Category Archives: Software


Keybase: Crypto for (Almost) Everyone)

surveillance cameras

Encryption has been written about on ProfHacker a few different times but, in light of the really bad week we’re having security-wise, it seems like a good opportunity to look at a relatively new open-source player in the world of encryption and cryptography that has potential to be useful in educational settings: Keybase.

Self-branded as “Crypto for everyone” and the brainchild of Chris Coyne and Max Krohn (the minds behind OKCupid and SparkNotes), Keybase began as an easier way of implementin…


An Important Update to Spark

Flaming sparks against a dark backgroundEmail’s one of those things we all have to deal with, whether we like it or not. It’s such a part of our day-to-day work lives that we’ve written quite a lot here over the years about it.

For quite a while I’ve been using Airmail, in large part because it’s very capable of handling multiple email accounts. It also enables scheduling of emails, without the need to use a service like Boomerang or Right Inbox (neither of which works with all email accounts). It also available in an iOS version, whi…


Security Week

open lock
This has been an exciting week for internet security folks. That’s almost never a good thing. There have been a variety of wild new announcements, including the revelation that cell phone companies are exposing a remarkable amount of non-anonymized information about everyone, as well as new attacks against Flash and Office, and, most notoriously, the Krack Attack, which “destroys nearly all wifi security”.

I am not a security professional, but I think that a decent amateur explanation for the K…


Chalk One Up for Augmented Reality


Thus far, I have not seen any augmented reality apps that have struck me as super-useful. Sky Guide AR is pretty cool, but unfortunately I don’t get a lot of quality time with the night sky. Obviously it’s early days yet, and I expect there will be plenty of amazingly useful apps in the near future. (Wait–if realtime translation “counts” as AR, then I guess that’s definitely pretty useful.)

The first app to catch my eye in an “I will use this every week” sort of way is Vuforia’s Chalk. Chalk s…


New Open Publishing Platform “Janeway”


Seriously, if the name alone of this new platform doesn’t make you want to at least check it out, we can’t be friends.

From our friends at Birkbeck’s Centre for Technology and Publishing, who brought us the Open Library of Humanities, comes Janeway, a new platform for publishing open-access journals. It’s an open-source platform, and its goal is to be easy-to-use and sustainable, as well as flexible.

According to Andy Byers, Lead Developer on the projects, “my experience with some of the existi…


Google Suite Alternative:


I love Google Docs. I’m composing this blog post in a google doc. And I love Slack (I wrote about it here first!). But, given the economics of google and questions of privacy, as well as Slack’s new Terms of Service, more and more institutions are turning to alternatives.

Enter It is a “self-hostable productivity suite.” It is proving particularly popular at Canadian institutions because of laws that prevent student data from being housed on servers outside the country.

Many of th…


Backup for Back to School

lock box

Cloud-based backup provider Crashplan (which we mentioned in Do You Have a Backup Plan? announced in August that it would no longer offer subscriptions designed for home or personal use. Current users’ plans would continue to run for a little over a year, until October 2018 when the Home version of their product would be shuttered completely. (Crashplan will continue to offer their Small Business package.)

Although this news is understandably frustrating to current Crashplan users, there are a …


Like Privacy? Try Brave

The swing of a soccer player

Serendipitous discovery is not just for apocryphally wandering through library stacks–sometimes you can stumble across a cool tool, as well. Friday offered just such an occasion: I was working through Moacier P. de Sá Pereira’s The Javascripting English Major (recommended in Weekend Reading), and in the first chapter I discovered a new-to-me-web browser: Brave.

Brave is a recent-ish browser (1.0 release last year), developed by a team led by Brendan Eich (who invented JavaScript) and Brian Bond…


10 Things We Learned Producing a Podcast at a University

reel to reel tape

This is a guest post by Carol Jackson, the digital content strategist at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and lead producer, with Alison Jones and Karen Kemp, of the school's podcast_ Ways & Means Show. She also produces the podcast Policy 360 .

In the last two years, we launched two podcasts at our school, the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. We've had terrific successes and made some mistakes. What we've learned may help others who are considering …


Turning Your iPhone’s Camera into an Assistive Device: Seeing AI

safety goggles with judgey eyes drawn on
Earlier this week, Microsoft released a fascinating app for iOS devices, called Seeing AI. Seeing AI is an app that lets users take pictures of the world around them, and then it uses the iPhone’s on-phone intelligence to describe what’s in the picture. It’s designed as an app for people with low vision, but even if that description doesn’t apply to you at the minute, using it makes for a provocative way of thinking about the way these devices will be mediating the world around us, especially i…