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Category: General

General posts that do not fit into one or more major themes.

Introducing TranscribeSharp

I've previously recounted how I was (am) unsatisfied with ExpressScribe for controlling audio playback for transcribing interviews. Because the basic functionality of the program is so straightforward (using global hotkeys to control audio playback), I was disappointed that there was no free, open-source alternative to ExpressScribe. So I'm making one.

The TranscribeSharp UI
The TranscribeSharp UI is essentially identical to the PracticeSharp UI in this preview release. Transcription-focused changes to the UI are planned.

TranscribeSharp is a program that will let you control the playback for audio files using hotkeys while you transcribe the file in another program (e.g. Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer). You can slow down, speed up, fast forward, rewind, pause, etc. the audio using you keyboard without ever leaving the program you are transcribing with.

The Hotkey Settings menu
The Hotkey Settings menu can be used to change between two predefined sets of hotkeys.

TranscribeSharp is in large part based on PracticeSharp by Yuval Naveh with addition of the LowLevelHooks library by Curtis Rutland. I do not consider myself a skilled programmer, and TranscribeSharp is in some sense just these two pieces of software smashed together. Without PracticeSharp and LowLevelHooks, TranscribeSharp would not be possible.

Right now, this is just a preview release. There are a few bugs, but it is a functional software solution. I wrote this to use for transcribing interviews for my dissertation, but I figured that other people may be interested in using it as well. This is a very low priority project for me, though, so please understand that. I do have a list of features that I would like to eventually add (e.g. the ability to customize the hotkeys, video playpack, an installer, and a different UI), but I have no timeline for implementing these.

TranscribeSharp is written in C# using Visual Studio 2013 and licensed under the LGPL. The full source code is available at BitBucket. If anyone is interested in helping out with bug fixes or implementing new features, just get in contact with me - I am very interested in not working on this project alone. (This was also my first time really using Git, so in future releases I intend on re-structuring the way I use the dependencies.)

To use the program, just unzip the file below and run TranscribeSharp.exe. You'll need the .NET Framework (at least version 4) installed to use it. The program should work on Windows 7 and 8 (maybe more). I hope you find this program useful.

Download TranscribeSharp (Preview) version 0.0.1.0 (zip, 2.6 MB) here

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Eating in Gainesville

There's no shortage of good restaurants in Gainesville. Branching out beyond the near-campus and Archer Road selections early was one of the best decisions I made as an undergraduate because, as my time here began nearing a decade, I was able to feel more connected to the community. A great website that helped me with finding local places to eat is NoSoupForYou.com. It contains a reasonably complete list (that is kept up-to-date) of local/independent restaurants in Gainesville along with their contact information, payment information, etc. It is also sortable by type of cuisine. Pretty much any information you'd want about a restaurant is available at a glance.

There are no ratings on the site, and that is one of the reasons I continue to rely on it. Whenever I want to try a new restaurant, NoSoupForYou is where I turn. That doesn't meant that there aren't good chain restaurants in Gainesville, but eating at independent eateries helps complete the Gainesville experience.

Check out NoSoupForYou, try something new, and form your own opinion of it. Gainesville is a great little town full of life beyond campus.

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Priorities in grad school

I know that I haven't really been keeping up with this blog, and I'm not making promises to myself to keep up with it in any sort of regularly-scheduled-posting way. I will, however, continue to make posts as they come.

The reason why I haven't been posting is that this blog is not (at the moment) a priority for me. Grad school has kept me busy, and there are always lots of projects and people clamoring for time. Making sure that my commitments to other people, projects, and myself are met means prioritizing what I do. If I felt myself swelling with ideas for this blog and wanted to make passionate posts, then this blog would become more of a priority in my personal, relaxation time. If this blog actually had a following and/or had some (even marginal) impact, then maybe I would start to see this blog as a professional commitment.

As it stands, it is neither. And that's okay. Some things are more important than others, and right now research, teaching, classes, and time for me are more important than this blog. I think being successful at school - grad and otherwise - depends on being realistic with priorities and commitments. I guess this could be summarized as:

Lesson 3: Some things are more important than others, and ignoring the less important things can be okay.

There are no deadlines, and this blog will still be here waiting for me when I have more to say.

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Peer Review and Open Access in the Headlines Again

Peer Review and Open Access on the Radio

The internal systems used by research and academia are not often the subject of discussion by members of the public. They are, after all, somewhat tedious and removed from the lives of a vast majority of people. Because of this, when I was listening to NPR on Friday morning and heard the words "peer review" and "open access", I immediately turned up the volume to listen in.

NPR was interviewing John Bohannon regarding a study he conducted wherein he sent an article that was written to be deliberately bad to several hundred open access journals. Bohannon wrote about this study for Science as "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?" In the end, a majority of the journals he submitted to ultimately accepted the paper despite the fundamental flaws (that were ostensibly obvious to anyone with some modicum of training in the field) it contained. NPR ran the story as "Some Online Journals Will Publish Fake Science, For A Fee" and describes the study as a "sting". Bohannon is quoted as saying that the sting revealed "the contours of an emerging Wild West in academic publishing."

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Supplementary CD for "Thinking Mathematically"

I need to use Carpenter, Franke, and Levi's Thinking Mathematically: Integrating Arithmetic and Algebra in Elementary School for a course. This textbook includes a supplementary CD with video examples of children displaying the mathematical thinking described in the text, and the authors emphasize that watching these videos is an integral part of reading the book. Unfortunately, the videos are references in the text by the section number with which they correspond, but are not labeled thusly on the CD. The CD contains a program for Windows that acts as a wrapper to display the appropriate videos. This program requires Apple's Quicktime software to display the videos within the program. Therefore, if someone does not have both Microsoft Windows and Apple Quicktime installed, there is no clear way to check the correspondence between the video files and sections in the textbook. I obtained access to an appropriate computer and made the following mapping of lessons to video files:

Section File (.mov)
2.1 Kevin
2.2 David
2.3 Lillian
3.1 Emma
3.2 Thad
3.3 Kenzie
4.1 KF111400
4.2 Megan
5.1 Allison16
5.2 Cody
7.1 Allison
7.2 Susie
8.1 Mike

The .mov files themselves can be played by many media players (not just Quicktime), so with the above table the supplementary CD should work irrespective of the computer software one uses.

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