Tech Tip: Take a Screenshot on Any Device

Android: Hold the power and volume buttons down for a second or two. When the screen flashes white, the screenshot has been saved to your photo gallery.

iOS: Press the Sleep/Wake button (the button on the top or right side of your device, depending on the model) and then press the Home button. The screen will “flash,” and the screenshot will be saved to your Camera Roll and the Screenshots folder. On iPhone X (which does not have a home button), you’ll need to press the Sleep/Wake and the volume up buttons simultaneously.

Windows: For desktops, pressing PrtScn + the Windows key will take a screenshot and save it to your Screenshots folder, in My Pictures. On laptops, press PrtScn + Alt + Windows to perform the same function. To capture a specific part of your screen, use Windows + Shift + 5, which will allow you to draw a box over what you would like to screenshot. A successful screenshot will be indicated by a screen “flash.”

MacOS: To take a screenshot of the entire screen, press Cmd + Shift + 3. To capture a specific part of your screen, use Cmd + Shift + 4, which will allow you to draw a box over what you would like to screenshot. These screenshots will be saved to the desktop.

Chromebook: Hitting Ctrl + the Windows Switcher key will take a screenshot of the entire screen. For a precise shot, use Ctrl + Shift + Windows Switcher. These screenshots will be saved in the downloads folder. However, they will not go into your Google Drive unless you copy them there.

 

Adapted from https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2475902,00.asp.

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Stop Blue Light at Bedtime

Many people are aware that the blue light from screens can negatively affect sleep. Fortunately, most devices allow for a blue light filter, which minimizes this light close to bedtime to promote better sleep.

iOS

iOS has a feature called Night Shift, which allows you to set a specific range of time during which blue light from the device is minimized. This can be found in Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. There, you can set a schedule, manually enable until the next day, and adjust the temperature to find the best screen warmth for you. This works on iOS 9.3 or higher.

Android

Android does not come with a specific program for reducing blue light, but there are a couple of third-party apps that will do the job. Search for Blue Light Filter, sFilter, or Twilight on the Google Play Store. All three apps allow you to schedule when to enable the blue light filter and adjust the warmth, so it’s a matter of personal preference.

Windows

PCs that have Windows 10 installed include a feature called Night Light. This can be reached by going to Start button > Settings > System. Toggle on the switch for Night Light, then click Night light settings. Within this setting, you can turn on Night Light immediately or set a scheduled range of time during which to enable Night Light. You can also use the slider to adjust the warmth.

MacOS

On MacOS Sierra 10.12.4 and later systems, go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Displays. Select the Night Shift tab. You can schedule when you want Night Shift to be enacted or enable it at that moment. You can also use the slider to select your desired screen temperature. Night Shift can also be turned on and off from the Notifications Center.

 

Adapted from https://www.pcmag.com/news/354971/how-to-stop-gadget-blue-light-from-disturbing-your-sleep and https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207513.

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Tech Tip: Stop Beeping Notifications on Facebook

Have you ever been studying in the silence of the library when suddenly your computer begins dinging as people like the new selfie that you just posted? Even if you’re not in a place where silence is essential, these notifications can still be pretty annoying. 

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. On the upper right-hand corner of the Facebook page, click the down arrow. Then navigate to Settings > Notifications > On Facebook. Under Sounds, switch “Play a sound when each new notification is received” and “Play a sound when a message is received” off. 

 

Adapted from https://www.ricksdailytips.com/disable-beeping-facebook-notifications/. 

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The Future of IT Matters

Last newsletter, we looked back over thirty issues of IT Matters. Now, we’re looking forward into IT Matters’ future. Complete this very brief survey from ITS to be entered for a chance to win either a $10 gift card to the school store or a pound of candy from Spence Candies.

Want to know how you can participate? Just click this link and fill out this four-question survey! Move quickly, the survey closes on April 22nd.

UPDATE 4/22: This survey is now closed. Thank you all for your responses!

 

 

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Spring Cleaning: Be Green, Not Blue!

If you’re in the process of spring cleaning, you might have found some old devices that you don’t need anymore. Donating these is a great way to help the environment and declutter your home, but it’s essential that the device is properly wiped of all personal information before it leaves your ownership. Before deleting anything, be sure to back up all important information. Being green shouldn’t make you blue!

