Posts by Kathleen Fitzpatrick
July 13, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
I find myself a bit more fuzzy-headed than usual, as I sit down to write this, having just returned to the United States from a four-day trip to London for the Digital Humanities 2010 conference, where a few hundred folks working on and in humanities computing gathered for their annual conference.
I say "their" rather than "our" because I still feel like a bit of a latecomer, having only attended my first DH conference last year. Scholars representing a very wide set of fields, technologies, and methodologies were presenting, however, and those scholars represented a wide range of countries, institutions, and positions—the tenured and tenure-track, the #alt-ac, grad students, extra-academic professionals, and more besides.
This breadth indicates the big tent" that the digital humanities can be, a nexus of fields within which scholars use computing technologies to investigate the kinds...Read More
July 6, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
I take notes. A lot of notes. I take notes when I read, when I'm in meetings, when I'm listening to lectures, when I'm figuring out what I need to do any given day. In fact, if I ever tell you that I'm going to do something, but you don't see me make myself a note about it, don't believe me.
Notes are the key to remembering, for me. Or, more precisely: the act of taking notes is the key to remembering. Something about the act of taking notes helps make an idea, or an issue, or a plan more real to me.
I used to take these notes longhand, in various notebooks, some devoted to particular projects, some to more general notetaking. Several years back, though, I began shifting my notetaking to the computer, so that those notes would be more easily searchable and repurposeable.
Originally, I used Word for this purpose, but after one MS Office upgrade too many, requiring that all of my...Read More
June 29, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
I've used an external hosting provider for several web-based projects since 2002. Having my own shared server space has vastly reduced the red tape that would be involved if I were attempting to host these projects within my institution's network, and it's given me a great deal of control over how my web projects operate. Julie's written about the ins and outs of choosing and working with a hosting provider, noting the flexibility that such services can provide.
That's the up side. There are down sides as well, most of which surface if you've selected a less-than-optimal provider. The good news is, however, that there are always other hosting fish in the internet sea, and you can move if the need presents itself.
Such a need presented itself to me at extremely short notice: back in spring 2004, the hosting provider I'd worked with for the previous two years informed me that they were...Read More
June 22, 2010, 11:08 AM ET
As Jason has already pointed out, we write a lot about backing things up here—and with good reason: data loss can be devastating, not just to your work but to your general peace of mind. And most of us do a pretty good job of ensuring that our local files are backed up (and many of us are careful to ensure that these backups are redundant and off-site).
But as our work lives move increasingly into the cloud, we need to ensure that those files are backed up as well. Natalie has discussed the importance of having a backup strategy for your cloud-based files, including your Gmail account, your Flickr photos, and your Google Docs—but what about your blog?
Whether you're blogging through a hosted service or using software you install on a shared server, you should think about how your blog posts are being preserved. Given the promises that hosting services make about keeping your data ...Read More
June 8, 2010, 08:00 AM ET
Hello. My name is Kathleen, and I'm an early adopter.
I picked up my iPad from my campus bookstore on the morning it arrived. I'm pretty sure I was the first person to do so, in part because I'd beaten the delivery truck on my first trip to the store that morning, and in part because, when I came back after breakfast, the staff were just getting started unpacking the demo models.
Anyhow, I've lived and traveled and worked and played with the iPad for a little over two months now, and while I'm still completely head over heels for it, I've got a few ideas about how to make it better.
First, the obligatory fangirl gushing: I love having a device that provides such a flexible multi-channel personal media consumption environment. I read a lot on the iPad, in a range of book and document reading applications (including, as Jason described last week, the fantastic iAnnotate), I ...Read More
June 1, 2010, 06:00 PM ET
The initial announcement of Google Wave one year ago produced—well, let's just call it a lot of enthusiasm—within tech circles, as everyone oohed and ahhed over the idea of reimagining email as a social communication technology. That enthusiasm hasn't exactly borne out, sad to say; the letdown came in part because of the difficulty of getting into the system (invitations were hard to come by, early on), in part because of the difficult of using the system (a series of technical glitches made the ride pretty bumpy at first), and in part because... once we were all in there, we weren't sure what we were supposed to do. Except talk about Wave.
After a semester of using Wave in both of my classes, however, I'm increasingly convinced that the problem with the way the system has been marketed. Most internet junkies heard the connections being drawn to social software and leapt to the...Read More
May 27, 2010, 10:00 AM ET
Promotion and tenure reviews are among the most stressful moments in an academic's career. (This is of course setting aside the job search itself, which presents a category of stress all its own.) The stress is of course very real, and perfectly explicable, particularly at the contract-renewal and tenure stages, as it's directly tied to the ability to keep doing your job.
But it's more than simply the pragmatic effects of the review outcome that make the process painful. This becomes clear in cases in which a positive decision seems inevitable; the stress of the process somehow overruns the fact that it's almost certain to turn out fine. The same is true of reviews, such as for the promotion to full professor, for which the real, material stakes are low; given that all that can be hurt are your feelings, you'd think that navigating the process would be easy.
Reviews are never easy,...Read More
May 18, 2010, 10:00 AM ET
A few days back, Lifehacker ran a post on the top ten ways to upgrade your morning routine. All of the suggestions in the list are good ones (except that thing about cutting out the caffeine; what on earth could they be thinking?), but I want to call attention in particular to numbers 10, 6, and 1; together they add up to this post, which I really did have in the works well before Lifehacker scooped me.
As their suggestions run, you might make the most of your mornings if you:
10. Save the Morning for Thinking;
6. Choose Your Most Important Task Over Email; and
1. Know Your Peak Performance Times.
What all of this adds up to for me is using the first half-hour of the morning wisely, as it sets the tone for my day.
This is a lesson that I've had to re-learn repeatedly. I'll find myself, about mid-semester, having a hard time squeezing any writing into my schedule, and it will only...Read More
May 3, 2010, 02:00 PM ET
I've managed to hold off on writing this post until the spring semester is all but over, in part because I didn't want to fall victim to the faculty version of senioritis that Jason recently wrote about. But now that summer's nearly here, planning for the summer and beyond is absolutely fair game.
One of the things that ProfHacker has been best at is sharing strategies for making the most out of the little bits of time to be found in a crowded schedule. Natalie, for instance, brilliantly discussed how to prioritize and delegate small tasks for periods when you won't have much time and Billie's recent Writers' Boot Camp post focused on using tools like 750words.com to facilitate and reward working in manageable chunks.
These are key strategies for getting work done when there's too little time, as is nearly always the case during a regular semester. When there's plenty of time --...Read More