Category Archives: link post

∞ Slamming into Walls

Mark Crump:

I feel the biggest thing holding the iPad back is software. Not once have I felt my iPad Pro was slow.


What is frustrating are the things you would think would be pretty easy on an iPad, but aren’t. On iOS in Pages and Word, I cannot edit or create document styles. It will accept custom styles in a document I created outside of iOS, however. I had a 12-page paper that I wrote almost entirely on the Mac. I am running the iOS 11 beta 1 on my iPad and I didn’t trust an important production document to a beta. A blog post, sure. Something that is 20% of my grade with a hard due date? Nope. The other reason is Word for iOS has just enough limitations that I didn’t want to run into a wall. I can’t seem to adjust the spacing between paragraphs, for example. I can adjust the overall line spacing, though. I also couldn’t adjust the margins of the document. The professor had stringent formatting requirements and I was unable to make the adjustments on the iPad. I may have been able to use Ulysses to do this. The instructor was firm on .doc formatting, so it was safer to stay native in Word.

Spot on. The limitation as the iPad for your only device isn’t the device itself but the software needed to run on the device. Earlier I outlined some similar issues when it comes to using reference managers on the iPad. I’ve had similar issues with Microsoft Word. At the end of the day, to finish a writing project to run in I had to complete the paper on a Mac.


∞ Amazon and Whole Foods

If you’re at all interested in Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods then you should check out the Exponent podcast. Ben Thompson’s unique analysis of why Amazon spent so much money on the grocer is spot on I think. Also check out his article “Amazon’s New Customer”, which is quite insightful as well.

This is the key to understanding the purchase of Whole Foods: to the outside it may seem that Amazon is buying a retailer. The truth, though, is that Amazon is buying a customer — the first-and-best customer that will instantly bring its grocery efforts to scale.

Today, all of the logistics that go into a Whole Foods store are for the purpose of stocking physical shelves: the entire operation is integrated. What I expect Amazon to do over the next few years is transform the Whole Foods supply chain into a service architecture based on primitives: meat, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, non-perishables (Whole Foods’ outsized reliance on store brands is something that I’m sure was very attractive to Amazon). What will make this massive investment worth it, though, is that there will be a guaranteed customer: Whole Foods Markets.

  • Article Source:
  • Podcast Episode:

∞ How to Write a Good Review of a Product

Ben Brooks is one of my favorite writers on the internet. His reviews and thoughts on technology and other various products are insightful, full of humor, and ultimately help me make a decision about a product. I find this recent post about writing reviews for products to be spot on:

Minimalism is reduction for the sake of reduction, whereas simplifying can be both reduction, or addition, whichever actually makes the “thing” simpler. Minimal, then does not mean simple, it means “less”. Simple means removing that which is complex. Often, having less can make things more complex — as counterintuitive as that may feel on the surface. I suspect most people think ‘simple’ and say ‘minimal’.

Here are the elements which make for a good, and a succinct, review:

  • A statement of opinion on the subject matter. At the lowest level: do you like it, or not. If you don’t say this, then you haven’t written a review, but a walk through.
  • 1-3 supporting facts to your argument of why you like or dislike the thing.
  • An attempt to convince the reader you are correct, which may or may not bear out of the supporting facts, and to have them come to the logical conclusion they should also agree with you.

Source: Essence of a Review

∞ Making Use of the First 5 Minutes of Class

There is an excellent series on the Chronicle on making small changes in teaching. I love this idea of retrieval practice. Rather than testing the students or you just giving them more content in the form of a review actually ask them questions. Make them think about it, write it down, then choose a couple to recap what has previously been learned. You can really make the most of the first five minutes of class.

“Instead of "testing effect," I prefer to use the more technical term, "retrieval practice," because testing is not required to help students practice retrieving material from their memories. Any effort they make to remember course content — without the help of notes or texts — will benefit their learning.”

In an online context this can be done in a simple discussion forum or even a short weekly video conference that is 10-15 minutes long. Students will find value in this as they will learn what content to focus on while also practicing a review in a non-pressure situation.

Source: Small Changes in Teaching: The First 5 Minutes of Class – The Chronicle of Higher Education

∞ Keeping Track of Books You’ve Read

Such a great idea…no review, no thoughts, just a list of books

“I’m only allowed to write in my Bob when I’ve finished a book, and not a moment before. I generally finish books, but if I don’t, I have to write a little empty square next to the title to show it’s incomplete. That’s it. There’s no book review. I don’t write thumbs up or thumbs down, or have a star system. I didn’t even number the entries until I was into the several hundreds. It truly is a list. But, of course, it has become more than that.”

The payoff…

“Looking back at my Book of Books tells me not only what I read and when, but also something about my decision-making process as I moved from book to book. Some of those decisions were very self-conscious, intellectual decisions. Some were more gut-level. Either way, I love the way those early entries show a young person’s curiosity at work: What did I want to know then? What did I feel I needed? Where did I want to be?”

Source: By Heart: Pamela Paul on 'My Life With Bob' and the Joys of Keeping a 'Book of Books' – The Atlantic

∞ Two Persistent Myths in Teaching and Learning

These two myths are so prevalent in the education world, especially on blogs and other websites. I think the first one still has some truth to it but the statistics are misleading. Sure, if you teach or are actively involved in what you are learning most people will retain the information more. But that’s not to say that the lecture or other traditional modes are dead. People have been learning this way for years. If it wasn’t an effective method then this would have been throw out just by experience. The other myth should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it. We all learn in a variety of different ways. No one learns only by one method.

“If we have learners “practice by doing,” they will retain 75% of what they’re “taught””

“We all have one primary learning style that needs to be accommodated for in our learning”

Source: 2 Persistent Myths About Teaching and Learning – Teaching in Higher Ed

∞ On Getting the Most Out of Your Work Day

If your day is filled with meetings and other miscellaneous tasks that aren't usually life giving, challenging, or creative it is easy to declare bankruptcy on the day. I found the advance below helpful (along with the rest of the article)

“The marginal meeting. It needs to be there, so I must figure out an angle to increase the value. I’ve got one hack that works consistently: assume they have something to teach you.”