BetterTouchTool to set up Keyboard Shortcuts (Switch PC->MAC)

Maybe one of the worst penitences when switching from PC to Mac is about Keyboard shortcuts, especially when you are using a PC keyboard to avoid to avoid that cheesymagic keyboard. Here they are my favs:

  • You will find millions of times you would have used command Key instead of Control. For instance, Control-V and nothing get pasted… mmm mmm… Yay! Again.
  • Start-End keys are a real nightmare. When you intensively used it and you found now send you to the end of the document instead of moving in a single line. Yes, you can use Command-→  y Command-← but is it really someone finding more interesting navigating the extremes of a document than going to the both sides of a line?
  • Screencaptures are really powerful. Screen capture rocks. But I had just a key to do that (That marvelous SCR CAP) and now I need to do finger gymnastics (Control-Command-Shift-3 instead of a single keystroke? Are you kidding! No. :/)
  • Clean the screen aka show your Desktop.
  • And the very best of any of them. Where has gone that friendly Alt-Tab to jump from one to another open Window? Now it is Commend-Tab, but it doesn’t work between 2 opened windows of the same app. In this case, you’ll need… the deeply intuitive Command-` . Great!

This last run out my patience, so I started trying to find something -an App- to make my life easier. And I found it: BetterTouchTool. It’s great. I’ve programmed function keys, cloned Command shorcuts for those friendly Control Key combinations and… I started playing again.

Here it is my setup  -F7’ed- screencapture:

captura-de-pantalla-2016-11-26-01-16-11

 

Awesome en ReactionGifs
Awesome en ReactionGifs

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

   

   

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Scientific journals and Robin Hood ethics.

CC BY flickr.com/photos/holmesjr
CC BY flickr.com/photos/holmesjr

Setting aside the probably unethical basis of scientific publication structure, which is sometimes more interested in protecting the status quo than improving mankind’s living conditions — an old-fashioned legitimation of science — let’s focus on the inequality it promotes. A clear research divide is created between those with access to these journals and those without, between those paying abusive subscription fees and those who are not able. Or, in some other cases, even between those who are able to pay to have their work published in predatory journals and those with no money enough.

So.

What if a researcher in Russia makes 48 million journal articles freely available online?

“For those of you who aren’t already using it, the site in question is Sci-Hub, and it’s sort of like a Pirate Bay of the science world. It was established in 2011 by neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who was frustrated that she couldn’t afford to access the articles needed for her research, and it’s since gone viral, with hundreds of thousands of papers being downloaded daily..” [sciencealert]

Is this is a pirate act, or a Robin Hood action?

At the end of last year, the site was ordered closed by a judge in New York, so it seems the verdict is it’s piracy.

But this triggered a debate about science. Or, more exactly, about scientific journals. Let me copy here some parts of the open letter the Sci-hub.org operator addressed to the New York court [You can take a look at it here]:

“When I was a student in Kazakhstan university, I did not have access to any research papers. These papers I needed for my research project. Payment of 32 dollars is just insane when you need to skim or read tens or hundreds of these papers to do research.”

“Authors of these papers do not receive money. Why would they send their work to Elsevier then? They feel pressured to do this, because Elsevier is an owner of so-called “high-impact” journals. If a researcher wants to be recognized, make a career – he or she needs to have publications in such journals.”

“we never received any complaints from authors or researchers, only Elsevier [the editor] is complaining about free distribution of knowledge”

So, again the question. Is Sci-hub.org created by an evil stealer-hacker, or by a RobinHoodsonian prominent philanthropist?

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Impact measures, anti-science and ethics.

CCBY flickr.com/photos/phantomleap/5055245466
CCBY flickr.com/photos/phantomleap/5055245466

I remember something about saying impact measures and citation indexes have anti-scientific structures… at least if you think about science as a weapon against the status quo to improve mankind’s living conditions.
The idea of having shamans checking any research article against their standards to validate their inclusion in one of the Mount Olympus research journals could be stomach-churning from the epistemology of science point of view, but at least it smells old. This reminds me of the brilliant point of view of Andrew Spittle about the stupid constraint of printing PhD theses, especially when they are not inherently printable, for instance, those having to do with the Internet, like his, and mine, just to support an authority argument structure born in Middle Ages universities.
But there is a more powerful concern. Pardis Sabeti clarified for me any single doubt I could have in her amazing and inspiring Ted Talk ‘How we’ll fight the next deadly virus’. Let me cite several lines of this brilliant and inspiring talk (remember, she speaks about epidemic disease DNA medical research):

