All posts by Anastasia Salter

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Making Things and MLA 2014

I recently returned from an intense week at the Modern Language Association Conference. I’ve been attending MLA for a few years now and every trip feels like a very different conference, thanks to MLA’s scale and the endless supply of options. For someone early-career like me, that means that I try to find a thread in the giant tent of MLA that is most immediately useful to my work. This year, I found myself compensating for several months spent on very traditional writing by attending a number…

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Death Clocks and Motivation

2503766243_68052099cb_oHere at ProfHacker, we’re big fans of timers. I use them for everything from tracking time spent on various projects to reminding myself to get away from the computer every now and then. But recently I’ve noticed a new interest in a more speculative type of timer: the estimated life-countdown. Life countdown timers–or, more sensationally, “death clocks”–are all over the web, and sites like The Death Clock calculator make it easy to share the less-than-scientific results on social media. Steven P…

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Glitch and Public Domain Game Resources

Glitch LandscapeA few years ago, I often played an adorable and quirky browser-based game called Glitch: the game was a massive space for players to wander and quest with no combat and many strange mechanics. Glitch stood out for its whimsical art, as the world was supposedly “imagined” by eleven ancient giants and felt like a vast dreamscape. You can get a feel for the vastness of the world and its collaborative spaces in the album of player snapshots still online. It closed down last year, but made headlines …

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Managing ‘Hyperemployment’

 Ian Bogost recently wrote an article for the Atlantic on the impact of technology on the redistribution of work, which has put most of us in a state of what he terms “hyperemployment.” He points out that the same technology that makes our communication easier also makes us more likely to distribute work:

Email and online services have provided a way for employees to outsource work to one another. Whether you’re planning a meeting with an online poll, requesting an expense report submission to …

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Building Mobile Sites with jQuery

iphone splash screen, sunlightI’ve finally reached the point where I’m certain I check more websites on my phone and tablet than I do on my computer. This can be incredibly frustrating: even though smartphones have been around for years, lots of sites–particularly from universities, libraries, and smaller academic organizations–are still built with a big screen in mind. I’ve talked in the past about using responsive web design, a set of principles for making sites that work on any device and screen. However, many places rely…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Social Network and Community Overload

No Facebook - Blessington St, St KildaEarlier this month, I attended THATCamp Leadership, an unconference at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. I love this type of event as a chance to pick up new ideas and reconnect with people I normally only “see” online. The event showed off the cool new community features of the THATCamp website: friending, favoriting, and other social tools. We were also pointed towards the growing community of MLA Commons, a community space for members of the Modern Language Asso…

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Playing with “Runnable” Code

Code on the WallWe talk about playing with code a lot here at ProfHacker: Adeline tried out Codagogy, Jason looked at Codecademy, and Ryan suggested tools for learning Ruby. As more of us are our own tech support and maintain an online presence, knowing how to manipulate web code at some level can really help.

Personally, I learned web programming back when the best way I knew of to do it was to open the source file of pages, copy them, and pull them apart to build something new. Learning by example through bor…

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Translation Apps and Traveling Abroad

French signs During my last week of being mostly disconnected at a conference in France, I ran into one big challenge: my knowledge of French is limited, and usually involves dictionary-heavy translation of text, not everyday conversation or quickly reading for comprehension and navigation. I relied heavily on phrases picked up from travel guides before my trip. Most street signs were immediately comprehensible: other documents, like menus, descriptions on products at the pharmacy, or signs on art, took muc…

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Traveling Abroad Without Data

Dead phone in the New York subwayThis week I’m in Paris for a conference. I’ve never traveled so far for a conference before, and conference traveling outside of the United States definitely brings a new set of challenges. I’ve written in the past about my attempts to leave the laptop behind when conference-bound, and I’m trying the same technique now. Erin Templeton has some great advice for planning your international travel, but I was more concerned about happened once I got here without the constant connectivity my usual te…

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Open Thread Wednesday: Best CV Formats

trashedFall is already, abruptly, upon us. This is a time when many of us start to think about the job market, tenure review, and all sorts of other adventures on the horizon. If you are like me, your summer to-do list probably included more work than could possibly fit into a few months. One of the fall-preparation tasks I kept postponing is updating my CV. Every time I go to work on it, I feel like something bigger needs to be done: it’s time to format my CV so that it works well online while still f…