Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Feb 02 2012

Making the most of Prezi: how to make yours stand out

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It seems to be a popular assignment in pretty much any class across all sorts of subjects – presentations.

I have to give at least two presentations a semester and I’ve got some nifty tips for you to try to make yours stand out (Note: a good looking presentation can take your ‘B’ to an ‘A’, trust me!).

Okay, so this will mostly be a tutorial on Prezi.  As far as I know, it’s the leading tool for presenting information in a new way (a.k.a, one that isn’t Powerpoint).

I find that a lot of my professors take a lot more interest in presentations that aren’t made with Microsoft Powerpoint.  Maybe because it breaks up the hum-drum of rectangular slides filled with text.  Maybe because they admire your courage to try something different.  I’m not sure.  But what ever the reason, it seems to work well in my favor!

You can read all about the standard features of Prezi on their homepage, but I want to talk about some of the things that I do on Prezi that are a little bit different.

Prezi comes with pre made templates for your presentation, but I like to take them a little further.  As Prezi grows in popularity, you might find yourself using the same layout as someone else in your class, which doesn’t look very good.  I like to add my own flair.

Once you’re in Prezi, choose whichever template you’d like to start with, then click Colors & Fonts, then Theme Wizard.  After you’re in, click the “Manual” tab at the bottom.

Now, I’m a big lover of of Colour Lovers to find interesting new color palates.  I recommend using this website to pick out which colors you’d like to feature in your presentation.

Next, you input the R, G, and B numbers associated with the specific color you’ve picked out.  Colour Lovers will tell you what these numbers are!  It really can’t get any easier.




Now you have a unique presentation.  It’s really that easy.


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Jan 19 2012

github – collaborative programming

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A tool that’s been cropping up more and more in my classes lately is github.

So, the very basic idea of this tool is that you can share your code with other users.  Users can then edit that code in a fork (not getting rid of the original work) and you can combine the code together in a mesh of collaborative awesome.

To be completely honest, I’m pretty new to github as well.  But I’m finding the more I use it, the more I understand it.  Github is something you need to plug away at in order to learn.  But once you do, you’ll find it to be a very rewarding resource in regards to your complicated coding projects (God knows how many of these I have in a semester).

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Oct 12 2011

Let’s talk about apps, baby

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Let’s preface this post by saying I do not own a smartphone.


I think I am the only person in the universe now who does not, but this is out of my control.

So this post will mostly be me seething with jealously as I tell you all about nifty little tools you can use from your phone.

1. Ambiance – A supposed “environment enhancer”, ambiance creates an excellent setting for you to study.
2. iHomework – Planners be gone, iHomework keeps your schedule for you.  Virtually.  It also takes any grading scale and helps you calculate your current grade.
3. Study by APP – This developer is perfect for those gen ed courses you need a little help with.  They create helpful study guides and reviews for all your educational needs!
4. Bigwords – find the cheapest textbooks!
5. Studycards – create flash cards!


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Oct 05 2011

HTML resources for newbies

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With internet education becoming more and more prevalent, I think it’s only necessary for students to at least know the ins and outs of HTML.


If you don’t know what HTML is, the simple definition is that it’s the building blocks of webpages.
I’ve provided some more resources here to help you get started.


1. Code Academy – not just HTML either, gives you step by step tutorials in order to grasp the concepts at your own pace.  You earn badges for completing a certain number of tutorials.  Code Academy is a great place for beginners to test our their code skills.

2. Neopets html tutorials – Yes, seriously.  I think that using tutorials that are meant for kids (and are therefore easier to understand) are the best kinds of get started with.

3. Web Monkey’s html cheat sheet – Even those of us familiar with html forget what code does what sometimes.  This page will help you find that specific bit of code you need in order to make your page perfect.

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Sep 30 2011

Do work. Get your Google on.

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I’m a big fan of yours, Google.

That’s why I want to tell people about Google Scholar.

If you’re anything like me, you get an assignment to write a research paper or something and you immediately flood Google with your questions.  What I end up getting back 99% of the time is a Yahoo Answers response with several unhelpful “I don’t know” responses below.

How to filter out all the unimportant stuff?  Use Google Scholar.  It’s like using a library, on the internet.

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Sep 19 2011

Five(six) things I recommend!

