ShareLaTeX: Online LaTeX compiler

In myphoto first post, I had mentioned that LaTeX has professional-quality typesetting capabilities. For this reason, I used it to write my CV to make it stand out from the ones in Microsoft Word templates. Since my PC had TeX Live installed, compiling my CV had never been an issue. Continue reading

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Study Break: Ridiculous Fishing

image_4Now that Fling has flung, it’s time to get down to business and start studying. Of course, you learn best when you take a short break every hour, so you’re going to need something to do during those breaks. My latest time waster way to pass the time during a few down moments here and there during the day is the game Ridiculous Fishing.  It’s a simple but strangely addicting game, and a fun way to spend your time while you take a short break from studying.  It’s challenging but not difficult, and you’ll find yourself playing again and again. The controls and mechanics of the game are simple to master, and there’s lots of replay value as you go fishing again and again to catch every species of fish, purchase every upgrade, and try to beat your old high score.

There are three stages to playing the game:

image_31. Drop your line: You drop your line into the sea by tapping on the screen.  As your hook sinks, tilt your phone left and right to steer AROUND the fish (seems counter intuitive, but it’ll make sense in the next step) being sure not to touch them and trying to go as deep as you can.

2. Reel ‘em in: When your hook eventually does touch a fish, or if you run out of fishing line, or if you get all the way to the bottom of the sea, you’ll automatically start reeling your line in.   On the way up, tilt left and right to catch as many fish as possible—the same fish you avoided on the way down.  One nice little touch is the music that was playing on the way down plays in reverse on the way back up.

image_53. Shoot ‘em up: this stage seems the least traditional from a fishing purist’s point of view (and is possibly the main reason for the word ‘ridiculous’ in the name of the game).  When your line finally reaches the surface of the water, you fling the fish into the air (that part happens automatically), and you start shooting them by tapping on the fish.  You get money for each fish you shoot.  The ones that fall back into the water escape and you get no money from them.  Some fish (particularly those of the jellyfish variety) you’ll want to avoid, as they will actually subtract money from your wallet.

There are several different fishing locations on the map.  You’ll start in “Home Waters”–the shallowest area.  It’s filled with a variety of very cool fish, and many species are only located at particular depths, so you’ve got to get your line down pretty far to catch them all. When you’ve finally caught all the species of fish in Home Waters, you’ll unlock the next location on the map where you’ll encounter all new types of fish and plummet to deeper spots in the ocean as you listen to a different track of music.

image_1As you play more games, you’ll end up with quite a bit of money from all those fish you’ve caught.  The Shack Shoppe lets you purchase upgrades with that money to improve your fishing experience: Longer fishing lines to let you get to those fish even farther beneath the waves, better guns to let you shoot the fish faster before they fall back into the sea, items to fling the fish farther into the air so that you have more time to shoot them, a Fish-o-pedia which help you identify all those different fish you’ll encounter along with how much each is worth and whether it has any special abilities, and of course different outfits for your fisherman, most of which have no effect on game play as far as I can tell other than to turn your character into a snappy dresser.

The pixel art is colorful and beautiful (as you can tell from these screenshots), and the 8-bit music (by composer Eirik Suhrke) is whimsical and quite catchy (I’ve caught myself humming one of the tunes as I walk through Van Pelt Library on more than one occasion)

It’s $2.99 in the iTunes App store for iPhone and iPad, and $2.99 in the Google Play store for Android, but I’m glad to report there are no in-app purchases.  Once you’ve got the game, it’s just fun from here on out. 

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Trip to the Archives Part II, The Scholar’s Perspective

If you are planning on making a trip to the archives this summer or in the months to come, you will want to attend the last of our Digital Scholarship Workshops, A Trip to the Archives Part II. For those of you who didn’t make it to Part I, our Archival Manuscript Cataloger, Holly Mengel described the archival organization of material, and the tools prepared by archivists to make that material discoverable.

On Tuesday, April 15 at noon, please plan to join us for the scholar’s perspective on making the best and most productive use of archives. We are happy to have Emily Merrill,  PhD candidate in history and Penn Humanities Forum Fellow and Dr. Jean-Christophe Cloutier, Penn Professor of English joining us to talk about their own personal practices of discovery, collecting and recording, filing and scholarly use of archives. Emily Merrill is an 18th century American history specialist and Dr. Cloutier works with 20th century literature and has worked as a rare books and manuscripts archivist.

In addition to describing their own experiences and methodology, our two presenters will provide guidance in establishing a relationship with the archives in which you’ll be working and recommendations for tool selection and purchase.

We hope to see you at the Kislack Center, Room 625, on April 15, Tuesday, at Noon.


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Lab Closing Early this Weekend

The Vitale Digital Media Lab will close at 6pm this Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12 . Sorry for any inconvenience. 

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H+U+D: Humanities, Urbanism, and Design Project

H+U+DThe School of Arts and Sciences, PennDesign, and the Penn Institute of Urban Research are putting forth a joint call for research proposals for the 2014-2015 academic year. The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism, and Design (H+U+D) Project is aimed at interdisciplinary design/humanities projects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The maximum award is $2000 per proposal to be spent on travel, archival charges, and photography. The project is made possible through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a five-year collaborative initiative at Penn called Fulfilling and Liveable Cities: Design, Urban Life and the Humanities, as described in an Almanac article from last year. Project proposals are due by April 14, 2014, and can be submitted according to instructions on the CURF website

Fulfilling and Livable Cities: Design, Urban Life and the Humanities – See more at:

The H+U+D Project provides a rich opportunity for students of all levels to engage in work that impacts multiple fields of study. It’s also a great chance to explore new media while researching, a topic that is near and dear to all of us here at WIC. If your research involves digital scholarship or design, or if you would like to learn more about these topics, please stop by WIC (especially the Vitale Digital Media Lab) or drop us a line at

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Open Educational Resources and Copyright

We’ve been hosting Shawn Martin’s weekly Copyright Clinic on Tuesday afternoons as well as his open access workshops. We’ve blogged about famous Andy Warhol photos and fair use.

Today, we want to welcome you to a discussion on April 9 (2 pm, Meyerson Conference Room upstairs) with Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for SPARC. She will discuss how to leverage open educational resources (OERs) — free, online course materials that can be adapted by instructors — to reduce the cost of textbooks and expand access for students. To learn more about campus OER efforts, please explore the Penn Libraries’ Scholarly Commons and Images Guide sites.


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Tripod for your Phone

I’ve added an item to our equipment lending program that I’ve been wanting for a long time. We’ve gotten many requests over the years for a tripod that can hold an iPhone, and I finally found one I like that does a great job and is versatile enough to work for everyone.  I actually liked it enough that I also bought one for myself at home.

The JOBY GripTight unfolds to hold a smartphone and attaches to any standard tripod. It should work with just about tripod and any phone. We lend it with a mini table-top tripod that stands only a few inches high, but you can also borrow one of our full-sized tripods and use it with that as well. Here’s a nice little review of it from Gear Diary:

You can reserve it in our equipment lending system under Tripods / Smartphone Tripods. If you try it out, be sure to let us know what you think. If it proves to be popular, i’ll be sure to get some more.

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Welcome to William Hodgson

William HodgsonPlease welcome our newest lab consultant in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, William Hodgson. William has filled the position left vacant by Lindsey Martin. William comes to us from the Philadelphia Free Library, where he was a digital resource specialist, doing a similar job to what he’ll be doing here. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and a recent graduate of Penn, receiving his BFA in 2013.

Please stop by to say hi and introduce yourself!


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Mashed Media Awards

mashedmedia_headerIn the Kimmel Center downtown on Saturday night, Philly’s young people got a chance to show off their media creations at the Mashed Media Awards, and they did not disappoint. The awards show was presented by the Philly Youth Media Collaborative, an organization designed to support youth in the creation, analysis, and distribution of media. Continue reading

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Finding and Installing Fonts

This is the first PennWIC post from Alexis Morris, a graduate intern at the Education Commons. On April 3, Alexis will hold PhotoShop Design Office Hours at the EC.

Have you ever wanted to use a different font for a presentation other than what is available on your computer?  Here is a quick how-to on finding and installing fonts onto your machine.

Finding Fonts

There are many sites that offer free font designs.  A simple Google search will yield many results, however I have found that my two most favorite sites are 1001 Fonts and Da Font. Both offer fonts from the simple to the ornate, giving you many options to add some style to your work.  I prefer these sites because of the great displays and ease of navigation. Continue reading

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