Tip of the Week
We have been collecting our favorite tips & tricks on any and everything computer and multimedia-related in order to share with you. Check back every Wednesday for the latest Tip of the Week!
June 19: From smartphone to computer
If you like taking photos with your smartphone but find it a hassle to transfer to your computer, try installing the Dropbox app. With Dropbox, you can easily transfer your photos, videos and other files from phone to computer, even setting up your photos to automatically upload. You will just need a Dropbox account, which is free and good to have! Your files can then be accessed via a free desktop app or from anywhere online at dropbox.com.
June 12: Windows Shake feature
Ever need to clear a cluttered desktop and quickly focus on a single window? Macs have Exposé for that, but what about Windows users? With Windows 7 all it takes is a little "shake". Just click the top of a pane and give your mouse a shake. Every open window except that one instantly disappears. Jiggle again, and your windows are back. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it but it works!
June 5: iPhone headphones
Did you know that the earbuds that come with your iPhone can control more than just volume? Check out this article on 10 hidden controls of iPhone headphones. You might be surprised at what they can do ... from answering calls to even taking photos!
May 29: Handwriting your search
Do you regularly search Google on your mobile device? If so, this tip may come in handy ... You can actually enter searches by handwriting with your finger! Visit Google.com then open the page settings (on a smartphone: the link at the bottom of the page; on a tablet: the Gear button > Search Settings at the top right). Enable Handwrite. You'll see a special toolbar appear at the bottom of your page that you can tap to handwrite on the Google search page. Try it!
May 22: Keyboard trick
Here's quick keyboard shortcut ... When typing in your web browser's address or search bar, you probably know that pressing Enter will open the page in your current tab. However, if you press Alt+Enter instead, the new page will open in a new tab, preserving your existing open tab.
May 15: Desktop eBook readers
Happy Summer (Break)! It's never too early to kick off your summer reading. When it comes to eBook reading, people normally focus on using tablets and other mobile devices. Did you know that you can also read eBooks on your laptop or desktop computer? Check out this article from MakeUseOf.com listing 6 popular desktop eBook readers and try one out yourself!
May 8: Sharing the proper video file
When turning in a video for your course assignment make sure to give your professor the correct file format. If your professor is having trouble viewing the video and it is opening in Movie Maker or iMovie instead of Windows Media Player or Quicktime Player then you shared the video PROJECT file rather than the final video file. A playable movie file should be in a format such as .wmv, .mp4, .mov or .avi. Search your program's Help for instructions on how to export your video as that final viewable format.
May 1: Google Sites navigation
Frustrated with your Google Site’s sidebar navigation? Maybe it’s time to reconfigure it. Click on the More button at the top and select Edit site layout. Then click on your sidebar navigation to bring up a Configure Navigation window. From here you can either choose to automatically organize your navigation (updating the navigation whenever you add or remove a page) or manually configure it by adding pages and re-ordering them. Visit our Google Sites Libguides page for more assistance.
April 24: Screen captures
Screen captures can really come in handy. You may know how to take screenshots on your smartphone but do you know how to do it on a computer? If you're on a Windows machine use the Snipping Tool program, where you can choose to "snip" your entire screen or a selection. If you're on a Mac there are several options but the easiest is to remember these two keyboard shortcuts: Press command+shift+3 to "grab" your entire screen. Press command+shift+4 to change your cursor to a cross-hair and click & drag to highlight what you want in the shot.
April 17: PowerPoint compatibility
We have PowerPoint on the brain this week. Do you too? Well, if you're working with a group on your presentation and worry about compatibility issues between PC & Mac, check out this handy article from The PPT FAQ. It not only covers working between multiple platforms but different versions of PowerPoint as well.
April 10: SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!
Just a simple one this week and you hear it all the time ... SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! As you work on a project on your computer make a point to save it regularly as you go. You never know what might happen - the program could freeze up (or a storm could cause a power outage...). There is nothing quite like the pain of losing hours of work to a computer crash! SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! :)
April 3: Adjusting your "undo" limit in Photoshop
March 28: Scanning documents with your smartphone
If you own a smartphone, chances are you've used it at some point to digitize an image - perhaps shooting a pic of an old photo. Did you know that you can actually use your phone to make high quality "scans" of printed documents? Check out this article on CamScanner. App features range from scanning to creating pdfs, uploading to Google Docs and more. (Note: It's not a free app but you can try before buying.)
March 20: Recording video
Need to record a video for class and don't have a camera? You can check out a camcorder (for free) from the University Library's Circulation Desk! Visit their camera equipment page for more information.
March 13: Keyboard trick
Did you know that you can easily switch between programs and top-level windows on your computer with a simple flick of the keyboard? Simply hold down the Alt key (command on a Mac) and press Tab until you land on the desired task or program.
March 6: Copying / pasting clip effects in Premiere
Did you know that in Adobe Premiere Pro you can apply effects (color corrections, scaling, etc.) to a series of clips all at once? That would save you a lot of time and effort, right? To do this, right-click on the clip in the timeline with the applied effects and select “copy”. Then select the destination clip (one or multiple), right-click and choose “paste attributes”. This will apply ALL effects from the first clip to the rest. To only apply selective effects, copy and paste through the Effect Controls panel instead. See Adobe’s support page for more information.
February 27: Project organization
When working on a multimedia project the best practice is to store all of your related files together in a folder - any of the media that you plan on using along with the actual project file. Even the script! In doing so you will ensure that your content will not be misplaced or accidentally deleted. This will also allow you to move the project or return to it at a later time if needed.
