every 30 mins to 3-4 locations.
Penn State offers storage on Udrive, XDrive (Pass space) and your department might offer more, You can also keep emailing stuff to your gmail account (1GB & growing storage!)
Computers fail, jumpdrives break, electricity fails and all the forces in heaven and hell will try to distrupt your thesis. If you know Indian mythology, it is like a sage's penance being disrupted by Asuras and Apsaras. So be careful and 'back that doc up".

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