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Office Suites in the Cloud

Nov 18 '11 Web & Cloud Services Comments Off

Working with TRIO programs and their students has illustrated the need for providing students with application software for word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software to meet their instructional and learning needs. A review of what’s currently available for free has shown wide use of a couple of different Office suites. Check out the following online applications that also allow for online collaboration and sharing.

GMail and Google Apps – Sign up for a free GMail account and get access to Google Apps for free. Google Apps includes online wordprocessing, spreadsheet, presentation and graphics manipulation applications that are easy to use.

Hotmail and SkyDrive – With a free Hotmail account you also get Microsoft Web Apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for free.  In addition you get 25GB of free online storage.  These Microsoft Web Apps look just like the regular Microsoft Office applications but with a slightly limited set of options.

If you don’t have a GMail account or a Hotmail account, sign up for one and take a tour of the free cloud applications that can help you to create and share information with your program staff and students.

Computer and Data Security

Protecting your computers and the data that resides on them is of obvious importance. Not protecting your computers and the related data that resides therein can result in a broad range of consequences including identity theft.  This blog is meant to be an opportunity to share current information regarding malware threats, preventive practices, free or inexpensive software/services and potential solutions for problems that you might have encountered.

Join the discussion as we look at solving issues like what you should do to protect yourself should you lose a laptop or smartphone.  This will include installing tracking software so that these devices can be recovered. One solution that is frequently used by smartphone and laptop users is the open source solution known as Prey (http://preyproject.com) which is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Droids and iPhones.  If you have a different kind of phone, ask about that and we’ll get back to you with some other solutions.

My next post will deal with encryption and point you to resources and tutorials that you might want to consider using if you are traveling with a laptop that holds any kind of sensitive data.

Stretching Your Tech Dollar: Part 2- Find the Best Items for Your Needs

Nov 1 '11 Hardware & Networks, Purchasing, Software Comments Off

This is the second of a four part series on how to get the best tech for your needs at the best price. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Part 1- Figure Out What You Need.

Part 2 -Find the Best Items for Your Needs
Once you’ve spent some time looking at what you currently have and figuring out some basics about what you need, the next step is to find the most suitable products. In this post we will discuss how to find the items that will will best suit your needs, while in the next we’ll look at how to find the best price from a vendor you can trust. Note that we do not endorse any specific brands, products, services, or vendors. Whatever and wherever you decide to buy, these recommendations are provided to help you make the most informed decision.

Finding information you can trust
As we discussed in the first part of this series, it be difficult to find impartial and reliable (not to mention intelligible) information about the best tech products for your needs. Knowledgeable friends and colleagues can be a great help in getting you started. Beware, however, if their opinions seem especially polarized or always seem to come back to one particular brand. Students can often be a great resource for all things tech, but keep in mind that their interests and priorities might be slanted more toward gaming and things like video performance that probably aren’t  the most important considerations in an office environment. What you want is someone who will ask you a few questions to clarify what you need then point you in the right direction and suggest a few alternatives. Luckily, most techies love to talk about what works and doesn’t and what to buy, so don’t be afraid to ask. Read the rest of this entry »

     

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