Category Archives: Software

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Leaving the LMS to Make Course Remixing Possible

peanut butter truffle

A recurring favorite topic for ProfHacker writers over the years has been alternatives to, or ways to dispense altogether with, learning management systems. No one likes them, no one likes the idea of “managing” learning, and the whole affair feels like a Skinner box designed to teach us the truth of Audrey Watters’s claim that ed tech is basically here to destroy education from within.

A few of us have recently taken a shine to Jekyll, a still-newish way to generate static websites. (In additi…

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Text a Lot from iOS? Why You Might Want to Try Google’s GBoard

wall of surfboards

Alternate keyboards in iOS are one of those things that sound helpful, but can quickly devolve into procrastination engines. For every Text Expander keyboard letting you use your full panoply of text expansion options on your devices, there’s a celebrity-sponsored emoji app.

Last week, though, Google managed to release a keyboard that is simultaneously useful and not creepy: Gboard.

GBoard does four things, each of which is in principle a great addition to typing on iOS:

  • Integrated Google se…
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The Importance of Reflection When Learning Technical Skills

chairs reflecting in the sun

It’s not hard to find books, websites, or videos that will help you learn just about any technical skill you’d like, from making animated GIFs to X. But even with the most hands-on approach, it can be hard to get that knowledge to stick, or to figure out why you’d want to keep with it.

Steven Ovadia, a professor and web services librarian at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), found himself confronting this problem while drafting his forthcoming book, Learn Linux in a Month of Lunches. Faced wi…

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Tools for an Effective Workflow

Flowing waterMany of us have favorite tools that suit our workflows well, helping us accomplish our tasks and keep track of needed bits of information. Below you’ll find a list of applications, services, and utilities that I use almost daily.

  1. Workflow. I’m a big fan of ToDoist, my preferred task manager. For the way I work, it’s a better option than Apple’s Reminders. The catch is that it doesn’t integrate with Siri, which is really handy for adding items on the go. To get around that problem, I use the wor…
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Through Another’s Eyes: Troubleshooting with User Switching

Two different views of the same objectLast week, I introduced readers to Installatron, a tool that’s very useful for backing up and cloning WordPress installations. This week’s post continues the WordPress thread.

Many of us who use WordPress use it for maintaining a personal website and/or a professional portfolio; we’re the only users registered on our sites.

Others, however, use WordPress for course sites to which they invite students to contribute, or maintain a Multisite installation. They may have a lot of users. Adminsistrato…

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Backup and Development with Installatron

A screenshot of cPanel

It’s no secret that we love WordPress here at ProfHacker. It powers this blog, and many of us use it for our own personal, professional, and/or course sites.

As with anything else digital, it’s important to back up your WordPress installation, and to check those backups regularly.

We’ve also noted that, when making significant changes to your site, it’s good practice to work in a development environment, rather than on a live site. So we’ve also covered how to set up a development environment o…

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Looking for an Exchange Calendar for Mac? Try Fantastical 2.2

LEGO calendar
Like most of the apps Apple bundles with OS X, Calendar is very . . . eh. The best thing you can say about it is that plays pretty well with the various iDevices, and it can be used as a source of data for other calendaring apps.

Since 2010, one of the nicest calendar apps for OS X (and iOS) has been Fantastical, which has distinguished itself from the start with slick design and very nifty natural language parsing for adding events quickly and sensibly. It started as a menubar app, moved to t…

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Digital Distractions: Interactive Cats

catcomputer

With my semester hitting crunch time, I’ve been using a number of digital distractions for quick breaks in between grading and editing. The internet is, of course, great at providing cat pictures for those who turn to Facebook or Twitter for diversion — but there’s also a number of recent awesome cat-centric interactive works that can provide both cool models of interactivity and cuteness. Here are three of my current favorites: