Last summer I was fortunate enough to attend the NEH-funded Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship at the University of Virginia’s Scholars Lab. Throughout the proceedings, I found myself watching my friend Jo Guldi madly switching between a number of different applications on her MacBook Pro. I wasn’t familiar with most of the tools she was using, and her work pattern for taking notes was so different from my own that I asked her abouit. Consequently, Jo, Moacir P. de Sá Pereira, and myself sat down over lunch one day and started showing each other our personal favorite tools. (Note the absence of rimshot here, please.)

I found this exchange incredibly exciting and useful, not to mention very much in the spirit of ProfHacker, which I’ve had the great pleasure to write for since 2009. As much as you think you know about the tools of the trade, there’s always more out there. And maybe, just maybe, the things that your friends are using could help you get your writing / reading / compiling / programming done all that much more quickly.

What I’d like to propose for a session, then, is a show and tell. You get 3 minutes—at most—to show us your favorite application. You tell us what’s so great about it, how you use it in your work, and why you couldn’t live without it. We all get exposed to something new and get the chance to imagine how our own work could shift if we were to shake things up and try a new approach. If we have enough time (but how could we? people will be all over this session like butter on grits), you could get a shot to share a second favorite application with us. But seriously: don’t count on it.

It will work best if you can show us your application through the projector (we’ll have connections), but all platforms and applications are allowed. That means you can wax poetic about your favorite Android app. The best Chrome MAME. Or the best media player that you’ve found for Debian. Whatever you’d like. Heck, I suppose it could even be something analog! But you only get 3 minutes to share the love. Afterward, we’ll have a handful of new applications to try out (provided your pitch was good enough) and we’ll know who to talk to to find out more.

Does this sound appealing to anyone else?