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- Blackboard Feature of the
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Tech Talk Topic: "10 Cool Drawing Tricks in
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for Episode 56.
Technology & Download News Briefs
In case you missed the notice last week, we
announced that the Blackboard course shells for the
summer semester classes have been created in
Blackboard. They are ready for professors to
add their materials.
David Wu, our TurnItIn system administrator has
informed us that the TurnItIn system will not be
available Saturday, March 24 from 10am to 2pm PDT.
TurnItIn has some critical database administration
they need to perform during that period.
Just days after the release of iTunes 7.1, version
7.1.1 for Windows has been released with the bug
Click here for the download site,
here for the minimalist "About" page.
The 12th annual TechEd conference will be held at
the Ontario Convention Center March 26-28.
Click here for more information,
here to register. If you are planning on
attending, stop by the Respondus booth and say hello
to our Respondus representative Shea Ramquist.
Click here for more information on Respondus or
StudyMate (Palomar login required) or go to the
Respondus/StudyMate web site.
Mozilla announced this week that version 1.5 of
the Firefox browser will only be supported through
April 24. It is there gentle way of urging
users to upgrade to
Symantec has released it
Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Trends for
July-December 06 [PDF]. Key findings
- "The current threat environment is characterized
by an increase in data theft and data leakage, and
the creation of malicious code that targets specific
organizations for information that can be used for
- Government accounted for 25% of all identity
theft-related data breaches, and education accounted
for another 20%.
- The theft or loss of a computer or other data
storage medium accounted for 54% of identity
theft-related data breaches.
- The US was the world leader in malicious
attacks, accounting for 33% of attack activity.
- The US was the primary target (52%) of all
denial of service attacks.
- China has the world's largest percentage of bot-infected
- The US has the world's largest percentage of bot-command
and control computers (40%).
- 51% of all underground economy servers known to
Symantec reside in the US.
- 86% of credit and debit cards advertised for
sale on underground economy servers were issued by
banks in the US.
On Wednesday Microsoft released "Why
PCs Should Get More Sleep," which promotes the
idea of using sleep (or hibernate) mode on PCs
rather than running a screen saver.
explain the dramatic difference power management can
make...a typical desktop PC and LCD monitor sitting
idle for a year (outside of business hours) would
consume 632 kilowatt hours of energy — compared to
34 in sleep mode. That’s a savings of 598 kilowatt
hours per PC per year." To illustrate it
another way, the article indicated that a PC running
a screen saver consumed as much power as a 100-watt
light bulb, about $80 per year, dumping 1,350 pounds
of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, "a
major contributor to global warming."
In Windows Vista to enable/configure sleep mode go
to the Control Panel > System Maintenance > Power
Options. With Windows XP it is Control Panel >
Performance and Maintenance > Power Options.
On Mac OS X it is System Preferences > Energy Saver.
New this Tuesday, you can now add a decorative theme
to your Google home page. Login to Google
(with your GMail account information) and click the
Select theme link in the upper right of the page.
There are seven to pick from (including the
minimalist Classic look) Six of them (the
non-Classic ones) will change with time of day and
Click here for the Google press release.
Also new from Google, search results for companies
and locations may appear with a new symblo in
Google, the + symbol:
The plus indicates there is more, rich media data
available. Clicking the plus currently will
reveal either stock trend data, or a map:
Click here for the Google press release.
Google indicates that the "plus box" will be used
for more types of data in the future.
AppleTV is finally available for sale. Apple
TV is a means of wirelessly streaming video content
purchased through the iTunes store to your TV.
Click here for the relevant Apple web site.
We would love to
hear from anyone who actually buys one of these
Line Noise, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation's
occasional podcast is back again. The
subscription address is
click here to subscribe through iTunes.
has opened a new
Classical Music Blowout store. Amazon's
large classical collection (over 100,000 titles) has
been in place for years, but now, to promote the
growth of sales (and appreciation) of classical
music the Blowout Store offers over 2000 deeply
discounted titles. In addition to record
sales, the store also offers tutorials from
Naxos on classical music appreciation in its
"Discover Music Corner." (Current tutorials
Violin: Julia Fischer, and
Vivaldi). The store is likely to attract
new fans of classical music, who, it is guessed, are
much more likely to buy than steal their music, but
who may not want to make significant investments in
a field where they do not yet know a great deal.
To further keep up with Naxos developments,
Mark Berry's blog, or use the
Naxos MySpace site.
