Tag Archives: BibTeX

Week 10: thoughts on air travel

This week was more reading from my ever growing reference list. I’ve now organized my list of possible things to read by sections since it was getting pretty cluttered. It comes at the end of my Related Work chapter. I’m finding that a LaTeX document isn’t the greatest place to collect links, but it’s workable.

I came across this somewhat depressing article on how green consumers tend to be major carbon emitters. People who were most environmentally conscious (recycling, reducing car usage, etc) were also the one’s most likely to take long airplane flights, which wipes out any savings made in the home. I have to track down the actual paper, but it sounds like the environmentally conscious folks were the wealthiest, thus giving them the ability to take long flights. I hope that having a unified interface such as the one proposed in PET would help people to see the whole picture of their environmental impact.

If airplane flights really are the dominating factor in carbon emissions for most middle-class people, then that has a particularly nasty impact for Hawaii residents, since we live 2000 miles away from almost everything. Other than flights to neighbor islands, all flights are long flights and there is no practical alternative to flying. However, if flights are the biggest problem, then that could provide renewed focus on ways to avoid air travel. While it’s hard to imagine a realistic IT-based alternative for vacations, advances in telepresence could conceiveably make flying away for business meetings unnecessary.

My love affair with BibDesk continues. This past week I discovered the web import functionality. BibDesk provides an embedded WebKit browser that you can use to search a website like the ACM Portal for papers. When you find one that you are interested in, BibDesk can import the bibliographic data with one click. Nice.

Per discussion with Philip, need to read 3 papers a week to stay on target for literature review. At the end of the semester, I’m going to take a snapshot of the literature review chapter and turn that into a separate tech report that I’ll turn in as the document for ICS 699 and as a portion of my research portfolio.

Planned items from last week:

  • Read 4 new papers from literature review list
    • [NOT DONE] Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web
    • [DONE] Energy efficiency: rebounding to a sound analytical perspective
    • [NOT DONE] New Ways to Promote Proenvironmental Behavior: Expanding and Evaluating Motives for Environmentally Responsible Behavior
    • [NOT DONE] A Definition of ‘Carbon Footprint’
  • [NOT DONE] Add more sensors to list
  • Write up notes from papers read during PET paper lit review
    • [DONE] EcoIsland: A System For Persuading Users To Reduce CO2 Emissions
    • [DONE] Taking the Guesswork out of Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyles

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Emailed author of Understanding Mobility Based On GPS Data

Hours worked: 12 (target: 15 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Read 3 new papers from literature review list
    • Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web
    • New Ways to Promote Proenvironmental Behavior: Expanding and Evaluating Motives for Environmentally Responsible Behavior
    • A Definition of ‘Carbon Footprint’
  • Check out Dopplr’s carbon tracking for travel
  • Write up notes from papers read during PET paper lit review
    • Motivating Environmentally Sustainable Behavior Changes with a Virtual Polar Bear
  • Start list of carbon footprint calculators, shown in table form in proposal document

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

  • Checks are now (apparently) the most dangerous way to give someone money. Every check has both the bank routing number and your account number, and with that information a criminal can pull money out of your bank account with far fewer protections than if they were stealing your credit card number.

Week 9: more reading and reference collecting

One of the types of sensors I’m looking at are mobile GPS sensors that attempt to determine what mode of transportation one is using, and from that and the GPS trajectory estimate one’s environmental impact (carbon footprint in particular). I’ve found 3 systems doing this so far:

  • Carbon Diem (previously known as Carbon Hero). Carbon Diem is designed to run on GPS-enabled mobile phones (Blackberry and Nokia N-series now, but “platform and provider agnostic”). As this article indicates they have been working on the system since 2006. They are trying to raise money, and focusing on the corporate market initially. The app claims to “tell if you drive, fly, take the train or walk”, and if they can sign a deal with a carrier or handset maker they could potentially launch to consumers in Spring 2009. According to this Guardian article, “the software was almost 100% accurate in working out when people were on airplanes or trains; it was between 65-75% accurate at guessing when people travelled on buses”.
  • Ecorio is a similar application for Google’s Android platform. It also uses GPS to detect the mode of transportation, and estimates carbon output from that. There is apparently support for detecting how efficiently you are driving, which is an interesting twist (though not sure how you provide the feedback when the user is driving). Ecorio also provides suggestions for reductions, such as links to Google Transit, and carpooling info. There appears to be some “what if” functionality built in as well, such as how much carbon will I emit if I start taking public transit half the time (screenshot in this article). Users can also purchase carbon offsets from the phone. There are plans to port the application to other platforms (iPhone is mentioned, but would be difficult given the restrictions on background processing). I wonder if this can be run in the Android SDK simulator, with Bluetooth GPS as input?
  • UCLA’s Personal Environmental Impact Report is another phone-based system. Currently in closed beta, runs on Nokia GPS-enabled phones. They are including other environmental factors, like smog.

