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The Technology Revolutionizing the Life of the Scholar
A quiet revolution is underway in the lives of scholars. The latest IT (information technology) developments have enabled scholars finger tip access to unlimited information, which is allowing them a level of education undreamed of in earlier times. This tab explains what that technology is and how it can be used to transform the self education of scholars to a far higher level.
A File Sharing Site (e.g. eMule.com, utorrent.com, etc)
A Laptop/Desktop PC
A 2T(erabyte) Mass Storage Disk (plus backup disk)
A 23″ (or larger) Display Screen on your desk
An iPAD with max memory (64G or 128G), or equivalent tablet (e.g. Samsung)
A Portable Router (you keep in your pocket)
Annotation Software (e.g. iAnnotate.com)
Anti-Censor Software (if you live in a dictatorship like China, etc) e.g. ExpressVPN, etc
An Electronic Stylus (for annotating)
File Transfer Software (from desktop to iPad, e.g. Dropbox)
Access to PC Software (to access your PC from your iPad when away from your desk) e.g. LogMeIn.com
How it all works
Use your file sharing site (e.g. emule.com, etc) to download research papers, etc to your “2T” (mass storage disk). You can download a whole library this way and store it on your 2T. Classify these downloads into sensible hierarchical categories. Then transfer what you want from your private e-library to your iPad for easy portable reading. You can use the software iAnnotate to annotate your papers, books, etc.
If you are away from your desk and want to download a file from your file sharing site, e.g. when studying in the park and you want to get hold of a reference you see in the paper you are currently studying on your iPad, then use your portable (wifi) router to access your laptop on your desk, using software such as LogMeIn.com The image of your laptop will then appear on your iPad. Download the file you want (e.g. using Google’s Scholar, or arxiv.org, or emule.com etc). Store the file on your 2T, and put it in your laptop’s Dropbox which is connected to the Dropbox on your iPad. The desired file will appear in your iPad’s Dropbox. Put that new file in your iAnnotate software and annotate it if you want. You can then read the new file on your iPad while relaxing in the park (if you call studying PhD level pure math relaxing 😉
Personally, I feel my education is just starting (even though Im in my 60s and retired), because it is only now, with the above ScholarTech, that I have effective access to infinite information, almost anything I want, and anywhere I want. It is intoxicating for a scholar and will revolutionize scholarship worldwide.
The 28 inch, 4K Monitor Revolution
In November of 2014, I bought myself a DELL 28 inch, 4K monitor, which revolutionized my “Scholartech” experience. My e-library consists of 10,000s of pdf files which I can now read with far greater clarity from a distance of say 70 cms from eyes to monitor, thanks to its 4K resolution. Previously I had, and still do, a DELL 23 inch 1K monitor, so the extra 2.5 inch width of the new monitor allows me to view a full page of a pdf file by rotating the monitor 90 degrees, into “portrait” position. I now use the new monitor essentially as a pdf reader of my e-library. The extra area of the 28 inch monitor and its 4 times greater resolution, creates a much larger page to be read that is also very very clear. It is a delight to read a pdf with this device. Of course, a good pdf reader software is also essential. I now use Foxit Reader, that can be downloaded for free from Foxit.com It has a Read Mode button, that gives a full screen view without any clutter in the margins. Foxit Reader also has zoom in and out buttons, and a horizontal shift bar, that allows the text to be centered. I can thus expand the pdf page to a width of 13.5 inches (34 cms) and height of 24.5 inches (62 cms) without pixelation, due to the 4K resolution. I also use two sets of eye glasses, one for paper book reading at a distance of a foot (30 cms), and another for screen viewing, at a distance of two feet (60 cms.)
With 10,000s of pdf files in my e-library (that I have given the world) and the 28 inch, 4K monitor, I am in scholar’s heaven.
Update : Apr 2016 “SONY’s Digital Paper” e-ink e-reader”
In April of 2016 I bought myself a Sony Digital Paper e-ink e-reader, which is incredibly light, so does not get heavy in the hand when holding it for hours reading books and research papers in the park. I fitted it with a 128G extra memory, so I can hold whole libraries in it. It wasn’t cheap ($800) but is of enormous benefit to a scholar. The size is A4 (13 inch), reads pdf files, which can be dragged and dropped into the reader from a laptop, which is hugely more convenient than Apple’s damned iPad which doesn’t have a USB port, whereas the Sony DP does. You can write on it as if it were paper and store the results. I use it everyday to study with. I don’t use paper books much anymore. My “DP” has superseded paper books.