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Time and attention

I forget where I i first came across this term, maybe it was on merlins 43 folders website. Anyways it was interesting, I spent some time (hah) looking at where my time was going (i.e. what i was really interested in doing), together with what seemed to produce the most results.

So after a bit of soul searching (well as much time as you have with a 2 and 4yr old about your knees) and the 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.

Featured post

On Becoming and Expert

On becoming an Expert



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
Featured post

Google Loves Sports Engineering

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

Ludite in the library!

I went to my universities library today for the first time in a very long time. The irony wasn’t lost on me, as an almost fulltime (I have one day at home with my boys) researcher, that I shouldn’t be so well acquainted with the library is a bit funny. Most of my library use these days is through google and I read the papers on line too. Anyways here I am in the library, its an amazing 5-star place,  looking for yesterdays paper. Sadly I need to pay for the full article, as I’m too cheap to pay and googleing the article doesn’t get me the article for free this time  :(.

Anyways eventually I find the paper, behind the current days issue, or where it should be, as it  was missing and theres no label on the shelf either. Its hiding behind a flip top shelf where all the past few weeks papers are. My thanks to the helpful counter staff for the secret passage directions, apparently I am supposed to take a number to be served, its all a bit …exciting, but as its friday at the end of semester things are quiet.

Next step is to photo copy the paper, sadly there are no photocopiers that take coins anymore and my photocopier card is… I don’t know where. Fortunately helpful counter staff point out all I need is my staff card, or my staff number. So finally I’m ready to go but there is a pin number assigned, which after trying my favourites doesn’t let me in. A quick visit to my librarian friends and thats all taken care of, it looks like I have $0.80 available from a department that was two or so productivity reorganisations ago


So what was I looking for…well here’s some irony, its a nice article on academics blogging and here am I blogging.


Net gains of digital profile

  • BY:
    The Australian September 26, 2012 12:00AM

GONE are the days of academics slogging away at research that virtually no one reads. They now have to take on the cumbersome, and for some unnatural, activity of promoting themselves, almost as much as TV stars or celebrities.

Richard Dawkins, A. C. Grayling, Susan Greenfield and Niall Ferguson are not only excellent academics but also household names precisely because they could reach out as intellectuals, packaging their work for public consumption.



10, 000 steps, with a little help from the lift

ImageAs a sports technology researcher I have a drawer full of gadgets for measuring sports performance, many are self made but there are quite a few commercial ones in the mix as well. These include cycle computers, watches and various sensors as well. Sometimes they are left overs from old projects, sometimes something to evaluate or something we have been building. Anyways the latest is a Fitbit (see fitbit.com). I bought one after hearing Stefan Litzenberger talk about it at the most recent Sports Engineering conference in Lowell. Like all good technologies it looked deceptively simple and easy to use, so I forked out the ~$100 to find out more. Its a neat unit, came mail order in a day or so and without reading the manual (Yep I have the Y chromosomal curse) it was up and running in no time. It counts steps and makes some assumptions to come up with distance and calories like pretty much every other advanced pedometer type device on the market. It looks to perform better than some and worse than others. Interestingly it counts flights of stairs using an altitude(pressure sensor)…nice idea. One would of thought though that it might check to see if you were walking or not, rather than count my trip in the elevator as an activity.

So what’s the take home for me, well I have used it every day for a week (more than can be said for many other devices), I think this is in part because it clips on my pocket and stays there, it sync’s automatically, it brings out some of the competitive spirit in me and I’m also curious as to how may lifestyle matches up to the much vaunted 10, 000 steps programme. See http://www.10000steps.org.au/library/why-10000steps-a-day/

So how do I stack up, well apart from the slightly inane “you climbed the statue of liberty today’ email messages, the milestones (sic) of the first 50km etc.. are kind neat to see in my inbox. Turns out that my average day is close to the 10, 000 steps – probably due to parking the car at childcare and walking up the fitbit measured 20 flights of stairs and back to work each day. Weekends and on Thursdays (when I play house dad) Mr 2 and Mr 4 push me well over the 12, 000 steps without out doing too much. Practicing my Aikido (twice a week) seems to bring me an extra 3,000 steps or so, but I’m fairly sure that getting up after a body slam is worth more that just a few steps (I think the sensors rings a few times though…like my head on a big one). My wife took the fitbit to Zumba one night, being a hip mounted device she racked up 5, 000 steps in little over 1/2 an hour…..shake it baby!!

 Fitbit is also social media integrated to bring out the competitive spirit with your peers, my only trouble is the only person i know with one is Stefan, and every morning of the conference I met him coming in after what looked to be a fairly serious morning run….umm yuh like I’m gonna show him what I’m doing every day driving my desk and a few reams of paper around!

Addendum – topping the charts today with 15, 000…apparently all you have to do is build a tree house 😉

Internet technology trends in 2012

Attached is a link to a genuinely fascinating report on the use of technology and uptake of the internet. If your grinding away on your desktop PC with a terrestrial phone line by your side – its shows why you might be (like me) the next dinosaur, it also shows that if your thinking laptop you might need to be thinking smart phone or tablet (though no mention of googles new augmented reality glasses). It also shows how computing resources are not just for work/web browsing but for just about all the other bibliophilic activities in your life.

The slide show is just over a hundred pages in length featuring a whole lot of stats, some very US centric economic relates and conclusions. But the end of the show is a nice then and now of how we do things. Some of these are definite reality and other are part way to fruition and may or may not be fully realised.

See the KPCB show here

Kindle Majic

Kindle Magic


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.


Well its a fe month on and it seems there are kindles out there everywhere. Just one question reminds – how to explain that the kindle is ‘off’ to cabin crew on flights?