Category Archives: Reviews

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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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Updates to Noisli


One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your focus and productivity is to adjust your working environment. We each have different preferences for things like soft or hard furniture, room temperature, and background noise. Figuring out what works best for you in your environment can help you make the most out of your work time.

I’ve written before about Noisli, an online tool that combines a highly customizable background noise generator with a distraction-free writing environment….

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Pause, Clarify, Decide

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Professionals in every field today often find themselves overwhelmed by the flood of incoming information, opportunities, and tasks. Most of us want to do more than just keep up with the inbox — we have larger projects and goals we want to pursue, which sometimes get pushed to the side when we’re under the pressure of urgent deadlines and requests.

Stephen Covey’s classic productivity tool, the Urgent/Important matrix can be helpful in distinguishing between those activities that are urgent and…

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Getting Started with Linux: Another Look at UberStudent

UberStudent's welcome screenTime flies. It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been four years since I first took a look at a Linux distribution called UberStudent. Back then it was in its 1.0 release, called “Cicero.” The latest release, “Epicurus,” came out in mid-January, with a version number of 4.1.

There are a lot of Linux distributions out there. What makes this one worth checking out?

As with previous releases, what makes UberStudent unique is its target audience, and the software and little added touches it has as a re…

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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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Graze: A Healthy Afternoon Snack Subscription Box

picture of graze snacks

One of my more unhealthy habits is to slink over to the vending machine in the late afternoons, especially when I’m teaching (I can’t help it, I need to replace the salt and electrolytes I burned off! Ha.) The problem with the vending machine offerings is that they aren’t very filling or very nutritious, no matter how tasty they might be. But after a day of teaching and meetings, I really, really need something delicious, so the usual granola bar won’t do.

I’ve solved this issue by subscribin…

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Outlook for iOS and Android: An Email App Administrators and Staff Will (Really!) Love

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Yesterday, Microsoft released Outlook for iOS and Android. This is a real email/calendaring app, not a warmed-over frontend for Office365 or Outlook.com: it supports Exchange Server, Exchange Online, Outlook.com, Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo! Mail. (Well, real-ish, anyway.) It features all the latest features from apps like Inbox or Maibox: it has a “Focused Inbox,” for emails it thinks you’ll actually interact with, and an “Others” one, for that very important update from X. It also has all the cu…

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Google’s Inbox (Zero)

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[Tim Lepczyk is the Director of Faculty Instructional Technology at Hendrix College. You can follow him on Twitter at @thirdcoast.--@JBJ]

Google’s new app and interface for Gmail, concisely named Inbox, tries to streamline email and thus make “inbox zero” more attainable and less something one needs to chase. Currently, the app is available through invitations only, but one can request an invite through a friend or through Google.

The idea behind Inbox is that email is a task and the goal is to…

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2014: 5 Games to Learn From

As the year winds to a close, it’s a great time to take a look back at some of the games that stood out in serious and educational gaming. If you’re thinking about picking a new game for a class, keep an eye on the coming game awards season. There are a number of venues that showcase great educational games each year. The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge highlighted several winners this year, including National Geographic’s game The Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom and University of …

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ProfHacker 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Round trees at night, lit with holiday lights Why is this post different from all other posts? Because it’s the annual ProfHacker gift guide! If December is a busy time for most people, it’s always seemed that much busier to me since becoming an academic: there’s finals, grades, and all those department parties competing for my attention when what I really need to do is figure out what I should get my wife. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve got the recommendations you need for the coffee / exercise / tech enthusiast in your life, as …