Welcome to the MMU "Technology FAQ" blog. Use the search bar to look for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

eMail eric.hall@cesuvt.org with questions or suggestions for this blog.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Can I Install Java and Flash?

Many people have asked if they can install the Java and Flash plugins, and the answer is YES: these are commonly used plugins and are (for the most part) safe to install.

Flash player will automatically install from Adobe.com when you click "install missing plugins" in Chrome.

To install Java:

1) In Chrome, go to java.com and click on "Free Java Download." DO NOT download Java from any other site but java.com, and DO NOT follow links from other sites!

2) Click "Agree and start free download." When the download is complete, choose "open" from the triangle pop-up menu next to the downloaded filename in the lower left corner of Chrome.

3) Click "Yes" to allow the installation, and the installer will download and run the software package. During the installation, UNCHECK the box for "Install Ask Toolbar and make Ask my default search." Add-on packages like this are one thing to be cautious about when installing programs.

When the installation completes, most Java functions should work in all browsers, although for security reasons Chrome will usually ask first before the script is run. It is best to click "Run This Time" instead of "Always run." Be cautious about running scripts on sites that may not be trustworthy (gaming sites, file sharing sites, free download sites, etc.) as they are often malicious.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why can't I print to school printers?

This issue has occurred several times lately, and the explanation is simple: computers connected to the "MMU-guest" network won't be able to access Novell or network printers.

Solution: re-connect to the MMU-Private2 network (the password is saved on school computers)

ALSO: once your computer has connected to MMU-guest, it will join that network before joining Private2. This is because Windows tries to join it's most recent networks in order.

  1. Right-click on the wireless icon and choose "Open Network and Sharing Center"
  2. Click on "manage wireless networks (upper left)
  3. Right-click on MMU-guest and "Remove Network"

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chrome Apps are awesome!

What is a Chrome App? Using Google Chrome you can access a huge number of single-purpose, web-based apps right in your browser. These function very much like iOS apps (on iPad or iPhone,) and when you are trying to do a simple task on your computer there may just be "an App for that!"

Any user can install Chrome Apps from the Chrome App Store, which is accessed by opening a new tab in Chrome and making sure that "Apps" (not "most visited") is selected at the bottom of the screen. Search for the app you wish to install (or the task you want the app to perform) and click "Add to Chrome." Your app will now appear in the App window when you open a new tab in Chrome. As an added bonus, your apps will transfer to other computers if you sign in to Chrome!

Some of my recent favorite apps:

  • Speech Recognition (just like it sounds - free speech to text!)
  • Screencast-O-Matic (create quick screencasts)
  • Pixlr Express (web-based image editing)
  • Read Later Fast (fast, simple bookmarking
  • gMail and Google Calendars offline
  • WeVideo (video editing for Google Drive)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Windows Update Fails

Keeping Windows up-to-date is important to make sure your computer is running properly AND stays protected from Malware. You should allow Windows Update to install everything it recommends, and do so as soon as updates appear. Windows Update will occasionally install updates automatically and force a restart, but more often they will be downloaded silently and installed when you shut down the computer.

Occasionally there will be updates that fail for one reason or another. The symptoms of this may be that you notice updates being installed EVERY time you shut down your computer. If this occurs:

  • Go to Windows Update in your Control Panel and try to install the update manually.
  • If the update fails, check with HelpDesk or Mr. Hall for assistance.

Note: If the update that fails ends in (KB2731771) this is a "known issue" with the HP3115 and it is OK to "Hide" the update so that it does not get applied. To do this:

  1. Open Windows Update and "check for Updates" 
  2. Click the link for "1 important update is available"
  3. Right-click on the one ending with that number and choose "Hide Update"

Unless you have specific information about an issue with Updates, it is NOT advisable to Hide Updates in this way.

Using Tabs to Speed Up Web Browsing

Using multiple tabs in your browser can help you browse multiple Internet pages simultaneously, and when used efficiently tabs can save you a LOT of time. Here are some tips:

1) Set Chrome to open your "most visited" places (gMail, Drive, Edu, etc.) all at once when you start up. To do this use Chrome's menu (three horizontal bars in the upper left,) choose Settings and then "Set Pages" in the On Startup section of settings.

2) When you are browsing, use new tabs when you need to open a new page instead of browsing "away from" something you need to keep open. You can also open links in a new tab (like a link from Edu to a Google Doc) by holding down CTRL when you click the link.

3) You may have noticed that Google Apps always opens documents in a new browser tab. While this can be convenient (your Drive is always open in a tab) it can also result in a large number of tabs open, especially if you use the "hidden arrow" to close a document and go back to your Drive. A large number of tabs can begin to slow down your browser, so here are two ways to avoid this 1) When you are done with a Google Doc, close that tab instead of going back to Drive 2) Turn off Google's tab behavior by going to your Docs settings (the gear icon) and choosing "In the current window" in the Where Items Open section.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Offline Docs are not working

One advantage of using Google Docs on your laptop is that you can work on writing (word processing) even without an Internet connection. Click Here for information about setting up your computer to use Offline Docs.

