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Opportunities Next Week
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"The Future is Now"
- Teaching with Technology:
"Linking to Discussion Board Forums"
Tech Talk Topic:
"Audio in PowerPoint: Audio from Files"
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology & Download News Briefs
Foundation for California Community Colleges:
"The Foundation for California Community Colleges
and Adobe® announced this week a limited time offer
for California Community College faculty and staff
to purchase discounted software through the
Contractual License Program Student Option. The
program, introduced in 2006, enables students to
purchase fully licensed software at up to 85 percent
off the retail price. Faculty and staff have been
asking for the ability to take advantage of the
program since it was introduced and now they can
until March 15, 2008. During this time, faculty and
staff will receive the preset discount price on
Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Design Premium, Adobe®
Creative Suite® 3 Master Collection, Adobe® Acrobat
8.0 Professional and other qualifying software
Click here for more information and to purchase.
OS News from Apple: Mac OS X Leopard will ship October
26 at 6 p.m. “Leopard, the sixth
major release of Mac OS X, is the best upgrade we’ve
ever released,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “And
everyone gets the ‘Ultimate’ version, packed with
all the new innovative features, for just $129.” (Apple
has been rumored for some time, and now Apple has
announced that they are developing an SDK (software
development kit) for the iPhone (and iPod Touch) so
that third party developers can create software
applications to run on that platform. The SDK
will not be available until February, and at that
will require signed applications, meaning that only
Apple gets to decide whose apps will run on the
It wasn't all good news for Apple this week. A
Greenpeace report [PDF] was released
demonstrating the presence of "hazardous materials"
in the construction of the iPhone.
Consequently Apple is being sued by the Center for
Environmental Health. "The group says that the
levels of phthalates found in the iPhone's
plastic-covered earbud cords are prohibited in
children's toys by the city of San Francisco and by
the European Union." (ars
technica). Apple is still among the worst
of the worst companies in
Greenpeace environmental rankings. To view
a Greenpeace YouTube iPhone video
The Windows Live home page has changed.
Click here to access the new, cleaner looking
interface. Also from Microsoft, the Windows
Live SkyDrive beta team have announced a doubling of
free, web-based storage space to 1GB.
Click here for the servie,
here for the team blog.
As profound a shift as from typewriter to word
processor? That was the analogy used by Bill
Gates on Tuesday when he announced availability of
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and
Office Communicator 2007. "Communicator, a
desktop application, also shows users whether their
contacts are online, much as an IM buddy list does.
Users also can see their contacts' presence on
Windows smart phones and new desk and speakerphones
that plug into Ethernet jacks or PCs...Based on
whether someone is on the phone or has a meeting
scheduled in Outlook, for example, their presence
suggests to colleagues whether to call, e-mail or
Times see also the
Microsoft press release).
Pew Internet & American Life report [PDF] is out
on the subject of Teens and Online Stranger Contact.
The principle finding?: "Fully 32% of online
teens have been contacted by someone with no
connection to them or any of their friends, and 7%
of online teens say they have felt scared or
uncomfortable as a result of contact by an online
stranger. Several behaviors are associated with high
levels of online stranger contact, including social
networking profile ownership, posting photos online
and using social networking sites to flirt. Although
several factors are linked with increased levels of
stranger contact in general, gender is the only
variable with a consistent association with contact
that is scary or uncomfortable--girls are much more
likely to report scary or uncomfortable contact than
PCLive.com (no affiliation with Microsoft's
Live.com) offers a free suite of security tools.
"Included within the basic PCLive Security package
is a firewall, the open-source ClamAV antivirus
product, antispyware capabilities and a pop-up
blocker. What's more, PCLive will take out the trash
(clean out old temp files) and check for the latest
Microsoft Windows updates that haven't yet been
applied to your PC. PCLive will also e-mail you a
monthly report of any changes it has made on your
The company also offers a premium ($4.95 per month)
service that includes web content filtering and
other maintenance functions, and offers tech support
at a flat $49.95 per call.
new Ubuntu Linux 7.1 from Canonical, "Gutsy Gibbon,"
was released Thursday of this week with a slick and
shiny desktop environment. "Among other Gutsy
Gibbon developments are snazzy 3D graphics for the
desktop version, desktop search called Tracker and
the first incarnation of a Ubuntu Mobile version for
portable gadgets" (CNet).
