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Archive for August, 2009

Extending STEPS with lynda.com – PowerPoint 2008 for Mac Essential Training

In an earlier blog post, Veronica discusses the lynda.com training that is available for Office for the Macintosh. I was happy to see that she was sharing this information, because participants who attend the IT Training & Education PowerPoint workshops almost always have questions about PowerPoint for Mac versus PowerPoint for Windows. Is the interface exactly the same in the two applications? Do they use the same filename extensions? Can I open up and edit a Mac presentation with the Windows version? Etc., etc…

Since IU students, staff, and faculty can now access lynda.com for free, it is a great time to learn more about PowerPoint for the Mac. In David Rivers’ tutorial called PowerPoint 2008 for Mac Essential Training, you can find out everything there is to know about the Mac version of this application, including how to:

  • create, edit, and share professional slideshows and presentations
  • efficiently navigate presentations
  • apply custom themes
  • place and edit text, images, and multimedia files
  • publish a self-running or manual slideshow

Mac users can watch all of the modules included in this comprehensive tutorial, or they can just watch the sections they are most interested in. If you have already attended our STEPS PowerPoint workshops, you may just want to view the section called Understanding the Interface.

lynda ppt

If you haven’t yet taken any of the STEPS workshops in this series, consider attending one of the following:

  1. PowerPoint: The Basics
  2. PowerPoint: Enhancing & Packaging a Presentation
  3. PowerPoint: Customizing a Presentation
  4. PowerPoint: Project Lab 

This is the last official blog article in the lynda.com series, but you can bet that there will be more information about this fantastic learning resource in upcoming posts.

Extending STEPS with lynda.com — Adobe Flash CS4

As you know, Adobe Flash is a robust platform for creating web and desktop applications as well as simple animations. IT Training & Education currently offers three workshops focused on Flash:

While these workshops give you a great foundation in Adobe Flash, there are many, many topics that aren’t covered in-depth. Lynda.com can be used to fill in and augment the topics in these workshops. From now until December 20th, IU community members get FREE access to lynda.com. As of this writing, lynda.com offers 10 courses in Flash CS4 and 7 courses in ActionScript 3.0. Remember that the Flash platform isn’t limited to the Adobe Flash software. In addition to the Flash specific courses, lynda.com offers 4 courses on Adobe Air and 10 courses in Flex. That’s 31 courses about or relating to the Flash platform. To simplify things, this article will focus only on the courses related to the Flash application as well as ActionScript 3.0.

Continue after the jump!
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Extending STEPS with lynda.com — Acrobat 9 Pro: Creating Forms

At IT Training & Education, we have a workshop called Acrobat 9: Forms, which teaches you the basics of creating Acrobat forms, along with how to distribute them, and collect data, along with several ways to store that data once collected.  It covers all the major aspects of creating forms in Acrobat 9 Pro.

However, there is a lesser known program called LiveCycle Designer, which is installed with Acrobat Pro, which can also create forms.  These forms can be created from a template, or a spreadsheet, and it can even start with a blank document. It can also create forms that can be connected to a database, and can create more complex calculated fields using FormCalc or JavaScript (JavaScript can also be used in Acrobat 9).  LiveCycle Designer is a much more complex program, and unfortunately we don’t have time in Acrobat 9: Forms to cover it.

Now that IU students, faculty and staff can access lynda.com, you can now learn how to use this program, and create forms in a different way which might work better for your situation.  One of the main benefits of LiveCycle Designer is that it can give you a better starting point, since LiveCycle forms do not need a pre-existing file to work from, unlike Acrobat 9 Pro.
In Acrobat 9 Pro: Creating Forms from lynda.com (make sure you’re logged in through IT Training & Education’s lynda.com portal to access the workshop), Brian Wood covers the creation of Forms in both Acrobat Pro and LiveCycle Designer.

