Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Yet more OMICS Group spam full of vacuous rubbish

Despite unsubscribing from a mailing list that I never subscribed to, OMICS Group keep sending me pointless emails to crappy conferences. Today it was “Biodiversity-2015”:

Biodiversity-2015 is specifically premeditated with a unifying axiom providing pulpit to widen the imminent scientific creations. The main theme of the conference is “Share and Enhance Ecological & Geological Conservation research” which covers a broad array of vitally key sessions.

“Biodiversity-2015 is specifically premeditated with a unifying axiom providing pulpit to widen the imminent scientific creations.” Wow! Someone had been over-using their random vacuous crap generator.

Again, no explicit mention of OMICS Group as the organiser was made, although this one did mention “accepted abstracts will be published in the respective OMICS Group Journals”. (For free - they’re so generous!)

At the end of the email, they tell me to:

Have a Great Day Doctor!!

Well, with two exclamation marks, do I have any choice?! What would have made a greater day would have been (a) not receiving the email in the first place*, and (b) having the “To unsubscribe click here” line at the end of the email actually contain a hyperlink. Instead, the “click here” was just text in a different colour!

*I’m not being entirely honest with (a) - I think my day was brightened a little by “specifically premeditated with a unifying axiom providing pulpit to widen the imminent scientific creations”!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

OMICS Group strike again with more scam conference spam

I am always wary when I receive an email that begins something to the effect of:

Dear Colleague,

The purpose of this letter is to solicit your gracious presence as a Speaker at the upcoming 5th World Congress on Cancer Therapy on September 28-30, 2015 which is going to be held in Atlanta, USA.

Soliciting my gracious presence smacked of an OMICS Group “predatory” conference invitation. The rest of the email went on:

The aim of this conference is to learn and share knowledge in cancer research. Leading World cancer researchers, Public health professionals, scientists, academic scientists, World Breast Surgeons, Medical and Surgical Oncologists, Radiologists, Researchers, Healthcare professionals, Industry researchers, Nurses, Scholars, Decision makers, Students and other professionals gather in Atlanta to speak at our conference.

Exceptional Benefits

All accepted abstracts will be published in the respective Journals
Each abstract will receive a DOI provided by Cross Ref
Certification by the organizing committee
Global Exposure to your Research
Best Poster Competitions and Young Researcher Competitions
The Career Guidance Workshops to the Graduates Doctorates and Post-Doctoral Fellows
Networking with Experts across the globe

For more details on scientific sessions and abstract submission, please Click Here

In closing, we would be pleased and honored if you would consent to be our speaker at our Conference.

I will call you in a week or so to follow up on this.

Regards,
Isaac Bruce
Cancer Therapy 2015
2360 Corporate Circle
Suite 400 Henderson
NV 89074-7722, USA
cancertherapy@conferenceseries.com

The thing I find most curious is that there is not direct reference to OMICS Group anywhere in this information: they don’t even name the “respective Journals”, which are presumably OMICS journals as with their other conferences. The address and even the email address are equally opaque.

If you do “Click Here” then you go to an abstract submission page with the “OMICS International” logo and some OMICS Group references/email addresses but even here they opt not to use an omicsgroup.com URL.

This does not strike me as the behaviour of an organisation that is proud of their brand. Indeed, I suspect that they know that their brand is toxic thanks to their reputation for predatory journals and conferences and thus try to lure people to submit an abstract (with a hefty $899 registration fee) before they realise their mistake.

The only other clue was the line hidden at the bottom in small font:

You are subscribed to OMICS Group as XXX. If you do not wish to receive any further communications, please click here.

Suffice it to say that I clicked there.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Always check seat guru, even for small planes

Our recent holiday in Tasmania was fantastic but did not start entirely well.

I checked us in online, not long after check-in opened. I thought that our allocated seats might have been over the wing, spoiling the view, so I decided to check whether anything better was on offer. There were not many available seats left but there were a couple of window/middle pairs nearer the front of the plane, in row 9 on the left and somewhere nearby on the right. I figured that during the afternoon flight time the sun would be in the west and we would mostly be heading south, so the left side was probably better. This also had a better chance of coastal views, I thought. Seats 9A & 9B selected. Checked in. Job done.

Later, we became interested in what type of plane it was. (I can’t really remember why: it might have been curiosity as to the number of rows and which ones might therefore be over the wing.) Googling the route, I came across the Seat Guru entry for the likely plane (the one flying the route that day) and I took a quick look. And horror!

Seat 9A is an Economy Class seat that is missing a window.

For reasons that still mystify me, the one window seat on the whole fecking plane without a window was the one that I had so carefully selected for my wife. WTF, Virgin‽ (Actually, that should be "WTF, Boeing‽" - Qantas planes are the same.)

I always check seat guru for long haul flights and big planes but it never even occurred to me that there could be such a crappy seat on small plane like a Boeing 737-800. (Fortunately, my wife was very gracious and laughed about, so my grumpiness on discovery did not last too long!) Lesson learnt.

Always check Seat Guru before choosing your seat. (It probably gives a better indication of the wing rows too!)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Shoes should not have toes

One odd thing on our recent holiday was seeing people out in the mountains wearing toes shoes (the oddly-named “FiveFingers” shoes). As the author of a late 2013 article, “Toe Shoes - Beneficial or a Pathetic Fad?”*, put it:

“I’d like to think that one of the benefits of shoes, is to cover up your ugly toes.”

Or, as XKCD put it:

*The conclusion of the article was fad… and “blatant fashion crime”! Sadly, a fad that hasn't yet died.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The power of iPhone HDR mode

HDR mode was added to the iPhone camera back with iOS 4.1 but being less tech-savvy than I would like these days, I somehow managed to overlook it until quite recently. Last week, we took a holiday in Tasmania, providing some good opportunities to put it through its paces and I must say that I am impressed!

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and takes three photos at different exposures before intelligently combining them. Sometimes it makes no difference. (Probably often but I only use it when I think it might help.) Sometimes, though the difference is quite dramatic as the following examples show. (Left, normal; Right, HDR.)

An already impressive camera, made even better.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Where I'm from

Although I was not born there, I grew up in a small seaside town called Bognor Regis. Not surprisingly, the further from Bognor I go - and I can’t get much further! - the fewer people have heard of it, despite it’s infamy.

A friend post this video on Facebook the other day. For those curious, this is what Bognor looks like from the air. Or, more precisely, what Bognor beach looks like from a drone.

Bognor Regis Feb 2015 from Sussex By Air on Vimeo.

It’s no Sydney, but it’s not a bad beach. There’s even some sand when the tide goes out! :op If you get bored (it’s a bit repetitive), skip to 2:10 or 2:50 and you can see my favourite bit: crazy golf by the pier. (There's a good kebab shop, The Sussex Frier, in the background too! If it's not closed down.)