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Linguistics, Computers, and Taking Notes


antecedent
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I seem to just love starting topics. Here's another one that I'm curious about:

1) What kind of computers do you all use? I know some kinds of linguistics are very computation heavy, where others would rely on computers mostly for access to online corpora and journal databases an whatnot. Is there one that you find is particularly suited to your needs as a linguist?

2) Is there a computer-based note taking platform you guys like? I've been a die-hard pen and paper note taker my entire student life, but I'm opening up to the option of taking notes on my computer. I do worry about how things like IPA or sentence trees/diagrams would transfer to notetaking program...

Thoughts? Anyone at all?

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My personal computer is a Lenovo laptop, and I have a desktop at home. I generally prefer the PC to the mac, so I am very happy with this arrangement. In the lab we use iMacs. I do most of my stats work on the Mac just becase the large screen helps a lot, but there is nothing I can't do on my pc as well. Some software we use (e.g. E-Prime) can only be used on PCs so we have a special partition on our macs. I don't know any linguistic software that only runs on the mac, so that could be a consideration. On the other hand, many of our faculty have macs and they do just fine -- so I think any choice will probably be good and you can defer to the usual considerations of mac-vs.-pc.

Linguistics is handout-heavy. In classes I usually take notes on the handout itself. For meetings, I have a legal pad and I take my iPad as well, and use both depending on the situation. For quick sketches and notes I use pen and paper, but it's good to have access to my stuff on dropbox via the iPad. At the end of each semester I scan EVERY piece of paper that I have and I file everything away. These things are surprisingly useful - you can't imagine how many times I search for notes from a meeting weeks/months ago where we worked out a design for an experiment that fell through and is now resurrected, for exampe.

Edited by fuzzylogician
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1. I have a Lenovo laptop too. I prefer desktops though and have long avoided laptops until burglars broke into my house and took my desktop. So I bought something that I can bring with me & keep an eye on at all times. Anyway, I think it was adequate. I am thinking I may need more stuff for higher level phonetics stuff.

2. I started using Microsoft One Note during my last quarter of undergrad. It connects to MIcrosoft's servers so I was able to share my notes with classmates if I wanted. If I had to draw anything, I can try to draw it in one note or I just used old fashioned pen & paper. And IPA works fine with MS One Note. I typed it using the IPA keyboards available (weston ruter & character picker)... For syntax, I would probably use a stylus or something.

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...you just blew my mind. WE'RE LIVING IN THE FUTURE. A pen that records your notes as you write them and sends them to your preferred note taking platform? That is too cool. I know what I'm asking for for my next gift-giving holiday!

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I'm a Mac user and the linguistic software I use (Praat, GoldVarb) works fine on it. There were a couple of months were I couldn't use GoldVarb because it was not compatible with Lion, but they released a new version and I'm back doing statistics in my laptop. My plan is to get a Mac desktop next fall because I need a bigger screen for my spectrograms and because, since I've just been admitted to continue to the PhD, I predict many hours in front of my computer and having a bigger screen will make it easier on my eyes.

As for class, I always have my iPad with me, to have access to all the articles/chapters we're discussing in class and a notebook for taking notes.

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Oh man, that's a pretty kickass pen. I might have to invest in something like that. Except I really hate hand-writing my notes (carpal tunnel), but it's not possible to do as much on a computer (although it's less painful). I'm probably not a good note-taker... I don't think I'll ever buy a tablet. I have weak hands and the iPad is just too heavy for me to use comfortably & I don't want to hunch over it either. Would be nice for reading PDFs, I imagine.

I also use a Lenovo laptop, actually, & I'm happy with it. I do plan on purchasing a larger monitor or two to use at home. It's so so nice to be able to split screens.

