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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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Sharing Your Web Pages on Facebook

Before you share a link to an Ag CMS item on Facebook (or any other social networking site), visit that item on your public website.

When you are creating or editing an item in the Ag CMS, you are logged-in. Your logged-in view may be different than the public view of an item. For example, you might be using an image that is stored in an Ag CMS folder that is not published. As a logged-in user, you will be able to see the image but a public user will not have permission to view something that is stored in a "private" folder.

The Web address of an Ag CMS item is different when you are viewing it as a logged-in user. Although that Web address might work for public users, it is long and potentially confusing,

If I wanted to share a link to this article on my Facebook page, I would not use the Web address or the Facebook Share button from my logged-in view. Instead I would go to the public view of this article on the Agriculture Communication site at www.ag.ndsu.edu/agcomm/lets-communicate/sharing-your-web-pages-on-facebook and share it from there.

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

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More New Facebook Privacy Settings

If you haven't checked your Facebook settings recently, you'll note a new padlock icon next to your name on your individual profile. This latest release is intended to make it easier for you to control your privacy settings on your individual Facebook page.

FB_padlock.pngWhen you click on the padlock, you'll have options to choose who can see your profile, who can contact you and how you can block someone.

1. Who Can See My Stuff - You can:
A. Choose who sees your future posts (public, friends, lists or custom).
B. Review your past posts and things you're tagged in.
C. See how others see your timeline.
You can also make adjustments to any of these.

2. Who Can Contact Me
- Here you can choose and adjust inbox message filtering (strict or basic) and who can send you friend requests.

3. Blocking - Stop someone from being able to find you on Facebook or review those you've already blocked.

4. Other - There always has to be an other with Facebook privacy, right? If you click on "See More Settings," you can limit past posts, limit who can look you up and get hidden from search engines.

For more information, read Facebook's Making Your Settings Easier to Find: Dig Into the Details

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

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Write the Right Word: Currently/Now

I’m not sure how “currently” and “now” became such overused words.

You’ve probably seen or even written something such as this: “I currently am reading a great book.” Or this: “The kids are playing ball now.”

You don’t need to include “currently” or “now” because the “am” and “are” are present tense, which means the action is occurring at this time. That makes “currently” or “now” repetitious when the sentence already indicates a time element.

“I am reading a great book” and “The kids are playing ball” are perfectly clear and shorter, too, which is good because writing concisely will help hold readers’ attention.

Ellen Crawford, Information Specialist, (701) 231-5391

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MS Lync Features Multiple Communication Tools

MS Lync is a unified communications platform. With Lync, you can keep note contacts’ availability; send an IM (instant message); or start or join an audio, video, or web conference — all through a consistent, familiar interface.

Lync is built to fully integrate with Microsoft Office. The Microsoft Lync 2010 desktop client is available for both Windows and Mac and mobile versions are available for Windows Phone, iPhone/iPad and Android devices.

If you don't yet have Lync downloaded, follow the ITS instructions.

In an Ag Communication Web Services blog post, Sonja Fuchs shares some ways to use Lync.

I use Lync quit a bit for quick messages with staff. Also, I've used Lync to see if someone might be available before I pick up the phone and even to replace the phone using the audio. I've also used the video feature with individuals and groups. The "share desktop" function is especially great to show someone else something rather than just trying to describe it in words. Give Lync a try!

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Avoid Computer Viruses and Malware

ITS Desktop Support has seen a number of infected computers lately, so here are some ways to make sure your computer isn't impacted.

Never click on a .zip file or an image file if you are not expecting it. The message in an infected email tries to be “personal” to get someone to click on the attachment. In reality, the email is pretty generic but just close enough to get the unsuspecting users to click.

Examine the subject line and the email message. Usually an email from a company would be more specific by mentioning an individual name. If you recognize an email address but the subject line is not familiar or not dealing with a specific issue, be very careful and call the contact number to verify or the ITS Help Desk for advice.

When a computer gets infected, it can be blocked from the NDSU network so that a person has no email, no network drives and, of course, no Internet access.  A blocked computer has to be completely re-imaged, which means all the data taken off, the hard drive wiped, and the operating system and software re-installed.

Please take the time to examine an unexpected email and ask why it might be being sent to you. Have I sent anything via FedEx recently or contacted the BBB? Does the email address me specifically, or is it a generality? Is there an attachment? What is the extension of the attachment? Who is the email sent from, and who is it sent to?

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

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Write the Right Word: Located

A lot of unnecessary words have crept into common usage. “Located” is a good example.

I’m sure you’ve seen or heard a variation of this: “The book is located on the table.” Or how about this: “The barn is located near the machine shed.”

If you take out the “located,” the sentence still makes sense, so why include it? “The book is on the table” is shorter, too.

You can use “located” if you mean something has been found. For example: “I located the missing calf.” But why not just say “found”? “I found the missing calf.”

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

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