All posts by Lincoln Mullen


How to Send E-mail Without Checking E-mail

Screen shot of Gmail compose windowWe all know that e-mail is one of the great distractions of our profession, a never-ending source of things to do other than the thing you really should be doing. We’ve certainly written a lot about e-mail a lot here at ProfHacker. A lot of the advice people give about e-mail boils down to, check it less frequently, and process it sensibly. But if you want to send off an e-mail, say to a class list or to a collaborator, you have to open your e-mail program and check your mail. What happens next?…


Two Computers, One Keyboard and Mouse with Synergy

Two computersThe odds are good that there are multiple computers in your life. You might have a laptop along with a desktop computer in your office or at home. Or (like me) you might have an outmoded computer at home that could still be useful but which isn’t your primary machine. Or maybe you run a NASA launch center, or wish you did. If you have multiple computers, chances are you’d like to use them at the same time. For me, when I recently built a standing desk in hopes of avoiding undue health risks, it …


The Slate Window Manager for Mac Power Users

WindowsYour computer’s user interface is based on one metaphor or another. (At least, it is if you’re not typing just 1s and 0s into your computer.) More than likely your computer operates on the “windows” metaphor, even if you use a Mac. Documents and applications float across the screen, and you click and drag to arrange the windows on your screen. The trouble with the window metaphor is that every second spent arranging windows is a waste of time. I find this to be a frequent source of frustration, …


Learn R with Twotorials

If you want to learn methods, techniques, or technologies that are outside your usual scholarly ambit, then you often have to learn them in small sections as you find time. That’s why I was glad to learn about R Twotorials.

R, according to the R Project’s website, “is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.” It’s a programming language useful for analyzing data and creating graphics, especially if you’re using statistical methods.* It’s also the language that Matthew …


The Kindle Paperwhite Reviewed: Device and Ecosystem

A few weeks ago I did something which surprised my wife, and which surprised me: I bought a Kindle Paperwhite. Even more surprising, I like the Kindle a lot, and I find myself doing most of a certain kind of reading on the Kindle.

Here is a not-so-brief review of the device itself, followed by a few thoughts on the Kindle as an e-book ecosystem.

The Device

Size. First, the Paperwhite is light and small — less than half a pound, about the height and width of a small trade paperback, but a lot thi…


Getting Back to Getting Things Done

I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done five or six years ago, and it has more or less shaped the way I organize my work since then. I say more or less, because the elaborate system of projects, next actions, someday/maybe lists, and processing that makes up GTD is easy to slip away from. That’s probably for the best, since undue obsession with planning your work can take away from actually doing the work. I’ve noticed that I go through long cycles, at the end of which I return to organizing my…


From Grading to Helping Students: A Mind Hack

pile of papersFor all the pleasures of teaching, grading is not one of them. We have a bunch of ProfHacker posts about this, and also a number of ways to make your grading process better or help you change the way you think about grading. I want to propose one more idea.

If it takes me on average 30–45 minutes to grade a research paper, only a small amount of that time is spent evaluating the student’s work in the sense of assigning a grade. I know the final grade of the paper with a high degree of certainty …


Paper Machines Visualizes Your Zotero Library

Paper machines GitHub logoIn the past few months there has been a lot of attention paid to a Zotero plugin called Paper Machines. Created by Brown grad student Chris Johnson-Roberson as a Google Summer of Code project, Paper machines was coded by Brown grad student Chris Johnson-Roberson, and Jo Guldi and Matthew Battles directed the project. Paper Machines uses the data in a Zotero collection to generate analyses and visualizations. If you have a sizeable collection of documents with good metadata and full text (for e…


Ordering Food Online with GrubHub and Eat24

Delivery signEvery day, returning home after writing ten pages and inspiring young minds with my teaching, I prepare a lovely three-course meal, often cooking my artisanal hand-rolled pasta made from grandma’s recipe, served with vegetables I pick each evening from my  hand-tended garden.

Wait, that’s not true of me. I’m guessing that sometimes it’s not true of you either.  Some nights there is work yet to do and no time for cooking, so we order takeout.

I’ve use two websites when I’m looking to order takeou…


Jetpack Plugin for Course Websites

JetPack logoOf the perennial ProfHacker favorites, WordPress is probably neck and neck with Zotero as our most written about topic. From course blogs to department websites to ProfHacker itself, we like WordPress for just about any kind of website that you might run. In fact, other than the barest mention, I don’t think we’ve even acknowledged the existence of WordPress competitors like Blogger, Typepad, and MoveableType. WordPress really is that much better than the competition. (Jason does like f…