Category Archives: Reviews

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Revisiting Mailbox for Managing Emails

Just over two years ago, I wrote about my early experiences with the Mailbox email application. Since then a lot has happened with Mailbox: it was acquired by Dropbox, for one, and it has released openly-available apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android Phones, as well as a beta desktop application for OS X. I’ve been using Mailbox since then—save one brief flirtation with Inbox for Gmail, which borrows many of Mailbox’s ideas and about which I may write soon—and wanted to write a brief followup.

Fi…

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Keeping Track of Your Public Writing With Contently

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[Lee Skallerup Bessette is a Faculty Instructional Consultant at the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CELT) at the University of Kentucky. She primarily works with faculty on digital pedagogy and digital humanities. She blogs at College Ready Writing and you can find her tweeting prolifically at @readywriting.--@JBJ]

I’ve written for ProfHacker before about freelance writing; given the proliferation of platforms, more and more academics are writing on and for various media o…

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Get Started Exercising on a Tight Schedule with the 7-Minute Workout

8084682666_5244eb9f50_bWe write about fitness quite a bit here at ProfHacker. I must confess, though, that until quite recently I was all excuses. Beginning in grad school and through my first post-grad-school job, I was far, far “too busy” to work out. I had excuses every day—writing, teaching, grading, and family—all good priorities, to be sure, but none that truly took over my life so as to make exercise literally impossible. I fell out of the habit, and over a decade lost any will to do it. But my reticence ha…

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Email Overload? A Review of Sanebox, an Email Management Tool

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I often refer to my inbox as the abyss from which few return, given how overwhelmed I generally am. Faced with a constant email deluge, I’m always worried that I will forget to answer important emails (I do), or even non-urgent ones that may fall off the face of the earth once they get buried at the bottom of my to-answer pile.

I’ve been trying out Sanebox, an email overload solution, for the past month and have been using it enough to warrant forking out money for their paid services. Sanebox …

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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

Bucket of rocks

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…