Merged

October 24, 2008 at 10:59 am | Posted in blog admin | Leave a comment

This blog has been merged with my main site at mattleifer.info. The new feed is here.

Closed

May 23, 2007 at 6:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Academic Tech is now officially closed due to my lack of enthusiasm for writing posts.  All observations concerning the use of technology in academia will now appear on my main blog Quantum Quandaries.

Scirate – Digg for the arXiv

January 25, 2007 at 4:43 pm | Posted in physics, web 2.0, Websites | 1 Comment

Dave Bacon has started a very interesting new website called Scirate. It is a Digg-like site for the physics arXiv. You can read his post about the site here. It only works for quant-ph at the moment, but I’d urge all fellow quantum travellers to sign up and take part in the experiment.

Real Estate

December 14, 2006 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Websites | Leave a comment

These days, having a good up-to-date personal website can be as important as having a good CV for an academic. If you are applying for a job, you can be sure that someone on the committee has googled you. Also, if you meet someone at a conference and got them interested in your work, your website is the first place they will look for further details.

Most postdocs know how annoying it can be to constantly have to change jobs, and there is an associated change the location of your website each time. This means that people have to update their links every time you move. Also, the URLs of personal homepages at academic institutions are often long and not very easy to remember, so it would be better to have a permanent catchy URL for your site. The solution to this is to buy your own domain name, as I did recently with mattleifer.info. Rob.rwspekkens.com and scottarronson.com are further examples from my colleagues. This has the added advantage of providing me with the email address matt{at}mattleifer.info, which also won’t change when I move. You can buy your own domain name from many companies. I used GoDaddy, which is one of the largest companies with a reputation for the cheapest prices (5.99USD per year in my case). Here are some points to bear in mind when buying your domain:

  • A lot of people want a .com domain because these are the most common and easiest to remember. Strictly speaking, .name and .info are the more appropriate for personal websites, even though your website may be about “selling yourself”. Although these are less common at the moment, their usage should be increasing in the next few years, so they are worth bearing in mind.
  • After purchasing your domain name you have two options. Either you can get the domain name to be forwarded to your existing website at your institution, or you can opt to have it hosted on a server elsewhere. If you do the former, you have to comply with any restrictions your institution has about what you can put on your site and you have to remember to update when you change institution. On the plus side, this option is usually free, and it is what I did. External hosting is usually only free if you are prepared to have obtrusive ads on your site, and it can be quite costly, but you do get a choice of different companies with different regulations, so you can find one that will let you put up whatever you want so long as it’s legal. This could be relevant if you want to write applications to run on your site, since your institution may not support the tools you need installed on the server side. If you don’t know what that last sentence is about then it probably doesn’t apply to you and you should just use forwarding.
  • Companies like GoDaddy are cheap, but they will try to extract money from you by upselling. This means they will try to convince you to buy hosting, security features, etc. when you buy your domain name. Work out if you need any of this stuff before you go to the site and investigate how much it costs from other companies. If in doubt, just buying the domain name is probably the best option.

New Blog

December 8, 2006 at 11:08 pm | Posted in blog admin | 1 Comment

Welcome to my new blog.  It exists for me to occasionally air a whole lot of rants I have stored up about technology in academia, and will be posted to less frequently than my other blog Quantum Quandaries.   Here’s what the about section says:

This blog is about the uses of computers and technology in academia. As well as recommendations of useful websites and software, there is advice on how to make use of the internet in teaching and research, and speculation on how we could make the net a better place for academics. The focus is on things that are useful to people in the mathematical and physical sciences, and I have an unashamed bias towards Apple Macs and open source solutions.

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