A few tips on working offline:

1) If you have had your Drive open in Chrome previously and are now offline, you will need to "refresh" to see the offline Drive page. It looks different than your online Drive.

2) You can also access your Docs offline by navigating to through the Google Drive application on your computer. Double-clicking an item in your Drive should open it in Chrome, but if it tries to open in Explorer or Firefox you will need to set Chrome as your Default Browser (open Chrome, click on the wrench int he upper right and scroll down to find the button for "Make Chrome my Default Browser")

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where are the electronic textbooks?

The 9th grade laptops have copies of Math and US History textbooks installed. The US History version does not have all of the features of the online version, but the reading content is the same and can be useful when you do not have an Internet connection.

Students can find these textbooks by going to Start --> Computer --> Local Disk --> Textbooks --> History (or Math) and opening the folder for the text they wish to use.

For the US History text, double-click "Start Here," and for the math texts double-click "student_one_stop" for the textbook launcher.
You can also right-click on the startup icons and choose "Send To --> Desktop to create a desktop shortcut to the textbook.

Tip: some portions of the textbooks open in a web browser. Click Here to see instructions on how to get these to open up in Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. Look in the "osp" folder of each textbook to find the file called index.html and change the file association of that file.

Monday, September 10, 2012

How and where do I PRINT from my school laptop?

The HP 3115 laptops are set up to print to three networked printers at MMU: the PCLab (by front entrance), Rm 404, and the Learning Lab (entrance between bathrooms in the second "cross-hallway").

You will need to select a printer each time you print: the system default printer is Adobe PDF (will save as a PDF file instead of printing) to prevent accdental printing to the wrong printer.

Please THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT! Look carefully at the preview to double-check for titles, your name, spellcheck, etc.

Printing Google Docs directly to a printer will only work in Google Chrome: Firefox and Explorer will prompt to save to PDF even after you choose a printer.

Printing at home: Most printers will "plug and play" in Win7 when connected with a USB cable. If that does not work, check with Mr. Hall for further instructions: some printer software will modify system print setup and it is usually not necessary to install the entire printing package when only the drivers are needed.

Trackpad adjustments - Part 2

A few tips for using the TouchPad on your HP 3115:

1) If "tapping" is on, tapping twice on the indentation (upper left of trackpad) will turn the trackpad off while you are typing. The orange light next to the indentation will turn ON when the trackpad is OFF.

2) The sensitivity of the trackpad and speed of the pointer can be adjusted in Control Panel --> Mouse --> Pointer Options.

3) Refer to this article for instructions on how to enable advanced trackpad options (tapping off, two-finger scroll, etc.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Do I need to install Adobe Reader to view PDFs?

The HP laptops already have Adobe Acrobat Pro installed, so installing Adobe Reader is NOT necessary. In order for the Adobe PDF plugin to work (so that you can view PDF files directly in your browser), you need to first open Adobe Acrobat from your Programs menu and "Agree" to the license.

Beware: If you ever DO install Acrobat Reader on another computer (or have done so by accident), it may install a copy of McAffee Antivirus as well. Having more than one antivirus program running can slow down you computer and/or cause other problems, so it is best to avoid this (uncheck the box during the installation) or uninstall McAfee (Control Panel --> Programs and Features) 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Handling gMail attachments

In gMail, the "traditional" rules for handling email attachments have changed. Specifically, it IS now safe to open attachments directly in your email. Attachments open in the Google Docs Viewer, which can open many kinds of attachments directly in your browser without downloading. NOTE: viewing an attachment in gMail does NOT make it into a Google Doc, even though the appearance is similar.

Downloading attachments may still be preferable if you need to edit them, OR you can change non-PDF documents into Google Docs that you can edit and share:

  1. Choose "View" to open that attachment

  2. Choose "Save in Google Docs" (upper right)

  3. Edit as needed. To "return" the edited document to the sender, simply SHARE your new document back to them!



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Cleaning Up" YouTube

YouTube can be a great classroom resource, but the comments and "related content" are often distracting and can even be inappropriate. There are two great tools available to help you embed a YouTube video in a clean page with a couple of quick clicks:

1) Quietube (quietube.com) is a button you can add to your browser bookmark bar that "masks" a YouTube video with one click. Done.

2) If you plan to post a video for students to watch, copy the YouTube URL and paste it into safeshare.tv.  This will generate a new "safe" link that shows the video on a plain page. Share THIS link with your students to help them avoid distractions and just see what you want them to see.