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I agree with Linguisticmystic....hand written notes suck and that is a cool pen! I think I'll invest in that before grad school. I have about a two year old Dell Lap top, that I hate, but I'll deal with it t'ill grad school and do plan on purchasing a MAC prior to starting grad school

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I've heard a lot about lenovo laptops on these forums (relatively speaking, I mean, since I've visited a few threads on a similar topic). What makes them so popular? Is it that they are durable, or fast, or just plain reliable? No one I know has one, yet lots of folks here seem to!

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I've heard a lot about lenovo laptops on these forums (relatively speaking, I mean, since I've visited a few threads on a similar topic). What makes them so popular? Is it that they are durable, or fast, or just plain reliable? No one I know has one, yet lots of folks here seem to!

My friend's husband works for Microsoft and, naturally, he's a huge computer geek. I approached him for advice when I needed to buy a laptop. He was like "Go Lenovo! They're really sturdy!" My friend points out that there are like 6 lenovo laptops in heir house! And yeah he's right - it's sturdy, I like it. Also, if you, God forbid, drop the laptop or it gets shaken violently, the hard drive will sense it and protect itself until it feels safe. The drawback is that it's a bit heavier. But I don't really mind. I play MMORPGs so I like that it's bulkier... I may buy a smaller laptop or a tab somewhere down the line if I find myself carrying a lot of stuff.

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I got my first lenovo (actually, IBM computer at the time) when I started undergrad. It served me for 5 years, until I started grad school and then I decided I wanted a newer model so I got a new lenovo. My parents still use the old computer - it's 8 years old now but still functioning just fine. I've only ever had one problem with the computer over the years, the hard drive of my new laptop was apparently defective and finally stopped working a few months after I got it; I got a new HD straight away at no cost. I'm happy with the performance and the price, it's true that it's a bit heavy but I don't really mind. Especially now that I have a desktop at home and I mostly leave my laptop in the office, it's extremely convenient.

Edited by fuzzylogician
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I got my first lenovo (actually, IBM computer at the time) when I started undergrad. It served me for 5 years, until I started grad school and then I decided I wanted a newer model so I got a new lenovo. My parents still use the old computer - it's 8 years old now but still functioning just fine. I've only ever had one problem with the computer over the years, the hard drive of my new laptop was apparently defective and finally stopped working a few months after I got it; I got a new HD straight away at no cost. I'm happy with the performance and the price, it's true that it's a bit heavy but I don't really mind. Especially now that I have a desktop at home and I mostly leave my laptop in the office, it's extremely convenient.

Do you use the thinkpad model or a newer one? I was looking at their ideapad (I think) which looked pretty slim and portable.

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I'm curious; what kind of software does everyone use for their various specialties? Praat, OTSoft, etc?

In other words, what software should I spend my summer familiarizing myself with? :)

You should find out what they use at the school you'll be attending, they might use different software than others.

If you need to do stats, learn to use SPSS, R or whatever they use at your school. FWIW, we use Linger for sentence processing; we have our own software for counting studies; we use Brainstorm for MEG data analysis, E-Prime for design. We use the software that came with our eye-tracker for design and analysis. Our phonologists use Praat. Out syntacticians draw pretty trees in Latex :P. If you have spare time, learn to program in whatever language you like - python, matlab, java, javascript, html will all be useful.

Do you use the thinkpad model or a newer one? I was looking at their ideapad (I think) which looked pretty slim and portable.

I have a T401 and before that I had the IBM T42. I bet my next computer will also be from the T series, unless they can convince me to come over to the dark side and get a mac (which is unlikely). I am not familiar with the ideapad and I don't know anyone who owns one so I can't give an opinion.

Edited by fuzzylogician
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I'm curious; what kind of software does everyone use for their various specialties? Praat, OTSoft, etc?

In other words, what software should I spend my summer familiarizing myself with? :)

For Ponetics/Phonology I use Praat (although my Phonetics professor also uses WaveSurfer, but I like Praat better). As for Sociolinguistics, I usually use GoldVarb, but I know some people in my department have used SPSS or R for statistics as well.

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