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A Portable Malaise?

Updated: 2016-09-13T16:06:20.032-07:00


Laptop Teaching: Checking In


Hello, everyone.

Two quick notes, one very important.

* If you've got comments, suggestions, concerns, etc. about laptops or laptop teaching, now is an excellent time to send them along.  I'll be spending a lot of time at the beginning of next semester working on next year's tech request, and that's one of our big chances to get things fixed and upgraded.

* The very important note: We've got several new teachers assigned to laptop classrooms for spring, and we may be short laptops.  If you know that you won't really be using your laptop next semester, I'd appreciate knowing right away if you'd be willing to volunteer to turn yours in for re-assignment.  (If I don't get any volunteers, we may have to call some laptops back in anyway, and I hate doing that.)

Hope to hear from you soon,


First Day Laptop Notes


Good morning, everyone. A few notes for this first day o' the semester:

1. Ethernet cables. Currently the Ethernet ports in 106 and 107 are
*not* working. As you'll remember, it can be a problem if every
student in both of those rooms is wirelessly Internetting at the same
time, since that can cause everyone's net connection to slow way
down. We're hoping the Ethernet problem will be fixed soon. VIS is
working on it. Given all that, you may or may not want to require
that your students buy short Ethernet cables if you're teaching in
those rooms. My best suggestion is that you require the cables only
if you know you'll be doing some pretty intense online work all
semester long.

2. Generally speaking, if you're in a laptop room and you have plans
to have your students do intense online work in class, it's good
policy to require them to buy Ethernet cables as part of their course
supplies. Short ones can be purchased at the Computer Showcase in RB
for substantially less than $10.

3. The car reader door locks SHOULD be programmed to accept all of
our IDs. But--as always at the beginning of the year--anticipate
bumps. You may need to have a neighboring teacher let you in. (And,
if that's the case, you should shoot an email to Chris Elliot,, and let him know your card isn't working.)

4. I have Mac video adapters (for lending) in my office. Let me
know if you're in need of one.

5. IP Printing in 17S: By the end of the week, I'll have
instructions for wirelessly printing for those of you teaching in 17S.
6. 3-6:00, MW, is a good time to look for me in my office. But
email if you need to find me at other times.



Fwd: Technology Training for Faculty and Staff


Hey, folks . . .Notice the upcoming Tablet PC, Blackboard, and Office 07 sessions in the Tech Training list below.  These are about an hour long  and are usually a good way to get the basics under control.FredBegin forwarded message:Date: August 11, 2007 3:05:42 AM EDTSubject: Technology Training for Faculty and Staff Technology Training Support Services invites you to attend the following workshops to advance your technical skills. Please click on the title to see a description and to register for the session. Or, go to to see the training calendar and register for training sessions.Campus Utilities and ApplicationsAugust 15What's New with Wireless NetworkingAugust 23What's New with Wireless NetworkingAugust 27What's New with Wireless Networking Faculty/Staff Walk-In ClinicAugust 17Vignette WorkshopAugust 24Vignette WorkshopAugust 31Vignette Workshop Instructional TechnologyAugust 13Blackboard 1: Content ManagementAugust 13SMART Board BasicsAugust 13Gradebook - IntroductionAugust 14Blackboard 1: Content ManagementAugust 14Gradebook - IntroductionAugust 14Tablet PC + Active LearningAugust 14inQsit - Creating Online TestsAugust 15What is New with Blackboard?August 15What is New with Blackboard?August 15What is New with Blackboard?August 15What is New with Blackboard?August 20Tablet PC + Active LearningAugust 22Power Presentations BasicsAugust 22What is New with Blackboard?August 22Gradebook - IntroductionAugust 22SMART Board BasicsAugust 23Power Presentations Media & DesignAugust 23What is New with Blackboard?August 24What is New with Blackboard?August 30Tablet PC+ Digital Grading and Document Sharing Media and DesignAugust 14Vignette BasicsAugust 16Vignette BasicsAugust 24Vignette Basics Office ProductivityAugust 15Compatibility Issues with Office 2003 and 2007August 22Compatibility Issues with Office 2003 and 2007August 28Compatibility Issues with Office 2003 and 2007Ball State University LibrariesA destination for research, learning, and friendsThis email was sent to you by University Libraries' Technology Training Support Services. You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time.[...]

Office 2007: Getting It Before It Gets You


Greetings, all.

