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Entries from September 1, 2010 - September 30, 2010


Use Sweet Search to Research on the Fly

Sweet Search has a lot of great information about HackCollege that you can use in your next paper

It's not going to replace Google or anything, but Sweet Search is a nifty little search engine that's perfect for knocking out some quick, informal research for that paper you have to bullshit.  In theory it's a lot like Google Scholar; you only see search results from reputable and at least semi-scholarly sites.  In practice, you usually need to scroll a few results down to get past results from their parent site, finding Dulcinea, but the sites thereafter are generally of at least of middling credibility. So what exactly sets Sweet Search apart?

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HackCollege Podcast: Episode 6

In this week's episode, the team gushes about GroupMe some more, has fun with Translation Party, and debates the merits of dropping out of school.  If your browser doesn't support the HTML5 player below, just download the .mp3 here.

Show Notes

Want us to talk about something on the next episode? Let us know in the comments!


Best. Bookmarklet. Ever.

Okay this is random, but I felt compelled to share it with you.  It's a bookmarklet that will put a little meteor defense-style starship on any webpage. You can use the spacebar to fire your weapon, which just happens to destroy individual webpage elements.  Good luck getting anything done today.

[Kick Ass via Gizmodo]


Master the Art of the Slow Cooker for Student Friendly Meals

Image courtesy of Flickr user love♡janine. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.For most students moving off campus means freedom from RA's, cramped dorm rooms, communal showers and crappy cafeteria food. If you've already made the jump you're probably shaking your head at that last point, turns out that food they serve is actually pretty good compared to the Mac & Cheese and canned beans you've been reduced to. Thanksgiving couldn't come any sooner right? Allow me to introduce you to the slow cooker, a students best friend. This inexpensive appliance lets you combine almost any combination of meat, veggies and spice into a delicious medley of healthy, tender goodness. Slow cookers cook food at a low heat over many hours, herein lies the beauty of this simple tool. Say you've got class until late in the evening and only a half hour until your monthly AMSA meeting, just throw some ingredients into the slow cooker, choose low or high heat and put the lid on. When you get back you'll have a hot meal ready to be served. Slow cooked meals are perfect for microwaving the next day as well, throw the leftovers in a tupperware and Voila! you've got lunch for tomorrow. 
Guys, want to impress your lady friend? Whip out to slow cooker, it's almost impossible to screw up. Ribs? No problem. Pulled pork? Too easy. 
Here's a few of my favorite recipes, although I usually improvise and throw in whatever feels right. 
Post some of your favorite slow cooker tips and recipes in the comments below. Bon Appetite!



A Clean Room is a Happy Room

You don't need this much Clorox to keep your dorm room clean. Plus now it comes in handy and amazing wipe form. Photo courtesy of conradvolle. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.

It's not new news that dorms can be pretty unpleasant places to live. Your roommate's messy (Or perhaps you're the messy roommate), people are being ridiculously loud at all hours of the nights, the rooms are small, the walls are some awful prison color, etc, etc. We all know it. For the most part, we're all stuck here for at least a year. So while we can't paint the walls a more cheerful color or expand the room's square footage, we can at least turn our rooms into decently nice places to spend your academic year. The best way to do this is to keep your room clean. A clean room is a happy room.

As small as your dorm room is, it's hard to imagine how it could get so dirty. And yet, every room accumulates a certain amount of messiness, dirtiness, and unorganizedness. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your room is always clean and pleasant to be in. We're not talking about a super intensive cleaning process either. A cleaning ritual that you get in the habit of doing every few weeks will make your room much, much easier to live in. A few months ago, Emily gave us some great green DIY cleaning tips for dorms. But for students who don't have the time to make their own cleaning solutions, there are some tips under the cut to help you keep your room clean as well.

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How Not to Fail at Using GroupMe

GroupMe can make you smile too. Logo used courtesy of fair use.

Last week, Shep wrote about the new text message-based group collaboration tool - GroupMe - and he gave some examples on how it could be used for a positive, productive environment.

I tried to emulate that example by using GroupMe to communicate with my pledge brothers at my fraternity. Bad idea. There was a lack of foresight on my part - spamming people during a SEC rivalry football game where alcohol was involved? Whoops. Here's how to make sure that doesn't happen to you.

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Make Life Easier: Ask a Librarian

Librarians: they're like superheroes in that they save you during finals and have secret lairs. Image courtesy of Flickr user Monika Bargmann. Licensed under CC 2.0 BY-NC-ND.The school library (or, if you’re at a big school, libraries) are part of almost every college tour. Of course, in the age of digital information, the actual books contained in the library are no longer students’ most important resource at the library--instead, the librarians are.

Though often overlooked and under appreciated, librarians can make a student’s life much easier if they’re asked. Though your school may not have a program as intensive as Drexel’s personal librarian program, where freshmen get their own librarian to show them the research ropes, even the most unassuming librarian has training to help you find out what you need to know. If you’re looking for places to start, try these suggestions:

Instant Message a Librarian - Many universities have their librarians set up on Meebo, a site-nested instant messaging client that became unexpectedly very popular with the librarian community. If your university has a Meebo setup, you can anonymously ask librarians a silly or embarrassing question (where is the science building?), renew a book without going to the library, or ask them to help you when a professor has screwed up putting a book you need on reserve. A smaller number of schools even have a “text a librarian” feature for when you’re away from a browser. If your school doesn’t have either of these services set up, the Alexandrian Public Library, Texas State University Library, and Emory University Library all offer chat widgets that you can use for non-school-specific questions.

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Featured Desk: Luke's Swedish Modern Workspace

When you stare into the screens, the screens stare back.Today's featured desk space comes from none othe than our own Luke Turcotte. The desk itself, unlike the last few we've featured, isn't dorm-issue--instead, it's an Ikea Expedit desk and, to the left, a bookshelf for storage.

Luke's laptop is, in his words, a "small and powerful" 13" Macbook Pro. It's lifted up on a Griffin Elevator to reduce eye strain while working. The second monitor, seen in the middle, is a Samsung 245BW 24" Display. He uses it to boost productivity when working from the Macbook, and as a substitute for a TV.

In front of the monitor, you can see Luke's Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, which he's tricked out with BetterTouchTool to make the device more efficient. Behind the monitor you can see his speakers, which are M-Audio AV40 Studio Monitors--he says they've got great sound quality for a reasonable price.

Luke, as we've already seen, takes his notes on pen and paper. To digitize them, he uses his Epson WorkForce 610 All-in-One scanner/printer. He uses the Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch (a tablet and stylus combo) to make edits to the scanned notes. If he needs cheap black-and-white printing, Luke uses his Samsung laser printer.

Luke uses his iPad, seen to the right, to hold his PDFs. It runs task manager OmniFocus. The iPad's little brother--Luke's iPhone--can be seen next to it.

The most interesting part about the desk is the power-saving mechanism: all the peripherals are connected to a single USB hub, so all Luke has to do when he gets home is plug the hub in and he can power on all the devices.

Click below the cut for another picture. Got a desk you'd like featured? Send it to us at!

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