Posts by Amy Cavender
March 15, 2012, 11:00 AM ET
October 20, 2011, 11:00 AM ET
January 10, 2011, 11:00 AM ET
October 8, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
A few weeks ago, the good folks at LifeHacker ran a post on a new Linux distro called UberStudent. Readers can learn more about UberStudent and the philosophy behind it at their site (the tour is worth a look).
Given that UberStudent is specifically designed for academic work (calling itself "Linux for Learners") and is, in their words, "Built from Freedom and Strength to Promote Computer Fluency," I couldn't resist taking it for a spin. It does sound very ProfHackerish, after all.
So I downloaded the live CD and went to work installing it on my MacBook. (I installed it in a dual-boot system using these instructions from LifeHacker and ignoring the Windows bits, but all of the screenshots in this post were taken of an installation running in VirtualBox.)
The installation process
Installing UberStudent was simple and straightforward. It involved: (1) Downloading and burning the .iso ima...Read More
October 1, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
little over a year ago, I wrote a post titled "Using Google Documents When Others Need Paper." Since then, Google Documents has undergone some significant changes. Perhaps the most notable is the new document editor (which is now the default for new accounts, unless I'm mistaken). That's a welcome change; the new editor more closely resembles a desktop word processing application than the previous editor did, which makes it feel more familiar to new users.
A second change was not so welcome. One of the best features of the original Google Documents was the ability to compare different versions of a document (click on any of the images that follow for larger versions):
That feature made it very easy to see what changes had been made to a document, and by whom:
With the advent of the new document editor, the ability to compare different versions of a document suddenly...Read More
September 17, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
When Google's App Inventor beta was announced several weeks ago, I knew this was something we'd want to write about here at ProfHacker. Since Google describes App Inventor as a tool that can be used by non-developers, I asked to be the one to take this post. "Non-developer" describes me quite well. I can write a little HTML, and I can follow basic directions to add a line to a PHP file, but that's the extent of my coding skills. I figured that made me a good guinea pig — is App Inventor really as easy to use as the video on their About page suggests?
Since the rest of the team was agreeable, I immediately signed up for an account, and waited a few weeks to for Google to get back to me. Once I had an active account, I started poking around a bit.
Fortunately, Google maintains a page with links to tutorials and documentation, so it wasn't hard to figure out where to go. Being a newbie, I...Read More
September 10, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
About a month ago, I got hold of a Nook. I was interested in an e-reader primarily for reading journal articles as PDFs. In the interest of saving trees (and wear and tear on my back) I much prefer electronic copies of journal articles to dead tree versions. The problem is, at the end of a day of onscreen reading at a computer, eye strain is really bad (sometimes to the point of seeing squiggly little lines of light). An ereader, I thought, would be much better for my eyes. I was right; I now find myself dealing with significantly less eyestrain after a day of reading.
About the same time that I was considering the Nook, Barnes and Noble started advertising an piece of software that became available August 2nd: NOOKStudy. It looked interesting. Unlike the standard B&N eReader application (for Mac, at least), NOOKStudy supports highlighting and notetaking, and will sync those highlights a...Read More
September 3, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
Many readers of this blog have experienced the pleasure of getting a new computer. Along with that pleasure, though, there's sometimes a bit of dread that surfaces as we realize we need to get all of our information from the old machine to the new one. For some, there's the additional challenge of keeping a home machine and a work machine in sync with each other.
While the thought of getting all that data transferred can be a bit daunting, I've found that acquiring a new computer can provide a good occasion for doing some digital housekeeping, making your files easier to find and your worklife a little more organized. And the process needn't be overwhelming; it just takes a little planning. What follows comes from my own experience of a month or so ago, when I was fortunate enough to receive a new computer at work.
Preparing the old computer for its departure
Here, I'm assuming that...Read More
August 20, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
There've certainly been some good arguments made that PowerPoint presentations don't make for the best pedagogy. At the very least, we want to be sure that any slide presentations we might use don't involve Death by Powerpoint.
Sometimes, though, there are reasons why we need to use a slide presentation, so it's worth taking a look at the tools that might be avaialable. One tool that I rrecently tested is out in beta: 280slides.com.
The service has some good things going for it:
- It's accessible from any computer with an internet connection, and you can run your presentation from within the browser—no desktop application needed. (Unfortunately, it isn't possible to run a presentation in full-screen mode without using a full-screen browser called Plainview.)
- It has a built-in ability to search the web for images and video (that's CC-licensed, of course!)
- If you need...
August 13, 2010, 11:00 AM ET
It's hardly a secret that many of us here at Team ProfHacker are lovers of All Things Google. We've written numerous posts about several Google services. One that I've come to appreciate a great deal is Google Books.
First, it's very handy for searching for a quote in a particular book when you know it's there but can't find it (though, annoyingly, you can remember that it was on the left-hand page, and about two-thirds of the way down, that memory's of little use when you're dealing with a 400-page book).
What else can you do with Google Books?
Well, at minimum, you should be able to pull publication information into your Zotero library. That will be the case even if there's no preview at all available for the book. But if there is a preview, you may be in luck.
We've all had it happen. There's a book we need, and our library doesn't have it. Nor do any neighboring libraries....Read More