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The past few posts I’ve talked about bigger applications that you can use to churn out important tasks.  I wanted to write a post with some of the smaller tools that I use frequently to make my life a lot easier.


1. Online Alarm Clock – whether you need to set a timer or if you wanted to take a nap with your computer on your lap, I use this alarm clock every day of the week.

2. iCal (or similar calendar software for Windows) – A lot of people don’t take advantage of the tools that their computer comes with, but I really like iCal for the Mac.  It keeps track of my dates simply, and I want to be notified of something, my computer will alert me.  I think it’s also important to keep track of what you’re doing off the internet, just in case (god forbid) the net goes down.

3. Twitter – If you ever go on the computer at all, then you probably know what twitter is, but I’m not putting it here to tell you how to stalk celebrities.  I use Twitter to talk to my boss, my professors, and anyone I collaborate on a project with.  It’s so easy for me to just send my questions or links to relevant information in a tweet and I use it everyday.

4. Google Docs – I didn’t want to put this one on here, simply because everybody already knows about it, but it really is a great tool, and one that I use frequently.  I can get on an edit documents and presentations as I please, and I have my notes online, always, so I never have to worry about losing them (something I am known  to do..)

5. Colour Lovers & ColorZilla – Two different tools, same sort of concept.  If you do a lot of work with design in your classes, or if you want to find out exactly what color facebook uses for their background, these will help you a lot.  Colour Lovers has different palettes you can browse through, all user created, to use for a website, powerpoint, etc.  ColorZilla is a plug-in for firefox that lets you capture the hex for a color from the screen.  It’s very useful 🙂


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Sep 14 2011, the modern chatroom

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Just when you thought instant messaging was too slow and massive chatrooms messy, here comes to the rescue!

What does is fairly simple, it’s chat in real time.  You can watch as words spill across the page as other people are typing them.  It’s like hearing someone speak in real life, only with a chatroom type interface.

You linguists will like this: in chatrooms, talk is less turn based like real face to face conversation.  With, your thoughts are lost less easily and people are more likely to let you finish and read your whole idea.  Like you wouldn’t interrupt or ignore (well.. maybe you would) someone in real life, creates such an environment.

I like to use it when I need to talk to a group about an important aspect of our project.

I’ve also used it in classes before to talk about an assigned reading with the rest of the class.  It’s pretty trippy to be sitting in a classroom full of people having an in depth conversation in total silence.  Also, the quieter ones (like me) get more of a voice.


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Sep 25 2010

Family Weekend Presentation Links

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The DTLT staff and student aides presented “Stuff for Starving Students and Famished Families” for Family Weekend.  This session showcased a smorgasbord of information about free, cool technology tools that you can use to get stuff done. Here is a list of the applications we talked about:

UMW Blogs – the web publishing platform for the UMW community.

Google Docs – online tools that allow you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and more.

Diigo and Delicious – social bookmarking and annotation

Zotero – organizing your research

Aviary – suite of creation tools

Flickr – image hosting and sharing

Prezi – presentations in motion!

Evernote – remember everything note taking tool


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Aug 23 2010

Fall 2010 Orientation Links

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Here is a list of links to all the tools we discussed at the presentation!

Aviary – suite of creation tools

Flickr – image hosting and sharing

Diigo and Delicious – social bookmarking and annotation

Zotero – organizing your research

Doodle – creating polls and scheduling events

Evernote – remember everything note taking tool


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Mar 04 2010

Need your system specs? Get Speccy.

Whenever I work with the hardware on my PC, be it dealing with RAM or system cooling, I inevitably have to check my hardware specs to troubleshoot (RAM timings or CPU core temperatures, for example).  I’ve used dozens of programs for this purpose, be it Coretemp or Everest, yet none have held a candle to both the amount of information given or the sleekness in which this information is delivered than Piriform Speccy, a lightweight yet extremely informative system spec analyzer.  Need your RAM timings?  Your motherboard model? Your graphics card temperature?  Your SMART hard drive information?  Speccy will give you everything you could need, both for troubleshooting purposes and pure curiosity.  If you ever need any information on what is in your computer, Speccy will give it to you.  Although its information is lacking in the software department, that can be easily remedied by any number of programs, including the aforementioned Everest, but when it comes to hardware, Speccy is a great go-to program.

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