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Kindle Magic

posted 20 Feb 2012 04:57 by Daniel James

kindle keyboard
Recently I lashed out on a Kindle, after some prevarication on the web to find out more. I was quite amused by one reviewer who said that the e-ink screen was so good that spent a bit of time trying to get the plastic image off the screen - before they realised it was the screen.


So why get a kindle, I think the closure of bookstores around the traps and the cost of getting books sent from Amazon in the US was what tipped me over the edge. The lure of cheap Kindles on the Amazon site drew me in initially, only to discover that this was only available to US customers. FWIW i also checked out quite a few face to face. I was even prepared to pony up at a Myer store for a Sony reader but the sales assistant shrugged when it couldn't wasn't  plugged in to demo it, I even found the power cord out the back of the dispay case and an unused socket for him… must have been a good commission month LOL hope he was on commission,  I mean there was the plug and there was the wall - but he just kind of walked off.  Luckily Dick Smith came to the rescue with a factory refurbuished Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3)  for $99 bucks, that arrived in the mail in a day of two for the princely sum of $4.21 for delivery..nice. Later i added an e-bay case for $6 (including delivery) that came all the way from the UK in just a week…how do they do it?


So with the plethora of e-book readers how did i arrive at the kindle, and the model I chose? Easy, first I had to put aside my lust for technology for technologies sake, discard the nice but not necessary features and decide what it was I  really wanted - some simple to read books on. Books being those I can buy from a store (Kindle belongs to the largest book store, Amazon ) and can read my plethora of PDF's of existing e-books.


One of the big things that bugged me was some e-readers looked like they were locked down and you had to go through a cloud based service to load up your own PDF's, not such a big deal but you know big brother and all that, what do you do with scanned content from a paper copy of a book? do you wan tthe though police looking over your shoulder? Do you want to have to pay for storage and a down load upload fee? well its in there in the fine print.


Anyways the kindle models had some great features, but what i was after was good price and the convenience of not having to recharge the battery all that often. Thus the e-ink, rather than colour displays was the go, months on a single charge ..seriously good. And the e-ink displays are pretty impressive. 


On getting my first PDF onto the Kindle i was a bit disappointed, an A4 page just isn't all that readable on a 6" screen and the zoom isn't all that functional i recon. Fortunately Calibre(open source software ) came to the rescue and could do a reasonable job of reformatting so as to be quite readable.


Of all the Kindle models I shopped on price rather than features, after the main feature I wanted was to be able to read for extended periods of time so the other features whilst good for bragging rights just aren't all that necessary


On becoming an Expert

posted 19 Dec 2011 03:09 by Daniel James   [ updated 19 Dec 2011 03:10 ]

