Skip to content

{ Category Archives } How things work

Pardon the Intrusion: one more test

So my last test failed, in that my posts are still showing up twice on my Facebook feed.  But I figured out why. Before Jetpack was installed, I had used TwitterTools to post my blog posts on Twitter.  At some point Twitter Tools updated so that it used “Social” to post to Twitter. Of course, […]

Facebook likes for sad events: the digital condolence five

In “Good Crazy,” a season 7 episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney comes up with a “Condolence Five,” a way to offer condolences to someone about something sad.  He keeps saying “It’s a thing.”  Of course, in classic #HIMYM fashion, by the end of the episode it IS a thing that Barney uses […]

How to view two Excel Spreadsheets in two different windows

But here’s how you do it in Windows 8: 1. Open Excel. 2. Switch to your app screen or whatever they call it 3. Right click on the Excel app 4. Select “open new window” in the option bar at the bottom. This will open Excel as a separate window which you can then treat […]

We’re surrounded!: Universities, Electracy, and the coming tsunami, part 4

This is the fourth in a four-part blog series taking a snapshot of the current economic, political, and grammatological situation facing the modern American university system.  In part one, I provided a preface for this discussion.  Parts two, three, and four focus specifically on pressures from different quarters challenging us to re-imagine what it is […]

Punctuation matters: establishing your ethos (or failing to)

Like many writing and rhetoric instructors, I focus a lot of energy on helping students wrestle with the concept of ethos, the image, reputation, and authority the author presents on her own behalf to the reader.  This concept becomes most important as we discuss two issues writers must face: proper grammar and citations. With citations, […]

It will never get harder to copy things: Universities, Electracy, and the coming tsunami, part 3

This is the third in a four-part blog series taking a snapshot of the current economic, political, and grammatological situation facing the modern American university system.  In part one, I provided a preface for this discussion.  Parts two, three, and four focus specifically on pressures from different quarters challenging us to re-imagine what it is […]

Death from Above: Universities, Electracy, and the coming tsunami, part 2

This is the second in a four-part blog series taking a snapshot of the current economic, political, and grammatological situation facing the modern American university system.  In part one, I provided a preface for this discussion.  Parts two, three, and four focus specifically on pressures from different quarters challenging us to re-imagine what it is […]

Too long for a bumper sticker, but awesome anyway.

From one of PZ Myers’ recent posts about gender equality: Here’s the deal, Fox News. The world is changing. It’s not getting worse, it’s getting different, and I know that’s the kind of thing that makes bitter, cranky old conservatives weep into their scotch and water, but deal with it. Besides, you’ll be dead soon […]

Dyson vacuum brush won’t turn

Another in our series of technical posts for specific problems.  Enjoy. We put vacuum cleaners through the meat grinder over here, what with two cats and a dog and two active children.  Anyhow, our Dyson FancyPants™ vacuum wasn’t working very well, so we went to work on it.  First, we discovered that one of the […]

Overt symbolism and doppelganger daddies

In watching Jumanji with my kids last week, I realized (belatedly) that Jonathan Hyde plays both Sam Parrish and the creepy man hunter Van Pelt.  This got me thinking about a similar move made by the creators of the recent live-action Peter Pan film, to have Jason Isaacs play both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. In […]

On being a f’rigner

While I do (or did) have a reasonable facility reading French, I was never very good at speaking it.  I never took the leap to spend much time speaking it nor did I travel to any French-speaking countries where I had to make do and learn to do it well.  Truth be told, I’m a […]

Teaching as extreme improvisation

RadioLab’s recent short, TJ and Dave, focuses on two actors whose show consists of a 50-minute improvisation with no groundwork set to start it.  Here’s the story, in case you think it sounds neat. As they talked about the experience, the actors discuss the joy of being in the place, of letting the work guide […]

Them: Adventures with Extremists

Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson It’s a little disconcerting how close Ronson gets to very scary people in this book.  But his point, I think, is that even the very scary people are just people.  Them details Ronson’s journey into the late 1990s and early 2000s subculture of conspiracy theorists, people who believe […]

Call to the Lazy Web: Virtual Library Shelf

I’ve often lamented to my classes that the Internet has not yet come up with the electrate equivalent of the library shelf.  Denizens of the library recognize the collectors’ delight in the surprising find, the book that’s near the one we wanted but not directly related to it.  It might be two shelves up, or […]

How to email about a problem

I’ve seen this from both sides within the last few days.  I’ll use my own example as the “questioner” and let you extrapolate. When you email someone about a problem to be solved, you should include enough information that an additional exchange of emails is not necessary.  Here’s my example: Situation: After Avery’s Girl Scout […]