How to Videos


Here is a link to dozens of short How-to videos for doing everything on your computer from creating secure passwords to video chatting:
Here is a link to a sight that will assist you in updating your browser or installing a different browser. The best browsers today are Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera.
The Chrome Web Browser is ever changing so these instructions are valid for version 21 and above at this time 2-5-2013.  My previous postings and Google Doc on the subject are now out of date.

Some Background:
Many web apps that we use are launched from a parent web page using a technology called a popup page. Unfortunately some Ad's are delivered in this same way.  However, there are generally only one or two of these depending on the site you are visiting and most web developers no longer rely on this method of pushing Ad's because web browsers block them through the use of the popup blockers by default.  It is safe to turn off this technology because the use of the popup blocker usually masks additional issues your computer may have such as malware.  If you turn off the popup blocker and you are inundated with Ad's then you have malware that needs to be removed.

To turn off the popup blocker on the Chrome browser do the following:

While in Chrome click on the Settings icon in the upper right corner (three dashed lines) and select "Settings" in the menu.  At the bottom of the page click the link for "Show Advanced Settings". In the Privacy section Click the "Content Settings..." button.  Scroll down to Popups and select "Allow all sites to show popups".  You can also be more selective and just allow certain websites to popup a page by clicking the Manage Exceptions button and in the Hostname Pattern field enter the website address pattern such as

Once in a while your MacBook (Air) or (Pro) may not be working correctly.  Most computer issues are cleared up when you do a simple reset.  Some indications that your Mac needs to be reset are listed below:

The computer's fans run at high speed although the computer is not experiencing heavy usage and is properly ventilated.

The keyboard backlight appears to behave incorrectly (on Mac computers that have this feature).
The Status Indicator Light (SIL) appears to behave incorrectly (on Mac computers that have an SIL).
Battery indicator lights, if present, appear to behave incorrectly (on portables that use non-removable batteries).
The display backlight doesn't respond correctly to ambient light changes on Mac computers that have this feature.

The computer doesn't respond to the power button when pressed.
A portable Mac doesn't appear to respond properly when you close or open the lid.
The computer sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly.
The battery does not appear to be charging properly.
The MagSafe power adaptor LED doesn't appear to indicate the correct activity.

System Performance
The computer is running unusually slowly although it is not experiencing abnormally high CPU utilization.
Application icons may "bounce" in the Dock for an extended amount of time when launched.
Applications may not function correctly or may stop responding after being opened.

Please follow the instructions below to reset your Mac.

MacBook Air
Portable computers that have a battery you should not remove on your own include MacBook Pro (Early 2009) and later, all models of MacBook Air, and MacBook (Late 2009).
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.  
    : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

MacBook and MacBook Pro
Resetting the SMC on Mac portables with a battery you can remove
Note: Learn about removing the battery on MacBook and MacBook Pro.
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer, if it's connected.
  3. Remove the battery.
  4. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  5. Release the power button.
  6. Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
  7. Press the power button to turn on the computer.

From the Google Drive and Docs team blog: we’re introducing the research pane—a new feature that brings the web’s wealth of information to you as you’re writing documents.

The research pane taps into Google Search directly from Google documents, so whether you want to add a cool destination to your itinerary for an upcoming trip to India or you're looking for the perfect presidential quote for a political science paper, you don’t even have to open a new tab.

You can access the research pane from the Tools menu by right clicking on a selected word that you want to learn more about, or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+R on Windows or Cmd+Alt+R on Mac. From the research pane, you can search for whatever info you need to help you write your document. With just a couple clicks you can look up maps, quotes, images, and much more.

If you find something you like, you can add it by clicking the insert button or, for images, by dragging them directly into your document. If appropriate we’ll automatically add a footnote citation so there’s a record of where you found the info.

Hopefully bringing knowledge from the web to Google documents will make your writing process just a little bit more efficient.

Posted by Sarveshwar Duddu, Software Engineer
The Chromebook is a different sort of device.  It is neither a Windows laptop or a Mac laptop and it is not purely a Linux OS device either.  The Chromebook uses a Google Chrome web browser that sites on top of a very tiny Linux operating system so therefore the device boots up in as little as 8 seconds.  The Chromebook uses Cloud-based or Internet-based services only.  You do not install software on to the Chromebook they way that you would on a Windows or Mac system.  Instead you would make use of a web-based app to accomplish the task that an installed program would do.  For instance, instead of using Microsoft Office PowerPoint, the student would use Sliderocket or Presi or even Google presentations.   Instead of using Microsoft Office Word to type a document, the student would use Google docs or Zoho docs.

It was decided to base our 1:1 program for the 4th through 8th grades on these Chromebook devices because of their rapid boot, and very long 8 hour battery life and also because of their simplicity in use.  When deployed in a classroom the teacher does not need to be a technician to get a roomful of devices up and running,  The students open the cover and in 8 to 10 seconds they log on to their accounts.  All of their information is then synchronized to the device.  All students have a Google account that will get them access to any Chromebook and to their documents and other content.

Since the Chromebook is so different I felt it necessary to point out a few tips on their usage.

File Manager:
Even with the Chromebooks simplicity with only a web browser running, the Chromebook does in fact have a File Manager built in.  It is possible to save and store files on the Chromebook.  To gain direct access to the File Manager just press Ctrl+M.

Screen Print:
There is no print screen button on the Chromebook but you can most definitely print the screen to an image file.  Just press the CTRL and the Windows switcher button [   ]]]  (just to the left of the screen brightness button on the top row of keys).  Once the screen print is taken you will find the file in the File Manager.  Press CTRL+M to open the File Manager.  The screen print is labeled screenshot-todays-date and ends in .png.

Caps Lock:
The Chromebooks do not have a Caps Lock key but you can put it into Caps Lock by simply pressing both Shift keys at the same time.

Multiple Screens:
If you are one of these people with lots of tabs open at the same time and would like to have some sort of order, you can open multiple windows and have certain tabs on certain Windows.  Top open a second or more window(s), click CTRL+N.  A new window will open.  To swith back and forth just click the window switcher button [   ]]] in the middle of the top row of keys, click the window you want to go to and then click the window switcher again to maximize it.

You do not install printers on the Chromebook like you do on a Mac or PC.  Printing is done through a new Cloud service that Google calls Cloud-Printing and uses special HP and Epson printers.  The District only has one actual Cloud printer and it is located in the Glidden middle school.  

I have created a cloud-printing server in the District in order to make use of our legacy (non-cloud-print) printers.  In order to activate a printer for cloud-printing I simply add the printer to this special server and then I must share it out to every student that will be printing to it.  I have created a special process for doing this so it is simple to set up a new printer.

Shutting Down:
To shut down the Chromebook just press the power button in the upper right corner, the screen will shrink down and then go dark.

When All Else Fails:
As with any computer, if you find that something just is not working on the Chromebook try these two things before calling for help:

#1 use the screen refresh button on the top row of keys, it is the round arrow key, 4th button from the left.  If that does not work then
#2 just shut down the Chromebook and log on again.  It only takes 1/2 a minute of time.

To see a list of keyboard shortcut keys click here.

For a full list of usage tips press CTRL+? on your Chromebook.