As you may know, a new version of Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) was released last year, along with the new Windows Vista operating system, and both are now available free from BSU. While you don't need to upgrade to Windows Vista yet (and there are good reasons to wait), it would be a very good idea to go ahead and upgrade to Office 2007, which runs just fine in good ol' Windows XP. There are three major reasons to make the switch. (1) Freshman arriving with new PCs will be using Office 07. (2) The labs all over campus (including our e-classrooms) will gradually be making the switch this year. (3) The new file format for Office '07, which ultimately is a big improvement, in the short term is going to make trouble for those of us still using Word 2003 which, as is, will not read Word 2007 files.

To (I hope!) help you decide how to manage the looming menace of Office 2007, I've put together a little page full of download links and help links, here. Take a look at the page, which covers upgrading and makes suggestions about handling files, whether you're working on a PC or a Mac. (There's even a special Mac section.)

My recommendation is that you upgrade to Office 2007 now, so that you'll have time to get comfortable with it before school starts. You can postpone, if you'd like, but sooner or later Mr. Gates *will* suck you into the new interface. That's the kind of power he has.

If you'd like to get a "sample" of the new programs before you take the leap, Chris Elliott has helped us out by installing Office 2007 on the workroom PC nearest the laser printer.

Let me know if you run into trouble or have further questions.

Fred Johnson

PS: I've been playing with especially Word 2007 for a couple of weeks, and I really do like the changes, for what it's worth. The interface is a little foreign at first, but once I found the options I use most often, everything did work a bit more smoothly than it did in the old interface.

PPS: The link for that help page, again:

Making a "Help" List for e-Classrooms



I'm working on a "help" sheet with numbers and emails for common
problems or questions people might have when teaching in the e-
classrooms, and I was hoping you could give me a hand making sure
I've covered everything.

Seems to me there are about a half-dozen categories that would cover
most problems:

* Paper and Other Supplies
* Computers
* Printers and Printing
* Projectors and Projector Bulbs
* All Other Instructional Equipment
* Furniture and Room Maintenance Issues
* Temperature

Two questions for you:

(1) Can you think of things that might not fit into those categories?
(2) Are there specific troubleshooting/help questions you want to see
addressed more clearly?

(Question 2 is where you vent. E.g., "How the %$#@ do I . . ." or
"What the %$#$ am I supposed to do when . . ." C'mon. You know
you've got one.)



Fwd: Technology Training for Faculty and Staff


All-Notice the two Tablet PC sessions coming up (see below).  (And there are also sessions on things like blogging and podcasting for the classroom.)That is all,FredBegin forwarded message:From: Date: May 13, 2007 3:04:59 AM EDTTo: Subject: Technology Training for Faculty and Staff Technology Training Support Services invites you to attend the following workshops to advance your technical skills. Please click on the title to see a description and to register for the session. Or, go to to see the training calendar and register for training sessions.Faculty/Staff Walk-In ClinicMay 18Vignette WorkshopJune 1Vignette Workshop Instructional TechnologyMay 17Tablet PC + Active LearningMay 17SMART Board BasicsMay 18SMART Board BasicsMay 18Tablet PC + Active LearningMay 21Best of BlackboardMay 22inQsit - Creating Online SurveysMay 29inQsit - Creating Online Tests Media and DesignMay 15Introduction to BlogsMay 16Introduction to PodcastingMay 16Vignette BasicsMay 17Introduction to VodcastingMay 24Vignette BasicsMay 29Web Design BasicsMay 30Microsoft FrontPage 1: IntroductionMay 30Using WORD 2003 to Create Web PagesMay 31Microsoft FrontPage 3: Working with Graphics & Web ComponentsMay 31Using WORD 2003 to Create Web Pages Office ProductivityMay 21Office 2007 - A First LookMay 25Excel 1: FundamentalsMay 30Office 2007 - A First LookJune 1Excel 2: Formulas & Functions Technology Development SeriesMay 30Introduction to iWeb for Macintosh UsersMay 31Adding Multimedia to iWeb sites for Macintosh UsersBall State University LibrariesA destination for research, learning, and friendsThis email was sent to you by University Libraries' Technology Training Support Services. You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time.[...]