However, if you’ve already taken Acrobat 9: Forms from IT Training & Education, you can skip sections 1, 2 and 3 of the lynda.com video series, giving you a head start on getting through the rest of the videos, and saving approximately the same amount of time you would have spent in the IT Training & Education workshop.  Understanding form creation can probably save you time learning LiveCycle Designer as well.
Suggested IT Training & Education Prerequisites:

Extending STEPS with lynda.com: Office for Mac 2008

Users of Microsoft Office can take advantage of STEPS workshops on Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access.  However, these workshops are all taught in Office 2007 for Windows; and Office for the Macintosh (both the 2004 and 2008 versions) have a significantly different interface. Don’t worry though – users of Office 2008 for the Mac can find the training they need in Office 2008 through lynda.com. From now until December 20, 2009, students, faculty and staff in the IU community receive FREE access to lynda.com. (For more information and a link to lynda.com training, visit http://ittraining.iu.edu)

For users already familiar with Office for Mac, one tutorial on Lynda gives a comprehensive look at just the new features in the 2008 suite. Other topics of training include essential training for Word, PowerPoint and Excel as well as Entourage, the personal information manager. For a more detailed listing of titles included in the Word, Excel and PowerPoint tutorials in the lynda.com site read the rest of this article.

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Understanding Scanning

NOTE: This article was originally posted as an appendix and supplemental material to Photoshop: In-Depth Healing Tools in conjunction with Carol Rhodes.

With digital camera photographs, there is very little preparation involved to work with them in an application like Photoshop. Many times, it is as simple as plugging a cable into the camera and then into your computer. The rest of the process is frequently accomplished automatically, or with very little direction.

However older photographs must be scanned in for the computer to be able to use them.  You might think, “I’ll never need to work with old photographs, I have my digital camera.”  But considering photography has been around for more than a century, and digital photography has only been the standard for a decade or so, there are millions of printed photographs still around that are deteriorating everyday.  If you want these photographs to last into the next generation, you need to preserve them digitally.

The problem with print photography is that it was growing and changing constantly throughout it’s lifetime.  Many of the developing techniques used by early consumer cameras are unstable, and the chemicals used can breakdown over time.  Look at any old photograph.  The ‘sepia tone’ effect that we associate with older photographs is actually the deterioration of the chemicals used to develop the photograph.  Left unchecked, eventually the image will be unrecognizable.

Considering that many print photographs are stored in shoe boxes in closets and under beds, it’s even more important to preserve the images we want to last forever.

In this article, we will examine scanners, including what types are available to consumers, and what features to look for.  Finally, we will discuss the best practice to follow to ensure you get a good scan.

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Extending STEPS with lynda.com: Dreamweaver CS4

IT Training and Education currently offers three workshops on Dreamweaver CS4:

  1. Dreamweaver CS4: The Basics covers the Dreamweaver environment and building a publishing a simple web site using tables.
  2. Dreamweaver CS4: Creating Websites with CSS concentrates on how to build a website using Cascading Style Sheets to control the layout.
  3. Dreamweaver CS4: Navigation, Templates & Media Integration covers how to create pop-up menus for navigation, build Dreamweaver templates to simplify site maintenance, and include multimedia on your web sites.

While these workshops provide an excellent platform on which to start exploring web design and development using Dreamweaver, they are by no means exhaustive. And, there may be certain concepts (especially related to CSS) for which you’d like additional reinforcement. This is where lynda.com can come in. Remember that from now until Dec. 20, IU community members get FREE access to lynda.com. As of this writing, lynda.com has 8 Dreamweaver CS4 series, for a total of almost forty additional hours of training on Dreamweaver CS4. Awesome! And when we retire, we’ll actually have time to watch all of it. :-)
Here’s a chart to help you narrow down which lynda.com Dreamweaver CS4 videos cover the topics you’re interested in:

lynda.com Dreamweaver CS4 Tutorials Target audience for this lynda tutorial
Dreamweaver CS4 Getting Started If you’ve heard of Dreamweaver, but have no idea why you’d use it; this would be a good prerequisite for taking the STEPs workshop Dreamweaver: The Basics.
Dreamweaver CS4 Essential Training You’re ready to build your first web page or web site using Dreamweaver. Covers much the same ground as Dreamweaver: The Basics, with additional coverage of CSS.
Web Site Planning and Wireframing: Hands-On Training
Dreamweaver CS4 with CSS Essential Training You’ve got basic web concepts like tables and images under your belt, and you want to learn how to make attractive, usable, easily-maintainable sites with CSS. Is an excellent refresher course after taking the STEPs workshop Dreamweaver:Creating Websites with CSS.
Creating a CSS Style Guide: Hands-On Training
Dreamweaver CS4 New Features You’ve got prior experience using Dreamweaver to create CSS-based websites, and you’d like to start building dynamic pages based on data from a database, create forms, or add advanced client-side interactivity using Javascript. These lynda tutorials cover areas of more advanced web development not covered in STEPs workshops.
Dreamweaver CS4: Introduction to Spry
Dreamweaver CS4 Dynamic Development

