All posts by Jason B. Jones


Procedures for Creativity: How to Use the Tarot


So I never really thought I’d write a post about tarot cards, but The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life comes with a fascinating proposition: Just as writers and artists have used the tarot, or variations of it, for centuries as part of their creative process, so too can any writer use it as a way to gain insight into how to write more productively.

One reason The Creative Tarot is so interesting–interesting enough that I spent my own money on it, and didn’t work from a review…


Toward Carbon-Neutral, Equitable Conferences

UCSB campus


Following up on one aspect of Maha’s post yesterday on “fostering permeability in academia”, I wanted to point to “A Nearly Carbon-Neutral Conference Model: White Paper/Practical Guide,” published by the Environmental Humanities Initiative at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The White Paper lays out the environmental and accessibility costs of conferences. The authors compare the impact of flying participants in and of streaming video, they evaluate the financial feasibility of co…


Get Your Internet Connection’s Speed from Google

speed limit sign

As I type, the Google doodle says that it’s the search engine’s 18th anniversary, which is a very long time of continuing to provide relevant search results on the internet. Google’s search engine, though, has long done far more than that, which brings me to the topic of today’s post: internet speeds.

From time to time in everyone’s life, it can be useful to know just how fast your connection to the internet is. Maybe you’re trying to decide whether to prep for class by reviewing a video, or to…


Have Your Accounts Been Compromised?

LEGO minifigs
Having accounts spread hither and yon across the internet, and the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ approach that’s too often taken toward security and privacy, there’s a pretty decent chance that at some point, a service you use will face a data breach.

Heck, it might have already happened, and you didn’t know about it, either because you were too busy to notice, or maybe you’d even forgotten you have an account on that service!

A quick and easy way to see if your accounts have been included in a data breach is to…


Dropbox . . . How Could You ?!?

apple crates
Dropbox is a perennial favorite of ProfHacker writers, as folks have used it at one point or another for more or less all the things. That IT departments seemed not to like it was practically a point in its favor as, let’s face it, it works. Really well!

This is why it was so dispiriting to learn last week about Dropbox’s apparently cavalier approach to Mac permissions. (The article’s from July, but it resurfaced on Twitter and on sites like LoopInsight.)

In effect, using the Accessibility tool…


College as Constant Restart: A Review of Practice for Life

rail station

Sometimes books arrive for review like a gift: a new book, on exactly the right topic, at exactly the right time. This summer, as I was preparing to teach a first-year seminar for the first time at my new school, and to teach anything at all for the first time in three years, I was delighted to receive Lee Cuba, Nancy Jennings, Suzanne Lovett, and Joseph Swingle’s new book, Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College (Harvard UP, August 2016), an intensive study of student experiences at sev…


Getting Things Done with TaskPaper


[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…


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 …


Opting for Renewable Assessments


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,…


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…