Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Last Tip for January: Best New Instructional Resources on the Internet

This information comes out of the latest ESchool News:
Access interactive science adventures, virtual field trips and experiments. There is a section for parents, teachers and scientists & engineers.
Spelling tutorials for elementary aged students are brought to you by interactive hosts Jake and Alexis.
This site highlights women in science in the hopes of encouraging more girls to take an interest in science. This site includes biographical information, a timeline and games.

Library of Congress RSS Feed
Want to be alerted when information is updated or added the Library of Congress digital collection? You can now receive feeds on news, upcoming events, updates on new collections, and reference materials.

Are you aware of any new Internet resources? Share them in your comments.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Windows Tip: Share your Digital Images through Email

This tip comes from the Microsoft website and is very easy to follow.

Typically when we try to send a picture or series of pictures, we forget that we need to make the images a reasonable size...a size that can be sent easily through email.

Using features built into Windows XP, You can send multiple images and have them sized smaller so that they send smoothly and quickly via email as attachments.

Use the link given above to follow the steps for emailing images and provide feedback about your success.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mac Tip: Zoom in and out

In some programs, especially in Office 2004; programs such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Entourage, you can use your mouse to zoom in and out.

If you hold down your command and your Control key, you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out.

Find a program where this doesn't work? If you have the latest operating system (10.4.8), you can hold your Control key and use the scroll wheel of your mouse. This zooms your entire screen.

Pretty neat feature.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tip: Using the Internet to Make Life Easier

Here is a list of websites you might want to bookmark for making the everyday tasks easier:

Want to buy or sell a car? Use the Kelley Blue Book website to calculate prices for automobiles.

Live in a location where you don't have good shopping options, or don't like going to the mall? Shop at Amazon.

If you love to read but don't love to pay the price for a new book...and you don't care if you keep every book you buy, check out Title Trader book swap. You can swap books, CDs, DVDs and more.

Use WebMD to research your medical questions.

Need maps and directions while you travel? There are a lot of different sites you can use but Map Quest is a good resource. always want to check the weather before you travel, so use Accu-Weather to keep on top of the conditions.

If you are looking to change careers or need to help your soon to be college graduate, Monster Jobs is a great site to explore.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tip: Easy Way to Create Web Page

Want to have a classroom website but don't want to learn the html programming in order to publish a web page? Perhaps you don't have the money or time for a commercial program... OR...using a classroom website can be limiting...there is a solution.

I have been teaching a free program called Mozilla to my teachers that want to build classroom webpages. If you know how to word process, you can build a page. What's cool...if you are a geek that likes to work in the code, you can do that too. Another nice component is Mozilla is cross-platform so you can use it on a Mac or a PC.

Visit the Mozilla website to download the program. While you are on this site, take a look at all the other free software available to you.

There are a lot of different programs available for building websites, but Mozilla seems to be one of those that people feel comfortable with.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

PowerPoint Tip: Save Options

PowerPoint is a nice tool if you are doing a presentation in front of an audience, but there are tricks in this program that let you use it for other things as well.

Movie Anyone: you can save your PowerPoint project as a movie. This would then be a self-running movie that uses QuickTime to run.

Build a Web Page: you can also save your PowerPoint as a web page. This is not ideal...the format doesn't always transfer well, but experiment with it. You might find something that works for you.

Use a Slide as a Picture: You can save each individual slide as an image. This works well if you are creating a video in iMovie and want to incorporate some PowerPoint slides.

Animation: If you use custom animation on a slide, you can save that out as a gif file and preserve your actions.

There is a lot you can do with PowerPoint, outside of PowerPoint. Experiment and see what the possibilities are.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stick with iPhoto: Creating an album Web Page

iPhoto is such a great program that I thought I would give you one more tip.

I had a teacher ask me today, "Is there a way I can easily create a web page with thumb nails of images, like an album page...but you can click on the thumb nail and see an enlarged image?"

Wow! What a perfect opportunity to show the export to a web page feature in iPhoto:
There are a couple of things you want to think about - preplanning. For example, do you want to use captions or comments with your images? If so, you will want to add titles and comments to your images, not sure how to do on the image and then click on the "i" in the lower left corner of iPhoto, a summary box appears that lets you type in a title and comments.

Now, onto that web page:
Step 1: Select the images you wish to include in your album web page.
Step 2: Go to the File menu and choose Export
Step 3: In the Export window, click on the Web Page tab.
There are some settings you might want to change in here. This is where you tell iPhoto if you want to include comments or image titles (use as a caption).
Step 4: Export your page. There is a little trick here. What you want to do is create a folder and name it something SIMPLE that reflects the web page. Save your file into this folder. The file picks up the name of the folder.

Ta Da!! You have created an album web page.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mac Tip: Using iPhoto for Before & After Shots

If you are running the latest version of iPhoto (version 6), Apple put a new feature in called Compare. With Compare, you can view a collection of photos in the editing mode. I really didn't see the need for this until one day...I was looking at a photo and thought, I want to make some changes but I want to compare it to the original; kind of a before and after effect. can I do this?