According to David Pogue of the New York Times
"the most compelling, passionate, informed speakers
you've ever heard" are at the TED conference, held
annually in Monterey, CA.
is also the hottest ticket (at $6,000.00 per) on the
west coast. Next year's TED is already sold
out. Fortunately the conference organizers
have begun placing
videos/audios of the speakers online.
Listen in to hear some of the most interesting
people in the world deliver their best ideas in an
Safari Tech Book Online:
Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 Plain & Simple.
"Get the fast facts that make learning Microsoft
Office PowerPoint 2007 plain and simple! This
no-nonsense guide uses easy numbered steps and
concise, straightforward language that show the most
expedient ways to learn a skill or solve a problem."
Safari Tech Books Online are accessible from
on-campus or with a
password off campus.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
The Blackboard Feature of
the Week - David Gray
Summer 2007 courses are newly created, as of last
Friday, and Fall 2007 courses are due to be created
in May, so it’s time to turn attention to different
options for getting new Blackboard courses filled
The most common method is to just copy all
content from an existing course into the new one,
using the Course Copy feature. If you select all the
options of the copy tool, your new course will have
everything just as in the previous course.
Similarly you can export material from the older
course, and then import that content into the new
course, using the Course Export and Import Package
tools. This will also replicate all materials in the
new course, just the same as in the old.
However, when materials are exactly copied or
transferred into a new course, there are a few
issues to be aware of. First, never assume that the
copy or export/import procedure worked perfectly;
there is a long tradition of problems in these
sub-systems in Blackboard, so it is always wise to
examine the new course and confirm that your
materials are actually there. (We always try to
announce when there are known issues with the copy
and export/import tools, and currently there are no
known issues, but it’s always better to be safe than
sorry.) Second, the new content is a duplicate of
the old, so things like date/time restrictions,
Adaptive Release rules, and test passwords will need
to be re-examined in the new course.
If you are using Course Cartridge material from a
publisher, you may want to check with the publisher
to see if there is a new edition of the cartridge
material; likewise you should check to confirm that
you’ll still be teaching from the same textbook in
the new semester. Be aware that some cartridges will
not copy their material, so in some cases you will
have to re-import the cartridge each semester rather
than the more traditional copy method.
Finally, when getting ready for a new semester,
you may want to take time and consider how your
current material is set up, and evaluate its
effectiveness. It is certainly possible to
re-structure your course materials using the
individual item and folder copy tool when
transferring materials into a new course; if you are
not happy with the way your old course is organized,
this is a perfect time to start a new layout of
materials for next time.
At any rate, Course Copy, Export Course, Import
Package, Import Course Cartridge, and the
Item/Folder Copy tool are what you’re going to use
when you open up the “Course Prep Toolbox”… If you
do need help in this process, don’t hesitate to ask
for help by emailing
email@example.com or calling
Resources - ScreenCasts
Copying Course Content into Another Course -
This video shows the process of copying course
materials from one course into another; this is
the process for copying your content into "next
Exporting and Importing Course Content -
This video covers how to export materials from
one course, save the file, and import the
materials into another course. The written
instructions of this process is also available
Copying Items into Another Course - This
video shows how to copy a single item from one
course into another. The same steps would
allow a copy of an entire folder of items, or
allow copying from one place to another in the
same course site.
Importing a Course Cartridge - This video
walks through the process of importing a
publisher's course cartridge into a Blackboard
course. Prior to the start of this video,
it is assumed you have already received a
Cartridge Download Key from the publisher.
For information on obtaining a Cartridge
Download Key from your publisher, contact your
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
10 Cool Drawing Tricks in PowerPoint 2003
Anyone who has had to do any sort of drawing or
annotation in PowerPoint 2003 knows the drawing
By default it is docked to the bottom of the
PowerPoint screen, but can be floated or docked
anywhere. In this segment I would like to
share some drawing tips that you may not be aware
of. Drawing is very easy in PowerPoint.
Just select the drawing tool (line, arrow,
rectangle, oval, or Autoshape), hold down the mouse
button, drag and release. Here are some tricks
that you may not know to make drawing even easier
and more powerful.
Drawing multiple lines or shapes.
you need to make multiple lines, arrows, rectangles
or ovals on a slide it becomes tedious to keep
drawing and clicking the tool to reactivate it each
time. If you double-click the tool, however,
it will stay active (indicated by a highlighted
color on the toolbar) until you click it again.
Once it is active you can draw as many lines, etc.
as you need before de-activating it again.
