Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Hey guys,

A lot of  you guys are probably wondering about the operating system we use on the netbooks. I know I've had students come to me and ask, "What is Ubuntu?" or "Why do we use it?". Well, the adjective "ubuntu" actually originates from the African Language. It literally means "humanity to others". Archbishop Desmond Tutu says in his book, "A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others...". The AP Psychology book defines Ubuntu as human bonds. Well, now you might be wondering what does this have to do with the netbooks. The reason Ubuntu is so great and the reason why we use it is because Ubuntu makes it very easy to connect with others and collaborate together on projects...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Tips For Your Netbook

Just to sum up:

1. Restarting seems to be the simplest, most effective way to fix any problem. Every single day at the Help Desk we see students for this problem or that problem, and we ask them, "When did you restart your netbook last?" Quite often they don't even remember!

    Restart your netbook every day!

2. The mapping of the printers is pretty much an Asus thing. If you're a sophomore, junior, or senior, the current image for your netbook is already mapped to "School Netbook Printers," which works on all of the netbook printers around the building. But if you've got an Asus, map your printer this way.

    By the way, the day after Sunny printed this video, we discovered that Asus printers don't need to be mapped to individual printers--- a single mapping does the trick for all of the printers. Watch the video and learn how to do it. 

3. Use the Cloud!  Even if you're in love with saving directly to your netbook, you should still back up your data on the cloud. Just make it a habit. Use your Google account; that's why you have it. If you just can't bring yourself to use the cloud, then invest in a USB pen drive so that you can back up your files. Computers crash! Plan ahead.

By the way, for those of you who are interested, the video above is embedded directly from Google Drive, which is something you can do with video now. Videos you store on your Google Drive now come with an embed code that works on all websites. It's pretty cool. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Improving Your Asus Printing Experience

If you have an Asus netbook (Class of 2016), the odds are that you've experienced some difficulties printing on the school netbook printers. It's a problem that we addressed before, but now we have even a better solution. 

If you follow the instructions in this video, you can set your Asus netbook to print to any netbook printer in the building using a single printer icon. It's actually pretty easy. Go ahead and watch the video, then copy the code below, and try it on your own Asus netbook. Remember, you can always come into the Help Desk for assistance. 

It's worth the two minutes that it takes! Copy the code below (same as the code in the video) and use it on your own Asus netbook printer settings. 


Note: These instructions are intended for the HP printers we've set up at our schools to be used with netbooks. If you're viewing this from another district, you'll probably need to figure out a URI code that works for your specific printers. We can help with that--- get in touch @219tech.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Using Libre Office Charts in Google Docs

Hey guys,

We had a number of students who wanted to know how to use a chart they made in Libre Office Calc or Open Office Calc in a Google Doc, Google Presentation, or a Google Spreadsheet.

Google Docs is, in our opinion, the best format for all of your school work, so it's a good idea for you to know how to do this, and there's more than one way to do it.

Turns out, it's easy!

If you follow this technique, you'll have a nice JPEG of your chart, and you can import it as an image into your Google Doc, Presentation, Drawing, or Spreadsheet. Works like a charm.

The above technique applies to the freshman Asus netbooks; if you are a sophomore or junior using Open Office, it's very similar. The main difference is that your Open Office Draw program is in the Graphics tab.
Thanks to Sunny for help with the video.

For those of you interested in recording your desktop, we used Record My Desktop to film the procedure; we then converted the video into Quicktime using Then, using a desktop computer, we edited it using Camtasia Studio.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Using Google Charts

Hey guys,

Today we will be showing you how to copy charts from a Google Spreadsheet to any other document, such as your lab report or a Google Presentation.

We are in love with Google Docs. You can access them everywhere, and you never lose them. And you can collaborate. If you're still using Libre Office or Open Office or any other desktop-based spreadsheet, take the time to learn how to do the same things in Google Docs.

Now, here's how to copy and paste charts. It's easy--- the only thing different is that Google is using a process called "web clipboard." When you're in Google, just remember that the web clipboard is the way to go with copying and pasting.

