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The Minecraft Generation

It’s a world of trial and error and constant discovery, stuffed with byzantine secrets, obscure text commands and hidden recipes. And it runs completely counter to most modern computing trends. Where companies like Apple and Microsoft and Google want our computers to be easy to manipulate — designing point-and-click interfaces under the assumption that it’s best to conceal from the average user how the computer works — Minecraft encourages kids…

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Facebook Ad Refreshes Interrupt the Composition Process

So I’m trying to edit a Facebook status, and every minute or so, when the ads on the right side of my screen refresh, and the cursor disappears from the editing area, I have to take my fingers off the keyboard (I’m using Chrome for iPad, with an after-market add-on keyboard) and tap the window to restore the browser’s focus. How depressing. Facebook’s interface is fighting against my intention to…

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And so it begins: the unmarked assignments counter

This little icon will control my life for the next four months. It’s an iPad app that’s connected to Canvas, Seton Hill’s learning management system. Every time a student submits a new assignment, that number ticks up. Every time I submit a grade, the number goes down. Some assignments are really easy to grade — I scan a paragraph and tick off items on a rubric. Other assignments — like…

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The Days of Microsoft Internet Explorer Are Numbered—But Its Sorry Legacy Will Live On

Starting today, Microsoft will no longer support most versions of Internet Explorer, one of the most contentious pieces of software in history. … By insisting on following its own path with IE rather than follow generally accepted standards, Microsoft dictated web design by years. That probably drove many aspiring web developers [to] careers that didn’t require trying to figure out why the margins between images looked different from one browser to…

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The Chronicle of Higher Education Announces Plan to Limit, Curate Comments

By 2016, the terrain has shifted. Publications of all stripes are re-examining what it means to engage with their audiences and to encourage productive conversations. Quite a few of those conversations — including ones about our work — have already moved to social media. Many publications have played down comments or eliminated them altogether; others have gone in the opposite direction, devoting more time and energy to shaping discussions. Comments have…

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Male Microsoft Leaders Ignored Women Who Really Hated Clippy

I hated Clippy, not because it looked like it was leering at me, but because it was so intrusive. [T]he engineers in the room were willing to throw out the focus-group-provided data—data which they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for—because it didn’t cohere to their expectations. The software shipped with 10 male assistants and two female assistants, she adds.It turned out to be one of the most unpopular features…

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iMovie Glitch: Unplug Removable Media before Using iMovie

I spent a few hours today working on a video for Stage Right. I usually use Screenflow for my videos, but today for some reason I thought I’d try iMovie. Big mistake. Of the eight video clips I wanted to use in iMovie, seven seem to have imported properly, but the eighth has this little camera icon. I didn’t notice it until hours later when I was finished with the…