Dragging files to the trash does not really delete them. They still exist on your computer’s hard drive. Even emptying your trash may not permanently delete the files. They may still be accessible to a skilled hacker.

One solution to this is whole disk encryption. Most computers come with this feature built in, and it just needs to be activated. This can be done on Mac OS, Windows 8 and 10, and Windows 7. If your computer does not have this feature built-in, visit Slant for suggestions.

As a last resort, you can physically damage your hard drive to erase information. Watch this video for instructions.

If you’re donating a phone, remove the SIM card and SD card (if you have one). Disable any Find My Device settings. Then make sure to restore it to factory settings. This will erase your personal data and leave the phone as it was the day that you bought it.

According to the EPA, recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year, and for every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

Visit the EPA’s website for suggested places to donate your old electronics.

 

Adapted from https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2017/9/april-2018-spring-cleaning-be-green-not-blue.

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Tech Tip: Battery Myths – Dropping Your Battery to 0%

This round of Battery Myths debunks the idea that you should always let your battery drop to 0%. While this may have worked well for older batteries, it shortens the lifespan of modern Lithium-ion batteries. Plus, letting your phone shut down doesn’t necessarily mean that the battery has been fully drained. It may just not have enough energy to power everything needed.

The far better method to follow is to plug your phone in somewhere in between 30% and 40% charge. This will make your charging speed faster and will also preserve your battery’s life. For maximum battery health, keep your phone between 30% and 80% charged whenever possible.

Adapted from https://www.pcmag.com/news/357987/charging-your-phone-overnight-battery-myths-debunked.

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Tech Tip: Canvas Section-Specific Announcements

Canvas recently introduced the ability to send announcements to specific sections, rather than the entire class. While you’re creating an announcement, Canvas now has options to select where to post it to: All my sections, Section 1, Section 2, etc. You can select one section or several.  

More information can be found here. 

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How To Save Your Phone Battery

It’s extremely annoying and even dangerous to have your phone die on you. But these days, it seems like battery life is just getting shorter and shorter. With this in mind, here are a few tricks to help preserve battery power for both iPhones and Androids.

 

Locate the programs that are draining the most power.

On iPhone, navigate to Settings > Battery, where you’ll find a breakdown of the percentage of battery power used by individual apps over the past twenty-four hours and seven days. For Android, you can go to Settings > Battery to view not just apps but also base components like Android OS and screen brightness. Do you see any trends in apps taking a significant amount of power, even if they aren’t used often? It may be time to look into an alternative option.

 

Turn off apps running in the background.

Sometimes apps that don’t seem to be in use are still running and draining battery power. On iPhone, a big culprit is the background app refresh feature. You can disable this on an app-by-app basis by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Android doesn’t really have a version of this feature, but you can view what apps are running in the background by going to Settings > Apps. You can stop any unnecessary apps from this page.

 

Dim your display’s brightness. 

Even simple things like screen brightness can be a huge battery hog. The best option is to turn it down to the lowest brightness that you’re comfortable with. On iPhone, you can change screen brightness just by swiping up, but for more control go to Settings > Display & Brightness. On Android, brightness can be modified by swiping down, and more settings can be accessed through Settings > Display.

 

Turn off unnecessary features.

Location sharing, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirDrop, and other like features contribute to battery drainage. If you’re not using them, it’s recommended that they be turned off. For iPhone, these features can mostly be turned off by just swiping up. To disable location sharing, navigate to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and turn off location services for individual apps as you see fit. Android users can turn off similar features by swiping down.

 

Turn on power saving mode.

Okay, it’s a little obvious, but it really does help. You can find this setting on iPhone by going to Settings > Battery and toggling on Low Power Mode. Androids also have a power saving mode that can be accessed by swiping down or by going to Settings > Battery depending on your type of phone. Note: power saving mode stops notifications, so make sure you keep a close eye on your phone.

 

Adapted from https://www.techspot.com/article/1479-iphone-battery-life-tips/ and https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2367542,00.asp

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Tech Tip: Skype for Business is Out, Microsoft Teams is In!

