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Technology and Download News Briefs
The purpose of this feature is to keep
our community informed of the latest in software
developments and downloads that might affect us.
Remember, it is not recommended that Beta software be
installed on Palomar College production computers.
Windows Defender, the free anti-spyware program from
Microsoft, is out of Beta and is available for free
Click here for information and download link.
If you are currently using a Beta copy of Windows
Defender it will expire on December 31 of this year.
Windows genuine validation is required to download.
Vista was released to manufacturing this week.
It will be available to business customers November
30, and to general consumers in January. If
you are planning an update to Vista, Microsoft has
provided a site where you can evaluate your PC for
Vista readiness, read the system requirements for
Vista, download the RC1 Beta, and find out all you
might want to know about the new operating system.
Click here to access the site. Windows
Vista RC1 should not be installed on Palomar College
Office and Exchange 2007 were also released to
manufacturing, and Microsoft will be conducting a
worldwide release event on November 30. To
go with the Office release the
Office Online web site has been redesigned with
over 50,000 new help articles, 35 new demos, online
training and 400 new templates.
Microsoft is also giving away free accounting
Click here to find out about and download Office
Accounting Express 2007. According to the
product FAQ, "...Accounting Express 2007, financial
management software is designed for millions of
starting businesses and home based businesses that
currently use pen & paper or spreadsheets to run
their business. It provides a single place to manage
the company’s business finances with the familiar
look and feel of Microsoft Office system programs."
MS Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and
PowerPoint 2007 File Formats was released this
week. "By installing the Compatibility Pack in
addition to Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, or
Office 2003, you will be able open, edit, and save
files using the
file formats new to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007.
The Compatibility Pack can also be used in
conjunction with the Microsoft Office Word Viewer
2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003
to view files saved in these new formats. For more
information about the Compatibility Pack, see
Knowledge Base article 923505."
Microsoft has also made available a free download
maps.live.com which presents 3D maps from the
Windows Live Local map service (also free).
The product is called "Virtual Earth 3D," and is in
Windows Live Local for Outlook was also updated
to version 2.1 to incorporate the 3D mapping
features presented in Virtual Earth.
A beta version of StudyMate is now available at
our Respondus/StudyMate download site (Palomar
Be warned that this
is still a beta product, but we wanted to get it out
there to let faculty members test it, if they so
desire. The new version contains a publish to iPod option, new
template for “calculated” questions, the ability to
embed audio clips, SCORM enhancements, and some
We reported last week that we had
anticipated upgrading our
Horizon Wimba voice tools to version 5.1 on
November 9th, that date has been moved to November
17th. We will place an announcement in
Blackboard once the tools have been installed and
are ready for use.
Via Jill Hurst-Wahl's
Digitization 101 blog: The report
Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning
has been released to the public. It focuses on "the
pedagogical implications of the widespread use of
the digital format." The information presented in
the report was formed from hundreds of survey
results. The web page for the report provides access
Full Report and
Adobe has released a beta of
Photoshop Lightroom 4.1, a Photoshop companion
program made for professional photographers who want
to keep their photo shoot libraries organized, to
make photo modifications/corrections in a simple,
automated way, to create a slideshow, and send
photos for printing. Watch the
tutorial video to find out what it's all about.
Apple this week
released their new line of MacBook consumer
notebooks with Intel Core 2 Duo processors.
According to Apple, "...Just one inch thin, the new
MacBooks are up to 25% faster than the previous
generation and feature a built-in iSight video
camera, the MagSafe Power Adapter, and iLife ‘06."
CCC Confer will be
hosting a Webinar on Tuesday, November 14 at noon
featuring Patricia Heusner, the Education Specialist
for the National Park Service. In addition to a
virtual introduction to the old Point Loma
Lighthouse (celebrating its 151st anniversary) and
the Cabrillo National Monument, she will be
providing valuable information about FREE resources
from the NPS for educators! With budget cutbacks and
limited funding available it is
especially beneficial to learn about these programs
available in the areas of the Sciences, History and
Click here to find out more and register.
Listen to the news [mp3 - 13:31]
The Blackboard Feature of the Week - David Gray
The Deep End of the Pool
Dave addresses an issue with publishers' question
pools that has surfaced several times this semester.
The problem relates to questions imported from
publishers' pools that have a value of 0 points for
the question. When the questions are added to
Blackboard tests, they retain the point value (0)
assigned by the publisher, rather than the default
question value for each question set when creating
the test in Blackboard. This annoying situation has a
laborious fix and a slightly less laborious, but
more complex workaround.
Note: To get to David's vodcast site,
Teaching with Technology - Dr. Haydn Davis
About this time
in the semester motivation seems to be waning and
getting students (both online and on-campus
students) involved in discussions is proving to be
challenging. I thought today’s teaching tip could
center on the pesky problem of getting students more
involved in class discussions. Many of the simple
tips contained in the web sites listed below are
geared to the in-person environment while others
will be applicable to both online and on-campus
suggestions listed are simple ones but remember,
they have all worked well for other instructors.
I’ll choose just a couple representative samples to
mention in this podcast and anyone interested can
view the rest at the web sites referenced in the
program notes page.
of Montana -
Ask: “How does this information
relate to what we’ve already covered,” or “How
is this information relevant to you?”
