Archive for the ‘How To’ Category


Anti-Virus Programs & Why You Need Them

In How To,Laundry Room,Software,Troubleshooting,Windows on October 17, 2008 by Tech Support Tagged: , , , , , ,

If you are a Windows user, you should be concerned about you computer catching a virus, and I don’t mean the flu. I am talking about those nasty programs that clog your system down to a crawl, that pop up window after window non-stop, or even worse, that uses your computer as a spamming machine to the rest of the Internet. So what can you do to protect yourself from these ugly critters?

My Apple Fanboy friend would say, “Just get a MAC and you don’t have to worry about viruses.” In part, he is correct to a certain extent. However, most users own PCs and have Windows operating systems.

Nowadays the definition is blurry between a virus, malware and spyware program. The makers of anti-virus software have their work cutout when trying to protect you. The bad programs have gotten nastier, harder to remove and cause havoc once you get them. So I will mention some general things you can do to help protect yourself.

Useful advice not to get viruses in the first place

For many people the main reason to use a computer is to get things done. They have no desire to know how a computer works or how to fix it. So they use the computer, the Internet and email to accomplish specific tasks. If you fall into this category, please listen to the following tips to avoid the dreaded malicious viruses. These points mainly involve changing one’s behavior:

  1. EMAIL: Never open an attachment (pictures, documents, spreadsheets, files, etc) that you weren’t expecting. Even if it comes from a friend or someone you know. It’s always best to ask the sender if they did intent to send you something.
  2. EMAIL: Never click on a link in email. Again the same concept applies as with attachments, if you’re not expecting it, then question why you got it. This is a favorite way for Phishing scams to collect your personal data.
  3. WEBSITES: Be careful of the websites you visit. Those that offer FREE downloads are especially suspect. You know you’ve been to them. The sites that offer free desktop backgrounds, free screensavers, free clipart, free software, and free mp3s. Now, I am not saying that ALL these sites are malicious, just be careful. It is better to stick to well known websites.
  4. PROGRAMS: Again be very careful when installing programs you have downloaded from the internet. Make sure they come from a reputable source.
  5. ROUTER/FIREWALL: At home, make sure you have a router between your computer and the Internet. Most new routers are firewalls that will prevent unsolicited traffic from getting to your computer. These pieces of hardware are very inexpensive and will hugely increase your protection. Even if you only have one computer, make sure you get a router. At work, hopefully your IT Department knows what they’re doing and has all the computers behind firewalls.

Software to help bolster your defense

I know the natural tendency is to click on those cool little links that you’re friend sent you. You may find it hard to resist opening an attachment that promises is the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen before.

So for you folks, I offer some picks on Anti-Virus software that will help you in your quest to remain virus free.

I personally use AVAST. They have a free version for home use. This piece of software is lightweight and does the job. It updates everyday with new virus definitions to keep you current. I would recommend you try it. Another free program that gets good reviews is AVG Antivirus. I have never tried this one, but it comes highly recommended from experts in the field.  There are a few good paid applications such as NOD32 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus that get high marks from reviewers as well.

There are many others, especially the Big Two, McAfee and Norton. I used Norton in the past but it is bloated and you have to keep paying every year to keep the program updated. My recommendations are save your money and get yourself one of the two free ones I mentioned.

As for Malware/Spyware protection I would recommend Spybot – Search and Destroy. In this category there are many programs that will help you eliminate the nasties. Take a look at for helpful resources.

If you’re infected, just bite the bullet!

Just bite the bullet

Just Bite The Bullet

Is you’re computer already compromised? No matter what programs you use to try to fix the problem, you can never be sure that everything bad has been removed. Your only safe way to know your system is truly safe is to reinstall the operating system. Use the discs that came with your computer to restore it. Doing so will put your computer back to the way it came from the factory. Don’t forget to back up your personal files (or you should already have them backed up).

After you restore your system, start practicing the safe habits described above.

Be safe in your Internet journeys…



iPhone 3G USB Adaptor Replacement

In Apple,How To,Troubleshooting on October 10, 2008 by Media Specialist Tagged: , ,

Don't Get Shocked!

Apple issued a recall for the USB Adaptor that’s used to charge your iPhone 3G. I guess there was a risk of electrical shock. It’s simple to order your replacement. You will need your iPhone 3G serial # and having an Apple ID makes the process faster. If you don’t you’ll probably have to create one. You can either do it online or walk in to the nearest Apple Store with your iPhone 3G and USB Adaptor in hand.

For the lazy ones exchanging adaptor online here’s what you do.

1) Log on to the following website:

2) Select Your Country

3) Enter your Serial #. Which you can get by tapping on Settings->General->About->Serial Number.

