October 18, 2012, 11:00 am
‘Tis the season of the academic job search. Thousands of job candidates are putting together applications, hoping to make an impression on search committees. While ProfHacker has covered two important components of a typical job application—CVs and recommendation letters—we have, surprisingly, given the cover letter short shrift.
Our lack of attention is by no means a measure of the importance of the job letter. The cover letter could be the most important document of the entire job application. It is your chance to introduce yourself to the search committee and explain how your precise qualifications and experience make you an ideal candidate for that specific position. And if the search committee only accepts applications through one of the standard HR online interfaces, your cover letter will literally be the first thing the search committee sees when they open up the PDF of…
August 30, 2012, 11:00 am
The $9.99 ZotPad app lets you access your Zotero library on an iPad. When I first wrote about ZotPad on ProfHacker, I noted that the app was read-only. You could download PDFs attached to items in your library and open them in something like iAnnotate, as long as you were syncing your attachments with Zotero’s server—but you couldn’t send a newly annotated PDF back up to Zotero. Furthermore, if you sync your Zotero attachments with a WebDAV server (as I do) instead of Zotero’s server, you couldn’t access your attachments at all on ZotPad.
I’m delighted that the newest version of ZotPad has solved these two limitations: you can now access your Zotero attachments if you use WebDAV (and also if you store your Zotero library on DropBox), and regardless of which method you use to sync your Zotero files, you can upload annotated PDFs back up to Zotero.
Here’s a sample use-case…
August 14, 2012, 11:00 am
Last August on ProfHacker Lincoln wrote about Markdown, which he called “the syntax you (probably) already know.”
Designed primarily by John Gruber, Markdown is a way to format your documents in plain text, meaning your work is readable on any computer, smartphone, or tablet, now and long into the future.
Markdown documents are also easily convertible to other formats (see, for example, Lincoln’s introduction to Pandoc, a document conversion tool).
While Markdown’s basic formatting syntax, such as *italics*, is easy to learn and read, people who grew up writing in WYSIWYG environments like Microsoft Word can still find it awkward to see their work rendered on the screen in a way that’s different from the final product.
This is where Gonzo comes in.
Gonzo is a free, open source Markdown editor. Gonzo runs in Adobe Air, making it cross-platform. But what really sets Gonzo…
August 9, 2012, 8:00 am
Along with several other ProfHackers (Yay Amy! Yay Erin! Yay George!), I have a new title this fall. Like my old title, it begins with the letters A-S-S and ends with the word Professor, but what’s changed in between makes all the difference.
While I’m thrilled about my promotion, it’s a bit disheartening to realize that my box of 500 business cards—ordered in a fit of aspirational networking and out of which precisely 487 remain—is now outdated. Aside from tenure and promotion, there are many other reasons why a business card might suddenly become passé, say a new job entirely (Yay Ryan!), or even something as simple as a new phone number. (Let’s leave aside the question of whether all business cards are already passé.)
I imagine many ProfHacker readers have faced the same problem as me: what to do with all these old business cards. I suppose one could diligently…
July 3, 2012, 11:00 am
[This entry is crossposted from 2012 THATCamp CHNM, where I recently organized a session devoted to designing a better blogging assignment. This session generated many ideas, and I imagine its pedagogical goal is relevant to many ProfHacker readers. And so I welcome your thoughts and suggestions here.]
I’ve got a pedagogical problem and I want you to help me.
I’m sick of student blogging.
This confession probably sounds strange coming from me, a vocal advocate for using blogs in the classroom, and for public writing more generally. But after two dozen blogs for two dozen classes, I’m looking for ways to reinvigorate my blogging assignments.
Some background: a key component of almost every one of my classes is the collaborative class blog. The pedagogical advantages of blogging are many: it’s a public space that requires students to consider questions of accountability and…
June 5, 2012, 11:00 am
Last month at the annual Computers and Writing Conference, I participated on a roundtable about the role of computational literacy in the field—and in the humanities more generally. One of the points I made during the wide-ranging discussion (and on the backchannel as well) is that world of software development can provide humanists with “actionable metaphors.” I had in mind the collaborative nature of open source code, as well as the necessary emphasis in programming on revision, both exemplified by the code sharing platform GitHub. Even more specifically, I was thinking about the recent ProfHacker posts by Brian and Lincoln about sharing teaching material on GitHub and allowing others to “fork” it.
One of my co-panelists on this roundtable was Karl Stolley, who places his syllabuses on GitHub (and whom Lincoln mentions in his ProfHacker post). Inspired by Karl’s example, …
May 29, 2012, 11:00 am
The code-sharing site GitHub has been on our mind lately at ProfHacker. After Brian inspired a productive conversation with his idea of forking one’s syllabus, Lincoln demonstrated how it might be done on GitHub.
Lincoln mentioned using GitHub for Mac (which he had previously written about on ProfHacker) as a way to work offline and sync changes to your code repositories without having to use command line prompts. But what about Windows users? Up until a few days ago, people who developed software (or other GitHub-ready documents) on Windows had to rely on the command line or third-party tools that involved complicated configurations (like setting up private and public SSH keys on your computer).
This all changed on May 21st, when GitHub released GitHub for Windows, a visual interface for GitHub that allows you to sync, clone, and branch your repositories with a few clicks. GitHub…
May 22, 2012, 8:00 am
Last week Amy introduced the Mozilla Thunderbird-based email client Postbox. I’ve been a Postbox user for years, ever since it was a free beta project. I came to rely on Postbox so much that I gladly paid for it when Postbox was officially released.
In addition to the features Amy mentioned—like Postbox’s seamless integration with Gmail and its plethora of keyboard shortcuts (press V to quickly move a message into a folder!)—I also appreciate Postbox’s powerful search functions.
As Amy explained, Postbox also works with extensions. I wanted to highlight a few of the add-ons I have found to be especially useful:
- The combination of Lightning and Provider for Google Calendar enables two-way sync with all of your Google calendars.
- Zindus syncs your Postbox contacts with your Google/Gmail contacts.
- Quicktext creates smart email templates, allowing you to send personalized (yet…
April 20, 2012, 11:00 am
Late last month saw the debut of the Journal of Digital Humanities, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that features “the best scholarship, tools, and conversations produced by the digital humanities community” during the previous quarter. ProfHacker readers ought to find this new journal, edited by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media’s Dan Cohen and Joan Fragaszy Troyano, worth a look. (Full disclosure/humblebrag: I have a piece in the issue.)
If the contents of the inaugural issue—which range from an essay arguing that humanists need to understand and interpret quantitative data to a review of the WordSeer text analysis tool—fall outside your usual scholarly domain, then certainly the journal’s editorial and publishing apparatus will pique your interest. As Dan Cohen explained in a separate blog post, the journal operates under the model of catching the…
April 4, 2012, 11:00 am
In August 2010, Google announced it would be shutting down Google Wave, the real-time collaborative environment that was supposed to solve the problems that plague email as a platform for getting things done.
Google Wave never gained traction, however. Whether its interface didn’t hit the sweet spot of innovation and usability, or people are simply too wedded to existing forms of electronic communication, it’s difficult to say. Happily, some of Wave’s best features have been integrated into Google Documents (such as live collaborative editing of shared documents).
Ever since January 31, 2012, Google Wave has been read-only. And finally, at the end of April, Google Wave will be closing entirely. If you still believe in the ideas behind Google Wave, you might be interested in two open source projects that build on Wave: Apache Wave and Walkaround (which has a feature that…