CSU Extension Webpage Template lessons

on Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Connect recordings for the entire 10 session class on working with the CSU Extension Webpage Template are now archived and available at http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/comptrain/co.shtml#temp. Each session is about an hour long, and the sessions lead you through the entire process of building and publishing a website using the template. If you don't have 10 hours to spare, note that Session 8 is a "Putting It All Together" session where you are led through the entire process in about an hour and a half. Included in each session is a link to a .pdf that documents the session.

Here are the topics:

Session 1: Basic concepts, downloading the files, tour of template components, tour of Dreamweaver CS4 workspace.

Session 2: Defining the Site, Directory Structure, Metatags.

Session 3: Content. Adding text, headers and images; creating webpage, document and email links; working with lists and bullet points; working with tables.

Session 4: SSIs. Working with the Server Side Includes (SSIs) for the top navigation bar, left navigaton bar, and footer.

Session 5: Creating an Engaging home page. Working with tables and linked lists, embedding slideshows, YouTube, Flash and Quicktime videos, and audio podcasts.

Session 6: Second level pages. Differences between a first level and a second level page; creating new second level pages; posting content from PDF documents, Word documents, Excel documents, PowerPoint presentations.

Session 7: Named Anchors. Used to create links to different parts of the same page. Thus you can allow end-users to easily navigate a long webpage of content.

Session 8: Putting it all together. Setting up a website, start to finish.

Session 9: Writing your own CSS. How to add your own CSS sheet to the existing CSS, how to build your own header style, paragraph style, a box to add visual emphasis, and a photo with a caption underneath.

Session 10: Google Analytics. How to register for the code, how to add the code to your website, and how to use Find and Replace to add it to every page on your site.

Facebook Privacy Settings

on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Facebook is notorious about relaxing your privacy settings to allow more people to visit your comments, photos, and personal information.

You can, of course, go into your privacy settings and manually change them. And you should. But there is a new, free tool called SaveFace (http://www3.untangle.com/saveface), by Untangle, that allows you to set all your privacy setting to "Friends Only" with a few clicks (for those unfamiliar with Facebook, a "friend" is essentially someone on your Facebook contact list).

Go to the SaveFace website and drag the icon provided into your Bookmarks. Go to Facebook. Go to your bookmarks and click the SaveFace Bookmark. It will automatically change all your settings to only let people to whom you've allowed access (i.e. "friends") to see your information. It takes less than a minute, and they keep no personal information about you.

Another open source app that does essentially the same thing is available at: http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/

Office 2010 Beta

on Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Late yesterday Windows unveiled the beta version of Office 2010. It's free, and it's available here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/default.aspx. The beta version will expire in October 2010.

Overall, it doesn't look too much different than Office 07. The ribbon is still there (though the Office button has been replaced with a File tab). There are some enhanced image editing features, such as color saturation and artistic effects. You can edit videos embedded in PowerPoint directly from the program.

The big difference is that you can save documents to the Web and share them with others on Microsoft's "Skydrive." Clearly, this is an attempt to compete with Google Docs and other Web 2.0 cloud computing options available out there. It allows you to save your documents to the web directly from the File tab, and you can invite others to view or collaborate with you on documents, as well as access them from any computer.

Yes, you can already do all of that on Google Docs. And yes, this free version expires in October, after which you have to buy it. But it's worth a look, if only to see how Microsoft will compete in the Web 2.0 arena in the future.

More information is available at the the Microsoft Office 2010 FAQ page.

Center for Plain Language Awards

on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Center for Plain Language has given out two awards this week for public websites that clearly and cleanly present information to the public. They are the US Department of Health and Human Services' Quick Guide to Healthy Living and the website for the City of Gresham, Oregon.

Both websites are worth a look as good examples of how to present content. They identify their audience and are written clearly for those readers. They make information easy to find, understand, and use. They omit unnecessary information and avoid dense, cluttered text.

Equally valuable are the criteria the Center for Plain Language uses to bestow these awards. You can also find Guidelines for creating plain language materials at their site. These are excellent resources for making sure your audience can quickly and easily find and understand the information you are presenting.