All posts by Ryan Cordell

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Weekend Reading: Snow is Gone Edition

13018821955_93f93233af_bThough many of you have been enjoying spring for awhile now, here in New England the snow is just now (mostly) melted, though a few of the storeys-tall piles will be around for awhile yet. In celebration of warmer weather, I’ve compiled a list of aspirational readings for your weekend enjoyment or edification:

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Revisiting Mailbox for Managing Emails

Just over two years ago, I wrote about my early experiences with the Mailbox email application. Since then a lot has happened with Mailbox: it was acquired by Dropbox, for one, and it has released openly-available apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android Phones, as well as a beta desktop application for OS X. I’ve been using Mailbox since then—save one brief flirtation with Inbox for Gmail, which borrows many of Mailbox’s ideas and about which I may write soon—and wanted to write a brief followup.

Fi…

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Get Started Exercising on a Tight Schedule with the 7-Minute Workout

8084682666_5244eb9f50_bWe write about fitness quite a bit here at ProfHacker. I must confess, though, that until quite recently I was all excuses. Beginning in grad school and through my first post-grad-school job, I was far, far “too busy” to work out. I had excuses every day—writing, teaching, grading, and family—all good priorities, to be sure, but none that truly took over my life so as to make exercise literally impossible. I fell out of the habit, and over a decade lost any will to do it. But my reticence ha…

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What Software Does Your Institution Provide Free or Cheap?

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The other day I was working on a project that required some image editing power. That’s not a typical requirement in my work, and so I didn’t have a good image editing program installed on my work computer. My first instinct was to download GIMP, a free alternative to Photoshop. I also spent some time exploring cheaper Photoshop alternatives, wondering if there was a good program with a solid user interface that wouldn’t cost too much.

Then, however, I remembered something I seem to forget ever…

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Save Money Bit-by-Bit with Digit

Disclaimer: the links to Digit below include my personal referral code, a feature available to all Digit customers. If you sign up for the service using those links, I will receive a small referral payment to my account. I would obviously be grateful for you to use those links if you decide to try the service, but if you are uncomfortable using the referral code but still want to try the service, you can visit the site without my code using this link.

Saving money is tough, perhaps especially s…

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Analog Distractions: Cooperative Board Games Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert

If you’ve ever read one of our ProfHacker holiday gift guides, you’ll know that lots of us are big fans of board games, and in particular of the new breed of smart board games that have appeared in increasing numbers in the past decade or so. Board games are oddly hip, and for good reason—there’s more variety and complexity in the genre than ever before.

Board games are a big part of my family life; my wife, kids, and I love to play in the evenings and especially on the weekends. We’re always lo…

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Finding the Best Thing with Wirecutter and Sweethome

Blue ribbon prize.

If you’re like me, when shopping for…well for almost anything…you can be paralyzed by choice. If you need a new set of headphones, there are just so many options out there, and so many blogs or forums in which experts and consumers will discuss in detail the pros and cons of any given choice. We do a bit of that here at ProfHacker, of course, and we hope our recommendations are good ones.

But choosing can still be exhausting. Barry Schwartz calls this problem The Paradox of Choice in his book o…

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Weekend Reading: Frazzled New Semester Edition

10600430_10203382112931120_4665268041150610272_nWith the new semester comes inevitable busyness and exhaustion, so I’m going to keep this introduction brief, saying only that there is no common thread along which this week’s selections are strung.

  • Natalia Cecire’s “Everybody’s Authority” offers a necessary and nuanced analysis of how most readers’ transition from RSS readers to social media has also shifted the dynamics of “semi-public” academic writing online.

    Cohen’s suggestion—explicitly made in the context of RSS’s then-rising prom…

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Weekend Reading: Butterflies in the Sky Edition

4017103295_7b7ee92569_bThere’s not much of a theme to today’s reading list. Perhaps this is appropriate for a summer Friday. In any case, enjoy!

  • First (and this could take your whole weekend, and that would be okay), there’s the #YesAllWomen hashtag, which began in the wake of the UCSB shootings. If you’ve not yet, spend some time with the tweets and with the many articles of essential reading to which they link.
  • This week the MLA’s Task Force on Doctoral Study in Language and Literature released its report, which ma…
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Tom Bihn’s Travel Bags for Conference Travel

TB0940_01bWhen I moved to the Boston area and began commuting two years ago, I asked ProfHacker readers to recommend a good backpack for commuting. So many recommended Tom Bihn backpacks that I got one, and I loved it. So when I was preparing for a series of work-related trips this spring, I wanted to test out Tom Bihn’s travel bags for these 2- or 3-night trips. The company provided me with an Aeronaut, a Tri-Star, and a Pilot bag so I could test them all, along with a set of packing cubes and pouches to…