Category Archives: Commentary

Nursing Students Rejoice! Latest Fitbit Blaze Update Adds Fully Functioning Analog Clock Watch Faces!

If you’re a nursing student who wants a Fitbit but is discouraged by the lack of devices that use the second hand? Be discouraged no more. A recent update went out for the Fitbit Blaze and it’s so far pretty awesome. It gives a lot more variety in watch faces and now features all three hands in analog clocks. So now you can use your Fitbit at work or school to track your activity and read those pulses efficiently! But as previously mentioned this only works right now for the Fitbit Blaze. None of the other models have a fully functioning analog clock sadly. That doesn’t mean we’re going to lose hope for the Charge HR 2!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fitbit has goals you can aspire to reach and they can be completely customized too!

Fitbit isn’t really known for listening or being quick to acknowledge customer’s needs. So here’s hoping this is a sign of change and improvements from now on! I can personally testify that the Fitbit Blaze is an amazing smartwatch. Now with the new update I can get notifications from ALL of my applications and it’s made me fall in love with it more and more.

The price of the Fitbit Blaze? Depends where you look. Right now on Amazon it’s below $200. Since the release of the new Charge HR 2 it’s brought the price of the Blaze down a little bit. So if you’re interested go ahead and take a look at it!

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Time management, work smarter not harder!

If it’s one thing that is crammed the most when you are going to school whether it’s elementary or college, you will be taught a lot about how to manage your time effectively. But have you noticed a lot of those guides or lessons are a little old school? That’s what I’m here to tell you is an up to date version of that!

I personally use an app called Planner Pro-Personal Organizer for Android. For iOS, you can use Class Manager which essentially does the same thing. You can look around for one that suits your style if you want. These are just suggestions to get you started!

Now once you have those installed, it’s time to plan! What I like to do is every Sunday I sit down and look through my assignments and write down times I need to work on such things. Even during class when something is announced I may need to write it down just in case they don’t put it on Wyocourses. From there I plan out the entire day including work. Once I finish doing that, I plan some destress time. So whether that means I go to the park and walk around catching Pokemon (exercise is good for you!) Or I sit down and take some time to get caught up in a really good game. Sometimes I just take  the time to read even! But I know it helps a lot!

I’m not saying you need to do it my way or some way that a teacher thinks is best. You need to find what works for you! Obviously, 15 minutes on Math and 3 hours in a game isn’t going to work. So you need to be responsible when it comes to that. but once you get a system down, it makes everything 3x easier and less stressful! So go on! Find out what suits you and helps you become more productive! You’ll find it more rewarding in both grades, and you’ll feel more accomplished!

Meet the Help Desk and IT: Segment 3 Beth Jackson-Little!

Beth Jackson-Little has been with the University for 3 years and keeps things running around the IT department. Her official title is office assistant, but she wears many hats. From time sheet collection, to computer repair, she bounces around and makes sure things are running smoothly.

Beth’s true passion is education. She is in her first year of a combined MA/MS degree in education. While working for the university, she puts her skills to work through educating others about computer malfunctions and the process of computer repair.

Beth often lends a hand at the IT service center. She helps students fix their own computers and in the processes gains practical teaching knowledge and interaction.

Not all computers can be fixed through guided service. Some have to be in intensely worked on by the service center staff and that process takes a while. Beth’s message to students: “please be patient with us! It takes a while to undo weeks, even months’ worth of damage.”

If your computer is running slower than normal, you might want to think about taking it to Beth and the rest of the Service Center staff.

Email Etiquette Part 3.

Today is part three of our email etiquette series. We’ve talked about being cautious of just who you’re sending emails to and about creating a proper signature, which is populated with the type of information you want out there and of course a dash of your personality.

Today we are going to talk about the basics of constructing an email. I know it sounds  elementary but in today’s world of texting and email from phones etiquette is a dying thing and WELL respected by your superiors.

So students listen up. I personally hear almost daily about the frustrations of emails from students to professors. Most the time students don’t sign off, or address the professor improperly and have long run on sentences for the body of the email.

This has gotta stop. It’s easy.

1. Make sure to address your professor / boss / superior / ANYONE in the way they prefer to be addressed. It IS completely ok to ask your professor on the first day what he or she prefer to be called. Is it Dr. Johnson or Professor Johnson or Jim or Hey you…they’d be more than happy to answer I’m sure.

2. Get to the point quickly, and concisely. No run on story about how your boyfriend’s friend said a mean thing to your friend becky’s roommate and that’s why you need to take a make up exam. Let me tell you right now, your professor could care less about your personal life. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to teach you and have you succeed but the more you use excuses or some form of “it’s not fair” the more you look like a child.

3. CAPITALIZE and SPELL CORRECTLY, srisly dnt abrv! ur not txtin ur bff.

4. Proof read!

5. Sign off! You don’t HAVE to have a signature but at least sign off with your name. Just because your University address is tied to the email doesn’t mean your professor is going to sit there to decode just what student from the 200 + they have in all their classes you are.

