01/06/2012 Punctuation and Number Shortcuts for iPhones and iPads - #17

Instead of pressing and letting go of the ’123′ key then selecting the appropriate punctuation, simply tap and hold the ’123′ key, slide your finger to the desired punctuation or number, and lift your finger. The punctuation/number you want will be inserted and the keyboard will automatically go back to the “ABC” option on its own when you lift your finger and you can continue your typing.

12/14/2011 YouTube Safety in the Classroom - #16

There are a lot of good resources on YouTube. There are also a lot of concerns with using YouTube in the classroom.

One issue has been the presence of ads and other video links that might contain inappropriate content. There's an easy, safe way to use YouTube that eliminates all content other than the video you want to show.
Go to YouTube and copy the URL (web address) of the video. Easiest way is to highlight the address and press the CTRL and C keys simultaneously (Copy).
Go to the Safe Share site: http://www.safeshare.tv/
  • Click in the box to Paste a YouTube link and press CTRL and V keys simultaneously (Paste).
  • Click the Generate Safe Link box, then click 'Take me to the safe view.'
  • Voila! All you will see on the web page is the video you want to show.

Note: This is a fix for one YouTube issue. Other issues, such as streaming during peak usage times, are still a concern that may impact your ability to use YouTube in the classroom.

11/9/2011 GMail Keyboard Shortcuts - #15
First, you need to turn your Keyboard Shortcuts function on. Click the gear at the top right of your screen (beside your email address). Select Mail Settings and on the General tab find Keyboard Shortcuts third from the top. Change the setting to Keyboard Shortcuts ON. Now for the shortcuts. You need to be logged in to your GMail to use these.

Press one key then the next: (Hard to remember the shortcuts? It's g for Google then the first letter, except for sent and tasks, of the desired action.)
g then i Open the Inbox.
g then s Open Starred.
g then t Open Sent Mail.
g then d Open Drafts.
g then a Open All Mail.
g then c Open Contacts.
g then k Open Tasks.

If you are in the Inbox: (Note: the asterick and pound symbols convert to squares so I wrote out the words.)
asterick then a Select all conversations
asterick then n Deselect all conversations.
asterick then r Select only read conversations.
asterick then u Select only unread conversations.
asterick then s Select only starred conversations.
asterick then t Select only unstarred conversations.
L Open the Labels dropdown list to allow you to apply a label to a conversation.
Pound symbol Move the selected conversation to the Trash.
<Shift> + i Mark selected conversations as read.
<Shift> + u Mark selected conversations as unread.

If you are in a conversation - multiple emails back and forth all linked together:
u – Return to conversation list (View) from current conversation.
k – Move to newer conversation; location indicated by black arrow on left.
j – Move to older conversation; location indicated by black arrow on left.
p — Read previous message within a conversation.
n — Read next message within a conversation.
r – Reply to sender when a conversation is open.
a — Reply to all when a conversation is open.
f — Forward current conversation when a conversation is open.

9/21/2011 Flash on an iPad - #14

Do you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch? Do you get frustrated because many web sites use Flash and Apple doesn't, so you can't watch the videos? Try the iSwifter app. Don't be fooled when you go to the app store - it looks like a game. But download it, it's free for the first 30 minutes, and try it. If you like it, it costs $4.99.

Open the app, then type in the URL of the web site. That's it, the videos play without any problem. I tested it out on this site, www.wechoosethemoon.org, and was very pleased. It only took a few minutes to realize it was worth $4.99 to buy the app.

3/4/2011 Easy to Understand Microsoft Office Help

Want to do more with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc, but find the Office Help feature to be 'unhelpful'?

Need a quick tutorial to refresh your memory?

Need instructions expressed in easy to understand terms?

Try this Intel Education site: http://www.intel.com/education/helpguide/app.htm?cultureID=en-us&officeID=2007&skillID=null
(This link is for Microsoft Office 2007, but other versions are available.)

On the left side menu click on the type of application you need help with, Word Processing, Graphics, Spreadsheet, etc, and then select the main area of interest. More detailed options will appear for you to choose.

How is this different from Microsoft Office's Help function? To start, the steps for each task are clearly explained without excess information and in language that non-technical people can easily follow. But the best feature is that step-by-step pictures showing you what your screen will look like and what you need to do are provided for each step!

