‘Software’ Posts

Use Hazel to Organize Your Class Documents

As higher education continues its push towards the web, students are handling an ever increasing number of digital files. At many institutions, everything from the class syllabus to daily Powerpoint lectures are distributed online for students to download. If you’re like myself, at the beginning of each semester you take the time to create a ...

Five Favorite Free Programs

an class="full-image-block ssNonEditable">This software is free as in "freedom" and as in "beer." Score! Image courtesy of Flickr user Lisa B. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 I just recently upgraded my Mac to OS 10.6, and I griped the whole time about having to pay $25 to do so. It was at that point that I realized that there are maybe three pieces of software I pay for, ever--a premium Evernote account, a Cinch license, and the OS itself. The rest of my computing load is done via freeware. With that in mind, here are my favorite free software projects which come in handy as a student.

  1. OpenOffice: People have mixed feelings about OpenOffice (and Shep has relied primarily on GoogleDocs for his year without Microsoft Office), but this is my workhorse for churning out papers. It allows me to tweak the formatting as much as I need, which is why I prefer it to any internet-based text editor. It can run slowly and is sometimes finicky, but the very occasional trouble I have with it is more than worth the ability to edit papers without having to buy software upgrades. Impress, the OO version of Powerpoint, works fine for the very basic powerpoint creation that I have to do in my life. There are also clones for Excel and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite, but I hardly ever use them. If you're in the 90% of the student population that just uses your productivity suite to churn out papers and powerpoints, OpenOffice is great.

Anthologize Heads the Next Generation of Self Publishing

an class="full-image-block ssNonEditable">Anthologize is decked out in the soothing orange and cream color scheme of progress.If you’ve got a blog running Wordpress (the self-hosted .org variety), Anthologize is a plugin which will allow you to publish your posts as a PDF, ePub, or TEI (a scholarly file format). There’s also an RTF option, but the creators point out that it’s still buggy. There is not currently an option to export files as DocX or ODT, but the program’s creators say it’s a feature to look for in future builds, along with the ability to export comments left on the original posts.

Anthologize is targeted at academics--for instance, professors who kept a class blog, or someone who wants to distribute their notes about a conference, or someone who wants to publish field notes as part of a research notebook. The academic focus is a result of the plugin’s origin at the One Week, One Tool program, in which 12 humanities scholars come together and conceive of and build a useful open source digital tool within a week. The program, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, sees itself as sort of a digital barn raising: a group of people coming together to make something useful for the wider community.

Take Advantage of Government Apps

an class="full-image-block ssNonEditable">Yes we can enter the web 2.0 marketplace. A screenshot of the apps.usa.gov site shows a few of the apps the US government offers.There are plenty of things that come to mind when one thinks of the US Government--but “web-savvy institution” probably isn’t one of them, no matter your political leanings. However, that may change with the government apps website. There are six pages of government-sponsored apps to do with national security, BMI measurement, and what’s currently being recalled. For people who need quick an easy access to that information without having to search through government websites, these apps and mobile web pages have the potential to be quite useful. Here are a few of the most interesting offerings.

FrontDoorSoftware Laptop Tracking is Free for Students

an class="full-image-float-right ssNonEditable">This screen will strike fear in the hearts of all who dare take your computer. Students can get a year free here.Most of us head off to college with a laptop lock to keep our valuable computers out of the hands of cunning thieves or uninvited drunkards, but how many people honestly use it consistently after the first few weeks of school?

Luckily a company called FrontDoorSoftware has an effective little client that can help you recover your laptop if it's stolen, or even if you just don't remember where it ended up last night.  Normally about $10 per year, the company is giving students a free year of service here.  

It's not the prettiest piece of software I've ever seen, or easiest to set up. Not by a long shot actually.  But once it gets up and running I have to admit, it works.  Your laptop (Mac or PC, Linux beta is available) will display a "good samaritan" screen at startup which displays your name and contact information. Hopefully this will be sufficient to get your computer home safely.  However, if your computer fell into the hands of some ruffian with no intention of returning it, things start to get pretty interesting.

Stay Out of the Student Poorhouse with Mint

The whole “broke college student eating Ramen” thing is really more of a cliché than an actual truth. Well, unless you’re me and you just genuinely enjoy the taste of Ramen in the morning. Don’t judge me. Regardless of your financial situation and your tastes for Ramen, college is often one of the first times ...

Review: Brazen Careerist Gets a Facelift

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At HackCollege, we believe that every student should have a blog -- regardless of your industry. With digital media exploding, there's a much lower barrier of entry into many careers if you can get involved in the discussion online. Here's what Brazen Careerist offers -- a fusion between your blog and a career profile, with a young person in mind. It's like combining your LinkedIn with your blog, creating an ideal career destination page that you'll want put on your business card.

The design of this "career page" is perfect (above). Front and center is your name, picture, and other vitals. Right away, that HR stalker knows she's in the right place. Below that, there's a tab for your "ideas" (it'll mostly be your blog posts -- but it could be so much more) and a tab for your resume. That's central to the navigation and those are the first things a prospective employer is going to want to see. The right column gives them a little look in to your personality: goals, interests, Twitter. It's out of the way and brief. That's all they need.

As for the cons, read them after the jump.

Review — OmniFocus (Mac) task management for students

OmniFocus is another one of those to-do-list-on-steroids productivity applications, but it’s definitely one of the most intuitive ones I’ve ever seen. If you’re a GTD fanatic, this is that missing piece you’ve been waiting for.   OmniFocus makes it easy to put together your to do list with about a million different ways to “write ...

Free Alternatives to Office and iWork

Image Courtesy: CNET News BlogThe Web 2.0 era has changed the internet so much. The browser has become some many different things. Some of the things they can do now, is create documents, spreadsheets and even presentations all on the web. Where could one do such a thing? Well, as long as you have a ...

Getting the Most out of iTunes

Photo Courtesy: MCExtender RockBox For readers who are struggling to hold on to that old iPod, there’s hope. Rockbox has come to the rescue. This open-source firmware allows user’s to edit the interface of their music player’s UI. This allows listeners to not only add something new, but also create something unique. Besides making music ...