6. Be thoughtful, don’t send an email 15 minutes before the test saying you had to go out of town the day before. Also don’t ask for a recommendation 72 hours or less before it’s due. Everyone is busy, and a professor probably won’t have time to drop their work and write you a stellar recommendation.

That’s it, it’s simple, it’s easy and believe me acting professional at a young age will get you places faster than allowing yourself to act sloppy because “you’re still in college.”

By-

Whitney Oppenhuizen, Office Aide to VP of IT, from Grand Haven, MI

Weblebrities What Do You Think of Them?

The Latest Web Celebrity

With a hundreds of thousands of individuals jumping on the social networking bandwagon daily, it is almost impossible for an avid networker to be unaware of the Web Celebrities who gain fame (and sometimes fortune) from their online ways. Weblebrity, a hybrid of “web celebrity,” is simply just that. Whether it is a 7 year old who raps his own remixes to popular songs (MattyBRaps), or Keenan Cahill (BeenerKeeKee19952) who has become a YouTube sensation with his lip syncing break downs of popular songs, and maybe a few guilty pleasure one’s tossed in as well. These individuals are tiny example of those that have risen to the top of the YouTube popularity contest. But who really cares? For most weblebrities of the past, they have a few months; maybe a year of solid fame, where everyone who is anyone has seen or heard of these folks, followed by nothingness where 3 years down the road people are asking whatever happened to them. So why even bother in the first place? Here at the UW Help Desk, employees often spend much of the slow days on social networking sites, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, you name it and we’re on there. (Don’t worry we are NOT on those sites when working with you, our customers.) Not to mention that the UWIT Help Desk not only has this blog at wordpress.com, but we also have a facebook, and twitter outlets. Anyways, back to the point, here at the Help Desk we get the chance to poke around and see all the hip new stars of the next generation, a generation who spends more time on the computer than outside playing sports, or digging for worms like so many before them have done, myself included. With so much time spend on the internet; it’s only logical that more weblebrities come to light. Personally, I like to watch them, in the early stages of their “career”, they’re fun to watch as they are first growing into whatever talent they have become “known” for.  As their experience grows, they become more entertaining and actually good at what they do. Take Keenan Cahill for example, he was terrible at first, let’s be honest, but now, the kid knows what he’s doing. He was asked by 50 cent to help debut the song Down on Me, and when invited to appear on Chelsea Lately, not only did he go, but he also gave Chelsea his phone number and hit on her on live television—This sort of thing is very entertaining. Some of the weblebrities are really inspiring look at Ted Williams, “The Homeless Man with The Golden Voice.” Not only can you be entertaining but some weblebrities actually change their life and inspire others. A pretty great feat for a couple minute long Youtube Video. So who cares? To sum it up, who really cares – a lot of people. It gives them something to entertain themselves with. Some people may even look up to these web sensations. Unlike professional sports, it doesn’t take much skill to be able to videotape yourself and post it on the internet. It offers a sense of hope for those who won’t cut it as a professional athlete or who didn’t make the cut in Idol. With a little imagination, some technology, and a little luck, anyone can get their name out there, and if you’re really lucky maybe even get on TV.

By-

Greg Hachtel Sophomore at UW - Psychology From: Highlands Ranch, CO

Guest Post – A View from the Inside Out of Working in IT

Alison Heusinkveld worked for the help desk while getting her undergrad here at UW. She currently works as a Marketing Representative for Gard Vinters Vineyards in Washington. She’s here to offer some sage, yet witty, advice for those on both ends of the line during help desk calls.

Writing the guest blog for University of Wyoming (UW) Information Technology (IT) Help Desk is such an honor for me, I spent many moons under the bright florescent lights of the old Ivininson and new Sorority Row buildings that once and now house the said UW Help Desk; literally, I usually worked the night-shift from 4pm to around 7 or 8pm. We were a small crew, but mighty. When I was hired in 2007 I had no idea what was in store, I came from the Big Horn town of Sheridan, Wyoming, where the IT department never required me to do much more than set up a couple of projectors and replace printer paper for the lab across the hall, however, as I interviewed for UW IT I came off as a seasoned vet. Sure, I knew a couple of things about operating systems, wireless internet, and CD-ROMs (are those even around anymore?) but my experience taught me the art of research and psychology. Over the next two hours (I kid, I kid), I will share with you some of most valuable lessons that I learned from two years at the UW IT Help Desk. Just now a light bulb came on; readers of this blog may actually recognize some of my experiences because you may have been on the other end of the phone line, if I insult or embarrass you in any way, I apologize. Please take this post with a grain of salt because it was always the interesting clients that left me with a smile on my face at the end of the night. Now onto the lessons:

1.       You can Google any problem. “Error code 434” – Google it. “Printer capabilities not functioning” – Google it. “C Drive unable to take commands, massive internal error” – emm…Google it? Okay, so it’s not always the solution, but as much as I would love to tell you we have all that knowledge in our head or a manual given to us, we don’t. If I ever did make a remark about looking in that said solutions manual, Google might have been a little slow that day.  Do NOT take Google lightly; I believe it is the single most powerful tool on the internet. I wish I could say my belief started early on because when I decided to buy stock in this powerful publicly owned company, I could have saved a little money. It is not a lifesaver in every event, but I can confidently say that over half of my client issues have been solved by Google. I would marry Google if it were possible; he would solve all of my problems and probably be very handsome. Sigh.

