Category Archives: Hardware

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A Quick ProfHack: Kindling the Presentation

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria. If you haven’t attended (and didn’t have your Twitter stream flooded with #DHSI2014 tweets), DHSI is a week-long Digital Humanities extravaganza, which you can read about in a previous ProfHacker post. I was participating in one of the new “Birds of a Feather” discussions, which asked two provocateurs to make short presentations and then would open up into a discussion wi…

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DHSI 2014: On Building

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I was one of some 600 people who gathered at the University of Victoria last week to participate in this year’s Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). A couple years ago, Natalie wrote a great post about DHSI that is still timely. I won’t repeat what she’s said. Rather, I want to reflect on the many ways that the Digital Humanities is all about building. I’m not interested in making an argument that Stephen Ramsey himself has backed away from since he made his controversial and provocative…

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More Chromebook Fun: Fully Replacing ChromeOS with Linux


Last November, I wrote about running Ubuntu on a Chromebook using ChrUbuntu. In that post, I noted some of the advantages of running ChrUbuntu: I really liked having a full-blown desktop environment to work in, and ChrUbuntu worked much better for me than Crouton.

There were still some issues, though. I couldn’t choose the operating system at startup; switching back to ChromeOS required issuing a terminal command and rebooting the machine. If I wanted to boot back into Ubuntu, I had to issue a …

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Toward a Better Charging Cable

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For all the ubiquity of wireless devices on and around college campuses, cables are still a necessary evil. Brian has offered tricks for taming behind-the-desk cables before, and George has plugged velcro cable ties, which I have developed a new appreciation for this year.

Phone chargers present a slightly different challenge than, for example, the power brick for your router. For one thing, you probable move it more. And if you live or work with others, probably other people also need to power…

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Securing Your Mac Against Theft

LegoThief

We’ve written a lot in the past about the importance of backups, about how password managers help you with strong passwords, and about some of the reasons to use cloud-based apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, BitTorrent Sync, or SpiderOak. All of these things provide some peace of mind about the integrity and security of your data.

But what if someone steals your machine? (Or even just inadvertently walks away with *your* ma…

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What’s Your Favorite Presentation Remote?

100526326_6cc1e34113_bA few days ago a friend wrote me to ask what my favorite presentation remote is for classes and conference talks. He was considering the Kensington Wireless Presenter Pro but assumed I might have a stronger recommendation. However, while I love to use remotes when giving a talk—I prefer to wander rather than stand still behind a podium—for some reason I don’t actually own one of these devices. Amy Cavender has recommended a set of tools by DeMobo which allow her to control presentations from her…

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The Latest From Digital Humanities Questions and Answers

Launched in September of 2010, Digital Humanities Questions & Answers is a joint venture of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) and ProfHacker. (See Julie Meloni’s launch announcement.)

Digital Humanities Questions and Answers (@DHAnswers on Twitter) is designed to be a free resource where anyone with an interest in the digital humanities can pose a question to the community of folks working in the field.

Since we last checked in with the site, many interesting threads have b…

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Save Money on Electronics Accessories with Amazon Basics

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If you’ve bought electronics recently—as in, over the past few decades—you’ve likely experienced salespeople trying to upsell you on expensive cables. And you may have bought in: after all, if you’re spending significant cash on a new, high-definition television, surely those platinum-plated Monster cables are worth the investment? Except, well, not so much. It turns out that if your HDMI cable isn’t defective—if it works—then it works as well as it’s going to work, whether you paid $5 or $50 f…

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Ubuntu on a Chromebook

Screenshot from an Acer C710-2833 computer running the GIMP, Zotero, and LibreOffice Writer.

A couple of months ago, Jason wrote about his initial impressions of Samsung’s Chromebook. In the comments on that post, I asked about trying Ubuntu Linux on it, and noted that I’d tried it out on an Acer model using Crouton.

Crouton has one major advantage: it runs simultaneously with Chrome OS, making it ridiculously easy to switch between operating systems at will. I quickly gave up on Crouton, though, for two main reasons. First, while the Chromebook woke instantly if I’d closed the lid whi…

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Organize Your Charging with a Mini Surge Protector

I suspect many ProfHacker readers, like me, have accumulated any number of USB-charged devices: phones and tablets, especially, but other devices too. I used to charge my phone and tablet primarily through my computer, as they needed to be plugged in to sync. Since most devices have introduced wireless syncing, however, I find less and less need (or desire) to hook them up to a computer.

The wall chargers that come with different devices can also be awkward; a USB chord alone would be better. Wh…