- When asking
questions, wait enough time for students to
respond – if that doesn’t work, ask them to
write their answers, and then try again.
students to evaluate their own behavior – in
terms of motivation, commitment, willingness to
participate; we evaluate instructors’
performance in the classroom, and we should, but
we don’t do anything similar for student
of California – Berkeley -
I almost didn’t
include this resource as it is so dated – some tips
going back to 1983. But as I reviewed the site I
decided that maybe, teaching tips are timeless –
anyway here are just a couple from an extensive
- Begin each
lecture with a short summary of the previous
day’s content. "Students crave both continuity
and a sense of closure," an instructor explains.
"They do not like unfinished presentations. At
the same time, because none of us likes
repetition, I try hard to use different words
and examples in each summary. The best way I
have found to avoid redundancy is to note on an
index card the exact words I have used at the
end of a lecture, so that I am reminded to vary
them in the brief recapitulation I give at the
beginning of the next class meeting."
instructor divides the class period into blocks
of time – the first block is spent presenting
information, building an argument; during the
next block the students are asked to generate
possible explanations or interpretations of the
facts or topic presented, and the last part of
the class is devoted to analyzing the discussion
and bringing the lecture topic to a conclusion.
Before class is dismissed students are given a
question which will be the focus of the next
University of Hawaii site – many
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
IE 7 Extenders
This week, continuing to investigate IE7, I would
like to bring you three IE7 extenders which enhance
its feature set. To see others,
click here for a long list. (Be careful of
for-pay products you may find among the free gems).
See the URL list at the bottom of this article for
The three I would like to discuss today are "Inline
Search" by Core Systems, "ieSpell"
by RedEgg Software, and "1-Click Answers" by
All are free, and add very useful touches to the already
superior IE7 interface.
Inline Search "...turns searching into a
Web page into a non modal research experience
coupled with a search as you type facility."
What it really is is an unobtrusive little search
box that replaces the clunky, page-obscuring Ctrl-F
search box provided by Microsoft for searching
within the current web page. Inline Search
hijacks the Ctrl-F keystroke and places its elegant
little search box at the bottom of the page.
As you type, Inline Search will jump to matches.
If you type enough of a word for it to determine
that the search term does not exist on the page, the
search box will turn red. Clicking the
"Highlight all" button will highlight all instances
of the search term on the page.
The latest version is 1.3, so if you previously
downloaded an earlier version from the Microsoft
website, click the download page link below to get
Shortcuts: the Esc key quickly puts away
the search bar, F3 finds next instance of search
term on page, and Shift-F3 finds previous instance.
This is the way the inline search works in
Firefox, now it can work that way in IE7 too.
ieSpell "...is a free Internet
Explorer browser extension that spell-checks
text-input boxes on a Web page." After filling
in form input boxes on a web page, you can activate
ieSpell in one of three ways:
- Click the ieSpell button in the IE7 toolbar
- Choose it from the Tools menu;
- Right-click the web page and choose "check
spelling" from the context menu.
You do not need to own MS Office to use it, but
if you do, ieSpell can share the same custom
dictionary. It also has a nice look up word
feature. If you come across a word with which
you are unfamiliar (whether or not it is in an input
field) you can look up in Merriam Webster,
Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, Cambridge Advanced
Learner Dictionary, or Yahoo! Education Dictionary.
All are provided as look-up sources.
This is the perfect tool for those web apps that do
not yet have spell-check. The latest version
is 2.5.1 (build 106).
1-Click Answers "...provides instant
access to almost four million topics from any
program, without interrupting your work. Just
alt-click on any word or phrase on your screen
(e-mail, browser, any Office program) and get
instant answers, facts and explanations in a concise
AnswerTip information bubble. Click the 'more'
button and access Answers.com, a completely free
online reference library, offering over 100
authoritative encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri,
and other trusted sources."
Clicking the Continue button at the foot of this
answer, or the More button at the top, takes you to
Answers.com where you will find a very thorough set
of articles on Wikipedia, including links to other
important resources (see
It is true Answers.com contains ads. They are
prominent, but not overly obtrusive as web ads
go, and the content can be very useful.
Answers.com bills itself as the "world's greatest
encyclodictionalmanacapedia." (And yes,
alt-clicking on encyclodictionalmanacapedia
brings up a complete definition of this term).
"1-Click Answers™ also includes a pop-out desktop
AnswerBar that docks conveniently at the side
of your screen. Click the arrow to open or close
AnswerBar; then just type a word to submit your
query directly to Answers.com. 1-Click Answers™ also
includes the Answers IE toolbar, which makes it easy
to access Answers.com in Internet Explorer."
Now, the toolbar is fine. In fact it installs
disabled, which earns my respect.
Unfortunately the annoying "AnswerBar that docks
conveniently" is a nuisance. The good news is
it is easily turned off. Just alt-click a
term, wait for the Answers box to pop up, then
select Options. Click the AnswerBar tab and
It is also easy to modify the activation key on
the Activation tab. While described by
Microsoft as an IE7 enhancement, it will work from
any program if you permit it to install on system
startup. The current version is 188.8.131.522.
In all, these are three excellent tools that
extend the usability of IE7 in important and
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