Category Archives: Software

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Batch Convert Word Documents to PDF in Google Drive

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PDF format is very useful for any documents that are going to be shared with others, whether by posting online, via email or printed as hard copies. Using PDF means that you can control not only the content but also the presentational formatting, and ensure that what you create will remain consistent for your audience. PDF was designed to be cross-platform and is accessible from a variety of machines and devices.

Recently, I was reminded of a simple approach to batch converting Microsoft Word d…

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Evernote and Markdown: Two Tools that Work Great Together

Evernote and Sublime Text togetherSometimes, I come across ideas for posts quite by accident.

Early this afternoon (November 6), for instance, I was looking at the wiki that we use for scheduling our posts, trying to figure out my posting schedule for the next few weeks. I was also wondering whether I’d be able to post something for the week of November 10. We try to have our posts in by midnight on Thursday of the week before the post runs, and I was, quite frankly, drawing a blank on post ideas.

I’d pretty much concluded I’d h…

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Digital Distractions: ARGs and Endgame

A new book by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, Endgame: The Calling, launched earlier this month. The book chronicles twelve players representing ancient cultures who are trying to save their societies with the fate of the world at stake. If you picked it up without knowing the full story, it would seem like a disappointment as a book: the players are presented with clues, but the puzzles and mysteries are left unsolved. This is because Endgame isn’t so much a book as the launching point fo…

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Seeing Full URLs in Safari

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Last week saw the release of Apple’s newest version of OS X, Yosemite. It has a refreshed visual design, several cool new feature–including, at long last, the ability to share documents, photos, and links between iOS devices and OS X devices via AirDrop. And I’m sure we’ll cover many of these in due course.

Today I want to talk about one of the most aggravating features: In Safari, the combined address/search bar no longer displays the full URL of webpages. Instead, it just shows the domain nam…

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Using Evernote in the Classroom

Cat reading in Evernote on an iPadLast week, Jason asked readers how they work with their tablets. In the comments section, I noted that one of the ways I use it is for keeping my class notes. I keep those in Evernote.

(Yes, we’ve mentioned that app a few times in this space. I also use Evernote for storing information I might want to retrieve later; I recently reorganized my notebooks and notes after reading about Michael Hyatt’s setup, and I’ve found that approach really helpful).

Once my class notes are in Evernote, it’s very…

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Open Thread: Thoughts on Providing Documentation?

A librarian doing bibliographic instruction in a computer labMany of us have had a lot of practice in planning courses and specific classes. We’re experienced at designing assignments, too.

But as more of us experiment with blogging assignments and electronic portfolios, we often find ourselves asking students to do things with tools that they may not be familiar with. They’ll need some instruction in how to use those tools, and they’re likely to appreciate some reference material, even if we devote some class time to hands-on practice.

What kind of refer…

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Updating Your Web Security


Web security isn’t something we tend to think of on a day-to-day basis. Usually, we only become aware of the security concerns of our accounts once something goes wrong. Recently, I’ve seen several friends fall victim to attacks on their accounts and identity, which has motivated me to take steps towards thinking about my own web security practices. We know that we should have high-security passwords and not reuse them across networks, and yet most of us don’t follow those rules.

Here are a few…

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Ello and Academic Social Networks

If you’ve been on Twitter or Facebook lately, you might have seen the first apparent signs of a migration, with users announcing their new account names on the currently invitation-only social network Ello. This isn’t the first time there’s been a new network apparently on the horizon (remember the short-lived exodus to App.net, the still-on-life-support Google Plus, and the decentralized concept of Diaspora pods? Konrad, at least, certainly appreciated Diaspora.), but it’s caught the attention…

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Building Habits and Routines

 September is always a hectic time in academia: depending on your campus’s schedule, you might be a few weeks into classes or just getting started. As I’ve been starting to get the hang of life at a new university, for a while I let everything else slip: exercise became something I fit in when possible instead of scheduled, and, as one of my friends put it, I regressed to eating like a college student. Getting these types of priorities back on the to-do list can feel impossible when it’s already …

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Open Thread Wednesday: About Those Software Updates

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At some point at or after 1pm in their local time zone, iOS users will be able to download and install the latest version of the system software. (Well, most users, anyway.) And while I’m sure ProfHacker will cover the utility of different features in the coming weeks–and while Android users will comment, ‘meh–we’ve had that feature for years’–I wanted to focus on a different question today:

Are you a first-day updater? Why / why not? Do you have different approaches for devices you own persona…