Duplicating a drawn object.
duplicate a drawn object, select it (by clicking on
it -- an object that is selected will display it's
sizing handles, those little circles that can be
drug to resize it), and press Ctrl-D. Pressing
Ctrl-D many times will create many copies of the
object. Ctrl-dragging an object will also
duplicate it and move it to a new location.
Drawing a straight line, or perfect square or
circle. If you need to draw perfectly
straight lines (or squares or circles) hold down the
shift key while drawing.
Group complex shapes.
If you create
a set of related shapes (a flowchart with line
connectors, for example) but then decide you wish to
move it or copy it to another slide, be sure to
group it first. Then you can move/copy it as a
unit rather than element by element. The group
command can be found on the Draw menu, or by
right-clicking a selected group of objects. If
you later need to move one or more of the elements,
use the ungroup command and you will be able to
modify any individual object as you wish before
Editing the color scheme. As most
people know, every design template (even the blank
slide) has a default color scheme. When you
draw a rectangle on a blank slide it has by default
a certain line color and fill color. By
editing the design color scheme you can change these
defaults. Do so by opening the task pane
(click View > Task Pane, or press Ctrl-F1) and
selecting "Slide Design - Color Schemes:"
Now click the small link at the bottom of the
task pane that says "Edit color schemes..."
The Edit Color Scheme dialog box will appear.
To edit the line color, click the "Text and lines"
color swatch, click the "Change Color..." button,
select a new color, and then click Apply.
The same can be done for Fills. Remember
that this will affect all lines and fills in your
presentation, not just the ones on the current
slide. If you like the scheme you develop,
save it as a Design Template for re-use.
Set the AutoShape Defaults. Let's
say you use AutoShapes regularly through your
presentation, but you don't like their appearance.
You need to adjust the line style and color each
time, the fill color each time, reshape the object
each time, add a drop shadow each time, etc.
All of this labor can be eliminated by doing it one
time, selecting your Autoshape, then clicking on the
Draw menu and choosing "Set AutoShape
Now, every AutoShape you draw will inherit these
It is worth noting that this also applies to
lines, arrows, rectangles and ovals. These are
really just another sort of AutoShape. If you
need a certain line thickness each time, first draw
a line, change its thickness with the line style
tool, select it and choose "Set AutoShape Defaults."
Remember a default is a default. It applies to
all existing and new shapes in the presentation that
have not been modified specially to be something
other than the default style.
Whenever you see
the dotted line at the top of a pop-up or drop-down
menu it means the menu is detachable, as with the
AutoShape menu and molst of its sub-menus:
Place your cursor over the little dots at the top
of the menu, hold down the mouse button, and drag to
detach the menu from its anchored location. It
can be freely floated over the work area for quick
access. Don't worry about putting it back.
It will still be there next time you look.
More AutoShapes. Don't forget there
are many more AutoShapes than the ones on the
AutoShapes menu. Click the "More
AutoShapes..." choice on the AutoShapes menu (see
directly above) and a long list of them will appear
in thumbnail in the task pane. Some of them
look more like clip art than AutoShapes, meaning
that they all do not have reshape handles (the
little yellow diamonds in an AutoShape), but
otherwise they act just like AutoShapes, and obey
all the same rules.
Draw and Save Your Own ClipArt. If
you can't find an AutoShape that meets your need,
you can use the various drawing tools (like the Free
Form Line Tool, for example):
to draw your own. Once you have your
, right-click it and choose "Save As Picture...":
In the Save As dialog box, be sure the file type
is "Enhanced Windows Metafile (*.emf):
You will note that it is possible to save
the file in several other formats, jpg, png, tif and
so one. These other formats, however, are bit
mapped formats, not vector-based formats. The
advantage of vector-based formats is that an actual
picture is not saved, simply a group of data that
describes the picture. Therefore when a
vector-based graphic is resized, it does not distort
or pixellate, as a gitmapped graphic does.
Now that you have your emf file, open the
Microsoft Clip Organizer (you will fine it on the
Start button > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Tools
submenu). Choose File >
Add your file to the clip organizer, and
copy/move it to any location you wish where it will
be easy for you to find it (a consistent, replicable
naming convention goes a long way here in finding
things later). Now you can re-use it as often
as you wish in any presentation you wish by simply
finding it in the clipart task pane:
There they are, ten cool drawing tricks that the
average user probably doesn't know. Have fun
Podcast Episode 56 |
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