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How (and Why) to Generate a Static Website Using Jekyll, Part 1

[This is a guest post by Alex Gil, the Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Columbia University Libraries. Among other collaborations, he is also vice-chair of the Global Outlook::Digital Humanities (go::dh) special interest group of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, where he has been an advocate of (and instructor in) minimal computing. On Twitter, Alex is @elotroalex.]

In this 3-part tutorial I will be covering the basics of my site generator of choice, Jekyll. Alas, Jekyll only…

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Four Chemistry-Approved Ways to Stay Awake Without Caffeine

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Now that the fall semester has either started, or is looming ominously, there’s a pretty good chance that you’lll occasionally find yourself in need of a pick-me-up. And while coffee/tea are great, sometimes, you need something a little less shocking to your system. Fortunately, the American Chemical Society has you covered, and they bring amazing news (via Lifehacker):

That’s right: You’re not procrastinating by watching viral cat or puppy videos: you’re improving your alertness and attention…

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Your Favorite Browser Extensions?

Internet Explorer’s got ’em. Firefox’s got ’em. Chrome’s got ’em. Safari’s got ’em. Just about every major browser’s got ’em: extensions.

What’s a browser extension? I’m guessing you already know this: it’s a free add-on tool designed to supplement or customize the built-in functions of your Web browser. You can use extensions to do such things as

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Slack: When It Makes Sense to Use It

[Maha Bali is Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Her primary role is a faculty developer but she also teaches educational game design to undergrads and ed tech to in-service teachers. She is a co-facilitator of edcontexts.org and columnist at Hybrid Pedagogy. She blogs at http://blog.mahabali.me and tweets @bali_maha.]

My first thought when I heard of this tool was: why would someone call a productivity tool “sla…

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Move Easily Among Browsers with Browser Fairy

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It used to be so easy to answer the question, “Which browser should I use?” First, the answer was always “not Internet Explorer.” Firefox and Chrome were great, but they got real bloated and crufty. (And Chrome is murder on battery life for MacBook users.) Safari isn’t bad, at least on the Mac side–but it uses the keyboard shortcut “CMD-number” (CMD–1, CMD–2, etc.) to open a bookmark, instead of shifting among your open tabs–and, really, who wants to live like that?

In the interest of battery l…

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Designing Engaging Course Documents with Piktochart

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This is a guest post by Julie Platt, currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She researches and teaches about writing centers, creative writing studies, professional writing, and technical communication. On Twitter, she’s @Aristotlejulep.–@JBJ]

It’s sometimes a struggle to get students to carefully read course documents. Many student questions, especially at this time of year, can be answered with “Please check the syllabus!” However, when I c…

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Browse More Privately with the Privacy Badger

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Do you like privacy online? Do you like adorable–if fierce–animals? Of course you do! So you will probably be interested in the fact that, earlier this month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (previously) announced that Privacy Badger, their anti-tracking browser extension, has officially reached 1.0 status, and is now available in a stable release for Chrome and Firefox users.

Privacy Badger differs from adblockers in that it does not block ads as such; instead, it blocks a specific behavior…

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Better Presentations with Sway

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I recently came across an article in Fast Company that reminded me that I had the Sway app sitting unused on my phone since February. Sway is Microsoft’s new presentation (and more!) app that aims to take us towards and into the post-PowerPoint future. And then I started watching the playlist of Sway tutorials.

Anyone who knows me or has seen me give a talk knows that visuals and slide design are not my strong suits. For example, here is a wonderful set of slides I did for a presentation on dig…

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Weekend Reading: Almost Back Edition

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Mid-late August is an odd time in the higher ed calendar, as some schools have already started their semesters, while at other places, people are either clinging to the last two weeks of summer or franticly working to finish things before everything begins again. Whichever applies to you, I hope that your weekend is a great one, and that it contains absolutely no beet salad. (Unless it turns out to be delicious? But that seems like a stretch, right?)

  • It turns out we don’t just choose bad pass…
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Greg McKeown’s Essentialism

The first thing to know about Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: the Disciplined Pursuit of Less is that it’s not about essentialism. At least, it’s not about essentialism as the term is used in philosophy and literary theory. I resisted reading this book for a long time, in fact, because of its title. Books on productivity, leadership, and personal development often use acronyms and neologisms, and that doesn’t bother me. But to take a term with many centuries of debate attached to it and treat it l…