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Upcoming Computer Support Changes May Affect You

NDSU will be retiring support for Windows XP at the end of June. Any computer, on or off campus, still running Windows XP will need to either be upgraded  to Windows 7 or replaced with a newer model to continue receiving technical support.

To find out if your computer can be upgraded, visit the Ag IT Advisory Group (AITAG) hardware baseline and compare your computer to the Windows 7 upgrade table. If your computer is the same model or newer than the computers listed, you can request an upgrade through your departmental software contact. If you have questions, contact the ITS help desk at (701) 231-8685, Option 1.

For those of you on campus, the switch from Novell to Active Directory (AD) is drawing near. In about one month, everyone with computers not migrated will not automatically connect to the shared drives. In the next couple weeks, many of you will receive email from the NDSU help desk discussing the migration of the U, S and X drives. These messages will provide details on the upcoming move and what you need to do (if anything) to prepare. Please be sure to read these messages!

Since computers running Windows XP are not being connected to the Active Directory, they will need to be connected to the new shared drives manually. More information can be found on the ITS File Services website under Connect to Windows File Services.

Jerry Ranum, Desktop Support Specialist; ITS Help Desk, (701) 231-8685

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Think Before Hitting "Share"

Almost every day I see at least one post on Facebook that makes me think, "Is that for real?" Images like the one below about U.S. soldiers being denied breakfast are great at getting people motivated to click the "Share" button, but are they true?

Soldiers Going Hungry LetterLike most inaccurate content, the letter in the photo below has a tiny grain of truth in it, but on the whole is untrue.

When you are active on social media, whether personally or professionally, it is important to be able to distinguish content that can be trusted from rumor. Often a quick search will tell you if there is evidence to support the content being shared.

Before you retweet or share something on social media, take a moment to assess the reliability of the info. One quick way to test information for reliability is to use the CRAAP test. CRAAP is an acronym that stands for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose. Ask questions like:

  • Is the information current?
  • Who is the author or publisher?
  • What are their qualifications?Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Can you verify the information from another source?
  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?

If you want to learn more, Steve Judd of the Network Literacy Community of Practice has a helpful blog post, "Is that so? - Assessing the reliability of online information".

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Hangouts On Air Pilot

Google+ (Google's social networking tool) Hangouts allow users to easily invite up to nine other users at a time into a high-quality video conferencing environment. I am a member of the Network Literacy Community of Practice (CoP), and we have used Google+ Hangouts along with Google Drive (formerly called Google Docs) to create content collaboratively in real time. It's a pretty great tool.

Google has taken Hangouts to another level by allowing them to be broadcast via YouTube. You can have a Hangout with up to 10 people who are able to share their video and voice, and share that Hangout with the world. These Hangouts are called Hangouts On Air, and I think they can be a great tool for education. They are broadcast live and remain archived on YouTube.

I have participated as a contributor in a couple of Hangouts On Air sponsored by eXtension and the Network Literacy CoP. Here's one I moderated on personal vs. professional online identity (

Ag Comm Web Services is looking for teams of collaborators who would like to pilot Google+ Hangouts On Air. If you have a team of six or more people who share an educational goal, and you can commit to the time and training required to produce six Hangouts On Air in 2013, we would love to work with you.

Sonja and I will provide training, assist with setting up required accounts, help with technical troubleshooting and do whatever we can to make your experience with this new tool a success.

If you have a team that is interested or you'd like to talk more about this project, please contact us.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381
Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Write the Right Word: In vs. Within

Despite common usage, “in” and “within” shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

“In” describes the location of a person, animal or thing. For example, you would say: “The stray cows were found in the corn field” or “Oak and elm trees are common in North Dakota forests,” NOT “The stray cows were found within the corn field” or “Oak and elm trees are common within North Dakota forests.”

“Within” implies a sense of limits on something. Thus, you would say: “You must complete this test within 30 minutes.” This indicates you can’t take more than 30 minutes to complete the test, but you can take less time.

“In” also can be used in a time sense, but it indicates a certain activity will take a specific amount of time. For example: “I can walk around the block in five minutes.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Find things quickly with Ctrl + F on your keyboard

Press the Ctrl button and the "F" key at the same time to search terms in PDFs, documents, spreadsheets and webpages.

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Facebook Page Graphics Available

Get localized Facebook profile pictures and cover photos from Ag Comm.

Ag Comm Graphics provides Facebook profile pictures and cover photos with the NDSU Extension logo.

Profile Picture example (localized to Ramsey County)

Ramsey Facebook Profile Pic    

NDSU Extension Service cover photo (localized to Ramsey County)

Ramsey Timeline Cover Photo

There is no charge. Please allow several business days to have a logo produced. Email Dave Haasser in Graphics or call him at (701) 231-8620 to get a personalized profile picture for your county, department or REC.

