Author Archive: David Dickens

Google Presentations Edit Master Slide

Yes, we all know about Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote, but have you tried Google Presentations? Only one in a hundred presentations I have seen has used the bells and whistles you need a big piece of software for. What do you need for Google Presentations? A web browser.

Now Google has added built in widescreen support and the ability to edit master slides.

I’ll admit, this is an important step. Branding, even personal branding (that is, how people see you the presenter as well as the organization you represent) and the branding of your ideas needs to have a touch of unique style. If you pull out the template-of-the-month favorite and awkwardly stick a JPEG of your company logo in the corner you’ll regret it.

Take a look at what you can do for free, with your web browser, go visit and make a new presentation. Make a template for yourself. Spend a bit of time and then you’ll have something that always works for you. Save time in the long run by doing it once upfront.

Change Paste Options in Word

How many hours have been wasted attempting to manage the conflicts between the styles across many programs, including the web, when trying to compose a Microsoft Word document?

Most students, staff and faculty that work with Microsoft Word every day must have consumed even more than I have lost. Think of our collective wasted hours!

Here’s how to fix the default (read: broken) behavior in Microsoft Word for cutting and pasting: Click on the File tab, chose Options from the menu and then in the dialog box chose Advanced Options. Scroll down to the Cut, copy, and paste section and set the choices like this screenshot, then click OK.

Word Screen Shot


These changes will tell Microsoft Word to discard all the formatting from whatever source document and use the formatting of your existing document you are pasting into. An end to the conflicts, fighting the interacting styles, and frustration! Yes, on occasion you’ll have to put a bit of bold back in here or there, but that’s just a CTRL+B away and you’ll know that when you click it half the document won’t turn bold because of some strange formatting quirk.

Save time. Save the headache. Change your defaults.

Google Slide Presentations Wide-Screen

If you don’t know by now an essential resource of technology professionals everywhere is Google search. Yes, you think we know it all, but it would be much more true to say we know how and where to find all those answers.

My son turned me on to search YouTube in particular. He uses it to find out how to do things in Minecraft or how to make stop-motion lego movies with his Nintendo DS3.

When you ask yourself “How do I…” you might want to try searching YouTube. Videos can be so much more helpful than the usual step-by-step bullet lists elsewhere on the web.

Now on to our topic: Here at Pepperdine School of Law our classroom systems are all Wide-Screen (no longer using the old 4:3 aspect ratio). This works out for most folks using PowerPoint, but if you use Google Presentations you’re stuck in the old mode. Here’s a tutorial for how to force Google to the new format:

I went ahead and did this and created a Widescreen template to use in Google Presentations and made it public. You can view it, copy it (File > Make a copy… in Google Drive) and use it over and over!


Google Offers Phone Conferencing via Hangouts

Big news of free phone conferencing via Google+ Hangouts, from the Official Gmail Blog:

For those of you who have taken the plunge and are using desktop Hangouts in Gmail, Google+, and the Chrome extension, we’ve heard loud and clear that you miss the ability to make calls from Gmail, so today, we’re happy to announce it’s back – and better than before! Even better: calls to the US and Canada are now free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. And international rates remain super, super low.

Today’s launch also improves the desktop calling experience in a number of ways. For example: you can add multiple phone numbers and video participants to the same call; and you can play sound effects (like applause or laughter) with the Google Effects app.

To make a call from Hangouts, just look for the new phone icon in Gmail, or for the new “Call a phone” menu item in Google+ and the Chrome extension. And of course: if you haven’t yet tried Hangouts in Gmail, you can always click your profile photo in the chat list and select “Try the new Hangouts.”

Making calls from Hangouts is rolling out over the next couple of days. As we’ve said before: Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making and receiving calls is just the beginning. So stay tuned for future updates.

Google Develops Native Editing for Microsoft Word and Excel

This is probably a while away for average users, but it is a very helpful step towards increasing the ease of use and cross-platform compatibility. Some folks, by necessity or preference, live in Microsoft Office and this would make doing that possible with Google’s tools. Chromebooks are looking better everyday.

From The Next Web: Google adds native Microsoft Word and Excel file editing to latest Chrome OS build

Google has added native Microsoft Office file editing to the dev channel for Chrome OS. The addition means Chrome OS users on the latest build of the company’s browser-based operating system can now experiment with editing Microsoft Word and Excel files.

