Blogger’s Choice: Embedding video into keynote

by Valerie Heruska

I just finished three 50-minute presentations to the Resident Assistants at Boston University. My presentation was on Digital Identity and Social Media and how they can build the community both offline and online. I think the presentation went really well and a lot of them asked me how long it took for me to put together. I answered them and told them that it took me a few hours. Truth be told, every presentation I put together takes time and planning, and this one was no different. It was about 30 slides and included embedding videos into keynote.

Full disclosure, I had no idea how to embed videos into keynote. I was searching all over the place and I wasn’t comfortable downloading anything shady off the internet – I’m still suffering from PTSD from the time I downloaded a game key and it was an actual virus and it made my computer shut down- but I digress. I found a nifty website (not sure if it’s legal) called Clip Converter, which will convert video from YouTube into a .mov format for you to use in Keynote. It was super easy to use and so easy once the files were converted.

So hopefully, you find this useful! If you know of another way to embed video into keynote, please leave a comment!

Blogger’s Choice: Embedding video into keynote

Follow Friday – History Edition

by Kristen Abell

As you may (or may not) know, I am a graduate of the University of Kansas, also known as a Jayhawker for life. This means that I’m especially attuned to events going on in the Lawrence area on the interwebs. this week was an active week for Larryville in the Twitterverse and beyond, as they commemorated the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence in 1863. For those not in the know, Quantrill led a band of pro-slavery Missourians in a raid that burned the anti-slavery stronghold of Lawrence almost entirely to the ground. In order to commemorate the rebirth of Lawrence after this event, the city decided to re-enact the raid…on Twitter.

Although it’s been a couple of days since the Twit-enactment, you can still see most of the stream by checking out the #QR1863 hashtag or by visiting the website at www.1863lawrence.com. I’ve always thought a use of social media to re-enact a historical event, a TV show, or a book would be an excellent way of teaching others how to use the different tools available, and this is a fabulous example of that. If you visit the website, you can even see the timeline they used to create the Twitter stream. Several members from the Lawrence community acted as historical figures, complete with Twitter handles and bios to fit. In addition to tweeting out the events of the day, they reacted to tweets from “current day” responders. Getting into the excitement of the day, a few folks even created some new Twitter profiles – @horse1863 and @martymcfly1863 are just a couple examples – and jumped right into the tweet-stream.

In addition to the folks live-tweeting the re-enactment, several schools in the area followed along and did history lessons so that their students could participate in the historical events of the day.

Now this, folks, is how you use social media. I highly encourage you to go check it out and think of ways you could use social media similarly. I’ve already got my mind churning on ways to do my next training via live-tweeting an event or book. What similarly awesome uses of social media have you seen?

Follow Friday – History Edition

Another Running Metaphor

By Kathryn Magura

I know, I know, my title made you groan. But I got your attention right? Well, before you close your browser, hear me out. I’ve been thinking a lot the last few weeks about why I continue to try running. I don’t like it much, and I’m not particularly good at it. Quite the endorsement, right? Why don’t I quit? Good question.

Last night, a friend of mine sent me the following blog post about why one seasoned blogger thinks more women don’t follow a career as a computer programmer. After reading that post, it occurred to me: running is my new technology. Huh? Still with me?

While I think the aforementioned blogger is misguided in his thoughts on why women aren’t getting into computer programming (as evidenced by this previous post), it got me thinking about why I never thought I’d be good working with technology – which made the discovery that I am actually very good at technology that much more of a pleasant surprise!

I never thought I was good with technology, but I never really gave it a shot until I started working professionally. Why didn’t I think I was good with it? I don’t think anyone ever told me I was bad. And I’d certainly been an early adopter of the internet, and all the fun tools associated with it, but I guess I never equated that to technology skill. I didn’t really know if I had any skills with computers or technology until I started using it and my intuitive senses took over.

On many levels, my thoughts about my running ability parallel my initial thoughts on my skills with technology. I have never been much of a fan of running, partially because I never thought I was any good at it. Granted, I never really tried much, but the few times I HAD run, I wasn’t much of a fan. Sound familiar?

So there it is, I run because I never thought I would be any good at it. Am I good runner? Well, I haven’t quit yet, isn’t that what matters? Besides, I’m not competing with the person on the treadmill next to me, I’m competing with my own inner demons and self-deprecating lies that tell me I’m no good at running. I’ve believed those lies for far too long, just like I did when I didn’t think I was any good with technology. Don’t I owe myself the chance to prove myself wrong?

