To use or not iPad at work?

I have been asking that question since I got iPad 2 shortly after it was introduced. I am still asking that same question. That quite much sums up the situation. Not an easy task for few reasons.

First of all, I use (or I am actually almost forced to use) PC at work. Not a Mac (which I use at home). I write scientific articles, funding applications, and many other kind of documents using Microsoft Word because it is most widely used word processing system and it actually has the best document commenting and tracking system available. So this info is important as a background.

I would like to use my iPad in many meetings we have here at work to make notes and short memos which I could easily transfer to my PC and which I could effortlessly distribute to my colleagues. I have tried so many kind of note making apps with iPad and no one of those have been great. Sometimes I would like to open a scientific manuscript with my iPad and make some corrections in it. Not an easy task. Actually I find it quite much an impossible task. It seems that an iOS version of MS Word would be needed to effectively work in this PC-Mac-iOS world.

I think the easiest way to fix these problems would be to buy a MacBook Air and istall MS Word for Mac in it. Then I would have the best possible (even though not perfect) solution for my above problem. But that solution would cost me about 1000 euros in minimum.

Why I chose Pages for writing meeting minutes

First of all I personally have a Mac, iPad, and iPhone. And at work I am forced to use a PC with MS Office package.

I work in science and we have quite a lot of meetings and I would like to use my iPad to write short minutes of them. I want to read those minutes using all my devices at home and at my workplace. So, there are many things to fullfill for a notes/writing app. And I really have tested quite many.

It would be nice if a note app is easy to use and fast for writing using mobile devices. Of course somekind of syncing feature is also a must because I am using many devices to create and read them. I’ve tested at least the following ones (some are iOS and some for Mac, some for both):

Evernote, NoteMaster, Elements, iA Writer, TaskPaper, Note Taker, ThinkBook, ByWord, and Pages (at least these – there may be some else which I do not recall now).

Some of those are really great writing apps. I especially like iA Writer and ByWord for distraction free writing and I am using them for that purpose. But they are not perfect ones for taking notes. Pages is a word processor (at least sort of) and is not a pure note taking app either. But there are few reasons why I chose Pages over the other for my meeting minute app:

You can make decent lists by Pages (even though you have better system for that in other apps – like TaskPaper). But the lists are decent and quite easy to make. The main reason for choosing Pages is the iCloud sync. It is fantastic. I have many of those other apps which use Dropbox sync which is also very nice but Pages with iCloud is very special case – at least for me. When you have your Pages documents in iCloud they are in all of your iOS devices and also in your Mac. Okay, Dropbox will do the same. Some of the other apps use file formats which are not so good if you want to use them in Word. And that’s what I need (I have to circulate the minutes to many people who are using Word). Plain text format will of course work but then I have to do quite a lot of formatting in Word before I’ll send the minutes to others. If I use Pages I can download the minutes from iCloud as Pages, Word, or PDF format. That’s super handy! I can even send the file in Word or PDF format straight from my mobile device as an email. And I can upload Word documents to iCloud too. Even more handy. So, there is much less messing around when I use Pages instead of those other apps.

One bonus more when using Pages. You can easily add some pics and charts in your documents when using Pages.

iA Writer for Mac

Above is a screenshot from Pages word processor and I am very pleased that the formatting done in iA Writer is there. Fantastic. I think iA Writer will be nice for outlining research articles and ideas. It is fast and simple. Without any clutter.

Check out more from iA Writer web site.

Hopeless with all those papers

Part of my work desk in the background. I have huge piles of papers and I just wonder how tall they will be after 10 or 20 years. That’s a bad habit to collect so much paper but I do not feel home in paperless office. 😉

Great place for a presentation

Main entrance, originally uploaded by Jonne Naarala.

Säätytalo, The House of the Estates, Helsinki.

I was giving a scientific presentation about effects of magnetic fields on oxidative stress there.

You can find more info about Säätytalo here.

First Open Access paper from our research group

Our Open Access paper titled “Pre-exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields modifies menadione-induced genotoxic effects in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells” was published in PLoS ONE journal yesterday. I am so happy that we started a new era in our publishing strategy to choose an Open Access forum for our paper.

Open Access (OA) is the present day and the future of scientific publishing. OA provides papers freely to everyone. This is a very important principle in science and it will ensure that the scientific papers are not entitled to those who have a personal or a institutional subscription for a specific scientific journal. Everyone may read and download a pdf file of the Open Access paper provided that the original authors and source are credited.

Here is the conclusion of our paper:

” The results confirm our previous findings showing that pre-exposure to MFs as low as 100 µT alters cellular responses to menadione, and show that increased genotoxicity results from such interaction. The present findings also indicate that complementary data at several chronological points may be critical for understanding the MF effects on DNA damage, repair, and post-repair integrity of the genome.”

I’ll invite you to utilize the possibilities of Open Access and read and download our paper. It should be cited this way:

Luukkonen J, Liimatainen A, Höytö A, Juutilainen J, Naarala J, 2011 Pre-Exposure to 50 Hz Magnetic Fields Modifies Menadione-Induced Genotoxic Effects in Human SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells. PLoS ONE 6(3): e18021. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018021

Here is the direct link to our paper.

Future cell biologist?

Future cell biologist?, originally uploaded by Jonne Naarala.

We did quite a lot microscoping with Kaapo at the weekend. It is so nice to see how passionate children can be when discovering new things. We were studying plant leaves, algae, yeast cells, blood, hair, and water samples.

I was so delighted as a cell biologist how happy Kaapo was when he was able to see cells and other things through the microscope.

The microscope in the pic is Lomo Biolam research microscope (Made in USSR) capable for 945 x magnification in maximum.

Some work-related stuff

Sometimes it is so nice to have a camera with you at your workplace and document the things you do professionally. Yesterday I did that and I think I should do that more regularly.

Exposing cells to ionizing radiation

Co-60 source accelerator in Kuopio University hospital. We expose C3H10T1/2 murine fibroblasts to ionizing radiation (1 and 5 Gy doses). We investigate genomic instability processes which may be novel mechanisms for cancer initiation and development.

Our Comet Assay system

In my laboratory. Fancy Carl Zeiss Axio Imager A.1 epifluorescence microscope equipped with LED illumination system. Comet Assay IV programme package for analysing DNA damage and DNA repair.

Both photos shot with E-P1 and M.ZUIKO 14-42mm lens.