May 2, 2013, 8:00 am
Towards the end of grad school, I learned a key lesson about academia. I was discussing a draft of a dissertation chapter with my second reader. Although not my adviser, her work was critical for the arguments that I was building about psychological trauma and technology. Toward the end of the conversation, she said something to the effect of, “You know, this chapter could really use more Heidegger.” Inside, my heart sunk a bit. “Great,” I thought, “more to read. And from an author whose work I don’t really know.” But I dutifully wrote, “More Heidegger,” in the margin of a page, and after the meeting, I checked out a copy of The Question Concerning Technology.
I read Heidegger and tried to understand how his views on technology fit into his and my larger projects. It wasn’t especially easy going. And perhaps in the third day of thinking about Heidegger, I had an epiphany that was…
April 11, 2013, 11:00 am
If you’re like me, you probably have more than a couple of tabs open on your browser of choice. If you’re a lot like me, then you actually have three different browser windows open with the number of tabs in each window ranging from five to thirty-seven. There are a lot of reasons to have all those tabs open, we tell ourselves: it’s for a blog post; it’s for my research; it’s something that won’t save well in Pocket or Instapaper. And all of those things may be true. But what is also true is that all of these tabs take a toll on your computer’s performance.
What you real need is the ability to get all of these tabs summarized into one handy place. A way to keep them as a list without having to copy and paste URLs, so you can get back to what you want to read when you have the time. What you need, it turns out, is OneTab. OneTab is a free, simple extension for the Chrome browser. The…
March 27, 2013, 11:00 am
A couple of weeks ago, Jason and I were getting ready to give a talk about ten things academe won’t tell you. (Yes, ProfHackers are available to come and talk at your campus. Call now, operators are standing by!) Right before we started, Jason took his jacket off, unbuttoned his cuffs, and rolled up his sleeves. My immediate response was, “You do that too?!”
You see, I often start my classes by rolling up my own sleeves. I do this in part because I find it more comfortable when I’m teaching. But it’s also done with the intention of letting my students know that I’m ready to get to work for the next 50 to 75 minutes. In fact, I like this gesture so much that I’ve been known to roll my sleeves back down after that class and then roll them up again at the start of the next. Of course, I don’t know if this gesture is something that the students notice or interpret in the way that I would …
March 21, 2013, 11:00 am
Two and a half years ago, George posted a review of Pear Note, “a $40 Mac-only software application from Useful Fruit designed specifically for taking notes while watching a presentation.” Now, you could arguably do that with a text editor or even Word. So what makes Pear Note special is that it records the presentation’s audio while you’re typing notes, and afterwards you can click on a portion of your notes and hear the audio that was happening right as you typed those notes. So if you can’t quite figure out the context of what you’ve written down, you can suddenly hear it all again.
It’s recapturing this context that has made Pear Note pretty integral to my work. In my alt-ac position, I’m in a lot of meetings and I run a lot of meetings. Having Pear Note makes it a lot easier to write those post-meeting emails to the whole team or to review what everyone agreed to, three months …
March 19, 2013, 8:00 am
If you’ve been reading my last several posts, you might have figured out that I’m kind of fanatical about keyboard shortcuts. That’s why I recently showed you how to learn your keyboard shortcuts, brainstormed new and simple twists on text expansion, and covered how to create keyboard shortcuts for ANYTHING! It turns out that my love of shortcuts isn’t restricted to the keyboard, however. Launch Center Pro is my most used app on my phone, because it lets me do everything on my iOS device with a single touch. So when I heard about a new iPad app that would let me fire off shortcuts to the computer, I was more than a little curious.
Actions bills itself as the One App to Rule Them All. But that title is a bit misleading, as it might make you think that it will control the apps on the iPad itself. Instead, Actions controls the applications on your computer. (Apple fanboy status be damned, …
February 26, 2013, 11:00 am
Think, dear ProfHacker readers, with me back to the beginning of this school year: about your plans to do better in your teaching, to do better in your research, and to blog more regularly. It turns out that ProfHacker too has aspirations at times that we don’t meet completely. For instance, you might recall our podcast. After a glorious first episode that aired in 2009 featuring Merlin Mann, we took a three-year hiatus (as all rockers do) until releasing episodes two and three this past September. Believe it or not, we recorded a fourth episode. Rumor has it that Jason is still editing it in his home studio, trying to give Kevin Shields a run for his money.
In any case, at the very end of episode three (starting at 40:50), Jason mentions a new favorite app of his, Launch Center Pro and how we hadn’t reviewed it on the site yet. Well, today’s the day, and it makes a fitting follow-up …
February 19, 2013, 11:00 am
If you’ve been reading ProfHacker for a while, you probably know that one of our primary goals is to talk about those things in academia that people simply don’t talk about. If you’re here–so the logic goes–you must already understand <insert topic of choice here, like which are the prestigious journals in your field>, and so we won’t bother to teach you these things. But these things are important; it turns out that knowing the hidden information of the university is a really powerful way to make yourself more effective in your career.
It also turns out that in some ways academia is very much like the keyboard you’re probably sitting in front of right now. Sure, it’s got those familiar 36 alphanumeric keys. But like academia, the keyboard has hidden information that will make you more effective in your career: keyboard shortcuts.
Keyboard shortcuts can be a great way to get…
February 6, 2013, 11:00 am
As I write this, we’re just a short 36 hours away from the most important weather event of the year: Groundhog Day. And while I know that everyone loves Punxsutawney Phil, I’m a personal supporter of General Beauregard Lee, who lives here in the South with me and has a much higher accuracy rate.
Bill Murray aside, the reason we’re all fascinated with Groundhog Day is twofold. First, now that the winter holidays are over and we’ve slogged through January, we all feel entitled to get to Spring as quickly as possible. Second and more to the heart of the species, weather can have a tremendous effect on us, our ability to get work done, and even our ability to get to or from work. (Fellow ProfHacker Mark Sample was recently stranded at Dulles for more than 36 hours when the January 25 storm came through.) If you want posts about your commute and how to hack it, we’ve got them.)…
January 23, 2013, 8:00 am
Now, you might think that there’s not a lot that you need to know about searching with Google. It more or less does what you want it to: find what you’re looking for on the Internet. But then again, I’m betting that ProfHacker readers know a thing or two more about searching than the…