Cobook is buggy

Following Aleh’s entry on contact management I decided to give CoBook a try. But it’s really buggy and doesn’t seem to work well with Yosemite. The Latvian company which built CoBook was recently bought by FullContact and while they’ve promised to keep everything running, right now it’s unusable.

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Posted in Contacts | Tagged | 3 Comments

Three more tips on using TextExpander

Over five years of using TextExpander I’ve saved myself typing whooping 400,000 characters (a medium-size PhD dissertation). Yet, there are always new ways to use this amazing software. Here are three recent examples I’ve introduced into my workflows:

1. Names with accented characters

I work with people whose names contain accented characters (å, ö, č, etc.). I agree with this argument that correct spelling of names is very important, but disagree that Microsoft Word’s Autocorrect is the best solution. Neither do I want to change the Keyboard layout just for one character or to search for that character in Apple’s Character Viewer. Instead, I use TextExpander to automatically change “Hakan” to “Håkan”, “Jorn” to “Jörn” etc. Then I don’t need to lift my fingers from the keyboard to keep my colleagues pleased with seeing their names correctly spelled.

More so, the place I live in is called Bosjökloster and it is in town of Höör. Guess what my snippets [,,bos] and [,,hh] refer to! These two I use at least several times a week filling in various forms. Continue reading

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Sources and Methods. And Tinderbox

I have just listened to Sources and Methods, a podcast “about interesting people doing interesting things”. This episode was their interview with Mark Bernstein, the creator of Tinderbox app. I fully agree with Mark that note-taking is a very important activity which we usually give too little thought. I am not entirely happy with my note-taking workflow and I wish someone would help me to make it better. I have a pretty good system for naming, tagging and organizing most of my notes. But academic thinking requires much more than classifying information into a set of unmovable categories and keywords. Academics try to develop new categories based on discovering and documenting new connection between ideas.  If I hear correctly, this is what Tinderbox is about.

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Organizing academic contacts

Earlier I wrote about capturing contacts. This entry is about organizing academic contacts. Software for organizing contacts is not as developed as for other content (e.g. documents, tasks, or bibliographic citations) so finding a good app and a system may take a bit of time.

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Presentation zen with emoji

In presentations, I find myself in a constant battle with giving the audience enough visual cues so they can absorb my messages without cramming a lot of words on slides. In a recent talk, I was able to use emoji to help convey my point.

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Macademic on Mac Power Users. Second-guessing.

Last week I had the pleasure of being a guest on MacPowerUsers, my favorite Mac podcast. Frankly, I was quite nervous before the show as I had never before spoken on air. But it turned out surprisingly relaxing. Katie and David felt like a couple of old friends. I could just sit back and talk about my favorite topics. Time flew by! Immediately afterwards I could only think of how much I enjoyed it, not how well it went. Soon, however, I started second-guessing one of my answers. (After all, second-guessing is what I am paid for as a professor, isn’t it?). But it was too late to change anything. Sometimes, you only have one draft, not three. On the other hand, why not use Macademic? Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Tagged | 12 Comments

A great list of apps for a university teacher

The Teaching in Higher Education blog has a great list of 10 apps useful for a professor. I am going to try all of them during the upcoming school year. Nice to see a professional touch. Thanks, Bonnie!

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Capturing academic contacts

Contact management is very important for academic work. We need to be in touch with prospective and current students, alumni, co-authors, competitors and peers. On top of that there are journal editors and publishers, funders, university administrators, and journalists. Social media multiply these connections and make it more difficult to listen and to be heard above all the noise. Yet, there are a lot of tools for effective capturing, organizing and using contacts in academic work. Continue reading

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5 years and 200 episodes of Mac Power Users

I was incredibly lucky to buy my first Mac in the same year and the same month when Macpowerusers launched their podcast. I was also lucky to start listening to awesome Katie and David right from Episode 1. Now 5 years and 200 episodes later, it is a bit more difficult to keep up, but they still never fail to give me laughs, tips and ideas. I think their secret is the exact right balance of geekery and common sense. In any case, congratulations and thank you!

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TextExpander for writing recommendation letters

The time it takes to write recommendation letters usually increases dramatically with the years spent teaching in a University. This is not a responsibility that should be ditched: many former students – especially those applying for academic positions – deserve glowing recommendations which should be hand-crafted and long. Even in this business Mac automation tools such as TextExpander can take care of the routine and let you focus on creative and important parts. Continue reading

Posted in Automation | Tagged | 3 Comments