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Weekend Reading: Cyberpunk Future Edition

It’s been a great few days for those of us ready for a cyberpunk dystopia. Microsoft’s Windows 10 announcement came hand-in-hand with a demo of Microsoft HoloLens, their prototype of a holographic platform for computing. The project is only one of many headsets currently exploring augmented and/or reality, with new rumors on Oculus Rift (now supported in the Firefox browser), Google’s MagicLeap, Samsung’s Gear VR, and many others all vying to be the first to take VR and AR from ill-fated ga…

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Are those files really final?

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A recent post by Charlie Harvey, titled The word final should never appear in filenames points out that when you’re sharing files with colleagues,creating a clear system for filenames reduces a lot of potential frustration:

There is a file you need to read. Maybe it has some important stuff in it. A contract that went through a bunch of revisions. That sort of thing. Only, when you go to the directory on your company samba share there are 30 files that it could be.

Inevitably at least 3 of thes…

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Google’s Inbox (Zero)

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[Tim Lepczyk is the Director of Faculty Instructional Technology at Hendrix College. You can follow him on Twitter at @thirdcoast.--@JBJ]

Google’s new app and interface for Gmail, concisely named Inbox, tries to streamline email and thus make “inbox zero” more attainable and less something one needs to chase. Currently, the app is available through invitations only, but one can request an invite through a friend or through Google.

The idea behind Inbox is that email is a task and the goal is to…

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Microsoft Office for Android (Beta)

Last week, Microsoft announced that they’re expanding the “preview” — formerly only available to a limited number of users — of their Office apps for Android tablets:

We want more feedback from more users to ensure that Office apps work well on a range of different Android tablets before launching the official apps. To participate in the preview, you can use an ARM-based Android tablet running KitKat or Lollipop, with a screen size between 7″ and 10.1″. Starting today, anyone can go to Google P…

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A History of the MLA Job List

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Jonathan Goodwin was going to give a talk at last weekend’s Modern Language Association convention on “Jobs of the MLA,” a look at the history of the MLA’s Job Information List. Unfortunately, he got sick and was unable to travel; happily, he was able to post the talk online. The MLA gave him almost 50 years of page-scans of the JIL, which were then OCRed for ease of searching. As he read the ads to plan how to make a database of them, he began tweeting s…

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2014: 5 Games to Learn From

As the year winds to a close, it’s a great time to take a look back at some of the games that stood out in serious and educational gaming. If you’re thinking about picking a new game for a class, keep an eye on the coming game awards season. There are a number of venues that showcase great educational games each year. The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge highlighted several winners this year, including National Geographic’s game The Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom and University of …

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From the Archives: Wrap Up the Semester

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Sooner or later, all semesters end. And each is soon followed by another academic term close upon its heels.

Here are some tips from the ProfHacker archives for ending your term so as to be in good shape when you return to your office in a week or two.

Look Backwards

Think about what worked and what didn’t work so well this semester. Write down some ideas for what habits or practices you want to continue and what you want to change next semester.

Update your cv and your annual review/promotion …

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Why You Should Use an Email Vacation Responder

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How often do you check your email? Do you love checking email? Is answering email your primary mission in life? Do you ever wish you could just get away from email for a little while?

Well, you can, by using an email vacation responder. Even if you don’t consider your holiday plans to be “vacation,” maybe it’s worth designating a couple of email-free days sometime in the next couple of weeks.

How it Works

When you have the vacation responder turned on, when someone emails you, they receive an i…

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Hour of Code


December 8th through 14th marked Computer Science Education Week, along with a week-long push for Hour of Code, an initiative in procedural literacy through beginner-friendly tutorials with particular attention to groups that remain underrepresented in STEM. While many of the community events and initiatives are aimed at K-12, the tutorials and resources from the project and the initiative itself can be valuable for us to take a look at in higher education.

Obama kicked off the week of code by