Another Running Metaphor

Highlight an App: Retail Me Not

by Valerie Heruska

It’s back-to-school season, and whether or not you are going back to school or you have little humans who are attending school — back – to – school specials are filtering the TV left and right. I mean c’mon.. Target and their recorder/xylophone version of Salt n’ Peppa’s “Push it” = Amazingness.

Anyway, I’ve been using the app “Retail me not” for awhile and I love it. It’s very handy if you’re the non-coupon clipper type like myself. Any time you are near a mall, or store, you just open up retail me not and it will find the specials going on in the store (or extra coupons) and online.  For example, I was in “The Body Shop” just wandering around and looking at nice smelly things and Retail me Not told me that I could get a free membership to their “Love your Body rewards” ($10.00) plus $5.00 my purchase of $15 or more. I tried it out and it worked. It wasn’t a special that the store actually advertised and I wouldn’t have known about it  if not for this app.

There are a ton of stores on this app and you can get everything from hardware (Home Depot) to food (think Auntie Ann’s pretzels) just buy using this app. Best of all, it’s free on iTunes.  The other cool part about it is that anytime you’re near a mall, Retail Me Not will send you alerts for some of the most popular deals going on inside the store.

What are some of your back – to -school apps?

Happy Shopping!

Highlight an App: Retail Me Not

Networked Fitness and the Quantified Self

By Brenda Bethman

Recently, Owen Thomas at ReadWriteWeb embarked on a four-month experiment in networked fitness and the quantified self. Using a treadmill desk, fitness gadgets and apps, he’s tracking his data to see if he can meet his fitness goals and blogging about the results (see here for the posts to date). Coincidentally, I also started a new fitness program on the same date (August 1) as Thomas’ first post appeared — and being a good geek girl, I am also using an array of gadgets and apps to track my progress (and of course also blogging about it — if you have any interest, you can follow my posts here).

Thomas points out that one of the frustrating aspects related to the #quantifiedself movement is the lack of a monopoly — with so many apps, gadgets, websites, etc. — none of which track the same items — it can be overwhelming to try to figure out which tools are the best for you. In this post, I thought I’d share my setup in the hopes that it’s useful. It’s a tad complicated and probably not for everyone, but individual apps and gadgets can also be useful.IMG_1275

Here’s the list of what I use and what’s connected to what:

  • Fitbit One: The Fitbit is the gadget/app/website I use the most — it’s on me 24/7 unless I’m in water. The Fitbit tracks steps, calories burned, distance, active minutes, floors, and your sleep. It will also track non step-based activity (you have to add it manually or sync from another service) and food (although many Fitbit users track their food elsewhere as their database is lacking in areas). One of the things I like about it is that it gives you a good idea of just how active (or sedentary as the case may be) you are — combine that the game aspect of earning badges and suddenly I am talking an extra spin around the block to meet my steps goal for the day. I’ve found it motivates me to keep me active throughout the day instead of just while at the gym. I use the website and the iPhone app for syncing with the One — and have the Fitbit set up to sync with both MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper accounts (although the latter is only one way syncing with the Fitbit data flowing to Runkeeper but not vice versa).
  • MyFitnessPal: MFP is a calorie-tracking website with companion apps. It has a huge number of users and just raised a ton of funding. There’s also a very active user community that shares fitness (and, alas, dieting) tips in forums. I use MFP to track what I eat (roughly anyway — I’m not too obsessive about it) and any non step-based exercise (like strength training, elliptical, etc.). That data is then fit to the Fitbit and the Fitbit data also flows back to MFP. Using them together, I’m able to gain a pretty good picture of what went in and out on a given day. MFP’s food database is HUGE (higher ed folks, they even have Sodexho stuff in there), and tracks nutrients as well as calories, which to me is the more important part.
  • RunKeeper: After a couple of years of using the Nike running app, I recently switched to RunKeeper because it also tracks walking (in theory it tracks strength training also if you sync with one of their partner apps, but I have yet to find a strength training app that I like, so I just enter that data into MFP). RunKeeper will map your walk and track your pace, distance, calories burned, etc. It works for both runners and walkers, and can track other exercises as well. The free version does some minimal reporting and the paid version will get you more detailed reports. I use RunKeeper to keep track of walking distances. While the Fitbit theoretically does that, I prefer RunKeeper.
  • GymPact: GymPact is a motivational app that pays you money for meeting your weekly workout goals and penalizes you by charging you money if you fail to meet them. The nice thing about GymPact is that you don’t have to be in a gym for it to count — you can use their “GymPact Anywhere” (currently iPhone only) or sync with RunKeeper to have outdoor or at home workouts count towards your Pact (this is handy if you have a weekend like the one we just had — it was far too beautiful to exercise inside). I decided to give it a go since I’m committed to training sessions and a class for the foreseeable future. Since I know I’ll be at the gym, I may as well make money from it.
  • EarndIt: Speaking of rewards, EarndIt is another motivational site (no apps yet) that allows you to earn rewards that can be redeemed for goods or to benefit charities. So that run you just took can help bring clean water to Haiti or health to Guatemala. Again, if you’re working out anyway, why not help someone else at the same time? I’ve set up my Fitbit to sync to EarndIt and my Foursquare gym checkins also earn me points.

