Agriculture Communication


Learn About

NDSU’s degree programs in Agricultural Communication


Ask an Expert

Let's Communicate RSS Feeds

RSS Feed IconComplete Feed

RSS Feed IconWrite the Right Word Feed

Agriculture Communication

| Share

Important Communication about Computer Security and Support

In the coming months, Ag Comm Computer Services will be sending out a number of email messages addressing various security and support concerns. These messages will come from  and may be labeled as NDSU Ag Comm Computer Services. Items that will be discussed include:

  • Windows 7 security update changes
  • End of life for Windows 7 in January 2020
  • Computers considered outside our support guidelines and those nearing unsupported status
  • Windows 10 upgrades and eligibility
  • Our current support guidelines, hardware baseline and computer order form

You can also visit our website at for more information on any email we send out as well as other topics such as:

  • Updates on current security issues, viruses, changes to Windows, etc.
  • Information on upcoming ACCS support changes, software releases or projects
  • Links to our support guidelines, hardware baseline and computer order form
  • Links to various support tools developed in-house to enhance your support experience or resolve common issues you may be experiencing
  • Answers to a number of common computer questions
  • Links to commonly used IT-related websites, including account management, NDSU/NDUS computing policies, etc.

Jerry Ranum, IT Systems Specialist | IT Help Desk,, 701-231-8685 (option 1)

| Share

Podcasts and Podcasting

It seems like we've been hearing that podcasting is "The Next Big Thing" for several years now. However, like most things that have been tagged with that title, instead of bursting into the mainstream podcasting has slowly built up a significant following.

According to 2018 data from Edison Research:

  • 44% of Americans have listened to a podcast
  • 26% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly
  • 33% of Americans ages 25-54 listen to podcasts monthly

If you want to know more about podcasting, you should start by listening. The easiest way is to use the app that likely came pre-installed on your smartphone, Apple Podcasts (iOS) or Google Podcasts (Android). These apps help you find podcasts, subscribe to them, and listen to them on your phone. You can also listen to podcasts on apps/websites like Spotify or Stitcher, or more robust podcast apps like Pocket Casts.

So what can you listen to? Pretty much anything you could possibly want to. There are over 500,000 active podcast series on iTunes (Apple Podcasts) that range from mystery to comedy to educational to news and beyond. University of Minnesota Extension produces several podcasts. I have produced the podcast "Working Differently in Extension" for several years, and there are a lot of podcasts for personal and professional development.

Here are some options to get you started. Search for the titles in your podcast app and given them a listen.

  • Sound Ag Advice (NDSU Extension)
  • Vital Connections On-Air (UMN Extension)
  • UMN Extension Nutrient Management Podcast
  • UMN EXT Youth Development Podcast
  • Working Differently in Extension (Bob Bertsch)
  • t3: Changing the Conversation (Center for Social Innovation)
  • Swine Extension (UMN Extension)
  • Green Side Up (U. of Illinois Extension)
  • TED Talks Daily
  • Hidden Brain (NPR)
  • Invisibilia (NPR)
  • Science Vs (Gimlet)

If you are already a podcast listener, what are your favorites? Please add them to our list of Extension, Educational and Other Helpful podcasts (Google Doc - NDSU login required).

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

| Share

Write the Right Word: When to Capitalize Extension

When to capitalize “extension” may be confusing.

If you are referring to the organization NDSU Extension, capitalize. For example, “North Dakota State University Extension is hosting a sheep shearing clinic Sept. 23.” You need to capitalize the words because they are the proper name of the organization.

Also, use the organization’s complete name – North Dakota State University Extension – on first reference to the organization. Remember, we dropped “Service” from our name.

On future references to the organization in the same document, NDSU Extension or Extension is OK, but be sure to capitalize it. That’s to distinguish the organization from the generic “extension.” For example, “Presenters for the workshop will include Extension livestock specialists.”

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391



| Share

How to Make a Recurring Event on Your Website

Adding events to your website is a great way to advertise your activities and they are easy to set up in Ag CMS.

There is no “recurring” button to set up recurring events, but after creating the first occurrence of the event, you can copy it and edit as necessary rather than create each instance one-by-one.

Copy event

And this is how they will display:

recurring event


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

| Share

Technology Updates

Live phone numbers on movilePhone numbers pulled from the Extension directory into your mobile device now can be dialed at the touch of a finger. Thanks to Roger Egeberg, your mobile device now should highlight each phone number so that you can just tap it to take you to your phone function then tap it again to dial the number. If this doesn't work on your mobile device, try a different browser. Roger is researching how to make this possible with all phone numbers.

Google Forms, Eventbrite, Brown Paper Tickets and other services make it easy to take registrations. However, if you're charging a fee, NDSU policy 509 requires "All electronic-based financial transactions of NDSU that involve the transfer of credit/debit card or EFT information must be performed through the North Dakota University System application, TouchNet, or through an NDSU-approved third-party vendor, or on systems provided by Information Technology Division (IT Division) for this purpose." To use TouchNet, send a request to .

 If you haven't used your Turning Technologies "clickers" for a while, test the system a couple weeks before needed. Chances are you'll need to update the software and/or get a new receiver. To get a free new receiver, contact if you're on campus or if you're off campus.

