Sunday, 24 May 2020

Researching the Waterloo Bridge mystery

I've recently blogged about the 1857 Waterloo Bridge murder, but I thought I would summarise how I researched the post:

My initial search was some fairly dumb searches using Google and Wikipedia - usually if it's a well known case such simple searches turn up articles and books about it - this time I drew a blank so I moved on to Welsh Newspapers online which is free to search, and which turned up a number of  reports from the period.

Unfortunately, Welsh Newspapers is not the easiest to print articles from - it operates more like a virtual microfilm viewer than anything else, meaning that is so long or multi column such that you can't easily do a screen grab using Snip'n'Sketch, you have to resort to taking notes on a second device such as an ipad, which is a bit silly.

This time, I didn't do that, I repeated my search using the State Library of Victoria's historic newspaper databases, and printed out the relevant articles. I also used the print to One Note feature in Windows to save them to One Note as well in case I ever needed to go back to them.

Printing the articles wasn't the whole of the story - I then worked through the articles, taking notes and summarising as I went.

As it was a nice, sunny, late autumn afternoon, I did this sitting outside on the deck and used my MSI netbook for the task.

The MSI has a very nice keyboard to type on, which is why I keep it around, but is distinctly underpowered for 2020 with only 1GB of RAM and a 2012 vintage Atom processor.

That said it runs BunsenLabs linux perfectly well, and using ReText, it's highly responsive - add in two or three browser tabs and a running mail client it does grind a little, but for most writing purposes it's fine, and considerably nicer to work with than an ipad or my old Alcatel Android tablet and keyboard combo.

The finished notes were then transferred to my Windows laptop via dropbox, converted to Word, and inserted into OneNote.

Not the most elegant workflow, but one which I found to be the best given the various constraints (and the sunny weather)!

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