All posts by Jason B. Jones


How to Help Others Find Your Work: Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work

One of my weirdest scholarly tics is a tendency to bury the most interesting or original part of my argument. The clearest example of this is my relationship with psychoanalysis. On the one hand, I do love Lacan and Freud, and I’m pretty sure that I could talk you around to my way of reading them. On the other hand, I almost *never* talk about it. (A quick search of my main pre-ProfHacker blog returns a mere 2 posts on Lacan, which surprises even me.)

This is weird for several reasons: I end u…


Toward a Better Charging Cable

tangled cables

For all the ubiquity of wireless devices on and around college campuses, cables are still a necessary evil. Brian has offered tricks for taming behind-the-desk cables before, and George has plugged velcro cable ties, which I have developed a new appreciation for this year.

Phone chargers present a slightly different challenge than, for example, the power brick for your router. For one thing, you probable move it more. And if you live or work with others, probably other people also need to power…


Securing Your Mac Against Theft


We’ve written a lot in the past about the importance of backups, about how password managers help you with strong passwords, and about some of the reasons to use cloud-based apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, BitTorrent Sync, or SpiderOak. All of these things provide some peace of mind about the integrity and security of your data.

But what if someone steals your machine? (Or even just inadvertently walks away with *your* ma…


Preserve Peace of Mind on Twitter by Disabling Retweets

Imagine, if you will, a family member or close friend. You care about this person, and value them for their perspective on the world. Except, as it happens, on that *one* subject. Maybe their political views are lifted wholesale from Fox or MSNBC. Maybe they parrot talk radio’s outrage of the day about sports or celebrity culture. Or during Premier League games they shout at the TV as if they were at a pub. Or perhaps this person loves to get your goat by telling you what other folks are saying…


Students Talking About Technology: ECAR 2013


The Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) has released the latest version of its annual report, ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013. I first started paying attention to ECAR about 5 or 6 years ago when I was at a school that participated in the survey. It’s a good study to participate in, because you get some more data points about how students use technology at your school–but even if your school doesn’t participate in the study, there are data poin…


YouTube Trickery

Who among us hasn’t occasionally embedded a YouTube video into a blog, LMS, or other resource? And while YouTube’s “related videos” feature is an outstanding way to find even more videos of cute boxer dogs, occasionally Google’s sense of “related” can lead you to some awkward places. For example, perhaps you’re kicking off class discussion with a short film clip, or an interview, or even Ricky Gervais discussing the finer points of literary theory, and at the end of the clip YouTube offers some…


Extend Your Tweets’ Life with Echofon and Buffer

tweetItems shared over social media have a perverse temporality. On the one hand, it can feel as though nothing on social media is ever forgotten, at least if it is humiliating. Your past can always be held against you. On the other hand, links and news shared via social media are shockingly ephemeral. has said that most links have a “half-life” (the time by which they will get half of the clicks they ever will get) of around three hours. A marketing firm said in 2010 that for active engagemen…


Eight Thoughts After Trying the Samsung Chromebook

chromebookEven as a resolute Apple user, it’s hard not to be at least somewhat curious about Chromebooks, the low-cost netbooks running ChromeOS. For the past six weeks or so, I’ve had a Samsung Chromebook, and it has been an interesting experience to say the least. It’s actually a little difficult to make an outright recommendation about the device either way–so much depends on the use case and on the institutional context–but I do have some impressions.

The model I”m using is wifi-only, with an 11.6″ di…


5 First Impressions of 3D Printing

maker-botLike a lot of people, I’ve been fascinated by the rapidity with which 3D printing has become more mainstream, whether in printing widgets or human tissue or, even directly useful stuff such as pizza in space.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten first-hand access to two such printers. (Neither is mine.) Later in the semester, I’ll post some more detailed reflections and how-to’s and so forth, but I thought I’d give a few first impressions.

  • The technology is becoming more and more accessib…

Weekend Reading: No Answers Edition

fireworksWe might as well go into the long weekend with a bit of comedy, and so I’ll point here to the Coursera professor email that Aaron Bady released on Twitter last night. Jonathan Rees has worked out the exact right take here: The problem isn’t anything the professor said, it’s that the e-mail concedes that the xMOOC business model depends on freezing these courses in time: develop once, then regurgitate it over and over again.

That’s not exactly surprising news, but it’s useful to see an ostensibl…