“But the way that science works, the position I was in at that point is, I had the data, and I could have worked in a silo for many, many months, analyzed the data carefully, slowly, submitted the paper for publication, gone through a few back-and-forths, and then finally when the paper came out, might release that data. That’s the way the status quo works.
Well, that was not going to work at this point, right? We had friends on the front lines and to us it was just obvious that what we needed is help, lots of help. So the first thing we did is, as soon as the sequences came off the machines, we published it to the web. We just released it to the whole world and said, “Help us.” And help came.
Before we knew it, we were being contacted from people all over, surprised to see the data out there and released. Some of the greatest viral trackers in the world were suddenly part of our community. We were working together in this virtual way, sharing, regular calls, communications, trying to follow the virus minute by minute, to see ways that we could stop it.”

Pardis Sabeti in How we’ll fight the next deadly virus’ Ted Talk.

Awe inspiring. Isn’t it?

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Science to perpetuate statu quo

Lyotard warned several decades ago in his seminal work, The Postmodern Condition, about noun_225280science’s lack of legitimation. At least, about the lack of a “beautiful” legitimation, as he noticed that instead of searching for the truth or trying to improve mankind’s living conditions, science is nowadays ruled by what he called the performativity principle. In brief, science must be lucrative, returning money to investments in the same way other businesses do. Or returning more, if you want to assure a regular money flow to research. For those to whom “performativity” sounds like cryptic philosophy, Feyerabend provided (why not Plato?) a straightforward explanation:

20th century science has resigned to have any philosophic pretension to become a big business. It is no more a threat to the society, but one of the firmer pillars.

Yep, a threat to society sounds bad … except if you think about society as an ideological system with the function to reproduce inequality by supporting and transmitting the scheme that maintains few people in the zenith of the social pyramid: those who own resources and retains power relationships.
There are lots of examples of how science is no longer mankind’s progress weapon but a way to perpetuate the status quo. Here is one of my favorite examples: citation indexes.

Citation Indexes? What’s that?

Citation indexes (CI) are essentially lists in which scientific journals are ranked according to their impact factor, or the measure of how important their articles are for the scientific community. Sounds nice and helpful as this shows

‘a journal’s true place in the scholarly research world’ and ‘Measure research influence and impact at the journal and category levels’ (Thomson Reuters, the editor of the JCR ranking, dixit).

Perhaps it sounds nice, but it isn’t. In the same way JCR qualifies journals, these journals transitively pinpoint good researches –whose works are published in these journals – and exclude the others.

C.I. Rankings promote inequality

noun_97178.pngFirst, top-list journals are expensive, so there is not global access to these, and this becomes a powerful source of inequality. “There are countless researchers without access to most impacting articles because journals abusive price: each paper costs about $30 and you should read lots of papers. If these articles are, arguably, the best scientific works, those people without access to them would have more difficulties in developing brilliant, innovative results, thinking science as an accumulative process.
Additionally, citation indexes make countless researchers all over the world systematically invisible as they are misrepresented. Their works are excluded from mainstream research not even because of their quality but because of where they are published and, indirectly but not less important, because of the language (the vast majority of journals in the first quartile are in English) or researchers’ relationships.
Of course, those researchers are not explicitly excluded. But the symbolic violence of this segregation is brutal, first because it is explained and legitimated in terms of quality of the research work, and second, due to the relative invisibility of this segregation.

An alternative to citation indexes?

Criticism has been dethroned by pseudo-democracy or pseudo-intersubjectivity mechanisms to focus literature or entertainment contents consumption. Habermas complains about the intellectuals’ lack of authority to direct public discussions. Science, a change engine by definition, seems to be one of the few places resisting this democratizing wave by maintaining authority argument in the form not only of peer review committees with shamanic powers to interact with Knowledge deities to decide what’s good or not.

That’s even worse when you know that sometimes those peer reviews can be fabricated or just hilariously stupid, made only to justify picking money from young researchers’ pockets.