Keeping Laptops for Summer


Folks with Departmental Laptops--(1) Big announcement: So long as you're planning to teach at BSU in the fall, we're not taking the laptops back over the summer.  The laptop pool is big enough now that the chances of us having to completely redistribute them in the fall are much less than they were last year.  More importantly, summer is the best time for many of us to experiment and learn how to use new tools.  So I talked with Drs. McBride and Hozeski, and we all agreed that leaving the machines with you is the best policy.(2) Two notes on that, though.  First, if your computer is slowing down, messing up, freaking out, or in any way on the fritz, please get in touch with Chris Elliott ( and set up a time to leave your computer with him for a checkup.  (Chris can fill you in on how to do regular maintenance yourself, too, if you'd like to do it yourself.)  Second, remember that if you are not assigned to a laptop-only classroom in the fall, we *may* have to take back your laptop in the fall, so that some laptop-less person who *has* been assigned to a laptop-only classroom can be equipped.  But we're going to try to avoid that, and we think that we probably can.(3)  Tech Training: Once or twice a month, we get "Tech Training" emails (like the one appended below) in our inboxes.  These are easy to ignore, I know, but these folks run some pretty valuable intro sessions for us, for free.  Summer might be a good time to consider one, like maybe Tablet PC one being offered on the 17th.  If you've got interest, sign up, so they don't cancel the sessions.(4) On the evils of PowerPoint.  (There's funny here, if you need a grading break.)(5) Non-evil PowerPoint.  (Not so much funny, but a very good set of principles.  Bookmark this one.)One week to summer break . . .FredBegin forwarded message:From: Date: April 29, 2007 3:04:50 AM EDTTo: Subject: Technology Training for Faculty and Staff Technology Training Support Services invites you to attend the following workshops to advance your technical skills. Please click on the title to see a description and to register for the session. Or, go to to see the training calendar and register for training sessions.Instructional TechnologyMay 17Tablet PC + Active LearningMay 17SMART Board BasicsMay 18SMART Board BasicsMay 18Tablet PC + Active Learning Media and DesignMay 15Introduction to BlogsMay 16Introduction to Podcasting Office ProductivityMay 1Access 4: ReportsBall State University LibrariesA destination for research, learning, and friendsThis email was sent to you by University Libraries' Technology Training Support Services. You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time.[...]

Fwd: IMPORTANT - Daylight Saving Time


G'morning, folks.If you haven't already, please DO take a couple of minutes today to run updates on your laptops, in advance of Daylight Savings Time.  Step one (below) is the one you need to worry about.FredPS: Macs: You just need to run "Software Update," which you can access at the "light switch" icon that opens the control panel.Begin forwarded message:From: "" Date: February 27, 2007 5:34:09 AM ESTTo: abjohnson@bsu.eduSubject: IMPORTANT - Daylight Saving TimeReply-To: To view the HTML version of this message, copy and paste the following URL into your browser: COMPUTING SERVICESThis message contains important information about your computer and electronic devices, and is a follow-up to the message you received last week about the upcoming daylight saving time change.  Please read this message entirely and follow the steps provided to make sure you are protected.If these steps are not followed, your appointments and clocks will be one-hour off after March 11. Step One – Update Your Computer:Please be sure to perform this step before Wednesday, February 28th.If you have Windows XP, make sure all critical updates are installed on your computer by visiting Windows Update.  If you are running a Macintosh or some other version of Windows, check the Daylight Saving Time web site at for more information.  A tool is also available on this site which you can use to make sure the update has been successfully applied to your computer.After performing this update, you may notice Outlook appointments occurring after March 11 are off by one hour.  Do not attempt to correct these appointments manually by dragging them to a different time!  They will be corrected automatically later.Need help with this step?  Click Step One - Update Your ComputerStep Two – Wait For UCS Server Update:UCS will begin an update to all central e-mail servers at 5:00pm on Wednesday, February 28th.  This update may take several days to complete, as it will update and fix all appointments occurring after March 11th in all Outlook calendars across the entire university.  You will receive a message from UCS when this process is complete.Need help with this step?  Click Step Two - Wait For UCS Server UpdateStep Three – Check Your Appointments:After you receive the message that the UCS central e-mail server update has been completed, you should check your appointments in Outlook occurring after March 11th to make sure they have been corrected.Even if the appointment times appear correct in your calendar, you should re-verify important meeting times with all attendees for appointments occurring after March 11th.  Your calendar may be correct, however others may not be.  This is especially true for appointments involving individuals outside the university, since their computers or calendars may not have been updated.Need help with this step?  Step Three - Check Your AppointmentsThank You!Thank you for your assistance as we work though this change to the daylight saving time.  Again, verifying appointments by phone or e-mail follow-up is a good idea for appointments occurring after March 11th especially if the appointment involves individuals outside of Ball State University.[...]