10/20/2010 Lost Websites
After the death of a family member, I regretted not having made copies of the information and photos on his website (which expired a few months after his death). Recently I remembered reading that website pages are never really gone, so I decided to see if I could find copies of his site. Success! Not just the home page was archived but all the pages within the site.

The Wayback Machine can be found at: http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

You will need to know the URL of the 'lost' website to use this free service.

When you first type in the URL, the archive will give you a list, by year, of specific dates that it archived the website. The archive goes back to 1996, so I was able to see how the website looked when it was first opened in 1999 and how it looked each time he updated it and added new pictures. Changes to the website are marked with asterisks on the archive list. To make a permanent copy (in case the archive closes down or deletes sites after too many years), I used CutePDF to convert the web pages to PDFs and saved them on my computer.

Watch the short, video tutorial to the right or follow the written directions posted below.

To set up an iTunes account without a credit card, open iTunes. If it's not yet installed on the computer, the download is at:
  1. Select iTunes store from the menu on the left side of the window.
  2. Once the store is accessed, select App Store from the menu bar (below the control bar) at the top of the window.
  3. Again, wait for the store to be accessed.
  4. You must now ‘buy’ a free app. dictionary.com is a good one. Use the 'Search Store' function to locate it. Click the Free button beside the app.
  5. When the Sign In window appears, click Create New Account.
  6. On the Welcome to iTunes Store page, click Continue.
  7. Accept the Terms of Service and click Continue.
  8. Fill in the information on the account page. For a school, designate one person to be the ‘point’ person and use their email and other information - you can put a fake birthday, just make sure you make it over 21.
  9. Remember, you can authorize 5 computers per account to download from the iTunes store.
  10. Passwords must have at least one upper case letter, one lower case letter and one number. They must be at least 8 characters.
  11. Click Continue.
  12. On the payment page, after all the credit card options, the last option will now be ‘None.’ Select that option.
  13. Fill in your address and select Continue. If you have a gift card, you can enter the information here, or you can enter it later by clicking Redeem under Quick Links on the right side of the iTunes Store main page after you've signed in to your account.
  14. Click Continue as needed to complete the process.
  15. Make sure to read the email they send to your email address and follow the directions to authorize the account. You won't be able to sign in until you do.


Hate to pay for apps? Did you know that numerous apps are available for free each day? Did you know that many apps will change to free permanently? How do you find all these free apps without spending hours at the iTunes store?
Sign up for a daily email notice at freeappalert.com
They also keep a list of the apps that were listed as free each day. Be cautious, some apps are only free for a day, so some apps listed in the archive will no longer be free.


Have you ever needed to edit a PDF file but didn’t have the pricey software (Adobe Creator, for example) it takes to do this? Why not just convert the PDF file to a Word document and make whatever changes you need. (Don’t forget to follow all copyright and privacy laws when doing this.)
Here’s how:
1. Go to www.zamzar.com
2. Click Browse and find the file on your computer. Double-click it.
3. In the Step 2 box, select doc (the file extension for all Word documents).
4. In the Step 3 box, type in your email address.
5. Click Convert.
6. You will receive an email within minutes containing a link to your converted document. Use the link to find your converted document and download it to your computer. Now you can edit it however you need.
You can convert a PDF to almost any format using this free service.


Do you ever get tired of typing www and .com as part of a web address? Try this: type the name part of the address in the address bar then press the Ctrl and Enter keys. Voila, the address is filled in with the www and .com and the desired website pops right up.

Example: To visit Home Depot’s website, type homedepot in the address bar and press Ctrl and Enter. There you are at Home Depot’s home page. Works for any .com site.


1. Go to the web page.
2. On the address bar, to the left of the URL, click on the little symbol and drag it to the desktop. You should now have a quick link to that web page.


Ever typed without realizing your caps lock key was on and everything is in caps? (You do realize that’s the computer equivalent of shouting in someone’s ear?) Want to fix it quickly and easily?
1. Highlight the text you typed in all caps.
2. Press the Shift and F3 key together. Everything is now lowercase.
What, you wanted the first letter of each sentence capitalized? No problem, just press Shift and F3 again. Voila. Correct sentence case.
If you press the two keys again, you will return to all uppercase. This is nice if you have lowercase and actually wanted to make everything uppercase (titles, labels, etc.).


