Recently I came across two useful web services that make it a bit easier to write research papers: Netspeak and Detexify².

Netspeak

As a non-native English speaker, I often have problems with choosing the right words and I used to ask Google to help me. For example, I would formulate a query “our research * that”, look for the most frequent words in the search results, and issue additional queries like “our research indicates that” and “our research shows that” to count hits. With Netspeak, it is easier, I simply write: “our research ? that” and I instantly get the most popular phrases with their counts. Netspeak can also find the most popular synonyms of a given word in a given context, or find the most frequent order of given words:

Netspeak in action Netspeak in action.

Detexify²

Detexify² solves another small inconvenience: when I didn’t remember the LaTeX instruction for a less-common math. symbol, I needed to consult looong lists of symbols and corresponding instructions. Now I can simply draw the symbol and Detexify² will tell me the instruction and the package which I need to use!

Detexify² in action Detexify² in action.

Interestingly, the back-end is written in Haskell, and its source code is available on GitHub.