Re: Tablet PC Training through UCS


PS: If you *do* go to one of the sessions they're offering, I'd be
interested in hearing about how useful (or not) it turns out to be
for you. Fred

On Feb 26, 2007, at 1:39 PM, Fred Johnson wrote:

> Laptop Folks--
> I'm planning to do a 2-hour evening workshop sometime next month on
> the laptop classrooms, but, in the meantime, some of you may be
> interested in this:

> CourseID=7016&SponsorID=1
> It's one of UCS's little one tech training sessions, focused on
> using Tablet PCs.
> Fred

Tablet PC Training through UCS


Laptop Folks--

I'm planning to do a 2-hour evening workshop sometime next month on
the laptop classrooms, but, in the meantime, some of you may be
interested in this:


It's one of UCS's little one tech training sessions, focused on using
Tablet PCs.


Snow Day Visual Rhetoric Viewing


Two virtuoso displays of visual presentation rhetoric, the first is for satirical (and comedic) effect, the second is more serious but possibly even more entertaining, in a way.  (Watch three minutes of the Rosling video, and you'll be hooked for the other 17.) (If you're me.)

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert on At&T


Prof. Hans Rosling (Karolinska Institute in Sweden) on myths about the developing world


PS: And what does this have to do with teaching with laptops (since this is the laptop list)?  This: that clips like these have never been so easily available and reliably  display-able as they are with laptops.  You cue the clip up on your browser before class, or maybe even download it.  And then it plays in class the way you expect (something that is not always the case with our permanently installed teacher stations, on which you can't always test your presentations beforehand, and in which there are often unexpected quirks).

Laptop Classroom Maintenance Notes: Please Read



Eight quick laptop classroom maintenance notes for the start of the semester.  Pesky but important.  


1.  Desk pranks.  The nice desks we have in the laptop rooms have one serious flaw, and that's that idle-handed students can pop off the metal covers on the legs.  These pop right back on, though.  Please, if you notice those weird triangular-shaped pieces coming loose, try to pop them back on.  It's a pain, I know.  I'm working on getting the custodial staff to help us out with this, too.  I'll let you know.  (If you can't get it done, just place the pieces neatly out of the way, as you've been doing.  If you discover that you're a wily and talented leg-fixer, please feel free to pop as many of them back on as you'd like.)

2.  Ethernet pranks.  In RB 107 and LA 20S, some clever students sitting against the wall in one of the "islands" spent a class period or two disconnecting the Ethernet cables from the wall.  Watch out for that.  It may be the reason why the Ethernet (Internet) ports at the desks suddenly don't work right . . .


3.  Be sure to shut down the projectors when you leave.  The bulbs seem a little prone to burning out, but part of the problem is that they sometimes get left on overnight, or, worse, over the weekend.  (For that reason, if you notice the blue light of a left-on projector in ANY deserted departmental computer room, please pop in and shut it down.)

4.  Also please be sure to shut down the document cameras ("ELMOs") in RB 106 and 107, if you use them.  I've found them running several times over the last semester, and they don't like it.  

5.  There are hooks on the wall in LA where you can hang up the cables after you're done teaching.  Please do that; when they're on the floor, they're always in greater danger of being damaged, or of tripping somebody.  If things go as I hope they'll go, we should also have hooks in the RB classrooms by Monday.  Use 'em.    


6.  Equipment Breakdowns: If projectors, document cameras, VCRs, touchscreen control panels, or any other piece of equipment in the laptop rooms malfunctions, please call VIS right away.  285-3999.  (I'd appreciate it, also, if you could drop me a line/email when you call in the VIS cavalry, so I have a sense of what's breaking, and how often.)  

7.  For problems with your laptop (or with desktop computers in the regular classrooms), contact Chris Elliot, the English Dept. Computer Specialist.  285-8528,  

8.  Last one . . .  If you have a laptop breakdown during the semester, Sharon has two spares she can check out to you for a limited time.  So long as no more than two of you break down at once, we should be able to keep everybody "in business."  