See a more detailed chart after the jump… (more…)

Extending STEPS with lynda.com — Photoshop CS4 for Photographers

At IT Training & Education, we’re always looking for ways to improve our STEPS curriculum.  Occasionally, even when we find a great topic to cover, we find that for whatever reason, either time or technical, we simply can’t cover it in our workshops.  But now, IU students, faculty and staff have access to a wealth of lynda.com content for the fall semester, and lynda.com can cover some of these more specialized topics.

In this series of articles, we will explore some of these topics and point users to specific lynda.com courses that can enhance your skills after working through IT Training & Education workshops.

The first lynda.com workshop we will examine is Photoshop CS4 for Photographers (make sure you’re logged into lynda.com through IT Training & Education to gain access).

In this workshop, professional photographer Chris Orwig takes us through Photoshop with the eye of a photographer. While many topics such as Curves, Levels, Layers and Masks will be familiar to participants who have taken Photoshop CS4: Retouching and Color Correction, Chris Orwig also covers things like monitor calibration, Camera RAW and printing images, which are all essential topics to a professional or aspiring professional photographer.

While the standard STEPS workshop is 3 hours in length, this lynda.com course includes almost 15 hours of content, covering many topics in greater depth than we have time for at IT Training & Education.

And the best part?  You can still ask questions relating to the topics covered of your IT Training & Education subject matter experts.  So you get the best of both worlds. In-depth training, taken at your own pace, along with an expert (or in this case, experts :) ) to answer your specific questions.

Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is not for beginners however, here are some IT Training & Education STEPS workshops you might want to take a look at before diving in:

IT Training & Education Recommended Prerequisites(or suggested skills):

lynda.com – Your New Personal Trainer

Exciting news from UITS IT Training & Education and Indiana University.  For the fall semester, IU students faculty and staff can access the in-depth training resources of lynda.com for free!

Lynda.com provides video courses on a vast array of software and subjects including Adobe and Microsoft applications, programming languages, 3D animation programs, web-based and multimedia technologies. These courses typically contain several hours of short videos covering both the basic and in-depth features of a program or technology. Another great aspect of these courses is that lynda.com stores older versions of their classes.  So if you still want to learn about Photoshop CS2, lynda.com has you covered.

But what if you like the STEPS workshops that IT Training & Education already offers?  Don’t worry, those aren’t going anywhere.  This announcement is all about Empowering People so you can choose the training method that best suits you. You can use them both to expand your skills — whatever best fits your needs.

This program is only in effect for the Fall semester but IT Training will look to continue this program if there is a lot of interest. So take advantage now and check out all the training lynda.com has to offer. To find out more or to access lynda courses, go to:

http://ittraining.iu.edu/lynda

Numbering and Counting Records in an Access 2007 Report

Access reports provide many options for formatting the data in the report so that it is easy for readers to understand. One formatting element you may want to include is numbering of the records in the report. Adding numbers allows readers to see a rank order of the items listed or to easily reference a particular record in a discussion.

 Numbered List
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First Look at Windows 7

Windows 7 is Microsoft’s followup to Windows Vista, and it will be released to the general public on October 22nd.  Windows 7 has been referred to in many tech blogs as an enhanced version of Vista, and in some ways this is true, but there are some significant changes to the interface, and in this video we will examine some of these interface changes focusing on the taskbar.  We will also look at some changes to arranging windows on screen, as well as talking about how Windows 7 handles Gadgets.

Windows 7 First Look

Windows 7 will be available to the general public on October 22nd, and is already available in some professional settings, but keep an eye on the UITS news page to find out when IU students, faculty and staff can get their own personal copies.

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