Using RSS Readers to Keep Track of Your Favorite Blogs

SplitShire_IMG_9970By Amber Clark

Back in the dark ages, before Twitter and Tumblr, there were blogs. Individuals tired of going from one blog to another to read all their news, jokes and view cute pictures of cats, created a centralized place where one could read all their blogs while only going to one website, or RSS Reader. Blog engines such as Blogger, and later WordPress, provided authors with a way to distribute their blogs in Rich Site Summary (RSS) to be integrated into an RSS Reader

The gold standard of RSS readers (and my personal favorite) was Google Reader. There I could add blogs’ RSS feeds as I found them and categorize them for later when I was looking for specific information.

As with all things on the Internet, good things don’t last. After the advent of Twitter and the growing popularity of microblogging, Google announced it was decommissioning Google Reader. Many devoted users were upset and signed petitions, others saw an opening in the marketplace and started building their own, many with the ability to integrate not just RSS feeds but also Twitter and Tumblr.

There are now numerous RSS or Blog Readers. Here are a few you might want to give a try:

Bloglovin- Is a place where you can read all your blogs in one place. You can categorize the blogs you add and integrate social media including Facebook. Bloglovin will also make suggestions for other sites based off websites you have added. In addition to integrated apps for phones and tablets, there is also a Bloglovin button you can add to your browser toolbar to make it that much easier to add sites to Bloglovin.

Newsblur- is another news and rss reader with its own social media components. It also has apps for iOS and Android.

Google Chrome RSS Feed Reader plugin- Google Chrome has an RSS Feed Reader broswer plugin that allows you to access and manage your RSS feeds from Google Chrome. It also has a feature to alert you when a website you are visiting has RSS feeds.

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Take Advantage of Free Technology Training at SMU

IT Training here at SMU has a number of resources available for Faculty, Staff and Students, and it’s all for free! The place to begin is on the OIT webpage, You can navigate to the IT Training homepage through the blue navigation bar at the top of the screen. Once you arrive, you’ll see a number of different tabs

my.SMU: this tab has links to dozens of tutorials for the SMU community for both administrative and self-service purposes. But remember, if you need security access to a page, your manager will need to request it. For more detailed instructions, click here.

Other Systems: This tab contains links to online trainings for SMU Financials. These are available anytime for a refresher; however, if you need job related security, your Financial Officer will need to open a Help Desk ticket. Instructions can be found on this tab.

IT Workshops: Each semester IT Training offers a variety of webinar and in-person workshops. On this tab, we keep all of our past training guides, as well as recordings of past webinars. Make sure to check this page out if you’re looking for help with Adobe, Microsoft Office, or Sitecore.IT Workshops tab

Additional Resources: This tab contains a link to a number of online training resources outside of the University, including: Blackboard/Courses.SMU; Inside.SMU;; Mactopia; Microsoft; and statistical training.

IT Training MenuFinally, under the IT Training dropdown, you can find links to information about the Fondren Library West computer classrooms and semester workshops. All IT Training workshops are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. They usually send out a newsletter announcement at the beginning of each semester. So, keep an eye out for emails coming from!

These spring webinars still have room for you!

Outlook Productivity Webinar, Wednesday, Feb 4, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Register

Up and Running with Microsoft OneDrive Webinar, Thursday, April 9, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Register

MediaArchive.SMU Webinar, Thursday, April 16, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Register

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Adobe Makes Lightroom Available for Android


“This is not just a way to get photos from place to place. It lets you maintain your workflow on the mobile device. It can be a tremendous time saver and productivity tool for making edits on the go.”

-Shared Mangalick, senior product manager for photography at Adobe

According to TechNewsWorld, Adobe is expanding their market by now offering a mobile version of Lightroom for Android devices. Last year they released the app for iOS mobile devices. It does not provide the full functionality of the desktop version; however, it allows users to save changes to their photos and sync them back to their desktop.

For more information Lightroom for mobile devices, visit Adobe’s website.

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What to Do when PowerPoint’s Presenter View Won’t Play Nice

The Presenter View option allows PowerPoint users to show the audience the slide show while giving the presenter a view of upcoming slides, a timer, notes to yourself, and other handy tools. (If you haven’t yet, be sure to give it a try.)


The problem is that every now and then Presenter View doesn’t happen, and the laptop screen only shows the slides. Most people don’t memorize where these controls are, so in this situation users are often forced to press on without the use of Presenter View. Since this little headache pops up from time to time, it pays to know how to set this option.

For Windows PC Users:use presenter view At the top of the PowerPoint screen are a series of tabs. Click on the one that says Slide Show. In the ribbon’s Monitors section, you will see a check box next to the words Use Presenter View. Check this box and Presenter View will start up when you begin the slideshow.

ppt2011-presenter-viewMac Users: Click on the Slide Show tab and look for a section titled Setting for Two Displays. Click on the icon that says Presenter View, and then start your presentation again.

Mac users may also need to be sure that their laptop is not set to mirror the displays. To do this, click on the Apple icon in the top-left of the desktop, then click on System and choose Display. Click on the Arrangement tab at the top of that screen and be sure that the check box next to Mirror Displays is unchecked.

swap screens ppt2013Lastly, if the Presenter View shows up on the wrong monitor simply click on the Display Settings button at the top of the Presenter Tools page and select Swap Presenter View and Slide Show.

Of course, Classroom Support is always available to help with this. Call us at 214-768-8888, and we’ll be glad to set it up for you.