2008 is shaping up to be the war of the OSs, with
Windows Vista SP1 competing with Apple OS X Leopard
and Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon. The successor to
Gibbon, "Hardy Heron" is expected within six months.
Last week we reported on the nobel prize for physics
being awarded for work on Giant Magnetoresistance.
This week Hitachi announced new, smallest ever hard
drive read/write heads based on GMR technology:
"current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant
magneto-resistive heads" (you know, CPP-GMR heads)
which will allow hard drive manufacturers to
increase the density of drives to 4TB by 2011, and
1TB in notebook computers. Minimum space
between tracks on current hard drives is 70
nanometers. The new heads can read tracks only
50 nanometers apart (by 2009) and 30 nanometers by
2011, thus increasing drive densities (Hitachi
The University of Buffalo announced this week that
one of the major hurdles to quantum computing has
been overcome by their researchers who have invented
a semiconductor that can conveniently trap,
manipulate and control single electron spin.
device achieves a major advance in controlling
electron spin because it operates at temperatures as
high as 20 degrees K. Previous devices would
only operate at 1 degree K. "The task of
manipulating the spin of single electrons is a
hugely daunting technological challenge that has the
potential, if overcome, to open up new paradigms of
nanoelectronics," said Jonathan P. Bird, Ph.D.,
professor of electrical engineering in the UB School
of Engineering and Applied Sciences and principal
investigator on the project. "In this paper, we
demonstrate a novel approach that allows us to
easily trap, manipulate and detect single-electron
spins, in a scheme that has the potential to be
scaled up in the future into dense, integrated
of Buffalo News Release).
has enacted a law, signed by Governor
Schwarzenegger, prohibiting employers and others
from requriing people to get radio frequency
identification (RFID) tags. Wisconsin and
North Dakota have similar laws. "RFID
technology is not in and of itself the issue," said
California Sen. Joe Simitian, who introduced the
bill. "RFID is a minor miracle, with all sorts of
good uses. But we cannot and should not condone
forced 'tagging' of humans. It's the ultimate
invasion of privacy." California's law takes
effect in January. (Information
Intel revenues (10.1 billion for the third quarter)
are up 15% compared to a year ago, and up 16% over
the second quarter of 2007. The manufacturer
credits "...record processor, chipset, and flash
shipments...Within the Digital Enterprise and Mobile
groups, microprocessors set volume records this
quarter. The quad-core ramp-up was especially
strong, as was the uptake of the most recently
launched vPro products. Intel also reaffirmed in the
call that its 45nm "Penryn" products are still on
track for a November 12 launch." (ars
Featured Safari Tech Book Online:
Nighttime Digital Photography with Adobe Photoshop
CS3 by John Carucci. "Nighttime Digital
Photography with Adobe Photoshop CS3 explains why
night photos turn out the way that they do, and
shows how to avoid, correct, and take advantage of
each low-light situation. The operation of cameras,
computers, printers, and software is covered
step-by-step with creative enhancement and other
advanced techniques in Adobe Photoshop CS3."
Palomar maintains a subscription to Tech Books
Online, and the books can be accessed from any
computer on the campus network.
Contact the library for information about off-campus
Listen to the news [mp3 -14:06]
- Academic Technology Training
- Elluminate Training
- Elluminate is our new econferencing system.
There are many excellent training resources
available through the
Elluminate training center. Live,
instructor led training seminars--conducted through
the Elluminate interface--occur regularly and
may be scheduled through their web site.
- @ONE Training
Feature of the Week - David Gray
The Future in Now!
There have been a couple of recent changes to our
Blackboard system. Do Not Panic… I’m not talking
about changes that will alter the way users work
with the system.
First up, the Spring 2008 semester is just about
three months away. In accordance with our Blackboard
Course Lifecycle, it’s time to have the Spring 2008
courses come into being. And, there they are! If all
the paperwork assigning an instructor to their
Spring course is already input to PeopleSoft, they
should see their course sites in Blackboard as of
8:40 this morning.
