Monday, March 31, 2008

It only takes two.

One of the nicest features of the Opera web browser is its speed dial feature. Speed dial displays your most commonly used web pages on a single page with thumbnails. Click on the picture, and you go to the page. Very convenient.

As is often the case with Opera (which has consistently been the most innovative web browser when it comes to new features), others are following suit. Firefox now had an add-in that gives this functionality, but you don't need Firefox to use it. That's where comes in.

You go to the website and create a free account. Then, you can put your favorites links on a single page. There are also tabs to allow you to keep links that you want, but which you don't need to use every day.

Some of this can be done on, but the drawback is that doesn't let you easily sort your links. By default, the most recent one is the first one, so a link you use often can get lost (there are ways, but it's not as easy as Only2clicks).

Once you create your account, you then make Only2clicks your home page. Then you can get to your favorite web pages in only two clicks (I wonder if that has anything to do with the name). In addition, you can add a button to your bookmarks so you can add websites on the fly.

It also allows for more pages than the nine that Opera does.

All in all, something worth considering for your web page.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Printing by the numbers

We've calculated just how much paper we've been using in the computing labs this year. The numbers are a bit incomplete, but they are definitely large.

In the Hines Hall 116 lab, students have printed 174,912 sheets of paper since we started collecting data in November. That's just short of 35 cases. Assuming we pay $27 a case, it means the cost was $945. And that is just for paper -- toner, electricity, and printer repair will triple that at least.

In the Library 24-hour lab, students have printed 178,330. That sounds pretty comparable to the Hines Lab except for one thing: we started collecting data in January. Over the same period, the Hines Lab only used 99,820 sheets. The Library lab used 91,290 sheets in January alone. The total cost (including toner, etc.) is also around $3000, for three months rather than five -- and the Library lab printed a bunch of things in the time when we weren't counting it.

Finally, there are the other library labs -- the reference cluster, the clusters in the basement and third floor. They added another 47,407 sheets in the three months we were counting.

The total costs for printing in the labs is well over $10,000 a year. If cut just 20%, that's over $2000 that can be used elsewhere on campus.

It's not just a good idea from a green point of view to cut back on printing, but it also would let the college provide more services to students. Wouldn't you prefer that to paper that is just going to be recycled anyway?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spam Proof

Here's a neat little website I learned about from Kim Kommando (her Cool Site of the Day mailing list is one of the best around -- I usually add at least one site a week to my bookmarks).

It's the Spam Proof E-mail Generator. If you put your e-mail on the web, spambots will find it, harvest it, and flood you with spam. This neat little website lets you create a graphic of your e-mail address. Spambots won't be able to read it and probably won't even recognize it. But humans can, and you can put the address on the web.

This is what the address would look like:

Easy enough for others to read, but, for spammers, it's only a picture.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Keeping In Sync

Saw a nice little feature in Google Calendar today.

As you probably know, if you set up an account on gmail, you have access to a calendar function. I liked the idea, but I need to keep my calendar on Outlook. This doesn't allow me to share my calendar or access it away from work.

Google has now added Google Calendar Sync. This is software you download which synchronizes the Outlook and Google calendars. You can set the type of synch (Google to Outlook, Outlook to Google, or two-way) and the interval (at least every ten minutes).

It makes both Outlook and Google Calendar more useful.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Six of a Kind

One comment on the blog entry on saving paper deserves recognition: Print out PowerPoint with six documents to a page. This is a big saving of paper (obviously) and the six to a page printout is easy to read and refer to.

It's simple to do. Click on "Print" to bring up the Print Dialog box.

Under "Print Format" (left arrow), choose "Handouts" from the dropdown list. You can specify the number of slides per page, but six works just fine.

This is a simple way to save a lot of paper.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mean Mister Mustard

Paper costs money. So does toner, fusers, and other equipment needed to print paper. At a time when we are all trying to be a little bit greener, it makes sense to do what you can to reduce the amount of paper you use. Some suggestions:
  • Print two-sided. This is the default in many of the labs, and cuts paper use considerably.
  • Think before printing. Is the document really ready for printing? Give it another look to find errors that might make you need to print it again.
  • Print selected page. OK. There's an error on page four. Do you really need to print pages 1-3? Office lets you print selected pages simply by typing the page numbers in the print dialog box. It even understands commas and hyphens: 1, 3-4, 7 will print pages 1, 3, 4, and 7.
  • Choose Print Preview before printing out web pages. Web pages have the nasty habit of including an extra page is one line of irrelevant text. Your web browser has a print preview setting that lets you avoid printing out those pages.
  • Use Electrons, not trees. If you need to share a document with classments, do it electronically. You probably have an electronic version to begin with (via the web or your own work), so why do you need to print it out? E-mail it to your classmates, or use Blackboard the share it (contact your instructor to find out how).

If you work on reducing your paper consumption, there will be less waste and the campus will be a little bit greener.

Remember, even Mr. Mustard tried to save paper. So should you.

(If you have additional suggestions, put them in the comments of the blog.)