Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Magical World of the Software Center

Welcome to the Magical World of the Software Center!

In Wellsboro Area School District, we use a management software called Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). SCCM allows us to easily reimage computers back to our default install, push out updates, and push out new programs, among other things. The piece of SCCM you see is called the Software Center.

The easiest way to get to the Software Center is to use the icon on your Desktop:

Once in the Software Center, you can do a few things: Install available updates, install new software, remove (some) existing software and see how installations are making out.

Installing Updates 

(or My Computer Keeps Telling Me Software Changes are Required)

If you get the notification pop up that says "Software Changes are Required," chances are it's a Windows Update that needs to be installed to fix security or stability issues in Windows or other Microsoft programs (like Office). These pops ups give you some flexibility to install the updates when it's convenient for you, but the Software Center will install the updates with or without your OK at some point (hence the "Required" part). When you get one of these notifications, you can click on it to get more information about what is required and when.

As you see in the example below, the software is required to install by 12/31/2014 at 6:26pm and there are 3 things that will be installed. You can click View details (highlighted in the red box below) to get what will actually be installed. The link with bring up the actual Software Center with a listing. 

From the box above, you have a few choices:
  1. You can choose to do nothing by just closing the box, which means the software will be installed automatically at or after the deadline (in this case, 12/31/2014 at 6:26pm). Please note you will most likely get additional notifications about the required software until it is installed.
  2. You can choose to install the software now -- the "Recommended" option (in the green box above). Keep in mind that many updates require a restart after installation. While Software Center won't require a restart until the deadline, your computer won't be protected by the update and may be a bit buggy until you do restart. If you choose to run the updates now, I highly recommend you also check the box "Restart my computer automatically if needed" before clocking OK. Doing so will install the updates and, upon completion, restart your computer.
  3. You can choose to install the software outside your business hours. Software Center's default business hours are 5am to 10pm, Mondays through Fridays (I'll show you how to change this below). So if your computer is never turned on outside of those times, the update won't install until the deadline is reached. If your computer is on, the updates will install as expected. Once again, if choosing this option, I highly recommend checking the "Restart my computer automatically" box so the updates can complete their installation. 
Please note there are some program updates we push out relatively silently -- meaning you won't get the notifications about software being required. We typically push these updates out for Flash, Java, Firefox and Chrome, but occasionally for other programs as needed. The updates we push out silently typically will not require a reboot, but can still be installed before the deadline by using the Software Center as described in the next section.


Installing Optional Software

(or My Teacher Says I Need the Program XYZ)

So what happens when you really can't stand Internet Explorer and while Firefox is OK, you'd really rather use Chrome. Most software can't install on your computer without admin rights, so your stuck, right? Not always. Chrome is amongst the software we make available to everyone through the Software Center. We keep Chrome fairly up-to-date and, if you install it through the Software Center, updates will automatically get pushed out to your computer as we make them available.

There is other software available in the Software Center as well, mostly what teachers across the school district have requested. Interested in programming, but couldn't fit the class into your schedule? We have a few programming options, from Microsoft's Visual Studio to Alice and App Inventor. Want to do image editing? Try GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program), it's Photoshop-ish, but free. Looking for a simple photo touch-up software, try Google Picasa. Need to play a video that Windows Media can't decode? Try VLC. All available in the Software Center.

To install optional software, all you have to do is open the Software Center, click on the program you want (or check multiple programs) and click the Install/Install Selected button. The program should download and install anywhere you're connected to the Internet -- in school or out.

Want to see how the install is going? Click on the Installation Status tab. It will tell you what's going on with the install. Pressing the "F5" key will refresh the window to get the latest info. Don't see the program under the Installation Status tab? It's probably already installed, so check the Installed Software tab.

Uninstalling Software

(or I've Got Too Many Desktop Icons)

Under the Software Center's Installed Software tab, you can remove most of the optionally installed software. Software you chose to install can be uninstalled simply by clicking on it and choosing the Uninstall button. You can not remove required software, like Windows Updates, or software installed on your computer outside of the Software Center, like Microsoft Office.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Copyright - Your Guide to "Copying" Legally!

It is important for WHS students and staff to know the basics of copyright so you don't get charged with copyright infringement.  Below are a few great resources available on the web to give you the information you need to avoid breaking the copyright law.



Social Media

Picking the Right Username:

When you are deciding a good username, it is smart to use one that resembles your name, but you want to be very careful not to actually use your actual name, and I'll cover why later. But you also want to make it one that your friends and family would know you by.

Picking the Perfect Password:

You are going to want to make the perfect password after you make the perfect user name. In that case, you want to make it as anti-theft and not guessable as possible. That means three things:

  • One, do not use something simple, like something relating to your name or username.
  • Two, use a combination of letters (upper and lower case), symbols, and numbers to secure your password more.
  • Lastly, DO NOT tell other people your passwords, no matter how much you trust them because you never know who could actually end up with that information. 

Stranger Danger:

When you use social media you want to be careful of two things more than anything:

  1. Never give out any personal information such as your phone number, unless you have met this person in person, or credit card number. Any information similar to that is not acceptable to give away to anyone because they could use your credit card to buy things and spend all your money, and by giving out your phone number, they can track you down and find out where you live. 
  2. Never accept friend requests from people you don't know. They could be forty year old pedophiles or they could be twenty year old criminals. Either way, it is very dangerous to ever accept a friend request from someone you do not know. If you ever get a request from someone you do not know, ask your parents, siblings and friends if they know them as well.

What NOT to Post:

Do not post personal things on the internet because you never know who is going to find it.
Never post inappropriate things on the internet, or send inappropriate thing to strangers, no matter what the people say, they could be lying, and they could post those pictures every where and ruin your life.