b
With the recent publication success of members of our research centre at the upcoming Asia Pacific Congress on Sports Technology  has come unsolicited email invitations to present and submit related work elsewhere and several researchers have been asking why?
Below are the papers in question, which have just recently been published in Elsiviers'  Procedia  Engineering and index and available online through science direct
An unobtrusive swimming monitoring system for recreational and elite performance monitoring  
ADAT: A Matlab toolbox for handling time series athlete performance data  
iPhone sensor platforms: Applications to sports monitoring  
Determining over ground running speed using inertial sensors  
Inertial sensor, 3D and 2D assessment of stroke phases in freestyle swimming  
Inertial monitoring of style & accuracy at 10,000 feet  
Triaxial accelerometer sensor trials for bat swing interpretation in cricket  
Towards determining absolute velocity of freestyle swimming using 3-axis accelerometers 
(see the papers online here)  
As published members of the academic community the work has been judged by peers to be of a high standard, in other words the researchers are becoming or considered something of an expert in their areas of specialisation. The sharing of expertise is important to the growth of knowledge and thus the work and potentially related work is considered valuable and thus is attractive to other journals and conferences. This is particularly so in the sports engineering discipline because of its relevance to the fields of sports, engineering and related disciplines like health.
Conferences and journals act in a symbiosis with the research community. Each needing the other to further the availability of and the creation of new knowledge.
If you are fortunate enough to be invited to attend and present at a conference or submit work to a journal this symbiosis is something to be mindful of. Submitting to a well known conference of journal enhances the reputation of your work, submitting to a lessor known conference or journal may enhance their reputation more. Its often worth doing a little detective work on where you work is being invited to, This take take the form of seeing if any of the major professional societies support them, who is on the scientific committee or editorial board to get an understanding of the likely reputation.
Conferences are often put in exotic locations because they have to be somewhere in the world and a nice location can make attendance more attractive. Many developing scientific nations are eager to develop their growing reputation in science through the hosting of conferences and or journals. Costs associated with attending a conference can be substantial so its something else to weigh up along with the benefits, however occasionally you may be invited to speak and have your registration and travel costs covered by the conference. Conferences also need to cover costs and so the recruitment of speakers as paying participants  is an additional consideration. 
Australia has been through a lengthy process of ranking journals (which has been recently discarded at the official level), also there exist international ranking factors (like the IF impact factor, the number of times you work has been read online by others and cited in theor own papers) and wether the journal or conference proceedings is indexed (e.g. through science direct, ISI thompson, IEEExplore to name a few) . increasingly having articles available online, meaning others can easily find your work is growing in populatity.
A common rule of thumb is it takes around 10yrs to become an expert in a specialisation

Google loves Sports Engineering

posted 19 Dec 2011 03:03 by Daniel James   [ updated 19 Dec 2011 03:04 ]

google loves sports engineering
Well google loves sports engineering, but no more than anything else and thats good enough for us. 
Google scholar, and the recent quiet release of google citations suddenly puts all peer reviewed publications on a more equal footing, its a real boost for emerging disciplines like sports engineering. 
Google scholar and google citations does what ISI Thompson does, but includes all peer reviewed publications it can find. This includes the usual suspects like Elsevier and other publishing house journals, with and without impact factors, as well as quite a few that aren't with the major publishing houses. This includes peer reviewed books too. These kinds of metrics are important to the minders of those doing the writing and increasing numbers of people turning to citations in google rather than just the ISI.
Gone are the days of going to the library to find articles, heck even with online catalogs most are opting to use the convenience of google. The canny now use google scholar to helps sort the wheat from the chaff. 
With most sports engineering journals and related publications yet to receive a ranking factor, and the ISEA conference tradition of being published in book form ( and more recently as an Elsivier publication), finally all papers in the discipline, together with their citation information is now aggregated and attributable to authors. This includes not only the International Sports Engineering conferences but also the Asia Pacific Congress of Sports Technology (the unofficial satellite conference) as well as the annual Japan Sports engineering conference (which is just as large as the other two)
So whats the big deal, well the continued development of the discipline requires the advances to be visible and easily find able, google scholar and citations can really help here. For continued development of the disciplines these measures can really help. This metrics for publications improve grant success, promotion prospects of academics doing the research and the standing of the disciple. Successful academics bring bodies of expertise, themed investigation and relevance for industry. in time these researchers will grow into major stakeholders in academia and also ensure the continued growth of sports engineering programmes for training people to work in a growing industry.
From a personal point of view I gave it a try and was pleased to see most of what I have written appear, and a few that I had forgotten about as well. With any luck it'll bring a few more citations, so if you see something you like, please give it a mention in your next publication ;) 
Clearly I'm no Einstein (http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=qc6CJjYAAAAJ&hl=en ) but my citations are at least climbing ;)

Business and Pleasure

posted 9 Dec 2011 18:49 by Daniel James   [ updated 9 Dec 2011 22:06 ]

sunset over japanVisiting Japan brings with it the pleasure of seeing old and new friends again, some indulgence in my favourite hobby of aikido (a kind of energy minimisation problem in a martial context) and the very serious business of sports and sports engineering. Last month was my most recent trip which might be of mild intrest.


