Can Our Mobile Devices Enhance, Not Distract Us From, Our Surroundings?

Recently, we looked at location-based mobile apps and their ability to allow us to interact with our surrounding environment. Examples of this trend include “checking in” to a business, finding other people nearby or redeeming a special deal. Beyond possible issues with surveillance and ad targeting, this business of walking around using our smartphones raises another crucial […]

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Taking a Google Field Trip: What’s the Appeal of Location-Based Apps?

Location-based mobile apps are a hot trend these days. These services allow people to use a smartphone to interact somehow with their surrounding environment, such as earning rewards and discounts for “checking-in” somewhere using the popular platform Foursquare. Other big-name apps that incorporate some location-aware features include OpenTable, Fandango and Yelp. And still others allow […]

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Are Digital Gifts Less Special?

Today it’s easy to exchange gifts completely digitally, and there are certainly some advantages to going this route. You can shop from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to pay for shipping. You even help the environment by not driving to the store or generating waste in the form of envelopes, boxes […]

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Are Facebook, Twitter Preventing Students from Being “Good Digital Citizens”?

The digital age demands new competencies in order for us to be fully literate citizens. With information now being created by everyone on various web platforms, we need to critically think about what and how we consume. Today we are also all content curators whether we like it or not, as we decide what we […]

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How to Be a Good Monotasker: Rejecting the Pull of Multitasking

Multitasking has become a way of life and is often believed to be a great strategy to get more done in less time, especially when aided by new technological tools. But a growing body of research is showing that multitasking is in most cases a myth or a delusion that we harbor. The vast majority […]

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How to Pin Google Calendar or Gmail to Your Windows Taskbar

If you use Google services, such as Gmail, Maps and Calendar, you likely want them easily accessible. There are a couple of ways ways to do this, including setting one as your browser homepage, setting up links in your Bookmarks bar, or even pinning tabs in Google Chrome. But you might prefer these icons to […]

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How Facebook Guesses What You Want to See (And How to Tell It Directly)

Ever wonder how Facebook chooses which of your friends pop up frequently versus those who seem to stay buried? The social networking giant employs a carefully-designed algorithm (which used to be called Edgerank) to determine what shows up on your newsfeed. Based on your personal information and click history, this algorithm attempts to guess which […]

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Don’t Ban Wikipedia! (Or Should You?) Google Isn’t a Source! (Or Is It?)

In my work as an academic librarian, one thing I frequently teach is how to identify a trustworthy source. For research purposes Google and Wikipedia have their limitations although they are almost always the first step for students. Because of this, one strategy is to take aggressive steps to prevent students’ use of these sources. […]

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What Alternatives Are There to Slideshare For Embedding a Powerpoint?

Although there are plenty of competitors these days, Powerpoint is still a preferred tool for creating presentations due to its familiar controls and ease of use. But many are no longer happy to simply create a presentation, show it to an audience and then let it sit on their computer. One solution is to send […]

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Do eBooks Do More Harm Than Good?

This week Wired published a provocative article about ebooks. In the piece, titled “The Abomination of eBooks,” author Art Brodsky points out how the applicable rules for ebooks are fundamentally different than those for print books; in particular ebooks are leased rather than actually bought and owned. Because of this, he argues that it doesn’t make […]

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