Category Archives: Analog


Summer Reading: 2014 Edition


Commencement on my campus was on Saturday morning. Colleagues at other institutions in my town of Spartanburg, SC celebrated last week or today. Now that the exams are marked and the grades are in, or will be in soon, perhaps you will find a bit of time for pleasure reading. I’ve made it a priority to read for fun at least a little bit every day since some time in graduate school. Many of our fellow ProfHackers weighed in on their pleasure reading habits a while back. We’ve also featured posts …


On Taking the Train


I will start by acknowledging two things:

  1. This post is distinctively American, in that I will wax on about train travel as if it’s a discovery rather than an obvious fact about how people traverse the world

  2. The suggestion at the heart of this post is far more feasible for those who live along the East Coast corridor or other pockets of the US with extensive train networks, though I’m learning that Amtrak’s network is more extensive than I realized only a few years ago. When I lived in Green…


Best Practices for Accessible Print Document Design

I suspect we’ve all been on the receiving end of poorly-designed documents: pages drowning in enormous gray oceans of text with no navigational cues whatsoever; emphasis indicated by text that is bold, all-caps, italicized, and underlined*; color choices that threaten to damage retinas (or that make text practically unreadable); text so small and margins so narrow that it’s obvious the desire to save paper has trumped the desire for clear communication.

As authors, when we create documents for …


Selling Your Older Device: NextWorth Review

 The holiday season is upon us, which means that a lot of us will be busy buying gifts for our loved ones soon. To get hold of some extra spending money, I sold my old cellphone in November. I was surprised by the array of choices available in offloading old cellphones. I was familiar with the usual suspects of EBay and Craigslist, but did not realize that big box retailers such as Target and the big phone companies are also happy to buy back old phones from customers.

I initially planned to sell…


Build Your Own (Affordable) Standing Desk

standing-deskRyan has been leading ProfHacker’s coverage of standing desks. If you’re curious why someone might want to want to stand at a desk, and what it’s like, you can check out his three-part series: Stand Up! (in Your Office)Stand (In the Place Where You Work): An Experiment Begins; and Stand (in the Place Where You Work): Month 2. Then Ryan reviewed the GeekDesk Max, which he liked well enough to buy for himself, and Konrad reviewed the more portable Ninja Standing Desk. I’m glad Ryan likes the Gee…


Organizing Our (Analog) Library

The acquisition of books is by no means a matter of money or expert knowledge alone.  Not even both factors together suffice for the establishment of a real library, which is always somewhat impenetrable and at the same time uniquely itself.

–Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library”

[This is a guest post by Jonathan Sterne, an associate professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. His latest books are MP3: The Meaning of a Format(Duke University Pr…


Open Thread Wednesday: Favorite Weather Apps

A groundhog looking out from under a porchAs I write this, we’re just a short 36 hours away from the most important weather event of the year: Groundhog Day. And while I know that everyone loves Punxsutawney Phil, I’m a personal supporter of General Beauregard Lee, who lives here in the South with me and has a much higher accuracy rate.

Bill Murray aside, the reason we’re all fascinated with Groundhog Day is twofold. First, now that the winter holidays are over and we’ve slogged through January, we all feel entitled to get to Spring as …


ProfHacker 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

A bubble light in a Christmas treeWith the end of classes and the advent of…well, advent…it’s time for that post of all posts: the annual ProfHacker holiday gift guide!

To help you do better than you otherwise might during the Airing of Grievances, we’re here with a boatload of suggestions for your family, your friends, your colleagues, and even (on occasion) for yourself. Given the nature of our blog, you’ll see the expected recommendations for tech tools to increase your productivity. But it turns out that many a ProfHacker lo…


Reacting to the Past: An Open Game Based Pedagogy Workshop at Duke, January 19-20

In June this year, I found myself screaming at the Ming dynasty Emperor Wanli for wanting to anoint his third born son in place of the first born. For all my remonstrations, I was executed as a Confucian martyr on the next morning. The following day, I entered a chaotic meeting between illustrious American citizens desperate to uphold slavery and a team of Abolitionists. All in all, in the last week I travelled between five centuries in a matter of four days.

I was not in a time machine. I was a…


When It’s Time to Abandon the Digital…

I have a confession to make: I hate responding to student essays through a computer screen.

Yes, I know I’ve advocated using text-expansion software to respond to student writing, Billie has taught us how to respond to student writing audio style, Jason has explained how tracking changes on the iPad might be useful when grading, Doug Ward has described grading with voice on the iPad, and I know that Erin (among others, probably) uses iAnnotate with her students’ essays (an iPad app that both Jas…