4) You will enter your shipping information by login with your Apple ID (same as your iTunes account) or creating a new one.

5) You will get a confirmation page which you can print to PDF just in case package is lost.

6) It took 5 days for my replacement to come. Once you receive it, exchange it with the one in the box which has a bright green dot and ship your faulty one back within 10 days. If you don’t, you will be charged $29.

In the US they have a return label behind the shipping label that just peals off. I took my sealed box to DHL Drop-off at Office Max or you can schedule a pick-up online or on the phone with DHL.

That’s it. Simple!

Sorry I didn’t tell you sister! I thought I did, I don’t want you to get shocked…


Unblock Access To A Website On TUSD

In How To,Online Services,Tips & Tricks on September 16, 2008 by Media Specialist Tagged:

Sometimes we are trying to access a useful website for classroom use and we come to find the dreaded YELLOW screen of Websense.

Fortunately, TUSD has a process that can lead to unblocking the particular site you are trying to access. All you have to do is fill out the online form and submit it. TUSD determines if that site can be unblocked. I’ve submitted several sites and all have been unblocked. Chances are that if it’s something that benefits Teachers or Students, it will be unblocked.

You can only access this form on a work computer. (http://intranet/proxyissues.html)

This is what the form looks like:

TUSD Proxy Form

Click On Image To Go To Site


1. Contact Name (Required)

This is the person submitting this request. Must be entered as First Name Last Name (With only a space between.) If the last name is hyphenated enter the name without the hyphen. Please no middle initials!

2. Contact Phone (Required)

Phone number where you can be reached. Must be entered as 8 digits. EX: 225-6333

3. Site (Required)

Select the site you work from! If you are at multiple sites use your home site (Where you recieve your paycheck).

4. Grade Level (Optional)

If you are a teacher select the grade you teach, all others use Elementary, Middle or High School.

5. Subject Area (Optional)

This is for the general type of information accessed on this site. Some examples would be Geographical, Sports, or Inappropriate Content ETC.

6. Requested Action (Required)

Select either Block Site or Make Site Available.

7. Specific Reasons (Required)

Explain specifically why the site should be blocked or unblocked. Please give examples of ways the sites content would impact TUSD students.

8. URL (Required)

Enter the complete path to the web site from the browser or websense error message. See example!

9. URL Example

There is an example of an acceptable URL at the bottom of the page. It is also an error message you may receive from websense for a blocked site.

Hope this helps! I know it can be frustrating sometimes.


Embed Video On Microsoft PowerPoint

In How To,Laundry Room,Tips & Tricks,Windows on September 3, 2008 by Tech Support Tagged: , ,


Embedding is a means of physically inserting a video clip into an application so that it plays within the presentation.

Many educators would like to use multimedia files in their Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. This may seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. However, using the new PowerPoint 2007, accomplishing this couldn’t be easier. Here’s how:

Embedding Or Linking Video To PowerPoint

We are assuming you already have the video you wish to embed in your presentation somewhere on your desktop or hard drive.

  1. Create a folder and label it “Presentation” (you can name it whatever you like).
  2. Drag or copy the movie file(s) you plan to use in that folder.  (WMV works best)
  3. Open a PowerPoint Presentation and save it to that same folder.
  4. When it’s time to insert movie files to your presentation, select them from this same folder.
  5. When you are finished you should have all files you need in one folder.

The actual process of inserting a video clip is really easy.

  1. In PowerPoint create a new presentation or open an existing one
  2. Choose which slide you want the presentation to be in or add it to an existing slide
  3. From the top menu, click on the Insert ribbon. Then choose Movie & Sound – Movie From File.
  4. In the popup box, search for your movie file (in the folder you created) and add it.
  5. You can resize, move, & pretty much position video where you want on the screen.

If you will be presenting on another computer, you have to make sure you have the movie file in the same folder as your presentation. PowerPoint DOES NOT save the movie file all together.

This is a video of the same step by step instructions from above.

That’s all there is to it.  Pretty simple huh?

Downloading & Adding YouTube Videos To PowerPoint

If you don’t want to depend on an internet connection,  you can convert YouTube Video with Zamzar’s Online service and then use the instructions above.  Make sure you convert the video to WMV, since it works the best!  If not, Powerpoint will not recognize it and you won’t be able to see it.

Videos make presentations a little more dynamic and used thoughtfully add the perfect touch to your message. Always test your presentation before beginning your keynote.


Zamzar Makes Downloading YouTube Videos Easy

In Helpful Websites,How To,Online Services,Tips & Tricks on August 22, 2008 by Media Specialist Tagged: , ,

Talk about a great online service!  A teacher suggested as an online service that converts pretty much any file on the web.  Especially works great with YouTube videos!  Here’s how:

1)  Visit

2) Under Step 1 click on URL.