Update: a viewer on our Youtube channel wanted to know how to make an XY chart, so I quickly made this video response.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How We Make Videos

Hi guys, a few of us Tech Leaders wanted to share with you the process we use to make videos. What we try to do is split the work up among a few Tech Leaders so that we can all work on the project during our own shifts, as we are not all in the same room at the same time.

The most important thing about the video is the script, which we write in Google Docs. Once that's done, we use netbooks and FlipCamps to assemble all the pieces.  Our Creative Director, Farzin, then edits all video and audio clips on his laptop. 

Your best friend is Google Docs. You can share a project folder, collaborate on scripts and storyboards, and store your files in one place. 


By the way, Rahim was dressed up for "Nerds Vs. Jocks" day--- as a nerd, if you couldn't tell.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Make The Most Of Your Smartphone!

So many of us are carrying around smartphones  these days, so here at the Help Desk, we thought we’d take a minute to show you how to import your school email and calendar onto your phone.

One way to really improve your grades is to stay on top of the messages your teachers send you and also to keep track of calendar items.

We showed you how to make your personal Google Calendar even more powerful here, and now you can keep your calendar and email on your phone.

It’s easy. Here’s how you do it on an iPhone. We’re working on the Android version. Check back for that video soon.

Video by Tech Leaders Rahim and Saad. Edited by Creative Director Farzin

While our Android version is in production, go ahead and look at Google's own instructions for setting up your Android phone to receive your school email.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Treat Your Battery Right

Hi guys,

We get a lot of questions about netbook batteries here at the Help Desk.

Your battery has a lifespan, and it will eventually need to be replaced. There's a lot of misinformation out there about batteries; if you go to ten different websites, you may get ten different types of advice.

The main thing is to develop good habits to extend the life of your battery. From our research, there are really four basic things you can do to for a battery like the one in your netbook. TL Sunny has the information:

Just to sum up...

1. Don't let your battery go all the way down to zero on a regular basis. Use it until it gets down to about 25%; then charge it up to 100%.

2. When your battery meter starts to get inaccurate, then go ahead and run it down to zero. Don't do this more than once a month.

3. Avoid heat! Heat will reduce the life of your battery. Don't leave your netbook in a car on a hot summer day.

4. If you're going to store your netbook over the summer, you can extend the life of the battery by running it down to about 40% and storing it in the fridge. For real!


Video by TL Farzin! Hat tip to TL Sunny for recording a complex video in a noisy room!

Monday, September 24, 2012

This Week At The Help Desk

What's going on at the Help Desk?

Funny you should ask.

In addition to fixing problems as they arise, we're focusing on two big themes at the Help Desk this week: Google Docs and printing.

Here TL Purva talks about what we're trying to accomplish.

 Google Docs is the best option for you in creating documents, spreadsheets, drawings, and more. Invest your time in learning how to use Google Docs, and you won't regret it. Your documents will be more secure, and you can work from and print from any computer with an internet connection. So, start your homework at school on your netbook, finish it with your at-home computer, and print it up at one of the workstations in the IRC! It couldn't be easier.

Also, if you're a freshman, odds are that you need to watch the printer video. This video shows you how to map your netbook to the printers in the school. It's a process you have to use for each netbook printer that you intend to print to. Make sure you teach yourself how to map the printer before you need to print.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be Smart With Your Browser

One thing we see a lot of when we go out into classrooms is that people wonder why a particular website is so slow. Well, there can be lots of reasons for that, but a common reason is that people are keeping way too many tabs open in their browsers.

Whether you use Chrome or Firefox, keep it to just the tabs you need. And remember, it's a netbook, not a supercomputer. Don't run three applications at once, either!

Video Production by TL Farzin.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Do You Get Blocked From Google?

Hi guys, this is Tech Leader Sunny. Here at the help desk lately, we've been getting a number of students coming in after being blocked from Google's website.  There is a rather simple solution to this frustrating problem.

 If you're in Firefox what you want to do is go into tools and click clear recent history. You should get a menu that gives you a bunch of check boxes and one scroll box near the top.

