All posts by Jason B. Jones

by

An Easy macOS Script for Converting Images to PDFs

a sheaf of contracts

One of the great conveniences about modern smartphone cameras is that it’s now much easier to submit paperwork of various types. Even if you don’t have a digital copy of the form, you can frequently fill it out, take a picture, and send the photo a long.

Except, as David Sparks explains in this handy post, it’s not quite that easy: images aren’t great to work with, and need to be converted to PDFs. And they typically have a lot of extraneous information, such as color. macOS has a variety of t…

by

Marking up Mobile Photos with Annotable

annotations
Ever since Evernote abandoned Skitch a couple of years ago, I’ve been looking for a good way to mark up photos on my phone, which is a thing I find myself doing pretty regularly, either in documenting issues around campus, or communicating quickly about various issues.. I’ve tried a variety of different apps, but haven’t found one that’s really stuck.

I’d tried Annotable before, but it fell into the “interesting, but maybe not for me” category. Last month, though, Ling Wang released a new vers…

by

Is This Still a Thing? Looking Back at Unroll.me

unfurling fern

ProfHacker has been writing posts for a long time now, and in addition to all the evergreen posts about writing and syllabus design and so forth, we’ve also covered a lot of tech. I’ve been kicking around the idea of an occasional series called “Is This Still a Thing?,” in which I look back at an app, service, or gadget we’ve reviewed, and briefly update readers on its status.

For one reason or another, I’ve dithered in getting this off the ground, but recent revelations about Unroll.me have s…

by

Annotating Financial Context Automatically with Bloomberg Lens

calculator with financial forms
Despite the fact that the web is a powerful tool for annotation, many news stories and blog posts lack relevant context that would be useful for readers. Especially as a site ages, it can be hard to know how information has changed over time.

Most of us at ProfHacker like hypothes.is as an annotate-everywhere tool. But there are other visions of annotation, and this week, Bloomberg and Postlight jointly announced Bloomberg Lens, an iOS app and Chrome extension that aims to provide on-the-fly f…

by

Fridges and the (Home) Economics of Ed Tech

Billboard advertising gas refrigerators

A maxim even more famous than “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” is “Never make analogies about technology adoption where scholars of refrigeration can find them.” And yet, in “Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or a Washing Machine?,” Julia Freeland Fisher makes just this mistake, when she draws on what she takes to be the comparative adoption rates of these two appliances to argue for more disruptive innovation in educational technology. (Sigh.)

The internet being …

by

Weekend Reading: A Positive Rage Edition

Craig Finn performing at Brooklyn Bowl with The Hold Steady

Gadget nerds looking to distract themselves from Washington will know that Apple released a tepid batch of hardware updates this week: a red phone, some watch bands, and a low-end iPad. Nothing for the iMac, which hasn’t been updated since October 2015, let alone the Mac Mini, which hasn’t gotten any attention since October 2014.

The hottest take in the wake of Tuesday’s release is that the new low-cost iPad signals that Apple might be ready to take the education market seriously again. Pffft.

by

How to Teach Students How to Read on Screens, and Why You Might Want To

kid reading on a coach

Internet-literate people are at a funny moment when it comes to digital reading. Just in my own family, for example, I do about 85% of reading on screens of various types, mostly because I just don’t have any room for books. My wife, a full professor of contemporary American literature, is the exact opposite–reads most things in print. Our son *tends* to read books in print and other things via social media links, but there are exceptions. (In December he read Empire Falls on a phone, which see…

by

Writing a Better Conference Abstract

conference badges

Ah, spring–when it’s time to start securing next winter’s conference plans, usually by pulling together abstracts in response to various Calls for Papers. We’ve written a fair amount on conferences in the past, of course, with Erin in particular offering a helpful tactical approach to “The Conference Abstract”.

Today, Catherine Baker does everyone a terrific service by breaking down, in specific detail, “Ho…

by

Weekend Reading: No Sleep on Sunday Edition

Sleepy Puppy

It’s the return of daylight savings time this weekend, of course, which brings both extra sun and extra fatigue. Fortunately, Maryellen Weimer’s got us sorted with some good advice about “Waking up to Tired Teaching”, which may be useful for the week to come. If your institution’s on spring break next week, of course, then I hope it’s some combination of restful and productive–or crazy and wild, if that is your thing!

by

Using Text Analysis to Discover Work in JSTOR

grounds in coffee

JSTOR have just announced the JSTOR Labs Text Analyzer, a clever tool–still in Beta–that will analyze any document you upload (or text that you copy and paste) and find suggested matches in the JSTOR archives. It’s an interesting proposition–if you click that link on a phone, you can even take a picture of text and the Analyzer will process that.

You can find out more about how it works at this link, but I thought it would be fun to run it through a paper I published a while back. The paper was…