Recover Audio Playback when using a Microphone

February 27th, 2014 by cbello

If you’re using a program with audio recording capabilities, such as Adobe Connect or Panopto, you may have experienced being unable to play audio when you have your microphone plugged in.  A quick fix to be able to play audio when using an external mic, is to set your speakers as the default playback device.  To change this setting, right-click on the speaker icon from your taskbar on the lower right side of your screen and choose Playback devices. Next, select your speakers and click Set Default, then choose Apply to save your settings.

Playback devices

Convert Media Files with Format Factory

January 15th, 2014 by cbello

Format Factory is a handy tool for the Windows platform that allows you to easily convert media files from one format to another. Whether you need to reduce the size of a media file for uploading to the Web or you need to convert files for iPod or iPhone compatibility, file conversion software can be incredibly useful. With a free download of Format Factory, you can convert common video formats such as AVI, MOV, WMV, and SWF to another video format.  You can also convert image and audio files to popular formats.

Create a Shared Google Calendar

December 4th, 2013 by cbello

Not only can Google Calendar help you manage your own schedule, you can also create a calendar to share with your students, co-workers or an organization.  This is a useful tool because there are several options for sharing your calendar.  Some of the sharing features in Google Calendar include:

*  Share only available/busy times on your schedule (no details). This is helpful if you need to schedule a lot of meetings but do not want to share the details with everyone.

*  Show all event details but you are the only person able to edit. This way you can continually keep your course schedule and assignments up to date.

*  Show all details and also allow users to add or change the events. If you want to share the calendar with a T.A. or even let students add events, this is a helpful option.

Getting Started

If you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create a Google account. From your Google account, you will see a calendar tab at the top of the screen.  This brings you to the main calendar page where you can add events, create multiple calendars and adjust your settings. Follow these steps to create and share your new calendar:

Create

  1. On the left-hand side of the screen, under My Calendars, click Create.

create

2.  Add relevant information such as a title, description
and location.
3.  Click Save at the bottom of the page.

Share your Calendar

  1. Back on the main calendar page, click on the drop-down arrow next to the calendar you would like to share.
  2. Click on Share this Calendar.

share

3.  Enter the email address of each person you would
like to share your calendar with.
4.  Adjust permission settings for each calendar user.
5.  Once you save your settings, an email will be sent
inviting each person to view the calendar.

Create Charts Online with Gliffy

November 6th, 2013 by cbello

Gliffy is a web-based application for creating diagrams. There are a variety of graphics and templates available such as Venn diagrams, flowcharts, floor plans and different shapes to help you get started. Here are some examples of Gliffy diagrams:

gliffy

On the site, there is an option for a free or premium membership. With the free membership, you can create and share up to five public diagrams. After you finish a diagram, you can easily export it as a JPEG or PNG image or even just print it. Gliffy is also a great tool for creating graphics for a presentation. For more information, visit Gliffy’s Webpage.

Rid Distractions with Freedom Software

October 4th, 2013 by cbello

If you constantly find yourself checking your email, updating your Facebook, reading blogs, shopping online or watching YouTube videos (when you are trying to get important work done) there is hope yet!  With Freedom, a  program available for Mac and PC users, you can set parameters to disable your internet access from 60 seconds up to eight hours.  You can circumvent the time limit you specify by rebooting; though if you have to go through the trouble of rebooting, the idea is that you would wait until your Freedom minutes are up and not cheat.  Freedom software is available for purchase for $10 with a 90 day money-back guarantee.

If you do think that your internet habits could use a little policing but maybe not by completely removing internet access, you might want to check out a free browser plug-in from Firefox called LeechBlock.   With LeechBlock you can choose specific Web sites to block and set times to make the sites unavailable.   Since it might be too difficult for some to part with all digital distractions initially, LeechBlock might be a good entry point into the world of productivity software.

Extending Laptop Battery Life

September 20th, 2013 by cbello

Your laptop’s battery life can be extended if you take precautions to avoid frequent total discharges. One step you can take is to set up alerts so you’ll know to plug in the power adapter when the battery goes down to a particular level.

Almost all laptops display alerts if the battery has 5% or 10% of the charge left. You can easily modify your notifications to avoid total discharges.

In Windows 7, click on your battery icon in the system tray and select More power options, then select  Change plan settings -> Change advanced power settings and change the  low level battery setting to 30% and the critical level battery setting to 25%.

 

It is also recommended to keep the battery in cool temperatures to make battery life last longer.

Additionally, if you are planning not to use your laptop for a long time (for example when you go on vacation), make sure it is charged about 40% before you unplug the power adapter and power down.

