All posts by Jason B. Jones

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Getting Things Done with TaskPaper

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[This is a guest post by Nabeel Siddiqui, a doctoral candidate in American Studies at The College of William & Mary, where his research focuses on personal computers and the intersection of the public/private sphere. You can find him online here.--JBJ]

It’s safe to conclude the ProfHacker staff are fans of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. The book had a major influence on lifehacking , and a ton of software implements or uses its principles. Since starting graduate school, I have used Culture…

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How to Keep Your Laptop from Overusing Bandwidth on the Road

figurines of dogs in a toy car

As punishment for my various parenting sins, I now find myself in a specific Dunkin Donuts about five hours a week, while my son’s at practice. And so the ability to work remotely has skyrocketed in importance.

And whether I’m using my phone as a hotspot or using the Dunkin wifi (with a VPN, of course!), sometimes connections on the road aren’t as robust as one might like.

A solution that’s really helpful is TripMode, which gives you app-by-app control over what gets to talk to the internet on …

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Opting for Renewable Assessments

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An aspect of higher education that likely drives faculty and students alike to frustration is assessments–whether homework, papers, or anything else–that are designed for the instructor’s eyes only. No matter how carefully the faculty member explains that students should write for an imagined audience of interested readers, the vast majority of the time the professor will be the only person who reads the work, and then the student will briefly look over the professor’s comments . . . and then,…

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Start Doing Things on the Command Line with Script Ahoy

cut up strips of paper

Getting comfortable with the command line is one of those little things that can open up a world of functionality on your computer. Lincoln Mullen started an occasional series, The ProfHacker Guide to the Command Line, which included posts on “Getting Comfortable on the Command Line”, and many more.

But sometimes you’re just getting started with the command line, and you’re pretty sure there’s probably a way to do a particular task, but you’re now sure how to go about it. To address this proble…

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Against Helplessness

Feeling helpless today? Me, too. As my wife put it, “I am struggling with my Americanness.”

That said, helpless won’t help; action will. Those of us who work and study in higher ed often think of our role as not only helping to make sense of the world but also helping to enact positive change. Ijeoma Oluo, editor-at-large of The Establishment proposes fourteen basic steps for educating yourself about police accountability and driving support for police reform. A bunch of ‘em require little more…

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The Power of Looking Closely

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At least in the US, it’s the start of a long holiday weekend, and elsewhere there are things like the Euros and Brexit to distract people from the internet, alas.

I wanted to share this video by Amy Herman on “Visual Intelligence,” based on her book Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life, which in turn was based on a project she used to do at the Frick Collection while she was training medical students how to look at art. The reason I like it is that the single favorite …

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Plain Language and Inclusive Document Design

bright colorful tree and fields

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this month about making teaching documents of all kinds more accessible. Some of this is about a syllabus, but some of it is about rethinking some of our signs and documentation at work, as well as ways that we can make our edX courses more accessible to that highly varied audience. So I was delighted to discover an excellent new article on In the Library with the Lead Pipe by Jennifer Turner & Jessica Schomberg on “Inclusivity, Gestalt Principles, and Plain La…

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Like Evernote? Be Aware of Pricing Changes

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Evernote is a fairly widely-used tool for corralling and then exploring information. There have been numerous posts about Evernote here at ProfHacker, such as Shawn Miller’s introduction to the tool, Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s testimonial as an Evernote convert, Amy’s account of teaching with it, and a variety of posts about using Evernote on your phone, with Markdown, or in web browsers.

There is a long tradition of speculating on Evernote’s business model–although it has a lot of users, most of …

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How to Quickly Extract Media from Slide Decks

piles and piles of paper

If you’ve ever wanted to quickly extract the media (images, etc.) from a presentation such as PowerPoint or Keynote, there turns out to a pretty simple way to do it. This may well be common knowledge, but, as my friend Merlin Mann likes to say, every day somone’s born who’s never seen The Flintstones. That is, it’s always new to someone–and this was new to me.

The key is to recognize that PowerPoint and Keynote files are basically just bundles of other files–that is, they’re fancy ZIP files:

S…