October 24, 2012, 3:00 pm
September 20, 2012, 3:00 pm
[This is a joint post by Jen Guiliano, who is the assistant director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, and ProfHacker's own George H. Williams.]
Consider this a call to digital humanists generally and more specifically to the project directors (from 34 different projects) who attended today’s Project Directors meeting at the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities:
What is your project doing to address accessibility for people with disabilities?
Today’s meeting is a gathering of project directors from the Digital Humanities Start-up Grants, Digital Humanities Implementation Grants, and the Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities competitions. Each project gets just three minutes and three powerpoint slides to introduce their project and their concerns, so we’re taking the liberty of publishing a blog…
September 19, 2012, 11:00 am
Some folks on my campus lately have been discussing the merits of adopting a “bring your own device” policy for students in the classroom.
As I understand it, this kind of policy had its start in the business world, but is now starting to make inroads in education. Essentially, rather than equip everyone with the exact same hardware and software, an organization allows people to bring their own to access the network and to get their work done.
I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I’d like to see more student use of laptops (and/or mobile devices like smartphones and tablets) in the classroom. On the other hand, I know that not all of our students can afford their own laptops (or smartphones or tablets) and would be at a disadvantage compared to the students who can.
It would be possible to add an additional technology fee for students to pay and to use that money to fund the…
September 6, 2012, 11:00 am
A very large part of my work involves searching. I enter queries into library catalogs, into dictionaries, into search engines, and into academic databases. Anything I can do to reduce the number of steps it takes to perform a search will save me lots of time in the long run. So here is a way to set up custom search engines in your browser. For example, suppose I want to search for a word in JSTOR. In my browser I could
- click my JSTOR bookmark,
- click the search box,
- type my query and hit enter.
But using this hack, I can reduce that process by one step, so that I
- go to search box (in Google Chrome, CMD + L gets you there fast) and
- type ‘JSTOR’ plus tab plus my query and hit enter.
To make this work, you have to know a little bit about how URLs work. URLs can hold all sorts of useful (and hackable) information. For example, suppose I go to JSTOR and search for …
August 29, 2012, 11:00 am
Earlier this year I asked our readers to share examples of when they had been surprised (either positively or negatively) by technology. Today, I’m wondering if any of you are experiencing unexpected situations as the semester begins. If so, how are you coping?
I’m teaching in an almost awesome computer classroom this semester. The software and hardware is all new. The room is in the same building and on the same floor as my office. There’s plenty of room for students to move around if they need to. The only problem is that the new furniture–which is going to better allow for collaboration among students as well as better class discussions–has not yet replaced the existing cubicles, which isolate students from each other and make it difficult to discuss topics as a group.
Ah, well. So far, this is not an insurmountable problem, but I’m considering coming in one weekend soon and…
August 22, 2012, 8:00 am
[This week, GradHacker and ProfHacker writers are collaborating on a series of posts about productivity apps and systems. The 8am post every day is part of this collaboration. Today's post is by GradHacker writer Stephanie Hedge, a graduate student in the Department of English at Ball State University. Follow her on Twitter at @slhedge--@jbj.]
Starbucks is one of my favorite places in the world to work. Coffee, company, and a relaxing atmosphere help me concentrate and keep focused on my task. As it can be a pain to lug my laptop everywhere, I have a tablet, as well as a mobile phone, and I use both when working away from my desk. But working on my iPad is only useful if I have the right tools to support my workflow, and the ability to access my documents across platforms. This post provides hacks for productively managing a workflow across different…
August 17, 2012, 11:00 am
Ever since tablets came onto the scene, I’ve been hoping for a good way to leave my laptop behind. It’s not just that eliminating the bulk of my laptop would make packing light easier–I’m also interested in avoiding the epic redundancy in my travel bag. Given how powerful my iPad and Android phone both are, it seems like I should be able to rely on their combined processing power for at least a few days. Many of us carry more computing power in our pockets than used to reside in offices. So, on a week-long trip cross-country, I decided to give the laptop-free lifestyle a try.
I’m typing this on my iPad, and I’m doing it quickly, but getting to this point was an investment. I’ve been trying out every keyboard case the market’s produced, and most of them have been a disappointment. Flimsy pseudo-keys or too-sensitive boards are no better than the iPad’s own touchscreen for…
August 16, 2012, 3:00 pm
If there’s one constant in the life of a ProfHacker, it might be the cables. They’re everywhere around us. But more than anyplace else, cables live behind our computer desk. Looking back there, I’ve got power cords (computer, USB hub, printer, UPS), USB cables (keyboard, printer, USB hub, iPod, etc.), telephone cables (for my modem), and ethernet cables.
In a way, behind-the-desk cables aren’t all that tricky since you don’t interact with them all that often. But every now and again, you’ll be forced to swap out one thing or another, and woe betide the mortal who strays too far into that tangle of unidentifiable wires. You’re almost certain to grab the wrong cable on the first, second, and third tries.
When our family moved this summer to a new home, I won the “gets to reassemble the computer desk” coin flip, and I spent some time trying to figure out how to minimize the cable …
August 16, 2012, 8:00 am
[This is a guest post by Joshua Roth, a physics and astronomy teacher at several Boston-area colleges and community-education centers.--@JBJ]
It’s August, and that means it’s time to knock out some lesson plans, to read a few chapters ahead in what may be a new textbook, and to think deep thoughts about engagement, assessment, and cellphone policies. For those of us who teach as contingent faculty – lacking offices, shuttling between campuses, scrambling to run off copies – it also means making sure that our Road Warrior kits are stocked and ready to go.
What’s a Road Warrior kit?
For me, it’s a medium-size plastic bin (or two) with a tight-fitting lid. In go (in no particular order):
- a box of sharpened Number 2 pencils;
- a pack of ballpoint pens;
- whiteboard markers, erasers, and cleaner (I find baby wipes particularly effective);
- a stapler (and extra staples);
May 2, 2012, 11:00 am
Earlier this week, I wrote a review of the recently updated BetterSnapTool, comparing it to my previous review of Divvy. I realized in writing these posts that one of the main reasons I’ve gravitated toward using these two tools is that I work almost entirely on a laptop. Since I don’t regularly use a mouse, cutting down on clicking and dragging has a real effect on how my body feels when working.
While we regularly write about wellness here at ProfHacker, I haven’t been able to find any threads on mice, trackpads, trackballs, or other pointing tools. So for this open thread Wednesday, I want to ask: how do you interact with your computer’s pointing interface? Do you have a favorite piece of hardware? Do you schlep it along with you when traveling? Let us know in the comments!
Lead image: it’s a mouse / John Stansbury / CC BY 2.0