Quick fix: Unfreeze Endnote when entering CWYW citations

Posted: April 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Mac, random tech tips, writing | Comments Off on Quick fix: Unfreeze Endnote when entering CWYW citations

I have been experiencing a particular problem with Endnote X5 recently, and from what I’ve read it’s connected to OSX 10.8.2.  Specifically, when I open Endnote and start using the CWYW feature to enter citations into my document, Endnote freezes up and gets endlessly stuck on the “format bibliography” part of its process.

Here’s a quick fix, courtesy of facop78 on MacRumors.

  1. Go to Applications : Utilities
  2. Run the Activity Monitor found there
  3. Set the “Show” option at the top of the window to All Processes
  4. Click the column header “Process Name” to sort alphabetically
  5. Highlight the appleeventsd process
  6. Click the “Quit Process” button

The only extra thing I did was to shut down and restart Endnote at the end of the operation.  Worked like a charm!

Click here to read the entire thread.



Should you get a Mac?

Posted: September 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Mac | 1 Comment »

A colleague of mine is preparing to travel to the Congo to conduct fieldwork on the local design of messages for disease prevention and conservation.  Coincidentally, her trusted laptop (a PC) is on its last legs and she’ll need to replace it before she begins her fieldwork.  Working on a limited research budget means that whatever computer she purchases will be her primary machine for some years to come.  It will also have to be durable and reliable enough to sustain intense fieldwork in places that are far removed from the next Genius Bar.  Would now be a good time to switch over from a PC to a Mac?  She posed this question to the trusted Technorati over at DiaryProducts and this was their answer:

  • The Macbook Air is a very good and portable machine.  (A plus for ethnographers doing fieldwork that requires them to carry their machine with them.) On the other hand, there are also decent ultra-portable PCs.
  • If you get a Mac, there will be a learning curve. Some things on OSX are done in a way that makes a Windows user ask, “Why on earth did they do this?” Ultimately, a lot of thought went into the usability of the Mac apps and the OS, more thought than went into Windows, IMHO. But Mac is a cult and the attitude of the new convert should be to just go with the flow and not to question the guru.
  • A Mac unfolds its full potential only with other Apple products. You’ll get the best experience if you stay inside the Apple ecosystem. You will end up paying more for Apple products than for comparable ones from other vendors, but you’ll save time by not having to trouble-shoot interoperability issues. Time is money after all.
  • Get AppleCare with your machine. Even though they’re well engineered, Apple products do break and AppleCare gives you peace of mind.
  • The screen of an 11″ Macbook Air is very small and is not suitable for prolonged work. Get an external display if you want to use it all day at home or the office, or get the 13″ version.
  • Don’t operate more than one computer.  Get a single computer that serves all purposes fairly well.  (An important caution to ethnographers working in the field.) Transferring content/data between machines is a constant pain, error prone and tedious.
  • Finally, get an external drive (USB3, Firewire or Thunderbolt) for backups. TimeMachine, OS X’s built-in backup mechanism, does a very good job but it needs some sort of external storage, of course. Don’t go into the field without backup!

Taking screenshots of your Mac: Keyboard shortcuts, Grab, and third party apps

Posted: October 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Mac, research tools | 3 Comments »

Just as ethnographers working offline produce sketches or photographs of the people, places, and artifacts that they study, so too do ethnographers of online communities. When I was collecting data for my most recent online ethnography, I decided to try capturing images of the online places & spaces I was studying, as well as the activities that I observed and engaged in there. These visual records proved to be valuable data for analyzing and making sense of the online community I studied.  They have also been incredibly useful in writing up the results, since they help readers see and understand the places and phenomena being described.

Since I did my online ethnography on a MacBook Pro, I used the free native Mac functionalities (certain keyboard combinations) and apps (Grab) that I had available, which worked out very well.

Mac OSX keyboard combinations for screen captures

Using simple keyboard combinations you can quickly and easily take screenshots of your full screen, a selected area, or an open window.  The images will be saved either to your desktop or the clipboard, depending on which combinations you use.  I learned about these keyboard combinations through this MacRumors:Guides webpage. The basic ones listed on the page are:

Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop

Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop

Command-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop

Command-Control-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard

Command-Control-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard

Command-Control-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard

With my version of Mac OSX the images were saved as .png files.  (The file type that they get saved as depends on which version you have, as the article notes.)

Once I had these images I renamed them and archived them with the rest of the data (fieldnotes, interviews, transcripts, etc.) that I collected.  Later, when I was writing up the results, I imported them into my Word documents using Insert > Picture > From File….  It couldn’t have been easier.


Grab is a screenshot application that comes bundled with Mac OSX.  Find it by opening Preview and clicking File > Grab, or simply by scrolling through your applications.  Using Grab you can take pictures of your full screen, an open window, or a selection determined by you.  You can also do timed shots, enabling you to take shots of things (menus, for one) that have to be activated.  Once Grab is running simply click Capture on the main menu, select the type of screenshot you want to do, and follow the prompts.  Images will be saved as tiff files to whatever location (desktop, folder, etc.) you select.

Third party applications

MacRumors lists several third party applications for taking screenshots, including applications that can produce moving images i.e. live action movies of the activities happening on your screen.  Some of these are free and some you have to pay for.  I haven’t tried these out myself.  If you have, please write in and let me know how they worked for you.

Which option is best for you?

Deciding which tool is best for you is, of course, depends in large part what type of images you are trying to capture.  In my case, I only wanted simple snapshots, so the keyboard combos and Grab were well suited to my needs.  The decision also rests on how you work when you are doing your participant observations.  Ultimately, I found the keyboard combos to be the most useful, because when I was “on site” doing participant observation, it was easy and convenient to hit the keys without breaking stride in my interactions.  This was preferable to fiddling around with menu options, which distracted me from the activities that I was participating in.  At the end of my participant observation sessions I’d have a huge stack of images on my desktop, which I’d then sort through, name, and archive.  Not all of them proved to be good images, but since I erred on the side of caution by taking a lot of shots, I always ended up with enough of what I needed.