Archive for category: Blog

To RSS subscribers: sorry, last post was not intended for

January 30th, 2012 by

The explanation below may only make sense to you if you read this from an RSS reader. If you don’t please skip it.

Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person? Did wish you could pull it back? I just did this, but for our blog (!).

I was feeding a WP install of what will be our company blog, and then I did something nasty…

I was about to post from my desktop tool (word 2010, used to be live writer), and I hit ‘post’ on the wrong doc, and ‘about’ page, ‘google-translated’ from German; prose as horrible as one can get. The blog selected was, not our own. I immediately went to the admin page and removed it, so’s readers won’t see it. But the RSS feed… is another story. For a blog that was dead for a year, we still have >4000 followers. This was the first post to break a long silent stretch. I’d hate if you, the reader, think we resurrected, just to find out a nonsensical blog post.

Since we use feedburner, removing the post locally didn’t help. I had to log in at feedburner, and try to remove it from there. They have a ‘nuke’ option that should force a refresh. But it just didn’t work. I tried a few times, the nonsensical blog post was still there. The only option I could think of was to delete the feed from feedburner, in the hope that they do not broadcast it. But it was too late; all people who subscribe to’s RSS feed have received the post.

I apologize for kidnapping your attention without a good reason. I’m sorry you got involved in this, but silly mistakes do occur. I will be more careful in the future.

Since the feedburner feed is now gone, if you want to continue receiving updates from you’d need to resubscribe. Simply click again on the RSS icon on the address bar, and follow the steps there. In any case, we are not dead, and will continue writing for whenever we find something worth writing about.

Sharing tiny nuggets of wisdom with twitter: use the #AcaProd hashtag

July 6th, 2009 by

We want anyone to be able to contribute to One way to do this is to leave blog posts open (but with a reviewtwitter-logo-large queue). We proposed this method here, but not many people seem to be making use of it.

Maybe writing a blog post is too time consuming, and the barrier of entry is too high. An easy solution is microblogging: services like twitter let you share a tiny bit of something interesting you found (with a link), and anyone following you will receive it.

The thing with microblogging is that it doesn’t take much effort to share. Many people (including me) thought it was silly at first, but now it’s mainstream.

Since twitter provides you can find what people talk about right now. If you want to monitor a special topic, chances are someone came up with a unique way of identify the topic. A spontaneous way of organizing information outside the ‘follows’ structure emerged: the hashtag. These are terms that start with #, example: . We have set up for academicproductivity. If you have an idea, or read something outstanding that you would like to share with us, just tweet about it and add somewhere in the 140 characters. Your tweet then is easily found by anyone interested in the topic. We will display all tweets in our front page too.

I found myself sharing a lot of interesting stuff over twitter, and much more often than through a blog, so I have a good feeling about this.

Of course, you should keep sending ideas/suggestions/complaints using our email,

“Do it for love” and other fallacies to motivate grad students and junior faculty

April 17th, 2009 by

In a supremely honest piece, (part II) T. H. Benton says that basically, it makes no sense to get a PhD in the humanities right now.

His predictions are gloomy (and I think this applies to other disciplines):

We are entering a period in which large numbers of tenured faculty members will be released under "financial exigency" only to be replaced by adjuncts doing essentially the same work for no benefits, no job security, and much less money. Those future adjuncts are the current crop of prospective graduate students, following their dreams, embarking on a "life of the mind," doing what they "love."

Kudos to the Chronicle for publishing opinion articles like these. Ycombinator thread here.

It’s becoming painfully obvious to many academic writers that, once we remove the romantic component, faculty positions are just not that desirable (see Greenspun’s Women in science for a similar view). I think it is important to make the facts as popular as possible, so those who remain in the academic track do it with full knowledge of what they are getting and what their prospects are.

Merlin Mann (43Folders) declares moral bankruptcy of the ‘productivity Pr0n’ cult

September 14th, 2008 by
Merlin Mann

Image via Wikipedia

In an impressive display on coherence, Merlin Mann (43Folders) declares moral bankruptcy of the ‘productivity Pr0n’ cult. This is something I have discussed before on (post: rethinking life hacks).

Merlin has declared he wants a new direction for 43Folders; it was harming people more than helping, since the time readers spent on the blog was taking them dangerously away from their goals. I like his new motto:

Ask yourself: Why am I here right now instead of making something cool on my own? What’s the barrier to me starting that right now?

Will Merlin succeed? Or will he be captured by the gravitational field of cheap self-help advice? We will have to wait until the next episode of 43Folders: the saga.


Happy Birthday!

September 1st, 2008 by

Precisely two years ago, Shane posted our first mission statement. Simple and ambitious as it was, that post pretty much sums up why we are still here.