Thanks for reading to the end, everyone.  I'll see you next week . . .


Classroom Assignments, Keeping Laptops, Ethernet Cables . . . and You


Hello, everyone.

Four quick(ish) laptop classroom notes and queries.  

1.  Jama's just given me the list of spring laptop classroom teachers, and it's a good deal shorter this semester than last.  As long as you're making use of the laptops, however, or even just thinking hard about making use of them, I want you all to be able to hold onto them all year.  There are guest computer hookups in every writing program classroom, so you can make use of them whether you're in an official laptop room or not, and--more importantly--I want you to be able to continue to play with and experiment with them.

2.  We do have three new names on the list of laptop classroom teachers (David, Nicole, and Larry), though, and I'm looking at options for supplying them with laptops.  If one of you has a departmental laptop that you don't anticipate opening up next semester, either because you're using a personal laptop (Todd?) or because you and laptops don't much get along, please let me know.  (I've talked to Larry, but, David and Nicole, you should contact me and let me know if you actually have a personal laptop you'd prefer to use.  That would make my job easier, but it's *definitely* not a requirement that you use your own machine to teach.)

3.  IMPORTANT: Please make sure that this coming semester, as last semester, you make ethernet cables a required item for your students in laptop classrooms.  (Ethernet cables are the cables used to hook computers to the Internet.)  The computer showcase center on the first floor of RB has short ones on sale for $3-4, so it's not a huge financial burden.  (Also, it would be good for our relationship with the Showcase Center if we could sell out their supply.)  Though we have wireless all over, if every laptop classroom student logs in at once, UCS says we'll slow the building-wide network to a crawl.  So it's a matter of (n)etiquette.  (This, I hope, won't be the case in the future, but for now we need to do our part to keep the local network moving.)

4.  Most days, students won't necessarily need to use the ethernet cables; but make sure they bring them on big 'net work days.  In a pinch, there are spares--which should be stowed after any class when they're used--located in the teaching station cabinets in RB and in the little grey cabinets in LA 20S and 17S.


PS: If you've got some feedback for me on how the laptops and laptop classrooms are or aren't working for you, please send it to me.  (And, as I tell my students, positive feedback can be as helpful as negative for helping a guy do a good job.)  

Future of Touchscreens


Two laptop-ish links.
(1) Jeff Han demos his amazing touchscreen interface. Makes our current tablet PC capabilities look wimpy; but it also makes it look like the tablet interface is an indication of what's to come.
(2) Macs Only: A good site for free Mac applications.

Sending Large Files: a Quick Note


If you're having any issues with really large visual student files clogging up our really small email inboxes, you might want to check out Pando, which hosts big files online and lets users with the address download them. (There are a few other options for sending large files linked here.)

Cleaning Up Mac Desktops and Docs


Apple Folks-->

I just came across two li'l programs that might interest you.

1) Desktopple, a free program that does just one thing: temporarily hides all the icons on your desktop. Could be useful when hooking up to a projector, especially if the projector has lower resolution than your Mac. (I have a lot of detritus on my desktop, and syncing my screen with one of the projectors always jumbles my icons.)

2) Overflow. This one costs fifteen dollars but has a free preview. Basically, this is to help you have quick access to all your applications but ALSO have a clean simple dock. It kind of gives you multiple docks to launch from. Really, you need to see it to understand, and, luckily, the software company has a handy video on the linked paged that shows you what it does. Worth a look if your dock is getting too full.

2.5) Overflow is kind of a more elegant version of the free program Todos, which I linked to a few weeks ago:
That's all I've got,


Two Annotated Lists of Online Applications



* Does anyone know when or how or under what conditions the touch panel controller in RB 106 shut down? I'm going to work on getting it fixed, and it's always good to know how and why it stopped working.

* In the meantime, if you're in 106, you can make everything work with the remote. Instructions are on one of the guidance sheets/comics on the counter.

* Just a reminder: Please be sure to re-lock the doors on the cabinets in 106 and 107, if you open them.

For your reference and entertainment:

--> SlideShare is an interesting new online utility that let's you post PowerPoint presentations for retrieval online. You have to ask to be invited to use it, but if you ask, they'll invite you. (If that makes sense.) I'm expecting to play with this a little. It's kind of YouTube for PowerPoint.

--> Here and here you'll find interesting annotated lists of web-based applications that might prove useful to someone with a laptop computer teaching in a school with great wireless internet access. (Hey! That's you!) And here's a third list of interest, overviewing online note-taking tools.