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Resist the Urge to Answer the Email Now

Email-client-applicationIt’s so easy to quickly reply to email as soon as you receive it. Consider scheduling times to process email throughout the day. Otherwise, you may end up buried in your inbox! If you are working on a critical project, consider using an Outlook Alert to let others know you won’t be processing email until a specific time. Here are tips to consider when processing email.

  • Delete It
  • Delegate It – Can this be assigned as a task or forwarded?
  • Do It – Will it only take a few minutes to process? Do it now.
  • Delay It – Calendar the item or put on your task list, so you will remember it later.

Interested in learning more about Outlook?

Outlook Productivity Webinar

Wednesday, Feb 4 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


Do you ever feel like you are drowning in email and need some strategies to reduce inbox clutter? The Outlook Productivity session will help you beef up your inbox and calendar skills at the start of the new year! In this session, we will cover a number of time saving tips in Outlook 2013 to manage your electronic communications more effectively.

Learn how to:

  • Create quick steps to process mail in a timely manner
  • Minimize distractions by creating rules and alerts
  • Utilize task features including: categories, custom fields, view settings and more…
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Tips for Using Student Email at SMU

CSC-SC2-Tip_2_02Navigate your email with ease

With Office 365, your email is even smarter. Find important messages, communicate confidently, and collaborate with others in real time.

CSC-SC2-Tip_2_05Quickly view your important messages

Take control of your inbox. People View lets you read important messages first—from those you communicate with most often. Expand or collapse this view depending on your needs.

Learn more

CSC-SC2-Tip_2_09Avoid common mistakes

Have you ever selected Reply All to a large group? MailTips warns you about common mistakes before you send an email. Turn MailTips on or off or customize which tips appear.

Learn more

CSC-SC2-Tip_2_13Always share the latest file

Your email is now fully integrated with OneDrive for Business, allowing you to easily share your work with others while always maintaining just one version.

Learn more

CSC-SC2-Tip_2_17Search your email

Find exactly what you’re looking while on the go for by searching your email directly from Outlook Web App. You can search by sender and date and filter to get what you want quickly.

Learn more


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Locker.SMU: Migrate Personal Files before March 1

By Rachel Mulry

OITicon-locker2-128x128Locker.SMU will be decommissioned as a service in August 2015. This file storage and sharing application is being replaced by two other services: Microsoft OneDrive and one that is still to be determined. The current locker service has several limitations in storage allocation and cross platform functionality. Therefore, it will be replaced by other services that can address these deficiencies in a cost effective manner.

Project Timeline

  • January 2015: Stop provisioning new accounts in Locker.SMU
  • December 2014-February 2015: Communication and migration assistance for personal storage
  • March 31, 2015: Eliminate personal storage
  • April-June 2015: Migrate Organization storage to new service
  • August 2015: Locker.SMU taken offline

At this time, we are encouraging individuals to begin migrating their personal files off of Locker.SMU. The migration process for your personal files can be done in several ways. Step-by-step instructions are located here.

one driveThere are a number of applications that you may choose to use to continue storing and sharing the files online.  All faculty, staff, and active students have access to Microsoft OneDrive through Office 365. OneDrive provides unlimited data storage and files can easily be shared as well. For more information on using OneDrive or to login, click here.

Please note, the OneDrive license is only available while you are an active faculty, staff, or student. Once you leave the University, the license will expire, and the data will be unavailable. 

Microsoft OneDrive is not the recommended solution for Departmental or Organizational storage. We will provide more details for organizational storage once the new service has been selected.

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Email Calendar Availability

Here’s an easy step to send someone your Outlook calendar availability!

  • From the calendar tab, select E-mail Calendar.

email calendar

  • Select the desired Date Range.
  • In the detail section, select the desired availability options you want to share.


  • Select/deselect the working hours only options.
  • You can choose the layout you prefer by clicking the show button under the advanced section. To close, click ok.
  • An email will then populate with a screenshot of the layout you selected.

Calendar view

calendar viewList View

list view

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Tips for Better Calendar Use in Office 365

CSC-SC2-Tip_3_02Simplify your scheduling

A busy day means a complicated calendar. With Office 365, students at SMU can easily set up and manage your meetings–saving you time to get more done.

CSC-SC2-Tip_3_05See other people’s calendars

Add a team member directly to your calendar view to see their availability whenever you want. Overlay their calendar with yours or hide it as needed.

Learn more

CSC-SC2-Tip_3_09Quickly set up a meeting

See the availability of all attendees and nearby conference rooms without leaving your meeting invitation.

Learn more

CSC-SC2-Tip_3_13Search your calendar

Need to find an event on your calendar but don’t know when it occurred? Whether you’re using Outlook or Outlook Web App, you can quickly search your calendar, or other people’s calendars, to find a particular event.

Learn more

For more information on Office 365 at SMU, please visit our webpage

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4 easy steps to keep the leading zero in Excel!

When working on spreadsheets you might have a need to have a column that has leading zeros. For example, let’s use an ID number, if I was to input the beginning of my id “0010” Excel would automatically remove the first two zeros.  Here’s how to keep the leading zero in Excel:

  1. Right click on the column you want the leading zero, select Format Cells
  2. Select Custom from the category list
  3. In the Type field, enter how many digits you need. The SMU ID is 8 digits which we will use in our example below.  (Note: You do not need to add quotes to the string.)

Format Cells

4. Click OK. The column will now utilize the format you created!

ID number


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