Accessing Email via the Web

on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Recently CSU has experienced server issues that are affecting local Outlook email programs particularly off campus. In most cases you are able to log into the Exchange Account using OWA (Outlook Web Access) to retrieve and send email.

If you have an eID go to:

1) https://mail.colostate.edu (using Internet Explorer)

2) Indicate to the system whether you are on a "public" (shared) computer or a "private" one. Choosing the "private" option will save your username for the next time you log on and will provide a longer timeout period, but passwords are never saved.

3) Enter a CSU eName and ePassword in the fields given

4) Click the Log On button

Note that using the web version only gives access to inbox folders, not local folders (these are stored on your computer).

Internet Explorer View












Outlook Desktop View












If you have a county email account go to:

1) https://mail.colostate.edu/owa/coopext_county@mail.colostate.eduNote “coopext_county”, insert your county name. Example: coopext_park

2) Indicate to the system whether you are on a "public" (shared) computer or a "private" one. Choosing the "private" option will save your username for the next time you log on and will provide a longer timeout period, but passwords are never saved.

3) Enter the county User name and Password in the fields given

4) Click the Log On button

Please contact the CSU Extension Help Desk if you need any assistance. (970) 491.5351

Cam Studio

on Friday, March 20, 2009

I've been using Camtasia for years now to record and edit training videos. It's a video screen capture device, so you can record what is happening on your computer screen, and narrate, edit and add titles to the video.

There is a free, open source version of Camtasia called Cam Studio. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Camtasia, but it does has some nice features, like autopan and cursor highlighting. I gave it a test drive yesterday, and it worked quite well (the results are below). I talked to several eXtension agents who have been using it for some time now and were very happy with it.

The recording video output is .avi, but it comes with a tool which easily renders it to Flash video. I've included a video I made with Cam Studio below. It's a tutorial on defining a site in Dreamweaver.

Download Cam studio here. The link will also provide more information about Cam Studio.

video

Google Group Update

on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An update to the previous post: the Extension mail server was not letting Google Groups created off-campus send Google Group email messages to those on-campus. The always reliable Andrew Riesel, our intrepid Network Systems Coordinator, has tweaked the mail server so it now accepts Google Groups email from groups both on and off campus.

Thanks Andrew!

And, again, to create email message groups in Google, read the post below, or go directly to http://groups.google.com/ and give it a test drive. All technical issues should be solved.

Google Groups

on Friday, March 13, 2009

I got a phone call yesterday asking how to create email groups online, so that an email address could be created that would automatically send emails to all group members. Think of it as an ad hoc Listserv.

As always, Google seems to have a tool for everything (though some work better than others; ever try Google Knol?). Google Groups is a nice solution for creating email groups. One of the better aspects of it is that it doesn't require you to use G-Mail (Google's email service).

Creating a group is a simple process. The administrator of the group needs to register with Google, which requires an email address and a password. Then go to http://groups.google.com/, or find the groups link on the "My Accounts" page. Give the group a name, a description, and add all the email addresses you would like to be part of the group. The members of the group will each receive an email from Google Groups, asking them if they'd like to join the group. There is a link they need to click to accept the invitation. That's pretty much it. The email address Google assigns will be name-of-group@googlegroups.com, though this can be customized. The screen shot below shows how a specific title is made part of the email address by Google.



Again, no one needs to use G-Mail; you can simply email the group from your own email client (e.g. Thunderbird, Outlook).

There are several options that make this an attractive solution. You can add a customized prefix to all email titles in brackets so that, for example, emails from a water issues group would look something like this: "[Water Issues Group] Meeting tonight at 4 p.m.". A customized footer option is available as well, to give specific instructions to all members of the group. Finally, you can assign permissions, so that only designated members (or all members, if that is what you decide) can add others to the group.

Other options are available as well: a group page, a document "drop." Play around on your own to discover all the possibilities here.

One caveat: Outlook has a tendency to dump Google Group email into the "Junk" folder. So make sure each group member knows to go to the "Junk" folder, and move the originating email to their inbox. From then on, email will go to the Inbox.

drop.io

on Tuesday, March 10, 2009

First off, I'd like to acknowledge eXtension and their always informative 30 Minute Sessions, which give fast nutshell descriptions and demos of emerging technologies and tools via the Connect system. To be notified of upcoming 30 Minute Sessions, go to the eXtension People page (https://people.extension.org/communities/learn) and click "Join Community." You'll need an eXtension ID, which will, I promise, take less than a minute.

The reason I'm plugging eXtension here is that I learned about drop.io during one of their 30 minute sessions, and begin using it on a daily basis almost immediately. It's at it's simplest a file drop, a place you can back up files, large or small, and share them with others. I use it as a place to access documents I'm working on from multiple computers. I keep music files on there as well, to play while I'm working.

It can store any kind of file (as opposed to, say, Google Docs), is very fast, and very customizable. You can choose the name of your subfolder (e.g. drop.io/csuextension/) if it's not already taken, password protect your site, change the background, and receive email notifications when anything is added.

Big bonus: each site you set up also automatically is given it's own email address, phone number, fax number, and conference call extension. So you can use it as a "drop" for emails, voice-mails, and faxes. You can even use it as a "bridge" to host conference calls.

Did I mention it's free? Go to http://drop.io/ to learn more, and sign up for your own "drop." Hint: you will be assigned a random series of numbers and letters as your subfolder name, but you can enter in your own title, assuming it's not taken.

Below is a screenshot of the file uploader in action.

Reader Feedback

on Friday, March 6, 2009

Several short tech tidbits today.

First, Qik (http://qik.com/), an odd and very interesting little application sent to me by Steve Newman, where you can send a live feed through your cellphone, and then post on the Qik site. Looking through the posted videos, there are lots of family videos (babies, cute kids, sports, etc.) and quite a few folks just talking into their cell phone cameras. But there clearly are useful purposes for this, documenting events as they happen, like speeches, natural disasters, breaking news, auto accidents.

Videos can be easily emailed from the site. It plays well with MySpace, Orkut, and other social networking sites.




From a NY Times article sent to me by Diana Laughlin, three cool features I didn't know about the Google Search box.

One, it functions as a calculator. Type in 2+2, 2*5, 1021/21, etc, and it will spit out the answer. * performs multiplication, / performs division, "sqrt" calculates square roots, etc.

Two, it functions as a dictionary. Type in "define:" and the word you want to define after the colon, and it will deliver definitions from multiple sources.

Three, it does metric conversion. Type in, say, "13 gallons," and it will return a value of "11.3562354 liters"




Finally, from Loretta Lohman, a cautionary website called Photoshop Disasters (http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/), an amusing website with a serious mission: documenting obvious Photoshop errors in real life advertisements and photos. Lots of missing limbs and misplaced shadows. My favorite is of Kate Winslet and her husband, where his arm is wearing a sportscoat but the rest of him is not. The educational value here is to increase your awareness of easy mistakes you can make in photo manipulation.

GIMP

on Tuesday, March 3, 2009

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, open-source image editor, similar to Adobe Photoshop. It's not quite as user-friendly as Photoshop, but if you're familiar with Phoroshop, you can find your way around in GIMP. Concepts such as selecting tools from a Toolbox palette (shown below) and building an image with a Layers palette transfer easily from Photoshop to GIMP.

Plus, it's free, and does some things better than Photoshop.

Because it's open source, there are plenty of free plug-ins and extensions available to help you customize GIMP to best suit your needs.

And, to help you out with the sometimes steep learning curve of both Photoshop and GIMP, there are archived tutorials available at:
http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/comptrain/copho.shtml

More information about GIMP, and the download it self, can be found at http://www.gimp.org/