Spring 2010


Shawn Beattie, ITS, editor

Welcome to Augie Techknowledge from ITS, an e-newsletter to share "what's new" in ITS and provide useful tips and articles on Information Technology at Augustana.  We hope you like it and find it useful.  The newsletter will be archived on the ITS web site at http://www.augustana.edu/itsfiles/techknowledge.  Enjoy! 

In this issue:

Apple's iPad

Windows 7 Update
RSS - Really Simple Syndication
Spring Cleaning for your Computer
Multimedia, Moodle, and MoodleMoot
Summer Projects? We Can Help!
Tip: Update your web profile

Apple's iPad
Shawn Beattie, ITS

Apple's new iPad went on sale this spring with much fanfare, but is it going to be a game-changer in terms of how we use media and access the web?  The answer is a resounding...maybe.

If you haven't noticed, since the iPhone was released several years ago, every phone released since then has been compared to it in reviews.  Likewise, the iPad will pressure other touch-screen tablets to match the high-quality user experience found on the iPad.

Essentially a much larger version of the iPhone, without voice telephony, the iPad offers a well rounded package as a media player, mobile web device, and e-book reader.  But is it a jack-of-all trades, yet master of none?  Amazon's Kindle can provide a better book-reading experience with its crisp and low-power e-ink display, and a traditional netbook or laptop can arguably give you a better word processing or browsing experience.  But the iPad is essentially a new genre that wraps many functions up into one.  It's a web browser, movie player, gaming device, e-book reader and much more.

Critics of the iPad have noted its lack of a camera, lack of ports, lack of keyboard (although an external one is available), and limited multitasking.  Also noted in a quite public battle between Adobe and Apple is the iPad's inability to handle Adobe Flash, which is found on most websites in some capacity -- except Apple's.

While no computing device is perfect, if a multi-function tablet is what you're looking for, the iPad is a great choice at this time and is likely to be the gold standard of this genre for quite some time.

Windows 7 Update
Jeff Martin, ITS

During the next year, we will be moving PCs on campus from Windows XP to Windows 7.  We will begin work on the classrooms and labs during the summer. It is our hope to have the labs and classrooms across campus completely upgraded prior to the start of classes in the fall. Starting with the fall semester, we will begin migrating faculty and staff.

Prior to your computer being upgraded to Windows 7, ITS will provide information on how to properly prepare your system for the upgrade, including how to best prepare your data for transfer and what information we will need to complete the procedure as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If you have questions or concerns, please let us know. ITS will be doing our best to make certain this migration is as smooth and efficient as it can be for the Augustana Community.


RSS - Really Simple Syndication
Brad Isbell, ITS

If you browse regularly updated websites, it is inevitable that you will stumble across a link to an RSS feed, usually identified by the curious orange icon (see above). Particularly popular with news sites and blogs, RSS (which stands for Really Simple Syndication) feeds are streams of data that represent the content of the site they are associated with.

These feeds have no defined use or purpose, but they do have some common applications. One of which is the use of a feed reader to get site updates without actually having to visit the site. For example, if you go to the Augustana website, down at the bottom right of the home page, you will find the RSS icon. Clicking it will open the feed, and there you will find a link to “subscribe”. Clicking the subscribe link will open the feed in your news reader. Microsoft Outlook has a news reader built-in, as do most browsers such as Apple's Safari. From there, you can view news updates just like you read e-mail! You can find links to RSS feeds on many of the popular websites you already visit.

RSS feeds are also used internally by websites to send content from one site to another. A great example of this is CampusNet which uses feeds to show the Announcements, Blogs, Augie News, and Local/Regional News areas. Feeds can also used to subscribe to podcasts, which are audio and video clips downloaded automatically when they are posted.

You can more information on RSS feeds here: http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english (opens in new window)


Spring Cleaning for your Computer
Beth Whitty, ITS

As we get ready to say goodbye to another school year - and for some goodbye for the summer - here’s some things to remember to do to keep things running smoothly this spring & summer:

1. Remember that your network password will expire every 180 days. If you do not want to be bothered with the possibility of your password expiring over the summer, change your password now so you won’t have to worry about it over the summer months. If you need help with changing your password you can find documentation at:

2. If you have documents saved on your desktop, hard drive or Documents folder it would be a good idea to back those files up to a USB flash drive, CD or external hard drive. If you have documents saved on your H:, O: or Q: drives you do not need to worry about those because ITS routinely does backups for those folders.

3. Make sure to clean out your email folders – this includes not only your Inbox but your Sent Items, Deleted Items and any folder that you created under the Inbox. This will help reduce the possibility of your mailbox closing due to lack of space. If you find yourself out of space frequently, try creating a Personal Folder that stores emails on your computer instead of the email server, but allows you to access them from Outlook. You can find documentation for that at
http://www.augustana.edu/x16441.xml and then click on Personal Folders.

4. Last but not least – if you have been living with computer equipment that needs replacing or repair (example: keyboard, mouse, screen, etc)
please let ITS know so we can put it on our list of things to do this summer.  If you don’t tell us that something is broken, we can’t fix it -- so please don’t be shy and let us know!

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please
contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@augustana.edu or (309) 794-7293.


Summer Projects? We Can help!
Shawn Beattie, ITS

If you have a summer project involving scanning paper documents to image or PDFs, scanning 35mm slides, video conversion or editing, or other digitization projects where you need technical assistance in converting from one format to another format - ITS can help.  Contact us to discuss the specifics of your project.


Moodle, Multimedia, and a MoodleMoot
Shawn Beattie, ITS

We’ll be offering a short course with demonstrations on how you can capture and integrate various media formats into your Moodle courses.

This will include:

· Audio formats using simple & free software called Audacity – including voice response to student papers or files
· Video captured from your screen (think literature search how-tos, software demos, or websites)
· Video from YouTube or similar sites (no bandwidth issues if you preload to Moodle!)
· Video from a flash-based camera from ITS checkout

Moodle users worldwide use the interesting name "MoodleMoot" when they get together, and the Midwest MoodleMoot is coming in July to Goshen College in beautiful northern Indiana.   If you are interested in “digging deeper” into using Moodle -- including a sneak preview of v2.0 -- the 2-day seminar at Goshen offers seven different tracks regarding using Moodle.

The cost is only $125 through 5/28 and lodging is available on campus for only $25/night.

http://www.goshen.edu/moodle/schedule.html (opens in new window)

Tip: How to Update your Profile
Beth Whitty, ITS



Faculty & Staff - did you know that you can update your own online bio for the campus directory?

If you would like to update your own information go to: http://www.augustana.edu/directory/update.php (link opens in new window)

Once you get to this page - read through the directions and then scroll to the bottom to fill in your information. If your contact information is incorrect please contact Human Resources because that information is pulled directly from Colleague.

When you are all done click Submit and then go check your profile online by going to http://www.augustana.edu and type your name into the search box in the top right corner.

If you are looking for examples check out: Brian Katz, Pamela Druger or Darrin Good (nice job guys!)

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to email the web team at webmaster@augustana.edu


Have a great summer!