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Software and Online Tools

The 9 Online Calculators You Need to Know About

When you think of a “calculator”, you probably think of the plastic gadget in your lab desk drawer or an app that came with your phone. But there are so many helpful calculators online that do a lot more than just add and subtract numbers. Here is a list of some of the wonderfully convenient…

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How Does BLAST Work?

More than a pun on the explosive growth of sequencing data, BLAST makes annotation and comparisons of similar sequences much easier. Created by a group at the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information in 1991, the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool is arguably the most heavily used tool for sequence analysis (that’s available for free,…

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10 Favorite Online Tools for Molecular Biology

What did we do before the internet? And where would we be without handy online molecular biology tools? Apparently in the ‘olden days’ doing a simple gene or protein alignment required programs that used dynamic programming algorithms such as the Needleman-Wunsch and Smith-Waterman algorithms. These required long processing times and the use of supercomputers or…

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8 more helpings of free PC Software for biological scientists

It’s been while since we talked about free PC software for biologists. So we thought we’d treat you to 8 more ideas that can turn you PC in to a super-bio-research-enabling-machine….. 1. Silvernote Standard Electronic note taking effectively clears the desktop of ideas scribbled on bar napkins, backs of envelopes and sticky notes. Silvernote is whitespace…

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5 More iOS Apps for Scientists

Recently we’ve seen some great apps (here and here) that can be added to a scientist’s iPhone/iPad toolbox. In this next installment of iOS Apps for Scientists, let’s take a look at 5 free apps, including a couple which bring dozens of useful references under one “umbrella”, some tools to use while in the lab…

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The Beginner’s Guide to LaTeX

For those of you who read the previous post about LaTeX and are interested in giving it a go, but just don’t know where to start, this article should get you on your feet. I used LaTeX to write my thesis and was (mostly) self taught, so I know how scary it is to begin…

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14 Android Apps for Scientists

If you regularly use an Android device, then you might be curious to learn about some useful apps for scientists. Make the most of your smartphone or tablet with these 14 interesting (and free!) apps: 1. LabTimer, by GrayWolf Mobile Carrying a big, bulky timer around campus (and scavenging the lab for fresh button batteries!)…

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4 Great Websites for Bench Scientists

Friends and colleagues are excellent sources of scientific information. The Internet is too, because it is a virtual library at your fingertips. If you are looking for a great solution to a common problem (i.e. how to eliminate RNAse contamination in a laboratory), the information is waiting for you. For help with more difficult problems…

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Is Google making Scientists Dumber?

The last time you forgot an address what was your first instinct: to look it up on a map, or type out the bit you remember into GoogleMaps and wait for it to auto-complete?  What about looking for a new restaurant: did you ask a friend for recommendations, or search for restaurants in your area…

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LibreOffice: A Free Office Suite to Rival Microsoft’s

As scientists, our everyday tasks involve creating small notes, assembling a short report, a manuscript or even a book chapter, sketching illustrative diagrams, organizing numbers or other items in spreadsheets. Today, all of us, researchers depend more or less on computer programs to solve these tasks quickly and easily. These pieces of software called office…

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10 More iPhone / iPad Apps for Bioscientists

In the time since Bala wrote his article for us about iPhone apps for bioscientists, many individuals and companies have jumped on the bandwagon to deliver some great new apps that you might find useful in the lab. Here’s my pick of the 10 best apps available at the moment: 1. Pubmed Library Price $9.99/£5.99…

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Say Goodbye USB Sticks, Hello Dropbox

When you’re writing up your latest report, next paper or your PhD thesis, its best to get out of the lab and work somewhere where there are fewer distractions. Normally that means stuffing all of the work files you need onto a USB stick (or emailing them to yourself) so that you can work on…

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Where Did Bio Begin For You?

Where did bio begin for you? That intriguing question has been the central focus of an interesting experience I just had. How this all started It began on a Saturday morning. After I woke up and fed my cat, and before making my own breakfast, I went straight to my computer to check which emails…

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Evernote: Never Lose Data or Ideas Again

Evernote is an amazing FREE application that could change the way you record, store and retrieve your data, in the lab as well as at home. The idea behind Evernote, as shown on the right, is to allow you to capture all of your ideas and put them into your personal database on Evernote’s servers…

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Don’t Miss This Free Online Bioconference

How would you like to participate in a free, online Bioconference? Watch and participate in live presentations from the biggest names in the life science industry and the thought leaders of the research community? And do it all from the comfort of your own computer? Well Bioconference Live allows you to do just that on…

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Hot Stuff at Addgene

Addgene, the non-profit plasmid repository, turned 5-years-old this year. That’s five years longer than some of the scientists Addgene first approached to deposit plasmids thought we would last (I can say “we” because I’m a Senior Scientist at Addgene). Not only have we lasted, but we’ve thrived. Addgene recently stored its 10,000th plasmid, and our…

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Bio-Software for Linux

After Peter’s Introduction to Linux, those of you brave enough to accept the challenge will now have Linux installed on your machine so today I want to highlight to you some of the wonderful free software that is available for biologists using Linux. Before I start, I should mention that virtually all tools of modern…

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Join Our Twitter Experiment

I have watched, with some bemusement, as the internet phenomenon that is Twitter has grown and grown, then grown some more. I say bemusement because it didn’t really make much sense to me. But millions of internet users can’t be wrong (ok, I know they can be) so I decided to take a look myself.…

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10 More Firefox Add-ons for Scientists

Way back in October 2007, I wrote an article on 10 Firefox add-ons for cell and molecular biologists. I think Firefox is a brilliant browser and it’s open source add-on contributors make it more useful every day. Apparently, Bitesize Bio readers agree because that Firefox article has remained firmly established in our top 10 most…

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