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- Blackboard Feature of the
"Flotsam, Jetsam, Miscellaneous & Sundry"
Tech Talk Topic:
- For more, see
podcast notes page
for Episode 64.
Technology & Download News Briefs
Safari does Windows!
Apple announced this week the release of the public
beta for their web browser called Safari 3 (Apple
press release). It
comes in versions for Windows or Mac.
Click here to download, or read a review
Two hours later it was announced on various web
outlets (not Apple's web site) that Safari for
Windows has serious security vulnerabilities.
Click here for a description of the eight bugs
found so far. "...executives from both
Microsoft and Mozilla expressed a lack of concern
for their new (Windows) foe." (ars
technica). We are not
recommending it for Palomar College production
Also from Apple's
(World Wide Developers Conference) this week, the look of the
new Leopard OS was revealed this week.
There is a new desktop, dock, stacks in the dock;
consistent windows looks; a new finder
featuring cover-flow view, borrowed from iTunes; a
new sidebar; better searching technology (thank you
Vista); something called "Quick Look" like
Microsoft's new preview function; "Time Machine," a
new way to back up and restore files; Spaces, a
quick way to create groups of applications and
documents; and enhanced iChat and mail applications.
Click here for the Steve Jobs video,
here for the engadget summary.
- An MIT team has demonstrated the wireless
transfer of power. "Imagine a future in which
wireless power transfer is feasible: cell phones,
household robots, mp3 players, laptop computers and
other portable electronics capable of charging
themselves without ever being plugged in, freeing us
from that final, ubiquitous power wire. Some of
these devices might not even need their bulky
batteries to operate" (MIT
News). It is called "WiTricity," and
operaties by magnetically coupled resonance: "...for
laptop-sized coils, power levels more than
sufficient to run a laptop can be transferred over
room-sized distances nearly omni-directionally and
efficiently, irrespective of the geometry of the
surrounding space, even when environmental objects
completely obstruct the line-of-sight between the
two coils." It's not new. It's just that
we can't stand that our gadgets have to be tethered
Reborn 1.0 was released this week by the
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
at the University of Virginia. It is the
product of 10 years of research and labor by
archaeologists and computer specialists. "The
goal of 'Rome Reborn' is to create a digital model
illustrating the development of ancient Rome from
the earliest settlement in the late Bronze Age (ca.
1000 B.C.) to the beginning of the medieval period."
"They are calling it the largest, most comprehensive
simulation of a historic city ever created" (CNET).
The 3D display of historical development is very
much a dream at this time, and the developers have
focused on showing the city as it was in 320AD under
Constantine. The best review we have seen
thusfar is in the blog
News for Medievalists.
Yahoo issued a statement this week condemning
government control of the Internet in China.
"Yahoo is dismayed that citizens in China have been
imprisoned for expressing their political views on
the Internet," Yahoo said in a statement
faxed to the Associated Press. The company went
on to deplore "punishment of any activity
internationally recognized as free expression"
the same time Yahoo continues to hand over
information to the Chinese government when required
to do so. "Yahoo is currently involved in a
US lawsuit alleging that the company is
complicit in torture because of its cooperation with
Chinese legal procedures, and a second plaintiff has
just joined the case. " Yahoo's Flickr
photo service has been unavailable in most of China
for over a week now.
- It was patch Tuesday this week for Microsoft.
They released four critical patches, one important
one, and one moderate one. Small potatoes by
Click here for the full security bulletin, if
you are interested.
- Microsoft Research released this week their
software source code and tools to help science
progress toward an AIDS vaccine (MS
source code for a set of software tools developed by
Microsoft Research to advance AIDS vaccine research
and development is available for download starting
today from Microsoft’s
CodePlex Web site. By sharing the code openly
and at no charge with the worldwide AIDS research
community, Microsoft hopes to spur other scientists
and researchers to take up the tools and even build
on them, thereby speeding the way toward a vaccine.
Click here for an overview of the tools.
Kudos to Microsoft for donating millions of dollars
worth of research materials in an effort to halt
this human disaster.
