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Write the Right Word: When Not to Use an Apostrophe

Apostrophes often indicate letters are missing in a word, such as 4-H’er. 4-H’er is a shortened version of “4-H member.” The apostrophe takes the place of the letters “memb.”

Apostrophes also can denote possession, such as in “Sarah’s book.” The apostrophe indicates the book belongs to Sarah.

But you don’t need an apostrophe in a word ending in “s” when it is used primarily as a description. For example: owners manual, teachers college, RedHawks pitcher, producers request.

The line between possession and description can be a little fuzzy. So here’s an easy way to remember the difference: Don’t use an apostrophe if you can use “for” or “by” in the phrase. For instance: a manual for owners, a college for teachers, a pitcher for the RedHawks, a request by producers.

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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Ag Comm Webinar: Time Lapse Photography

Andy Robinson, NDSU and U of MN Extension Agronomist, and Bruce Sundeen with NDSU Agriculture Communication host this months Ag Comm webinar.

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Write the Right Word: Because vs. Since

Despite the way they're often used, “because” and “since” do not mean the same thing and shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

Use “because” to indicate a cause-and-effect relationship. For example: “He went to the store because his mother needed milk and bread.” Or this: “I stayed home because I have a cold.”

Use “since” to indicate the passage of time. “ABC Co. has been in business since 1964.”

Here’s an easy way to remember which word is correct: Use “because” if you are indicating a cause. So in the examples, the cold caused me to stay home and the mother’s need for groceries caused the man to go to the store.

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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How to Get to Your Skype Conversation History

"What was that link again?"

Whether it’s sharing your desktop with me to troubleshoot a problem, sharing a presentation, or ("direct" or "instant") messaging, Skype is a great way to communicate. Meetings can be recorded for future reference, and so can messaging.

I was on a Skype call with an agent about a question she had. She also asked about how to install the Microsoft Outlook App on her phone, so I sent her the link to check out after a meeting she was attending immediately after our call. When she got back to her desk to check out the link, she wasn’t sure where to find it, because the Skype meeting had ended.

But she was able to access our conversation by going to the Conversation History folder in Outlook. The folder contains a complete history of your Skype conversations and missed calls and is handy when you need to find information discussed in a previous chat or call.

Click on the image below for details

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

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Expired vs. Unpublished

In Ag CMS, you can expire an item by going to Edit>Dates and choosing the date to expire the item. Note, the item will disappear from your website, but will still display in a Google search.

If you do not want your item to be on your website or Google search results (such as an event that has already passed), you can unpublish the item in Ag CMS. Go to the item in Ag CMS and choose the Published button, which will allow you to “send back” or “retract”. You can choose either of those options to unpublish your item from your website and hide it from Google search.

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

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Event Calendars Help Market Programs and Avoid Conflicts

The public Ag Calendar and NDSU Event Calendar can help you market your programs and avoid internal conflicts.

To add events to the Ag Calendar, login to the Ag Info Center and navigate to the calendar. Click New Event in the left side bar. If your program consists of a series of meetings, you will need to enter each event separately.


To get your statewide or major campus event listed on the NDSU Event Calendar, send event details to Elizabeth Cronin.

Elizabeth Cronin, Administrative Assistant, 701-231-7881

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A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words

Nearly all of us carry a camera now since it's in our mobile devices, and most of us are getting better at remembering to take photos. Now let's focus on having those photos tell stories. Sometimes we have to shoot the obligatory photo of people lined up, but for websites, brochures, news releases and other uses, the photo should tell the story you're trying to communicate.

Aim for Action in Photos

You may be familiar with technical photo guidelines:

  • Rule of thirds
  • Leading lines
  • Depth of field
  • Framing
  • Cropping
  • Lighting

But to tell a story, also consider these guidelines:

  • Aim f
    Avoid Meeting Monotony in Photos
    or action: Are people doing something rather than just staring at the camera?
  • Focus on faces: Show people's expressions rather than their back sides.
  • Master meetings: Your story is not how many people are in the room, but instead what's happening. Zoom in to the speaker or activity and cut out the backs of a bunch of people.
  • Zoom and crop with your feet, not just the camera: Don't be shy. Move around to get up close and shoot from various angles.
  • Look for "extras:" Try to avoid distractions such as your shadow, a bright red exit sign or kids making goofy faces in photos.

Please send your "faculty and staff in action" photos to Ag Communication so we have them for Annual Highlights, social media, brochures, banners and other media.

, Ag Communication Director, 701-231-7875

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Several Backup Options Available

external hard driveThe last six months have revealed at least two situations of hard drive failure. In one instance, some data was recovered, but a lot of data had been corrupted and was unusable. No backup system was in place.

The second hard drive failure resulted in no data recovery at all, but an external hard drive had been in use and all of the data except a week’s worth was replaced.

It is very important to have a backup system that’s stored away from your computer. The time and effort you put into creating research data, developing educational programs and conducting business is so valuable that a single point of failure is a disaster

What are the options?

  • On campus, each faculty and staff members has 10GB on a network drive (U:) for personal use.
  • The RECs usually have servers with external backup devices.
  • Some county Extension offices have network drives that individuals can use.
  • Any office can use an external hard drive. A 1TB drive can cost less than $100. These drives can be configured with software to back up data on a schedule, such as once a week. Of course, the computer needs to be turned on for the backup to occur. External hard drives can be large or small in size. The small ones are powered by your USB ports, and the large ones have their own power adapter. Shield these drives from power outages and power surges.
  • Depending on the quantity of data to back up, flash drives can be considered. A 128GB USB drive costs around $30. With these devices, a copy-and-paste process is usually done.
  • OneDrive in your Office 365 account synchronizes the files on your computer with cloud storage automatically so they’re backed up, plus you can give others permission to review and edit content.

 Blair Johnson, IT Systems Specialist; ITS Help Desk, 701-231-8685

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Tips for Online Video

Electronic Media Specialists Bruce Sundeen and Scott Swanson demonstrate online video tips.

See all Ag Comm webinars.

, Web Technology Specialist, 701-231-6403

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Write the Right Word: When Not to Use a Hyphen

Knowing when and when not to use a hyphen can be confusing.

Here are some words that do not require a hyphen when used as a noun or adjective (noun modifier) and are two words when used as a verb, according to the Associated Press Stylebook, which we follow for spelling, grammar and punctuation:

  • Backup – One word as a noun and adjective but two words as a verb. For example, “She will serve as a backup to the secretary.” “I hope we have a backup plan.” “I have to back up because a fallen tree across the road is blocking my way forward.”
  • Login, logon, logoff – One word as a noun but two words as a verb. For example, “A login is required every time you access this website.” “I log off my computer at the end of the day.”
  • Ongoing – One word in all cases. “Drought is an ongoing problem in the Midwest.” “The program is ongoing.”
  • Online – One word when referring to a computer connection or as an adjective – For example: “You will be able to register for the workshop online.” “I am involved in online trading.”
  • Pickup – One word unless used as a verb. For example, “He bought a pickup.” “I will pick up my friends at 5 p.m.”
  • Setup - One word as a noun and adjective but two words as a verb. For example, “He rearranged the setup in the meeting room.” “I don’t like the setup options.” “She hopes to set up the display tonight.”
  • Takeoff, takeout, takeover - One word as a noun and adjective but two words as a verb. For example, “I’m ordering takeout for supper.” “Please take out the trash.” “The business succeeded in its takeover of a major competitor.” “Would you take over this task?”

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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