Do you have a lot of expensive electronic devices? Do you have a kid in college with all sorts of expensive electronics? What happens if one of those devices gets lost? Surprisingly, many people who find one of these devices will return it IF they know to whom to return it.
This week's Tech Tip is actually about a product rather than a technique.
Return tags -- The tags have a toll-free number and an id. The good Samaritan who finds your item calls the number. They receive a reward, and you receive an email telling you your item has been found and then a package with your item.
The first provider is www.stuffbak.com
The basic plan is free, just pay for the tags and a per item recovery fee. The enhanced plans offer more: for a small fee and the cost of the tags, you can cover 50 to 100 devices with no recovery fee or return shipping charges for two or three years. You also get a 20% to 25% discount on the tags.
Another provider is www.trackitback.com. They are more expensive (one tag costs $19.95), but do provide lifetime coverage – the plan fee is built into the cost of the individual tag.
Yes, I bought tags and signed up for one of Stuffbak's enhanced plans. My tags cost $2.70 each and shipping was free. The plan cost $35.95 and provides protection for three years. What am I tagging? My GPS, cell phone, iPod Touch, Kindle, camera, luggage, car keys (you know, the ones with the fob that electronically unlocks your doors and cost over $200 to replace), laptop...... I'm sure I'll find more stuff I want to tag, and I'll order more tags.


Have you ever found a blog, or on-line article you wanted to read while surfing the web but just didn’t have the time right then?
Register for a free account at www.instapaper.com and get a new bookmark tool. Next time you find an article you want to read later, click the Read Later tool and the article is saved for you.
There’s also a free application for your iPhone or iPod Touch that works the same way.


Want to edit your photos including adding special effects but don’t want to shell out the money for Adobe Photoshop? There’s a great FREE application called paint.net that has almost the exact same features as Adobe. Extensive work has gone into making Paint.NET the fastest image editor available.
Some paint.net features:
Usually only found on expensive or complicated professional software, layers form the basis for a rich image composition experience. You may think of them as a stack of transparency slides that, when viewed together at the same time, form one image.
Active Online Community
Paint.NET has an online forum with a friendly, passionate, and ever-expanding community. Be sure to check out the constantly growing list of tutorials and plugins!
Automatically Updated
Updates are free, and contain new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes. Upgrading to the latest version is very simple, requiring only two clicks of the mouse.
Special Effects
Many special effects are included for enhancing and perfecting your images. Everything from blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and embossing are included. Also included is our unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect that makes it very easy to add perspective and tilting. Adjustments are also included which help you tweak an image's brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, curves, and levels. You can also convert an image to black and white, or sepia-toned.
Powerful Tools
Paint.NET includes simple tools for drawing shapes, including an easy-to-use curve tool for drawing splines or Bezier curves. The Gradient tool, new for 3.0, has been cited as an innovative improvement over similar tools provided by other software. The facilities for creating and working with selections is powerful, yet still simple enough to be picked up quickly. Other powerful tools include the Magic Wand for selecting regions of similar color, and the Clone Stamp for copying or erasing portions of an image. There is also a simple text editor, a tool for zooming, and a Recolor tool.
Paint.NET doesn't cost a dime.


Have you ever wanted to save a web page exactly as it appears on your computer screen? It’s a useful trick when you want to show students a web page and know the Internet might not be available. It’s also great when you want students to have access to information on a web page but don’t want them surfing other pages when they’re supposed to be reading the assigned page.
Save the web page as a PDF and you can print it, copy it onto other computers, email it, etc. It’ll look just like it does when you’re viewing it on the Internet.
1. Copy the URL (address) of the page you want to save/copy. (Highlight address, click Edit on Menu Bar and then Copy).
2. Go to http://pdfmyurl.com/
3. Paste the URL of your web page into the box and click the P on the right. Your web page is instantly converted to a PDF.
4. Save your PDF on your computer or pin (thumb) drive.


1. Highlight the text you want to resize. Bonus tip: place your cursor at the beginning of the text, hold down the SHIFT key while pressing the right arrow key to select text.
2. Press Ctrl ] (that's the right bracket key and the Control key) to increase the selected text one point size. Press Ctrl [ (left bracket key and Control) to decrease it. Repeat until the text reaches the size you want.