April 25, 2013, 8:00 am
In the fall, I reviewed the Logitech Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad. A few weeks ago, Belkin contacted ProfHacker and asked if we would consider reviewing their Ultimate Keyboard Case. I’ve been putting this keyboard through the paces for three weeks now (disclosure: Belkin provided me with a pre-production model for review). Available in May, this bluetooth keyboard case will retail at $99 ($129 for the white version).
Out of the box, set up was very easy. The iPad snapped into the protective case, and the bluetooth pairing was intuitive (though instructions are provided). One of the features I find most attractive about the Belkin keyboard case is the fact that it protects the back of the iPad. The Logitech case, if you will recall, left the iPad aluminum backing naked and vulnerable to dings, scratches, and other catastrophes. Not so with the Belkin. The iPad fits nicely…
February 18, 2013, 8:00 am
February 4, 2013, 8:00 am
A few weeks ago I did something which surprised my wife, and which surprised me: I bought a Kindle Paperwhite. Even more surprising, I like the Kindle a lot, and I find myself doing most of a certain kind of reading on the Kindle.
Here is a not-so-brief review of the device itself, followed by a few thoughts on the Kindle as an e-book ecosystem.
Size. First, the Paperwhite is light and small — less than half a pound, about the height and width of a small trade paperback, but a lot thinner. At that size, I never think about whether to bring the Kindle with me or not: the benefits of having it with me for the odd moment during the day outweighs the space and weight it takes up.
Screen. The Paperwhite’s screen is an e-ink display, like all of the Kindles except the Fire, and like e-readers such as the Barnes & Noble Nook. The advantage of the e-ink display over an…
January 21, 2013, 11:00 am
Do you have an old smart phone, tablet, or computer in a drawer or a closet somewhere that you never got around to selling or giving away? You might consider setting it up as a development server as Jason describes here. You can also set it up to act as an extra layer in your backup strategy.
This is what I decided to do with an old iPhone 3GS that still worked, except a testy headphone connection, that had a nice 32GB of space on it. I wanted an extra place to backup my mail and dump larger files quickly for transfer to other devices that might connect to my local network (including guests who visit). While I won’t go into all the steps in complete detail, here is basically what was required to get this up and running (I’m writing here from perspective of using an iPhone and connecting to it from other OS X devices):
- If you have an iPhone or iPad (rather than an Android or other …
January 8, 2013, 8:00 am
Before hitting grad school, I spent some pleasant months doing tech support at a call center for Norway’s largest internet provider. Back then, my minimum wage and a 31% income tax still left me with a living wage and four weeks paid vacation in one of the most expensive countries around, so I had very little to complain about.
Perhaps my favorite memory of that job, besides deciphering Norwegian dialects and slowly developing stereotypes about the people who stood behind them, was using the lone convertible standing desk in the office. Pressing a lever with your foot caused it to slowly rise, or allowed your hands to easily press it down to regular sitting height again. I came in early for each of my shifts to claim it. I spent most of my day standing, but loved the ability to quickly convert to a sitting position when I wanted to rest my legs and back. Surely this was the future, I …
December 10, 2012, 11:00 am
With 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 loves to read, some of us like to exercise, and a few of us like to cook. (All of us like to eat. You seriously don’t want to get in the way at the ProfHacker family cookouts.)
So when you need a break from grading students participation, just peruse the list and make some really tough decisions. And if you don’t find something you like here, we’ve got lists from 2011, 2010, and 2009 (AKA…
December 3, 2012, 11:00 am
While I generally don’t buy into the whole, “You can never be too rich or too thin” mentality, in the case of iPad accessories, it might just be true. Or at least, it’s certainly the case that the cost of Apple accessories can add up rapidly once you start to factor in cases, covers, dongles, adapters, and chargers. As for thinness, I’ll confess to being a sucker for those accessories that preserve the sleek Apple aesthetic. At $80, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Case for iPad (compatible with all iPads except the 1st generation and the Mini) does just that and manages to pack quite a lot of features into an attractive and compact package.
I began to integrate the iPad 2 into my academic workflow over the summer of 2011. When the fall semester started, armed with Gradebook Pro and iAnnotate, I began to attempt a paperless classroom, or at least paperless grading. There was much to…
November 20, 2012, 11:00 am
Last month I wrote about beginning an experiment using a standing desk at work. My reasons were simple. Standing desks seem like healthier tools for long days at work: better on the back, more conducive to stretching and light movement through the day, and aids to alertness. Full disclosure reminder: GeekDesk generously sent me a review unit of their GeekDesk Max for this experiment. And before I update you on my progress, let me note that the comments on my last post are well worth reviewing. They include many use cases for standing (or not) at work and also recommendations for other standing desk solutions.
Okay. I’m now about 6 weeks into my standing experiment, and have begun noticing significant changes as a result:
- My legs are (usually) no longer tired at the end of the day. In my first post I noted that my body was not yet used to standing, but that has definitely changed. …
November 6, 2012, 8:00 am
Just over two years ago, Kathleen wrote about the DMCA exemptions issued by the Library of Congress.
Last week, the U.S. Copyright Office published an updated rule with DMCA exemptions (it went into effect on October 28), and the changes aren’t all good. To get a quick overview of the new exemptions, I’d recommend reading this piece at ArsTechnica and this one at readwrite hack.
Some of what’s in the new rule is perfectly sensible. As Timothy B. Lee points out, ebook access for the disabled should now be easier, since the exemption no longer requires that “’all existing e-book editions of the work contain access controls’ that inhibit disabled access” before it’s legal to circumvent DRM. Thus, users need no longer incur the expense of owning multiple ebook readers in order to circumvent DRM legally. This is a good thing!
But other parts of the rule cry out for a …