25 January 2017

Zotero minimalist referencing style for grant applications

I use a custom Zotero referencing style when writing grant applications. It is designed to save space, and uses the following features:

  • In-text citations are denoted by superscript numerals
  • Reference list has single line spacing
  • No journal article titles
  • Journal names are abbreviated
  • No journal issue numbers
  • ≥ 3 author names are listed as "et al."

After each reference, I have inserted two forward slashes to demarcate separate references. I have also bolded the numeral that precedes each reference.

Once the reference list has been created, you may delete the carriage returns so that each reference does not take a new line.

My grant writing Zotero referencing style can be downloaded here.

19 December 2016

Calculate age in years (and months) in Excel

It is often desirable to calculate a person's age from their date of birth relative to some other date (e.g., the date when they completed some test). This is pretty easy to do in Excel.

Calculating age in years
The simplest way to do this is using the following formula


where start_date is the cell containing the person's date of birth.

Using the above formula for someone with a D.O.B. of 20/3/1990 who was tested on 19/9/2016 will return the value 26.5017238, which may be reduced to fewer decimal points if so desired.

Calculating age in years and months
To calculate age in years and months, rather than using a decimal point, use the following formula

=concatenate(datedif(start_date,end_date,"Y"," years, ",datedif(start_date,end_date,"YM")," months")

Using this formula will return the value 26 years, 5 months. This formula can be modified to return other commonly used formats such as 26;5.

11 June 2015

How to set up Tweetbot iCloud sync across iOS and OS X

Tapbots recently released their much anticipated v.2 update for their Mac OS X Yosemite version of their Twitter client, Tweetbot. One of the most touted features is the ability to sync timeline position across devices using iCloud. However, a quick Google search reveals that many people are experiencing issues with getting iCloud sync to work. Some of the more detailed guides I came across are:

How To Get Tweetbot to Sync to iCloud on iPhone (Fix) via Apptactics

Tweetbot and that f*cking iCloud sync via Coupaman's New Digs

Unfortunately, neither of the above guides solved my iCloud timeline sync issues. In the end, the thing that fixed the problem was signing out of iCloud on my iPhone and then signing back in.


1. In iOS, tap Settings, then iCloud.

2. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Sign Out, and then confirm when prompted.

3. Sign back in to iCloud.

That's what did it for me. I hope that this is helpful for those who are experiencing similar issues.

09 December 2014

How to fix the no sound issue on a MacBook

I have been experiencing some sound output issues on my MacBook Air recently, and a quick Google search revealed that many people have been experiencing the same problem. Here is a short description of the the problem and my solution.

What's the problem?
I like to use ear phones with my MacBook. The sound works fine when I first boot up, however, if I am away from the computer and it goes to sleep (e.g., during lunch), the volume icon is greyed out when I wake the computer. The sound does not work and I cannot adjust the volume. Very annoying.

Sound is affected on a system-wide level. This is not restricted to a single app. Rebooting the computer resolves the issue, but this is not something I want to be doing all the time. Other users recommend flushing PRAM and doing all sorts of weird things in the Terminal that I don't want to be part of my regular workflow. Ideally, I'd like to do something once that fixes the problem for good.

The solution
When the volume icon is greyed out, click System Preferences | Sound | Output and select Headphone port as your device for sound output. That's it.

And there you have it. A simple solution to a persistent and complex problem.

30 October 2013

How to disable Protected View and Enable Editing button in Office 2010

A very annoying feature in Office 2010 is the requirement to click Enable Editing when documents are opened in Protected View from 'untrusted sources'. It raises so many false alarms that it is ignored by most users and therefore fails to achieve the very thing that it was designed to do, namely security. Here is how to turn it off:

Click File | Options | Trust Center | Trust Center Settings... | Protected View, which will bring you to this

click for larger view

Uncheck Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet, and then click OK.

You will have to do this in Word, then again in Excel etc. to get it to work in each Office app.