I’m overtly not in love with mass pseudo-democratic mechanisms, easily influenced and cooked by advertising constructions or filter bubbles. But it is clear that we need to give voice to horizontal and open peer-review systems where anyone can be a peer. And national research certification systems could also take into account more open and modern impact measures, more aligned with what science and research should mean.
Is there anything like that? There is.

What do you think about Academia.edu, for instance?

download

Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. The company’s mission is to accelerate the world’s research.

Academics use Academia.edu to share their research, monitor deep analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow. 32,590,050 academics have signed up to Academia.edu, adding 9,815,878 papers and 1,817,127 research interests. Academia.edu attracts over 36 million unique visitors a month.

[https://www.academia.edu/about]

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Argument from Authority brief history.

CC BY flickr.com/photos/bootbearwdc
CC BY flickr.com/photos/bootbearwdc

Argument from authority, or AA, is a logical fallacy used to endorse and validate a point of view just because someone – the authority – thinks in that way, instead of using a logical demonstration. Having some referents that provide us quality data is key to building knowledge, but there is a problem when critics to these theories are not allowed, just because they’re being supported by an authority.

The prerequisite to AA’s existence is to define who is and who is not an authority in each knowledge field. Scholasticism solved that in a simple and neat way: just God was an authority and by derivation, ecclesiastic hierarchy, sacred books and a bunch of ancient texts –essentially Aristotle – but only interpreted in the way this ecclesiastic hierarchy preconized.

It is generally assumed that AA was ‘a la mode’ just in the Middle Ages due to the lack of available divergent sources to enrich intellectual discussions. It was said that since printing started to reveal and allow diffusion of divergent points of view, the AA became deceased. I don’t think so. Even with lots of published opinions, they needed to be previously approved by the ‘authority tenants’.

The first articulated AA condemnation started in the seventeenth century, simultaneously from empirism and rationalism. Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Leibniz created knowledge origin explanation systems, and even if they reached antagonist conclusions, they coincided in condemning AA as a remora for knowledge construction.

Locke – from the empiric team – said that we could go further in knowledge discovery using our own thoughts about things instead of others’. On the rationalism side, Descartes made the same argument… but he was tempted to use AA in the ‘Methode discours’, soon after the ‘cogito ergo sum’. Once having followed his rationalism till the outer boundaries, how could he assure the veracity of data he received by his senses? Well, he prove first God’s existence (4th part) – no one could object to that – and then he said that even if one’s senses tried to cheat his owner, God – who is completely perfect and truthful – wouldn’t permit it.

CC BY flickr.com/photos/matteostaltari/5366519795
CC BY flickr.com/photos/matteostaltari

It was then, in the eighteenth century, when Kant ‘Sapere Aude’ definitively vindicated the value of using our own brains. He started his essay ‘What’s illustration?’ saying that Illustration was adulthood of human beings, and that our artificially extended childhood was caused by the incapacity of using our own understanding without a guide.

Brilliant and exact.

Was this the grace blow to AA? Definitively not. Kant is Kant and we, the other mortals, are not Kant. Today, AA is as pervasive as ever. And in the same way Internet provides us alternative sources to fund genuine thinking processes, there are unavoidable global omnipresent authorities… Google and Wikipedia make sense here?

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Meetamattician: Soul for the disperse and the diverse.

It’s just a question of following the right people. For instance, Karen Alma. I found a Matt Mullemnberg quote about distributed working (even if there are some opinions postulating this should be called disperse, that changes essentially nothing here) by reading her blog.

In a world where at offices, everyone has headphones on and stares at screens anyway, and you have software that enables meetings online — whether that’s Zoom or Google Hangouts or Slack connecting people — you can create not just a distributed workforce, but one that’s more global and diverse. [link]

Bravo! Nothing escapes Matt’s eye. Let’s pinpoint “diverse.”

Let me explain that: the word “diverse” has the same origin as divergent. You need a global mindfulness of divergently challenging points of view to be able to build a product with the aspiration to be global. This is WordPress: a globally conceived tool reaching more than 25 percent of global traffic and with the aim to reach 51 percent.

And diverse also has the same origin as a beautiful Spanish word: “divertir,” meaning “to amuse.” I can assure you that working in WordPress IS amusing. It’s like feeling in real-time how creativity is boiling in a global pot with the rhythm of your colleagues connecting to Slack from each time zone.