I tend to glance at lists like this now and then, so that if I can be aware of tools like this when the time comes that they might be immediately useful. E.g., I knew about Flickr for months before I tried it, but I fired it up when I realized it could be useful for photo essay projects in 103. I spent ten minutes looking at Writely one day, and I didn't really put it to use until almost a year later, when I needed to collaborate with a couple of people on a piece of writing. Etc.

That is all.


NVU for Free, Cross-Platform Web Design


Kenan asks:
Being in a laptop classroom where I am requiring websites has presented a problem we may not have foreseen. Not everyone has the same website creation software. My temporary solution has been to have them form study groups according to the type of software they are using. If anyone has any other suggestions let me know. I wonder if this is an issue that needs to be addressed as faculty.
My suggestion, as a first possible solution, is that we direct students to NVU, which is a free, well-respected, Mozilla-based web design program. And it's cross-platform, so your Macs and your PCs will be able to run it equally well. It's not as easy to do fancy rollovers and whatnot as it is to do them in Frontpage, but it's a-ok out of the box for basic web design.

There's a link here at the bottom of my "productivity" page at the help site, and you can go directly to it here.

The image at the top shows what you need to enter to set up NVU to work with a BSU site. (Click the image to make it bigger.)

Quick Notes



Three quick computers-on-campus notes:

1) BSU is featured in a USA Today article today about computers on

2) I've made a few additions to the laptop help-and-suggestions
pages. Go see:

3) Shoot me an email if you're up for some kind of evening playing-
with-tablet-PCs event/workshop/play-date this month, where those of
us who are interested can share tips and ask questions about using
these laptops in the classroom.


Just Notes and Links


Hello, everyone.
Just a reminder that if you're running into any consistent tech problems in the laptop rooms, you should let me know.
And an exhortation: Share ideas and solutions with each other! The thing that's great about having so many laptops in circulation now is that we have so many brilliant minds working on how to use them.
Some links of interest:
* A tool I'll add to the help site soon, worth a look: Snipshot, for online photo editing.
* And here's a rundown of all the online photo sharing sites (, in case any of you are looking for interesting ways for students to work with photos.
* Some funny (or mildly amusing, at least) parodies of the recent Mac vs. PC ads that Apple's been running. Relevant because this one's about Tablet PCs. (The one about games and jobs is pretty funny, too, and it sets up the joke at the end of the Tablet PC one.) (
* And just to show I love the Macs, too, here's Todos (, which gives Macs a kind of super dock, showing all their applications at once. I just tried it. It's neat.
All for now,

Two Small Notes: Power Cords, Document Cameras


Two quick notes.

(1) A few people have been confused about the two power cords
included with the new Tablet PCs. The little one is for carrying.
The big one is for plugging in the "port replicator," which is a
docking station you can use in your office. (If you don't get the
docking station thing, just hold onto it, for now.)

(2) I keep noticing that the document cameras in 106 and 107 are
being left on. Please shut 'em off when you're done with them.

That is all,


Computers and Carrying Cases are Ready


Hello, everyone. The carrying cases are here, and the computers are
ready to go.

If you're slated for a new machine, go see Sharon, and she'll hook
you up.

First three things you should do:

1. Charge it all the way up, by plugging it in. (The power cord is
in the brown box.) Once it's charged all the way up, run the battery
all the way down, or as close to all the way down as you dare.
(It'll warn you when it's at 10% power. Push it beyond that, until
it's scolding you about shutting down soon, and then plug it in.)
This helps get the battery in good shape. (And you should try to run
the power all the way down about once a month, actually, just to keep
the battery on its toes.) (No kidding.)

2. When you first turn the machine on, it'll offer you tutorials.
Do 'em. They're clear and helpful. (If for some reason your machine
doesn't offer you a tutorial, go Start --> All Programs --> Tablet
PC -> Tablet PC Tutorials.

3. The tutorial will tell you how to "calibrate" the "digitizer
pen" (which you'll find in the lower left corner of the computer).
Do that. It can make a big difference in the responsiveness of the
machine. (There's a switch on the bottom of the lower left corner--
*under the machine*--which will release the pen, if you slide it.)

Let me know if there are any problems with these first steps.

And *have fun*.


Small Items


To clear up any potential confusion . . .