February 20: Custom Google Maps
Did you know that you can create your own custom maps using Google Maps? All you need is a Google account! You can even collaborate on a map with friends or classmates. Need to create a map for a course assignment? Visit Google Earth's tutorials page for more information.
February 18: Keyboard trick
Here's another quick keyboard trick. Hold the Ctrl button (control on a Mac) and scroll up or down with your mouse to zoom in or out in your web browser. Restore the view to normal by pressing Ctrl + 0 (or command + 0 on a Mac).
February 6: Google Docs
January 30: Storyboards
Creating a script or storyboard is the best way to ensure that your video has everything that it needs and can serve as a guide for gathering your content, recording narration and editing the project together. Click here for a quick overview on setting up a video storyboard (from HowTo.gov).
January 23: iTunes track info
When you import a music CD into iTunes it automatically obtains the info (album name, artist, etc.) from the internet. If the track names don’t appear it either means that your computer isn’t connected to the internet or the CD is not recognized by iTunes (ie. a homemade mix CD, etc.). If this happens, you can add the information manually. Just right-click on the track and choose "Get Info", then fill in the details.
January 16: Cleaning your touchscreens
With flu season upon us, it's a good idea to not only make sure that your hands are clean & sanitized but also to keep your devices germ-free. Check out this article from MakeUseOf.com on how to safely clean your tablet or smartphone. Healthy wishes from the Student Multimedia Studio!
January 9: Keyboard trick
Here's a quick keyboard tip for you while you surf the web. (Works on Mac & PC) Press Ctrl and the Tab key to switch between tabs in your browser and other applications that use tabs. To switch between tabs in reverse, press Ctrl+Shift+Tab.
January 2: Tech-related New Years resolutions
Start off the new year right by taking care of your technology. Check out this article from MakeUseOf.com that lists 10 tech-related tasks that you (and we) have been putting off. Tackle these and you'll be motivated to keep up with your actual New Years resolutions!
December 30: The Infinite Jukebox
You know when you really love a song and sometimes wish it could go on forever? Sure, you can leave it on repeat, but that quickly becomes boring. Instead, try The Infinite Jukebox. It actually analyzes any song that you upload (or choose from preloaded ones) and calculates pathways through the song to create an endless mix. Try it out at your New Year's Eve party and see if anyone notices! (Note, this web-based app requires advanced web audio and may not work on all internet browsers.)
December 19: Creating vocal-free tracks
What holiday party is complete without some karaoke? Sometimes it's hard to find good music to sing to. Well now you can make your own! Read this tutorial to learn how to use Audacity to create your own vocal-free tracks. Happy Karao-Caroling!
December 12: Finding files
Trying to find a file on your computer but forgot where you saved it? Make use of your search tool. Type into the search box in the Start menu or use the search box at the top right corner of a Windows Explorer window. Windows will quickly search through all the indexed files (and programs) on your computer.
On a Mac? Easy! Use the Spotlight tool, located in the top right corner of your screen (or the top right corner of your Finder windows).
December 5: Google Sites
If you are using Google Sites to create your webpage for class, be mindful of how you set up each page, otherwise your site's page organization will become tangled. Too late? Check out this video on how to adjust your sidebar navigation.
November 28: Keyboard trick
Having trouble reading or viewing a webpage? With a simple keyboard trick you can zoom in & out on your browser window. Just try clicking Ctrl + or Ctrl - (command + or command - on a Mac). When finished, Ctrl 0 (command 0 on a Mac) will restore to default zoom level.
November 21: Video downloads
Need to download a YouTube video for your presentation? Try RealPlayer and the Download Browser plug-in! (For Mac users, an even easier way is through YouTubeInMP4.com). Check out our Video Production guide for more details.
November 14: Eye health
It’s that time of the semester when you’re spending a lot of time in front of the computer and may forget to take a break. Need a reminder? Check out Evo, your "personal eyes assistant"! He’s a free web-based application that can be set up to remind you to take a recess. He can even teach you eye exercises to keep your peepers in tip-top shape. Click here to learn more.
November 7: iMovie
To take advantage of the full range of editing controls in iMovie make sure to enable the "Advanced Tools". Click on iMovie > Preferences, then under the General tab check "Show Advanced Tools".
Much better, right?
October 31: Photo editing
Looking to spookify your photos for Halloween? Check out PicMonkey, a free photo editing online app. Their Halloween themes allow you to turn you and your friends into zombies, vampires and more... oh my!
If you loved the former app Picnik, check out PicMonkey- it's a HOOT. ;)
October 24: Keyboard trick
Oops. Did you just accidentally close a tab in your web browser? Don't worry- you can get it back! Just right-click on your tab bar and select "Reopen Closed Tab" (for Chrome and Internet Explorer) or "Undo Closed Tab" (for Firefox). You can also press Ctrl+Shift+T to quickly reopen the closed tab (or command+shift+t on a Mac).
October 17: Copyright-free music
Need free music for your PowerPoint or video but can't find one that quite fits the style or length of your presentation? Come try out Sonic Fire Pro! It's a software available in the SMS that can generate copyright-free music to fit any type and length presentation. Ask an SMS consultant to show you the ropes of the software- it might be just what you need!
October 10: Keyboard trick
One quick way to open a link in a new tab is with a simple mouse trick - click on the link with your scroll button. Don't have a scroll button on your mouse? You can also hold the Ctrl key and left-click (or command+click on a Mac).
October 3: Video tip
Let's kick it off with a good one: don't shoot vertical videos! (Note: video contains "bleeped" language.)