January 21, 2013, 11:00 am
Do you have an old smart phone, tablet, or computer in a drawer or a closet somewhere that you never got around to selling or giving away? You might consider setting it up as a development server as Jason describes here. You can also set it up to act as an extra layer in your backup strategy.
This is what I decided to do with an old iPhone 3GS that still worked, except a testy headphone connection, that had a nice 32GB of space on it. I wanted an extra place to backup my mail and dump larger files quickly for transfer to other devices that might connect to my local network (including guests who visit). While I won’t go into all the steps in complete detail, here is basically what was required to get this up and running (I’m writing here from perspective of using an iPhone and connecting to it from other OS X devices):
- If you have an iPhone or iPad (rather than an Android or other …
July 23, 2012, 11:00 am
Last week, I was fortunate to attend the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, an industry-academia event looking at the future of computer science. Mark Sample noted many of the cool projects shared throughout the weekend in his Digital Culture Week post, and you can see a lot of the recorded talks online. One highlight of the summit was a DemoFest featuring a number of tools both futuristic and current, including TouchDevelop, a platform for scripting on and for mobile Windows devices that offers an intriguing solution for learning mobile design.
While Windows Phones are relatively new to the mobile landscape, the platform is experimenting with some capabilities that others (namely Apple) limit. As the conflict over MIT’s Scratch for iPad app demonstrated, Apple has not been comfortable with programs that allow for the execution of code on the device. Mobile development…
January 20, 2012, 8:00 am
Back in 2009, ProfHacker colleague, Billie Hara wrote about grade keeping programs such as GradeKeeper that might help you to track and manage your assessment of student work. Some of you might prefer to go at it old-school with a paper grade book that you manage by hand. Others might devise spread sheets in Excel or Numbers or a GoogleDoc. Still others might use the software provided by your college or university, be it BlackBoard, WebCT, Moodle, or the like. Last semester, partly inspired by Mark Sample’s post on “Going Paperless in the Classroom,” I bit the bullet and purchased GradeBook Pro for my iPad.
GradeBook Pro isn’t cheap by my standards–I prefer my apps to be free, but on occasion, I’ll cough up the $.99 if something comes recommended by a friend or colleague. GradeBook, priced at $9.99, then was a bit of a tough sell for me at the time, especially because I didn’t…
November 10, 2011, 11:00 am
It shouldn’t be news to our regular readers that many of us at ProfHacker are proponents of exercise fitness, and wellness. Guest author Meagan Timney has encouraged Nurturing the Mind-Body Connection, Kathleen Fitzparick has written about the importance of Prioritizing Exercise, and Brian Croxall has discussed the benefits of Losing Five Pounds. In addition, readers have weighed in on their Favorite Fitness Tracking Tools, and whether or not they Take Advantage of the Campus Gym.
In my most recent post on the topic, The Rule of 200: Fitness Edition, I talked about the difficulty of maintaining an fitness routine once the semester hit its stride with the typical whirlwind of obligations, responsibilities, and unanticipated crises. As I mentioned in that post, I resolved to try something different this semester: I registered for a half-marathon thinking that having a fixed goal…
October 17, 2011, 8:00 am
Apple users have long known about the company’s commitment to accessibility in most (if not all) of its devices.
In iOS 5–the latest version of the operating system used by the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod Touch–Apple has provided even more accessibility features for their mobile platform. Apple’s attention to built-in accessibility features allows people with disabilities to use these products right out of the box instead of needing to purchase costly accessibility software.
With the current release of iOS 5, Apple has added the following features:
- Text Size Changes
- Speak Selection
- Hearing Aid Mode
- Custom Vibrations
- LED Flash for Alerts
- Mono Audio
- Incoming Call Route
- Assistive Touch
The last of these new features is really amazing, so let’s take a look at Assistive Touch in a little more detail. These accessibility features really can help anyone, not …
October 14, 2011, 8:00 am
This week, Apple has released the fifth major version of the operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPhone Touch. Since these updates are free, and since they always provide significant upgrades in functionality, many people download and install the updates right away.
But there are many others–we’ll call them “normal people”–who don’t follow the Apple or gadget press closely, and who don’t plug their iOS device into their computer regularly, and so may not really be aware of the new software. Or, they’re aware that an update exists, but are happy with the setup they have, and don’t like to spend time messing about with something that works. And maybe “deep integration of Twitter into iOS” isn’t really a motivation to update, and iCloud isn’t something they feel like they need right away. (One of these normal people lives in my house! It’s very confusing.)
I thought, then,…
August 19, 2011, 8:00 am
As promised earlier this week, today I’ll introduce you to Amazon’s (other) new service, the Amazon Cloud Reader. The Cloud Reader was unveiled on August 10, and unlike Kindle.Amazon.com, this service is one that actually has gotten some stage time on the Amazon homepage. But stage time is about all it has gotten. By this, I mean that while Amazon features the Cloud Reader prominently on its homepage, you actually ge surprisingly little information about it until after you’ve installed it. After writing one post on a subterranean Kindle service, I’m not sure why I was surprised, but I was surprised nevertheless. Basically, if users click on the “Read Now” link, they are taken to an installation page, rather than an information page. Call me skeptical if you will, but I want to know what I’ll be installing before I make such a decision, but such was not an option (unless…
July 18, 2011, 8:00 am
There are a number of apps out there now which allow you to download a mostly complete copy of one or more languages of Wikipedia. I use an app called All of Wiki for my iPhone which costs about nine dollars. I’ve also tried another one simply called Encyclopedia. They are both troublesome to get up and running and I ultimately only settled on the former when I concluded that, in its current update, it sucked less. Downloads of full dumps of Wikipedia in a particular language sometimes fail and refuse to restart without reinstalling the app, the developers decided various important pieces of entries are missing (footnotes, bibliography, tabular data, etc.), and sometimes the search feature is annoyingly slow. Your mileage may vary.
Ever since I have had it, however, I become quite addicted. 3G gives many of us the internet pretty much anywhere we go, and for the rest of us that are on…