Tag Archives: The ProfHacker Guide to the Command Line

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A Year of Turkel Tutorials

Many of the students and scholars I know who have picked up technical skills in the world of the command line (see Lincoln’s introduction and a series of posts here at Profhacker) or who have attempted their hand at programming come to what they know through tinkering. Some new way they want to analyze their sources, improve the discovery of interesting patterns, organize their stuff, or automate their tasks supplies them the justification they need to carve out some time to learn by playing. T…

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Use Your Handheld GPS for Photo Geotagging

Camera and GPSGeotagged photos are increasingly the norm. Our smartphones, some new cameras, Eye-Fi cards (in wi-fi range), and other gadgets add the latitude and longitude to the “EXIF” metadata found in most photo files today. Having geotagged photos makes it easy to relocate some place you want to revisit, organize and view your photos by location, and when your photos falls into their hands, provides helpful information to any organization that might want to reconstruct your past movements. Fortunately, i…

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Markdown Slideshow Example: Pandoc

In my last two postings, I introduced a way to create slide presentations by writing them in a simple text file, with Markdown formatting, and add some of the “infinite canvas” features of Impress.js. The resulting presentation (simple example) can be viewed in modern browsers without any special software.

If you want a markdown text based slideshow without any need for the flexible pan/scale/rotate features of Impress.js there are a number of far better alternatives. In theory, one of several a…

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Markdown Slideshow Example: Mdpress

Last week I introduced a way to create Prezi-style “infinite canvas” style slide presentations written in plain text with markdown formatting. I used a free command line utility called Mdpress which takes your markdown text file and transforms it into a slideshow that can be shown using any modern browser. It also allows you to add the pan, scale, and rotation effects of Prezi through its support of something called Impress.js.

Though I went through the basic steps last week, I didn’t offer any …

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Setting up a Local Folder Backup Sync On Your Mac

folder by Tim Morgan, on Flickr Hopefully most our readers here have a good backup routine in place. After learning the lesson the hard way, I now I use an obsessive combination of a cloud-based system (I use SpiderOak, which we introduced here and here), time machine, the mirroring of important files between two computers with the help of SpiderOak, regular backups to a hard drive and more irregular backups to a medium-term storage medium. This, in turn, is deposited at a safe location in a country not likely to be destroyed…

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Alfred Obeys Your Commands to Launch Apps and More

Alfred icon

At its simplest, Alfred App is a utility for Macs. You press a hotkey (the default is OPT + spacebar), a box appears on your screen, and you type the name of the application that you want.

There is no shortage of ways to launch applications in Mac OS X. You can click an icon on the dock, you can open Launchpad, you can search for the Application in Spotlight, or you could double-click on the icon in the Applications folder. Why would you want another application launcher?

Alfred search box

The simplest reason i…

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Install Applications Easily with a Package Manager

PackageWhen the Apple App Store came out, one of the features it touted was a central place to buy and install applications. You could download all your applications from one place, and when they were out of date, you could upgrade them from one place. Indeed, this is a useful feature (leaving aside discussions of the economics of such stores).

Indeed, this is a feature that users of the command line had for a long time. For command line terminals, these app stores are usually called package managers. …

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Make Your Own E-Books with Pandoc

Book bindingAs devices for reading e-books proliferate, it increasingly makes sense to make publications available in an e-book. There are a number of cases in which you might do this:

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Pandoc Converts All Your (Text) Documents

Pandoc conversion networkFor the past few months we ProfHackers have been running an occasional series about using the command line. I got us started with a couple posts explaining why you might want to use the command line and how to get started using it. Konrad followed with a posts about the uniq command and the sort command for working with text and data files. Amy added a post about how the command line let her hack the NOOK Color, and I wrote about using pdftk to manipulate PDFs.

Taking up the command line is easi…

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Fix PDFs Quickly with pdftk

I work a lot with PDFs. Most of the journal articles I read are PDFs, when I’m lucky drafts of other people’s work come as PDFs rather than Word documents, and I scan much of the source material for my research into PDFs. At ProfHacker, we’ve given you lots of advice about how to hack PDFs: how to OCR them so they’re searchable, how to convert documents into PDFs, how to use Zotfile with PDFs in your Zotero library, and how to organize and annotate your PDFs.

So what do you do when you need to f…