DUH! This is the perfect way to use the Compare feature in iPhoto. Below, is a screen shot of what it looks like when I use the Compare feature and make changes to the image on the right. To get into the Compare mode, simply command click on each of the photos and then double-click on one of them. A window will open with the pictures you selected and the editing tools at the bottom.

NOTE: to do the before and after trick, you need to have a duplicate of the picture for comparison. Right-click on an image and choose "duplicate" then select both images, and double-click on one of them to get into the editing mode (shown below).
Make adjustments using the editing tools in iPhoto to get your "after" picture with the changes that you have made. You can constantly compare your edited image with the original so see if you are actually enhancing the image...or just making it worse. Here is an example of before and after shots:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Windows Tip: Learn the Basics

Sometimes you just need a little instruction on using Windows...or you want to know those little secrets that make computing easier, or funner. Here are a few websites you might find helpful.

Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy
You can even quiz yourself to see how you are doing.

Microsoft has a nice section on using some of the tools they include in the XP package.

This site is an excerpt from a newsletter from a PC Users group. It has a lot of text, but the information should be helpful. has great collections on this issue. Here is a section on customizing your windows views.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Windows Tip:What Can You Do With a Right Click?

You hear people that use computers a lot always saying, "right-click" when giving out instructions. Keyboard shortcuts and right-clicking are answers for the lazy computer user (me). I don't like to waste my time and efforts by figuring out which menu holds my command and then using my mouse to access that menu and go to the command. Instead, I use keyboard shortcuts (discussed already) and I right-click. So, here are a few gems for you to try.

Right-click on your desktop:
You can clean up your icons
You can change your screen saver and wallpaper options
You can create a new folder for organization

Right-click in any open window (away from any icons):
You can change the way you view your contents (icon, list)
You can clean up your icons
You can create a new folder for organization
You can change the settings for a folder and its files

Right-click on an icon:
You can open it
You can delete it
You can print it
You can send it to a new location or to someone as an attachment
You can rename it
You can view the properties of the file

So how do you know when to right-click and when to left-click? This is a question I get all the time. Here is an easy rule of thumb; if someone tells you to "click", they mean left-click. If someone wants you to right-click, they word it this way..."Right-click on the desktop and go to Properties."

Still not sure when to right-click...? The next time you get ready to go to a menu, stop... and try right-clicking...see if the same command isn't available for you in the pop-up menu that occurs. Just remember this small piece of advice. You must select what you want to affect, so right-click on whatever it is you are working with to get the appropriate pop-up menu.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mac Tip: Learn the Basics

If you are new to the Mac or just missed some of the basic training when you were learning, this site might be a good resource for you.
Mac Tips & Tricks

This site is a collection of OS X inventories, tips and other tricks.

43 Folders

Let me know what you think of these sites.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Windows Tip: Use Keyboard Shortcuts. Make Life Easier

In the previous post, I shared reasons for using keyboard shortcuts (efficiency and troubleshooting) along with a small collection of Mac shortcuts. In this post, I will share keyboard shortcuts for Windows users.

This list of keyboard shortcuts comes from ComputerHope and Microsoft Support.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mac Tip: Keyboard Shortcuts to Make Life Easier

When you learn how to do things faster on your computer, life seems easier. Technology doesn't seem to "get in the way." Here is a start in getting familiar with using your keyboard shortcuts on a Mac. The following commands are alternatives to using your mouse and accessing a menu:

The Following keyboard commands are used to manage files:

When you are in a program and want to edit text or images, use the following keyboard shortcuts:

Although learning keyboard shortcuts can take some time, the reward is well worth it. I rarely need to take my fingers off my keyboard, which allows me to get things done efficiently. Also, if my mouse dies, keyboard shortcuts allow me to control the computer so that I can troubleshoot or at the very least shut my computer down to avoid damaging files.

These screen shots are taken from

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Windows Tip: Switching Between Open Programs

So you are researching on the Internet and want to jot some notes into your word can you move back and forth between the two programs with as little effort as possible. Listed are two ways that you can use to switch between open programs.

1. Use the Taskbar. Any program that is up and running has a presence on the Taskbar. You can easily jump between programs by simply clicking once on the "button" for the desired program on the Taskbar.

2. Ctrl + Tab allows you to shuffle between open programs. When you hit Ctrl + Tab, you will see a floating window that shows you want programs are currently running. If you continue to hold down the Ctrl key and tap the Tab key, you will advance through the list of programs. When you have stopped on the desired program, let up on the Ctrl key and that program will be brought to the front. This is a quick way to get between open programs...and make your computing much more efficient.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Mac Tip: Switching between open programs

Happy Monday!
Right, well anyway...I thought since many of you are using more and more programs, it might be nice to know how to switch between programs WITH AS LITTLE EFFORT AS POSSIBLE.

