All posts by Brian Croxall


ProfHacker 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Hopefully you’ve noticed the subtle change in the air: the giving way of the aroma of pumpkin spice latte to the onset of the peppermint mocha. With that blessed change from decorative gourd season, mothers everywhere want to know what you’ll be getting them for the slew of holidays that close out the year. Not to fear! It’s the annual ProfHacker gift guide! Whether you’re looking for ideas for mom, your kid, the board gamer, or the reader in your life, we’ve got you covered.

And if for some re…


ProfHacker 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Round trees at night, lit with holiday lights Why is this post different from all other posts? Because it’s the annual ProfHacker gift guide! If December is a busy time for most people, it’s always seemed that much busier to me since becoming an academic: there’s finals, grades, and all those department parties competing for my attention when what I really need to do is figure out what I should get my wife. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve got the recommendations you need for the coffee / exercise / tech enthusiast in your life, as …


Ten Tips for Tweeting at Conferences

A nest-shaped bowl with buttons with Twitter logos, a hash and @ signIt’s no surprise that we here at ProfHacker like Twitter. We’ve covered how to start tweeting (and why you might want to) and practical advice for teaching with Twitter. I’ve found Twitter to be a tremendous boon to developing my professional networks and helping me stay on top of what’s happening in my fields of scholarship. But there’s one place where where Twitter perhaps ends up being more valuable for me than other place: at conferences.

Tweeting at conferences is a great way to share what …


Lighten Your Inbox in 10 Minutes with Unroll.Me

A black and white photograph of a mailbox with its flag up

With the close of the semester, you’re probably doing what you can to get your email inbox under control now that some of your colleagues have left the campus and your students have finished their finals. Email is, of course, the gift that keeps on giving. So it’s perhaps appropriate as we approach the end of the year that I make a gift to you of a fabulous new (and free!) service I discovered that will radically reduce the number of emails you receive on a daily basis: Unroll.Me.

The basic pre…


Simple Journaling on Mac or iOS with Day One

An old, hand-written journalHere at ProfHacker, we frequently talk about how to get your writing done. After all, for many of us, writing is an important part of (keeping) our jobs. We’ve frequently discussed writing software like Scrivener or Google Docs; more recently Konrad covered Draft for collaborative writing and Adeline talked about using Gingko, which is a horizontal outline and writing tool. We’ve covered methods for getting your writing done, from Billie’s look at and Erin’s personal Rule of 200 (wo…


Get Real-Time, Social Driving Directions with Waze

6371619037_fd8e11ba7f_bWhen I was planning to move to Atlanta for graduate school, one of the first things that I bought was an atlas for the United States. How else, in 2002, was I going to know how to get from one state to another? When I finally got to Atlanta, the very first thing I did was drive to a CVS to buy an umbrella and a big multi-page map of the city. In 2007, when I was attending my second MLA conference in Chicago, I went with a small folder full of printed-off directions from Google Maps to help me ge…


Get All Your Financial Statements Automatically with FileThis

A bank statement and calculatorSince tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States, I’m going to say that one of the things I’m thankful for is the Internet. It turns out that it makes a lot of things easier. One such thing is how much simpler my bill paying has become since all of my financial institutions adapted to the Web. Ten years ago I was still writing checks to different organizations on a monthly basis, but now I can either use direct draft or pay the bills online through my bank. I’m even saving paper by…


Portable Peace and Quiet: A Review of the Bose QuietComfort 20

4976399329_d1fd6b27b1_bOne of the things that we love here at ProfHacker is our music. We’ve had posts about using music to inspire student thinking; a discussion about the music you teach with; coverage of how can help you create a playlist to run with; a review of Your Playlist Can Change Your Life; and, of course, Jason’s love of all things Hold Steady. My own passion for music—both listening and playing—led to my completing a music major in college and seriously considering graduate school in musicology…


Flying with the New FAA Rules

 If you read my bio here on ProfHacker, you’ll see that I never go anywhere without USB cables or a novel. The latter has been especially important when I get on airplanes. We’ve written previously about how to hack your travel—by car or by plane. But it’s been difficult to be as productive as possible when you’ve had to turn your electronic devices off for big chunks of the flight. Hence, the need for a good novel to take up my time from the gate to 10,000 feet.

Last week, however, the FAA annou…


Fix Almost Anything with Sugru

An iPhone charging cord with the plastic insulation rippedLast week, I somehow put a gigantic tear in the plastic insulation on the cord that charges my phone. Against all odds, however, I was excited about the discovery. Instead of a $20-trip to an Apple Store, what this torn cord represented was the opportunity to play with one of my new favorite objects: Sugru.

What’s Sugru? According to their website, it’s a “new self-setting rubber for fixing, modifying and improving your stuff.” But if I was describing it, I’d tell you to imagine it as a clay tha…