Also I’ve been cleared to change the way our data
integration works between the eServices/PeopleSoft
system and Blackboard. Those changes are now in
effect, so instead of running updates of student
enrollment every hour we now run them every thirty
minutes. What this means functionally is that, at
most, fifty minutes after a student officially
enrolls in a class they will show up on the
Blackboard course roster as well.
So if you’re one of those “early to prepare”
types you can start springing into Spring now, and
rest assured that when the enrollment period starts
for Spring 2008 your Blackboard roster will be an
even more accurate representation of your official
roster than ever before!
Teaching with Technology -
Dr. Haydn Davis
Blackboard Tools – 2
In an earlier Teaching-With-Technology
segment I mentioned that I would discuss some of the useful
Blackboard tools that are often overlooked or underused. The
one I want to discuss today makes accessing the class
Discussion Board more convenient.
I’ve commented many times about the
central role the Discussion Board plays in most online
classes. Many instructors have a Discussion Board menu item
displayed so that students don’t have to click the
Communication link first and then the Discussion Board link
– they want students to see the Discussion Board link when
the course first comes up. Well the tip today goes one step
One pedagogical strategy that is becoming
increasingly popular is to group all relevant learning
materials in one place. Instructors often create a content
area called Course Documents (or something similar) in which
they place a number of folders (Chapter 1, Unit 1, Topic 1,
Week 1, etc). Survey data have consistently found that
students appreciate well organized courses and this strategy
reduces the necessity for students to search different areas
of the course for the study materials they need. So, for
example, if everything a student needed to do in week 1 was
placed in the Week 1 folder, it would reduce confusion.
While a number of instructors have adopted this general
strategy, relatively few have used the subject of the
current technology tip which is to link to a specific
Discussion Board Forum directly from a content area. This
will make it more likely for students to access the
Discussion Board when it is most appropriate to post.
Read on for a screen-capture How-to.
I. A typical Discussion
Board – many forums which can be confusing
II. A discussion board link in a
content area can bring one directly to any specific forum
(Chapter 9 in this example)
Step 1. In a content area, click the
Course Link tool
Step 2. Type the name of the forum
and browse to find it
Step 3. When you click Browse you
will be able to select the forum
Conclusion. A link to the specific
forum is with all the other chapter resources
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
Audio in PowerPoint: Audio from Files
Audio in PowerPoint falls into four categories:
1) sound effects; 2) background music tracks; 3)
audio you record using a microphone--either
individual recordings on various slides, or a
narration of your entire presentation; and 4)
pre-recorded audio from files. The first two
types of audio are trivial, mostly overused, and
intuitive enough so that there is no need to deal
with them here. The third type I will save for
another time. I will deal with the fourth
type--pre-recorded audio from digital files--today.
PowerPoint 2007 supports various digital audio
- Apple audio interchange file format (file
extensions aiff, aif, aifc)
- Unix environment sound files (au, snd)
- Microsoft WAV files (an audio file container
for various codecs, wav)
- Microsoft Windows media audio format
(compressed wma files)
- Standard mpeg-1 audio layer 3 (mp3, m3u)
- Musical instrument digital interface (midi,
- CD Audio (cda, these files can only be
played back from a CD-ROM drive)
These last two are music file formats, and will
be ignored for our current discussion. Ogg
Vorbis and Flac files are two popular open source
audio formats not supported by PowerPoint.
There are basically three ways to trigger a
pre-recorded audio file in PowerPoint. It is
important to understand which file formats can be
supported by which techniques.
1. The first technique is to insert a sound
from file. This technique supports any of the
sound formats listed above. Do the following:
- On the Insert tab click the drop-down
beneath “Sound” and choose “Sound from File…”
- Browse to find the sound file you want to
insert, and click Insert after you have selected
it from the Insert Sound dialog box. A playback
choice dialog box will appear:
- If you will be presenting live, you almost
always want to pick "When Clicked," because
usually you will want to make some introductory
remarks before playing the audio file. If
you plan to save for the web, you may want to
pick "Automatically." Otherwise you will
need to include instructions to your viewers on
how to start the audio playing.