When someone leaves your staff, in addition to the regular things on the NDSU exit list, be sure to take them off access to:

  • Ag CMS – contact Sonja Fuchs at or 231-6403
  • Facebook, Twitter and other social media – should have multiple local administrators

, Ag Communication Director, 701-231-7875

| Share

Image Resizing No Longer Works in Ag CMS

A recent update to the Firefox web browser has affected a feature of the visual editor in our Ag Content Management System (Ag CMS).

The visual editor is the tool Ag CMS users use to create the "Body Text" of an Ag CMS item. It allows users to easily format text and insert images into their web content.Before the Firefox upgrade, Ag CMS users could click on an image in the visual editor to see "handles" at the corners of the image. They could resize the image by dragging any of the handles (see the image below).

Resizing an image with handles

Unfortunately, the resizing handles no longer appear in Firefox, and they have not appeared in Google Chrome or Internet Explorer for some time.

Ag CMS users have a couple of options for dealing with this change. They can choose not to resize images and rely only on the preset image sizes provided in Ag CMS. The alternative is to make a change in their Firefox browser to restore the image handles capability. Here's how.

  1. In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button promising to be careful or accepting the risk.
  2. In the search box above the list, type or paste by_def and pause while the list is filtered. The three preferences that start with editor. used to be true and starting in Firefox 64, they are false.
  3. Double-click the editor.resizing.enabled_by_default, editor.inline_table_editing.enabled_by_default, and editor.positioning.enabled_by_default preferences to switch the values from false to true.

This "fix" works for now, but that could change. You may have to repeat the steps above when your Firefox browser is automatically updated.

Sorry for the inconvenience. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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

| Share

Write the Right Word: Possessives and Proper Names

We’ve all seen it: the sign on a house saying “the Smith’s” or “the Johnson’s.”

The signs are trying to tell passersby that the Smiths or Johnsons live in that particular house. But in that context, you don’t need the apostrophe. That’s because the apostrophe before the “s” indicates ownership or possession when that’s not the sign’s intent. All you need is an “s” at the end of the name (Smiths, Johnsons).

If you have trouble remembering whether the apostrophe is necessary, think of your message. For instance, if you mean to say, “The Smiths live here,” then you don’t need the apostrophe on the sign or that sentence.

However, if you are indicating in a sentence who owns the house, then you need the apostrophe. For example: “The Johnsons’ house is the blue two-story on the corner.” Note that the apostrophe comes after the “s.” That indicates two or more people named Johnson own or live in the house. But if you are referring to a house owned by one person, you’d say, “Smith’s house is in the next block.”

With most names, you simply add an “s” to make them plural. The exceptions are names ending in “es,” “s” or “z.” Those require an “es” to make them plural: Charleses, Joneses, Gonzaleses. To indicate the possessive, just add an apostrophe after the last “s”: the Charleses’ car, the Joneses’ dog.

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

| Share

Tools for Getting Organized

I'm always looking for ways to stay organized, especially going into a new year. There are a couple of tools available through NDSU that I'm hoping will help me, Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote.

Google Keep is an app for keeping notes, lists and reminders. It allows you to take notes that include text, images and audio, and organize those notes under "labels." You can color code your notes and invite collaborators to share a note with you. Keep is available through any Google account, including your NDSU Google account. You can access it through an app on Android or iOS, and through Google apps on your web browser.

Check out this post to learn more, "8 tips to help you keep up in Google Keep."

Like Keep, Microsoft OneNote is a great tool for organization, but it is built to accommodate the "power user." You can store loads of notes and ideas in OneNote, organize them into "notebooks," and even link between those "notebooks." OneNote is available through your NDUS Office 365 account and as an app for your phone (Android, IOS or Windows). There's also a version of OneNote that's part of Windows 10, so you may already have it on your computer.

Check out this article to learn more, "Microsoft OneNote - Your Digital Notebook!"

If you are looking to stay organized this year, I hope you'll try one, or both, of these tools.Good luck!

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

| Share

Write the Right Word: Regard

The word “regard” seems to give writers and speakers a lot of trouble.

If you are using it in a phrase such as “in regard to” to mean “about,” “concerning” or “on the subject of,” you don’t need to add an “s” to “regard.” For example, “This email is in regard to your questions on tree planting.” or “The shopkeeper called in regard to your order.”

The same applies to “with regard to,” which is another way of saying “in regard to.” You don’t need the “s” on “regard.” For example, “With regard to our recent snow storm, most of the snow has melted.”

Better yet, avoid the phrase. Instead, you could say:

“I’m responding to your question on tree planting.”

“The shopkeeper called about your order.”

“Most of the snow from our recent storm has melted.”

However, you do need an “s” on “regard” if you are talking about good wishes, compliments or greetings. For example, “Give my regards to your parents.”

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

| Share

Friendly Reminder About Email Etiquette

Here's part of an email I recently received from an Extension Agent:

"I often see emails from agents with lots of capital letters and exclamation marks when I’m sure they don’t mean to come across that way." 

She was wondering if Ag Comm has any resources about email etiquette and Becky Koch pointed the agent to this Let's Communicate article about email etiquette.

In the example below, ALL CAPS can come across as SHOUTING and it's actually easier on the eye to read non-ALL CAPS text. The use of more than several exclamation marks is unnecessary.

Email screenshot












, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403

Document Actions

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.