A few weeks ago I found myself on a plane and Japan bound again, I think this is the seventh visit, last year was for an international aikido camp I help organise but mostly it's a mix of business and pleasure, this time I was accompanied by centre protege Dr Jim Lee. This was Jim's first trip to Japan, and while eating fish (including raw fish) isn't high on his priorities he assured me that its 'not a problem' , well I hope not because the visit is a precursor to his 1 year Japan Society for the Promotion of Science fellowship which is due to begin in December. Anyways we board the Osaka bound Jetstar flight, again somehow its nearly empty (my last trip was during Japan's Golden week) which means economy is about as comfortable as economy can be. Unfortunately we forgot to book meals and they had run out by the time the cart gets to us, likely story!  as we are in the third row of the plane! No blanket either (thats an extra $5 too), fortunately the seat belt is included in the price of a ticket and with no entertainment we at least have our presentations to work on.  They have to be good because its a Japan conference so visuals can really help our non existent Japanese!


okajima aikido
We touch down in Osaka pretty much on time, and then begins a frenetic navigation of the Osaka public transport system, as we have an applied biomechanics workshop to attend in the early evening. Actually its a class with  Okajima sensei to try and get a handle on some of the Daito-Ryu Aikijujitsu waza he presented a few years ago back in Australia. Daito-ryu is the forerunner of Aikido and one of the reasons slightly built geriatric Japanese can fling hot-blooded westerners around with ease. Fortunately I have downloaded the maps, know the exit number of the stations, been there before[1] and have a compass in my phone[2]. 


Thus we make it in pretty good order to the Kansai headquarters of Aikido Yuishinkai and who should I find intruding on my idea of being the  only westerner in a Japanese martial arts dojo but Lisa and Mark of Balina/Byron dojos. I first met Mark in the UK 10yrs ago during a stint in the finance industry,  and we continue a fine tradition of bumping into each other as we can around the world. The ensuing class was excellent and sensei was obliging in working through some of the advanced mathematics of stability, centre of mass and optimum toppling moment, colloquially known in the aikido community  as aiki-age and aiki-sage.


After practice we adjourn to a local noodle house for some  Japanese English conversation that becomes progressively more animated and sensei shares a little of his insights into inyo, a concept that has only recently hit my radar following discussion on aikiweb.com, reading Amdur's book 'Hidden in Plain Sight' and a Kareteka / Shintaido practitioner that visited our dojo recently.


kyoto maruyama park cemetry
Next stop, how to find our hotel a few stops down the line. Along the way we are accosted by all manner of halloween costumed tweens, I think some of them forgot to put all of their costumes on too, I must be getting old. Next morning we head of to Kyoto on the Hankyu line, cheaper and faster that the JR line and less walk at the other end to the hotel too. Our hotel is in the heart of the Gion district, of Geisha fame. Unfortunately our host and long time collaborator Prof. Yuji Ohgi is delayed and so we amuse ourselves for the afternoon. How do we do this? By trying to change some money on a weekend and then heading up through Maruyama park and up the local mountain behind it. When we reach the top and its raining so we share a hut with a Japanese gentleman who speaks great English, but apologises in Spanish…go figure!


Eventually we decide to brave the rain and head down in a slightly different direction, pretty soon we hit some sign posts that have nothing recognisable on them (not that uncommon in Japan for ignorant gaijin) and proceed, using our our aforementioned poor sense of direction. The road gives way to vehicle path gives way to vehicle track to a path, gives way to a goat track that leads us down something pretty steep halfway up a ravine and judging by the cobwebs its not used that much. About now I'm thinking of the stories in the news about tourists that get lost in our local bush around Brisbane, without protective clothing, map, food etc… and with daylight fading we realise that yep thats pretty much us and if we are not careful we'll end up in a cemetery. Funny that,  because thats exactly where we end up just 10minutes later. Wiggling our way further downhill we run into a few Japanese tourists, Jim practices his skills and there is lots of giggling, buts thats Jim and language is not barrier there and we make out way back to our hotel.