Reading that, I think “damn, that’s a complicated system!” and it is true that it took me some time to get things set up to work in a way that I like — and that, because of the fragmentation Thomas writes about, I am forced to rely on a system of syncing several apps in order to get a full picture. So far, however, it’s working for me and I definitely recommend any of these apps/gadgets/sites if you’re looking for ways to track your fitness efforts.

What other recommendations for apps/websites/gadgets do you have? Which (if any) do you use?

Networked Fitness and the Quantified Self

Best Practices for Making Life Easier: Presentation Platforms

By Kathryn Magura

I’ve had the opportunity to present on a number of topics over the years, and have tried a variety of presentation platforms and applications. Today I thought I’d discuss some of the platforms I’ve used, and what I like or dislike about each:

  1. Prezi: A few years ago, Prezi was all the rage for presentations. As someone who typically embraces new technology, I was eager to learn Prezi. While I enjoyed the online platform utilized for Prezi, and the ability to edit a presentation with co-presenters, I never felt like the usability became intuitive for me. Sure, I could put together a decent presentation, and knew not to have the path of travel jump around, but I felt like I had to re-learn how to use Prezi each time I created a new presentation. Not exactly what you’re looking for when needing to create a presentation. 
  2. Dropbox: One thing I’ve really found useful, especially when working collaboratively on research projects, is the use of Dropbox. Dropbox allows you to save data on servers that can be accessed anywhere. If someone has permission to access your server repository, they can access the data you have there, and use it for whatever collaboration project you are working on. While there is no specific presentation platform associated with Dropbox, I do think it’s helpful for shared data storage – especially if there is a significant amount of data to share.
  3. Google Drive: Lately I’ve been using the software available via Google Drive for a variety of things, including presentations. Google Drive has an application called “presentation” that resembles PowerPoint, which has made the learning curve very small. Google Drive Presentation also allows you to work on something online, and therefore provides the capability to edit a presentation collaboratively. I have been able to work on a presentation simultaneously with a colleague in Chicago, and see the changes she makes instantaneously. Plus, it helps that Google Drive saves automatically and frequently. The last thing you want is to spend a ton of time on a presentation only to lose it when you don’t save it.

So those are some of the presentation platforms I have used recently. What are your favorites?

Best Practices for Making Life Easier: Presentation Platforms

New Quarter, New Schedule

by Kristen Abell

As many of us start a new academic year at our institutions, we here at Student Affairs Women Talk tech are starting a new quarter of blogging. Believe it or not, we are getting ready to start our third year of blogging in September of this year. And with this new quarter and new year comes a new schedule. We like to keep things funky fresh here.

So for the next few months, you’ll be seeing some of your favorite bloggers write about whatever they choose, as well as our highlight posts (best practices, highlight an app, and highlight a woman in technology and student affairs) and the occasional Follow Friday post thrown in for good measure. We’ve also reached out to some of our favorite women in tech to see if they’d be interested in guest posting on here, so we hope to feature a few of them, as well. If you have an idea for a guest post, feel free to contact me (kabell96@gmail.com) and let me know about it – we’d love to feature you on our blog!

We hope you’ll continue to enjoy reading about the world of student affairs and tech through our blog. Best of luck to all with the beginning of the school year, and we look forward to blogging for you!

 

New Quarter, New Schedule