Archive for March, 2009

Enhance your Web Browsing Experience with Firefox Add-ons

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Whether or not you are already using Mozilla Firefox for Web browsing, it’s helpful to know how you can extend Firefox to more precisely meet your needs.  Firefox Add-ons, such as themes and extensions, are small pieces of software that add functionality to Firefox.  Add-ons enable you to customize Firefox’s interface, manage bookmarks on-line, display weather forecasts in your toolbar, and much more. In this week’s tech tip, we’ll provide some information to help get you started as well as recommend a few add-ons that seem impossible to live without.

Getting Started

In order to take advantage of Firefox add-ons, you’ll need to install Mozilla Firefox; if you already have Firefox, we recommend that you upgrade to the latest version, found here.  Once you install Firefox, you can visit the Firefox Add-ons page to browse and start installing add-ons.  Keep in mind that you can access preferences, updates, and uninstall add-ons within Firefox by clicking on the Tools menu and selecting Add-ons.  Then just click on the extension or theme that you would like to manage.


Colorful Tabs – With this add-on, each tab is colored a different color.  These vivid colors make it easy to distinguish between tabs and they make your browser look pretty snappy too.

Forecastfox – Get customizable weather forecasts to display in any Firefox toolbar or status bar.

Explore the Oceans and Mars with the New Google Earth

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

In the newest version of Google Earth, users can explore the oceans, view 3D images of Mars and see how areas of the Earth have changed over time.  Google Earth is a free software program that enables users to search digital maps and view 3D satellite imagery.

The new features are a significant upgrade to the program; here are a few examples from the Google Earth Web site:

  • Oceans – In the new ocean layer, you can plunge all the way to the floor of the sea, view exclusive content from partners like BBC and National Geographic, and explore 3D shipwrecks like the Titanic.
  • Mars – View 3D rover models and follow their tracks to see high-resolution 360-degree panoramas.
  • Historical Imagery – View your neighborhood, home town, and other familiar places and see how they’ve changed over time.
  • Sky – View images of distant galaxies and nebulae from the Hubble Space Telescope, learn about the movement of the planets and the lifecycle of the stars, and more.

For more information, take Google Earth’s Product Tour.

Create an Image Slideshow

Thursday, March 12th, 2009


1X1If you have pictures that you’d like to share, instead of emailing individual photos or posting many images to your Blackboard course, consider creating a movie slideshow. With QuickTime Pro software, you can easily create a movie slideshow from a folder of images.   While you may have the free QuickTime Player already installed on your computer, updating to QuickTime Pro ($29.99/Mac or PC) will enable you to create a nice-looking movie presentation of your photos.

Learn how to create a slideshow movie in QuickTime in just a few steps:

Quick Tip

Try saving your PowerPoint presentation as JPEG images.  If you have a large PowerPoint file with many images, saving your presentation as JPEG images, then creating a slideshow movie from the PowerPoint JPEGs will significantly reduce the size.  Additionally, the movie file will be read-only and will display nicely on a Web page or Blackboard course page.


Safely Manage all of your Passwords

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

As you know, the best way to maintain control over your privacy online is to create tough passwords that you change on a regular basis. But as the list of your online accounts that require unique logins and passwords grows, it becomes a great challenge to remember them all. If you have over a dozen accounts with passwords and you struggle accounting for them all, you should consider investing in “password management software”, or software that is specifically designed to manage, securely store, and help you use your passwords. With such a tool, you will only have to remember one master password to access the rest of your passwords.


Password Safe (Windows)

Password Safe keeps all your passwords in an encrypted database.

Password Corral (Windows)

Password Corral is another popular freeware password manager for Windows.

Commercial Products

Roboform (Windows) $29.95

Roboform is an advanced password manager and form filler for Internet Explorer and Firefox and is an excellent computing tool. It creates passwords, saves them, stores your login ids and information, and takes the time to fill all of the information on all of those pesky online forms for you. It works as an addon to your browser, but there is also a USB version called Pass2Go.

1passwd (Mac OS X) $39.95

This is the Mac equivalent of Roboform. It stores all of your passwords and forms information within the built-in OS X Keychain.

Tips on Creating a Strong Password