Tag Archives: Google

Cloud Backups: Why they really are a good idea

backup

You can never be too careful with your files these days. Har drives fail, things get spilled, and we drop things. It’s always good to have multiple backups. As someone who does wedding videography and photography, I can’t afford to rely on the original file. Hence the reason why I usually backup my work to three places.  An external hard drive, my second hard drive on my PC and finally, my Google Drive account. I can’t tell you how many times I have sorted my files and began editing and suddenly a file becomes corrupted. So I simply pull from one of my backups and were good. Now I may just be a little over the top with my backups, but you can never be too careful.

I know that some of you might already be thinking that cloud-based storage costs a lot. It can depend on what you want or need. But typically you can get anywhere from 15-20 Gigs for free and if you want more, each service has their own breakdown and pricing which you will need to decide for yourself and what you want. So whether you’re a student, professor, researcher or an editor, it never hurts to keep backups and organize them. You’ll always thank yourself later.

Considering a Chromebook? Read this before you buy.

Here at IT, we believe in giving you the latest news on tech and want to steer you in the right direction when it comes to making educated decisions when purchasing a new tech product. In this case, we’ll be covering a Chromebook. Before we can answer whether it’s right for you or anyone, we need to know what exactly a Chromebook is.

A Chromebook is simply Googles own Operating system in a low end, budget computer. They usually have anywhere from 2-4 Gigs of RAM (Random Access Memory) and anywhere from 16-32 Gigs of storage. Some even have Intel Processors running inside them. But they are very inexpensive computers unless you’re looking at the Chromebook Pixel which I would not recommend for a student who wants to write thesis papers or what not. That specific category of Chromebooks is more for developers.

But what about Googles own operating system? What makes it unique from MacOS or Windows OS? Well, for starters you can’t install anything not on the chrome web store for now (I’ll get back to this later). So what’s the point of a Chromebook you may be asking. Well just because you may not be able to install word doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t write papers. Some of you may have already used this program instead of word. It’s Google Docs and Google has a whole office suite anyone can use for free. Also, all the documents you create can be converted over to word, excel or whatever office program it is you need.

If you use Skype a lot to contact parents back home and have a video call with them, you can always use hangouts on here as well. Another thing too is it’s mainly designed to be used online. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work offline. You can still edit documents and what have you just like a regular computer. But you are still pretty limited in what you can do.

Now before you stop reading this, remember how I said for now you can only use the Chrome Web Store for apps? Well coming this fall that will be different as the Google Play Store will come to all Chromebooks! See for yourself here! That means you can download Word, excel, outlook and Skype or what ever you normally use! This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for Chromebooks!

So do you think you should get one? Let us know in the comments below and let us know which one you decided on! Until next time, have a great day everyone!

Build Your Own Phone!

Yup, you read that right. Google has announced a Modular Phone system and it’s coming this fall for developers. But that begs the question, what is a modular phone? Here’s an example. Like taking photos but your phone’s camera is sub par? Get a new one! want more battery life and don’t really use your phone for pictures? get a bigger battery! That’s the concept behind this new cool device. You can even change out the screen on this guy.

The idea originally came out back in 2014 and has been in development since then. Google is open to new idea and is letting developers get their hands on it this fall to help create new add ons for the phone. If anyone is interested, click here. The possibilites for this phone are pretty big. On the page you can already see pretty creative modules that have been added to these phones and with this project open to the public, it will only get better with time.

So what are your thoughts on this? Think this will kick off or will it just be another phone gimmick that will die out in a few years? Let us know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to follow our social media such as Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on tech news like this!

Google’s Two Factor Authentication. What It Is And Why You Should Do It.

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If you’ve never heard of two factor authentication, it’s simply an added login step to ensure security on your account by using a trusted device such as a smartphone or a tablet. When you initially log in, you’ll be prompted for a verification code in most instances, that number is pushed to a trusted device (your phone) and you enter that number that was given to you and bam, you’re logged in. Seems pretty simple right?

