Oct 312017
 

A super-smart student in my Advanced Professional Communications class asked me whether using an app that generates a citation for you in proper APA, MLA, Chicago style was plagiarism. My first thought was “I doubt it,” but in my line of work I’m surrounded by plagiarism hounds so I wanted to be sure. I consulted some expert Facebook friends.

My friend Leigh, a high-school librarian working in England whom I’ve known since fifth grade, posted first: “Haha. No. It’s just a tool, wouldn’t you think? Most journal databases (jstor, etc.) provide all variations of citations to use, as well.”

No Contest Communications cofounder Tierney was emphatic: “Goodness no. If you are doing citations correctly, it is not a creative project; it should produce a uniform result. These tools simply help automate that process. I copy and paste mine from Google Scholar, but I also verify their content (sometimes page numbers are missing.” She added this excellent analogy / rhetorical question: “Is it plagiarism to use a tool like SPSS to run your stats and produce your diagrams instead of doing it all by hand?”

Author and retired university librarian Suzy chimed in on a related issue: “There’s nothing wrong with using a citation-generator app to find citations. All journal-content databases make it easier to ‘find’ citations than ever. But a student shouldn’t cite those in a paper unless s/he has actually consulted those sources. I still wouldn’t call it plagiarism; that’s just a failure to check your own sources before citing them – no different from citing a source from a bibliography (the old-fashioned way) without consulting the source.” Suzy noted that the formatting of these automated citations “isn’t 100% accurate, so a student (or professor) should always double-check. For what it’s worth, in my experience, faculty make plenty of errors in their citations!”

Dec 302015
 

My friend Clarissa writes:

Many people are lured into believing that apps can do everything a computer can and never acquire crucial computer skills. They go around brandishing their smartphones and tablets and have no idea why, in spite of all the productivity apps, they never seem to catch up. It’s especially sad to see young people get caught up in this self-defeating mentality.

typing

photo by Miles Basil

Mar 242015
 

When Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for USA president at Liberty University yesterday, many students in the audience used the Smartphone app Yik Yak to mock the junior senator from Texas (and to complain that they were coerced to attend the event by the university). Yik Yak gives users the opportunity to interact anonymously with other users within a ten-mile radius. The tone of the messages run the gamut; many are vile indeed (no examples needed here); others are requests for advice (“where’s a good place for lesbians to drink on Granville Street?”); and others are semi-amusing insults (“Things I love more than you: burritos”). I will keep this app on my iPhone for a few days to find out if there is anything I find there that I can’t find elsewhere. If so, it stays. I have my doubts.

Another recent addition to my iPhone will stay there a long time: Meerkat, a very simple live-streaming application; I have been looking for something like this for a long time. My first project: Live-streaming (some of) my Kwantlen classes.

reposted from basil.CA

Feb 092013
 

If you spend as much time looking at a screen as I frequently do for work and play, you’ve probably experienced eyestrain. Lucky for us, Stereopsis has created a nice little free app that makes that screengazing easier on the eyes: f.lux. F.lux uses your location and lighting settings to adjust the brightness and color of your monitor throughout the day. Now that I’ve acclimated to using it — I even use it for gaming — turning it off makes my eyes burn.

Do yourself a favor: Get f.lux and go easy on your eyes. It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPad/iPhone.