This blog is my attempt to share information with faculty, introducing new apps, websites, or other snippets of information that may be of use to faculty. I am also using it to keep track of projects I'm working on that might be good to reference in the future.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

TeamViewer: Works nicely on Kindle Fire

I tested out TeamViewer today.  This allows you to remotely control a computer over an internet connection.  I have a desktop that I had setup that will allow me to remotely log in so that I can 1) access certain programs from home (and on a tablet, that won't normally run on a tablet), or 2) log into a school computer to check on the network, application or connection issues remotely.  I probably use this feature 3-4 times a year, but it is still good to have that ability when needed.

When I had the iPad I used TeamViewer and while it worked, the screen orientation never quite fit, so I never got to see the whole desktop - so it worked, but it felt clumsy on the iPad.  On the iPad I ended up using SplashTop.  I would use it if I needed to access Outlook or a Windows specific program. But now most of my apps (email, etc.) is web based so it's not as necessary for me to use a remote control program from my tablet.  However, I thought I'd try to see if TeamViewer was better on the Kindle - and it was!!!!
The computer I connected to control was a Windows based PC.

I was surprised that I could see the whole desktop, it was much easier to use than I remembered on the iPad.  Using the touchscreen to control a desktop isn't the easiest, but will work in a pinch.  When you first log in, you see the whole desktop, but then you can zoom in and out as needed.  It was a fairly simple process to control the desktop from my Kindle.

TeamViewer is free for private use or you can purchase it for a business.  If remote access is needed, it is a slick too that you can add to your Kindle arsenal.    I hope to try out SplashTop soon to compare.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Samsung Chromebook Initial Review

Got to preview a Samsung Chromebook.  Here is my initial review, after trying it for an evening.

First thing I noticed (as I was typing) is that the keyboard does not have many of the standard keys one might be used to on a laptop/desktop.....such as a print screen, delete key, page up, page down, end key, no function keys, and home key.  For some this might not be a big deal.  For me, who is very dependent on moving around with the shortcut keys in documents, it is noticeable, as I have to now move around with the arrow keys.  I investigated some of the possibilities.....

Backspace - removes whats to the left of the cursor (regular backspace key).
Alt-Backspace - performs the function of the delete key - removing to the right of the cursor.
Ctrl-Backspace - removes the WORD to the left of the cursor.
Shift-Backspace - seems like a regular backspace key function.

Ctrl- Right Arrow - moves one word at a time to the right.
Ctrl-Left Arrow - moves one work at a time to the left.
Alt-Up Arrow - moves to top of document.
Alt-Down Arrow - moves to bottom of document
Shift-Arrow - Highlights text in that direction.

Ctrl-SwitchWindows - does a screen snap shot - since not PrintScreen key this is a new key function to learn.

The 'ports' on the back of the chromebook are:
- A MicroSD card slot. I think this is the solid state drive.  I assume it's a regular microSD card.
- Two USB ports (one is USB 3.0 and one is USB 2.0)
- An HDMI port to connect to external devices.
- The power port.

There is an SD expansion slot on the left side that is empty, so you can add more storage or input camera cards to read pictures off of.
There is also on the left (near the SD slot) ONE port for headset/microphone. Must be multi-purpose like on a phone and is not TWO seperate ports for headset & microphone.  I like that.
That's all the ports.  Seems like that would be good enough for most users.

Other Stuff:

The screen is easy to view and seem sufficient.  Might a bit small for my taste if this were my primary machine, but for short-term use (like writing this blog entry) it is fine.

With the touchpad you can do two finger scrolling (is it multi-touch?).
When you have a USB mouse plugged in, the touchpad takes a second to 'wake-up' and recognize you are using it.

The video seems very nice.  I watched a couple of YouTube videos and they quality was very good, especially if you watch in full screen mode.

The sound coming thru the speakers was very loud and clear.  It was better than I was expecting.

Printing:  How do you set up a printer.  Seems like it needs to be done via the settings with Google Cloud Print....something I'll need to look into.

Battery Life seemed very good.  I used for two hours testing and only used about 40% of the battery life.

An Odd Function:
When you start to close the chromebook, the screen shuts off and locks the computer, when the screen comes down to about a 30 degree angle.  It basically shuts down before you close the chromebook fully.

I was moving the chromebook on my table and just closed it a bit to more easily move and it powered off the screen and I had to log back in when I opened it fully.  Not a big deal either, but odd.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Google Incorporates better Email integration with Calendar

Google has added the ability to click on a date/time in an email and it will show you what other events you have that day and you can then click the Add to Calendar button to have it put in your calendar with a link to the email.  I've been waiting for something like this feature for awhile, so I know it's fairly new.  In the past if there was  date and time in an email, you could set an appointment by clicking on More, but it rarely imported the date or time - so it was a pain to re-type in everything.
This new feature worked the first time I tried it :-)

It's nice to see Google not rest on it's laurel's and keep adding useful features.

Here is what it looks like in the email when you click on an date/time:

In the calendar item, under which calendar you are inputting it into, it now shows Source.  You click on source and it will bring up the feature.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rita Pierson - TED talk "Every Kid Needs A Champion"

I just love this TED talk and wanted to put it here just so I can find it easily.  This lady is funny and inspiring. This is a great video to help teachers get thru the last month of school and inspire them......and a great one to start off the school year with.