tozando
daniel james yuji ohgi
Next day we are off to the conference at the Kyoto university. Tantalisingly on the way we discover a Tozando[3] branch office, where the credit card takes a bit of a hit, somehow I resist the temptation of the antique samurai swords, maybe not so surprising with the price coming in anywhere from $AUD50, 000 and up. Despite just a few purchases Haruko-san takes an intrest in my hobby and the transportation needs of the purchases i must cart all over japan and get through customs. With the usual tradition of over wrapping she helps me get what I need to carry them through various subways, buses and shinkansen. Just around the corner we also discover the Kyoto Budokan, wow! its straight out of the matrix training video, no time for practice though, despite an invitation, alas. (here's a pic of the inside )


fugu
I've been following the JSME (Japan Society of Mechanical Engineering) joint symposium on Sports Engineering and Human Dynamics for a few years now[4], which recently became a formal society of the JSME. While the conference is in Japanese and for japanese, though there are a sprinkling of a few token westerners,  its still very informative with mathematics the universal language and some faily fancy animations in the presentations (thankyou Ohta san). The conference is a great way to see what is happening in Japan research and industry, and is well supported this year with over 300 people attending I think. This makes it as large or larger than the biennial International ISEA conferences and the Asia Pacific Congress on Sports Technology. Also at the conference are a lot of industry exhibits, there is some really  cool (and the odd kooky) business ventures on display, many of what have continued to develop from when I saw at the previous years conference.


The conference was a great way to catch up with research colleagues in Japan that I have got to know over the years through collaborator and pal Yuji Ohgi and more from several universities around Japan and a few companies as well, including ARS. I was mistaken for David Rowlands at once point, I guess us westerners all look the same ;) Most nights we are whisked off for dinner with another of Yuji's colleagues, into the back streets to feast on something that is famous for something from a particular region, though at times we aren't sure what it is we are eating, and sometimes we discover its better not to ask.


delicious food - oishi
At conference end we dine at a friends of Yuji's new restaurant in the heart of Gion, its an exquisite meal of many courses in a traditional style room. There is momentary excitement, beyond the gastronomic adventure of the subtle and sublime tastes of each course, as the infamous fugu (puffer fish is served up). We are assured by our companions that the reputation of the fish is unfounded, and only a few people die from it each year in the whole of Japan and usually by unlicensed chefs serving it up. While Jim eats it with great gusto (fortunately slurping is appreciated in Japan so he isn't an embarrassment here) whilst I hold back a little. Its a winning strategy I'm thinking, till one of the others guests suggest to me that if it is poisoned there might be no more ambulances left by the time I show symptoms, maybe I need to man up?


Apart from that the dinner conversation is quite dignified *cough* with a colleague sharing a little of his work as a famous sportswear designer. His work builds 'supportive wear' for females of all ages shapes and sizes, which piques the interest of most people carrying the XY chromosome at the table as he describes the challenges of the occupation and the importance of very thorough testing. There is some excited talk of collaborative work in the future, though for those of us that are married it looks like a high risk venture.


mizu temple
golden temple
During our time in Kyoto we manage to fit in some time to visit temples, including the famous Mizu temple, the golden shrine and some stately homes and amazing gardens. On our final day in Kyoto and we stumble upon the 'philosophers path'[5] near the university after a quick soba lunch near a temple. The philosophers path looks interesting, but there is no time for it, maybe later…isn't that always the way. Another Koan from Japan…sigh


Later on we journeyed Tokyo way to Keio Universities Shonan Fujisawa campus, where we were invited to give a lecture to the students and have a good look around. Jim was particularly interested in the facilities as this is where he will be based for the coming year looking at prosthetic legs for running athletes and a bit of swimming on the side.


ohgi jo
We stay with Yuji and family, which was a lovely time to reconnect with Midori and Miwa as well as to check out their fabulous new house. Well its a new house but actually its a very old house redesigned by the Ohgi's, originally an a few hundred year old barn shipped all the way from Yamagata. The exposed beams and traditional construction were lovely, as was the setting high on a hill and nestled in a local reserve. Structurally it uses no nails and has a lovely open airy feel to it. For our time there, we had to chop wood for the fire, something thats in Jim's blood being from Tasmania.



dinner by midori and dishie

chopping wood supervised by miwa



All too soon it was time to say goodbye and jumping on the train  to Narita and heading home on the night flight. 






