NIH : Peer Review Process

12:45 PM
Many of us, graduate students, PhD candidates, Post-doctoral Researchers and of-course faculties at various institutions in US would have worked on one grant on the other. In the field of Biomedical Engineering and other studies related to health, National Institute of Health is one of the major funding sources. Even after spending hours churning out the most effective grant application, in some occasions it gets turned down. Peer-review of grants one of the most important and a decisive step in deciding whether the grant gets turned down or approved. Here's a short informative clip on how the grants are reviewed. This is what actually happens in a NIH grant review process.



A score around the range of 2-3 gets approved and anything else decides the level of rejection.. Hope this was informative.
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A Box and a Square

12:31 PM
The Box that I'm referring here is the DropBox.

Its a tool that enables a sync between different computers. And why is that necessary for you? Well, if I'm not wrong, many of us use multiple computers, PDAs and there are different documents, folders that we manage all the time. For example, if there is an important document that we are working on, to be presented tomorrow in our office. We finish it, save it and even make a copy on our pen-drive to take it to our office. But, in the hurry of going to the office, we forget to take the pen-drive to the office and have to end up making excuses. Thats where Dropbox comes in handy. It creates a folder in your computer(s), where you can save the files. As soon as the files are saved, it is automatically synced across the different computers that are linked to your account. If you had linked your office computer to ur dropbox account, the file is already there before even you reach your office. Not necessary to email stuffs back and forth. Or even better, the file is stored online in the dropbox website as well. So that you can download the file on the go. And you get 2GB of free space. Another advantage is that when you can't send huge attachments through email to your boss/advisor, Dropbox comes in handy. Just put the files into the DropBox's public folder and it creates a public link, which you can email to the recipients. Sounds cool eh? Try it.

The next thing is the Square. Its a technology that I heard a few months back. It was a time when I didn't have an iPhone and didn't pay much attention to it. But, it doesn't mean I wasn't impressed with their technology. Who could have imagined that we can use the audio jack for other inputs? Certainly I didn't.


It consists of a small device plugged into the audio jack of the mobile device (works on Android as well). This device reads the magnetic strip of the card to process payments. If you are someone living with a roommate and if you settle bills/accounts periodically, then, this one is for you. Even otherwise, if you are someone who buys or sells stuffs through craigslist, this one works like charm. Just swipe in the card and the money is transferred to your bank account. Very simple to setup, or so it seems. I'm yet to try this out, but I've just got the app (Square) from the itunes store. They say that the device would be shipped shortly. The device is free and it ships free. No monthly fees and no contracts. They do, however charge 2.75% for every transaction, which is the only downside. In the meantime, here is a short video of how it works.




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New Apple TV Vs Roku

4:04 PM

With Apple revamping the Apple TV, it has certainly encroached the product line of Roku (loses 10 points for this name). Roku ? Ever heard of it ? I certainly did not prior to the launch of the new Apple TV. When I was searching different forums to see the different options available, Roku was one name that was consistently mentioned by everyone. It looks like Roku is in this market for quite sometime and has been pretty successful in doing what it does best. The advent of the new Apple TV has infact forced Roku to slash down its prices the day before the launch. Apple, known for its high-priced products has infact come down to the customers, for once, with this new Apple TV - priced at $99. 
Before we go about saying "Wooowww.. $99 for Apple TV ? My money is on it.".. its imperative to see how Roku ranks against Apple TV.


Roku product line (Click on the image to purchase it):
   Roku HD-XR Player  Roku XD Streaming Player 1080p           Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p
Roku HD-XR                               Roku XD                                Roku-XDS

As we can see from the comparison chart above, there is not much difference between the Apple TV and Roku, except for the fact that Roku has promised to deliver 1080p video quality via a free upgrade on Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p later this year. And Roku has a wide variety of packages that the customer can make use of. Apart from that, the important question that pertains to many consumers is Availability! While Apple introduced the Apple TV about 3 weeks back, it is still not available to the customers. As of today, the website says that it ships in 3 weeks. Roku, on the other hand is already available in the market (Click on the links to purchase) - Roku HD PlayerRoku HD-XR Player , Roku XD Streaming Player 1080p and Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p. They all qualify for SuperSaver Free Shipping as well. The chart below (from Roku's website) shows the comparison of the three versions of Roku.