It would be interesting to get a hold of some of these sensors and see how accurate they are compared to just recording the odometer & fuel usage information, or marking commutes on a map from memory.

I’m really liking BibDesk, the Mac OS X BibTeX manager. One really nice feature is being able to link URLs or local files to references. So you can save a PDF of a paper to your hard drive and link the BibTeX record to the file for easy access. It can also show you a nearly instant preview of how the currently selected item will be rendered in LaTeX. There are a bunch more features I haven’t dipped into yet, such as auto generation of cite-keys and automatic managment of your PDFs.

I’m still not quite sure how to cite web sites. For now I’m using the misc BibTeX type, and putting a \url{http://...} in the Howpublished field, which seems to produce reasonable output.

Planned items from last week:

  • Read 4 papers from literature review list
    • Understanding mobility based on GPS data [DONE]
    • Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web [NOT DONE]
    • Displaying dynamic carbon footprints of products on mobile phones [DONE]
    • Energy efficiency: rebounding to a sound analytical perspective [NOT DONE]
  • Start building table of possible sensor inputs [STARTED]
  • Add publications from PET workshop paper to BibTeX [DONE]

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Added a bunch of papers to lit review on Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate
  • Added several more papers while tracking down references from PET paper

Hours worked: 15 (target: 15 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Read 4 new papers from literature review list
    • Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web
    • Energy efficiency: rebounding to a sound analytical perspective
    • New Ways to Promote Proenvironmental Behavior: Expanding and Evaluating Motives for Environmentally Responsible Behavior
    • A Definition of ‘Carbon Footprint’
  • Add more sensors to list
  • Write up notes from papers read during PET paper lit review
    • EcoIsland: A System For Persuading Users To Reduce CO2 Emissions
    • Taking the Guesswork out of Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyles

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

  • Nothing I can think of

Week 8: BibTeX & BibDesk for annotated bibliographies

I made substantially less progress in the past week than expected for two reasons. First, a crisis came up in LILT that required me to urgently work on SocialSense. Second, as part of the Sustainable Saunders Energy Group, I was notifying the occupants of the sixth floor of the Saunders building about upcoming nighttime air conditioning shutdown that should save at least $100K annually. Hopefully both situations have subsided for now and I can focus on the sustainability research this week.

I was looking for a way to get my literature review notes into my proposal document (per Philip’s request) in a sane and maintainable way. As I read each paper, I make notes (usually just bullet points) and once I have reached a stopping point (like the end of a semester) I assemble them into something conceptually coherent. I decided the best way to do this is to enter all the papers I read into my proposal BibTeX database, and place my notes in the annote field. BibDesk is a sweet Mac OS X GUI for maintaining BibTeX databases, and has easy access to the annote field. Then the key was getting the notes into the document. There are BibTeX styles (.bst files) that provide different bibliography styles, and some will print the annote fields of each referenced item, producing an annotated bibliography. I ended up using the annotation style, which ships as a standard part of TeX Live 2008. There are other annotated bibliography styles that could be installed, but I decided to go with the built-in one for now. Obviously I will switch back to the normal bibliography style when the literature review section is done.

Planned items from last week:

  • Read 2 papers from literature review list
    • Understanding mobility based on GPS data
      • Not done
    • Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web
      • Not done
  • Start building table of possible sensor inputs
    • Not done
  • Add publications from PET workshop paper to BibTeX
    • Not done

Other accomplishments this week:

  • Fixed formatting on my research portfolio per Philip’s suggestions
  • Moved literature review notes into proposal document per Philip’s request via annotated BibTeX entries

Hours worked: 6 (target: 15 hr)

Plans for coming week:

  • Read 4 papers from literature review list
    • Understanding mobility based on GPS data
    • Learning Transportation Mode from Raw GPS Data for Geographic Applications on the Web
  • Start building table of possible sensor inputs
  • Add publications from PET workshop paper to BibTeX

Pointers to work products:

Cool links:

  • Caffeine, a Mac OS X application that allows disabling sleep, screen dimming, and the screen saver via a menu bar item. This is really handy for presentations, so you don’t have to keep moving the mouse to keep your system awake. There’s even a timer functionality so it only stays “awake” for a fixed amount of time, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn it off. Freeware.