The addition was first noted by developer and Google open-source Chromium evangelist François Beaufort. He points to a Chromium code review that merely states Improved Quickoffice editing about:flag.

Here is a Word document being edited on Chrome OS:

Word in Chrome

Here is an Excel document:

Excel in Chrome

It’s unclear why PowerPoint has not received the same treatment; we can only speculate that Google simply didn’t focus its resources on it as much. Given that this technology is based on the company’s QuickOffice acquisition in June 2012, however, it’s fair to say Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will all be supported in due time.

If you have a Chromebook or other Chrome OS device on the dev channel, you can try this out by doing the following:

1. Navigate to chrome://flags.

2. Click on Enable below the Enable document editing entry.

3. You’ll be prompted to Restart Now after which you will get access to the feature.

In April, Google rolled out a beta release of its new Chrome Office Viewer extension, which lets users view Microsoft Office files directly in the browser on Windows and OS X. The Office Viewer extension was ported straight from Chrome OS, suggesting Google could end up merging it into Chrome altogether one day.

The dev channel for Chrome OS is updated once or twice weekly. Since the feature has made it in there, it’s likely to show up in the beta channel, and then eventually the stable channel.

Yet today’s news that Google is already working on editing Microsoft Office documents in Chrome OS is also very interesting. Maybe by the end of year, it will make it into the Chrome browser too.

Google Drive Storage Increase



Pepperdine has just received the official upgrade to unlimited storage for Google Drive. Now is a great time to look into how this tool can help you make your data more available across more platforms, provide backup and additional security for your cloud based applications.

Our friends at University IT have put up some helpful guide information. Check it out today. Note that they haven’t updated the page to reflect the new limit increase.

Here’s another great article on Google drive with helpful video. Anson Alexander has done great work to make the product accessible to new users–very thorough.

Faculty Professional Development

Faculty Professional Development

Re-posted from TechLearn’s Community Page:


This two-week, technology-enhanced faculty professional development program led by the Technology and Learning group and faculty mentor Stella Erbes is for faculty who are new to integrating instructional technology into their courses. Workshops and sessions will focus on course design that integrates technologies into the classroom that are learner-centric and shift how you deliver course content.

The sessions are seminar-based and will weave hands-on learning into each discussion. Each lesson plan is pedagogically constructed to evaluate which technologies can help you deliver course information, engage students, measure learning, and incorporate new learning activities.

Consultation sessions are also built into the program to ensure everyone’s challenges are addressed. Participants will walk away with a starting point on how to chunk course materials into building blocks that integrate technology. The overall goal is to help you create a more dynamic ‘active learner’ environment.

Faculty attendees will earn $400 for attending the full program or $25 per day if they can’t make the full two weeks. Morning snacks and lunch will be provided.

Meetings will take place at the Drescher Graduate campus in Malibu. Spaces are limited, so register now to be eligible to be one of the twelve participants.

June 2013 Schedule:

The program will be held June 17-28, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Optional learning labs are 1:00-3:00 PM.

  • 8AM-9AM: Breakfast
  • 9AM-12PM: Session
  • 12PM-1PM: Lunch
  • 1PM-3PM: Learning lab (optional)

Please review the proposed schedule of topics.

OneTab via ProfHacker

ProfHackerFix Tab Overload in Chrome with OneTab

If you’re like me, you probably have more than a couple of tabs open on your browser of choice. If you’re a lot like me, then you actually have three different browser windows open with the number of tabs in each window ranging from five to thirty-seven. There are a lot of reasons to have all those tabs open, we tell ourselves: it’s for a blog post; it’s for my research; it’s something that won’t save well in Pocket or Instapaper. And all of those things may be true. But what is also true is that all of these tabs take a toll on your computer’s performance.

What you real need is the ability to get all of these tabs summarized into one handy place. A way to keep them as a list without having to copy and paste URLs, so you can get back to what you want to read when you have the time. What you need, it turns out, is OneTab. OneTab is a free, simple extension for the Chrome browser. The five-second installation adds a button to the browser tool bar, and with a single click of that button, OneTab boils down all of your tabs into — you guessed it — one tab. The list of tabs is clickable, so you can easily re-open whichever one you would like, all the while keeping your memory usage minimal.

continued on ProfHacker…