2014 Computer Skills Webinars

on Monday, August 25, 2014

This year the Extension Technology Unit will be holding a webinar via Adobe Connect on the first Wednesday of every month at 9 a.m..  Topic were chosen based on the training needs survey sent out earlier this week.

Emails explaining how to sign into the webinars will be sent to Extension employees well ahead of time.

Summer 2014 schedule

  • Sept. 3rd: Office 365 (Microsoft office suite, cloud storage, 5 free licenses from CSU)
  • Oct. 1st: Google Drive (browser-based office tools, cloud storage of documents)
  • Nov. 5th: Google+, Google Hangouts (social media via your Google account)
  • Dec. 3rd: iCloud (Apple's cloud storage of documents)


Google Hangouts On Air

on Friday, May 2, 2014

Google Hangouts On Air is a rich, feature-filled video meeting environment.  You can communicate via audio or video, share your screen, share a document residing on Google Drive, take control of another participant's computer screen (with their permission of course), and even stream your meeting live on YouTube.

Here's how it works.  All participants need to have a Google account (if you have a gmail address you have a Google account).  Sign in and click your name at the upper right (screenshot at right).  This will take you to your Google+ dashboard.

 At the upper left of the new page you will see a pulldown menu.  Choose Hangouts.

Choose Hangouts on Air, then Choose Start a Hangout On Air (screenshot below).

The dialogue box that appears (screenshot below) allows you to name the session and give it a description.  You can start the session immediately by selecting Now, or choose Later and select a meeting time.  Under Audience, you can type in individual gmail addresses or circles of friends, and even choose Public if you like, where the meeting will be publicly broadcast on YouTube.

Click the big blue Start button. Once the meeting begins, there are an array of options available to you from the toolbars to the left and at the top (screenshot below).  You can communicate audio only, or with video and audio (all participants will have those options as well).  You also have options to open a chat window share your screen, share a document through Google Drive, share a YouTube video, invite new participants on the fly, take control of another computer, and much more.  
We'll present a much more detailed webinar on how to use Hangouts On Air this Fall. 


on Wednesday, February 26, 2014

There are many task organizing programs out there, from Outlook to Evernote to Google tasks, that can track a project you are working in detail and with great precision, sync across platforms, and in some cases allow you to assign different tasks to different groups.  They are all excellent tools.

Sometimes, however, you need just the opposite: a simple to do list where you can quickly write things down that you need to do that day, as they occur to you.  I use Wunderlist (www.wunderlist.com/), and I like it.  It's simple and straightforward.  I keep it on my desktop, nearly always open, and add tasks as they occur to me, check off tasks I've completed.  It syncs across platforms so you can access it from your phone or tablet.  You can drop and drag tasks into Work, Personal, and other categories, or create your own categories.  You can also add due dates and reminders.

It's simple, it's easy, it gets the job done. And it's free!



Social Fixer (formerly Better Facebook)

on Friday, January 31, 2014

Social Fixer (socialfixer.com), formerly called Better Facebook, is exactly that: a way to streamline Facebook to take out the annoying features, and tweak the ones you want to keep, to create a better Facebook experience.

It's free, and will automatically discover what browser you are using and provides the appropriate add-in.  Once added, it will take you through a Wizard to show you to use the most commonly used features of Social Fixer.  A small icon will then appear in the upper right corner to give you access to all the tools available in Social Fixer.

You should definitely click the icon to see all the options allowed (the screenshot below is just one of fourteen tabs of options).  The Wizard will take you through the most basic options, but clicking the icon and seeing all the options available is really where Social Fixer begins to shine.  You can change the width of the display (or go full width of your browser window), add and remove features in the side columns, force the most recent stories to display first (as opposed to Facebook deciding what you want to see), get rid of sponsored posts, change color themes, even write your own CSS for your Facebook page.

Because of the sheer number of available options, it takes some tweaking to get things just right, turning off some features after you've tried them, turning some features back on.  But after getting a sense of how Social Fixer works, you can customize Facebook to make it a much more useful and enjoyable experience.