Category Archives: Productivity

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New Wayback Machine – Beta

DeLorian

While the adage goes that nothing ever disappears from the internet, anyone who created a Geocities site, or used their old university servers (or forgot to pay to renew domain registration) knows that more often than we’re led to believe, stuff goes away and we can’t find it anymore.

The Wayback Machine has been a go-to for those looking for lost content and sites on the internet, but until now the search feature has required you to know the exact URL for the site you are trying to track down….

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Alphabetizing Books Quickly: QuickSort, Insertion Sort, and Bubble Sort

piles of books

Sometimes, the video that would’ve been helpful for you arrives right after you’ve completed a task. Over the past few months, I’ve been gradually relocating my books from my basement at home to my office at work, thus symbolically completing a move that’s now 3+ years old. Once I got them all to work, they were piled on my shelves, and so I needed to quickly sort them.

Shortly after finally getting them all organized, I discovered that Chand John and Anton Trofimov have a video (via Open Cul…

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What’s your favorite note-taking app?

9017948184_99960bfa9f_k

Many of us these days use a tablet for taking notes — and for a lot of us, that tablet is an iPad. We’ve explored some note-taking apps for the iPad before:

I’ve also tried two other applications over the last fe…

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Are You on Mastodon Yet? Social Network of Our Own

Mastodon homepage

Have you heard of Mastodon.social? Several of the edtech/digped people started appearing there over Thanksgiving weekend, thanks in part to this article, touting Mastodon as the open source alternative to Twitter. According to their “About” page:

“Mastodon is a free, open-source social network server. A decentralized alternative to commercial platforms, it avoids the risks of a single company monopolizing your communication. Anyone can run Mastodon and participate in the social network seamle…

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Getting More Done with Emoji

worried raccoon

One of the great paradoxes of the communication tools that are designed to help folks work together is how poorly they scale: what seems like a convenient way to share information quickly turns into an avalanche of messages that one feels compelled to keep up-to-date with.

Over the past year or so, Lee, Maha, and I have written several times about the various ways we use or teach with Slack, a modern platform for communications that can often feel more or less like a modern ICQ chat environment…

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Filenames and LaTeX and Pandoc, oh my!

Command-line arguments for batch-converting files from docx to pdfSometimes it happens: someone sends us a document in Word format, and we’d really rather it was a PDF. The reasons can vary. Maybe we need to post it on a website, and we’d rather users be able to view it in a browser, rather than being forced to download it. Maybe it’s an essay we need to grade, and, like Erin, we want to use iAnnotate or a similar application for that purpose.

When there are only a few documents involved, converting the files to PDF is simple enough; all that’s necessary is …

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Resisting Surveillance

graffiti of a surveillance camera

There are many reasons to start paying increased attention to security and privacy, especially in light of the election. Heck, just today Russian hackers launched a phishing attack at NGOs and policy think tanks, using “purpose-built Gmail accounts and what may be a compromised e-mail account from Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Science.” In addition to NGOs and think tanks, “another wave of similar e-mails targeted universities” last month. So protecting yourself online is probably a …

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Toward a Better Conference Badge

nametags
We’ve regularly written about conferences and ways to improve one’s experience at them, but, as far as I can tell, we’ve never written about their most common feature: name tags or badges, the little bits of paper or plastic that let conference attendees figure out who they should try to talk to, and who they can safely ignore. Or, I guess, that let event staff figure out who should be allowed to peruse vendor booths, or sneak some cheese and crackers.

Conferences can be a great way to make con…

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Open Access Week Roundup

Last week, George wrote about Open Access Week. The OpenAccessWeek.org site is a great resource for all of the activities, announcement, and information, but I want to point to two resources that might be of particular interest to ProfHacker readers.

The first is the oaDIO tool (for lack of a better word for what it is). From their blog post:

Most papers that are free-to-read are available thanks to “green OA” copies posted in institutional or subject repositories.  The fact these copies are…

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Daily Habits + #GridsGestures

Back in April, I wrote about Nick Sousanis’s call for week-long participation in a #gridsgestures hashtag as part of a reflective practice of structured, comics-inspired, sketch journaling. I participated throughout the week and found it a valuable escape from text-centric practices into more visual, rapid thinking. When the week ended, I felt like continuing, so I ended up setting myself an open-ended challenge to keep up the practice for as long as felt right. Over that time (during which I’v…