On letting the next class in:

We should never leave students alone in the tech classrooms. If the
next teacher in your classroom has not arrived before you need to
leave, you have no choice but to lock that teacher out. Someone from
the office can always come down to let a teacher in, if needed.

On syncing the screen and the projector:

Once you've plugged in the video cable, you need to tell the computer
that you want it to send a picture to both the computer screen
("notebook") and the projector ("monitor"). To do that, right click
anywhere on the desktop, then choose Graphics Options --> Output To --
> Dual Display Clone --> Notebook+Monitor. Once you've done that
once, the computer will often automatically sync to the screen when
you plug it in, but if you ever get a black or blue screen from the
projector when you expect the laptop to be mirrored on the projector
screen, try changing the Graphics Options first.

All for now,


laptop shenanigans


Quick updates/notes:

* Chris is working hard setting up the computers.
* We're still waiting for carrying cases for the computers.
* The new touchscreen boxes on the cabinets in 106 and 107 will allow
you to control everything in the room at the push of a button, Let
me know if you have trouble making it work. (But I don't think you
will. It's pretty slick.)
* Real teacher's stations for 106 and 1077 . . . are in the mail, I
* Don't turn out the lights in 106 and 107. They'll go out on their
own, and come on for the next person in the room.
* I've left the ethernet cables in the rooms for this week, but
they'll disappear over the weekend. Remember: your students need to
buy their own to bring to class.
* Someone from the office should be down in the morning to help the
first teachers of the day get into 106 and 107. If they aren't
there, run up to the office and get 'em. They know to expect you.
* Chris is still waiting for the supertopsecret Best Lock software
for programming the door locks on 106 and 107.

That is all.




Hello, all.Apologies in advance for a long email at a busy time . . .If you're getting this email, then Jama has given me your name as a teacher assigned to one of our four laptop classrooms. If this is the first you've heard about laptop rooms, you should check out previous announcements at the Laptop Ready Resources site ( (scroll down for archived announcements from this summer). You may also want to take a look at the classroom help sheets in the right hand column on this page ( news first:** The student desks are here and set up, and we ought to have all ports and plugs activated before the end of the week.** All major classroom tech equipment is in and working in all four classrooms.** The two new rooms, RB 106 and 107, have locking cabinets whose locks are a match for your office-door keys. (Meaning: you have the key to the cabinet. It's the same as your office key.)** Sandy bought us cool looking blue staplers, so each laptop room has a stapler. (A small thing, but useful. And blue.)** And a big thing: Rather than the 17 Tablet PCs we initially anticipated receiving, we'll be receiving 30, which means we'll be in good shape forsupplying computers to every teacher assigned to a laptop classroom this semester.And then some bad news:** It looks at this point as if the new Tablet PCs won't be arriving this week. And I can't say when they'll be arriving, because Gateway is being unhelpful. With good luck, we'll have them to you in about a week. In the meantime, I'll make sure that we have laptops to use in each of the classrooms; you'll just need to bring your files (on USB drive or CD) or upload them to iLocker. I'm very sorry about this. And the folks at UCS are sorry. (Ironically, the only people not sorry are the sorry people at Gateway who couldn't get our order out in time.) (In their defense, it sounds like there were some real technical difficulties with the bodies of the machines, and I'm glad they didn't send them out broken.)** It's possible that the rolling teacher stations we ordered for RB 106 and 107 won't arrive this week. If they don't, we'll leave the big old-style teaching tables in 106 and 107, at least until the teacher stations arrive.** And one more potential issue. The new card readers on the doors of RB 106 and 107 are nicer than the old ones on the rest of our doors. But programming them requires some new super-secure keying software that Chris Elliott hasn't yet received from foot-dragging Best Lock. That means we may have some issues with getting into 106 and 107 during the first week of school. If you arrive to 106 or 107 and are locked out, someone in the office can let you in. If you're teaching in 106 or 107, please do your best to wait for the next instructor to arrive before leaving, so that we never have to shut the door. But if no teacher arrives and you have to go, please pull the door shut; there's less to snatch in these rooms than in our desktop PC-based rooms, but we still need to protect the equipment.And that's the news. I'll send updates if and when I can.FredPS: If you'd like to check out the new RB rooms before Monday, stop in at the office and ask them to let you in to take a look (or if you really just want to SEE how things are looking, there are pictures here) ([...]