 

 

Prevent Advertisers from Tracking your iPhone

May 1st, 2013 by cbello

With the introduction of iOS6, Apple has snuck in a feature that many users don’t even know exists. Identifier for advertisers, or IFA, is a random number assigned to a device and its user. It’s nothing all that unheard of, think grocery stores providing tailored coupons based off data they collect every time you use their “club card.” The reason IFA is more invasive though is it allows ad companies to not only tailor what ads show up on the screen of your smartphone, but it also lets them know if you clicked the ad, even if you downloaded or purchased whatever the ad was for. Even that’s not the biggest issue, what’s worse is that it’s on automatically without users even knowing it. Luckily though, there is a way to turn it off. To turn it off, first you need to go to “Settings” and then to “General” (not Privacy, which would seem logical). Then it’s off to “About” and finally, select “Advertising.” Here is the confusing part, naturally one would think something set to track your data needs to be turned off. In this case though, the option is labeled “Limit Ad Tracking,” it needs to be turned ON. Being ON in this instance actually means being off. In a world of constantly less and less privacy, it’s nice to be able to control and maintain some form of privacy.

For more information, check out this article:
http://www.businessinsider.com/ifa-apples-iphone-tracking-in-ios-6-2012-10

Hacked: What Next?

March 1st, 2013 by cbello

No matter how many steps you take to protect yourself or your information, there is still a chance you will get hacked. However, the sooner you identify you have been compromised and the faster you respond, the more you can minimize the harm.

ACCOUNTS

You probably have numerous online accounts for everything from online banking and shopping to email and social networking. Keeping track of them can be a constant challenge. Here are some steps to help you identify and respond to compromised accounts.

Symptoms:

  1. You can no longer log in to the website, even when you enter the correct password.
  2. Your friends & co-workers are receiving emails from you that you never sent.
  3. Someone is posting messages on your social networking page (such as Facebook or Twitter), posing as you.
  4. Someone is transferring money out of your online bank account.
  5. Contact information or other settings on your online accounts are being changed without your knowledge.
  6. When a website or service provider publicly announces they have been hacked and user accounts/passwords have been compromised.

Response:

  1. If you can still log in, change your password immediately and be sure to use strong passwords.
  2. If you can’t log in, contact the service provider or website immediately.
  3. Once you have regained access, review all of your account settings to make sure nothing has been changed by the attacker.
  4. Make sure you change your password on any other accounts that have the same password.

DEVICES

With the explosion of mobile devices, you now have even more things to protect. Once attackers control your device, they have the ability to intercept every action you take on that device. Here are some steps to help you identify and respond to infected devices.

Symptoms

  1. Your computer is taking you to websites you do not want to go to & running programs that you never installed.
  2. Your anti-virus reports an infected file/ Anti-virus and system updates are failing.
  3. Your device is continually crashing.
  4. Your smart phone is making expensive calls or purchasing apps without your permission.

Response:

  1. Perform a full scan with your updated anti-virus solution. If it detects any infected files, follow the steps it recommends.
  2. Make sure you install the latest version of your anti-virus & do regular backups of your personal Data.

INFORMATION

Protecting personal information, such as your Social Security Number, medical history, or purchase history, can be challenging, since you often do not control this data. Instead, organizations like your health care provider, your credit card company or your school store maintain this data. Here are some steps to help you identify when your personal information has been compromised and how to respond.

Symptoms:

  1. A service provider announces they had an incident and your data may have been compromised, such as your credit card number or your medical history.
  2. You see unauthorized charges on your credit card.
  3. Your credit reports indicate loan applications you do not recognize.
  4. Your health insurance is processing claims for treatments you did not receive.

Response:

  1. Call your credit card issuer immediately & have them cancel the credit card and issue a new one.
  2. If you believe there is fraud with your insurance account or bank account, call your insurance company or bank.
  3. During any filing process, always document all conversations with date, time and the name of the person you talked to.

To learn more about the security solutions visit http://www.securingthehuman.org/

Instantly Record Screencasts with Jing

January 15th, 2013 by cbello

Jing is a software program that allows you to easily take, edit and share screen captures from your computer.  With Jing software, a free download for Mac and PC, users can upload images and videos to Jing’s website then simply copy and paste the item’s URL anywhere — email, IM, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, etc.. Anyone can access your content by clicking on the URL.  No more downloading, saving and opening files!

Jing also features a simple image-editing program so you can enhance your image with text bubbles, arrows, and highlights. You can also add narration to your screencast videos, which can be up to 5 minutes long. Jing is great for web-based conferences, creating narrated slideshows, explaining maps, diagrams, directions and more.

Additionally, Jing will automatically provide an HTML embed code for your image or video so that you can paste it directly into a blog or Website. The free Jing download allows you to capture and store up to 2 GB of image or video files onto screencast.com. If you intend to use Jing for more elaborate projects, you can purchase Jing Pro for $14.95/year, which offers a few additional features such as simultaneous screen capture and webcam activity, higher quality images and the ability to post videos directly to YouTube.

Create Interactive Presentations with VoiceThread

November 13th, 2012 by cbello

VoiceThread is a collaborative online application that enables users to share a multimedia slideshow and make comments, as part of a group conversation. Once a thread is created, contributing users can comment using text, a webcam, a microphone or even by telephone. With VoiceThread, a group discussion can be securely captured and stored in one place. This tool could be used a part of a class or even just to share photographs with friends and family.

After registering with VoiceThread, as a free member, you are able to create up to three threads at a time. If you would like to be able to create additional threads or need more space, there are purchase options available on the site.