There should be a way to bridle all this chaos and creativity.

Not sure if the correct term is “to bridle”; I would use “to take care.” But, yes, it is. You can focus this power, adding soul, with a bunch of soulful proposals.

And here it is: Meetamattician. Thinking about a way to populate tables with people who haven’t yet met in global Automattic meetings is amazing. Implementing it rocks. But, putting the CEO on the list to try to sit him among “newbies”… That’s chocolate topping on the icing on the cake.

Automattic: chapeau. Again.

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

A brief thought about consensus and divergence

Pic from instagram.com/raulanton
Pic from instagram.com/raulanton

What if I say consensus is over-considered? There is a nasty ideological construction that has institutionalized consensus as a dogma. It seems any human communication process goal is to reach consensus: to be able to agree on something.

But is there anything beyond consensus?

Yep. There is. [Star Wars mode on] Consensus obscure is. Powerful, consensus seduction, to fascism lead can. [Star Wars mode off] Consensus as an absolute goal, throttle under a mask of agreement and dialogue any bifurcate path. Consensus is nothing more than a single stories factory. You need to start by pruning ‘odd branches’ – a synonym in this case to genuine opinions – to reach consensus. And this is bad. Evil.

So then?

What if we respect divergent opinions? What if we stop feeling uncomfortable – sometimes outraged – with those who think or act in a different way? Believe me, being tolerant of differences is something unavoidable in this scenario where globalization is well implanted but has not yet eradicated any social or ideological particularity.

OK, then. Let’s respect differences. Lane ends – or could be anything beyond?

Undeniably, there is something beyond. Something with a power so awesome that it could invert the global crowd stupidization – aka cultural homogenization – process. It consists of having a genuine interest in divergent cultural expressions and/or opinions. To be persuaded that seminal ideas, innovations, interesting things lie on the boundaries.

Only by integrating ideological structures that differ from ours will we be able to rethink what is apparently obvious and empower ourselves to be subjects of change in this market society where its momentum pushes to make us just objects to be sold to advertisers.

Amen.

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

CC-BY flickr.com/photos/erozkosz/6002995338/

Why we need media literacy?

Isolated individuals zigzag over system limits.

Isolated individual zigzags over system limits, and even if he doesn’t understand it because they were enculturated in competition values, he needs the others.

“You cannot fight alone without tiring yourself” (Story of a Stairway, Buero Vallejo).

Yeah! Long time ago, Buero wrote this awesome narration –I fervently recommend you- anticipating market economy impacts on unstructured social cells. A disturbingly accurate description even nowadays… By the way this book is a good example to understand the difference between art and mere serial light entertainment. Just think about who is gonna cite ‘The pillars of the earth’ in 60 years’ time?

The Internet is like Buero’s stairway, but projected into a planetary scale.

CC-BY flickr.com/photos/21847073@N05/
CC-BY flickr.com/photos/21847073@N05/

Stephenson’s (Snow Crash) was a clairvoyant. His foreseen network scheme, whose epicenter was homogenous and uniform, makes already sense. And it is possible that Internet conspicuous area continues infra-representing minorities as Leung (Virtual Ethnicity) pointed.

But it has rained a lot since then. Yes. Fortunately.

At this very moment relationships between horizontal content producers and the streamline, is not what you would expect from any technology where there is a breach between those who rule production and distribution and those who don’t (Virtual Ethnicity, Leung). Why? The key point seems to be Internet ability to catalyze new cooperative intelligence systems as those preconized by Levy, ‘more flexible, more democratic, funded upon reciprocity and singularity respect’ (Qu’est-ce que le virtuel?)

The individual, who was a mere audience element, can now emancipate himself / gain emancipation thru his action, integrated in participation networks. But, how is it possible to achieve this ubiquitous action ‘anywhere distributed, continuously valorized, and synergized in real time?’ (Again Levy). This could only be realized by merging a new relationship network scheme and extended interactivity capacities, unavailable before Internet participative maturity. A ruthless jump from a technological point of view, but which needs even more in-depth conceptualization efforts to embrace new social and mental institutions. A jump requiring an opposition to ‘the obvious’ dictatorship, unlearn the reproduction scheme destroying participation horizontality (From a Bourdieu point of view).

Internet and counter-hegemony.