Next,  go to the box near the top and set that to everything. It's usually set to one hour, so make sure you don't skip this step. Then look down and  MAKE SURE that the cache box is CHECKED.

For Google Chrome, the process is a little different. You want to click on the wrench, then click on history. There should  be a screen with a list of sites you visited. On top of that, there should be a button that reads Clear all browsing data. Click on that, set the box on the top to the beginning of time, and MAKE SURE that the check box that says Empty the cache is checked off.

Then click on clear browsing data and you should be able to get on Google's website! If you still can't, then stop by the help desk and we'll help you out.

TL Farzin helped me make this demonstration. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Use Chrome With Google Docs

We know you love your Firefox, and it's great for many websites, but Tech Leader Sunny is here to tell you, use Google Chrome when you're working in Google Docs.

Works better every time. Trust us on this one. -Talha

Saturday, September 1, 2012

We've Got Another Life-Saving Tip For You

First of all, the main thing you want to do is to start using Google Docs for everything you write at school. Even if you use Libre Office, upload them to Google Docs. The entire netbook program is designed to get you to the cloud, so it’s best to start using it. Learn how to make it work for you.

Google Docs is awesome--- you can save all your documents, presentations, drawings, spreadsheets in one place, and they’ll stay there for as long as you need them, and you can search using Google’s powerful search engine.

However, you still need to organize your stuff! Learn how to establish folders, or collections, and then start putting your files into folders as you go. Believe me, at the end of the year, you’ll be glad you did.
Set Up Collections In Google Docs

Want to be successful in school? Get organized. Start using Google Docs and set up collections. It’s well-worth your time. Tech Leaders Sunny and Farzin show you the way in video below. As always, drop by the Help Desk if you want help.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

What’s Going On At The Help Desk

This is Tech Leader Talha with a quick look at what the Tech Leaders have been working on at the Help Desk.  Each day we see dozens of students with questions about their netbooks, about Google Docs, saving to the cloud, printing--- really, any subject you can name. We thought we’d let you hear from a few of the Tech Leaders themselves about what they’ve been busy with. As usual, stop by any time for answers to your questions. Don’t forget, you can submit questions right here on the blog, too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shutting Down Your Netbook When It's Frozen

This is Tech Leader Rahim with a quick answer to a question that’s come in. Sometimes a netbook will freeze up and nothing will work. In these cases, you can’t even shut the netbook down.

How do you shut down a frozen netbook? Easy. Just press and hold the power button for up to 30 seconds. Now, you don’t want to do this every time, but when you’re stuck, this is the way to do it.

Remember, this works on all our netbooks, not just the Asus. Tech Leader Sunny shows you the way in the video below.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Treat Your Power Cord Right!

This is Tech Leader Farzin. Today we're going to show you how to keep your Asus netbook charger in good working order. All the time at the Help Desk, we see students come in with broken chargers, and when we look at the chargers, we see that they've been shoved into backpacks without proper wrapping.

This causes the internal wires to fray. Students with AC adapters in this condition have to pay for new adapters. So, save yourself some money and wrap your charger the right way. We'll also show you how to do this for the other two kinds of chargers, so watch the video that's right for you.

If You Have an Asus Netbook

If You Have A Dell Two-Piece Charger


If You Have A Dell One-Piece Charger

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Quickly Restoring an Asus Netbook

We’ve had a great first couple of days with the Asus netbooks; so far there’s been only one call at the Help Desk. That student needed to do a restore of her operating system, and we showed her how.

A Restore is where you essentially re-image the netbook on your own, so that it’s the way it was when you took it out of the box the first time. You can also restore your netbook in such a way that saves your user files (documents, images, etc.).

This is a great thing about Ubuntu--- the ability to fix your own netbook in 60 seconds. I made a very quick tutorial for you as well. Enjoy!

video platform video management video solutions video player

Here it is, step by step: 

1. Turn your netbook on.
 2. The moment the Asus screen disappears, lightly tap on the ESC key.
 3. You’ll get a screen with some choices.Using the arrow keys, choose “Restore Factory Settings” and hit ENTER.
 4. Now decide whether you want to retain your personal files. We recommend you start from a clean slate by choosing Option 2: Restore Unit completely. Then press ENTER. You’ll be asked if you’re sure. Spell out the word “yes”.

