All posts by Amy Cavender

by

Wine? Yes, please.

Wine bottlesLinux has been a fairly frequent topic of conversation here at ProfHacker recetly, and with good reason. Back in August Lincoln explained his reasons for switching to Linux from OS X, and last month I wrote about my experience of installing Ubuntu on an Acer Chromebook.

Linux is an excellent operating system, but it doesn’t have everything (not that any operating system does). Windows and OS X dominate the computing world, and some applications just aren’t available for Linux. ProfHacker favorit…

by

WordFlow for Distraction-Free Editing

WordFlowWriting — it’s one of the things we do a lot, and many of us here at ProfHacker are often on the lookout for new tools that can help us with the writing task. One of the most essential tools (other than some good ideas, of course!) for getting the writing task done is a good text editor.

We’ve covered text editors before, of course, and have been particularly fond of plain-text editors, whose power Lincoln reminded us of last year. We also like being able to access our files from anywhere, so so…

by

Ubuntu on a Chromebook

Screenshot from an Acer C710-2833 computer running the GIMP, Zotero, and LibreOffice Writer.

A couple of months ago, Jason wrote about his initial impressions of Samsung’s Chromebook. In the comments on that post, I asked about trying Ubuntu Linux on it, and noted that I’d tried it out on an Acer model using Crouton.

Crouton has one major advantage: it runs simultaneously with Chrome OS, making it ridiculously easy to switch between operating systems at will. I quickly gave up on Crouton, though, for two main reasons. First, while the Chromebook woke instantly if I’d closed the lid whi…

by

Sometimes It’s the Little Things

microphone pillowSome of the challenges we face in our daily work are major, requiring considerable effort to resolve — and we feel a justifiable sense of accomplishment when we meet those challenges successfully.

Sometimes, though, there’s something very small that might help us or someone else do something a little better. I recently had occasion to try out the dictation feature in OSX (and was pleased to learn that Windows also has this capability), and was impressed with how well it works.

Shortly thereafter…

by

From the Archives: Google in the Writing Classroom

Google spreadsheetSince this blog launched just over four years ago, we’ve spilled a lot of digital “ink” about things Google in general and about Google Documents in particular:

by

How to Clone a Drive (and why you might want to)

clones

Paranoid Cautious as we are here at ProfHacker, we’ve written a lot over the last few years about keeping good backups of our work. Knowing that there’s always a second copy of that critically important file — and/or that we can revert to an earlier version of it — provides a lot of peace of mind.

That said, there are times when it’s useful to have a backup of our entire system, not just our files. For that, imaging or cloning a drive will do the trick. PCWorld ran an article explaining the dif…

by

How to Install Linux to a USB Drive (and why you might want to)

Linux USBWe’ve mentioned Linux on several occasions since this blog got started back in 2009. I introduced readers to UberStudent  (now up to version 3.0) back in its early days, and last fall I pointed out some good reasons to experiment with Linux. Lincoln’s made the move to using Linux full time.

One of the nice things about Linux is that it can be installed to a flash drive as well as to a hard drive, providing not just the convenience of portable applications, but the power of an entire operating sy…

by

From the Archives: Civil and Productive Discussions

Respectfully disagreeIt’s been one of those weeks. Both on campus and online, there’s been a lot of talk about the government shutdown — and, predictably, a lot of arguing over who’s responsible, what should be done, etc.

What can get exasperating is when one participant in the discussion offers a piece of evidence to support one point of view, or questions a point of view that the opposition has presented, and gets nowhere. One or more of the participants who hold the opposing view refuse to actually participate. T…

by

Having a Backup Plan

No netIt’s important to have a backup plan. No, not that kind of backup plan (important though it is!).

Sometimes, the best laid plans go awry. We’ve covered backup plans for the classroom before, but it’s good to have such plans for other aspects of our work, too.

Today (September 19, as I’m writing this) was a case in point. We had some lovely (?) thunderstorms in the area this morning. They twice took the power to my part of campus down, and though the power outage was only momentary in both cases,…

by

Why Use an Online Syllabus?

Online syllabusMost of us are now a few weeks into the new semester, and some among us may already be pointing students to our syllabus for answers to their questions about the course.

Syllabuses aren’t exactly a new topic of discussion. George has explained how to create a syllabus using a spreadsheet and a calendar app, and Jason’s taken up the topic of creative syllabuses on more than one occasion. And those are hardly our only posts on the subject.

For a few years now, I’ve been creating my syllabus entire…