First up is the confrontation with my underfed addiction to sugar and fat,  which a familiar multinational fast food is eager to satisfy....do i feel conned ?


Again the plane is 1/2 empty, and through the wisdom of computerised seating systems we are all jammed in to the back half of the plane. Newly invigorated with a love of sports, once the plane is at altitude I make the 30 yard dash for the spare seats up front and manage to get a reasonable nights sleep. 




[1] Budo bums in Japan, see Trip and Seminar Reports

[2]  I find a compass essential because in the northern hemisphere my sense of direction is the opposite (but not opposite enough that i trust it) and emerging from the rabbit warren of japanese subways and confronted with Neon signs its hard to find something that tells you which way you need to go

[3] Tozando is a somewhat well known martial arts store that does mail orders overseas, it's kinda the Ralph Lauren of uniforms and equipment. www.shogoin.com is Haruko-san's shop

[4] recent conferences include Tokyo APCST, Kanazawa, Tsukuba, Akita, Fukuoka (which sadly I missed) and now Kyoto

[5] http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/profile/intro/photo/list/philosopher.htm


Google loves Sports Engineering

posted 21 Nov 2011 02:45 by Daniel James

Well google loves sports engineering, but no more than anything else and thats good enough for us. 

Google scholar, and the recent quiet release of google citations suddenly puts all peer reviewed publications on a more equal footing, its a real boost for emerging disciplines like sports engineering. 

Google scholar and google citations does what ISI Thompson does, but includes all peer reviewed publications it can find. This includes the usual suspects like Elsevier and other publishing house journals, with and without impact factors, as well as quite a few that aren't with the major publishing houses. This includes peer reviewed books too. These kinds of metrics are important to the minders of those doing the writing and increasing numbers of people turning to citations in google rather than just the ISI.

Gone are the days of going to the library to find articles, heck even with online catalogs most are opting to use the convenience of google. The canny now use google scholar to helps sort the wheat from the chaff. 

With most sports engineering journals and related publications yet to receive a ranking factor, and the ISEA conference tradition of being published in book form ( and more recently as an Elsivier publication), finally all papers in the discipline, together with their citation information is now aggregated and attributable to authors. This includes not only the International Sports Engineering conferences but also the Asia Pacific Congress of Sports Technology (the unofficial satellite conference) as well as the annual Japan Sports engineering conference (which is just as large as the other two)

So whats the big deal, well the continued development of the discipline requires the advances to be visible and easily find able, google scholar and citations can really help here. For continued development of the disciplines these measures can really help. This metrics for publications improve grant success, promotion prospects of academics doing the research and the standing of the disciple. Successful academics bring bodies of expertise, themed investigation and relevance for industry. in time these researchers will grow into major stakeholders in academia and also ensure the continued growth of sports engineering programmes for training people to work in a growing industry.

From a personal point of view I gave it a try and was pleased to see most of what I have written appear, and a few that I had forgotten about as well. With any luck it'll bring a few more citations, so if you see something you like, please give it a mention in your next publication ;) 


Clearly I'm no Einstein (http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=qc6CJjYAAAAJ&hl=en ) but my citations are at least climbing ;)

Time and Attention

posted 12 Nov 2011 19:45 by Daniel James

I forget where I i first came across this term, maybe it was on merlins 43 folders website. Anyways it was interesting, after a bit of soul searching and  discovery of where my time and attention was actually going I started to direct a bit more of it towards my work life. It was quite successful it that there were tangible outcome, and helped me enjoy my working life even more. I'd encourage others to think about doing similar in their work lives.

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