All posts by Jason B. Jones


Starting off in Markdown with Word-to-Markdown

Piece of paper with Markdown formatting

Over the years, we’ve written a lot about Markdown–the simple, human-readable language for formatting text–here at ProfHacker. Lincoln wrote an introductory post about it a few years back, and followed that up with one on Pandoc, a tool that lets you convert all manner of text documents ond another on Markdownifier, a tool that lets you grab plain text from (almost) any web page. We’ve had several posts on tools for writing in Markdown: Cory on WikiPack, Mark on Gonzo, me on TextDrop, Natalie o…


Open Thread Wednesday: Conference Season FOMO or JOMO

Photo of a big crowd

Early January is definitely one of the peak conference seasons, as scholarly organizations such as the MLA, the AHA, the AAS, and others take advantage of the US winter break to convene large meetings.

But no matter how big the conference is, most people don’t go, whether from lack of money, lack of interest, competing priorities, traumas from previous conferences, or just a need to recharge between semesters. For those of us who aren’t attending a major conference this week, watching waves of…


Open Review for Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities

screenshot of MLA website

The MLA is publishing a collection of keywords on Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, which features curated sections on a variety of topics related to digital teaching methods. (I am on the advisory board for this collection.)

One of the interesting aspects of Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities is that the keywords are available for open peer review and public comment. This is being staged in batches, both as a sanity-preserving mechanism and to make sure eac…


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 …