 In about a minute, the netbook will be completely restored. It’s easy! Stop by the Help Desk if you want to know more.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Before You Start Taking Pictures.....

Hi, this is Tech Leader Talha. One of the things we see all the time at the Help Desk is that people are working with images that are way too big for what they’re trying to do.

Most of the time, people are using pictures for presentations. The trouble is that modern cameras take pictures with huge file sizes, and you don’t want these large image files in a presentation.

In fact, in Google Presentations, the application we recommend you use for every  presentation you make, images must be under 2MB. The whole presentation is currently limited to 50MB, so you don’t want to waste all your file size on your images.

Learn to be aware of the sizes of the images you’re using. In this video, I’ve got a few quick tips on how to change the file size of your images.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Here are links to the services I talked about in the video.

Picresize  Incredibly easy to use. This service has a convenient little dialogue box that lets you pic the maximum file size for your image. Couldn’t be easier! Remember, for web presentations, you almost never need a file size of over 200kb.

Fotoflexer A full-service picture editor with an easy-to-use resizer button. Select the “website” size for all your presentations and you’re good to go.

Pixlr Designed to be the easiest-to-use photo editor, Pixlr may also be the most fun. They have a number of tools on their website. Try Pixlr Express for quick resizing.

GIMP is on your netbook. If you can use PhotoShop, you can use GIMP. Check out this quick tutorial on how to use GIMP to resize images.

As always, we can train you on these applications at the Help Desk. See you next time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

One of the Smartest Things You Can Do

Tech Leader Aliza has a tip that will absolutely, without a doubt, make you a stronger student this year. It may sound simple, but one of the smartest things you can do is to teach yourself how to use the Google Apps before you start having a lot of homework. Check it out.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Your netbook can do a lot of things; inside Libre Office, there’s a professional word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, and a lot more. We love Libre Office, but we love Google Docs even more! With Google Docs, your work is stored in the cloud--- there’s no risk of losing it. Plus you can collaborate with teammates on every project. And sharing files with your teachers is a snap.

Learn the Google Apps (Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar).  When you walk into a class, open your netbook, and log into your Google account. You have all of your documents, your email, your calendar and tasks all in one place. You’ll be glad you did.

Have you used Google Docs yet? Let us know what you think.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Welcome To The New Year: Time To Get Organized!

Welcome to the new school year, and welcome to our new online space! On behalf of all the Tech Leaders, I hope you have a fun, successful year.

First things first. If you’ve got a netbook, you’ve got a powerful tool for organizing your time, your homework, and all your deadlines. Watch this short video for tips about getting yourself organized. Of all the skills you learn in high school, organizing your time and information is one of the most important. Don’t wait until you have a hundred things due--- get organized now, before school starts.

In this video, I talk about a number of tools available for you. Pick whichever  one you want, but pick something! 

video platform video management video solutions video player .

Here are some links to the tools I talked about:

Astrid: People love Astrid because of the pesky emails it can send you to remind you to do things. Astrid works on the web, on your Android or iPhone, and there’s a Chrome extension.

Todoist: A hugely popular online to-do list that takes only seconds to set up. Also works with your Android, iPhone, and through a Chrome extension. This service has more features. You have to see if it’s right for you.

42Tasks: Used worldwide, and it’s highly recommended. 42Tasks has all the versatilty of the other services with an easy-to-understand interface. Plus it’s been around forever.

Google Tasks and Google Calendar: Works seamlessly with your school Gmail account and is very powerful. This is a great service for NTHS students because so much of what we do revolves around Google Docs; these services are right where you want them.

The difference between successful and failure is often the simple ability to stay organized. Make the choice to be organized.

As always, stop by the Help Desk if you want help setting up these services or more advice.
You can always catch me on Twitter @talha9895 .