- For those participating in the beta (or wannabe
participants), Windows Home Server Release Candidate
1 was made available on Wednesday.
Click here for registration and download
information. Home Server is for home computer
networks and will act as a central repository for
backups and sharing media and data files.
has added a "view as slideshow" option to
GMail. Now, when you receive a PowerPoint
attachment to a gmail, you can: a) View as HTML; b)
View as slideshow; or c) Download. The
slideshow viewer does a reasonable job of rendering
static PowerPoints, and even preserves some
animations, but not complex animations like motion
paths. It also does not play embedded audio or
(certainly) linked audio or video. It is
speculated that Google has released this feature
slightly in advance of releasing
their own web-based presentation product
(formerly called "Presently" when Google first
acquired it from Tonic Systems).
Safari Tech Book Online:
Ubuntu Unleashed, by Andrew Hudson and Paul Hudson. "Ubuntu
Unleashed is the second edition written by
the authors of the popular Fedora Unleashed books.
includes new and additional material based on the
latest release of the Ubuntu Linux distribution,
Feisty Fawn. Incorporating an advanced approach to
presenting information about Ubuntu, the book aims
to provide the best and latest information that
intermediate to advanced Linux users need to know
about installation, configuration, system
administration, server operations, and security." Palomar maintains a
subscription to Tech Books Online, and the books can
be accessed from any computer on the campus network,
or from off the network with a password
obtainable from the library.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- Academic Technology Training
- We have published the Academic Technology fall
2007 training schedule.
Click here for the training overview page,
here for the schedule. You can also
view/download the schedule in PDF format by
The Blackboard Feature of
the Week - David Gray
Flotsam, Jetsam, Miscellaneous & Sundry
week you’re treated to a variety of issues that have
drifted onto the technical support desk over the
last couple of weeks, since it’s apparently “that
time of year.”
First off, the Blackboard system will be
restarted tomorrow, Saturday June 16th.
Blackboard will be down for up to fifteen minutes
right around 6:00 a.m. When it comes back up, the
Wimba add-ons will be gone, and a minor bug fix from
Blackboard on how the “My Courses” module works will
Secondly, with Summer 2007 classes about to
begin, it’s time for the recurring reminder:
Instructors must make their own courses available
to students. The courses are generated as
Unavailable to students, and instructors must
manually cause the course sites to be available.
Instructions on this procedure can be found in this
a new semester looming, this is also a good time to
check to confirm that your instructor’s email
address is properly set in Blackboard. The email
address your Blackboard account uses comes out of
eServices, so you’ll have to log in there to change
it. Instructions on this procedure can also be found
Now, hopefully everyone already has their
Blackboard courses ready for summer. But, if not, or
if you’re trying to get ready for Fall 2007 already,
you may want to consider the two methods of moving
your course material into a new course site. The
Course Copy tool, which is the preferred method, has
you going into the older course and directing which
material you want to copy into the new course site.
Instructions on this can be found
online. The alternative, Exporting from one
course site and Importing into another, also works
well, and in some cases works better than the copy
procedure. Instructions on this are also online.
Click here for Export instructions;
here for Import instructions.
is a twist to consider, however, when using the
Export/Import model to transfer course materials.
Any announcements that are imported are shown as
having been added by the Blackboard Administrator
user. Normally this isn’t a big deal, as most folks
don’t look over to the right of the Announcements
area to see who added the postings. However, as
detailed back in episode 60 of the podcast, there
was a new ability added to announcements in version
7.2 of Blackboard. Namely, it is possible to send
out an announcement as an email – and the emails use
the return address of the original poster. Basically
what we’ve seen happen a couple times is that
announcements have been imported, then the
instructor edits the announcement and sends an
email; since the original poster is listed as the
Blackboard Administrator the email has the tech
support email address on it, rather than the
instructor’s. Of course, I’d consider it a best
practice to not transfer announcements, but to
repost in a new course anyway…
Finally, let’s not forget that there is
Blackboard technical support available on Saturdays
this year, so if you have any questions feel free to
contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling
760-744-1150 X2862 any time between 6 a.m. and 5
p.m., Monday through Saturday, even over the summer.
