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Start the School Year Securely

As another school year begins, staff and students will be bringing their educational tools like laptops, tablets and smart phones into the schools and classrooms.  They will as well be using the Internet and sharing files as always.  The last statement is what opens the door for trouble if they haven’t protected these computing and communications devices. Read the rest of this entry »

iPad Applications for Maximizing Productivity

May 9 '12 Mobile Computing, Resources, Software Comments Off

With the growth of the use of tablets like the Apple iPad, we have gotten frequent questions about what the best set of basic applications that one might consider that would be either free or affordable for most programs and students. What follows is a brief list of some of the iPad applications that have been used and recommended by others. Any reference to a specific product or service is not an endorsement but rather an example of the kinds of programs that are available for use. A simple $100 budget can provide a lot of functionality for an iPad.

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Avoiding Malware Threats for TRIO Programs

With Summer TRIO Programs about to begin, I thought it might be a good idea to review some simple practices that can help your staff and students to avoid the persistent threats that can create total havoc due to computer malware (i.e. malicious software). The best practice is prevention through both simple practices and decision making by both students and staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Google Voice for Calls and Texts

Google Voice LogoGoogle Voice is a free service that lets you control and manage your calls from the Web or your mobile device. You can get a new phone number or use an existing number to consolidate calls made to multiple numbers and control who can call and when. You can place people into different groups (think staff and students) and handle their calls in different ways. You can also create a program-wide number that can be transferred to whatever staff members you chose without divulging their personal numbers. It makes it easy to record calls and to transfer them from one phone to another.

Google Voice also has powerful features for managing your voice mail and text messages. It allows you to access and manage your voice mail from the web and share voice mails by email. You can compose text messages on your computer and have your text messages sent to your email. It also makes it easy to host conference calls simply by having callers dial your Google Voice number.  Of course there is a mobile app for iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries. Best of all, it’s FREE.
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Create Short URLs and QR Codes

Google URL Shortener

The Google URL Shortener takes long web addresses and generates a shorter version that is easier share via email, twitter or on the Web. It also generates a QR (Quick Response Code) for your web page that can be read by most smart phones and reports statistics on visitors to your site.

To use it, just go to, enter the full URL and click on the Shorten URL button. The short URL will be created instantly. Note that all these short web addresses are publicly accessible. You (or anyone else) can also view the traffic to the shortened URL by adding “.info” to the end of the address.

Below is an example of a short URL ( generated this way for the home page of this blog ( .
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