Cyber Bullying:

Just don't do it. It can lead people to suicide. It's a rough topic, I know, and people don't like to talk about it, but it's important. So many people die each year due to suicide, and those numbers aren't diminishing. If anything, they are growing exponentially. The thing that hurts people most about cyber bullying, is when they read it, they don't read it in another person's voice. They hear it in their own voice. The video attached is the well known story of Amanda Todd. Because of people who thought they were cool to cyber bully her, because of people who took advantage of her, she took her own life. Imagine if you were that person, how you would feel if you heard the story of the girl you pushed too far. Imagine if you were that girl who was pushed too far. How would that make you feel?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Student Email

Student Email Access

Hi Wellsboro High School Students did you know that you have an email account from the school? Here is an intro video to what you can do with your account and how to login.

Here are the things that come with your school email account.

  • Google Drive Access (Online storage just like an H-Drive but better.)
  • Email Access
  • YouTube Access 
  • Email Contacts 
  • Google Classroom (This is for both teachers and students.)
  • And More.
click on the link below to go to the log-in website for your school email account.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Google Drive

         To access your Google Drive, first you want to log into your school e-mail. From there, you will find a little Rubik's cube by the search bar at the top of the screen. When you click on that, you will see a bunch of apps that are incorporated with Google. There will be a yellow, green and blue triangle that says Drive under that. When you click it, it will take you to a your drive. Here, you can save items in folders, whether it be assignments for school or pictures. You can download this app onto your phone as well.

Drive will automatically sync between all the devices, and you can even check this by clicking the little arrow by the touch keyboard on your laptops, and looking for a little yellow, green and blue triangle that represents Google Drive. If you just hover your mouse over it, you will see when your last sync was completed. If you click on it, a little box will come up.You can also pause and resume syncs if needed by pressing the overflow button, or the three dots stacked on top of one another, then you will find pause, click it and it will pause the sync. This will cause your Drive symbol to become gray, but if you click it, and then press the overflow button again, you will find that the pause button has been changed to resume, and you can start the sync again. However, you can only sync when you have Internet. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Your Friend the Windows Key

I'm sure all of you have the seen the key in the picture above, some of you have even pressed it before and saw that it brought up the start menu then dismissed it and never touched it again, but I  am here to teach you that it can do so much more.

Using the Windows key to move... well windows

One of my personal favorite WK(Windows Key) shortcuts is the combination of WK and the arrow keys. WK and the up arrow will maximize the current window, while WK and the down arrow will make the window smaller. Using WK with the left and right arrow keys reshapes the window so that it only takes up half the screen. Doing research for a paper? Open Word, hit WK left then open your favorite browser and hit WK right and you can easily have both windows open so you can take notes on whatever sources you find. Another WK shortcut I find useful is WK and M. This shortcut minimizes all windows while adding the shift key to that combo brings them all back.

Using shortcuts for easy access

WK combos aren't just used for moving around windows, they can be used to access all sorts of menus. WK and C brings that annoying little charms bar out from the right side of your screen, or more likely if you just need the settings part of that menu you can just use WK and I. Most of the teachers know about WK and P, it is the project menu and lets you choose between a duplicate, extended, laptop only, or second screen only projection options. But truly the most useful menu WK shortcut is WK and X. This menu not only includes a shortcut to the shutdown menu, it also includes shortcuts to the full control panel when that wimpy settings menu just wont cut it, an easy way to get into the file explorer, a link to the systems setting menu so you can tell the dashing IT tech what your computer's name is, and links to the network connections and power options menu.

Other cool stuff that doesn't really fit in anywhere Else

How is your eyesight? Most of you would respond, "My eyesight is spectacular, I am able to count the hairs on a gnats backside at fifty paces." But for those of you who are less like the previous statement and more stumbling through a world of different colored vaguely human shaped blurs, I have the perfect shortcut for you: WK and the + activates the on screen magnifier and pressing it again will zoom in. pressing WK and - will make it zoom out. WK and any number will open or switch to the corresponding item on the task bar (WK and 3 opens the 3rd item on the task bar or switches to it if already open). Let me weave you a little tale you open your computer to do homework (I know that is a stretch for some of you, but hear me out) you go to open PowerPoint and a strange error pops up, what do you do? For some of you the answer may be, "Run around screaming like the world is ending" but that is not the best answer; the more cool headed among you may be thinking, "I should contact that dashing IT tech from the previous paragraph." Those people are right but, "How will I show the dashing IT tech what is wrong with my computer?" you ask. (BTW, you have a ton of internal monologues; maybe you should get that checked out.) Well I have an answer: WK and PrtScr not only takes a screenshot but also saves a copy of it in the screenshots folder in your Pictures. Then you can send us in the dashing IT department a picture of just what that error was; this will help us to identify your problem and possibly make the repair process go just a little faster.   

In Conclusion

The Windows key can do a lot of cool stuff. This isn't everything it can do; just a few useful ones that I thought you might like. Microsoft is continuously changing what the windows key does -- it even has a few more functions added to it in Windows 10. The Windows key is super useful if used properly, but a lot of people don't realize just how much it can do. So do me a favor next time you use your computer, try out the Windows key. I'm sure it feels neglected and could use a little love, who knows, maybe it will make your life a little easier, or at least save you a little time going forward.


WK + ↑Maximize current window
WK + ←Snap current window left
WK + →Snap current window right
WK + ↓Restore down
WK+MMinimize all windows
WK+COpen charms bar
WK+IOpen PC settings
WK+POpen Project menu
WK+XOpen quick links menu
WK + +Activate magnifier (increase magnification if already open)
WK + -Decrease magnification
WK+(0-9)Switch to or open programs on the taskbar
WK+PrtScr     Save a screenshot to the screenshots folder

Wednesday, October 21, 2015