In late 2017, Microsoft announced that the capabilities of Skype for Business would be gradually transferred to Microsoft Teams.

This process will happen slowly, so there is no need to panic! However, it’s wise to be made aware of the approximate timeline to ensure that Teams is fully integrated before Skype for Business becomes outdated. Skype for Business will continue functioning and being updated as normal until approximately the end of 2018, with dates subject to change.

For more information, visit Microsoft’s Journey from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams FAQ.

The standard version of Skype that most machines run will experience no change and will continue functioning into the future. However, ITS suggests using Zoom for all web conferencing. Zoom carries the same functions as Skype but is more stable and feature-rich.

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Tech Tip: Battery Myths – Charging Your Phone Overnight

In this edition of Battery Myths, we’ll discuss what really happens when you plug your phone in overnight.

You may have heard that charging your phone overnight can cause your battery to “overload.” Basically – no. Your phone is smart enough to know when its battery is fully charged. However, you may experience an effect called “trickle-charging.” This simply means that your phone will expend some energy boosting the battery power whenever it falls to ninety-nine percent. This may affect your phone’s lifespan long-term, but ultimately it’s not really something to worry about.

It is important to make sure that your phone is in an open space if you’re going to charge it overnight. Trickle-charging creates some extra heat, and that’s not going to be good for your phone if you’re keeping it under a pile of blankets.

 

Adapted from https://www.pcmag.com/news/357987/charging-your-phone-overnight-battery-myths-debunked

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Free Calendar Apps to Plan Out Your Life

Gone are the days that you dealt with calendars on physical paper. And since our phones are always on us, worries of misplacing our schedules are in the past. But getting organized is still a daunting task. Here are several apps to make your life easier. Best of all, they’re free!

Microsoft Outlook (iOS and Android) may seem like a too obvious choice, but it’s a fantastic way to manage your time. Connecting it to your email is a breeze, and you can even attach files from your email to an event. You can also attach files from other services like Dropbox, and use specific icons for different events.

Google Calendar (iOS and Android) is another simple option that may be just right for you. With options to view events in daily, three day, weekly, and monthly formats, you can find exactly what you’re looking for easily. This app also features cute graphics and map depictions of where your event is. Best of all, you can set personal goals and give yourself a deadline in your calendar.

Rolo (iOS) is great for those of us who like visual depictions of how our time is being spent. Its simple, circular layout depicts how much time in your day is spent doing things like working, going to class, in meetings, and more.

Raft (iOS) may just be the perfect solution for planning things with a group of friends. Rather than exchanging complicated series of messages that leave people unsure of exactly when and where you’re meeting, invite friends to events and chat with them through this app.

 

Adapted from https://www.popsugar.com/tech/Best-Calendar-Apps-42389584

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Tech Tip: Sharing Accounts with Students

For faculty and staff with student workers who need to access files and send emails on their behalf, just telling the student their login credentials may seem like the simplest option. Unfortunately, this gives the student worker access to all your data, not just the information they need for their job, and destabilizes the entirety of the Etown network. Passwords CANNOT be shared with others, no matter how much you trust them.

However, the same data-sharing can be done in a much safer manner. Contact ITS at helpdesk@etown.edu to set up a shared account with a student worker.

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Refuse the Phishing Bait

Cybercriminals are getting better at manipulating people, and we need to keep up with them. Approximately ninety-five percent of security mishaps are in some part due to human error. Learn the signs of phishing and stay on the lookout for attempted manipulation.

Phishing is more than just email. Hackers may try to attack via phone call, text message, or other messaging systems too. If you don’t know who’s contacting you, or the offer seems too good to be true, stay safe and don’t respond to the bait.

Remember the telltale signs of phishing. Does that email contain copious grammatical errors, a vague introduction that doesn’t mention your name, or an urgent message that’s scary? Does it contain an offer that seems too good to be true, or ask you to verify your password? It’s probably phishing.

Check who sent the message. Is their email address something like universityhelpdesk@ymail.com? Or does it have an unknown domain name that doesn’t seem at all related to the place that they’re claiming to contact you from?