CC-BY flickr.com/photos/ergonomic/
CC-BY flickr.com/photos/ergonomic/

Internet is a non-conventional mass-media. It’s true: huge opinion creation conglomerates are taking the lead. But it’s equally true that an alphabetized in new storytelling and technological posibilities society, could appropriate this media to re-write a new unstable equilibrium in which power relationships were not so suffocating.

This is exactly the reason for the convenience of an effective media literacy education. Although some others will judge it inconvenient ;), taking into account this will make us to become ‘dangerous people’ for the system (R.I. Correa).

And, here is the good news: this appropriation is taking place right now. Counter-hegemonic networks, created offline, have migrated a significant part of their activities to the Internet, making them more robust, enhancing their mobilization and goal-reaching ability. Network organization as well as ideas, doctrines, strategies and technologies aligned with it, boost goals achieving in charity orgs as well as in cybernetic guerrilla gangs.

Let’s go to barricades?

It seems the Internet belongs to all of us. And for the very first time we have an open field to experiment… this if educational leaders (politics, programmers, center directors or teachers) persuade themselves that just sporadic ‘advertisement language analysis’ is not enough. The whole reality is built with advertisement techniques by broadcasting corporations and it requires in-depth media literacy programs without complexes.

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Identity is made online or offline?

Sci-Fi has anticipated, sometimes quite accurately, lots of Internet innovations. Snow Crash, Stevenson’s Cyberpunk masterpiece, predicted Google Maps, the existence of ultraconnected-to-the-Internet people (called gargoyles)… and avatars.

CC-BY flickr.com/photos/ssoosay/7003408741/
CC-BY flickr.com/photos/ssoosay/7003408741/

The origin of this word can be found in Hinduism: an avatar is a projection of a God on Earth, what Frau-Meigs calls ‘an outil représentationnel’, a representational tool to take part in a parallel world.

Sci-Fi is full of virtual reality identity/avatar constructions to represent the owner in a parallel world that becomes as real as the original (James Cameron’s Avatar, The Matrix trilogy or the dystopian Surrogates Comic by Venditti and Weldele). I doubt the Web will provide us with such a visual – and picturesque – substitution of people for avatars in personal interactions…

…but it is triggering something more radical. We don’t participate or build relationships on the Internet over a fictional unique character, but using one of the multiple selves – avatars – we generate with each interaction. And, don’t you think our e-identity (irrevocably a part of our identity) is in fact the sum of our avatars’ actions?

In this case Avatar, The Matrix and Surrogates are built upon one-way trip identities. Blue, or with superpowers, those avatars merely replace the owner’s existence in those fictional worlds. Reality is less picturesque, less blue, but deeper. Identity is continuously making two-way trips: offline identity governs online projections and online interactions feed the offline identity definition process.

Consequently identity is determined by e-interactions. Our ontology also contains our online participation.

Raúl Antón Cuadrado

       

Postmodern Narrative in Bourdieu, ‘The reproduction’

Bourdieu is that guy who sometimes speaks about pedagogy or education, the same man who researched about Algeria Anthropology and even wrote articles about the economy. The book he presented with Passeron, ‘La reproduction’, should be included in the top books about education.

CC-BY http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluebuddhastudio/
CC-BY http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluebuddhastudio/

This book is amazing because of what it says and, no less, how it says it. Instead of writing an indigestible paper brick, and by that I mean a regular essay, they make a scheme. They use short phrases in a hierarchy of ideas to clearly point out which is the most important and what is an accessory. They use a numbered ideas list, and they complete it with explanation paragraphs to be read in case you do not completely understand the header. This more than 40-years-old book does not force you to perform boring, attention-consuming sequential reading. It is a neat example of netmodern narrative, ineludible with the Internet.

And, by the way, what does this book say? They explain in parallel to Lyotard’s admonition about science that the educational system hasn’t been built to emancipate people, and not even to discover and transmit the truth. They think empowered classes are using educational system to make the rest of us stupid by assuming indisputable current social schemes that perpetuate them in the superior vortex.

Why is the Internet such a powerful weapon (MOOCS are only an example)? Because it could transform the educational process into learning processes in which the limits are not marked by the educational system but by the learner.

It is our responsibility to take advantage of that!

Raúl Antón Cuadrado