VERDICT:
So if you are someone, who is waiting to get your hands on AppleTV, DON'T!!  Just go ahead and buy a Roku, which is a much better version at the same $99. Get your money worth. 
Unless, you are someone who's house is filled with Apple products, then it makes sense for you to wait and buy the new Apple TV, which has a better integration with iphone, ipod touch and the macs.
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Apple iPhone 4 cases - A Review

6:23 PM
The iphone 4's have been a revelation in the mobile phone business. Despite coming with inherent flaws (read antenna design), Apple has held its stand that it is not a design issue. And customers haven't bothered much either. Reason being, casing the iphone solves the issue. That being said, the bumpers provided by Apple only covers the antenna. That offers no protection to the device, which has glass on both front and back. So I wanted to take a look at the different cases available in the market and review them here - so as to help a few people make a quick buying decision.

1.Sonic Snap Slim Case


The Sonic Snap Slim Case for the iphone 4 comes with 2 screen protectors. One of them is for Anti-glare and the other one is Clear. Providing a rubberized grip, its best to hold and doesn't slip much. Nearly all customers have been happy with this product but some have expressed concerns over the screen protectors, which might bubble your display if not installed properly.







2. Gumdrop Cases Motoskin

This rugged looking case is the best IMO, if you are someone who is susceptible to dropping ur phone. The silicone is a soft, thick silicone which offers more protection. The downside is that it might collect dust, as expressed by some customers. Nevertheless, if you don't mind wiping the dust off every once in a while, this one's for u. It also comes in Gray and Blue colors.






3. Empire New Skin Case for iPhone 4
Though the title in Amazon might say that it to be silicone protector. Its not. Its actually made from a Thermolastic Polyurethane material, which becomes clear after reading its description. Its one of the cases that was released really early along with the iphones and the users have not been much disappointed. The only downside that the users have is that its edges are a little sharp and hence it might be difficult for holding. But it offers good protection nonetheless.








4. Incipio dermaSHOT case for iphone 4
This is one of the best cases I've seen for iphone 4. The design is elegant and it offers superior protection and casing for the iphone. The silicone is about 2 mm thick and hence it will offer good protection. It isn't much bulkier either. The only downside being it will collect lint, as with any other silicone case. If you are into silicone cases, then this one for u.










5. Leather case for iphone 4
There are several leather cases available for the iphone 4s. Check them out if you are a fan of leather cases.














6. iFrog cases

There are several iFrog cases for the iphone 4. But they are still not available in Amazon. But if you have an AT&T account, you can purchase it from them. They are selling a bunch of those cases online. Or even otherwise if you drop into an AT&T store, you can get one i believe. I'm not a fan of their cases and hence I haven't reviewed them.

7. Incase.

As of July 10, 2010, incase haven't come out with cases for the iphone 4. I'm hoping they come out with something by next week atleast. I'm a big fan of their slider cases, but they are a little slow in delivering the iphone cases this time. I sincerely hope they don't disappoint.

Thats about it folks from my side. Hope you all have a good buying experience.
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Research poster ~ Biomechanics

1:35 PM
Warning: Before you click on the picture or take a closer look, I have to warn you that it is very graphic (No! I'm not talking abt the charts) since the study involves cadaveric specimens. Please leave the page if you are very sensitive.

I've never designed a research poster in my life.. But there's always a start right? I had a chance to showcase my research work at a conference. Here's the poster that I prepared for the CUGSR conference that was held in my University. Click here to download the poster. Or you can click on the image itself for a bigger view. Clicking again would zoom the image. (I hope its readable)

UPDATE : I won the Award for the BEST RESEARCH POSTER, for the above poster at CUGSR Conference.

I'd like to thank Archana S, Dr John Elias, Dr Marcus, Laura Gump who were extremely helpful in carrying out this research work.



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Music lover, gamer, love Apple products, Neuroscientist by profession and by choice.

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