Don’t be convinced because it “looks official.” Scammers are getting better and better at making a phishing attack appear to be legitimate by using real company logos and contact information. Even if an email looks like it’s real aesthetically, look carefully for signs of phishing in the actual content. Don’t react emotionally, even if the message looks scary. This is the response that the hackers want!

Never reveal your password. Never. A message asking you to verify your password is almost certainly malicious. Remember, ITS will never ask for your password!

Don’t open links or attachments. If the message seems to be even the faintest bit suspicious, do not open any attached links or files. This is how hackers install malware on your computer.

When in doubt, contact and verify. Contact the person or company that the message claims to be from, be it a friend, coworker, or even a company that you regularly shop at.

Don’t talk to strangers! That old childhood rule still applies. If you don’t know who’s calling or messaging you, be cautious. If they’re asking for personal information or making odd requests, hang up that phone and don’t do what they say.

Don’t pick up abandoned flash drives. Cybercriminals sometimes leave flash drives with malware on them for unsuspecting victims to pick up and plug into their computer, unknowingly installing malicious programs.

Report possible phishing to ITS. Do you think you’ve received a phishing email? Report it using the Phishing Alert Button. If you think you may have clicked on a link that you shouldn’t have or given someone your personal information, contact the Help Desk at x3333 or helpdesk@etown.edu.

 

Adapted from https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2016/11/february-2017-learn-what-it-takes-to-refuse-the-phishing-bait

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Tech Tip: How to Clean Your Earbuds

No one really wants to think about how dirty their earbuds are. It’s not a particularly pleasant topic. Unfortunately, dirty earbuds are a source of potential ear infection and just plain gross.  

Cleaning your earbuds is fairly simple, though! First, be sure that they’re not connected to any device. Mix some warm water and gentle soap, and use a soft cloth to soak up a little of the mixture. You don’t want to use too much because soap could leave residue and water damage goes without saying. 

If there’s a lot of gunk in the crevices, use a dry toothbrush to gently scrub it away. If your earbuds have detachable silicone covers, remove them and clean them separately using the same methods. 

Remember to never submerge your earbuds in water, as even a second could damage them permanently. Enjoy your new, clean earbuds!

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Is Facebook Spying on You?

Have you ever noticed that Facebook’s ads seem suspiciously similar to whatever you last looked at on Amazon? Or Googled? Many people are aware that Facebook gathers data from other websites that you visit so they can target your ads to your unique tastes.

But some people have noticed that Facebook seems a little too attuned to what’s going on in the rest of their daily lives. For instance, have you ever casually mentioned something with a friend and then, an hour later you open Facebook and see an ad for that very thing? It might make you wonder if Facebook is not only tracking your footsteps on the internet but also listening in on your face-to-face interactions.

Facebook states explicitly that they are not using your microphone to listen to you. But with so many personal stories to the contrary, can we be sure that they’re telling the truth?

Facebook does collect extensive information on its users, and it admits that. It has over 52,000 categories that it places its users into target ads precisely. You can actually see what categories you have been placed in by going to Facebook and clicking Settings in the drop-down menu, then going to Your Information and clicking on the Your Categories tab.

Okay, so we know that Facebook is very good at personalizing its ad experience to individual users. But what about those personal anecdotes from people who said something and then had an ad pop up on Facebook an hour later, unrelated to any of their categories?

But even these occurrences can be explained. For example, say your mom does some online shopping for a new yoga mat. Facebook records this and also tracks her location and notices that she’s traveling. When she arrives at your home and mentions that she’s been looking for a new yoga mat, Facebook doesn’t hear her. But Facebook knows that’s she’s been shopping for a yoga mat, and she just traveled to your location. So Facebook targets yoga mat ads not just to your mom, but also to you because you’re in the same place as your mom and you’re Facebook friends with each other.

Basically, Facebook’s algorithms are incredibly complex and are exceptionally good at delivering ads perfectly targeted to you. But there is no evidence to suggest that Facebook is listening in on you through your microphone. If you’re still paranoid about how much Facebook knows about you, visit this page for tips on how to avoid being tracked by Facebook.

 

Adapted from https://gimletmedia.com/episode/109-facebook-spying/

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