All posts by Mark Sample


Killing Your Twitter Account (and Reviving It)

loltombstoneAs the culminating move of a Twitter-based storytelling experiment, I recently deleted my Twitter account. One minute it was there, all twenty-six thousand and something tweets, and the next it was gone. My tweets, my favorites, my lists, my followers — all gone. A number of friends were in disbelief that I had so summarily erased everything that I had ever written on Twitter. Not only had I evidently turned my back on the social networking service, I had destroyed all the symbolic capital that …


Keep Your Official Twitter Archive Fresh

Fresh Produce[Editors' note: this is a draft that Mark Sample uploaded to Profhacker last week. We have been unable to contact Mark for the final revisions, so we are posting it as-is. Our apologies for any errors.]

In late 2012 Twitter began rolling out a long-requested feature: a complete archive of a your public (non-DM) Twitter activity, from your very first tweet up to the moment you request the archive (from your Twitter Settings page). Shortly after you submit your request, you’ll be emailed a uniqu…


Zotero Quick Tip: Transform Title Text

Big Red Lowercase Letters

Have you ever used Zotero to grab a citation from a library or journal database, only to have to retype the title of the article because it’s not capitalized correctly? Or maybe the article has a superfluous space before a colon that you have to manually edit out?

I don’t know about you, but dealing with these nagging little details takes some of the magic out of the otherwise automagical powers of Zotero. A while ago I tweeted my frustration with this problem and asked if there was some way Zo…


Live Polling of Your Students with Poll Everywhere

A Screenshot of a Poll Everywhere Slide

Poll Everywhere is an online service that allows you to poll an audience through text-messaging. The polling mechanism is quite simple (and therefore easy for audiences to use): every answer in your poll has a unique number, and audience members text that number to Poll Everywhere’s 6-digit short code. The real magic occurs next, as you and your audience watch the results roll in, live.

I’ve been saying “audience,” but what I really have in mind is “students.” You ask your students a question, …


The Zotero Bookmarklet for the iPad and iPhone


The research organizer and reference manager Zotero is one of ProfHacker’s favorite tools. I’ve shown how ZotPad allows you to access your saved sources and PDFs on your iPad, but there’s one key functionality that ZotPad doesn’t (yet) provide: saving citations to Zotero from your iPad.

Enter the Zotero Bookmarklet.

The Zotero Bookmarklet can be added to almost any modern browser—including Safari on the iPad or iPhone—and it allows you to save a source to your Zotero library, as long as the…


SlideShark is the Presentation App to Beat

As I’ve written about before on ProfHacker, I am striving to go paperless at conferences and in the classroom. Aside from saving paper, I simply prefer carrying less with me wherever I go. An iPad or other tablet makes this increasingly possible, but there’s one use for the iPad at conferences and in the classroom that I’ve consistently been disappointed by: running presentations from the iPad.

It’s a breeze to hook up the iPad to a projector with a VGA or HDMI connector, and I love the way t…


Hacking the Academic Job Cover Letter


‘Tis the season of the academic job search. Thousands of job candidates are putting together applications, hoping to make an impression on search committees. While ProfHacker has covered two important components of a typical job application—CVs and recommendation letters—we have, surprisingly, given the cover letter short shrift.

Our lack of attention is by no means a measure of the importance of the job letter. The cover letter could be the most important document of the entire job applicatio…


Working with Zotero on the iPad with ZotPad

2012-08-26 09.46.20The $9.99 ZotPad app lets you access your Zotero library on an iPad. When I first wrote about ZotPad on ProfHacker, I noted that the app was read-only. You could download PDFs attached to items in your library and open them in something like iAnnotate, as long as you were syncing your attachments with Zotero’s server—but you couldn’t send a newly annotated PDF back up to Zotero. Furthermore, if you sync your Zotero attachments with a WebDAV server (as I do) instead of Zotero’s server, you coul…


Writing in Markdown with Gonzo


Last August on ProfHacker Lincoln wrote about Markdown, which he called “the syntax you (probably) already know.”

Designed primarily by John Gruber, Markdown is a way to format your documents in plain text, meaning your work is readable on any computer, smartphone, or tablet, now and long into the future.

Markdown documents are also easily convertible to other formats (see, for example, Lincoln’s introduction to Pandoc, a document conversion tool).

While Markdown’s basic formatting syntax,…


What to Do with 487 Outdated Business Cards


Along with several other ProfHackers (Yay Amy! Yay Erin! Yay George!), I have a new title this fall. Like my old title, it begins with the letters A-S-S and ends with the word Professor, but what’s changed in between makes all the difference.

While I’m thrilled about my promotion, it’s a bit disheartening to realize that my box of 500 business cards—ordered in a fit of aspirational networking and out of which precisely 487 remain—is now outdated. Aside from tenure and promotion, there …