All posts by Jason B. Jones


Automating Writing with TextExpander Scripts


TextExpander is a slightly terrifying key logger a well-designed, intensely useful app for Mac & iOS that does exactly what it says on the tin: it takes little snippets of text and blows them up into arbitrarily longer ones. Ryan wrote about it 5 years (!?!) ago, and George followed up with a post about using it for grading.

The real power of TextExpander comes into focus when you start to reflect on just how many things are text. For example, scripts are just text.

Helmut Hauser, who teaches…


Understanding iOS Diagnostic Logs


One of the irritating things about living in the walled garden that is iOS is that Apple isn’t super-forthcoming with human-readable diagnostic information. Fortunately, the internet is usually a helpful place, and Joe Caiati has written an overview of the system logs stored on your phone.

At its most basic definition, the Diagnostics & Usage Data section is a log of system events that happen on your iOS device. This log isn’t tracking your every move, but it is creating entries whenever eve…


Who Speaks at Meetings? Find Out with GenderTimer

Complex Balance

Nobody really likes meetings, but, at the same time, one has to work with other people. (How unpopular are meetings? It looks like US Office of Strategic Services used typical meeting strategies as guidance for how to sabotage enemy organizations.) The fact that nobody likes meetings, of course, doesn’t mean that we don’t like them in quite the same way.

A topic that I’ve tried to become more aware of recently is gendered differences in meeting behavior. Although it frequently comes labeled wit…


Content Blocking in iOS 9 with Adamant

One of the most popular, if controversial, features of iOS 9 is the built-in support for content blockers in Safari. On the one hand, I think most people are probably willing to pay for quality content; on the other hand, a lot of pretty awful stuff goes on in the world of online advertising, especially on mobile devices. Trying to access many mobile sites, especially mobile news sites, can result in massive amounts of data and battery use … just to get to the ads. It’s one thing to agree to wa…


Weekend Reading: Let’s Just Go to Mars Instead


Another awful day in higher education, so I will just point to the blog of Ryan Martin, an anger researcher who once had to a teach a class with police officers stationed outside his class:

When class was over, I went back to my office (still aware of the fact that I wasn’t really any safer now that class was over) and all I could think about was what a ridiculous world we had created. How is it that we live in a world where students who want to learn and teachers who want to teach have to do…


Dropbox’s File Request Eases Receiving Files and Assignments


At a conservative estimate, ProfHacker writers have posted eleventy-billion times about Dropbox, the popular near-ubiquitous service for saving, syncing, and sharing files. And with good reason! It’s a great service, fast, and convenient–especially for people who use several different computers and devices over the course of a day, it’s frequently the glue that makes that work cohere.

This summer, Dropbox released two new features–one of which might be particularly appealing to academics: file …


Four Chemistry-Approved Ways to Stay Awake Without Caffeine


Now that the fall semester has either started, or is looming ominously, there’s a pretty good chance that you’lll occasionally find yourself in need of a pick-me-up. And while coffee/tea are great, sometimes, you need something a little less shocking to your system. Fortunately, the American Chemical Society has you covered, and they bring amazing news (via Lifehacker):

That’s right: You’re not procrastinating by watching viral cat or puppy videos: you’re improving your alertness and attention…


Move Easily Among Browsers with Browser Fairy

Cosmic Fairy Lights

It used to be so easy to answer the question, “Which browser should I use?” First, the answer was always “not Internet Explorer.” Firefox and Chrome were great, but they got real bloated and crufty. (And Chrome is murder on battery life for MacBook users.) Safari isn’t bad, at least on the Mac side–but it uses the keyboard shortcut “CMD-number” (CMD–1, CMD–2, etc.) to open a bookmark, instead of shifting among your open tabs–and, really, who wants to live like that?

In the interest of battery l…


Browse More Privately with the Privacy Badger


Do you like privacy online? Do you like adorable–if fierce–animals? Of course you do! So you will probably be interested in the fact that, earlier this month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (previously) announced that Privacy Badger, their anti-tracking browser extension, has officially reached 1.0 status, and is now available in a stable release for Chrome and Firefox users.

Privacy Badger differs from adblockers in that it does not block ads as such; instead, it blocks a specific behavior…


Weekend Reading: Almost Back Edition


Mid-late August is an odd time in the higher ed calendar, as some schools have already started their semesters, while at other places, people are either clinging to the last two weeks of summer or franticly working to finish things before everything begins again. Whichever applies to you, I hope that your weekend is a great one, and that it contains absolutely no beet salad. (Unless it turns out to be delicious? But that seems like a stretch, right?)

  • It turns out we don’t just choose bad pass…