Posts

Some interesting notes on the near-ubiquitous hamburger menu

The BBC News has an interesting article on its website—“Hamburger icon: How these three lines mystify most people”—that has some really good info in it. In particular, this struck my eye: … (Read More)

A guide to getting webmail services to work with mailto links

Virtually none of my college students use actual mail programs—like Outlook, Mail on OS X, or Thunderbird—on their computers. Instead, they use a webmail service, like Gmail, Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), Yahoo Mail, or AOL Mail. When it comes time to test mailto links or a mailto action for form submissions1, however, we run into a problem: mailto will not, by default, open an email with a webmail service. However, there are ways you can fix this so webmail services will work. This page details those solutions. I have them use a mailto action just for testing, & warn them never to do that in real life. ↩ … (Read More)

Anti-virus software often causes more problems than it’s worth

Eric Lawrence just wrote a great post on his blog that shows the flaws in anti-virus software: … (Read More)

The Iron Law of Stardom & the tech industry

Louis Menand’s “The Iron Law of Stardom”, from the March 24, 1997 issue of The New Yorker, put forward an interesting idea about stardom, claiming that it is always three years: … (Read More)

Now THIS is useful advice!

… (Read More)

Good info to remember about monopolies

In a good article about Google’s status as a monopoly, Vauhini Vara makes the following important point: … (Read More)

How to download YouTube videos

I teach a lot of classes & give a lot of talks, & long ago I learned a painful lesson: never rely on the Internet to be available. Murphy’s Law & all that. So if I have a video to show, I try to get an offline copy just in case. Since YouTube has everything in the world on it, this usually means grabbing a copy of the video from the ubiquitous service. … (Read More)

You're invited to a public talk on Wednesday

… & you’re invited! … (Read More)

Changing a File or Folder's Label Color in the Finder with Keyboard Maestro

Apple has supported label colors with folders & files for years (although it now calls them Tags), & it’s a tremendously useful feature. What’s really nice is that you can use label colors in both Finder & in my favorite Finder replacement, Path Finder. Of course, one way to apply the colors is by right-clicking, but that’s often tedious. Keyboard Maestro to the rescue! … (Read More)

My favorite Mac OS X software of 2013, mostly aimed at power users

’Tis the season for nerds to create lists of the software they found most useful in the past year, so before the year closes, I wanted to get in on the fun. Keep in mind that this post focuses entirely on software for Mac OS X. I don’t go into iOS apps at all, not because I don’t use & enjoy iOS daily (some days, hourly!), but because I wanted to keep the focus on desktop apps that I actually use & enjoy (some more than others), & that make me more productive. … (Read More)

Automatically grab screenshots of web pages, sized perfectly for the viewport

I’m a teacher & speaker, so I give a lot of presentations. I learned a long time ago that a picture is often much more effective than words, & since I’m often talking about websites & web services, I end up inserting a lot of screenshots of webpages into my presentations. However, this has traditionally been a time-consuming & tedious process. Why? Because… … (Read More)

Embedding PowerPoint presentations into webpages

I received the following email from a co-worker the other day: … (Read More)

Presentations on Web Design

My business partner Jans & I recently taught a 2-week, 4-night, 12-hour course on Web Design1 for CAIT, the Center for the Application of Information Technology at Washington University in St. Louis. It was a great course that was broken down into 9 sections: I’m quite happy to announce that the next time we teach it, it’s going to be a 3-week, 6-night, 18-hour course instead. We’re scheduled for July, so if you’re interested, contact CAIT & sign up. ↩ … (Read More)

How to save a perfectly-scraped webpage into DEVONthink using IFTTT, Diffbot, Hazel, & several command line tools

DEVONthink is a key piece of software for me on my Mac. In particular, I use it to store copies of webpages that I run across that I want students to read or that I want to refer back to for teaching, or for writing, or for my own use. Now, it’s very easy to get webpages into DEVONthink by using the browser extensions that come with the software. You click on the extension, & you get a small window: … (Read More)

An overview of RSS services & apps

I’m teaching my Social Media course (AKA From Blogs to Wikis) at Washington University in St. Louis this semester, & one of our topics is RSS. I wrote the following about RSS services & apps for my students, but I wanted to share it here as well, since I thought others might find it useful. … (Read More)

Why I support Obamacare

No, this isn’t tech related, so feel free to skip it if you don’t care or don’t want to read it. I’m leaving comments on, but stupid, abusive, or unhelpful comments will be deleted. You can disagree—that’s fine!—but be nice. A conservative friend of mine asked me on Facebook why I support Obamacare. I wrote up this very long reply (almost 2000 words!) as an answer. Because I intended it as a casual reply—at least up until the first 500 or so words!—I didn’t provide citations & links for most of the facts I cite. Nonetheless, it should be easy to search for any of them & find my sources. Oh, & I don’t think there are, but if you find a few unquoted sentences in here from Wikipedia, I apologize in advance for my sloppiness. … (Read More)

New in 1Password 4: Multiple Vaults

I’ve been beta testing 1Password 4 for the last month or so, & so far I really like what I see. One of the neatest new features is Multiple Vaults, which the company describes this way: … (Read More)

You’re invited to a talk this Wednesday, September 11

This coming Wednesday, September 11, civil rights attorney & fellow Washington University in St. Louis professor Denise Lieberman & I are giving a public talk titled “Digital Intrusion & Digital Privacy: What THEY Know, What YOU Don’t”. Here’s the description: … (Read More)

Yep, things are different

If you’ve ever visited this blog before—& gosh, I sure hope you have!—then you’re probably noticing that things are very different here. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been migrating from WordPress to Jekyll & Octopress. Besides the new (pretty default, which I will change) look, you should also see speedy page loads. Why? Because while WordPress creates dynamic, PHP- & MySQL-driven websites, Octopress instead generates static sites, which will always load much faster. That’s a huge win for you & for me. … (Read More)

Two of the best recommendation/review sites I use

For quite some time I’ve been relying on The Wirecutter when I need to purchase almost anything tech-related. If friends or students ask me which TV to buy—or practically anything, really—I tell them to look it up on The Wirecutter & get whatever it recommends. For those of you who don’t know, what distinguishes The Wirecutter is that it only recommends the best thing to get in a particular category. Instead of having to wade through so-called “reviews” that compare & contrast 5 or 10 or 20 items in a mish-mash that never strongly favors one thing over another, The Wirecutter cuts to the chase, which is great. … (Read More)