Facebook Cover Photo without localization

You can also use this cover photo that is generic to NDSU Extension Service.

Facebook generic cover photo

1. Right click the image and choose "Save Image As"
2. Save to your computer to upload it to Facebook

If you have any problems uploading your profile picture or cover photo to Facebook, please contact:

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381
Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403


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Great Web Pages

How to create great landing pages

Chances are, you’re not a web designer. If you’ve ever wanted to spruce up your website or are just starting, be sure to listen to the one hour recorded webinar from eXtension “Getting the Most from Your Landing Pages”.

In a nutshell, here’s how you can cook up a great landing page:anatomy of a great landing page

1. Start with a relevant headline and use subheadings in the Ag CMS to make it stand out.

2. Add great content- not too much, not too little. Don’t forget good grammar and to be concise.

3. End with a call to action. So many times Extension is about information, but you can still end with someone’s contact information or links to related resources.

4. Sprinkle in related photos and videos.

 Not enough time to listen to the webinar? Check out this infographic Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Postal Rates Increasing This Month

It’s January, so there must be changes in the postal rates. New  prices will take effect Jan 27. Single-piece 1-ounce First-Class Mail letters will increase 1 cent to 46 cents. Additional ounces remain at 20 cents. The price for mailing a First-Class Mail postcard will increase by 1 cent to 33 cents.

First Class Mail International, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail/Library Mail, and Extra Services and Fees also will increase.

The Postal Service encourages all mailers using the POSTNET barcode on their mailings to transition to the Intelligent Mail barcode by Jan. 28 to continue receiving automated prices. Contact me to learn about ways you may be able to save money on mailings large or small.

Sharon Lane, Distribution Center Manager, (701) 231-7883

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Windows 7 Tips & Tools

While Windows 7 has been out for a number of years now, many people are still unaware of some of its tools and abilities.  Here are a few you might find useful.

Application/File Pinning – Windows 7 allows you to “pin” a shortcut to an application onto your taskbar or to the top of your start menu. This allows easy access to your most commonly used programs. To pin a program, right click on its icon and select either “Pin to Taskbar” or "Pin to Start Menu.” Once done, you’ll see an icon appear either at the top of the start menu or on your taskbar next to your Start button.

Jumplists -  Any programs you have pinned to your taskbar have a quick menu option commonly referred to as a jumplist. They are accessed by right clicking on the program’s shortcut on the taskbar. Most jumplists contain a list of documents previously opened by that program as well as the ability to start the program. The benefit of starting a program in a jumplist is that it will open in its own window. This is very useful when working with programs such as Excel that otherwise tend to try to open multiple documents in the same window. Some pinned applications also may offer additional options in their jumplists.

Snipping Tool – While not exactly feature laden, the Snipping Tool is a solid option for those looking to make quick and easy screenshots. If you are having trouble finding the tool, use the search box at the bottom of your Start menu and search for “snipping tool."

Sticky Notes – For those of us who have run out of room around our monitor with the real thing, this is a basic reminder that attaches to the desktop. You can find it by opening the Start menu and using the search box at the bottom to look for “sticky notes."

You also can find additional items for download on Microsoft’s free downloads website, including themes, screensavers, or even free Movie Maker software.

Jerry Ranum, Desktop Support Specialist; ITS Help Desk, (701) 231-8685

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Software Adds Precautions for Computer Changes

User Access Control (UAC) is being activated in Windows 7 as NDSU moves to the Active Directory domain.

User Access Control (UAC) is a way for the operating system to ask customers if they are sure they want to make changes, install software, allow programs to continue, etc. UAC asks for permission by asking for an username and an administrative password. UAC helps prevent viruses or unqualified changes/access to occur on the computer and for the customer to understand what is going on with the operating system.

If you are in the process of installing software or making changes, then you know what is occurring when the UAC appears.  Therefore, you type in your credentials and allow the process to go on. However, if you are not aware of anything being installed or a change being made and the UAC appears, this would be a good time not to allow the changes to be made

This screenshot shows a customer some information to be guided by:

User Access Control

It shows the program name (Adobe Flash Player), that the publisher is verified (Adobe) and that the file originates from the hard drive of the computer. If you know that you are installing the program and recognize the publisher, then go ahead type in your username and password and allow the changes.

If you do not recognize the program, or maybe the software is not verified, or maybe the origination is from the Internet (and you have not initiated this), you may want to consider not allowing changes to be made.

NDSU is moving to the new Active Directory system and the UAC is turned by default now and it cannot be turned off.

To learn more, check the Microsoft Windows User Account Control website.

Blair Johnson, Desktop Support Specialist; ITS Help Desk, (701) 231-8685

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