It drives me nuts when someone wants to show me something...and they move between open programs by dragging windows all over here and there. It is all I can do to not take the mouse away!

So, to help you, here are a few tips to move between open programs.
1. Use the Dock
You can click on any application to launch it or bring it to the front. It is then available for you to use.

2. Command (Open Apple) Tab
Using Command + Tab brings up a floating image that shuffles through open programs. Each time you tap the Tab key, it goes to the next open program. Try it, it is BEAUTIFUL!

One final note...if you have multiple windows open in a program, use the Window menu to move between documents - STOP DRAGGING YOUR WINDOWS AROUND!!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Internet Tips: Email Etiquette

Although we have all been using email for professional and personal means for quite some time, it surprises me how many people violate basic email etiquette. So, here is a list of resources you can use to learn how to become smart emailers...and not offend anyone. Remember, you can't convey feeling in text, no matter how hard you try.

Great Works Internet 10 Email Commandments About Replying to Email

I Will Follow: Addresses To, CC, and BCC along with emoticons :O)

I actually have several pet peeves when it comes to email, do you have any? Please share.

Mine are:
*No Subject - to me that is just rude
*Mass Forwards - it is the same thing as a chain letter
*Putting Re: in the subject line when you initiate the email
*Not putting a greeting or a closing in an email - although I do this at times, typically...not a good idea
*Sending inappropriate email to a professional address. We all have personal email, it is for personal correspondence. That is not to say that I don't send personal messages with my professional account. If I am inviting someone to lunch or have a quick question, I see no problem sending an email using whatever account is convenient. But, sending attachments that are videos or jokes, should be sent to personal accounts.

Enough preaching...I will get off my soap box now. ;O)

Friday, January 5, 2007

Window Tip: Change your View to Classic

If you have been a Windows user for some time, upgrading to XP made the look of your computer a bit different and sometimes hard to get used to...but Microsoft gave you an out. You can actually change your start menu to look and act like the old start menu from Windows 95 or 98 days.

To change your start menu to the classic view:
1. Right-click on your start menu
2. Select properties from the pop-up menu
3. In the dialog box that opens, click on the Start Menu tab
4. At the bottom of the screen, click on Classic Start Menu
5. Click OK

You now have a Start Menu with the look and feel that you might be used to. If you are not sure what the changes were, go back to the Start Menu properties and click on Start Menu. Then click Apply and access your Start Menu. You can easily see the difference between the new look in XP and the classic look taken from Windows 95/98.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Mac Tip: Help the Techs Troubleshoot by Capturing Error

How many times have you talked to your computer tech and when asked what happened, you say something like, "well, first the thing was there and then the computer said I did something wrong, then it was gone."

I have to tell you, I have never had the computer tell me I have done something wrong. Also, "the thing" is a bit broad for a computer tech to decipher when troubleshooting a problem. So, to make your computer tech's life easier (and honestly, yours) you can take a screen shot of the error message so that you can show the exact error message...yes those messages actually have a purpose.

To take a picture of your entire screen, use the following keyboard command:
Command (Open Apple) + Shift + 3
This creates a file called "picture N" on your desktop (where N is a number in a sequence)

To take a picture of a selected part of your screen, use the following keyboard command:
Command + Shift + 4
You will receive cross-hairs as your cursor. Draw a box around your selection. When you let up on your mouse, this creates a file called "picture N" on your desktop (where N is a number in a sequence)

If you don't want to save a file, but copy the image to the clipboard, just add the Control key to your keyboard shortcut, then use the paste command to place the image into your document.
So, Command + Shift + Control + 3 for a screen shot capture
Command + Shift + Control + 4 for a selection capture

If you are trying to help your tech by providing them with a screen shot, use the keyboard shortcuts that save the image as a file. Then , you can attach the file in an email.

I guarantee you will make your computer tech's life easier by providing screen shots of error messages, when you are encountering a problem on your computer.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

January is the Month of Tips

Happy New Year! I trust you all had a nice break and are ready to plow through the rest of the school year. Hopefully these coming blogs in January will make your job a little easier, if not your computing a little more fun.

For the month of January, my goal (notice I didn't say resolution) is to post a technology tip each day. I will try to aternate between Mac and PC tips and troubleshooting ideas.

For my first post, I will combine a Mac AND PC tip: closing multiple windows at once.

For Windows XP:

Hold down the SHIFT key as you click on the X button to close the most recent of the windows. This will close all the windows related to the one you clicked on. Notice it doesn't close ALL windows, just ALL windows that are related, for example all of your Internet Explorer windows that are currently open.

For Mac:
Hold the Option key down while you click on the x button of a window. The same is true for the Mac that is for the PC. You will only close related windows.

Hopefully, this little tip will help you close out of programs and shut your computer down a little quicker at the end of the day.