Click on URL

Click on URL

3) Open another tab or window and go to YouTube video you want to convert.

4) Copy the URL (web address) of the YouTube video you wish to convert.

YouTube URL
YouTube URL

5) Go back to Zamzar & Paste the YouTube URL into Step 1.  It should look like this:

URL pasted in Step 1

URL pasted in Step 1

6) In Step 2 you will need to select what type of file you want to convert to:
  1. For Quicktime Player select mp4, mov or mpg (Mac)
  2. For Windows Media Player select wmv (PC)

7) Enter your email address in Step 3 and click Convert.

You’re done.  You’ll receive an email address a few hours later with a link to download your converted file.  All you’ll have to do is click on Download Now and save it.

Download & Save
Download & Save

Enjoy it’s FREE!  No more waiting for the video to load on the internet.

Update: Check your Junk Mail for the email you’ll receive with a link to your file.  Approve that sender if you’ll be converting several videos.

Thank you Mr. Labardee!


How Do I Download Video From YouTube

In How To,Tips & Tricks on August 11, 2008 by Media Specialist Tagged: , ,

Many of you have asked me this question: How can I download the videos from YouTube to use in my classroom? Keep in mind that YouTube is blocked at Pueblo and even if it wasn’t we would have difficulty streaming that video on our SLOW connection. Depending on what computer you have at home, there is software you can download that I have personally tested to make this possible.

For your information, FLV or Flash Video has become very popular for streaming video. We use it on our site as well. Only thing is that you have to take a few more steps to make it accesible on your desktop.

For PC Users
If you are running any Windows Operating System, your options are a little more limited. First, you will have to install Firefox Internet Browser. As a side note, Firefox offers a better web experience and offers better security on the web than Explorer. I highly recommend that you make the conversion. Visit the Firefox site to download and install this free software.

The easiest software to capture FLV video is called Web Video Downloader and can be purchased for $19.95 at Once you install this software you will have a special icon on the Toolbar of your browser that will allow you to complete the capturing process. (Screenshot below) It was very easy to use and effective.

SoThinkMedia Screenshot

Icon that appears in Firefox BrowserThere are several video tutorials and manuals on the site that will guide you through the steps. There is a trial period for this software so download it and check it out.

For Mac Users (The Smart Ones)
There seems to be more software for this service on a Mac. For $8.00, the one I am recommending and currently using, is called Videobox and you can download it at It’s very and I mean really simple to use.

Once you download and install, you copy the url (web address) of the video you are watching on YouTube and paste it in the program window. The program automatically detects the FLV video you are trying to capture and Done! That easy! (Screenshot below)

Videobox Screenshot

Easy drag and drop of url for conversion
Videobox offers a trial period too. So you can try it and see if it will work for you. Chances are you will fall in love with this little program as fast as I did.

Once you have the video converted, all you need is a Flash Drive (If you don’t have one, get one) to bring to school and project on your screen. Let me know if you have any problems or if you are currently using a program that is easier to use. There are freebies out there, but those don’t offer as many options and they are not user-friendly.

This software not only works with Youtube, but with all streaming video sites out there. (Google, MSN, Myspace and others.)


How To Request AV Setups?

In How To,Laundry Room,Procedures on August 10, 2008 by

Updated: August 5, 2012

Multiple Screen Setup in the library for Staff Development

If you will be reserving the Auditorium, Special Projects Room, Little Theater or any other large gathering area and would like to request Audio/Visual support, please do the following:

1) Reserve area through the Activities Office at least 2 weeks in advance.* You can download form under Activities on the Teacher Portal. Reservation Form covers all specifics of an event. (Security, Engineers, etc.)

2) On the form indicate what Audio/Visual Equipment you will need.

3) Although I usually get a copy of the Request Form you turn in to the Activities Office, send me an email or stop by my office to discuss the event or presentation. This step really helps!

4) If anything changes, please inform me.

Thank you for your cooperation. Helping me with these simple guidelines will insure a smooth running event for you and me.

Areas Commonly Used:

  • Auditorium
  • Special Projects Room
  • Little Theater
  • Library*
  • Reference Room*
  • Cafeteria
  • Patio
  • Lever Gym
  • South Gym

*Library handles it’s own reservations. Check with them first if you plan to use these areas and then go through steps mentioned above.

Equipment Commonly Used:

  • LCD Projection with Laptop Computer for Powerpoint Presentations or DVD
  • Small, Medium and Large Single or Multiple Screens
  • Public Address System Wired & Wireless