Academic travel survival guide

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of traveling for school. I’ve hit the road for conferences and to do research, and I’ve gone to Chicago, Cleveland, D.C., Boston, New York, Dallas, and Philadelphia. No matter where I go, there’s one inviolable constant: I’m always broke.

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Documentary filmmakers and DVD encryption

I was interested to learn (via NPR’s On the Media, funnily enough) that there’s a dispute between the International Documentary Association (IDA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The dispute is about DVD encryption. Basically, it’s legal for documentary filmmakers to use snippets of copyrighted films in their own movies, under a provision […]

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A dustyard of graves

I’ve been reading Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence, which is a truly bad-humored memoir about procrastination and D.H. Lawrence and depression and some other things. There seems to be something awesome on every page. I was so delighted by some of the passages that I wanted to share. This, on […]

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The best-laid plans …

I’ve been working hard to get the second chapter of my dissertation finished before the end of the month. I wouldn’t say I’m panicking, exactly, but I’m definitely feeling a heightened sense of urgency. It’s been funny to watch all my carefully designed notetaking and citation plans get shoved out the window now that I […]

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Pro-capitalism cartoon from 1948

As a public service, here’s “Going Places,” a 1948 cartoon digitized by the Internet Archive that describes the benefits of capitalism. Others in the series: “Make Mine Freedom” and “Destination Earth” (in which “Martian dissidents learn that oil and competition are the two things that make America great”). Via BoingBoing.

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Make tutorials dead-simple with ScreenSteps

If you’re wondering how I got so fancy with my instructions on how to make a DVD clip reel, I had a trick up my sleeve. ScreenSteps is an application specifically designed to create software tutorials. It has everything you need packed in: screen capture, image notation, links, and text. Because it’s designed specifically for […]

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When in doubt, ask a real person

Web-based research is great and all, but sometimes nothing beats talking to a real person. One of my favorite tricks when researching an obscure topic (like a certain kind of microphone) is to pick up the phone and call someone. In my experience, if you get in touch with the right person, he or she […]

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Beyond Bullet Points, or maybe not

I’ve been thinking about PowerPoint lately, and about how I might use it productively. It seems pretty clear that the blizzard-of-bullet-points method is not useful. Who can make sense of such tiny print so quickly? What’s the point of slapping bullet points on a screen? One popular alternative method is the one Cliff Atkinson advocates […]

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