Whether you click "Automatically" or "When
Clicked," a speaker icon will appear on the slide.
This is a reminder to you that an audio file (or
files--you can place as many as you want on a
slide). If you have chosen "When Clicked" it
is also the trigger object for the audio. When
the speaker icon is clicked the audio will begin to
If you set up an audio file to play automatically
(or when clicked) and then change your mind and want
to set it the other way, click the speaker icon and
then click on the “Sound Tools” tab that will
appear. Change its Play Sound trigger in the Sound
Options group on the ribbon.
By the way, if you have chosen for the audio file
to begin playing "Automatically," and do not want
the speaker icon to appear on the slide, you can
drag it off the slide when editing in PowerPoint so
that it will not appear. The audio will still
2. If you want your audio file to be
triggered by clicking an object, but do not want the
speaker icon to appear on your slide, you can use
any object (graphic, drawing object, SmartArt,
text--anything object) as the trigger.
However, this technique only works with wav files.
To use any object as your audio trigger:
- Select the object you want to use.
- Click on the Action button on the Insert
- On the Mouse Click tab place a check in the
Play sound box.
- Click the Play sound drop-down and select
- Navigate to the wav file you wish to
associate with the object (either the graphic or
text) and select it.
If you have chosen to use a graphic, bear in mind
that you will need to provide some instructions,
like “Click the picture to play the audio file.”
This technique has the advantage of being a
little more sophisticated than the first technique,
but has the serious disadvantage of supporting only
the wav file format. Since wav files are
uncompressed, they tend to be very large, and will
bloat the size of your presentation. wma or
mp3 files are far better choices if file size is a
3. The third technique is to hyperlink to
the file. This will work with any media file
tyope, as long as there is a media player associated
with it. The disadvantage (if this is one) is
that the media player must appear on screen while
the audio is playing. It can, of course, be
minimized and continue to play. Here is how to
hyperlink to an audio file.
- Select the object you wish to act as the
action trigger (it can even be text that says
"Click here to play the audio).
- Click on the Insert tab and the Action
- On the Mouse Click tab select the “Hyperlink
to:” radio button.
- Click the drop-down and select “Other File…”
- Navigate to the King speech—this time using
the wma file—and select it.
Using this approach may result in a security
warning from PowerPoint, if it has been kept up to
date. It certainly will with Windows Vista.
Clicking “Yes” will cause the media player to
appear and the clip to play.
To avoid this security warning, you may want to
link to a streaming media file that exists apart
from your PowerPoint presentation. This assumes
reliable access to the web.
This last technique has the advantage of
supporting any file format, even formats not
natively supported by PowerPoint, like the QuickTime
mov or Real media formats. The disadvantages
are that you must be sure there is a properly
configured media player available on the computer
from which you will be presenting; you must be sure
it has the codecs required to play your media; and
the media player must appear on screen, unless you
have taken steps to prevent this.
Regardless of the trigger technique, once you
have placed an audio file on a slide, you can
control its properties from the Sound Options group
of the Sound Tools tab. (The Sound Tools tab
will appear in PowerPoint 2007 when an object that
has a sound file associated with it is selected).
Notice the "Max Sound File Size" control in this
group. This refers to wav files only, and has
no effect on other file formats. It means that
wav files less than 100KB will be embedded in the
presentation file (the pptx file). Those above
100KB will be linked. You can change this
parameter to cause larger files to be embedded (or
smaller ones linked) but you will be bloating the
size of your final pptx file if you make it larger.
The number one difficulty people have in
presenting with media files is that they fail to
play during the presentation. This is usually
because they have been linked--not embedded--in the
presentation and when the presenter copied the
presentation file to portable media, like a CD or
flash drive, they failed to copy the linked media
files. The best advice for overcoming this
problem is to create your presentation in the same
folder where all your media files are stored, and
then copy the entire folder over to your portable
The number two problem with presenting with
multimedia is that the media fails to play on a
computer supplied in the room where the presentation
is given. There can be many reasons for this.
The best thing to do is to rehearse beforehand using
the actual equipment in the actual room. If
this is not possible, take your own equipment--as
far as possible, so you can be sure you have
everything you need to give a successful
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