All posts by Brian Croxall


Get Rid of Duplicate Files on your Mac with Gemini

A photograph of two identical cherries on a stem

My first computer was a Commodore 64, and my family was lucky enough to have the 1541 floppy disk drive. We were amazed at our ability to write huge files to portable media—all the way up to 170 KB!!!! Of course, it wasn’t too many years before software was getting bigger than our disk drive could handle. It’s a story that I’ve repeated multiple times, on multiple devices across my lifetime, and it’s been happening again recently: my laptop recently told me that I simply didn’t have any more sp…


My Tech Stack for Public Talks

A young boy giving a public talk at a microphoneWhether you like it or not, public speaking is a big part of what we do in academe. There is of course the teaching that makes up a large part of many of our jobs. But then there are the more formal speaking requirements of the job: conference presentations, job talks, and — hopefully — invited keynotes. Whether you’re an introvert or not — and Bill Pannapacker is correct that academia is a place that perversely attracts and then screens out the introverts — you inevitably want to do your best. …


What’s Your Speaking Fee?

A row of deer garden statuaryI’m going to guess that most of us didn’t go into academe for the money. Given the market forces at play in hiring in higher education, you might have been tempted to not even negotiate when offered a job. (Of course, you should always negotiate.) Perhaps that’s why questions about money are often difficult to answer when we encounter them.

Recently, I’ve been flattered to receive a number of invitations to give talks or lead workshops. While some of these engagements are compensated with simply…


Call for Open Peer Review: Web Writing

A sign that reads Four years ago, ProfHacker’s own Kathleen Fitzpatrick posted the text of her new book, Planned Obsolescence, online. This act kicked off a radical experiment on the part of Fitzpatrick and NYU Press, which had the book under contract, to engage in an open peer review of the text. Thanks to the CommentPress theme for WordPress, readers would be able to write in the Internet’s margins and add commentary and suggestions to individual paragraphs or chapters of Kathleen’s book. When Planned Obsolesce…


The Blurb List

A grocery list written in French on a Post-It note

In the years that I’ve worked in and around higher education, I’ve never lacked reasons for surprise. But among the many is how frequently I’ve been asked to write a brief biographical description. Whether it’s presenting at a conference, dropping in as a guest in a seminar, completing a grant proposal, or finishing an article, everyone wants my deets 100-250 words about…me.

The first time I was asked for my biographical statement, I almost certainly over thought it. That’s what you do when you’…


Open Thread Wednesday: What Software Do You Refuse to Update?

A comic titled, 'An update is available for your computer.' A Linux user says, 'Cool, more free stuff!' A Windows user says, 'Not Again!' And a Mac user says, 'Ooh, only $99!'

I’ll be honest: there’s not much I like more than a good software update. When I get a pop-up telling me that there’s a new version available, I tend to click “Install and restart” faster than our new puppy hops onto the table when my back is turned. My general feeling is that new versions of things I like will be even more likely to be likable. And for the most part, I tend to be right.

But there’s an exception. I’ve been a huge fan of the screenshot tool Skitch ever since Jason reviewed it in…


Add New Search Engines to Your Browser with the Mycroft Project

Man blowing fire in the shape of a mushroom cloud

I remember clearly the first time I used Firefox. Visiting my also-in-grad-school brother during the summer of 2005, I was shocked to discover something called “tabbed browsing.” No longer would I have to open multiple windows in order to look at more than one website at once. Only slightly more revelatory in my experience of the then-six-months-old browser was that it had a search engine built in. Instead of going to Google’s website and then searching, I could just type a query into a window …


One Week | One Tool: Introducing Serendip-o-matic

Serendip-o-matic logo[ProfHacker interrupts our scheduled summer break for this special, breaking news! We'll be back in the full swing of things on Monday, August 12! --Ed.]

This past week, I was one of twelve participants in “One Week | One Tool” (OWOT), an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and hosted by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The team first assembled on the evening of Sunday, 28 J…


Keep Your Mac Awake with Caffeine

The chemical formula for caffeine spelled out in coffee beans

A couple of days ago, I reviewed Bartender, a great application for tidying the menu bar on your Mac. It turns out that ProfHacker has been responsible for many of the small applications that sit in my menu bar. My fellow authors are constantly bringing new productivity tools to my attention, and I linked to the different reviews of those tools in that post. To my total surprise, however, I discovered that the little menu bar application that I use more than any other except Skitch is something…


Tidy Up Your Mac Menu Bar with Bartender

Red restaurant menus sitting by a wine glassEver since Jason covered Skitch as a great tool for quickly annotating screenshots back in 2009 (AKA ye olde ProefHaecker), I’ve been adding additional applications that run in the menu bar of my Macs. The menu bar is the little strip at the top of your screen where your clock, wifi indicator, and other little icons live. Along with features of the Mac operating system, many little pieces of software that run in the background on my computer have an icon in the menu bar. When I need an applicat…