Now that the debris is out of the way, on with
the Summer semester!
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Most fonts get placed on your system by some
other program, either the operating system, Office,
Publisher, Adobe applications, and so on. That
accounts for that prodigious list of fonts you see
on the font drop-down menu in any program that uses
fonts. Sometimes you will come across an
individual font, either a free one you have found on
the Internet or one you have purchased. In
this case, you must install it manually.
The first step is the same regardless of the OS
platform you are using. You must get it onto
your computer, either by downloading from the
Internet (the usual method) or by copying it from a
distribution CD or other media. Be sure you
scan it for viruses before unzipping it or working
with it in any other way, unless you have downloaded
it from a source that you trust.
Fonts are usually distributed as zip files, so
the next thing to do is unzip it. There are
several types of fonts. It may be an old style
true type font, a new style true type font, called
an open type font (these two are the most common in
the Windows world). It may also be one of the
older style Adobe fonts, a metafont, or a
custom-made font from some third party or
individual. See the Wikipedia article on
computer fonts for an explanation.
Typography is a very complex topic and we don't have
space to go into detail on font types here.
After unzipping, locate the font file.
There is often a readme file included in the zip
file explaining certain features or uses of the
font(s). Always read this file. When you
are ready to proceed, do the following, depending on
what operating system you are using.
The quick way to install a font in Windows Vista
is to locate it, right-click it, and choose Install
from the context sensitive menu.
The long way is to click the Start button, select
the control panel (or type "control" into the search
box), click on Appearance and Personalization:
and then click on "Install or remove font" under
the Fonts label.
A Vista Explorer window will open with a list of
all the installed fonts available on your system on
the right (the contents of your Fonts folder) and a
folder list on the left. If you do not see the
menu bar in this window, press the Alt key and you
will. Now select File > Install New Font...
You will be taken back in time to the pre-history
of Windows computing in the next dialog box.
Navigate its Folders view to find the font file you
unzipped earlier. (If you used the new Vista
Downloads container, you will find it, in this view,
under C:\Users\Username\Downloads\Userfolder\and so
If the "Copy fonts to fonts folder" is checked,
as it is in the illustration above, you will find a
copy of the font (if you want to give it to someone
else, or copy it to another computer) listed among
all your other system fonts. This is a good
thing, so leave the box checked.
Now click the Install button in the dialog above
and your work is done. The new font will now
appear in all the font drop-down menus for any
program on that computer.
Once you learn the right-click shortcut, you will
never use the long way again.
On XP it is very similar to the Vista method.
The right-click shortcut is not available on XP,
which means you have to take the long way.
First (after downloading and unzipping) open the
The long way on XP is to open the control panel,.
If you are in "category view," i.e., the control
functions are grouped into 10 broad categories with
big icons, click the "Appearance and Themes
Now click the Fonts folder in the "See Also" area
in the upper left of the task pane:
From here things are similar to the Vista
install. You will be shown a folder view of
all your fonts. Click File > Install New
Font... Use the same primitive navigation
dialog to find the font you unzipped. Be sure
it is selected in the "List of fonts" field and
click the OK button.
It is far easier to use "Classic View" in the XP
control panel and to simply double-click on the
Fonts folder icon to achieve the process outlined
Tip: The easiest way to install a font in
both Windows Vista and XP is to open the fonts
folder and open the location of the font
simultaneously and drag the font from its download
location (after it has been unzipped) to the fonts
folder. The install will happen automatically.
Mac OS X
As with many things, font installation is much
easier (but you have less overall control) on Mac OS
X. Zipped files are automatically unzipped and
placed in the download location on the Mac (usually
the desktop). To install the font,
double-click its icon. A preview of the font
will appear, along with an "Install Font" button.
Click Install Font and that's it. You will see
the font installed in your font book.
As with Windows, you can simply drag the font
icon from the download location to the center column
(the "Font" column) in the font book and it will be
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