But unfortunately, so many people simply refuse to enroll in these security measures simply because they don’t want to wait for a verification code and enter it so they usually opt-out of this. Google has started offering this and for very good reason. Google has so many different services such as youtube, gmail, google drive, docs, sheets… I could go on for a while. You don’t want some random person in a random country gaining access to all that do you? Granted some may not use all these services, and while others may rely more on it it’s still important to protect your account. If you want more information from Google’s end on this, go here.

Luckily google has made it VERY easy to secure your account. You have 3 options: USB Authentication, Text Code and simply pressing “yes” on a trusted device. The choice is up to you on how you want to authenticate but in case if any of you were wondering how on earth verification works via USB, its pretty simple actually and my preferred method of login. Yubikey supplies special USB keys that are cheap (depending on the model) that when you plug it in, it registers that key so when you log in next time, you simply plug in the USB Key and press the key icon and your in!

Finally you have the option to mark a computer as trusted so that you won’t have to use two factor on it again. Just make sure you don’t use it on public computers that others use!

That was today’s helpful tip, if you like what we do here, go ahead and subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Track that Package!

This post will conclude the Google Search tips of the month.  As someone who mails a lot of packages with tracking, I did not know this. So to me, this one is pretty cool! You can put your tracking number straight into the Google Search bar and Google is able to track your UPS, USPS, or FedEx package. You only need to know the tracking number and which company is shipping your package.25

Tune in next month for ways to better your phone!

Quotes for exact words & phrases

This week our search tip helps you narrow your search for specific words or phrases.

Today’s tip is how to better use quotation marks. Quotation marks search for an exact word or phrases. This comes in handy for song lyrics or when looking for specific information.

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Quick Tip: Save Money on Printing!

Sick of putting so much money into printer supplies?

 

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States of America goes through about 68 Million tons of paper and paperboard each year.  Wow!  That seems like a lot, especially considering how many of us rely on electronic documents that we email or share to our friends, co-workers, colleagues, etc.  Crazy.

Anyway, based on the amount of paper being used, it is probably safe to assume we use just as much ink when we are printing out our school papers, our work emails, docs, pdf’s, etc.  So here’s a quick tip on helping out with paper usage and ink supply that is easy to do and helps not just the environment but how much you spend on your printer.

At the UWIT Help Desk, we found a big old box and put a “Recycle” sign on it.  We set it next to the printer and it is amazing how quickly it fills up.  We have to dump that box about once a month.  If you don’t have that box make one and see how often people choose to recycle over throwing paper away.  There should be a recycle bin somewhere in the building and once it is full just dump in the bin and start over.  When you receive documents electronically, ask yourself if you need to print it out.  Try to make yourself only look at them electronically.  You will find, once you get in the habit of it, there is hardly anything you need to physically print.  You can send the file to your phone, your laptop, your ipad, or save it to an online storage place like google docs or dropbox and have the file anywhere you can get on the internet; which means, less paper and less to carry around.

Now a simple, but neat way to help on your printing costs deals with your email font.  By changing the default font you use on your email client you can save ink costs for everyone you send to, as well as yourself.  The font you should go with is Century Gothic.  Century Gothic actually uses less ink when printed to paper, simply because of the sleekness of the font.  You can still read the font very well and won’t have any problems looking at it, while at the same time not eat up all your ink, like other fonts can.

If you use Microsoft Outlook 2011 you can change this by going to the File Tab and clicking on Options.  Then highlight Mail, Choose Stationary and Fonts and change the font to Century Gothic for both New Mail Messages and Replies and Forwards.   If you have trouble or a different version of Microsoft Office feel free to contact the UWIT Help Desk at 307 766-4357, option #1.  We would be happy to assist you in working on your carbon footprint!

By-

Brett Williams, Help Desk Manager From Laramie, WY