Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Off to ISMB 2008

Tomorrow I'll be heading off to ISMB in Toronto. I haven't attended the big show before, other than a 1 day SIG 3 years ago in Detroit, so I'm sure it will be enlightening, perhaps for the science, but also for the sheer surreality of packing thousands of normally bunkered down and repressed scientists into a small and contrived space.

I hope I can smuggle my poster tube onto the airplane without them noticing that I also have a carry-on and personal item already. But kind of hard to hide something that's almost 4 feet long... speaking of transporting posters, how cool would it be to have electronic poster boards at conferences? No more poster tubes, little sheets of paper, curled edges, or push pins - just upload your file before you get on the plane, bring a thumb drive just in case, and you're good to go. Sure, they'd be expensive, delicate, heavy, and perhaps prone to glitches, but nothing a few years of tech investment can't fix. - "Make science easier"

Stanford students are nothing if not entrepreneurial. Only a couple months after reporting on Ologeez (out of the Genetics department), I receive an email about, the product of a group of students in Vijay Pande's lab, headed by a graduate student in the Physics department created by three folks who knew each other from their undergrad days at Harvard, one of whom is now a biophysics PhD student at Stanford.

The website grew out of their desire to "solve some of the organizational problems we've encountered while doing our Ph.Ds", and includes a PDF organizer, a space for labs to share protocols and files, and mechanisms for discovering and recommending papers.

After registering and doing a brief tour, it appears to be a well thought-out and executed entrant into what is starting to become a crowded market for tools that help you organize, search for, and share papers, or tools that help your lab share data and files. Because of the many offerings, however, some with much earlier and more widespread adoption, I'd be surprised if Labmeeting gathers much of a foothold. Then again, it's not claiming to be another OpenWetWare, so if it does what it does well, perhaps those looking for a smaller feature set (and a bit of relief from social networking) will find it just right.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Survey of bioinformatics

Michael Barton over at Bioinformatics Zen is collecting responses from those working in the field of bioinformatics to survey the current climate (and projected future) of bioinformatics, with data to be made public and back analysis encouraged. The (fully functional) survey is replicated below, the original can be found here.