February 11, 2013, 8:00 am
As regular readers know, I’m on sabbatical this year, and spending the time as a non-degree student in Loyola University Chicago’s MA program in Digital Humanities.
Being a student again (it’s been a very long time!) has been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot and have some new things to think about for when I return to Saint Mary’s.
Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve gained from the first semester:
- a better understanding of and appreciation for the scope and methods of the digital humanities
- an introductory understanding of computing (not just as an end user)
- an introduction to some of the potential legal issues surrounding digital work
I’ve also had the chance to rekindle a desire to read more of the works of Václav Havel, who warranted passing mention in my dissertation. Though I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll actually follow up on that desire — and if so,…
February 6, 2013, 8:00 am
Evernote released Penultimate 4 late last week. (Unfortunately, it’s only available for iOS 6 at the moment, though support for iOS 5 is expected in the next update. Penultimate is currently not available for Android, though they’re apparently working on that.)
Heather and Ethan have mentioned Penultimate in this space before, and we’ve spilled a lot of digital ink over Evernote itself.
There are two major features to this release of Penultimate:
- Automatic synchronization with Evernote (to which the user must deliberately opt in; it isn’t forced) and
- Handwriting recognition within the application itself, not just within Evernote (though this feature does require Evernote sync).
The app is free, so it’s definitely worth checking out. As I experimented with it, though, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to work well for me.
January 30, 2013, 11:00 am
Spring may not be in the air just yet (at least not here in Chicago, where the wind chill factor has sent us below zero for a few days this week), but it’s certainly coming soon. No, not March 20. February 12.
That’s the day Twins pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training (the rest of the squad will join them on the 15th), even though they won’t play their first regular-season game until April 1.
That amounts to six weeks of prep time before the season begins. And it’s necessary! Jumping right into the regular season without the players first getting into condition and (re)learning to work together as a team could spell disaster. When they’ve been sidelined for a while—whether that’s due to the off-season or to an injury that’s landed them on the disabled list—players need time to get back into shape before getting back into a regular-season schedule.
November 21, 2012, 8:00 am
That members of the team here at ProfHacker are fans of Evernote is hardly a secret; we’ve mentioned it on numerous occasions. It’s very useful for storing and searching whatever information you want to keep track of, and it syncs across platforms, so all your notes are available to you, no matter what device you’re using.
Within the last few weeks, Evernote has released updates to the Mac and iOS versions of its client software. I won’t bore you with a list of the features; the posts linked in this paragraph (with their accompanying videos) provide a good overview for those who want it.
What I’d like to do instead is point out two of the new features that I find useful for my own work:
- The new sidebar in the Mac version. I have a lot of notebooks, and a lot of tags, but there are only a few that I use with any great frequency. The ability to add them to the…
November 15, 2012, 8:00 am
We’ve all had it happen: while browsing the web, we come across something really interesting. Or someone in our Twitter stream posts a link to an intriguing article. The problem is, we don’t have time to read it just then. But we don’t want to forget about it, and we’d like to have a nicely-formatted version to come back to.
Fortunately, there are services like Instapaper and Pocket (formerly called Read it Later, which Brian first wrote about a few years ago) to help us keep track of those links.
Lincoln updated us on Read it Later in April, when it rebranded itself as Pocket. It’s been available for mobile devices and as a web app for some time; toward the end of October, a native Mac app was released.
I’ve been using the iOS client for a while and liked it, so I thought I’d give the new Mac app a try. (I’d previously been using the now discontinued Read Later,…
November 6, 2012, 8:00 am
Just over two years ago, Kathleen wrote about the DMCA exemptions issued by the Library of Congress.
Last week, the U.S. Copyright Office published an updated rule with DMCA exemptions (it went into effect on October 28), and the changes aren’t all good. To get a quick overview of the new exemptions, I’d recommend reading this piece at ArsTechnica and this one at readwrite hack.
Some of what’s in the new rule is perfectly sensible. As Timothy B. Lee points out, ebook access for the disabled should now be easier, since the exemption no longer requires that “’all existing e-book editions of the work contain access controls’ that inhibit disabled access” before it’s legal to circumvent DRM. Thus, users need no longer incur the expense of owning multiple ebook readers in order to circumvent DRM legally. This is a good thing!
But other parts of the rule cry out for a …
October 31, 2012, 8:00 am
In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the announcement or release of a number of new products: the iPad Mini, an updated version of the full-size iPad, and Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Surface tablet.
A lot less attention was paid to the October 18 release of one of the most widely-used Linux distributions, Ubuntu. That’s unfortunate, because Linux in its various flavors is a solid operating system. It’s even used by such major companies as Google on both their servers and their desktops.
That said, my aim in this post is not to review the latest Ubuntu release (LifeHacker provides a first look here) or to rave about the benefits of Linux over other operating systems (since I’m primarily a Mac user). Instead, I’d like to offer a few reasons why it may be worth your while to explore and experiment with Linux, even if you don’t intend for it to become your primary OS….
October 25, 2012, 8:00 am
In one of my classes recently, we started getting some hands-on experience with PHP programming. I was happy enough about my first (very simple) script actually working that I tweeted about it. After class, I got to thinking about whether I could extend what we’d learned that evening and write a different (though very basic) script. When I had some time a few days later, I did a little searching for some information I needed, then gave it a try.
To my surprise and delight, it worked. That fact left me grinning the rest of the evening.
It also left me pondering how I might help my students have that same kind of “aha!” experience. I’d like my students—at least occasionally!—to have the satisfaction of learning something new and interesting, and really knowing that they’ve learned it. I’m in an enviable position at the moment: I’m in the class in question specifically because I …
October 4, 2012, 8:00 am
This semester, I’m in an enviable position. I get to take courses I’m really enjoying, simply because I want to learn what’s being taught in them. There’s no need for me to be overly concerned with grades. How well I do or don’t do has no direct bearing on my future. I’m not applying to a doctoral program. I’m not applying to medical school. There’s no one I need to impress with a “perfect” transcript.
That leaves me free to approach grades the way, ideally, I think they ought to be approached. I’m enrolled in particular courses because I want to learn particular things. To accomplish that, I need to attend class, do the work, and ask questions as appropriate—not because I’m looking to earn a particular grade, but because I want to learn. As the semester progresses, I’ll surely have a sense of how well things are going. What grades do is help me to see…
September 27, 2012, 8:00 am
Since ProfHacker first launched, we’ve written several posts about our favorite applications, the most recent being Ryan’s “Back to School: Mac App Pack.” Since I’m currently in school myself, I find that my work patterns have changed a bit, so I’ve been experimenting with a number of applications to see what might work best for my new circumstances.
So here are the applications that I find are working well for me so far, as a student and a writer. I use all of these every week—most of them, every day—and have found them essential to my workflow.
For keeping up with course reading:
- The Kindle app for iPad. I’m living in Chicago this year, and I want to be able to travel light getting to and from class. I also don’t really want to acquire a bunch of books that I’ll have to cart home in May. I use the app for just about all of my leisure reading right now, a…