Customer: Hey, can you help me? My computer has locked up, and no matter how many times I type eleven, it won’t unfreeze.
Tech Support
: What do you mean, “type eleven?”
Customer
: The message on my screen says, “Error Type 11!”
Tech Support
: “Hi, how can I help you?”
Customer
: “Uh, yeah, I can’t print.”
Tech Support
: “Ok, sir, I want you to click ‘Start’ and–“
Customer
: “Listen, buddy, don’t get technical on me! I’m not Bill Freakin’ Gates, you know!”

2.       There is a hierarchy in the help desk. Yes, even something as small as a password change is approved by more than just one person. While I don’t know the logistics of how and why this university entity works, there is a system. When a call comes into the help desk and is resolved, it is logged and approved by the manager; if the call is not resolved it generally moves on to the consultant.  At this point it is somewhat out of the help desk’s hands. More times than not, the consultant gets a hold of the client and takes care of the issue swiftly. However, because several of the consultants have a large number of staff members and other clients to consult with, sometimes it doesn’t get answered immediately, and by immediately I mean not within 28.5 minutes. This is not the help desk staffer’s fault. Period. Although extremely smart and always dashing people, the help desk staff is the lowest peons of the IT system (but please don’t treat them that way), they will take your call and make a note that your case is extremely urgent being sure to calm you down and assure the client we are NOT out to get you, nor is your computer, or your consultant. This brings me to the psychological point I cannot leave out.

3.       Sometimes the only thing I ever solved for a frustrated client was to calm them down. We can all agree that technology is powerful. Technology has made our lives simpler. Technology can be very complicated. Technology is expensive. And finally to a lot of people this powerful, expensive, complicated tool that was once used to make our lives simpler is broken, that is frustrating. Powerless people who are inconvenienced are about as scary as the movie Cujo when I was six. So, it is our job as fearless leaders to walk blindly into the deep souls of broken technology and hold your hand as you come along for the ride. And if not, there is always the remote computer option, I take over all aspects of your computer while you watch helplessly and hope for the best. Best part for the client; no hand holding. Best part for me (IT geek); I get to see your cute screensaver puppy looking all adorable while you list of your professional accomplishments so I value your time that much more. Win-win, eh?

Tech Support: “What’s on your screen right now?”
Customer: “A stuffed animal that my boyfriend got me at the grocery store.”

4.       We are all human. Even us. Those who know all and see all, we enjoy pointing and laughing at the students who walk by our big bay windows and pick their noses, have ridiculous fitness contents in hopes that one day people will see us as more than tech geeks, and have extensions of the most frequent callers memorized to be the first “not it” shouted out. This being said, I was able to lose my temper just as quickly as the client on the phone. Please realize we haven’t been outsourced and we are the same students who visit your classroom, walk next to you in the Union, and help you recover that paper you forgot to save after you typed 15 pages. Be nice to us. Kill us with kindness, just don’t kill us. I will say it a hundred times and once more, I was much more inclined to help your situation if you were nice, rather than making you scroll through hundreds of folders and restart your computer three times (not to say I ever did that [wink]), than if you lose your temper during our “hello’ exchange. Technology is here to help, and if you are its friend, you will be wearing the smile at the end of the night.

When Do We Get The Suitecase Space Ship? Technology in Our Everyday Lives.

Global mass media influences the technology of today as much as the technology of today paves the way for new mediums in mass media. For example, Hollywood has glamorized the technological advances of the world since the invention of the motion picture camera. In many ways, that art of media including film and literature has inspired many technological breakthroughs and innovations.

Sadly this is about as far in the future as a Jetson's suitecase spaceship.

Think back to 2002, when Minority Report sprang from Hollywood. It’s the year 2054 and Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise’s character) works furiously on an Interactive Holographic display. The question would be is this possible? To work interactively with a Holographic Computer display?

Currently, the answer is no. Remember, über fantastic futuristic movies are just that, futuristic. The technology available today just doesn’t have the capability to produce that kind of performance.

So looking closer to home, an article was recently published at computerworld.com. “Will touch screens kill the keyboard?” This is potentially plausible in our current technological reality given that touch screens are now being used in phone, computers, iPads and other devices.

But the question is, is it practical? According to the article, the answer is no. Citing the technical demands of numerous fields and industries, the use of a touch screen keyboard isn’t logical. It may be useful to check your email with, but for writing a 1000 word entry for a scientific journal, technical proposals or even writing letters home it’s not.

Don’t put too much stock in Hollywood’s predictions or those fantastical ideas we all had that sprung from the Jetson’s. Eventually we’ll get there, but there’s no way to know exactly when we’ll be able to fold our flying cars into a suitcase.

By –

David Little, Senior at UW - Architectural Engineering From Omaha, NE