Keybase: Crypto for (Almost) Everyone)

surveillance cameras

Encryption has been written about on ProfHacker a few different times but, in light of the really bad week we’re having security-wise, it seems like a good opportunity to look at a relatively new open-source player in the world of encryption and cryptography that has potential to be useful in educational settings: Keybase.

Self-branded as “Crypto for everyone” and the brainchild of Chris Coyne and Max Krohn (the minds behind OKCupid and SparkNotes), Keybase began as an easier way of implementin…


An Important Update to Spark

Flaming sparks against a dark backgroundEmail’s one of those things we all have to deal with, whether we like it or not. It’s such a part of our day-to-day work lives that we’ve written quite a lot here over the years about it.

For quite a while I’ve been using Airmail, in large part because it’s very capable of handling multiple email accounts. It also enables scheduling of emails, without the need to use a service like Boomerang or Right Inbox (neither of which works with all email accounts). It also available in an iOS version, whi…


Security Week

open lock
This has been an exciting week for internet security folks. That’s almost never a good thing. There have been a variety of wild new announcements, including the revelation that cell phone companies are exposing a remarkable amount of non-anonymized information about everyone, as well as new attacks against Flash and Office, and, most notoriously, the Krack Attack, which “destroys nearly all wifi security”.

I am not a security professional, but I think that a decent amateur explanation for the K…


Taking Over a Class Mid-Semester

Rhino on the River

This week, because a colleague is leaving*, I’ll be taking on her role in two classes. In both instances I’ll become the instructor of record, although one of the classes is team-taught, so I won’t be fully “taking over.” I’ve done this before, as once in graduate school I taught the final two months or so of a seminar.

It’s a thing that happens more often than one might think, due to the vicissitudes of life, and so I thought I’d gather a few thoughts on how to make the transition work smoothl…


Weekend Reading: Friday the 13th Edition

Friday the 13th

Hey, we made it through another week! Here are five links and a video:

  • Eddie Smith takes the history of mathematical typography to some really fascinating places: I think it’s critically important for those of us that write math to have at least a basic awareness of the history of mathematical typesetting. For me, knowing this history has had several practical benefits. It’s made me more grateful for the writing tools I have today—tools that I can use to simplify and improve the present…

Collaborative Annotations You May Want to Join

woman and 2 kids read on couch

I am always on the lookout for collaborative annotations – articles or sites out there that others have put out calls to annotate. I do this for three reasons:

  1. I can use them as examples in workshops I give to faculty about annotation, and I noticed my colleague use them in individual consultations with faculty to showcase the tool;
  2. I like to use them in my class so my students get to see the global potential of collaborative annotation; and
  3. For my own professional development – I …

On Digital Humanities in the Undergraduate Classroom

photo of a circuit board

Readers who are digital humanities-curious–or who are just looking for a decently comprehensive overview of some approaches to digital pedagogy, especially but not necessarily exclusively, in the humanities classroom, might want to bookmark issue 11.3 (out in preview now) of Digital Humanities Quarterly, which is devoted to “Imagining the DH Undergraduate.”

In their “Introduction,”, Emily Christina Murphy and Shannon R Smith note the three themes that connect the essays: student agency, (digita…


Some Quick Guidelines for Better Typography

Arkonaplatz type

When I was in college, I could never finish Wuthering Heights. I knew that Emily Brontë was supposed to be (is!) a great writer, and I liked her sisters’ novels well enough, but could not make my way through this book. It was pretty annoying. Then, at some point, I was at a friend’s place for the weekend, and they had a different edition of Wuthering Heights than the tight, crowded discount paperback I’d been failing to read well. The clouds lifted, I was absorbed, and felt better about the un…


Chalk One Up for Augmented Reality


Thus far, I have not seen any augmented reality apps that have struck me as super-useful. Sky Guide AR is pretty cool, but unfortunately I don’t get a lot of quality time with the night sky. Obviously it’s early days yet, and I expect there will be plenty of amazingly useful apps in the near future. (Wait–if realtime translation “counts” as AR, then I guess that’s definitely pretty useful.)

The first app to catch my eye in an “I will use this every week” sort of way is Vuforia’s Chalk. Chalk s…


How to Make Short-Form Videos as Tutorials, and Why You Might Want To

Miffy Lamp at night
If Cindy Craig were an on-trend technology company, she would describe her work as “microlearning.” Mercifully, because she’s a librarian, she talks instead about making short-form video (<15 seconds) as a happy medium between the unwatched screencast and tutorials with static screenshots.

Craig has a splendid new essay up in In the Library with the Lead Pipe, called “Modular Short Form Video for Library Instruction”; …